Tue 22 May 2007, 12:41 GMT
GENEVA (Reuters) - The U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF) urged Western donors on
Tuesday to put aside politics and back its health, nutrition and education
projects in Zimbabwe, where nearly one in three children is stunted by
Only $2.6 million has been received towards an appeal of $13.8 million
launched six months ago, leaving programmes "grossly underfunded", the
"The message we are trying to convey is that yes, there is a standoff
between the government of Zimbabwe and several parties inside and outside,
but the children should not suffer," said Roeland Monasch, UNICEF deputy
representative in Zimbabwe.
"... if you are concerned for whatever reason about channelling money
through the government, as UNICEF we are able to reach the children," he
told a news briefing after meeting officials from donor countries in Geneva.
UNICEF programmes aim to provide vaccines against killer diseases, bed nets
against malaria, school books as well as food and nutrition counselling
directly through communities.
Recent studies show that 29.4 percent of children under five are stunted,
the highest rate since 1988, according to UNICEF.
The country is also one of the countries hardest hit by the HIV/AIDS
epidemic, with one in five adults carrying the virus. About one in four
children have been orphaned by the disease.
"Zimbabwean people don't understand why they're living in a very difficult
political and economic situation and yet through no fault of their own
they're being punished by the rest of the world who seem to be abandoning
them," said James Elder, UNICEF spokesman in Zimbabwe.
By Alec Russell in Johannesburg
Published: May 22 2007 18:47 | Last updated: May 22 2007 18:47
As he emerged one chill evening recently from a meeting in Bulawayo, David
Coltard, one of Zimbabwe's most respected opposition leaders, saw a tall man
coming out of the shadows. He checked for a moment, they had a stilted
conversation and then they went their separate ways.
A casual observer might have assumed that Mr Coltard, a human-rights lawyer,
had encountered one of the agents from President Robert Mugabe's feared
Central Intelligence Organisation, who regularly tail the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
But the awkward encounter testified to a far more poignant difficulty facing
Zimbabwe's opposition. The two men are actually old friends and fellow MDC
luminaries, but they are now on opposing sides of a bitter rift that could
destroy their chances of unseating Mr Mugabe in elections next year.
"It's such a tragedy," said a mutual friend who did not want to be
identified. "They both care so much about getting rid of Mugabe, but it's
almost too painful now for them to talk."
As South Africa prepares to host talks next month between the MDC and
Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF, the former party's two wings have papered over
their divisions and agreed a common position on pre-conditions for their
taking part in parliamentary and presidential elections due next March.
But hopes that a meeting between the factions this week could lead to a
rapprochement came to nothing. "The idea of a coalition is not officially a
dead letter, but it's not going to happen," said a senior supporter of the
larger wing, which is led by the MDC's founding leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, a
burly former union leader.
"The two groups will fight the election independently."
A senior figure in the other wing, led by the more bookish Arthur Mutambara,
was fractionally less gloomy. "It's not the end of the road, but we had
hoped to reach an agreement on a coalition but didn't," he said.
The two sides have agreed that Mr Tsvangirai should be the party's sole
presidential candidate. But they are split over how many parliamentary races
should be allocated to each faction.
The dispute has reopened old wounds. The formal reason for the rupture in
late 2005 was tactical: the party was divided over whether to contest senate
elections. But that was just the spark in a long-brewing feud between senior
figures over ideology, policy and Mr Tsvangirai's leadership style.
For 83-year-old Mr Mugabe - seeking to extend his 27 years in power with a
fresh term - the MDC's disharmony is great news. His own party is also
split, with senior members questioning the wisdom and legitimacy of his
nomination this year as presidential candidate.
But in the countdown to the election, Zanu-PF can be expected to exploit the
opposition's rifts to the full.
A recent clampdown on MDC activists seems to have concentrated on Mr
Tsvangirai's wing. If this was deliberate, it would not be the first time
that Zanu-PF - and other influential forces in the region - appear to have
played one MDC wing off against the other.
Over the past 18 months, Mr Tsvangirai's aides have accused South Africa of
favouring Mr Mutambara's wing. But since regional leaders mandated South
Africa to mediate in the crisis in March, Pretoria has been scrupulous in
speaking to both factions.
However, sources close to the mediation team suggest that the South African
government thinks the best bet for a stable Zimbabwe is a post-Mugabe
government of reformist Zanu-PF members.
Mr Mugabe inadvertently gave the opposition a new lease of life on March 11
when his riot police brutally beat dozens of MDC leaders and supporters.
Images of Mr Tsvangirai's bruised features led to his elevation worldwide as
the face of freedom in Zimbabwe.
Frustratingly for MDC politicians, however, they are still deemed to have
much to prove and desperately need to reunite. "They are fully conscious
that if they don't hang together they'll hang separately," said one
diplomat. "Unfortunately, personality differences still exist at the very
This article is the second in a series on political and business life in
May 22, 2007
Gold production in Zimbabwe plunged to its lowest in 90 years, the
independent Chamber of Mines said on Tuesday.
Zimbabwe was also the only mineral-producing country in the world that
failed to benefit from high global metal and minerals prices, said Jack
Murehwa, head of the chamber, an umbrella group for the country's private
and state mining operations.
"Our industry continues to experience declines in volumes ... despite the
very buoyant mineral prices which prevailed for the past 18 months," he said
in report available Tuesday.
In the year up to March, Zimbabwe produced eight 8 metric tonnes (just under
nine short tons)of gold. In 1916, at the height of the colonial-era gold
boom in southern Africa, the former British colony mined 29 metric tons
(about 32 short tonnes) of gold.
Murehwa said the world price for gold rose from about US$275 an ounce in
2001 to more than US$600 last year. Nickel, platinum and copper prices also
"What excuse can our industry give for not benefiting from this worldwide
boom in metal prices?" he said.
The answer, he said, lay in what he called "policy inconsistencies" in the
economy that led to hyperinflation, acute shortages of gasoline and hard
currency for equipment and spare parts, regular power outages and an exodus
of skilled mining personnel to better paid jobs in other countries.
He said despite the high world prices, investors in mining stayed away from
Zimbabwe is suffering its worst economic crisis since independence in 1980,
blamed largely on corruption, mismanagement and disruptions in the
agriculture-based economy after President Robert Mugabe ordered the
often-violent seizures of thousands of white-owned commercial farms in 2000
for handing over to black farmers.
Since then, mechanised farming in some areas has been replaced by age-old
animal drawn plowing.
Inflation is a record 3,714 percent, the highest in the world. Last month,
consumer prices for most goods doubled in a country already facing shortages
of food, gasoline, medicines and other imports.
According the central bank, overall foreign investment declined from
US$444.3 million in 1998 to just US$50 million last year. It cited
"perceived risk" and worries over security of ownership as the main
disincentives for investors.
Mugabe has regularly vowed the government will take a bigger stake in mining
in its efforts to turn over more economic production to "indigenous"
Zimbabwean interests. - Sapa-AP
May 22 2007 at 04:24PM
London - Zimbabwe and Venezuela have not been cooperating with the
Kimberley Process, the international effort to stamp out trade in conflict
diamonds, the Antwerp-based World Diamond Council (WDC) says in its May 22
WDC chairperson Eli Izhakoff had told a meeting of Kimberley Process
members in Jerusalem that both countries had asked for his help to become
Commenting, Namibian minister of mines Kennedy Hamutenya said Sierra
Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo had also asked his country for
"African countries have realised they have to work together to stop
the trade in conflict diamonds," he said.
"It is hard to eliminate all smuggling of such small, high-value items
as diamonds, but African countries deserve credit for the progress they have
Leader of Global Witness, the London-based NGO that first highlighted
the issue, agreed incidences of conflict diamonds were indeed on the
decline, but said much more remained to be done to compile reliable
The Central African Republic, DRC and Angola were particularly
Meanwhile, Liberian minister of mines and energy Eugene Shannon has
said he will crack down on diamond smugglers. - Sapa
By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 05/23/2007 04:33:10
ZIMBABWEAN soldiers could starve if the government does not intervene with a
financial rescue plan before the end of June, MPs were told on Tuesday.
The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence Trust Maphosa told the
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Defence and Home Affairs that they were
allocated Zim$32 billion to spend on rations for the whole year, but it has
The committee which is chaired by Zanu PF Bikita West MP Claudious Makova, a
former soldier, had called for the hearing to get information on the army's
first quarter budget performance.
Maphosa revealed he was scheduled to hold crisis meetings with Ministry of
Finance officials late Tuesday to secure more funding for the defence
"For rations, we were allocated $32 billion and so far we have used 92
percent of that," Maphosa said. "What that means is that we have been left
with just eight percent to take us for the rest of the year.
"In reality, we do not have anything because that money (remaining 8
percent) will go towards transport costs."
Maphosa told the MPs that all along they have been moving money from other
areas to boost the food budget.
He said the army had no other source to raise the funds except through
treasury, which is why he was seeking an emergency meeting with finance
Currently the armed forces of Zimbabwe are completely integrated and are
composed of an army (ZNA) and an air force (AFZ). The ZNA currently has an
active duty strength of 30,000. The air force has about 5,000 men assigned.
Thousands of soldiers have quit in recent months over poor pay, with many
enlisting as security guards in neighbouring South Africa.
Zimbabwe is facing its worst economic crisis in history, with inflation
projected to hit the 4000% mark by the end of the year.
Monsters and Critics
May 22, 2007, 6:59 GMT
Harare - Zimbabwean police have mounted roadblocks on major roads in the
country to seize maize destined for the illegal market as the country
battles to stave off massive shortages of the staple grain, reports said
The roadblocks, set up in conjunction with the state-run Grain Marketing
Board (GMB), are intended to stop farmers selling their maize harvest to
private buyers in town who offer higher prices than the GMB.
A person is allowed to carry not more than five bags of maize (250
kilogrammes) when travelling and those caught on the wrong side of the law
will be reported to the police and charged under the Grain Marketing Act,
Alex Muzambi, the loss control manager of the GMB told state news agency New
The GMB is also carrying out inspections on farms and awareness campaigns to
ensure farmers comply with the law, the report said.
Maize and wheat are controlled products, which means they have to be sold to
the official grain company at a set price.
Last month the government said it would pay 3 million Zimbabwe dollars per
tonne for maize (worth just 133 US dollars on the parallel market for
foreign currency) to local farmers, but the commodity fetches a higher price
on the black market.
Zimbabwe has declared 2007 a drought year. Crops in some areas have been
almost completely written off.
The country faces a shortage of more than a million tonnes of maize and will
need to use scarce foreign currency to import from its neighbours in order
to cover part of the shortfall.
In a separate development, parliament heard last week that the country had
planted less than a tenth of the wheat crop targeted for this year due to
shortages of fuel, fertilizer and tractors.
© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur
By Tererai Karimakwenda
22 May, 2008
At a time when the country is faced with serious shortages of sugar, it has
been reported that senior army officials, including the commander of the
defence forces, have been looting tonnes of sugar for personal gain.
According to the Zimbabwe Times website it all started when junior soldiers
at King George VI Barracks in Harare routinely checked a heavily loaded
rural truck leaving their premises. What they found led directly to army
commander General Constantine Chiwenga and four other senior officials. The
truck contained three tonnes of sugar and the general phoned the soldiers
and ordered them to let it pass.
Chiredzi farmer Gerry Whitehead told us top government officials have been
taking sugar from the mills directly to the border for years now. He has
seen a vast network of roads develop near the border with Mozambique and
Botswana. When he recently tried ordering sugar to sell to supermarkets in
Masvingo that had none, Whitehead was told it had all been ordered.
What seems quite clear is that top officials are benefiting from the ongoing
lawlessness and have no desire to resolve the political and economic crisis.
According to The Zimbabwe Times Chiwenga and his partners ordered the sugar
under the pretence that it was for use on military barracks around the
country. But it's then diverted and resold at very large profits locally and
on international markets. The driver of the truck in Harare said he been
instructed to contact Major General Engelbert Rugeje with any queries. It is
believed Rugeje then contacted the army commander.
Scams like this one create a shortage for ordinary Zimbabweans and push up
the price beyond affordability. Similar scams have caused shortages of maize
meal, cooking oil, soap and other basic commodities.
Whitehead said the few remaining white farmers in the lowveld all have been
given deadlines by which they are to vacate their properties. He added: "I
don't think there will be any white farmers left down here next year."
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Lance Guma
22 May 2007
The outgoing president of the University of Zimbabwe students union, Tineyi
Mukwewa, who was reported missing for several days, has been found safe but
still in hiding. Washington Katema a coordinator with the Zimbabwe National
Students Union (ZINASU) told Newsreel Mukwewa was detained in a secret part
of the university security control room. He says this is why an inspection
done by students and defence lawyers failed to locate him. Mukwewa was
however released the following day around 1am in the morning and decided to
run away and seek refuge somewhere safe. Katema explained how his colleague
was not sure what would follow the detention and decided to lay low for a
ZINASU say Mukwewa will continue in hiding as are several other student
leaders now working underground. Several have been arrested and tortured in
a government crackdown aimed at crushing dissent. Last week at least 8
student leaders were suspended while a 9th, Terence Chimhavi, was expelled
for allegedly masterminding a demonstration on campus. Katema also says with
lecturers on strike and most students not attending classes as a result, the
student movement was finding it hard to mobilize any protest. They will
however seek legal redress from the courts over the expulsions and
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Tererai Karimakwenda
22 May, 2007
Back in April on the programme Zim Alive we reported on events in the rural
district of Murehwa, where a large number of youth militia had been
dispatched to harass local church officials who had read out the critical
Pastoral letter issued by the Catholic Bishops. The letter said those in
authority are bad examples for Zimbabwe's youth because they are corrupt,
greedy and immoral. The Catholic Bishops also criticised government for
sponsoring violence against its opponents. In response, the authorities did
Our Murehwa contact Kumbirai says ZANU-PF structures in Mashonaland East
have since sent a threatening letter ordering them to discontinue their
church activities or be prepared to deal with tough consequencies. Written
in Shona the letter named six individuals from the church who would be
harmed if nothing changed. It was signed by unnamed ruling party thugs in
Mutoko, Mudzi, UMP, Goromonzi and Murehwa.
Addressed to the congregation of the Roman catholic church the text of the
ZANU-PF letter says:
"Nyaya yamatanga ine ngozi. Namatayi Mwari mosiyana ne politics dza Pius
Ncube (MDC). Regai kubvisa vanhu pana Mwari. Mukaenderera mberi hondo yacho
tinoigona. Mogadzirira kutakura mikwende. Mukaramba muchiita izvi ticha
kutorayi one by one. Saka chisarudzi zvamunoda- hondo, runyararo kana
kuvhara sangano renyu. Pasi ne MDC navateveri va Pius Ncube.
From- Mutoko, Mudzi, UMP, Goromonzi ne Murehwa ZANU-PF."
Translated, the words read: "The saga you have started is madness. Worship
God and leave the politics of Pius Ncube and MDC alone. Stop removing people
from God. If you continue we will win this war. Prepare to pack your
belongings. If you keep this up we shall take you one by one. So choose
whether you want war, peace or to stop your church activities. Down with MDC
and the followers of Pius Ncube."
Kumbirai said all six threatened people are still in the area because they
have nowhere else to go. They have families and established contacts that
are vital to their survival. And no-one can simply shut down a church based
on political threats. ZANU-PF thugs have also been threatening religious
leaders around the country who were associated with the Bishops' pastoral
letter that criticized top officials. It seems no critic of the government
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
BERLIN - German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday sharply criticised
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and called on other African leaders to
use their influence against his regime.
"The policies of President Mugabe are not acceptable," Merkel said at
the opening of a meeting on Africa to prepare for next month's G8 summit.
"I appeal to political decision-makers in Zimbabwe's neighbours: 'Use
your influence for the good of the Zimbabwean people,'" she added.
Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe since 1980 after his guerrilla forces won a
civil war against minority white rule, and is seen as having turned the
country into an economic ruin with the highest inflation rate in the world
and unemployment of around 80 percent.
The former liberation hero is now regarded as a despot who brutally
oppresses the political opposition.
African leaders, in particular South African President Thabo Mbeki,
have been criticised for failing to rebuke Mugabe. -Sapa-AFP
Last updated 22/05/2007 18:48:53
22nd May 2007 16:47 GMT
By a Correspondent
HARARE - The Zimbabwe dollar has shed about 63 percent of its value in the
last month since the technical devaluation of the local currency by the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) in April.
RBZ Governor Gideon Gono technically devalued the dollar to $15 000 per
American dollar in his 26 April monetary policy review statement.
Demand for foreign currency on the parallel market, where it is available
has continued to rise as income flows from the export of the country's once
major currency earners tobacco and minerals, fails to ease demand.
The local dollar is currently trading at $40 000 to the US dollar up from
$25 000 shedding 60 percent of its value in one month.
The dollar lost 43 percent to trade at $5000 to the South African Rand up
from $3 500. It lost 63percent against the British pound sterling from $40
000 to trade at $65 000. Some traders are now going as far as $73 000 to one
British pound. The rates change everyday.
Bulawayo-based economist Eric Bloch forecasts parallel market rates to
continue to spiral upwards for the next four months because of increased
"The rate on the alternative market will continue to spiral upwards for the
next four or so months," said Bloch.
"The shortage of foreign currency on the formal market has led to increased
demand on the alternative market."
Bloch said the little foreign currency trickling into the formal market was
going towards the importation of food, anti-retroviral drugs, electricity
Zimbabwe is battling a critical foreign currency shortage after the
seven-year land invasions virtually decimated a once prosperous economic
Production of tobacco, once one of Zimbabwe's major foreign currency
earners, has plummeted to about 60 kg per season down from 260 kg per
In his monetary policy statement Gono said security of tenure needed to be
urgently addressed to stimulate investment in the agricultural sector.
The Herald (Harare) Published by the government of Zimbabwe
21 May 2007
Posted to the web 21 May 2007
THERE was drama at a TM Supermarkets branch in Marondera last Saturday when
an angry mob looted two cartons of sugar that a policeman had allegedly
bought through the back door.
The people were incensed because they were being restricted to only 4kg per
individual at the branch, yet hordes of well-known black marketers in the
town and police officers were allegedly buying cartons of sugar.
When the policeman was leaving the supermarket through the back door with
his sugar, the angry customers quickly mobbed him. One of them grabbed his
cap with the rest going for his sugar and he recovered nothing from the
Residents of Marondera expressed concern at the trend prevailing in the town
whenever sugar was delivered.
"Sugar irikupedzwa nemapurisa nemakorokoza eblack market.
"Right now sugar is finding its way into other shops where it is being sold
for $85 000 a packet over the counter.
"We suspect that most of it belongs to officers and it's no wonder that the
black market is thriving in the CBD without any arrests or confiscation of
the sugar," fumed Mr Rueben Vengayi of Rujeko suburb.
The sugar was being sold for $12 200 and it has become the norm that
whenever limited supplies were delivered, those tipped off by shop staff
quickly snapped the commodity.
People selling sugar on the streets of Marondera refused to indicate where
they were sourcing sugar for resale but indications were that they had an
uninterrupted chain of supply from some retailers or their employees.
Efforts to get a comment from Provincial Spokesman inspector Austin
Chikwababa were fruitless.
22 May 2007
By Edward Marange
A coalition of civic groups under the Save Zimbabwe Campaign umbrella have
demanded inclusion in mediation efforts by South African President Thabo
Mbeki who is trying to broker a compromise between the ruling Zanu PF party
and the opposition MDC.
Save Zimbabwe officials told Nehanda Radio they will present their own plans
to members of the regional and international community next week. A document
will be released titled: 'The Save Zimbabwe Campaign Position on Dialogue.'
It becomes the second high profile proposal after Zimbabwean academics in
the United Kingdom calling themselves the Peoples Policy Committee (PPC)
came up with their own proposals.
Skepticism has greeted efforts by Mbeki to broker some kind of exit package
for Mugabe who analysts believe is the major stumbling block to achieving
prosperity in the country. Others have suggested the 83 year old leader
needs assurances he will not be prosecuted for crimes against humanity as an
incentive for him to relinquish power.
MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai also stirred a hornet's nest when he
suggested he might consider immunity for Mugabe if it would bring peace to
Zimbabwe. Victims of Mugabe's abuse however cried foul and said the
opposition leader should not have made the remarks. Others did see the logic
in the offer and stood by him. SADC leaders last month tasked Mbeki to end
the crisis rocking his neighbour. It's the secrecy in the talks that has
however frustrated many Zimbabweans into believing the process is a waste of
21st May 2007 22:29 GMT
By Nyasha Nyakunu
ZIMBABWEAN Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) with observer status at the
African Commission for Human and Peoples' Rights' session underway in Accra,
Ghana, have refused to address the Commission on the human rights situation
in Zimbabwe citing security concerns arising from remarks made by justice
minister Patrick Chinamasa.
At least five NGOs from Zimbabwe, among them the Media Institute of Southern
Africa (MISA-Zimbabwe), Human Rights Trust of Southern Africa (SAHRIT) and
the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), were expected to deliver their
statements last Saturday.
Instead, the NGOs released a joint statement through the Civil Liberties of
Nigeria in which they expressed strong concern over statements made by
In a live radio interview in Accra, Chinamasa branded Zimbabwean civic
society organisations as regime change activists and singled out
MISA-Zimbabwe's Legal Officer Wilbert Mandinde as one such activist working
for a British and American funded non-governmental organisation.
"The remarks by the Minister place accredited non-governmental organisations
from Zimbabwe in a position where they cannot publicly, and without fear of
retribution, address this Commission, as is their obligation in updating the
Commission on the current situation prevailing in Zimbabwe," reads the joint
"In light of these threats, we would want to urge the Honorable Commission
to challenge the Government of Zimbabwe to demonstrate its sincerity in
suggesting that the human rights violations in Zimbabwe are imaginary, not
real, and exaggerated, by making an undertaking that they will not subject
any of the participants to this forum to some form of harassment,
intimidation or such other harm only on account of having participated
legitimately and lawfully in the proceedings of this session. We request
that this undertaking be made public.
"In the absence of such undertaking, we request that the African Commission,
through its Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders should take all
precautionary measures to ensure that all those who enjoy Observer Status
and have participated in this Session will not be subjected to harassment,
or attack on account of their participation, whether here in Ghana, or upon
their return to Zimbabwe."
Presenting a statement on the human rights situation in Zimbabwe during the
41st Ordinary Session of the ACHPR, Chinamasa attacked NGOs from Zimbabwe as
regime change activists. He also called on the West to lift targetted
sanctions against the Zimbabwe government leaders.
He told the Commission that problems in Zimbabwe were being caused by
Western countries which had allegedly poured resources to political
malcontents and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) for purposes of
destabilising the country.
Chinamasa also made the same allegations when he appeared on a Joy FM live
radio interview on 18 May 2007.
Reacting to an intervention by MISA-Zimbabwe's Legal Officer Wilbert
Mandinde who said that the Zimbabwean government is persecuting journalists
and has also refused to open the airwaves, Chinamasa retorted: "I want to
attack Mandinde, I mean respond to what he has said. Mandinde is a regime
change activist who works for a British and American funded organisation on
the regime change agenda."
These developments come in the wake of calls by African NGOs for the
Zimbabwean government to desist from the wanton arrests, harassment and
torture of journalists.
The call was made in a resolution adopted at the end of a three-day Forum
held in Accra from 12 - 14 May 2007 on the Participation of NGOs in the 41st
Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights.
During the Forum, African NGOs expressed concern over the situation of
journalists and freedom of expression activists in Africa especially in
Zimbabwe, Eritrea, The Gambia, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone and Somalia and called
upon these and various other African states to respect provisions of the
African Charter, the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in
Africa and their various constitutions on the right to freedom of
On Zimbabwe, the Forum also called upon the government to fully and
thoroughly investigate all outstanding issues.
"We call upon the government of Zimbabwe to thoroughly investigate all
outstanding issues including the bombings of the Daily News printing press
and Offices of the Voice of the People Trust as well as the abduction and
murder of freelance cameraperson Edward Chikomba," said the Forum.
The Forum said the government should urgently repeal laws which hinder the
enjoyment of the right to freedom of expression such as the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA), the Public Order and
Security Act (POSA) and the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA).
Tue 22 May 2007
THE Church of Scotland has refused to condemn the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe,
as it fears that could result in Christians living there being persecuted.
The admission came during the first day of the General Assembly yesterday,
after the World Mission Council was criticised from the floor for failing to
discuss adequately in its annual report the situation there.
When the convener, the Rev Colin Renwick, was invited to condemn the regime,
he replied it was the council's position that to do so could exacerbate the
already difficult situation for the local church in southern Africa.
"We're very conscious that anything coming from the British government is
not particularly well received," he said. "We're also very conscious that
sometimes when assemblies make damning criticisms of governments, they do so
believing that they are doing the right thing. This doesn't always help the
churches on the ground in the area concerned, and sometimes, in fact, it can
inflame a situation even further.
"So, we walk a fine line, showing solidarity with our partner churches but
not making the kind of statements that can complicate a situation."
The Church of Scotland does not currently have missions in Zimbabwe but is
planning to send volunteers if it is judged safe enough.
Mr Renwick said that he had "no doubts about the problems in Zimbabwe"
citing the hyper-inflation rate of 2,000 per cent that the country is
Speaking outside the Assembly Hall, he went on: "It's very easy to make
statements about governments of which you are critical, but we have to
listen carefully to our Christian partners in these countries. We would be
more inclined to support the statements coming from the area, rather than
making our own statements."
He also praised the Catholic bishops' "courage" in taking a stand on the
Lawrence Ndlovu - 5/22/2007
HARARE- Zimbabwe should brace for bread shortage during the course of the
year as the country has put only a tenth of the projected hectarage under
wheat crop ahead of the 31 May deadline highlighting the chaos in the
agricultural sector. Shadreck Mlambo, permanent secretary in the ministry of
Agriculture told a portfolio committee on Land and Agriculture that a paltry
8000 hectares had been put under crop against a target of 76 000 as the
planting season comes to an end on Thursday next week (31 May).
Mlambo told the stunned lawmakers that putting land under crop after the cut
off date was ill advised as this would reduce yields. Mlambo¢s revelations
comes at a time the majority of Zimbabweans are gruelling under power cuts
introduced early this month to cater for winter wheat programme.
James Jonga, director of the District Development Fund, a government agency
that provides tillage to farmers told the committee that it was unattainable
to till 2000 hectares a day to meet the target as the tractors fleet had
been depleted over the years. According to Jonga, the parastatal requires at
least 1000 tractors to attain that feat. Currently DDF has 240 tractors with
some of them grounded due to lack of spare parts.
This development is likely to further suffocate the baking industry
currently fighting with government for the removal of price controls. Dozens
of bakers have closed shops since the beginning of the year citing unviable
conditions. Bread is a controlled commodity whose price is determined by the
Zimbabwe requires at least 350 000 tonnes of wheat annually, with the
Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) saying at best Zimbabwe would harvest 50 000
The CFU, an organisation representing the interests of commercial farmers
says that a continued wave of farm invasions have affected production on the
farms and at least 30 of their members were forced to stop planting by
Zimbabwe, once the bread basket of the region is now a hopeless basket case
following the spectacular collapse of the agricultural sector. Once the
mainstay of the economy, Zimbabwe agriculture took a battering over the past
seven years after government allowed liberation war heroes of the 1970s to
invade commercial farms. Dubbed the fast track land reform to redress
colonial injustices, farm invasions have led to low output as the new breed
of farmers have neither the skills nor wherewithal to be successful farmers.
Analysts say the failure to import adequate hectarage under crop would means
that the central bank will print money to import wheat further fuelling
inflation. Inflation climbed to new highs last month touching off at 3 700
percent a 1 500 percentage increase from the previous month.
Zimbabwe will have to import maize after a disastrous agricultural season
produced only 500 000 tonnes against an annual requirement of 2.4 million
tonnes. Analysts put the blame on President Robert Mugabe government for the
economic woes. But the 83 year old leader in power since independence from
colonial rule in 1980 denies the charge instead blaming illegal sanctions
and successive droughts for the country woes.
By Obert Chaurura Gutu
Last updated: 05/22/2007 09:52:44
THE New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) was formed by African
leaders, in Abuja, Nigeria, in October 2001.
The prime movers of the NEPAD project were Presidents Thabo Mbeki of South
Africa, Olesugun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal and
Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria. NEPAD is basically a promise by African
leaders, based on shared vision and beliefs, to urgently:
. eliminate poverty on the African continent;
. work towards the sustainable growth and sustainable development of every
country on the African continent; and;
. actively participate in the global economy and political structures.
In layman's parlance, therefore, NEPAD can be defined as an economic
programme aiming at growth and sustainable development, eliminating poverty
and ultimately empowering Africa to benefit from globalisation.
Indeed, as a concept, NEPAD is
a brilliant programme; coming from Africa for the benefit of Africans living
on the African continent and in the diaspora. NEPAD, at least on paper, is a
vision and a programme of action for the socio-political and economic
development of Africa.
I have absolutely no problem in accepting the concept of NEPAD as a welcome
visionary approach in the management of the African body politic. However,
it is my humble view that before embracing the very noble concept of NEPAD,
Africa should go back to basics first.
As a starting point, Africa should first of all rid itself of political
mistrust and intolerance, rampant corruption, poor governance and general
abuse of basic human rights at a national level. If Africa fails to go back
to basics first, the dream of NEPAD, like several other African dreams
before it, will never see the light of day.
The concept of NEPAD is very tempting on paper. But then, Africa should not
just conceptuliase brilliant ideas and programmes that are never followed by
any serious implementation process. Put alternatively, African leaders
should not only talk the talk but they should also walk the talk. For the
dream of NEPAD to be realised, Africa should immediately reject its
fragmented and half-hearted commitment to the international Bill of Rights
as incorporated in the African Charter of Human and People's Rights.
NEPAD will always remain a pipedream if Africans fail to make it synchronise
and harmonise with the basic values and notions enunciated in the African
Union Charter. Almost six years after the formation of NEPAD, there is
absolutely nothing one can identify, on the African continent, as having
benefited from the NEPAD concept.
The African continent remains the poorest continent under the sun. Basic
human rights continue to be flouted with reckless abandon by African
dictators and rulers. Crises in Africa are continuing instead of dwindling.
For instance, the humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of Western Sudan
continues unabated. The African Union exists but what has it done to assist
the helpless victims of state terrorism in the Darfur region? What has the
African Union done about the worsening human rights crisis in Zimbabwe?
Opposition politicians, trade unionists, student activists and now even
lawyers continue to be "bashed" and abused but again; there is deafening
silence from the African Union. And we seriously think and dream that NEPAD
will help eliminate poverty on the African continent?
In order for the dream of NEPAD to be realised, the African Union should
drive the concept more seriously. NEPAD should thus be aggressively driven
by the African Union itself and not by the five or so African leaders who
sanctioned it in October 2001. NEPAD should be accepted as a wholly African
agenda and it must locate its core interest in the whole of Africa in order
to benefit all Africans; be they living in Africa or in the diaspora. In my
humble view, NEPAD should be legally reconstituted as part and parcel of the
African Union Charter.
All members of the African Union should be compelled to be members of NEPAD.
NEPAD should not be a voluntary exercise. It is a notorious fact that
dictators always shun to become voluntary members of any institution where
the observance of basic and fundamental human rights is strictly enforced
and monitored. Put bluntly, dictators thrive in an environment that is not
transparent and also in an environment that does not have any serious
punitive measures against public officials who abuse basic human rights. It
does not come as a surprise therefore that only ten of the SADC countries
are full members of NEPAD. Zimbabwe is not one of them.
The crucial tool of NEPAD is the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM). This
tool should make African leaders commit themselves to behave responsibly
when it comes to the observance of democratic values, sustainable economic
management and conflict resolution. I make no apology in strongly advocating
that NEPAD should make it compulsory for other African countries to
interfere in undemocratic political systems such as the one presently
obtaining in Zimbabwe.
Of course, dictators will always raise the argument of national sovereignty.
My own view is that national sovereignty is not and cannot be absolute.
There are basic standards and norms of good governance to which every member
of both the African Union and NEPAD should be made to adhere . Hence, my
argument that NEPAD should be made an integral part of the African Union. If
a country is a member of the African Union, it should also become
automatically a member of NEPAD and thus; submit itself to the African Peer
Review Mechanism. Anything short of this will make NEPAD a complete white
I respect the NEPAD concept because at least for the first time in history,
Africa is seeking to look forward and forget the past; not asking for
foreign aid but for partnership. As Africans, our destiny is in our own
hands. We should move ourselves away from being underdeveloped and excluded
in a globalising world.
Surely, why should the majority of Africans continue to live in poverty and
squalor when the African continent is endowed with so many natural
resources? Why should we allow African dictators to continue to plunder our
resources and to stash their loot in secret bank accounts in developed
countries in Europe and North America? The time for African is NOW! Africa
should refuse to be used and abused. Africans should wake up and smell the
coffee! Put simply, Africa should refuse to be poor.
Whilst I accept that the developed world, particularly Europe, helped in the
pauperisation of Africa, especially during the era of slavery and
colonialism, we as Africans should now take responsibility of our own
political and economic emancipation.
Yes, I agree that the G-8 has been part of Africa's problems and thus it
must be part of its solution. But as Africans, we should see to it that the
NEPAD dream does not go awry NEPAD marks a new beginning for Africa. As
Africans, we must see to it that within a specific time frame, the NEPAD
dream is realised. Failure is not an option.
Obert Chaurura Gutu is a Zimbabwean lawyer and writes from Harare
This Day, Nigeria
By Akinwale Akintunde, 05.21.2007
The International Bar Association's (IBA) Human Rights Institute has accused
the Zimbabwean Government of committing serious violations of the African
Charter and called on the government to observe its international human
The IBA which prides itself as the global voice of the legal profession also
called for an immediate end to the escalating police violence and harassment
against lawyers in Zimbabwe. It particularly expressed concern about recent
police attacks on prominent Zimbabwean human rights lawyers seeking to
defend both opposition members and other lawyers.
These concerns were expressed in a statement issued last week by the IBA.
The Association's Human Rights Institute, Amnesty International and other
international NGOs had recently released a joint report strongly contesting
the content of the submission by the Government of Zimbabwe to the African
Commission on Human and People's Rights.
The Institute had in the report catalogued how the impartiality of the legal
profession in Zimbabwe had been severely compromised through the persistent
harassment and intimidation of judges and lawyers. These attacks on the
legal profession, it stated, had greatly undermined the authority of the
courts, resulting in serious violations of due process and greatly limiting
the access Zimbabwean citizens had to the justice system.
The report which aimed at providing a realistic picture of the current
situation in Zimbabwe, to the African Commission, exposed the failure of the
Zimbabwean authorities to comply with obligations under the African Charter
and uphold the most fundamental human rights, categorically contesting the
Zimbabwean Governments point of view.
'The IBA's Human Rights Institute has taken the unprecedented step of
joining with other renowned international NGO's to submit this report on
Zimbabwe to the African Commission,' We urge the Commission to hold the
Zimbabwean Government to account for grave breaches of the Charter. The
arbitrary arrests and violent beating of members of the legal profession by
the Zimbabwean police this week further compounds the evidence collated in
All five contributing organisations contended that the Government of
Zimbabwe had failed to protect the rights contained in the African Charter
and hoped that, despite the positive picture depicted by the Zimbabwean
Government in its own submission, such assertions surrounding the country's
human rights record will be found to be inconsistent with the realities on
The IBA called for Zimbabwe to observe its international human rights
"Zimbabwe is bound by Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights and Article 7 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples'
Rights to guarantee the right to legal counsel of one's choosing."
IBA Executive Director, Mark Ellis said, 'the ongoing assaults and
intimidation of human rights lawyers in Zimbabwe indicates that Robert
Mugabe remains unperturbed by widespread international criticism of his
attacks against political dissenters and human rights defenders. The
situation is deplorable and the international community should not continue
to stand by and watch Robert Mugabe 's Government destroy the last vestiges
of the rule of law.'
The Association called for the immediate release of Alec Muchadahama and
Andrew Makoni, both lawyers who had been detained and charged with terrorism
for representing 31 members of the opposition party, Movement for Democratic
Change. The police had detained the lawyers in violation of a High Court
decision absolving them of wrongdoing, but since released them on bail.
The Association also wrote the Zimbabwe Police Commissioner, Augustine
Chihuri, expressing its alarm that Zimbabwe police had beaten a number of
highly-respected lawyers for being involved in a peaceful and
legally-constituted protest against the arrests of Mr. Makoni and Mr.
Muchadahama, to which it said no response was been received.
International Federation of Journalists
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on the
Zimbabwean government to end its attacks and harassment of journalists and
to stop police harassment of newspaper photographer Boldwill Hungwe.
"We are very upset by recent incidents that show a pattern of media
repression and we urge the government to put an end to it," said Gabriel
Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa Office. "Violent attacks on journalists
and other media workers are having chilling effect in Zimbabwe and sending a
message that the government will use force to silence journalists that
publish news it wants to keep out of public view."
Hungwe is a photographer with The Standard newspaper. In its Sunday's
edition, the paper published pictures of attorney Beatrice Mtetwa severely
injured after she was abducted and tortured by police. The security forces
broke up a gathering of lawyers in Harare the previous week. According to
IFJ sources, after the photo was published the police called Hungwe and told
him to turn himself in at the police station. The photographer has been in
hiding since then.
Violence against journalists has been increasing in Zimbabwe. The dead
body of cameraman Edward Chikombo was found in April a few days after he was
abducted from his home by armed men. Chikombo was suspected of having leaked
the footage of the demonstrations and images of brutalised opposition
activists which flooded international media organisations like the BBC and
CNN. A few weeks before his death at least three other journalists were
arrested and badly beaten in custody.
The IFJ is also calling on authorities to release Luke Tamborinyoka,
who has been imprisoned for two months after a crackdown on the opposition.
Tamborinyoka, press officer of the opposition party Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), was arrested along with about 30 MDC members when
police raided the party's headquarters on March 28. He was reportedly badly
beaten and tortured while in custody and has been denied access to medical
treatment and legal representation since his arrest. Tamborinyoka was the
former news editor of newspaper The Daily News until it was banned in 2003
and he is a former Secretary General of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists.
For further information contact the IFJ: +221 842 01 43
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 115 countries
22nd May 2007 16:06 GMT
THE Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU), representing 43 institutions
of higher learning and more than 260 000 students in the 10 provinces of
Zimbabwe is shocked but not surprised by the purported introduction of the
bonding system to college and university student graduates.
The bonding or cadetship scheme was confirmed by the permanent secretary of
Higher and Tertiary Education, Dr. Washington Mbizvo in The Sunday Mail of
May 20-26 2007.
The decision by the government is misguided because it gives the impression
that it is sponsoring students in tertiary education in the country when it
is common cause that the bankrupt administration in Harare long stopped this
programme due to unbridled corruption, gross mismanagement of the economy
and its mischievous policy that students in higher education were opposition
The new scheme is another great betrayal to the students of Zimbabwe and a
direct attack on the right to education enshrined in the African Charter on
Human and People's Rights and the International Covenant on Social, Economic
and Cultural Rights on the following premises:
Technically, there is no student in Zimbabwe who is getting grants or loans
from the government. Students were asked to complete state loan forms 3
months ago but up to now nothing has materialized.
The semester is about to end without any loans for the suffering students.
90% of the students are living in abject and chronic poverty and are
sponsoring their own education. How then can the government bond students
that it is not sponsoring? If this is not madness then God help this regime.
We would also like to remind the government that more than 95% of the civil
servants are living below the poverty datum line (PDL), which, according to
Central Statistics Office (CSO) is currently pegged at $ZW 1 700 000.
Given such, bonding all college and university graduates will automatically
mean that they will all fall under the PDL. The starting point for all
government employees is ZW$490 000, thus bonding in other words is euphemism
for condemning young Zimbabweans into abject poverty.
There is no any single child of a senior government official who is studying
here in Zimbabwe, henceforth, they are not affected by the new scheme. Their
children and relatives are studying abroad and benefiting from the world
class education systems there.
The scheme is a violation of the initial contract between the students and
the provider of initial educational funds (Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe Bank,
Metropolitan Bank) on behalf of the State. By signing loan forms, the
students bound themselves by a caveat that they would repay the funds in the
stipulated period. The bonding system on this basis is arguably outside the
scope of the contract.
The students, being the major stakeholders were never consulted prior to the
purported introduction of the scheme. This further exposes the FLAWED
EDUCATION POLICY in Zimbabwe, which by and large views students as periphery
Students therefore refuse to be used to resurrect a dying regime by being
turned into objects of cheap labor by a government that has destroyed the
economic infrastructure of this country.
Comment from In Touch with Church and Faith, 18 May
What is politics? The answer is simple: public affairs; that which concerns
everyone. One of the most silly slogans in recent years said: Leave politics
to the politicians. Given their record, they should be the last people one
would leave public affairs to. Politics makes or breaks our lives, it makes
for war or peace, for hunger or prosperity. Everyone has a stake in
politics. No one must be excluded. The President, in his indignant response
to the Pastoral Letter "God Hears the Cry of the Oppressed", warns the
Bishops against becoming "political". But why should the life and welfare of
the people not be the concern of their spiritual leaders? The whole point of
the Bishops' letter is precisely that the present crisis of Zimbabwe is not
just political and economic, but moral and spiritual. This is precisely what
is fundamentally wrong with Zimbabwe; that politics is taken to be the sole
concern of a narrow ruling elite. Our current misery shows that leaving
politics to the politicians spells disaster. "They [the bishops] must know
that we will reciprocate as politicians," in other words, ruthlessly. Is
that what the President means to say, that politicians are not bound by the
moral law? In fact, their current behaviour seems to suggest it. The State
is breaking its own laws by assaulting its citizens violently and brutally.
"Church and State must work hand in hand". Indeed. The Bishops of Zimbabwe
said at Independence 1980 that "while the Church and the State are
independent and autonomous in their own spheres, both are at the service of
man. The more they co-operate, the more effectively will they serve the good
of all citizens." But the Bishops said also about the political community
(the State), "the common good of its people is the whole meaning of its
existence." It is precisely the contention of the Bishops twenty-seven years
later that the leaders are not serving the common good, but only their own
narrow self-interest as ruling class. And by saying this the Bishops are
doing no more than they claimed as their right and duty at Independence.
The Church "must be in a position to preach the faith. She must carry out
her mission unhindered. She must be in a position to make moral judgments,
even on political matters, when fundamental human rights or the salvation of
men require it. " This was stated publicly all those many years ago, and no
one should be surprised that the Church today is doing what has been her
duty all along. Clashes between Church and State are nothing new. When the
Church denounced in 1983 the atrocities committed by the Fifth Brigade
against the civilian population of Matabeleland and the Midlands, the then
Prime Minister lashed out against the Bishops calling them "sanctimonious
prelates". The Bishops are not attacking the leaders personally. They are
calling on them "to repent and listen to the cry of their citizens". Christ
called for repentance and change of heart from the beginning. His Church,
obedient to Him, is still doing exactly that even today. A change of heart
is the only way forward for the leaders. Violence is not getting this
From Zim Online (SA), 22 May
Police defy High Court order to vacate farm
By Nqobizitha Khumalo
Bulawayo - Zimbabwe police have defied a High Court order to vacate a
white-owned farm they seized two months ago and instead have over the past
week deployed more men at the lucrative game farm in Matabeleland North
province. High Court Judge Francis Bere last week ordered the police to stop
interfering with operations at Portwe farm and that they should return guns
and farmhouse keys they had unlawfully confiscated from the owners. But a
week after Bere's order, the police are still camped at the farm and in one
of the most vivid illustrations of lawlessness on farms and in the country
in general, the police have over the past week actually moved more men onto
Portwe farm. "The situation is still the same, they have brought in more men
into the farm and they even ordered me to create more room in my cottage as
they said they were expecting more personnel to come in next week," said
Margaret Jourbet, the wife of Dave Jourbet one of the farm directors.
Joubert said their lawyers were preparing to file a contempt of court suit
against the police, who over the past few years and with tacit approval from
President Robert Mugabe himself have defied several court orders they deemed
not to their liking. The police first invaded Portwe farm last March
arriving in a convoy of 20 marked police cars and declared the farm now
belonged to the law enforcement agency. They chased away foreign tourists
who were at the safari lodge on the farm and seized keys to all the
buildings at the farm. The farm invasion is the first time that the police
organisation has seized a white-owned farm. The Zimbabwe government has
expelled more than 90 percent of the country's about 4 500 white commercial
farmers, plunging the country into acute food shortages because the Harare
administration failed to give inputs and skills training to black peasants
resettled on former white farms to maintain production.
22nd May 2007 17:47 GMT
By Andrew M Manyevere
AFRICAN scholars and legal expects alike doubt whether the lack of an agreed
position on how to deal with human rights issues by African governments is
borne by the fact that they have a stockholding on poor governance by
default or simply by lack of political will to defending the moral
It is possible that both views hold water depending on which side the
involved is standing. It is somewhat puzzling that even men of Minister
Patrick Chinamasa's status, should be found salivatingly arguing for the
cessation of freedom of expression in the free world; in order to cover the
sins of Zanu PF and its leader Robert Mugabe.
Many Zimbabweans should be taken aback by this very hideous behaviour
demonstrated by those who would have been considered to be moderating
factors for a possible persuasion on a return to democracy in the country.
Zanu PF should not look at blaming the West for their lack of good
management of the country's resources, including that of maintaining law and
order for the safety of citizens.
Events at the African Commission for Human and Peoples' Rights' session
underway in Accra, Ghana, are a shocking surprise, to fathom the degree of
deceit to hoodwink Africa through a double-edged message, against the West
and exploiting Africa's past relations with the West to best advantage.
Chinamasa threatened representatives of the Zimbabwean NGOs to such an
extent that they refused to speak. It is shocking.
The surprise is not so much that they should not take part in the Zanu PF
government, than that they should choose not to use their influence to make
President Robert Mugabe realize that his course of action do not meet people
expectations, as promised during the esteemed liberation struggle.
It is also common sense that if Zanu PF was expected to change from within,
then this could have been done; more so now that the half-hearted-back-door
talks on skirmishes of complaints from either Mujuru or Mnagangwa, are
suspected to be brewing.
These stories remain another wild imagination on Mugabe succumbing. The role
of Zanu PF using its divisions as a chance to snap at up-coming opposition
political organizations and maintain an upper hand on both opponents as on
internal squabbles - this shows the craftiness in dishonesty at the
employment of state resources to coerce emergency of a strong political
multi party society.
Zanu PF favour a docile career political opposition party that helps the
government to be acceptable as a democratically elected government.
I am sure Morgan Tsvangirai as leader of the MDC must have come across such
intimations, a reason why Zanu PF leaders would now prefer to kill him than
have him live. Stooges of the West normally do not face punishment with
impunity from little governments in Africa but are imposed to protect their
Moses Tshombe was to protect the Congo from the influence of the east
ideology which he succeeded except that the system played a game on itself
choosing the best of stooges Seseko Mabuto to Tshombe.
Genuine thinkers have suffered hate and dislike both from the West and from
Africa's puppetry leadership. Patrice Lumumba, Samora Moses Michael and
numerous others in South Africa who were silenced before sunrise in their
Given that Zanu PF does not consider itself as a political party any more,
but as the defacto owner of Zimbabwe; one may slowly begin to understand the
mistaken root of arguments such as those employed by Minister Chinamasa at
the Africa Commission meeting on human and people rights.
The Zimbabwe government, after successfully enacting laws that hinder
independent journalism in the country, hoped they would hoodwink the African
Human and People Rights Commission through Chinamasa's misplaced threats.
SADC countries like Tanzania and South Africa, it must be observed, have
been on the forefront of advocating for people oppression at the exclusion
of President Mugabe's punishment except for the extended stay in power at
This false sense of promise for support from African leaders, and perhaps
the most misleading diplomacy, based on lies, finds ministers from Zimbabwe
going off topic to get away with murder as usual.
It seems the African Union is a club of friendship and common ground on the
suppression of the common people as a deliberate ploy to encourage
dictatorship on the continent with impunity.
To think what effects the radio stations that operate outside Zimbabwe, born
out of Mugabe's tyranny on Zimbabweans, should be closed down so that Mugabe
and his cronies can do their dark management without no report is actually
Let the world know that this is exactly what is happening in the rural areas
where outsiders wishing to visit are having to seek approval or escorts from
the notorious green bombers/militia: A true image of brutality and cruelty
in the eyes of the masses.
No wonder it is true that Mugabe has had it too easy on the African Union,
which he has used as blessing for him to subduing and attacking his citizens
without good reason except to save his position. We hope that some of the
west African and North African countries will have good political bearing
and serenity of the mind to feel sorry for the citizens who are being taken
for a ride without recourse to anyone, than the west nations who literary
come to help despite their doubtful motives historically.
It is true to note that in almost every other African country history can
point with certainty at the acts of rape; killings caused by individuals on
others from those who were or are more powerful and who got away with
impunity. The circulation of this rot is slow but sure; changing rulers from
one tribe to another with citizens' awareness that it is almost their turn
to go through the murder saga next.
Unreal though it may sound, it is however, within the realm of brutal action
commandeered by leaders in Africa with impunity.
Necessary it is therefore, for the citizens of Africa to watch events of
this African Commission on human and people rights and see if Africa learns
anything from her past mistakes. It should be noted that the recent SADC
leaders meeting in Tanzania, when southern African leaders met and decided
Thabo Mbeki should mediate in the Zimbabwean crisis - it reveals deeper
shortcomings to the political solution by political architectures that are
complicity to poor governance.
Africa must be quizzed on why she cannot appoint her retired judges, for
example, to preside over matters constitutional than always appointing
political gurus even when there is need for expertise on value judgments of
principle and law.
Zimbabwe's electoral misrepresentations, for example, is one such case which
deserves expertise at law to review pitfalls and give open advice to
political leaders publicly. Zimbabwe is a case of a government abusing its
mandate beyond the limits of law and circumventing law for personal glory of
a party and individuals than to a national interest.
Understood in this context, why should Africa remonstrate at imperial
interference but fail to bring her own solutions due to lack of political
integrity? We should not accept that only those appointed on political
connections are with the heart of Africa's well-being at heart. Much as it
should be observed, president Thabo Mbeki is not the suitable umpire when
it comes to resolving the Zimbabwean affairs because of his vested interests
in the politics of Zimbabwe.
I doubt if many Southern African leaders would be happy to see a
labour-based government formed in Zimbabwe. This should be enough to explain
the procrastination on solving Zimbabwe's problems by the SADC leadership.
Ostracising the opposition is just another ploy of Mugabe, through some of
his SADC country mouthpieces to detract work at hand in Zimbabwe, mainly the
need for a free and fair election in 2008.
One should therefore understand why Mugabe's ministerial crew holds the
African Commission with such disrespect that they talk of issues not related
to serious issues that have to do with the human and people rights to live;
without being subjected to numerous harassments due to their political
opinions or expressions.
It is honest to argue that the 2003 position of the Africa Commission on
people and human rights should remain the same with even a much more serious
position being made after the 11March 2007 outride murder attempts at made
MDC leadership. The fact that even to this date, President Robert Mugabe
after having promised more beatings on those who want to oppose him, retains
detainees in jail without trial; is indicative of his despise on the African
protocols against violence and abuse of people.
The human and people rights conditions, in Zimbabwe, are currently made
worst by the fact that even lawyers are being subjected to the level of
criminals without either trial or indictment. They are beaten when they seek
to represent their clients as showdown between the power of government and
the concept of separation of powers. For the ordinary people and even the
elite, it is difficult to accept that condition as just a passing phase
without assurance that the condition will not be permanent to thwart
democratic processes and growth.
At least if Zimbabwe's political problems were resolved as a result of
Africa's involvement, it shall work as encouragement to discourage other
African countries with dictatorial government from going along the same way.
The case of sugar coating the impunity of leaders to get away with issues
illegal and illegitimate because they are claiming majority parliamentary
seats after cheating, can only help the rot to grow worst when people of
Africa will again be forced to appeal to the West for freedom from their own
kith and kin.
Dealing with human life as if one is dealing with animals should be revised
and Africa should put a stop to this habit which is borne of the impunity
that continues to go on unabated on the whole continent.
African impunity over human and people rights should cease, starting with
Zimbabwean authorities. The African human and people rights commission
should continue to put pressure for strict adherence to law and order. They
should bring the Zimbabwe government to book.
By Violet Gonda
22 May 2007
Zimbabwean business mogul Mutumwa Mawere, who had his business empire seized
by the Zimbabwean government in 2004, has taken the case to the South
African High Court. The South African based businessman has been on a
campaign to expose how his business empire was systematically destroyed and
is being sold off by the Zimbabwean government. He was accused of
externalizing foreign currency and his assets were frozen by the Mugabe
regime under the Prevention of Corruption Act in 2004.
The government passed a decree which paved the way for it to appoint an
administrator, which reports to the cabinet, to run his companies. "For the
first time in Zimbabwe's history you have a political monster appointed by
politicians purporting to be creditors. The administrator then comes into
South African jurisdiction exporting the illegal actions that were taken in
Zimbabwe," Mawere said.
35 companies of his were affected including his SA companies that were
supplying goods and services to Zimbabwe. The businessman is appealing to
the South African courts not to recognize Zimbabwe's controversial
nationalization laws, which violate international laws. He said:
"Recognizing that law is actually assisting in the enforcement of
expropriation action by Zimbabwe."
Mawere's vast business empire included Zimbabwe's sole asbestos mining
company Shabanie Mashaba Mines, plus Fidelity Life Insurance, ZIMRE
Holdings, CFI Holdings and First Bank.
The businessman has filed the application in South Africa's Supreme Court
but the constitutional court has sent the matter to the High Court. Mawere
said they did not deal with the merit of the case but the procedure.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news