Shadow report to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights
This report is a response to the state report submitted by the government of
Zimbabwe to the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights. Each
chapter of this report was produced by a different human rights
organization, and each organization takes responsibility for the content of
This report was produced by five independent human rights organizations in
response to the government of Zimbabwe's state party report to the African
Commission on Human and People's Rights (African Commission). It presents a
very different picture of the state of human rights in Zimbabwe to that
contained in the government's report.
In October 2006 Zimbabwe submitted its 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th combined
periodic state party report to the African Commission in accordance with
article 62 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (African
Charter). The report gave a glowing account of Zimbabwe's record on civil
and political rights, concluding that despite financial and human resource
constraints, "Zimbabwe has shown commitment to the protection and promotion
of the human rights".
However, despite the positive impression given by the periodic report
regarding Zimbabwe's record on civil and political rights, the assertions in
the report are undermined by the realities on the ground. Since the
submission of Zimbabwe's last periodic report in 1996, Amnesty
International, Article 19, Human Rights Watch, the International Bar
Association and Redress have carefully monitored the human rights situation
in Zimbabwe, through a combination of research, testimonies and field work.
All five organizations contend that the government of Zimbabwe has failed to
respect and protect the rights contained in the African Charter.
The following shadow report was produced by the five human rights
organizations. Each chapter was written independently, but they have been
collated together to facilitate easy consideration by the African
The five organizations submit that the facts presented in this shadow report
provide an alternative view of Zimbabwe's human rights situation for the
African Commission. It is to be hoped that the commissioners consider
Zimbabwe's combined periodic report objectively and produce concrete
recommendations to address the human rights situation in Zimbabwe, a country
which continues to operate outside the African Union human rights framework.
The government of Zimbabwe has brutally suppressed all forms of dissent
since the Movement for Democratic Change emerged as a political opposition
party in 1999 and the government was defeated in a referendum over a
proposed new constitution in 2000. Repressive laws have been introduced or
revived, ostensibly to regulate the activities of non-governmental
organizations (NGOs), the media and civil society groups. These laws have
been selectively applied to silence government critics.
The government has repeatedly claimed that western governments have sought
its downfall after it embarked on a land reform programme targeting mostly
farmers of European descent. However, most victims of the government's
policies have been Zimbabweans of African descent who were targeted for
daring to express their disapproval of government policies or who were seen
as supporters of the political opposition.
In May 2005, the government embarked on Operation Murambatsvina (Shona for
"clear the filth", but translated by the government of Zimbabwe in the state
party report as "Restore Order"), a programme of mass forced eviction.
Operation Murambatsvina left some 700,000 people without a home, livelihood
or both. The mass evictions were carried out in total disregard of due
process. As a result of international pressure, the government responded
with what amounted to little more than a public relations exercise.
Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle (Better Life) saw the government
constructing some 3,325 structures after destroying more than 92,000
dwellings. Of the structures built under the reconstruction programme,
approximately 20 per cent were allocated to police, soldiers and civil
servants and the remainder were given mostly to people who were not affected
by the mass evictions. Nearly two years on, many of the victims remain
homeless or living in makeshift accommodation.
The human rights crisis in Zimbabwe is taking place in a context of a
rapidly declining economy. Inflation is running at more than 1,700 per cent.
Formal unemployment is at 80 per cent, and most employed people earn well
below the poverty line.
This shadow report
Violations of the right to freedom from discrimination, the right to life
and the right to property are outlined in Chapter 1 by Human Rights Watch.
The chapter details how these rights have been repeatedly swept aside under
the fast-track land reform programme initiated in 2000, and in Operation
Murambatsvina in 2005.
Chapter 2, written by the International Bar Association, demonstrates how
the principles of the rule of law and the independence of the courts in
Zimbabwe have been severely compromised through intimidation of judges and
lawyers. This has undermined the courts' jurisdiction and authority and
resulted in discrimination in the application of the law.
Despite the prohibition of torture under international law, including the
African Charter, and the Constitution of Zimbabwe, Redress submits in
Chapter 3 that the government of Zimbabwe has systematically used torture on
a huge scale. Perpetrators include the army, law enforcement agencies and
other state agents including so-called "war veterans". The risk of further
torture for those who dare to report such violations and the refusal by
authorities to investigate has left victims without remedy or reparation.
Chapter 4, by Amnesty International, details how the government of Zimbabwe
has repeatedly violated the rights to freedom of association and assembly in
order to curtail peaceful criticism of the government from the public, civil
society organizations and the political opposition. A combination of
excessive use of force by the police and repressive legislation such as the
Public Order and Safety Act (POSA) has been employed to silence dissent.
Finally, Chapter 5, by Article 19, highlights the shortcomings of the state
report's description of Zimbabwe's record on freedom of expression. It
details the effects of restrictive legislation on journalists, newspapers
and broadcasters. This chapter also shows how the government of Zimbabwe has
clashed with the Supreme Court over unconstitutional moves such as the state
monopoly on broadcasting.
Chapter 1: Human rights violations under the land reform programme and
Prepared by Human Rights Watch
The manner in which Zimbabwe's fast-track land reform programme was
implemented in 2000 resulted in violations of a number of rights defined in
the African Charter, including the right to property (Article 14). Other
rights which were violated include the right to freedom from discrimination
(Article 2), equality before the law (Article 3), the right to life (Article
4), the right to liberty (Article 5), the right to have one's cause heard
(Article 7), and the right to work under equitable and satisfactory
conditions (Article 15). The land reform programme also led to serious
violations of rights read into the African Charter by the African
Commission, including rights to food and adequate shelter.
The programme's implementation also raised serious doubts as to the extent
to which it actually benefited the landless poor, as has always been claimed
by the government of Zimbabwe. The stated aim of the fast-track programme -
which the government has referred to in its state party report - was to take
land from rich white commercial farmers for redistribution to poor and
middle-income landless black Zimbabweans.
The need for land reform in Zimbabwe is generally acknowledged, even by
representatives of the commercial farming sector, but the government refuses
to acknowledge the violence and intimidation that accompanied the land
reform programme. Under the land reform programme, ruling party militias,
often led by veterans of Zimbabwe's liberation war, carried out serious acts
of violence against farm owners and farm workers. Between 2000 and 2004,
they used occupied farms as bases for attacks against residents of
surrounding areas. The police did little to halt the violence, and in some
cases were directly implicated in the abuses.
The government also fails to mention how the process of allocating land
frequently discriminated against those who were believed to support
opposition parties, and in some cases those supervising the process required
applicants to demonstrate support for ZANU-PF, the ruling party. Zimbabwe's
several hundred thousand farm workers were largely excluded from the
programme, and many lost their jobs, driven from the farms where they worked
by violence or laid off because of the collapse in commercial agricultural
production. Even those people allocated plots on former commercial farms
appeared in many cases to have little security of tenure, leaving them
vulnerable to future partisan political processes or eviction on political
grounds, and further impoverishment.
In 2005, the government of Zimbabwe launched Operation Murambatsvina ("clear
the filth"), a campaign of forcible evictions and demolitions in urban areas
throughout Zimbabwe. With little or no warning, often with great brutality
and in complete contravention of national and international standards, tens
of thousands of houses and thousands of informal business structures were
destroyed without regard for the rights or welfare of the people evicted.(1)
In the days and weeks after Operation Murambatsvina was launched, police
burned, bulldozed and destroyed tens of thousands of properties around the
country. The destruction resulted in mass evictions of urban dwellers from
their homes and the closure of informal sector businesses throughout the
The humanitarian consequences of this man-made disaster were catastrophic.
There are few precedents of a government forcibly and brutally displacing so
many of its own citizens in peacetime. According to UN estimates, 700,000
people - nearly 6 per cent of the total population - lost their homes,
livelihoods, or both as the result of the evictions. About 2.4 million
people - some 18 per cent of the population - have been either directly or
indirectly affected by Operation Murambatsvina.(2)
Zimbabwean authorities claimed that the destruction of homes and other
properties was part of a long-term plan to clean up the urban areas (a claim
that is repeated in the government's state party report), restore order, rid
the cities of criminal elements, and restore dignity to the people. However,
there were many alternative analyses of Operation Murambatsvina, several of
which alleged that the operation was part of the government's efforts to
debilitate the urban poor, force them to move to rural areas, and prevent
mass uprisings against the deteriorating political and economic conditions
in high density urban areas.
Human rights violations under the land reform programme
Land reform is generally advocated in Zimbabwe as urgently necessary to
address the stark inequalities in land distribution and wealth. However, as
stated in the African Charter and reinforced by other binding international
treaties, the rules providing for compulsory purchase should be clearly set
out in law, and those affected should have the right to ensure that their
interests are appropriately taken into account and to challenge decisions
relating to compulsory acquisition before a competent and impartial
tribunal. In addition, the security forces and criminal justice system must
provide equal protection to all those who are victims of violence, and the
law should take its course without interference from political authorities.
None of the rules providing for compulsory purchase have been met by the
Discrimination in land allocation
Article 2: The right to freedom from discrimination
Every individual shall be entitled to the enjoyment of the rights and
freedoms recognized and guaranteed in the present Charter without
distinction of any kind such as race, ethnic group, color, sex, language,
religion, political or any other opinion, national and social origin,
fortune, birth or other status.
In its state party report, the government claims that the process of
fast-track land reform was designed to meet the needs of disadvantaged black
Zimbabweans. However, the process of land distribution itself raised serious
concerns. There was party political control of access to the forms for
applying for land and partisan discrimination in the allocation of plots.
ZANU-PF war veterans' militias played a key role in distributing and
allocating land, the same militias that were responsible for violence and
intimidation against many who might have otherwise applied for a plot. A
third problem was the general exclusion of farm workers from the benefits of
Although there was an official system for allocating land through the civil
service and elected officials, in many cases this was superseded by informal
processes governed by the war veterans, who required demonstrated loyalty to
ZANU-PF before allocating a plot.(3)
Some people from communal areas who genuinely needed land to raise
themselves out of poverty, as well as some middle class people from urban
areas who wished to enter commercial farming, were among those who obtained
land for the first time. The extent to which real need was a criterion was
difficult to assess because of the difficulties of accessing fast-track
resettlement areas or talking to the ruling party militias that control most
resettlement areas. Nevertheless, there were serious concerns about the
politicized nature of beneficiary selection and thus about the extent to
which fast-track land resettlement was really benefiting those who most
Because the fast-track process of resettlement was carried out so rapidly,
short-circuiting legal procedures, some of those who moved onto new plots
expressed concern that their title to land might not be secure.(4) Others
who wanted land did not take up the opportunity because they did not have
the resources to plough the land and because there was little if any
government support to assist new settlers. The absence of legal security and
government assistance left them vulnerable to hunger and displacement.
Development organizations following the crisis in Zimbabwe noted that the
disruption to commercial agriculture caused by fast-track resettlement
caused widespread food insecurity in the country.
Violence during the land reform programme
Article 4: The right to life
Human beings are inviolable. Every human being shall be entitled to respect
for his life and the integrity of his person. No one may be arbitrarily
deprived of this right.
Assaults against white farmer owners
War veterans and associated ZANU-PF militia occupying commercial farms
intimidated and assaulted white farm owners in the course of occupying
commercial farms. By March 2002, at least seven white farmers had been
killed. Many of the farmers targeted were prominent supporters of the MDC.
Farm owners were assaulted and threatened and their farms occupied whether
or not their farms were listed for acquisition by the government. At the
time, President Mugabe repeatedly singled out white Zimbabweans as enemies
of the state.
Assaults against farm workers
Many more farm workers on commercial farms were victims of violence during
land occupations than white farm owners. Dozens of farm workers were killed.
Commercial farms were used as bases for war veterans and ZANU-PF militia to
intimidate suspected opposition supporters in neighbouring communal areas.
The police failed to take action against the perpetrators of violent crimes,
and in some cases actively assisted illegal actions. The army, too, played a
role in organizing and facilitating the occupations, without providing any
check on the violence.
In June 2000, the National Employment Council for the agricultural industry
(a tripartite body of government, employers and unions) reported that, as a
result of the farm occupations, at least 3,000 farm workers had been
displaced from their homes, 26 killed, 1,600 assaulted, and 11 raped. The
majority (47.2 per cent) were supporters of the MDC; nearly as many (43.6
per cent) had no political affiliation; a few (4.7 per cent) were ZANU-PF
supporters.(5) The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum documented the deaths of
four farm workers and numerous assaults during 2001.(6)
Violence against farm workers was linked to the support given to the MDC by
commercial farmers and, by implication, their workers. In many areas, it
seems that farm workers were targeted for violence both so that the
assailants could take over their homes, and in order to deprive the white
farm owner of potential allies with a stake in keeping their jobs who might
have supported the farm owner in resisting government policy. Weaknesses in
the organizational representation of farm workers also made them vulnerable
to assault and intimidation.(7)
Police failure to protect victims
The government called for peaceful coexistence between farm owners and the
new settlers, but it dismissed violence against farm workers and farm owners
as an unfortunate cost of long-overdue land reform that had been obstructed
by white farm owners. Rural militias led by the war veterans were able to
count on the fact that the police would not interfere or would intervene in
only a limited way when they committed acts of political violence. Although
the government denied allegations of police failure to act,(8) political
interference in police work was widely reported by opposition parties and
human rights groups, as well as by some current and former police
There were numerous reports of police failure to apprehend perpetrators of
violence. If they did arrest suspects, they then released them without
charge and without registering the case number and providing it to the
complainant. Even when police intervened to protect those threatened by
violence, few alleged perpetrators were arrested. In numerous cases, farm
workers and opposition activists explained that police had said the assaults
were "political" and that as a consequence they would not intervene.(10)
On 6 October 2000, President Mugabe, using his presidential powers, issued
an amnesty for politically motivated crimes committed between 1 January 2000
and 31 July 2000, the period of the campaign for the February 2000
referendum and the June 2000 parliamentary elections. The amnesty did not
cover murder, rape, and robbery.(11) Some victims of violence who had
returned home during the period of relative calm that followed the June
elections were again assaulted by people who had been arrested and were then
released following the amnesty.(12)
Reports to human rights NGOs and journalists describe the involvement of
police and soldiers in assisting some land occupations, and in some cases in
looting commercial farms. Even when courts ordered that occupations should
be ended, or farms were not designated for acquisition, or were taken off
the list following negotiations between the farm owner and the government,
police often did not remove occupiers from the farms unless given
instructions to do so by political authorities.
The right to property
Article 14: The right to property
The right to property shall be guaranteed. It may only be encroached upon in
the interest of public need or in the general interest of the community and
in accordance with the provisions of appropriate laws.
In its state party report, the government of Zimbabwe argues that land
reform has "enhanced the right to property". However, during the land reform
programme, the government violated right to property in a number of ways.
Displacement and marginalization of farm workers
In many ways, those most disadvantaged by the fast-track land reform
programme were farm workers. Before the land reform, there were 300,000 to
400,000 wage-earning workers on commercial farms.(13) The UNDP reported that
by January 2002, the number of farm workers displaced was estimated at
About 25 per cent of the farm workers were of foreign descent, mainly
Malawian, Mozambican, or Zambian, although their families may have lived in
Zimbabwe for several generations. Many of these did not have documents
establishing Zimbabwean citizenship, either lacking papers altogether or
carrying national identification cards bearing the designation "alien". Many
farm workers who were not Zimbabweans by descent (even if they had
citizenship) had no access to the structures that allocated plots in the
Prior to the land reform, farm workers were already the lowest paid workers
in the formal sector in Zimbabwe, often housed in poor conditions, and with
inadequate access to schooling, healthcare, and other services. This
situation persisted despite the fact that following independence, and under
pressure from unions and NGOs working with farm workers, increasing numbers
of farmers did improve the conditions of service for their workforce.(15)
In 1999, the government land policy framework for the first time
acknowledged the need for farm workers to be resettled as well as those from
communal areas, and recognized that those who entered the country as
indentured labour from 1953 to 1963, and their children, were entitled to
Farm workers were among those with the greatest need for land. But farm
workers were not among the groups targeted to benefit from the fast-track
programme. As of October 2001, official government statistics indicated that
only 2,122 of the 123,979 households recorded as resettled (that is, 1.7 per
cent) were farm worker households.(17)
The General, Agricultural and Plantation Workers' Union of Zimbabwe
(GAPWUZ), which at the time had about 100,000 members, in a paper presented
to a September 2001 conference, characterized the fast-track land reform
programme as "the biggest challenge currently facing farm workers in
Zimbabwe.... There are approximately 2 million people that can be labelled
under the farm working community, and it is frightening to note that the
land reform programme is silent as to the fate of the same."(18)
The large-scale occupation of commercial farms meant that workers' wage
employment on the farm often ended. In some cases, they were allowed to
remain on the farm, but could not work and were not paid; in others, they
were displaced, and had to find shelter as best they could. Farm workers
were in an invidious position as regards their political affiliations:
because of their dependent situation, they felt obliged to show support for
the political party favoured by the farm owner, and thus became vulnerable
to violence from supporters of other parties, whatever their own beliefs.
Although farm workers were not precluded from applying for land under the
fast-track process, the problem for those who could not prove their
citizenship was that the process of registering for land formally involved
registration with the council of the communal area from which they came,
with no additional mechanisms put in place to enable them to access the new
allocations easily. Moreover, those farm workers who were not of Zimbabwean
descent had additional problems, since if they were displaced from the farm
they had no other place to go. Zimbabweans, on the other hand, usually had
the possibility of returning to their family's land in the communal areas.
Amendment of Section 16 of the Constitution
The government cites Section 16 of the Constitution in its state party
report as providing for the right to property. According to the government,
this section has been amended to provide for further instances where
property can be compulsorily acquired in the public interest, which is
necessary to finalize the land reform programme. However, the amendment to
Section 16 (referred to as Constitutional Amendment No. 17), which was
promulgated in August 2005, has removed the jurisdiction of the courts over
cases of acquisition of land by the state and rendered impotent the
fundamental right to protection of the law, a fair hearing, and the
independence of the judiciary.
This amendment therefore effectively nullifies Section 16, which lays down
requirements that must be met by law in the compulsory acquisition of
property. These include reasonable notice of acquisition of property,
provision of fair compensation, and the opportunity for disputes over
acquisition of properties to be decided by the courts. Under the amendment,
none of these rights are recognized. The amendment also violates Article
21(2) of the African Charter which states that: "In case of spoliation the
dispossessed people shall have the right to the lawful recovery of property
as well as to an adequate compensation."
Human rights obligations
The right to housing and shelter, protected by the African Charter in part
by Article 14, places an obligation on the Zimbabwean government as a bare
minimum not to destroy the housing of its citizens. It also requires the
government and all of its organs and agents to abstain from carrying out,
sponsoring or tolerating any practice, policy or legal measure violating the
integrity of the individual when they are seeking to satisfy individual,
family, household or community housing needs. The violence directed against
farm owners and workers, and the inaction of the police, violated these
obligations. The state is obliged to guarantee access to legal remedies for
those whose rights have been violated.
The government has a duty to guarantee equal protection of the law to all
people (Article 3) without discrimination,(Article 2) and to prosecute
serious violations of human rights (Article 26), including where the
perpetrator is a private citizen. Independence of the judiciary is also a
cornerstone of international human rights law (Article 26). Crimes should be
investigated and prosecuted in a fair, effective, and competent manner by
the relevant law enforcement and judicial authorities. The Zimbabwean
Constitution provides similar guarantees.(19)
Human rights violations during Operation Murambatsvina
Operation Murambatsvina ("clear the filth"), a programme of mass forced
evictions and demolitions of home and informal business, left at least
700,000 people without homes, livelihoods or both. The evictions were
carried out with total disregard for the welfare of the people being
evicted, and created a humanitarian crisis of immense proportions.(20)
The evictions took a particularly heavy toll on vulnerable groups - widows,
orphans, the elderly, households headed by women or children, and people
living with HIV/AIDS.(21) Thousands of people were left destitute, sleeping
in the open without shelter or basic services. To date the government has
taken no measures to investigate allegations of abuses during the operation
and to provide adequate remedies to those whose rights had been violated.
The UN Special Envoy on Human Settlement Issues in Zimbabwe, Anna Tibaijuka,
was deployed to Zimbabwe by the UN Secretary-General in June 2005 to assess
the scope and impact of Operation Murambatsvina. She reported that the
operation was carried out in an "indiscriminate and unjustified manner, with
indifference to human suffering and, in repeated cases, with disregard to
several provisions of national and international legal frameworks."(22)
Despite condemnation from the international community and appeals from
humanitarian organizations, the government of Zimbabwe has continued to defy
its obligations under international law and has failed to protect those
affected and displaced by the evictions. The government has refused to
acknowledge the scale of the crisis precipitated by the evictions, and
continues to blatantly violate the human rights of the people displaced by
Denial of access to legal remedies
Article 7: The right to have one's cause heard
1. Every individual shall have the right to have his cause heard.
The UN Special Envoy's report concluded that during the evictions campaign,
the government of Zimbabwe "breached both national and international law"
and that it should compensate the victims for illegally destroyed property
as well as redress the suffering caused by the evictions and their
aftermath. The report further called on the government to identify and
prosecute "all those who orchestrated this catastrophe".(24)
Despite these clear recommendations, and Zimbabwe's international
obligations to provide effective remedies to victims of human rights
violations under the African Charter, the government has not carried out any
inquiries into the manner in which the evictions were carried out. It has
not investigated reports of excessive use of force by the police during and
after the evictions and has taken no steps to change the legislation to
provide for improved housing rights and security of tenure for those in
danger of eviction and displacement.
The government has also failed to provide access to effective legal remedies
to the victims of Operation Murambatsvina. According to lawyers representing
the victims of the evictions, the courts, run by politically compliant
judges, have to a large extent used delaying tactics in processing cases
related to Operation Murambatsvina.(25) In addition, few people have sought
compensation as most do not believe that they would receive justice or
effective remedy. It seems highly unlikely that the vast majority of the
victims will receive any compensation or other forms of reparation from the
Forced relocation to the rural areas
Article 12 (1): The right to freedom of movement and residence
Every individual shall have the rights to freedom of movement and residence
within the borders of a State provided he abides by the law.
In its state party report on the right to freedom of movement, the
government of Zimbabwe makes no mention of the hundreds of thousands of
people forcibly displaced under Operation Murambatsvina.
The Zimbabwean authorities engaged in a concerted effort to coerce the
people displaced by the evictions to leave the cities and move to the rural
areas.(26) In different parts of the country police threatened, harassed, or
beat internally displaced persons (IDPs), forcing them to relocate to rural
areas where many had no homes or family and where social service provisions
such as healthcare, education, clean water and economic opportunities were
minimal. Fearing further displacement, many resorted to hiding during the
day and only returning to the places of their temporary residence at night,
to avoid detection and harassment by the police. Thousands of people were
forcibly taken to holding camps around the country where they were forced to
live in appalling conditions with little food or adequate shelter. Thousands
of these people, mainly women and children, continue to live in dire
conditions in a holding camp at Hopley Farm on the outskirts of Harare.
In one case documented by Human Rights Watch, the police forcibly relocated
several hundred people from Mbare, a suburb of Harare, to the Hopley Farm
holding camp. On 2 October 2005 policemen with dogs came to an informal IDP
settlement in Mbare and threatened more than 250 men, women and children
with physical violence and destruction of their property if they did not
leave the area by 5 October. Lawyers from the organization Zimbabwe Lawyers
for Human Rights (ZLHR) managed to file an urgent application with the High
Court preventing their further displacement.(27) Several weeks later, a
representative of ZLHR informed Human Rights Watch that on 14 November at
2am, Harare City Municipal Workers, accompanied by the police, forced the
families onto trucks and took them to Hopley Farm in contempt of the High
While compelling people to relocate to rural areas, the government made no
effort to ensure that basic assistance would be available to the displaced
after the relocation, or even to track down those who chose to move.
International humanitarian agencies are still unable to trace thousands of
people who were displaced to rural areas.
The government also failed to make arrangements to provide temporary shelter
for the displaced. Up to a year after the evictions, many thousands of
displaced people continued to live in the open, in disused fields or in the
bush. Others lived in rudimentary shelters made from the debris of destroyed
houses, or squeezed into tiny rooms with family members who had agreed to
shelter them. The overcrowded conditions in the houses and camps inevitably
led to the spread of communicable diseases such as tuberculosis.
By pursuing a campaign of forced evictions and compelling people to move to
the rural areas against their wishes, Zimbabwe violated Article 12 of the
African Charter, the right to freedom of movement and residence. It is
widely agreed that incorporated in the freedom of residence is the right not
to be moved. While such freedoms and rights may be regulated by and subject
to legitimate laws or policy, the laws or policy cannot restrict the right
in so far that the essence of the right is impaired. Any law or policy which
imposes restrictions on the freedom of residence can only do so in a manner
that is proportionate and suitable to achieve the lawful end intended, that
is, the protection of fundamental values such as the rights and freedoms of
others. The laws or policy must also not be inconsistent with other rights
protected by the African Charter. The impact of Operation Murambatsvina on
the freedom of residence protected by Article 12 of the Charter was such as
to impair the very essence of the right and lead to a violation of this
Indiscriminate destruction of property
The government of Zimbabwe also violated the right to property through the
indiscriminate destruction of property during Operation Murambatsvina. The
government violated the human rights of hundreds of thousands of its own
citizens by arbitrarily forcing them to destroy or cede their property
without due notice, process or compensation.
In its state party report the government states that it has now embarked on
Operation Garikai, a property ownership scheme designed to provide proper
homes to many of those affected by Operation Murambatsvina. However,
Operation Garikai failed to address the immediate shelter needs of the
victims of the evictions, and few of those rendered homeless by Operation
Murambatsvina have received housing under Operation Garikai. The criteria
for allocation of housing under the programme, which include proof of formal
employment, a specified salary, and the payment of an initial deposit and
monthly instalments, make the housing unaffordable for the majority of the
displaced.(28) By April 2006, the government had reportedly built only 3,000
housing units for those displaced. The government has also failed to
prioritize the victims of Operation Murambatsvina under the scheme. Almost
two years after Operation Murambatsvina, thousands of people remain without
The African Charter, under Article 14, forbids the wanton destruction of
property, and in particular where such destruction involves violations of
the right to shelter and housing, which is protected under the Charter by
the combined effect of Articles 14, 16 and 18.
At a very minimum, the government of Zimbabwe has an obligation to ensure
that those it rendered homeless during Operation Murambatsvina are
re-housed. To this end the government must review and revise Operation
Garikai in a transparent manner, in order to develop a comprehensive human
rights-based housing programme to address the housing needs of all victims
of Operation Murambatsvina.
Violations of economic, social and cultural rights
Article 16: The right to health
1. Every individual shall have the right to enjoy the best attainable state
of physical and mental health.
2. State parties to the present Charter shall take the necessary measures to
protect the health of their people and to ensure that they receive medical
attention when they are sick.
Article 17 (1): The right to education
Every individual shall have the right to education.
The breakdown of the rule of law and the widespread disregard for economic
and social rights by the government of Zimbabwe were thrown into stark
relief in 2005 during Operation Murambatsvina. Evictions carried out under
Operation Murambatsvina were marked by violence and violations of a range of
economic, social and cultural rights including the right to adequate
housing, the right to education, the right to work and the right to health.
While acknowledging its responsibilities under the rights to health and
education in its state report, the government typically fails to mention or
acknowledge the extensive violation of these rights during Operation
Murambatsvina and its failure to adequately address these violations.
Throughout Operation Murambatsvina, educational and health facilities were
destroyed, school children were displaced and denied access to educational
facilities and people living with HIV had their treatment disrupted and
Vulnerable groups ignored
During the operation, the government made few attempts to provide or
facilitate priority humanitarian assistance to displaced vulnerable groups
including children, female-headed households, chronically ill and elderly
People living with HIV/AIDS
Operation Murambatsvina disrupted access to medical treatment for a
significant number of people living with HIV/AIDS. Scores of people living
with HIV/AIDS lost their access to anti-retroviral treatment and home-based
care. Six months after the evictions, many displaced persons living with
HIV/AIDS were still unable to access anti-retroviral, tuberculosis or
opportunistic infection treatment. Local NGOs working with those living with
HIV/AIDS reported that they were unable to trace or reach many of their
clients and alleged that the government had made no attempts to locate their
displaced clients and facilitate access to treatment, food and shelter for
those living with HIV/AIDS.(30)
The plight of displaced widows and mothers of children with disabilities
also improved little in the months after the evictions. For example,
according to the director of a local organization working with widows and
orphans, many widows lost their homes or livelihood as a result of the
evictions. Mothers of children with disabilities living in the urban areas
of Harare were also heavily affected by Operation Murambatsvina. Before the
evictions, many of these families were able to access physiotherapy and
other forms of treatment for their children, as the women were renting out
cottages and selling vegetables to earn their living. As a result of
Operation Murambatsvina, some of the families lost their livelihood and
could no longer afford to pay for medical assistance for their children or
even for transport to take their children for treatment.
Many women and children who were forced to sleep outside, in inadequate
shelters, or in overcrowded conditions with minimal assistance, saw their
children's health deteriorate. The families received no assistance from the
government. The situation of women and children living in the
government-recognized holding camp, Hopley Farm, was no less precarious, as
they also were deprived of any means of survival and the assistance provided
was extremely limited.(31)
The report of the UN Special Envoy on Human Settlement Issues estimated that
up to 223,000 children were directly affected by Operation
Murambatsvina.(32) In the aftermath of the operation, the government
provided little or no assistance to displaced children living with their
parents or guardians, children separated from their families, or
Many of the displaced children face significant hurdles in continuing their
education. A survey on the effects of Operation Murambatsvina by Action Aid
found that overall, 22 per cent of children who had been attending school
before Operation Murambatsvina dropped out because of the evictions.(33) The
displacement has also further hindered parents' ability to pay for
schooling, causing more children to drop out of school. In addition,
children have moved further away from their schools and many parents can no
longer afford to pay the transport costs for their children to go school.
Government obstruction of international humanitarian assistance
Following the evictions campaign, UN agencies and international NGOs in
Zimbabwe, in consultation with donors, directed their efforts towards
meeting immediate needs for food, clean water, and shelter to those who lost
their homes or livelihood as the result of Operation Murambatsvina. However,
contrary to the recommendations of the UN Special Envoy on Human Settlement
Issues, who called on the government to provide full and unimpeded access to
local and international humanitarian organizations, the government
deliberately obstructed the efforts of international agencies to assist the
In September 2005, almost six months after the evictions, the government
refused to sign a draft emergency appeal proposed by the UN, which would
have helped those hardest hit by the evictions, and refused to sign an
agreement with the UN to mobilize much needed relief and reconstruction
aid.(34) It also refused to endorse the UN's Common Response Plan for
assisting victims of evictions.(35)
The government refused to allow international agencies to provide tents or
similar forms of temporary shelter to the internally displaced, fearing that
the erection of tent camps would expose the scale of the crisis precipitated
by the evictions. In August 2005, shortly after several international
agencies erected over 100 tents for the displaced in the area of Headlands,
Zimbabwe police took the tents down and explicitly told the UN country team
that there should be no "tents made of plastic sheeting".(36) In October
2005, the government was still preventing international agencies from
providing temporary shelter to the displaced, claiming that there was no
"compelling need to provide temporary shelter as there is no humanitarian
crisis".(37) In mid-November, the government reportedly finally accepted a
UN offer to build 2,500 "units" for people made homeless by the evictions
campaign. However it was unclear what kind of shelter was to be provided and
who the beneficiaries would be.
The government also prevented international agencies from distributing food
aid to the displaced. A report by the International Federation of Red Cross
and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) noted that assistance to the internally
displaced presented "operational challenges because of the government
directive of assisting only those within designated areas and with housing
development approved by the city councils".(38) Representatives of other
international organizations and UN agencies also claimed that the government
had explicitly told them not to provide food and other assistance to those
staying in the open outside the areas recognized by the government, namely
Hopely Farm and Hatcliffe.(39) While some humanitarian agencies initially
tried to continue the delivery of food assistance to the displaced, the
government's non-cooperation effectively paralyzed their operations, and by
September 2005 little food aid was being provided to the vast majority of
the internally displaced. At the time Zimbabwean authorities made it clear
to local and international humanitarian agencies that they would not allow
local and international organizations free access to the displaced. Those
who sought such access risked arrest, harassment and being barred from
assisting any of the victims of the evictions.(40)
The implementation of the fast track land reform programme resulted in
numerous violations of the African Charter. The right to property (Article
14) was blatantly ignored. The discriminatory and violent way in which the
programme was implemented led to violations of the right to freedom from
discrimination (Article 2), the right to life (Article 4) and the right to
liberty (Article 5). The removal of land seizure cases from the jurisdiction
of the courts led to violations of the right to equality before the law
(Article 3) and the right to have one's cause heard (Article 7).
The African Charter does not specifically provide for protection against
forced evictions, but has extensive provisions on the protection of human
rights that are typically affected by the practice of forced evictions, such
as the right to freedom of movement and residence (Article 12), the right to
enjoy the best attainable state of physical and mental health (Article 16)
and the right to education (Article 17). Decisions by the African Commission
have articulated the obligations of state parties in protecting these
rights. Evictions conducted by a state can give rise to serious human rights
violations. This is particularly true when they are carried out by force or
without procedural guarantees. The government of Zimbabwe's programme of
forced evictions led to serious human rights violations.
About Human Rights Watch
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Human Rights Watch (HRW) is the largest human rights organization in the
United States of America, with offices across the world dedicated to
protecting the human rights of people all over the world. It carries out
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pressure them to end such practices.
Chapter 2: Attacks on the rule of law
Prepared by International Bar Association
Since it last reported to the African Commission, the Zimbabwean government
has disregarded the doctrine of the separation of powers between judiciary,
executive and legislature, and the rule of law has continued to deteriorate
There are reports of the government failing to protect members of the
judiciary from intimidation, threats and attacks by individuals or political
groups. The government has actively undermined the standing of the judiciary
amongst society through public statements and by ignoring orders of the
court. It has permitted its police force to act with impunity in violating
the rights to liberty, security and freedom from arbitrary arrest. The law
has been applied in a discriminatory fashion, with arrests and prosecutions
being made on political grounds. The right to a fair trial has not been
respected and there have been frequent attacks on lawyers. The government's
failure to respect the rule of law has led to countless citizens from across
society being robbed of their homes, land and livelihoods with no legal
redress. Furthermore, the government has failed to give effect to the
economic, social and cultural rights of its citizens.
Independence of the courts: Article 26
Article 26: independence of the courts
States parties to the present Charter shall have the duty to guarantee the
independence of the Courts and shall allow the establishment and improvement
of appropriate national institutions entrusted with the promotion and
protection of the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the present Charter.
Article 26 of the African Charter guarantees the independence of the courts.
This is understood to include respect for court decisions and the
institutions of the judiciary. Under this Article, state parties have a
positive obligation to ensure that the judiciary is impartial and
independent, as well as a negative obligation to refrain from interfering
with its independence. The latter obligation includes ensuring that third
parties do not compromise the independence of the judiciary.
Despite these clear obligations, the government of Zimbabwe has consistently
failed to protect the judiciary from interference from war veterans and
other private individuals and has disregarded the doctrine of the separation
of powers. The effect of failing to protect the independence of the
judiciary in accordance with Article 26 has led to violations of other
articles of the Charter namely Article 1 (duty to protect the rights
enshrined within the Charter), Article 3 (equal protection of the law),
Article 6 (right to liberty and security) and Article 7 (the right to a fair
trial). In interfering with the independence of the judiciary, the
government of Zimbabwe has promoted a culture of impunity for human rights
abuses, thereby creating a further breakdown in public order.
Threats and violence against the judiciary and lawyers
Consistent with Article 26 of the Charter, Section 79B of the Zimbabwean
Constitution stipulates that "a member of the judiciary shall not be subject
to the direction or control of any person or authority, except to the extent
that a written law may place him under the direction or control of another
member of the judiciary". Despite Section 79, members of the government and
ruling party have been involved in threats of violence and physical attacks
on lawyers, magistrates and prosecutors, and have failed to take action
against others who have committed such acts.(41)
During a mission to Zimbabwe by the International Bar Association (IBA) in
2001, attacks on the judiciary by senior members of the executive,
Ministers, Members of Parliament and the President were reported.(42) The
Minister of Justice, Patrick Chinamasa, is on record as stating that judges
should be politically correct, and not behave like "unguided missiles", a
situation in which he "wish[es] to emphatically state that [they] will push
In November 2000, so-called war veterans and ZANU-PF supporters physically
attacked the Supreme Court during a case, beating up a guard and preventing
the court from sitting. The police dispersed the invaders, but took no
further action against them.(44) In a separate incident in August 2001 a
large crowd, allegedly ZANU-PF supporters, demonstrated for three days
against a Karoi magistrate after he had granted bail to 106 farm workers who
were charged with public violence for attempting to remove war veterans from
their farms. In September 2001, after a Bindura magistrate sentenced 17
ZANU-PF supporters to three years' imprisonment each for public violence
ahead of a by-election in June, it was reported that other party supporters
held "an all-night vigil" outside his home and intimidated his wife. In
November 2001 ZANU-PF militants assaulted a senior magistrate in Gokwe after
he convicted a ruling party supporter on a robbery charge and sent him to
jail for eight months. In August 2002 Walter Chikwanha, a Chipinge
magistrate, was dragged from his courtroom by a group of war veterans and
allegedly assaulted at the government complex after he dismissed an
application by the state to remand in custody five opposition MDC officials.
The magistrate reportedly had broken ribs and a fractured collar-bone.(45)
These threats and acts of violence against magistrates and courts have not
been condemned by the government and the perpetrators have not been brought
In a widely reported case in September 2002, Justice Blackie was unlawfully
arrested and arbitrarily detained.(46) Justice Blackie retired and later
indicated that his decision to retire was prompted by the pressures he was
As a result of undue pressure a significant number of judges have resigned.
Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay was induced to retire early, due to these
repeated attacks on the judiciary, compounded by a government minister who
informed him that his safety could not be guaranteed.(47) Further, there was
speculation that the appointment of three new judges to the Supreme Court
Bench ahead of more senior judges was based on their political
The Law Society of Zimbabwe is a central institution for the legal
profession and continues to play an important role in the protection and
promotion of the rule of law in Zimbabwe. The Law Society has issued
statements in support of the judges such as former Chief Justice Gubbay and
other members of the profession when they suffered attack or threats. The
consequence of taking such a stand in defence of the rule of law and
separation of powers has been extreme. The Law Society has suffered a series
of attacks including an invasion of the offices by war veterans, the arrest,
detention and ill-treatment of the former President of the Society,
Sternford Moyo, and Executive Secretary, Wilbert Mapombere,(49) and
criticism and threats against some of the Society's Executive Officers in
the state-run media.(50)
Undermining the courts' jurisdiction
In addition to the intimidation and harassment of the judiciary and legal
profession, the government has sought to undermine the jurisdiction of the
courts. In September 2005 the Executive introduced Constitutional Amendment
17 which removed the jurisdiction of its national courts to adjudicate in
land disputes. Not only did this law effectively end thousands of cases of
land disputes which had been pending before the courts, but it also
permitted future land acquisitions to take place without the requirement of
notice to affected landowners or the possibility of legal challenge before
the courts.(51) According to the African Commission, a fundamental change in
the law of this nature "constitutes an attack of incalculable proportions on
Article 7", and violates the independence of the courts as provided for by
A growing trend has been also been noted in which court orders have been
ignored by the government and police. This report presents a few of the more
In 2000, the Zimbabwe Supreme Court ordered the Commissioner of the Police
to investigate allegations of torture perpetrated against two journalists
who published a story about an alleged military coup. The Court stipulated
that the police identify the perpetrators and that they be prosecuted. The
police, however, ignored the order and failed to undertake any
investigation, thereby permitting the perpetrators to go undetected.(53)
When the judges in this case objected to the failure to comply with its
order, President Mugabe publicly criticised them, stating, "[t]he judiciary
has no constitutional right whatsoever to give instructions to the president
on any matter as the...judges purported to do."(54)
Following the government-sanctioned farm occupations and fast-track land
reform programme in 2000, a series of court orders declared the occupations
to be in violation of Section 16 of the Constitution. The IBA mission to
Zimbabwe in 2001 found that a number of court orders declaring farm
invasions illegal were ignored by the police claiming either that they
lacked manpower or that it was a political matter.(55) President Mugabe is
on record as having stated that attempts to uphold such court orders would
be unsuccessful unless the Executive assisted.(56) In so stating, the
president undermined both the independence and standing of Zimbabwe's
In October 2000, the authorities threatened to seize radio equipment
belonging to Zimbabwe's Capital Radio Station. In response, the radio
station obtained an interim court order in accordance with Section 17 of the
Constitution (protection from arbitrary search) preventing the police from
seizing equipment until the company's urgent application had been heard.
Despite having seen the court order, the police broke down the door to the
company's studio and seized some of its broadcasting equipment. This conduct
was justified by a police official who stated that he did not take his
orders from the court but only from his superiors.(57) He also disregarded
the advice of the Attorney-General not to proceed with the search and
seizure. The police official was later found to be in contempt of court but
was not punished.(58)
In a widely reported case, the government ignored a number of court ruling
in respect of Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) publications. On 18
September 2003, High Court judge Justice Omerjee ruled that the police
conduct of forcibly occupying the premises of the ANZ and seizing their
equipment was illegal and that they had no legal right to prevent ANZ and
its employees from gaining access to their premises. Administrative Court
judge Justice Majuru also ruled in favour of the ANZ.(59) Justice Sello Nare
upheld the ruling and allowed the ANZ to carry into effect the judgment of
Justice Majuru.(60) The Information Minister, Jonathan Moyo, was reported to
have said that the ANZ could not resume operations and that the ruling by
Judge Nare was "academic" and could not be enforced.(61)
Disregard of laws and court orders was rampant in the recent government mass
evictions programme, Operation Murambatsvina (see Chapter 1). In many
instances, the police moved in without any notice and bulldozed homes to the
ground with people not having any recourse to the courts.(62)
In disregarding the law and orders of the court, the government of Zimbabwe
is failing to give effect to the rights enshrined within the African
Charter. Additional to this, it has also enacted legislation which is
inconsistent with the Charter and goes as far as obstructing rights
enshrined within the Charter despite there being a bill of rights within the
Zimbabwe Constitution. An example of such a law is the Public Order and
Security Act, enacted in 2002, which has been used widely by the government
to interfere with and restrict freedom of association and expression (see
Failure to respect the rule of law and Article 26 has also led the
government of Zimbabwe to violate other provisions within the African
Charter which are detailed below.
Respecting and implementing Charter rights: Article 1
The Member States of the Organization of African Unity parties to the
present Charter shall recognize the rights, duties and freedoms enshrined in
this Charter and shall undertake to adopt legislative or other measures to
give effect to them
Article 1 of the African Charter requires the state to recognise the rights
enshrined within the Charter and to adopt legislative or other measures to
give effect to them. The African Commission has confirmed that a state is
not only obligated to recognize the rights, as Zimbabwe does in some
instances in its Constitution and laws, but is also obliged to respect and
give effect to them, which Zimbabwe has failed to do.(63)
Disregard for the rule of law has led to a failure on the part of the
government to give effect to a number of the rights contained within the
African Charter and has harmed the enjoyment of economic, social and
cultural rights both directly and indirectly. A number of examples are
highlighted: i) widespread reports of the use of violence and torture,
including rape, in Zimbabwe raise concerns under the right to health; ii) a
result of widespread violence and lack of police protection has been a
massive exodus of teachers from Zimbabwe,(64) particularly from rural areas,
adversely affecting the right to education; iii) violence has also led
greater number of health professionals fleeing Zimbabwe leading to a virtual
collapse of the health sector in Zimbabwe;(65) iv) evictions carried out
under Operation Murambatsvina, for example, were "marked by violence and
violations of a range of rights including the right to adequate housing, the
right to life, freedom from torture, freedom of movement, the right to
education, the right to work and the right of access to health care."(66)
Equality before the law and equal protection of the law: Article 3
1. Every individual shall be equal before the law.
2. Every individual shall be entitled to equal protection of the law.
Article 3 of the African Charter provides for equality before the law and
equal protection of the law. The government of Zimbabwe has consistently
failed to accord with these provisions. In failing to protect the
independence of the courts, by ignoring court orders and by adopting laws
which remove legal redress for certain parts of civil society, the
government has removed equality before the law. Furthermore, the criminal
law has been applied selectively for political advantage. The African
Commission has been categorical in demanding equal application of judicial
decisions and has stated that it "is a breach of the principle of equality
if judicial or administrative decisions are applied in a discriminatory
Public reports have also documented partisan conduct by the police.(68) As
the police force is an essential element in the administration of justice,
its failure to be impartial compromises the rule of law and violates a
number of provisions within the Charter.
Before the June 2000 general election, the police on various occasions
turned a blind eye to violence perpetrated against opposition MDC supporters
and commercial farmers.(69) The IBA mission in 2001 to Zimbabwe found that
there was a strong perception amongst the population that prosecutions were
taking place based on political allegiances alone.(70) A cursory look at
prosecutions for political violence and under the Public Order and Security
Act indicates that an overwhelming majority of those who have been
prosecuted are members of the opposition.(71) Public statements by the
Police Commissioner and other cases confirm the practice of prosecuting
In addition, there are numerous reports of the police beating civilians and
engaging in acts of torture. The National Constitutional Assembly (NCA)
Chairperson, Dr Lovemore Madhuku, was reported to have been severely
assaulted by riot police during a demonstration in Harare in February
2004.(72) In April 2004, human rights activist Tinashe Chimedza was brutally
assaulted by the police as he was about to address a Students Forum. One of
the lawyers who went to represent him, advocate Tonderai Bhatasara, was
harassed and briefly detained by the police allegedly for walking into the
police station wearing a hat.(73)
Several lawyers have been threatened, attacked or obstructed by police when
defending clients in custody. Members of the legal profession subjected to
such abuses include: Otto Saki, who was denied access to his client and
later witnessed his torture; Advocate Bhatasara and Jacob Mafume, who were
subjected to abuse and threats as they tried to secure the release of their
clients; Beatrice Mtetwa, who called the police for assistance after being
carjacked, but was violently attacked by police in a police car and in
Borrowdale police station;(74) Justice Blackie, who was arrested arbitrarily
and imprisoned illegally; and Gugulethu Moyo, who was beaten in a police
station where she had gone to represent a colleague who was being
Members of the women's organization Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) have
repeatedly been arrested and detained. In June 2004, 43 WOZA members were
arrested during a peaceful meeting. Of the women, seven had small babies or
children. The children were detained along with the women. Several of the
women reported abuse, both verbal and physical. Some women were allegedly
beaten with a sjambok (whip) on the soles of their feet.(76) Four of the
women detained were charged under the Public Order and Security Act, but the
charges were later thrown out by the court, because no actual violation was
found to have been committed by the women.
On International Women Human Rights Defenders Day in November 2006 WOZA
members peacefully marching in celebration of the event were arrested in
Bulawayo despite the march being lawful. Several women sustained severe
injuries, including bone fractures, from police action. More than 40
demonstrators were arrested and were held overnight in police custody. Of
those detained with the adults, six were infant children.
The African Commission has urged Zimbabwe to "avoid any further
politicisation of the police service" and to ensure that the police abides
by the Constitution and does not serve any political interests.(77) Despite
this categorical request, the government has yet to take action to rein in
its police force.
Liberty and security: Article 6
Every individual shall have the right to liberty and to the security of his
person. No one may be deprived of his freedom except for reasons and
conditions previously laid down by law. In particular, no one may be
arbitrarily arrested or detained.
Article 6 of the African Charter protects the liberty and security of person
and prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention. Any arrest which is not in
accordance with the law, where the law is applied discriminately, or where
the law is itself discriminatory, falls foul of the provisions of Article 6.
The UN Human Rights Committee has stated that arbitrary deprivations of
liberty can never be justified, not even during a state of emergency.(78)
A number of the violations of the African Charter discussed earlier also
raise concerns under Article 6. For example, the cases of Tinashe Chimedza
and his lawyer, Tonderai Bhatasara, clearly represent violations of their
right to security and liberty of person. So too do the cases of Advocate
Bhatasara, Jacob Mafume, Beatrice Mtetwa, Gugulethu Moyo and Justice
The treatment meted out to members of WOZA also constitutes a violation of
Article 6. The beatings and mistreatment which took place in June 2004 after
women attended a peaceful meeting represent not only an arbitrary detention
but also violated the women's security. In November 2006 when the women were
again targeted by the police for peacefully marching, similar violations
occurred. Not only were the women arrested for a lawful activity, but also
many women and children were forced to sleep in the yard of the police
station due to lack of space in the police station. None of them were
released so that they could take medicine required to treat life-threatening
In a separate incident in September 2006, trade unionists taking part in a
peaceful demonstration in Harare suffered shocking beatings and torture at
the hands of the police. Some were allegedly subjected to a form of torture
known as falanga (beatings on the soles of the feet), which often leaves
victims with difficulty walking and significant pain for the rest of their
lives.(80) After video footage of the beating of the trade unionists was
released to the media, President Mugabe responded by publicly condoning the
actions by the police.(81) This clearly indicates the level at which such
treatment is not only ignored, but actively supported by the Zimbabwean
As is demonstrated by the examples cited above, the police in Zimbabwe have
been allowed to commit human rights violations on a wide scale with
impunity. The government of Zimbabwe is directly responsible for the
activities of all of its state agents. The police have violated the liberty
and security of a vast number of individuals, yet the government has done
nothing to prevent such action. Worse, it has condoned it.
The right to a fair trial: Article 7
1. Every individual shall have the right to have his cause heard. This
(a) the right to an appeal to competent national organs against acts of
violating his fundamental rights as recognized and guaranteed by
conventions, laws, regulations and customs in force;
(b) the right to be presumed innocent until proved guilty by a competent
court or tribunal;
(c) the right to defense, including the right to be defended by counsel of
(d) the right to be tried within a reasonable time by an impartial court or
2. No one may be condemned for an act or omission which did not constitute a
legally punishable offence at the time it was committed. No penalty may be
inflicted for an offence for which no provision was made at the time it was
committed. Punishment is personal and can be imposed only on the offender.
The right to a fair trial is recognised across a range of international and
regional treaties to which Zimbabwe is a party. Although a number of the
rights making up a fair trial may be suspended during times of state
emergency, the UN Human Rights Committee has expressed the view that "the
principles of legality and the rule of law require that fundamental
requirements of a fair trial must be respected during a state emergency.
Only a court of law may try and convict a person for a criminal offence. The
presumption of innocence must be respected."(82)
Under the African Charter the right to a fair trial incorporates a number of
principles: the right to be tried by a competent and impartial court or
tribunal; the right to defence including by counsel of one's own choice; the
right to be tried within a reasonable time. In the example cited earlier of
the removal of the courts' jurisdiction over land acquisition disputes
following Constitutional amendment 17, the government of Zimbabwe is in
breach of Article 7 1(a) which accords everyone's right to appeal to a
national court in the event of a violation of their fundamental rights. As
noted above, the African Commission has previously observed that ousting the
jurisdiction of ordinary courts "constitutes an attack of incalculable
proportions on Article 7", and "violates the independence of the courts".
Also notable are the reports of attacks, harassment and hindrance of lawyers
in the carrying out of their professional activities. In such cases the
right to a fair trial is violated by failing to ensure the defendant has
access to their counsel of choice. Further, where legal counsel is
intimidated, threatened or attacked, it will not be possible for a fair
trial to take place. The African Commission has underlined the right to
communicate in confidence with counsel of choice; otherwise, there is a
breach of Article 7.(84)
The government of Zimbabwe continues to be responsible for an erosion of the
principles of the rule of law and for widespread and systematic human rights
violations. Judges and lawyers have been intimidated, the independence and
standing of the courts undermined and the law applied discriminately or not
at all. There would appear to be no indication that such action will
decrease in the future.
Of particular concern is the action of Zimbabwe's police force and the way
in which it is permitted to commit human rights violations with impunity.
The government has direct responsibility for agents of the state and must
ensure that they act in accordance with domestic, regional and international
law. The rule of law in Zimbabwe is in desperately poor shape and only by
giving effect to human rights norms, international treaty obligations and
the African Charter will the quality of life begin to improve for its
About the International Bar Association
The global voice of the legal profession
In its role as a dual membership organisation, comprising 30,000 individual
lawyers and over 195 Bar Associations and Law Societies, the International
Bar Association (IBA) influences the development of international law reform
and shapes the future of the legal profession. Its Member Organisations
cover all continents of the World.
The IBA's Human Rights Institute works across the Association, helping to
promote, protect and enforce human rights under a just rule of law, and to
preserve the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession
The HRI intervenes by making representations to authorities worldwide;
training lawyers, judges and prosecutors in human rights law and
international humanitarian law; undertaking fact-finding missions and
sending trial observers where there has been a significant deterioration in
the rule of law; galvanises international support to lobby for change
through media and advocacy campaigns; and provides long-term technical
assistance to Bar Associations and Law Societies worldwide. In addition, it
liaises closely with international and regional human rights organisations
and produces newsletters and other publications that highlight issues of
concern to worldwide media.
Chapter 3: Torture and ill-treatment
Prepared by Redress
Torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment are
prohibited under Article 5 of the African Charter.
Article 5: Freedom from torture and ill-treatment
Every individual shall have the right to the respect of the dignity inherent
in a human being and to the recognition of his legal status. All forms of
exploitation and degradation of man particularly slavery, slave trade,
torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment and treatment shall be
Torture has always been a serious problem in Zimbabwe, both before and after
independence. However, since the current period of widespread and systematic
human rights abuses (including torture) began in 1998,(85) its scale is such
as has not been seen since the liberation struggle in the 1970s. This is
despite the prohibition against torture in Section 15(1) of the Zimbabwean
Constitution: "No person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or
degrading punishment or other such treatment."
The campaign of violence, intimidation and torture which began in 2000 after
the government's defeat in the constitutional referendum was seen as ZANU-PF's
strategy to avoid another defeat at the polls in the June 2000 parliamentary
election. The opposition MDC won nearly half the parliamentary seats,
despite being virtually outlawed in large parts of the country, and the
widespread use of physical violence including murder and torture against its
perceived supporters. The MDC immediately launched High Court election
petitions, challenging the results in 37 constituencies on the basis of
ZANU-PF's violence. Faced with the prospect of losing the election if these
petitions were upheld, the government turned its attention to assaulting
witnesses in the petition cases. Witnesses are known to have been attacked
and tortured in the constituencies of Chiredzi, Buhera North, Hurungwe,
Karoi, Chinoyi, Kariba, Chikomba, Makoni and Mount Darwin.(86)
The violent strategy continued throughout 2001 in preparation for the March
2002 presidential election, and torture became endemic. The period saw the
widely disputed re-election of President Mugabe, the virtual destruction of
the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary (see Chapter 2), and
economic collapse. During 2003 gross human rights violations on a widespread
and systematic scale, including torture, continued unabated, peaking during
local, mayoral and parliamentary by-elections, and during opposition-led
strikes and stayaways. In 2004 there was no significant improvement in
respect for human rights, although there was a drop in reports of torture
and organized violence immediately preceding the March 2005 parliamentary
election. Shortly afterwards Operation Murambatsvina marked a new low in the
government's human rights record. Reports of torture continue.(87)
Overview: torture and ill-treatment
Such was the concern of the African Commission that it undertook a
Fact-Finding Mission to Zimbabwe in June 2002. Among other findings, it
"there was enough evidence placed before the Mission to suggest that, at
the very least during the period under review, human rights violations
occurred in Zimbabwe. The Mission was presented with testimony from
witnesses who were victims of political violence and others victims of
torture while in police custody.[T]he Government cannot wash its hands from
responsibility for all these happenings.Government did not act soon enough
and firmly enough against those guilty of gross criminal acts." (88)
During the period July 2001 to November 2004 inclusive, one Zimbabwean human
rights coalition reported 2,742 allegations of torture. This formed the
single largest category of gross human rights violations (24 per cent)
reported to it.(89) The decline in reported torture just before March 2005
reflected a change in tactics on the part of the government. However, it was
soon followed by the violent destruction of tens of thousands of homes and
the forced displacement of thousands of people in Operation Marumbatsvina.
This reflected the government's disregard of international norms including
the prohibition against cruel, degrading and inhuman treatment.
Zimbabwe's jails are also the site of on-going serious human rights abuses.
Gross overcrowding, lack of proper food, medical care and hygiene, and
overall neglect, singly and combined constitute cruel, inhuman and degrading
treatment. Part of the reason lies in Zimbabwe's catastrophic economic
decline: prisoners are entirely marginalized and very much at the mercy of
Torture takes many forms and is perpetrated by the Zimbabwe Republic Police
(ZRP), army, government militias, the Central Intelligence Organisation
(CIO), government organized war veterans and ZANU-PF members. Beatings, rape
and electric shocks are some of the methods used. Increasingly, "irregulars"
commit the abuses - they may be in civilian clothes and their identity
may be unknown, or they may be youth militia brought into an area from
outside so that they will not be easily recognized, or they may be dressed
up in police or military uniforms to further hide their identities. All of
this has been widely reported in numerous documents, by both Zimbabwean and
international human rights groups, and has been confirmed by the findings of
the Zimbabwean courts in various civil suits.(91)
The torture cases set out below are a handful which have entered the public
domain. They are cited to illustrate the wide range of victims and some of
the main perpetrators, as well as the state's consistent failure to promptly
and thoroughly investigate and prosecute offenders. As shown, even where it
has been clearly established that torture has taken place, and where the
courts have ordered the police to investigate, the state has not done so.
At the level of international law, torture is absolutely prohibited and
gives rise to state responsibility as well as individual criminal liability.
Torture is prohibited under Zimbabwe's Constitution but over the past six
years it has become widespread and systematic. The African Commission
Fact-Finding Mission set out recommendations to deal with this and other
human rights violations, but there is no sign that the government intends to
deal with the problem, which is one of its own creation and for which it is
accountable. A culture of impunity for gross violations of human rights
persists, including for those who commit or order torture.
Some individual torture cases
Chavunduka and Choto (1999)
In January 1999 an independent Harare newspaper reported that army officers
had allegedly been arrested after a coup plot.(92) As a consequence of the
report (which the state branded as lies), two local black journalists, Mark
Chavunduka and Raymond Choto, were unlawfully detained by the military and
severely tortured. Despite urgently obtained court orders for their release,
they were held for more than a week during which time they were beaten with
fists and wooden planks and subjected to electric shock and water immersion
torture, among other forms of gross ill-treatment. The case led to
unprecedented public protests, including from the judiciary which addressed
an open letter to President Mugabe calling upon him to restore the rule of
Protests included a peaceful human rights march on Parliament led by lawyers
in court regalia. President Mugabe's response was to threaten the judges and
to justify the treatment of the journalists, while the marchers on
Parliament were stopped by the riot squad with dogs, tear-gas and batons. A
meeting of human rights NGOs with Attorney-General Chinamasa drew his
assurance that he would direct the Commissioner of Police to
investigate.(93) He later reneged on this assurance. Eventually, after the
journalists made an application to the Supreme Court, judges ordered the
police to investigate the torture.(94) However, the police made no serious
effort to do so. Mark Chavanduka died in 2002. In February 2005 it was
reported that the government had paid Raymond Choto and the late Mark
Chavunduka's estate a combined total of Z$24 million (about US$3000) civil
Blanchard, Dixon and Pettijohn (1999)
In March 1999, three US nationals - Gary Blanchard, John Dixon and Joseph
Pettijohn - were arrested at Harare International Airport on their way to
Switzerland, and subsequently charged with the illegal possession of
firearms. Before trial the men brought an urgent application in the Supreme
Court stating that they had been severely tortured after their arrest, and
that the conditions in which they were being held in a maximum security
prison pending trial constituted cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.(96)
At the men's trial in September 1999 it emerged that in the days after their
arrest by the Criminal Investigation Department, police officers tortured
them, including by inflicting electric shocks to their genitals and beating
the soles of their feet. Both state and private doctors gave evidence
consistent with what the men said had happened to them. The trial judge
concluded that the police had indeed severely tortured the men, and noted
that although one Detective Inspector had said that the state had been
investigating the complaints:
"the only conclusion this court can come to is either nothing is being
done about the complaints or if something is being done, clearly
incompetence seems to be the situation, because it does not take four months
to come up with a completed investigation about this, in which it has been
alleged some twenty different persons were involved."(97)
No steps have ever been taken against the torturers.
Masera, Zulu, Moyo, Sibanda, Mpofu, Dulini-Ncube (2001-2002)
One week before the June 2000 parliamentary elections, war veterans
kidnapped MDC polling agent Patrick Nabanyama from his home in Bulawayo. He
was never seen again but no body has ever been found. The alleged kidnappers
were arrested and charged with murder in 2001. One of the accused was Cain
Nkala, a war veteran leader in Bulawayo. In November 2001 Cain Nkala himself
was kidnapped and within days several MDC members were arrested and charged
with his murder. They were kept in custody under appalling conditions for
The trial of six of them began in February 2003: Sonny Masera, Army Zulu,
Remember Moyo, Kethani Sibanda, Sazini Mpofu and Dulini-Ncube, an MDC MP.
Dulini-Ncube was denied treatment for his diabetes whilst in custody and
later had to have an eye surgically removed.(98)
At the Nkala murder trial the six accused MDC men said that the police
extracted the evidence against them under torture, and a
trial-within-a-trial was held to determine the admissibility of this
evidence. The police denied any ill-treatment.
In March 2004 the trial judge ruled that the evidence was indeed
inadmissible. She meticulously analysed the evidence of police officers
involved in the case, contrasting their stories with those of the accused
and each other, and including examinations of written statements and
confessions, police diaries and logs, video evidence and other exhibits. She
found the police had deliberately made false entries in their records,
altered written statements, lied to the court, been evasive in their
evidence, and had fundamentally violated the most basic human rights of the
men on trial. In uncompromising language she threw out the incriminating
statements, indications and even video recordings with the concluding
"The evidence of the State witnesses who are police officers is fraught
with conflict and inconsistencies. The witnesses conducted themselves in a
shameless fashion and displayed utter contempt for the due administration of
justice to the extent that they were prepared to indulge in what can only be
described as works of fiction.The magnitude of their complicity was such as
to put paid [sic] to this court attaching any weight to the truth or
accuracy of their statements." (99)
As a result, the evidence that the detainees had been tortured was accepted,
including the following accounts. Remember Moyo was hit with a rifle-butt,
pushed out of the back of a moving police vehicle while shackled in
leg-irons and handcuffs, had his head banged against a car wheel, was held
on the ground on his back with his legs-spread eagled while a police officer
jumped on his genitals with booted feet; he bled from his nose and ears,
lost consciousness and was so badly injured he could hardly walk; later he
was further assaulted in a cell, kept stripped naked, shackled and beaten by
more policemen, a former MDC member and war veterans. Khetani Sibanda was
detained, assaulted and threatened by men who later revealed themselves as
CIO. He was forced to learn and repeat a story implicating other MDC members
in Cain Nkala's murder. At one point he was taken to Ncema dam near
Esigodoni and told that if he didn't co-operate he would be fed to the
crocodiles; he was deprived of food, water and sleep. Sazini Mpofu was
assaulted by being kicked and punched; he was driven around Bulawayo for
many hours while being assaulted in and out of the vehicle, and at the
None of the torturers have been prosecuted, nor any of the police officers
Shumba and Sikhala (2003)
January 2003 saw the torture of an MDC MP, Job Sikhala, and his lawyer,
Gabriel Shumba. This received wide international condemnation as it was seen
as a direct attack both on the parliamentary opposition as well as on civil
society, Gabriel Shumba being a human rights defender working for the
leading human rights coalition in the country, the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO
Forum. Both men and three others were arrested while Gabriel Shumba was
advising his client, Job Sikhala, who had faced constant police harassment
since the June 2000 parliamentary elections. Over a three-day period Job
Sikhala and Gabriel Shumba were separately moved from place to place,
deprived of all food and severely tortured.
Gabriel Shumba was tortured by a group of about 15 men. He was kicked,
slapped about his head, and tightly hooded so that breathing was extremely
difficult; he was threatened with dogs and taken to what was believed to be
CIO underground torture chambers at Goromonzi where he could hear the sounds
of screaming in another room, thrown against a wall, stripped naked and
shackled; he was then assaulted all over his naked body with fists, booted
feet and thick planks and hung upside down and beaten on the bare soles of
his feet with wooden, rubber and metal truncheons; he was given severe
electric shocks to the feet, ears, tongue and genitals, and threatened with
acid, crucifixion and needles thrust into the urethra; he was covered in
some unknown chemical substance; having lost control of his bodily functions
he was forced to drink his own urine and lick up his blood and vomit; his
torturers urinated on him, took photographs of him being tortured, and
threatened him with death. Job Sikhala was also said to have been severely
tortured. The men were apparently forced to confess to false allegations,
including the burning of a ZANU-PF vehicle and a plot to violently overthrow
the government. Medical examinations after their release were consistent
with their allegations, and when they appeared in court the evidence of
torture was so clear that all charges were dropped immediately. Gabriel
Shumba later fled to South Africa.(100)
None of the allegations of torture have been investigated. Gabriel Shumba's
case is pending before the African Commission.
Sibanda, Luphahla, Botomani and Gama (2004)
In September 2004, four Bulawayo youths were kidnapped and allegedly
severely tortured. The youngsters - Mandlenkosi Sibanda, Mandlenkosi
Luphahla, Tisunge Botomani and Nkosilathi Gama - were all members of
ZANU-PF, and were apparently tortured at Magnet House, the headquarters of
the CIO in Matabeleland. They were said to have been kidnapped from their
homes in the high-density suburb of Emganwini and tortured for over four
hours. They were apparently beaten all over their bodies with clubs, belts
and electric cables, sustaining broken bones and serious injuries to their
The youths named the CIO agents and said that the head of the Bulawayo CIO,
Innocent Chibaya, had witnessed the torture. As a result of the publicity,
Vice President Msika was reported to have ordered an investigation into
Innocent Chibaya as well as the police chief in Bulawayo, Charles
Mufandaidze. Later that month a newspaper reported that two of the CIO
officers said to be responsible, Sylvester Chibango and Medicine Furusa, had
been charged and convicted of common assault and fined the equivalent of
Chiyangwa, Karidza, Matambanadzo, Dzvairo, and Marchi (2004-2005)
State agents kidnapped ZANU-PF MP Phillip Chiyangwa on 15 December 2004 as
part of an alleged spy-ring selling state secrets to South Africa. Others
arrested around the same time were banker Tendai Matambanadzo, ZANU-PF
diplomat Godfrey Dzvairo, ZANU-PF functionary Itai Marchi, and ZANU-PF's
deputy-director for security Kenny Karidza.
Tendai Matambanadzo, Godfrey Dzvairo and Itai Marchi were jailed for
breaching the Official Secrets Act after a secret trial in which they tried
to withdraw guilty pleas made earlier. Their allegations that confessions
had been made under duress were rejected. Godfrey Dzvairo was sentenced to
six years' imprisonment, and Itai Marchi and Tendai Matambanadzo to five
Phillip Chiyangwa was released in late February 2005. Most court proceedings
were shrouded in secrecy but serious torture allegations emerged. Phillip
Chiyangwa testified that he was kidnapped in the car park of a Harare hotel,
a black hood was thrown over his head, and he was driven by a long and
circuitous route to an underground location where he was detained in
solitary confinement in a completely dark vermin-infested cell for two
weeks, with no toilet facilities. Here he was interrogated for hours on end,
threatened and intimidated until he had a mild stroke, but was denied
medical attention. His condition was later confirmed by a doctor who
recommended hospitalization, but this was refused. He was denied legal
representation until brought to court on 30 December 2004.
Kenny Karidza, whose trial for spying began on 27 January 2005, was not
brought to court sooner as there were reports that he had been so badly
tortured that the CIO did not want him seen in public until he had somewhat
recovered. More than a month after his arrest, sources said he was still
unable to walk or talk properly, his legs were badly swollen and he was
unable to eat. It appears that the case has developed into a trial-
within-a-trial, with the accused objecting to the admissibility of evidence
proffered against him.(102) The trial has not yet finished.
The government continues to be responsible for widespread and systematic
human rights violations, including torture, and there is little sign of
either a decline in violations or of any serious action to investigate
allegations and prosecute offenders. There have been numerous reports of
victims who have tried to report an abuse to the police, only to be detained
and further abused by the police themselves. Very occasionally in a
"non-political" case torturers are properly prosecuted, but this is very
much the exception rather than the norm.(103)
The police are now as much to blame for the systematic use of torture as
other law enforcement agencies. During March 2003, in the lead-up to two
parliamentary by-elections in Harare, as well as after a two-day peaceful
general strike in protest against the government, a fresh wave of ZANU-PF
violence was unleashed, resulting in hundreds of civilians being beaten and
tortured. The police were heavily involved in these abuses. The CIO, army,
youth militias, so-called war veterans and ZANU-PF groups have all
participated in widespread and systematic gross human rights violations.
A recent analysis shows that in the period mid-2001 to the end of 2005 there
were 15,523 reported human rights violations, with torture constituting the
largest category - over 18 per cent of the total.(104)
The jurisprudence of the African Commission is clear: the Article 5
prohibition against torture is premised on "the dignity inherent in a human
being."(105) There is overwhelming evidence that the current Zimbabwean
government has repeatedly trampled on that dignity through the widespread
use of torture, the failure to prevent torture and the refusal to
investigate and prosecute those responsible and to afford proper reparations
to the victims of torture.
There is no realistic likelihood of the perpetrators investigating and
prosecuting themselves. In this context thousands of victims have been left
without any effective remedy or reparation for what they have suffered, and
the culture of impunity persists. Unless consistent, widespread and
effective external pressure is placed on the government, the human rights
situation will continue to deteriorate.
The government's state party report dated 20 October 2006 has a section on
Article 5 (with Article 4) at pages xvii-xxi. However, the word "torture" in
the substantive text appears for the first time on page xx: " Zimbabwe is
facing challenges in the area of torture, as allegations of torture by law
enforcement agencies have been raised by sections of civil society
organisations as well as opposition political parties." The next paragraph
deals with domestic violence, before returning to torture with the following
paragraph: "Zimbabwe is in the process of ratifying the Convention Against
Torture and its optional protocol and is working with the office of the
special rapporteur on torture with a view to inviting the rapporteur to
assist law enforcement officers to appreciate the implications of torture."
The rest of the section reverts to the issue of domestic violence.
With these two sole paragraphs referring to torture the government has
sought to side-step not only the facts of widespread and systematic torture
but also the government's responsibilities and obligations under the Charter
with respect to the practice. It has not even attempted to deal with matters
of court record, the testimony of torture victims presented to the African
Commission's 2002 Fact-Finding mission, and the large number of other
credible reports. This transparent failure exposes a government seeking to
evade liability and culpability for these international crimes.
About The Redress Trust (REDRESS)
Seeking reparation for torture survivors
REDRESS is a human rights organization working internationally to obtain
justice for survivors of torture and related crimes and to end impunity for
governments and individuals who perpetrate it, and to develop and ensure
compliance with international standards. The organization provides
specialized legal advice to individuals and communities in securing their
rights, conducts advocacy with governments, parliaments, international
organizations and the media, and works in partnership with like-minded
organizations around the world.
Chapter 4: Violations of the rights to freedom of association and assembly
Prepared by Amnesty International
The rights to freedom of association and assembly are guaranteed under
Articles 10 and 11 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.
Article 10: Freedom of association
1. Every individual shall have the right to free association provided that
he abides by the law.
2. Subject to the obligation of solidarity provided for in 29, no one may be
compelled to join an association.
Article 11: Freedom of assembly
Every individual shall have the right to assemble freely with others. The
exercise of this right shall be subject only to necessary restrictions
provided for by law in particular those enacted in the interest of national
security, the safety, health, ethics and rights and freedoms of others.
The rights to freedom of association and assembly are also guaranteed under
Section 21 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and in the International Covenant
on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Zimbabwe is a party.
However, these basic freedoms have been regularly violated in Zimbabwe over
the past 10 years.
The rights to freedom of association and assembly are most commonly violated
in order to prevent members of the public, human rights and civil society
organizations and political opposition parties from peacefully voicing
criticism of the government and its policies. From 2000 onwards, violations
of the rights to freedom of association and assembly increased markedly,
frequently accompanied by other violations including arbitrary arrests and
detentions, ill-treatment and torture.
Until 2000 government repression of the rights to freedom of assembly and
association was mainly aimed at civil society groups and trade unions
critical of government policy. However, following the emergence of the MDC,
the denial of these rights increasingly targeted the political opposition.
The rights to freedom of assembly and association have been violated by a
range of means. Before 2002 excessive use of force by police officers and
the army and threats to shoot protestors - sometimes made by senior
government officials - created a climate of fear in which individuals could
not freely exercise their rights. After 2002, in addition to excessive use
of force, the state also resorted to using repressive laws to curtail
freedom of assembly and association.
In 2002 the government introduced a law to curtail the rights to freedom of
association and assembly, drawing on colonial-era legislation to do so. The
Law and Order Maintenance Act (LOMA) was enacted in 1955 by the Rhodesian
authorities to severely restrict freedom of expression, assembly and
movement. It remained in place after independence. However, over the years,
the Supreme Court had removed several unconstitutional clauses.
In 2002 LOMA was replaced by the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) which
was fast-tracked through Parliament in December 2001, apparently to enable
the government to hamper the campaigning activities of the newly emerged MDC
in the run-up to the March 2002 presidential elections. In January 2002, the
Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Human Rights
Defenders, Hina Jilani, sent an urgent appeal to the Zimbabwean authorities
regarding the passage through Parliament of the POSA in relation to concerns
that the Bill would restrict the fundamental rights to freedom of
expression, association and assembly.(106) Following a Fact-Finding Mission
to Zimbabwe in 2002 the African Commission, in its resolution on the human
rights situation in Zimbabwe, adopted in Banjul, the Gambia, in December
2005, called on the government of Zimbabwe "to respect the fundamental
rights and freedoms of expression, association and assembly by repealing or
amending repressive legislation, such as the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act, the Broadcasting Services Act and the Public
Order and Security Act."
Provisions of the Public Order and Security Act
Sections 23-31 of the POSA regulate the organization and conduct of public
gatherings and provide the police with extensive powers to control them. For
example, Section 24 requires that police are given four days' advance notice
of public gatherings or meetings. The POSA defines a public meeting as "any
meeting in a public place or meeting which the public or any section of the
public is permitted to attend, whether on payment or otherwise." The POSA
imposes a highly restrictive definition of a public gathering - applying it
to any meeting of two or more people. Sections 25 and 26 grant the police
wide powers to break up and even prevent public gatherings altogether if
they are deemed to endanger public order. Section 27 of the POSA allows
police to ban demonstrations for a period of up to a month.
In practice, police have interpreted these provisions as a requirement for
police permission to organize public gatherings or meetings and have applied
the law selectively to refuse the political opposition and civil society
groups permission to hold public gatherings and meetings. In some cases
permission has been given initially but then withdrawn at the last minute
with police repeatedly citing lack of manpower to monitor and control the
meetings as a reason. Furthermore, in practice the police have used
arbitrary criteria to distinguish between "private" and "public" gatherings,
and have used the POSA to arrest people for meeting in their own homes or
places of business.
Since its enactment the police have used the POSA to arbitrarily arrest
hundreds of Zimbabweans, mainly opposition supporters and civil society
activists. The penalties upon conviction for failing to comply with police
orders are fines or imprisonment of up to six months under Section 25(107)
or a year under Section 26;(108) or both fine and imprisonment.
Although the POSA has provided a pretext for widespread violation of the
rights to freedom of association and assembly, to date no-one has been
convicted under the Act. Many people arrested under the 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 (see
The Miscellaneous Offences Act
Many people have been arrested under the POSA only to have the charges
changed to "conduct likely to cause a breach of the peace", an offence under
the Miscellaneous Offences Act (MOA). In effect, the police have used the
MOA to regularize arbitrary arrests.
When people are arrested they are frequently offered the option of paying a
fine under the 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 would be detained for 48 hours or more and could
face more serious charges. Squalid conditions in police holding cells and
fear of harassment and ill-treatment force many detainees 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 flourish.
Trade unionists have long been among the main targets of government attempts
to repress freedom of association and assembly. In the second half of the
1990s labour unions became increasingly critical of government policies and
the declining standard of living in Zimbabwe.
Since 2000, it has become more and more difficult for workers in Zimbabwe to
carry out legitimate organization and representation activities without
police interference. This is largely due to the government's belief that
labour activists from the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and other
unions have been working with the MDC to mobilize the electorate to vote
ZANU-PF out of power. In-house meetings of the ZCTU, such as General Council
meetings, have been monitored and sometimes disrupted by the police.
ZCTU officials and members have been subject to arbitrary arrest, torture
and excessive use of force by the police. For example, on 13 September 2006,
15 members of the ZCTU, including President Lovemore Matombo, First
Vice-President Lucia Matibenga and Secretary General Wellington Chibebe,
were arrested in Harare after attempting to engage in a peaceful
demonstration. They were severely assaulted during arrest. They were
detained at Matapi police station and tortured. Doctors confirmed that the
ZCTU activists were beaten on the soles of the feet - a torture method
called falanga which leaves many victims with life-long problems with
On the same day, 13 September 2006, in the farming town of Chegutu, 11
members of a ZCTU affiliate union, the General Agricultural and Plantations
Workers' Union (GAPWUZ), were arrested after handing over a petition at a
government office. They were taken to Chegutu Police Station and reportedly
tortured while in police custody over a three-day period. They were made to
lie on the stomach and were beaten on the soles of the feet while held in
leg irons and handcuffs. The 11 trade unionists were later charged under
POSA and granted bail.(109)
The previous day, 12 September 2006, police had arrested ZCTU leaders across
the country in an apparent pre-emptive action to forestall the ZCTU protest.
On 8 November 2005 more than 100 people were arrested in Harare when the
ZCTU tried to hold a peaceful demonstration protesting against the grave
economic situation in Zimbabwe. Lawyers were initially denied access to the
detainees, who were moved by police from one police station to another in an
apparent attempt to prevent contact with lawyers. Neither the detainees nor
their lawyers were informed of the charges against them until the second day
of their detention, when police said they would be charged under the POSA.
However, the Attorney General refused to prosecute and all the detainees
were released on 11 November.(110)
At least 100 trade union and human rights activists were arrested throughout
the country on 18 November 2003 in order to prevent them from staging a
peaceful demonstration against the economic crisis and human rights abuses
in Zimbabwe. In Harare approximately 50 activists were arrested including
ZCTU President Lovemore Matombo and Secretary General Wellington Chibebe.
Those arrested in Harare remained in custody until 20 November 2003. On the
afternoon of 20 November 2003 they were taken to the Magistrate's court and
charged under the POSA. The following day the charges against all were
dropped, reportedly for lack of evidence.
On 8 October 2003 at least 200 trade union activists were arrested in
various parts of Zimbabwe ahead of planned demonstrations against high taxes
and inflation. While some were arrested under the POSA, most of the union
activists were charged under Section 7(b) of the MOA, and made to pay fines.
Those arrested included ZCTU President Lovemore Matombo and Secretary
General Wellington Chibebe, as well as many other members of the ZCTU's
The political opposition
The focus of much of the government's clampdown on freedom of association
and assembly has been the MDC. In the run-up to the 2000 parliamentary
elections, political meetings throughout the country were violently
disrupted. People who were unable to produce a ZANU-PF party membership card
were beaten. Conversely when prominent ruling party politicians were holding
rallies, people were forced to participate. Many identified members of the
MDC were made to publicly renounce their membership and had their membership
cards and T-shirts burnt. These sessions were often televised. People who
refused to cooperate were in many instances beaten by war veterans and youth
militia.(111) As mentioned above, since 2002 the government has used
provisions of the POSA to target the MDC and hamper its ability to campaign
and mobilize support.
On 21 February 2007 police announced a three-month ban on rallies and
demonstrations in Harare South District and Harare's suburb of Mbare. The
police cited Section 27 of the POSA. However, the three-month period appears
to be in breach of the POSA, which only allows bans "for a specified period
not exceeding one month." Bans for up to a month were imposed in
Chitungwiza, Harare Central District and Harare Suburban District.
Following the police bans, the Save Zimbabwe Campaign, a coalition of church
and civil society organizations, organized a prayer meeting in Harare's
suburb of Highfield on 11 March 2007. Police clamped down on the peaceful
gathering, arresting about 50 activists. The activists, including MDC
leaders, were severely beaten during arrest and later tortured while in
police custody at Machipisa police station. Several suffered multiple
fractures and soft tissue injuries and were hospitalized. Police shot dead
Gift Tandare, the youth chairperson of the National Constitutional Assembly
(NCA) local structure in a Harare suburb.
On 18 March 2007, MDC Member of Parliament Nelson Chamisa was attacked by
eight men believed to be state security personnel as he approached the
departure lounge at Harare International Airport. He was hit with metal bars
and suffered a broken skull. No one has been arrested.
On 27 March 2007, Last Maengahama, deputy secretary for local government of
the MDC faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai, was abducted outside Borrowdale
Shopping Centre in Harare by people in plain clothes who were believed to be
security agents. Last Maengahama was returning from a memorial service for
Gift Tandare, the activist shot dead by police in Harare on 11 March 2007.
Last Maengahama was later deposited by his abductors in Mutorashanga, some
100 km from Harare. He had been severely beaten. No one was arrested for
Several MDC leaders and activists were arrested on 17 March 2007, including
Arthur Mutambara, a leader of one of the MDC factions, when they tried to
leave for South Africa.
At the time of compiling this report, 13 MDC activists, including MP Paul
Madzore, were in detention, accused of attacking police stations and other
installations. They were severely beaten by police while in custody, the
beatings amount to torture, and were repeatedly denied bail.
On 23 February 2007 police reportedly told the United People's Party (UPP)
that its inter-district meeting to be held the following day had been
cancelled. The UPP had earlier been cleared by the police to hold the
meeting, a requirement under the POSA. The incident took place around a time
when the police were arbitrarily stopping any public activities by the
political opposition and civil society groups.
On 23 February 2007 police in Bulawayo stopped a planned rally by the Morgan
Tsvangirai-led faction of the MDC. Police arrived heavily armed and
supported by anti-riot water cannon vehicles and barred MDC leaders and
supporters from entering the venue.
On 17 February 2007 riot police stopped a planned MDC rally in Harare's
suburb of Highfields despite a court order issued by the High Court barring
police from disrupting the rally. Several people were assaulted by police
and sustained serious injuries. Police later imposed a three-month ban on
all demonstrations in parts of the city. The ban was apparently illegal as
the period was above the one month provided for under the POSA. Following
the disturbances in Highfields, police arrested Tendayi Biti, the Secretary
General of the Morgan Tsvangirai faction of the MDC, as well as other
leaders and accused them of inciting violence.
Human rights defenders
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,
in an apparent effort to conceal human rights violations and prevent public
criticism of its actions, has become increasingly intolerant of the work of
human rights defenders and is actively seeking to silence them, including by
denying their right to peaceful association and assembly.
On 17 September 2003, the police used the POSA to arrest members of the
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) who were holding a peaceful
demonstration to protest against the forced closure of The Daily News and
The Daily News on Sunday. On more than three occasions in 2004, peaceful
demonstrations arranged by the NCA resulted in hundreds of its members being
arrested, beaten and harassed. Other NCA members have been detained.
In June 2002, approximately 80 people were arrested and charged with
unlawful assembly under the POSA, during a rally held to commemorate the
25th anniversary of South Africa Youth Day. A Supreme Court application
challenging the constitutionality of the POSA was filed, but the case was
adjourned to January 2003, effectively undermining any practical exercise of
the right to freedom of assembly in this case.
Case study: Women of Zimbabwe Arise
Since February 2003 activists from WOZA have repeatedly been arrested by the
police while taking part in peaceful demonstrations to protest against the
worsening social, economic and human rights situation in the country. The
treatment of WOZA illustrates the government's increasing repression of
peaceful public demonstrations expressing criticism of government policies.
It also highlights the way in which the law, particularly the combination of
the POSA and MOA, is used to allow arbitrary arrests and detentions and to
facilitate a range of other human rights violations by the police.
The cases below represent some of the more than 20 occasions when WOZA
members have been arrested over the past four years for engaging in peaceful
demonstrations and marches.
Arrested for demonstrating against increases in school fees (2006)
More than 100 members of WOZA and approximately 70 school children were
arrested on 4 May 2006 following a peaceful demonstration in Bulawayo to
protest against increases in school fees. While in detention at Bulawayo
Central police station, two leaders of WOZA, Magodonga Mahlangu and Jenni
Williams, were allegedly threatened by a senior police officer. The threat
to Jenni Williams is reported to have amounted to a death threat. All the
accused were later acquitted.
Arrested for praying in public (2005)
On the evening of 31 March 2005, the day of the 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. 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".
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. 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 the
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. Once again the MOA was used to elicit
"admissions" of guilt.
Arrested on International Women's' Day (2005)
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.
Arrested for handing out flowers on Valentine's Day (2005)
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. The prosecutor reportedly
refused to take court action under the POSA and the activists were released
over the following three days on payment of "admission of guilt" fines under
Arrested for participating in a sponsored walk (2004)
On 19 September 2004 more than 30 WOZA activists began a 440 km sponsored
walk from Bulawayo to Harare 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 four men
who were assisting them on the walk, some 60 km from Harare. The police
claimed the walkers had contravened the POSA. They were reportedly
intimidated and threatened by police officers. Another woman activist,
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 other 52 were 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 the POSA by "praying in public". Section 19 of the
POSA refers to gatherings conducive 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
The government of Zimbabwe has selectively applied provisions of the POSA
and MOA to restrict the right to freedom of assembly and association, in
blatant contravention of the African Charter. The political opposition,
trade unions, human rights groups and other civil society organizations have
been targeted. Police have been used to break up meetings and have refused
the political opposition permission to hold public meetings. In some cases,
the police have disregarded court orders allowing demonstrations. Incidents
of excessive use of force by the police have been extensively documented by
local and international organizations.
About Amnesty International
Working to protect human rights
Amnesty International (AI) is an independent worldwide movement with over
2.2 million members from over 150 countries and territories, campaigning for
a world in which every person can enjoy all of the human rights enshrined in
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human
Chapter 5: Violations of the right to freedom of expression
Prepared by ARTICLE 19
Freedom of expression and the right to receive information are guaranteed by
Article 9 of the African Charter.
Article 9: Freedom of expression
1. Every individual shall have the right to receive information.
2. Every individual shall have the right to express and disseminate his
opinions within the law.
While the government of Zimbabwe's state party report to the African
Commission correctly cites Article 9 of the African Charter as the basis of
the right to freedom of expression, it fails to cite also the African
Commission's Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa,
which was adopted by resolution by the African Commission in 2002.(112) The
Declaration provides critically important details of the requirements of
Article 9 of the African Charter and of how to give effect to freedom of
The Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa
Principle I of the Declaration states:
1. Freedom of expression and information, including the right to seek,
receive and impart information and ideas, either orally or in print, in the
form of art, or through any other form of communication, including across
frontiers, is a fundamental and inalienable right and an indispensable
component of democracy.
2. Everyone shall have an equal opportunity to exercise the right of freedom
of expression and to access information without discrimination.
Principle II(2) of the Declaration articulates the circumstances in which
the right of freedom of expression can be restricted, embodying the
requirements of international law:
Any restrictions on freedom of expression shall be provided by law, serve a
legitimate interest and be necessary in a democratic society.
These Principles provide a clear framework within which to assess whether
the restrictions on the right of freedom of expression in Zimbabwe since
1996 comply with or violate the African Commission's requirements for the
protection and promotion of the right of freedom of expression.
The Constitution of Zimbabwe
The state report notes that the right of freedom of expression is protected
in Section 20 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe and that this section of the
Constitution has not been altered (p. xxxi of the state report).
The state report notes that a number of pieces of legislation "have been
enacted in terms of the Constitution" (p. xxxii). This statement is both
misleading and incorrect. Since 1999, the Supreme Court has repeatedly
struck down legislation on the explicit basis that it was inconsistent with
Section 20 of the Constitution.
Further, there is no reference in the state report to the successful
challenge to the constitutionality of the state monopoly on broadcasting in
2000, or the fact that despite the Supreme Court ruling, the monopoly has
been kept continuously in effect since then. A state broadcasting monopoly
is expressly prohibited in Principle V of the Declaration of Principles on
Freedom of Expression in Africa, and thus constitutes an ongoing violation
of Article 9 of the African Charter.
The state report also does not take note of the fact that numerous
Communications have been filed with the African Commission in recent years
concerning violations of Article 9. One of the requirements for a
Communication to be ruled admissible is that all domestic remedies have been
exhausted. It has become increasingly clear since 1996 that obtaining a
judicial remedy in Zimbabwe - particularly in regard to human rights
matters - has been rendered illusory. (See Chapter 2: Decline in the rule of
Legislation restricting freedom of expression
The state report refers to the following pieces of legislation:
Broadcasting Services Act 2001 (BSA)
The BSA was enacted in response to the Supreme Court's ruling that the state
broadcasting monopoly was unconstitutional. The BSA, however, provides the
necessary tools for the maintenance of the broadcasting monopoly - a
broadcasting regulatory body which is not protected from political influence
and control, and with broad discretionary powers to call for broadcast
licence applications and to issue licences. As a result, the state
broadcasting monopoly has been held firmly, and continuously, in place since
2000, despite the Supreme Court's ruling.
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act 2002 (AIPPA)
Despite its name, the AIPPA is not concerned with the promotion of access to
publicly-held information. Rather, the AIPPA establishes a repressive
compulsory licensing system for all individual journalists and media outlets
and also imposes a number of highly restrictive content prohibitions. It
established the Media Information Commission (MIC) for the purpose, among
other things, of processing compulsory annual licence applications from
journalists and media houses. The MIC is government-controlled, with the
Minister for Information and Publicity appointing its members and exercising
significant powers of dismissal and control over their terms of office.
Postal and Telecommunications Act 2000 (PTA)
The PTA removed, again in name only, the state monopoly in the
The state report does not, however, make any reference to the following
recent laws which have a significant impact on the right of freedom of
Public Order and Security Act 2002 (POSA)
POSA is a highly authoritarian legislation which has been compared by
constitutional lawyers to apartheid-era security legislation in South
Africa.(113) It was introduced as a replacement for some of the provisions
of the Law and Order (Maintenance) Act 1960 (LOMA), which had been ruled
unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, but many of the provisions of POSA
are also of questionable constitutionality. Under POSA, it is illegal to
undermine the authority of the president, cause any hostility towards him or
make abusive, obscene or false statements against him; also under POSA a
group of three people on the street requires express police approval, and it
is illegal for anyone to disturb the peace, security and order of the public
in any way, or utter words which are intended to provoke a breach of the
peace; finally, police are empowered to arrest anyone at a public meeting
who is not in possession of an identity card. POSA has been used by the
Zimbabwean government and security forces to shut down hundreds of protests
and demonstrations and to intimidate civil society organizations in their
Presidential Powers (Temporary Provisions) Broadcasting Regulations 2000
Within a week of the Supreme Court ruling the state broadcasting monopoly to
be unconstitutional, the President exercised his power under the
Presidential Power (Emergency Regulations) Act to pass legislation with a
life span of six months or less without any requirement to have it ratified
by Parliament. The legislation which the President enacted was the
Presidential Powers (Temporary Provisions) Broadcasting Regulations 2000.
This was the basis for the broadcast regulatory framework which still exists
to this day, and under which the state broadcasting monopoly has been held
in place. After the lapse of six months, the Broadcasting Services Act was
enacted in substantially the same terms as the Presidential Power (Temporary
Provisions) Broadcasting Regulations 2000, despite the Parliamentary Legal
Committee issuing a report declaring a number of the provisions of the
Broadcasting Services Bill to be unconstitutional on the basis that they
were inconsistent with Section 20 of the Constitution.
Broadcasting Services (Amendment) Act 2003
This Act was a response to a second ruling by the Supreme Court concerning
the unconstitutional nature of the regulation of broadcasting in Zimbabwe.
This Act corrected the bare minimum required by the Supreme Court ruling but
did not fix the core problem, namely the overarching discretion and lack of
independence of the regulatory body which enabled the maintenance of the
state broadcasting monopoly. Without addressing this central issue, all
other corrections to the broadcast regulatory framework were rendered void,
as most of the provisions do not come into effect until a licence to
broadcast is issued, and no licences have been granted.
Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No 17) Act 2005
This Act amends Section 22(3)(a) of the Constitution to allow restrictions
on the freedom of movement of human rights activists and others in the name
of national interest, the public interest or the economic interests of
Zimbabwe. The amendment also removes the constitutional prohibition on the
enactment of a law which prevents a person from leaving Zimbabwe on these
grounds in Section 4 of the Constitution.
In addition, the Interception of Communications Bill 2006 is presently under
consideration, which would allow the authorities to monitor the
communications of people and organizations suspected of being critical of
the Zimbabwean government.
Case law related to freedom of expression
The state report refers to four specific cases concerning the right of
freedom of expression:
Mark Chavunduka and Ray Choto v The Minister for Home Affairs & Attorney
General of Zimbabwe S.C. 36/2000 [the Chavunduka case]
Independent Journalists Association of Zimbabwe and Others v The Minister of
State for Information and Others S.C 136/02 [the IJAZ case]
Capital Radio (Private) Ltd v The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe and
Others S.C. 128/02 [the Capital Radio case]
The prosecution of Andrew Barclay Meldrum for violating Section 80 of the
AIPPA [the Meldrum case]
The state report merely lists and briefly describes each of these cases
without explaining their impact on the right of freedom of expression in
The state report also fails to refer to two cases of critical importance:
The Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) case seeking registration with
the Media Information Commission (MIC) [the ANZ case]
Capital Radio (Private) Ltd v Minister for Information, Posts and
Telecommunications S.C.00/2000 [the first Capital Radio case]
Mark Chavunduka and Ray Choto v The Minister for Home Affairs & Attorney
General of Zimbabwe [the Chavunduka case]
The state report fails to attribute any significance to the Supreme Court
decision in the Chavunduka case, merely noting the existence of this case
and that "[t]he Court decided in the applicants' favour, but did not make
any determination as to the falsity or truthfulness of the publication". (p.
The Chavunduka case is, in fact, a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court. In
handing down its judgment in this case in 2000, the Court demonstrated its
willingness to strike down legislation inconsistent with Section 20 of the
Constitution. In the Chavunduka case, the Court held that a statutory
prohibition on "false news" undermines the realization of the right of
freedom of expression.(114)
On 10 January 1999, The Standard newspaper published a story alleging that
there had been an unsuccessful coup attempt in the Zimbabwean army. Two days
later, Mark Chavunduka, the editor of The Standard, was arrested and held
for over a week. Raymond Choto, the author of the article, voluntarily
surrendered himself to the police. Both were severely tortured and spent
time in the UK receiving treatment (see Chapter 3: Torture and
ill-treatment). They were charged with publishing false statements likely to
cause fear, alarm or despondency among the public or any section thereof and
faced prison sentences of seven years.
The Supreme Court held that false statements were protected by the
constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression, and that Section 50(2)(a)
of LOMA breached that guarantee in that it was excessively vague, did not
serve a legislative objective of sufficient importance to warrant overriding
a constitutionally protected right and was excessively broad. On this basis,
the Supreme Court held Section 50(2)(a) to be unconstitutional.
Despite the Supreme Court ruling, within two years the Zimbabwean government
enacted Section 80 of the AIPPA which prohibits publishing false information
which threatens the interests of the state (amongst other things). Within
months of this provision being resurrected in the AIPPA, it was used against
journalist Andrew Meldrum (see below).
The Independent Journalists Association of Zimbabwe and Others v The
Minister of State for Information and Others [the IJAZ case]
The applicants challenged the constitutionality of Sections 70, 80, 83 and
85 of the AIPPA on the basis of inconsistency with Section 20 of the
Constitution. In 2004, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of
most of the provisions. The applicant are now pursuing a Communication at
the African Commission, which submits that these provisions constitute a
violation of Article 9 of the African Charter.
Capital Radio (Private) Ltd v Minister for Information, Posts and
Telecommunications S.C 00/2000 [the first Capital Radio case]
In a landmark decision, Capital Radio successfully challenged the
constitutionality of the state broadcasting monopoly, facilitating the
prospect of private broadcasting in Zimbabwe. The Supreme Court handed down
its judgment on 22 September 2000, ruling the state broadcasting monopoly to
be unconstitutional, on the basis of being inconsistent with Section 20(1)
of the Constitution.
The Zimbabwean government's response was to rush through temporary
regulations (the Presidential Powers (Temporary Provisions) Broadcasting
Regulations 2000) requiring any prospective broadcaster to hold a
broadcasting licence issued by the Minister in response to a call for
broadcast licence applications. The first call for broadcast licence
applications was made almost four years later in 2004, and no licences were
issued then or since.
Capital Radio (Private) Ltd v The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe and
Others [the Capital Radio case]
This was the second Supreme Court application by Capital Radio concerning
provisions contravening Section 20 of the Constitution (see below). In this
application, Capital Radio challenged the constitutionality of a number of
the provisions of the BSA, which formalized the broadcast regulatory
framework initially introduced by unilateral presidential decree regulations
(the Presidential Powers (Temporary Provisions) Broadcasting Regulations
2000). Capital Radio challenged the constitutionality of the composition of
the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), the licensing process,
including restrictions on who may apply for a licence, and the conditions
attached to licences, the short period of validity of licences, and various
restrictions on programme content.
There was significant delay in the hearing of the proceedings and when
judgment was finally handed down, the Supreme Court ruled that it had not
considered the constitutionality of the majority of the provisions, on the
basis that the applicant did not have standing to challenge them. The
provisions which the Court did rule to be unconstitutional were the
appointment of the Minister as the licensing authority, the short period of
licence validity, the limit to one national commercial licence for each of
radio and television, the limit to one signal carrier licence in addition to
the state-controlled Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) and the
requirement that a licensee, other than the public service broadcaster,
could not hold both a broadcast licence and signal carrier licence.
The Zimbabwean government's response to this ruling of the Supreme Court was
to enact the BSA Amendment Act which, as discussed above, modified the bare
minimum of the BSA and did not address the overarching discretion and lack
of independence of the regulatory body.
The Meldrum case
The state report describes the Meldrum case as one in which the applicant
had published a false report that a woman, connected to the opposition, had
been beheaded by ZANU-PF supporters in the presence of her two daughters
during the 2000 election campaign.
What the state report fails to reveal is that in 2002 Andrew Meldrum,
correspondent for the UK newspaper The Guardian, was acquitted of the
allegation levelled against him ("abusing journalistic privilege by
publishing a falsehood"). Unhappy with this result of due process, the
Zimbabwean government sought to have Andrew Meldrum removed from the
country - without legal basis. Within hours of the ruling of the acquittal,
Andrew Meldrum was served with a deportation order by the Ministry of Home
Affairs. He made an application to the High Court challenging the
deportation order. The High Court suspended the deportation order and
referred the matter to the Supreme Court. No date was set for a Supreme
Court hearing, however, and in 2003 he was abducted and forcibly deported
with only the clothes he was wearing.
The ANZ case
When the AIPPA was enacted, the ANZ Group sought to challenge its
constitutionality in the Supreme Court. On the basis that ANZ had pursued a
constitutionality challenge rather than applying for a licence, the MIC
refused to issue a licence to the ANZ Group for its publications The Daily
News and The Daily News on Sunday, which were, at the time, the only
independent newspapers in operation in Zimbabwe.
This denial of a publishing licence has been maintained ever since 2002. ANZ
has tried to enforce its right to procedural fairness through the courts,
but delays and weaknesses in the judicial system have resulted in the
continued denial of a licence.
By way of summary, on 11 September 2003 ANZ made an application for a
licence when directed to by the Supreme Court, as a necessary pre-requisite
to its constitutionality challenge. On 12 September 2003, the Zimbabwean
police raided the offices of The Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday,
arresting staff, confiscating equipment, shutting down the media outlets and
occupying the premises.
On 19 September the MIC rejected ANZ's licence application. In October, the
Administrative Court ruled that the MIC's refusal was illegitimate because
the MIC was improperly constituted ( the Court ruled that the Chairman of
the MIC was biased against ANZ). The Court further ruled that if the MIC was
not properly constituted by 30 November 2003 and had not ruled on the ANZ
application in a properly constituted capacity, ANZ would be deemed duly
On 19 December 2003, the Administrative Court ruled that ANZ was entitled to
resume publication. Despite the ruling, the police refused to end their
occupation of the premises of The Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday.
On 9 January 2004, the High Court ordered the police to cease occupying the
premises but this order was ignored.
On 4 March 2004, the Supreme Court reserved judgment in MIC's appeal and the
related cases. In March 2005, the Supreme Court to handed down its
judgment -confirming the Administrative Court's ruling that the MIC was
improperly constituted. The Supreme Court also ruled that the chairperson
should not have participated in the decision-making after he had been found
to be biased against ANZ. The Supreme Court referred the matter back to the
MIC to reconsider ANZ's licence application afresh.
In July 2005, the MIC rejected ANZ's registration application again. ANZ
appealed this decision to the High Court, and in February 2006 the High
Court ruled that the MIC must reconsider its July 2005 decision not to grant
ANZ a licence.
ANZ has still not been granted a licence by the MIC.
Discussion of freedom of expression challenges in the state party report
The state report comments that it believes there is a "negative perception
around the impact of the provisions of the AIPPA, which is said to be a
'draconian' piece of legislation enacted with a view to restricting the
citizens' freedom of expression." (p.xxxv)
There is, in fact, wide-ranging support for the statement that the AIPPA is
a draconian piece of legislation which disproportionately represses civil
liberties. For example, Dr Eddie Zvobgo, chairman of the Parliamentary Legal
Committee, stated when the AIPPA was introduced into Parliament in 2002:
I can say without equivocation that this Bill in its original form was the
most calculated and determined assault on our liberties guaranteed by the
Constitution, in the twenty years I have served as Cabinet Minister.
Similarly, the African Commission has described the AIPPA as an example of
legislation used to "control, manipulate public opinion and limit civil
liberties."(115) Furthermore, the Commission has called for "the repeal or
amendment of repressive legislation" including AIPPA, POSA and the
Broadcasting Services Act.(116)
The UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to
freedom of opinion and expression, Abid Hussain, expressed deep concern
about the AIPPA in January 2002, three months before its enactment. He
appealed to the Zimbabwean authorities to reconsider the provisions of the
Bill and not to proceed to pass it into law.(117) His appeal was not heeded
by the government.
In response to the challenge that the AIPPA is perceived to be a draconian
piece of legislation, the state report submits that the AIPPA was a
necessary response to the architects of regime change who were exploiting
loopholes in the old legislation on information to subvert public opinion
and undermine state security (p. xxxv).
However, the AIPPA was in fact enacted in order to control the growing
criticism of the ruling party, ZANU-PF, since 2000. The AIPPA provides a
number of mechanisms to intimidate and silence critical journalists and
newspapers, both in terms of their permission to practice and the content of
The Media and Information Commission
The state report notes that there have been criticisms that the Media and
Information Commission's (MIC) registration process is politicized (p.xxxv).
The failure to ensure the independence of the MIC is a major weakness of the
AIPPA. The independence of a regulatory body from political and commercial
influence is a key tenet in international standards governing media
regulation and the right of freedom of expression.
Members of the AIPPA are appointed directly by the Minister for Information
and Publicity, and the Minister exercises significant powers of dismissal
and control over their terms of office. There have also been a number of
incidents which demonstrate that the MIC is, in fact, politicized.
For example, there is the well-publicized case of the MIC refusing to issue
a licence to the ANZ Group, which published the only independent newspapers
in Zimbabwe at the time the MIC was established. The Supreme Court ruled
that the Chairperson of the MIC should not have ruled on ANZ's licence
application due to the existence of bias against ANZ. This battle between
the MIC and the courts has been ongoing since 2002 - with the MIC refusing
to reconstitute a fresh panel to consider ANZ's licence application anew. At
the time of its closure, the ANZ newspaper The Daily News had a circulation
of nearly 1 million readers per day - 59 per cent of the market.
The heavy-handed punitive treatment of privately-owned media by the MIC is
also an indication of the politicization of the regulatory body. For
example, the MIC cancelled the licence of The Tribune newspaper in June 2004
after its publishing group, African Tribune Newspapers, failed to notify the
MIC immediately of a change in ownership, when its management and senior
editors bought the publishing company from Africa Media Group. In February
2006, the MIC suspended the newly-founded The Weekly Times for one year. The
reason given was that it violated the AIPPA by misrepresenting information
on its application by promising to make social issues a priority but instead
focusing on political advocacy. The MIC threatened to ban The Financial
Gazette in January 2006 if it did not retract a story which queried the
independence of the MIC. On 29 January 2006, the MIC refused to renew the
accreditation of 15 journalists working for the Zimbabwe Independent until
the newspaper retracted a similar story.
In response to criticism in this area, the state report contends that the
registration of media organizations is carried out according to the law and
not political inclinations. The state report submits that the failure to
register one media house (this is the first time the state report has
referred, even tangentially, to the ongoing denial of a licence to the ANZ
Group) should not be used as a yardstick to measure the state's capacity to
uphold freedom of expression (p.xxxv).
The MIC's failure to provide a licence to ANZ is, however, illustrative of
the structural weaknesses of the AIPPA in terms of protecting and upholding
the right of freedom of expression. The decision-making processes of the MIC
are not accountable in a manner necessary for the protection and promotion
of media diversity.
Licensing of foreign journalists
The state report notes as a third "challenge" that there have been
criticisms that the process for licensing foreign journalists is also
politicized (p.xxxv). While the state report uses the AIPPA term
"accreditation" of journalists, this term is used incorrectly, as the AIPPA
is engaged in licensing and not accreditation.
Again, this criticism is in fact well founded given the treatment of foreign
journalists reported in the domestic and international media. The right to
freedom of expression is expressly guaranteed "regardless of frontiers", and
foreign journalists are entitled to be treated in a fair manner and to be
allowed to perform their role in the public interest.
The exclusion of foreign media from reporting on Zimbabwe has intensified
since 2001. In 2001, the government deported three foreign journalists,
branded others as "terrorists", banned the BBC from entering the country and
blocked CNN broadcasts. As soon as the AIPPA came into effect in 2002, the
authorities sought to apply it to the foreign media. In 2002, the MIC
refused to renew work permits for an AFP journalist and the bureau chief. By
2003, no foreign journalists were allowed to reside in Zimbabwe.
In 2005, all BBC and ABC journalists were denied accreditation to report on
the parliamentary election in March 2005. Swedish journalist Fredrik
Sperling, who obtained accreditation, was arrested the day after the
election after he filmed a large farm expropriated by the Zimbabwean
government and later occupied by a relative of President Mugabe.
Further restrictions on freedom of expression
A significant number of other challenges to the realization of the right of
freedom of expression have arisen which are not referred to in the state
report. In particular, the raft of repressive legislation which has been
introduced since 2000 has resulted in a situation where the right of freedom
of expression is being systemically violated. Much of this legislation is
characterized by broad and unaccountable discretions afforded to public
officials and political representatives. The drafting is frequently loose
and ambiguous, which provides substantial scope for misuse of the
legislation, including the illegitimate harassment and intimidation of the
private print media.
The impact of the repressive legislation on free expression can be
summarized as follows. Utilizing this legislation, the Zimbabwean government
a.. harassed, intimidated and arrested media workers;
b.. imposed an oppressive system of conditional licensing upon
journalists and newspapers;
c.. heavily censored the content of the print media;
d.. ordered the closure of several independent newspapers;
e.. initiated oppressive litigation against newspapers and opposition
f.. obtained a majority shareholding in Zimbabwe Mirror Newspaper group
through its state security agency;
g.. continuously maintained the state broadcasting monopoly, despite it
being ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 2000;
h.. imposed travel bans on opposition members and human rights
i.. excluded foreign journalists from Zimbabwe; and
j.. intimidated and prevented foreign radio stations from broadcasting
Restrictions on broadcasting
The regulatory regime for broadcasting allows the continuation of the state
broadcasting monopoly as well as failing to promote diversity in the
broadcast sector, as required by Principle V of the Declaration of
Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa.
Specific aspects of the broadcast regulatory framework breach Article 9 of
the African Charter:
a.. the role of the Minister in overseeing the exercise of powers by the
Board of the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), in appointing members
of the Board and in setting the terms and conditions of office for those
b.. the unfettered discretion given to the BAZ to issue a call for
broadcast licence applications;
c.. the lack of clear provisions in the BSA establishing a licensing
authority and the retention by the Minister of the power to decide on
broadcast licence applications despite a Supreme Court ruling that this
power is unconstitutional;
d.. the restrictions placed on who can apply for a broadcasting licence;
e.. the punitive strict liability offences for broadcasting without a
f.. the limit of one licence per medium for national free-to-air
g.. the onerous and extensive terms and conditions attached to a
h.. the provisions regulating the amendment, suspension and cancellation
of a licence; and
i.. the directions and conditions made as to the content of broadcast
programming by private broadcasters.
Some foreign broadcasters have attempted to "broadcast in" to Zimbabwe
despite being unable to apply for a broadcasting licence from the BAZ, as no
call for radio broadcasting licences has ever been made. The experience of
these foreign broadcasters shows some of the practices used by the
Zimbabwean government in violation of the right of freedom of expression.
In August 2002, Voice of the People (VoP), which broadcasts into Zimbabwe on
short wave, had its Harare office bombed. The police made no arrests, did
not issue a report on the investigations, and no one was arrested in
connection with the bombing. In December 2005, the Zimbabwean government
tried again to silence VoP. On 15 December, the police raided their Harare
office, confiscating equipment and files. This served to end VoP's
broadcasts, which came from outside Zimbabwe. The Director and six of the
VoP trustees were charged with broadcasting without a licence, which carries
a potential two-year term of imprisonment. Eventually, after almost a year,
the charges were dismissed by the court.
South West Radio Africa (SWRA), staffed by Zimbabwean journalists living in
exile, broadcasts into Zimbabwe from the UK on shortwave radio. In the
lead-up to the March 2005 elections, SWRA had its signal jammed so that it
could no longer broadcast into Zimbabwe via shortwave. It took several
months for SWRA to find an alternate path, which prevented it from providing
information and news on political and economic issues prior to the election.
SWRA has faced ongoing jamming throughout 2006 as well.
On 18 January 2006, journalist Sydney Saize was arrested and accused of
writing a false story for the US government-funded Voice of America. He was
released without charge after being held in police custody for three nights.
Taking over independent newspapers
The Zimbabwean government has recently sought to impose direct control over
independent newspapers through acquiring a majority shareholding. In 2005,
Zimbabwe's state security agency, the Central Intelligence Organization
(CIO), engaged in a takeover of the publications of the independent
publishing house, Zimbabwe Mirror Group Newspapers (ZMGN), which publishes
the Daily Mirror, The Sunday Mirror and The Financial Gazette.
In August 2005, the Zimbabwe Independent reported that The Financial Gazette
had been taken over 100 per cent by the CIO, while Ibbo Mandaza (the Chief
Executive Officer of ZMGN) had ceded 70 per cent of his shareholding to a
group of CIO investors.
In October 2005, Ibbo Mandaza was suspended from his post following the
takeover. He approached the High Court, which ruled that he should be
reinstated. In May 2006, Ibbo Mandaza filed a further application in the
High Court, alleging contempt of court by the company's directors for
failing to reinstate him.
Restrictions on freedom of movement
President Mugabe, speaking at the conference of his ZANU-PF party on 10
December 2005, vowed to take "stern action" against NGOs and critics of his
government. The conference later adopted a resolution welcoming moves to
seize the passports of people "who go around demonizing the country".
The Zimbabwean government has used its power to impose travel bans on human
rights activists and people critical of the government.
For example, a travel ban was imposed on Trevor Ncube, the publisher of
Zimbabwe's independent newspapers, the Zimbabwe Independent and the Sunday
Standard, in December 2005. The UK-based newspaper, The Guardian, reported
on 15 December 2005 that, according to a list seen by Trevor Ncube in the
Buluwayo immigration office, 15 other prominent critics of the government
also had their passports confiscated pursuant to the constitutional
amendments under the Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment (No 17) Act 2005. It
was reported by www.newzimbabwe.com that these 15 people included opposition
politicians, businessmen and journalists known to be critical of the
government. According to Amnesty International, they included opposition
politician Paul Themba Nyathi and trade unionist Raymond Majongwe.(118)
Restrictions on human rights defenders
POSA is frequently used to intimidate and silence civil society
organizations critical of the government. For example, Dr Frances Lovemore,
Medical Director of the Amani Trust, an organization focusing on torture and
other human rights violations, was arrested in August 2002 following
allegations that the Trust was contravening POSA by "publishing or
communicating false statements prejudicial to the State". The offices of
Amani Trust were raided and searched by police. Dr Lovemore was released the
day after her arrest. In November, the government accused Amani Trust of
threatening peace and warned that arrests would be made. Shortly after, the
Amani Trust closed its offices.
Since the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) emerged as a political
opposition party in 1999, the Zimbabwean government has pursued every
measure possible to prevent a change of government from occurring through
the democratic process. As independent newspapers began to publish details
of the failure of political, social and economic policies, a major onslaught
on any expression independent of the government's mandate was pursued. This
was effected by shutting down independent newspapers, introducing highly
repressive legislation governing access to information and regulation of the
print media, and preventing any private broadcaster from obtaining a licence
to broadcast, despite eligible and willing prospective broadcasters. The
Zimbabwean government has ignored clear directives from the Supreme Court to
restore respect for the right of freedom of expression and has harassed and
persecuted individuals who dare to speak out. The free expression blackout
has been tightly held in place for the entirety of the period of this report
and there is no indication of change in the near future, despite repeated
appeals from regional and international bodies.
About ARTICLE 19
Global campaign for free expression
ARTICLE 19 is an independent international human rights organization, whose
mandate is the protection and promotion of the right of freedom of
expression globally. ARTICLE 19 has an extensive programme of activities in
Africa and in Zimbabwe in particular. They have been working with partner
organizations in Zimbabwe for over ten years, seeking to challenge the
repressive legal and regulatory framework for the media.
Working to protect human rights worldwide
1 Easton Street
London WC1X 0DW
Global campaign for free expression
6-8 Amwell Street
London EC1R 1UQ
Tel: +44 20 7278 9292
Fax: +44 20 7278 7660
Human Rights Watch
Defending human rights worldwide
350 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10118-3299
United States of America
Tel: +1-(212) 290-4700
Fax: +1-(212) 736-1300
International Bar Association
The global voice of the legal profession
1 Stephen St
London W1T 1AT
Tel: +44 20 7691 6868
Fax: +44 20 7691 6544
The Redress Trust (REDRESS)
Seeking reparation for torture survivors
3rd Floor, 87 Vauxhall Walk
London SE11 5HJ
Tel: +44 20 7793 1777
Fax: +44 20 7793 1719
(1) Although the government claimed that the demolished structures were
"illegal", Human Rights Watch found that many legal housing and business
structures were also destroyed during the evictions campaign. See Human
Rights Watch, "Clear the Filth: Mass Evictions and Demolitions in Zimbabwe",
A Human Rights Watch Background Briefing, 11 September 2005.
(2) UN Special Envoy on Human Settlement Issues in Zimbabwe, Mrs Anna
Kajumulo Tibaijuka, Report of the Fact-Finding Mission to Zimbabwe to Assess
the Scope and Impact of Operation Murambatsvina, 22 July 2005 [online],
http://www.unhabitat.org/documents/ZimbabweReport.pdf (accessed 22 November
(3) See Sam Moyo and Prosper Matondi, Conflict Dimensions of Zimbabwe's Land
Reform Process, May 2001, p.15.
(4) Human Rights Watch interviews, July 2001.
(5) Cited in Cheater, Human Rights and Zimbabwe's June 2000 Election, p.34.
(6) Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, Political Violence Report January 2002.
(7) Human Rights Watch interview, union organizers, Harare, July 12, 2001.
(8) Human Rights Watch interview, Dr. Vincent Hungwe, Principal Director of
Land and Rural Resettlement, Harare, July 30, 2001.
(9) Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, Enforcing the Rule of Law in Zimbabwe,
Harare, September 2001.
(10) Human Rights Watch interviews, July 2001.
(11) See International Bar Association, Report of Zimbabwe Mission 2001,
(12) Human Rights Watch interviews, July 2001.
(13) Dede Amanor-Wilks, Zimbabwe's Farm Workers and the New Constitution, 12
February 2000, available on the Africa Policy Information Center home page,
www.africapolicy.org, accessed 21 December 2001; UNDP Interim Mission
Report, January 2002, p.35.
(14) UNDP Interim Mission Report, January 2002, p.35.
(15) Nevertheless, only 59 per cent of farm workers' children attended
primary school in 1997, compared to 79 per cent of children in communal
areas and 89 per cent of urban children. Catholic Institute for
International Relations, Land, Power and Poverty: Farm workers and the
crisis in Zimbabwe, London, 2000, p.23.
(16) Dede Amanor-Wilks, Zimbabwe's Farm Workers and the New Constitution, 12
February 2000, available on the Africa Policy Information Center home page,
(17) UNDP Interim Mission Report, January 2002, p.36.
(18) GAPWUZ, "Zimbabwe", in Southern Africa Regional Conference on Farm
Workers' Human Rights and Security, Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe,
(19) Section 18(1) of the Constitution stipulates that every person is
entitled to the protection of the law. Section 18(9) of the Constitution
says that every person is entitled to a fair hearing within a reasonable
time by an independent court. The independence of the judiciary is
guaranteed by section 79B.
(20) Although the government claimed that the demolished structures were
"illegal", Human Rights Watch found that many legal housing and business
structures were also destroyed during the evictions campaign. See Human
Rights Watch, "Clear the Filth: Mass Evictions and Demolitions in Zimbabwe",
A Human Rights Watch Background Briefing, 11 September 2005.
(21) Human Rights Watch "Clear the Filth": Mass Evictions and Demolitions in
Zimbabwe", A Human Rights Watch Background Briefing, 11 September 2005.
(22) UN Special Envoy on Human Settlement Issues in Zimbabwe, Mrs Anna
Kajumulo Tibaijuka, Report of the Fact-Finding Mission to Zimbabwe to Assess
the Scope and Impact of Operation Murambatsvina, 22 July 2005 [online],
http://www.unhabitat.org/documents/ZimbabweReport.pdf (accessed 22 November
(23) For more on further evictions of those displaced by the evictions see
Amnesty International, Zimbabwe: No Justice for the Victims of Forced
Evictions, September 2006.
(24) UN Special Envoy on Human Settlement Issues in Zimbabwe, Mrs Anna
Kajumulo Tibaijuka, Report of the Fact-Finding Mission to Zimbabwe to Assess
the Scope and Impact of Operation Murambatsvina, 22 July 2005 [online],
http://www.unhabitat.org/documents/ZimbabweReport.pdf (accessed 22 November
(25) Human Rights Watch, Evicted and Forsaken: Internally Displaced Persons
in the Aftermath of Operation Murambatsvina, 1 December 2005.
(26) Human Rights Watch interviews, Victoria Falls, Mutare and Harare, 26
September- 7 October 2005.
(27) Human Rights Watch interview with Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, 6
2005. Human Rights Watch visited and interviewed the internally displaced on
29 September, a few days before police visited the area.
(28) Human Rights Watch, Evicted and Forsaken: Internally Displaced Persons
in the Aftermath of Operation Murambatsvina, 1 December 2005.
(29) See Amnesty International, Zimbabwe: No Justice for the Victims of
Forced Evictions, AI Index: AFR 46/005/2006, September 2006.
(30) Human Rights Watch, Evicted and Forsaken: Internally Displaced Persons
in the Aftermath of Operation Murambatsvina, 1 December 2005.
(32) UN Special Envoy on Human Settlement Issues in Zimbabwe, Mrs Anna
Kajumulo Tibaijuka, Report of the Fact-Finding Mission to Zimbabwe to Assess
the Scope and Impact of Operation Murambatsvina, 22 July 2005 [online],
http://www.unhabitat.org/documents/ZimbabweReport.pdf (accessed 22 November
(33) Action Aid fact sheet, "Events, Outcomes and Responses to Operation
Murambatsvina," September 2005.
(34) Augustine Mukaro and Godfrey Marawanyika, "Govt rejects UN aid for
blitz victims," Zimbabwe Independent Newspaper, 2 September 2005 [online],
(accessed 22 November 2005).
(35) The UN country team in Zimbabwe had to submit the Plan to the donors
without the government's signature.
(36) Human Rights Watch, Evicted and Forsaken: Internally Displaced Persons
in the Aftermath of Operation Murambatsvina, 1 December 2005.
(38) International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies
(IFRC), "Zimbabwe assistance to the population affected by the clean up
exercise," 18 October 2005 [online],
http://www.ifrc.org/cgi/pdf_appeals.pl?05/05EA01602.pdf (retrieved 22
(39) Human Rights Watch, Evicted and Forsaken: Internally Displaced Persons
in the Aftermath of Operation Murambatsvina, 1 December 2005.
(40) Human Rights Watch, Evicted and Forsaken: Internally Displaced Persons
in the Aftermath of Operation Murambatsvina, 1 December 2005.
(41) Dato Param Cumaraswamy, the former UN Special Rapporteur on the
independence of judges and lawyers said: "The provision of adequate
protection to judges and lawyers when their safety is threatened is a basic
prerequisite for safeguarding the rule of law. This is simply fundamental,
in order to guarantee the right to a fair trial by an independent and
impartial tribunal and the protection of human rights. The apparent failure
to do so in this case represents a serious threat to the independent
judicial system in Zimbabwe." (United Nations Press release, 2 September
(42) For a detailed report, see IBA, Report of Zimbabwe Mission 2001, 2001,
(43) The Zimbabwe Independent, 9 March 2001.
(44) IBA, Report of Zimbabwe Mission 2001, 2001, p 56.
(45) Daily News, 28 August 2001, The Standard, 9 September 2001, The Daily
News, 17 August 2002 and The Herald, 21 February 2002.
(46) See press statement:
(47) Roy Martin, Judging By International Standards at
(48) Justice in Zimbabwe, Legal Resources Foundation Report, September 2002,
(49) See press statements
(50) See press statement: http://www.ibanet.org/iba/article.cfm?article=91
(51) ZLHR submissions to Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Justice, Legal
and Parliamentary Affairs, at
(52) Communication 129/94, Nigeria v. Civil Liberties Organization and
Communications 147/95 and 149/96, Sir Dawda K. Jawara v.Gambia para 74 where
the Commission held that: "By ousting the competence of the ordinary courts
to handle human rights cases, and ignoring court judgments, the Gambian
military government demonstrated clearly that the courts were not
independent. This is a violation of Article 26 of the Charter." Reported in
the 13th Annual Report of the Commission 99/2000.
(53) Chavunduka and Anor v. Commissioner of Police and Anor, 2000 (1) ZLR
(54) The Zimbabwe Independent, 9 January 2004 at
(55) IBA, Report of Zimbabwe Mission 2001, 2001, pp 40-45.
(56) "Mugabe warns of chaos", BBC News, at
(57) Testimony of the company's Legal Practitioner.
(58) Justice in Zimbabwe, Legal Resources Foundation Report, September 2002,
(59) He noted that the Media and Information Commission (MIC) was improperly
constituted and could not issue a certificate of registration to ANZ and
that the MIC should be properly constituted and issue ANZ with a certificate
(60) He said the order should remain in force and effect notwithstanding the
filing of any notice of appeal against it by the MIC.
(61) Zimbabwe Independent, Blessing Zulu, "Mugabe undermining Judiciary", 9
(62) See: UN Special Envoy on Human Settlement Issues in Zimbabwe, Mrs Anna
Kajumulo Tibaijuka, Report of the Fact-Finding Mission to Zimbabwe to Assess
the Scope and Impact of Operation Murambatsvina, 22 July 2005, para. 6.3, p.
(63) See African Commission, Communication No. 74/92 (1995), and No. 231/99
(64) Some estimates place the number of teachers who have fled Zimbabwe
(mainly for political reasons) at no less than 10,000. See:
(65) See Human Rights Watch, No Bright Future, June 2006
(66) ESR Review, Volume 6, no. 3, September 2005, available at
(67) Avocats Sans Frontières (on behalf of Bwampamye) v. Burundi, African
Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights, Communication No. 231/99 (2000).
(68) See for example, IBA press statement:
(69) Justice in Zimbabwe, Legal Resources Foundation Report, September 2002,
(70) IBA, Report of Zimbabwe Mission 2001, 2001, p 93.
(71) Public reports have documented that ZANU-PF has engaged in widespread
acts of violence, see for example Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, Monthly
Political Violence Reports at http://www.hrforumzim.com.
(72) IRINnews.org, 5 February 2004.
(73) Students Solidarity Trust Statement, 23 April 2004, www.kubatana.net.
(74) See: http://archive.ibanet.org/news/NewsItem.asp?newsID=127.
(75) See press statement:
(77) Executive Summary of the Report of the African Commission Fact-finding
Mission to Zimbabwe, 24th to 28th June 2002.
(78) See UN Human Rights Committee General Comment No. 29, para 11.
(81) See http://www.ibanet.org/iba/article.cfm?article=95.
(82) See Human Rights Committee General Comment No. 29, para 16.
(83) Communication 129/94, Nigeria v. Civil Liberties Organization and
Communications 147/95 and 149/96, Sir Dawda K. Jawara v.Gambia para 74 where
the Commission held that: "By ousting the competence of the ordinary courts
to handle human rights cases, and ignoring court judgments, the Gambian
military government demonstrated clearly that the courts were not
independent. This is a violation of Article 26 of the Charter." Reported in
the 13th Annual Report of the Commission 99/2000.
(84) Centre For Free Speech v. Nigeria, African Commission on Human and
Peoples' Rights, Comm. No. 206/97 (1999).
(85) For a detailed survey of the problem of torture in Zimbabwe see REDRESS
(June 2006), Torture in Zimbabwe, Past and Present: Prevention, Punishment,
(86) See Politically Motivated Violence in Zimbabwe 2000-2001, Zimbabwe
Human Rights NGO Forum, Harare, August 2001, pp.37-41; Amani (2002), Neither
Free nor Fair: High Court decisions on the petitions on the June 2000
General Election, Harare, Amani Trust.
(87) See for example the monthly Political Violence Reports published by the
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum since July 2001.
(88) See African Commission, Executive Summary of the fact-Finding Mission
to Zimbabwe 24th to 28th June 2002.
(89) See REDRESS (March 2005) Zimbabwe: The Face of Torture and Organised
Political Violence, page 7, referring to data collected by the Zimbabwe
Human Rights NGO Forum,
(90) See for example, ZWNEWS, 6 February 2004:
(91) See Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, An Analysis of the Zimbabwe Human
Rights NGO Forum Legal Cases, 1998-2006, June 2006, Harare.
(92) See Legal Forum (Harare), Vol 11, No 1, (March 1999).
(93) Legal Forum (Harare), Vol 11, No 1, (March 1999), page 15.
(94) Chavanduka & Anor v Commissioner of Police & Anor 2000 (1) ZLR 418 (S).
(95) Zimbabwe Online (SA) 21 February 2005.
(96) Blanchard and Others v Minister of Justice 1999 (2) ZLR 24 (S); 1999
(4) SA 1108 (ZS).
(97) S v Blanchard and Others 1999 (2) ZLR 168 (H).
(98) The other arrested war veterans who had originally been arrested with
Cain Nkala were tried and acquitted of Patrick Nabanyama's murder, on the
basis that they had indeed kidnapped him but then handed him over to Nkala.
Nkala was dead, Nabanyama's body had never been found, and there was no
evidence to link them to Nabanyama's death. They were never subsequently
charged with kidnapping, despite their admissions.
(99) The State v Sonny Nicholas Masera and Five Others, HH 50-2004, 2 March
(100) See Testimony to United States Congress House Committee on
International Relations 10 March 2004; Amnesty International Report 26 June
2003; Lawyers Committee for Human Rights Alert 17 January 2003; Zimbabwe
Human Rights NGO Forum, Political Violence Report, January 2003.
(101) Zimbabwe Financial Gazette 7 and 14 October 2004; Zimbabwe
Independent, 19 November 2004; Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, Political
Violence Report, September 2004. The newspaper that broke the story said the
youths were targeted as a result of internal party struggles surrounding a
notorious war veteran leader, Jabulani Sibanda.
(102) News24.com 3 May 2005,
(103) One recent example is S v Reza and Another HH - 2- 04 (Chinhengo and
Makakarau JJ) where the appellants were two policemen convicted of assault
with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, after assaulting a suspect with a
sjambok (a hard leather whip) on the soles of his feet. The appeal judges
held that the appellants' act fell within the realm of torture as defined in
(104) Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum: An Analysis of the Zimbabwe Human
Rights Forum NGO Legal Cases, 1998-2006, June 2006.
(105) See Malawi AA v Mauritania 13th Annual Activity Report (1999-2000);
John D Ouka v Kenya 14th Annual Activity Report (2000-2001); Krishna Achuan
(on behalf of Alice Banda) v Malawi 8th Annual Activity Report (1994-1995).
(106) 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, para. 513.
(107) Section 25 of the POSA refers to the crime of failing to comply with a
police order to disperse during a demonstration.
(108) Section 26 of the POSA refers to the crime of "knowingly" opposing or
failing to take heed of a police order not to hold a public meeting.
(109) Amnesty International interviews with the victims, February 2007.
(110) Amnesty International Report 2006, AI Index: POL 10/001/2006.
(111) Amnesty International, Zimbabwe: The toll of impunity, AI Index: AFR
46/034/2002, June 2002.
(113) BBC News, Zimbabwe's Controversial Legislation, 16 July 2002
(114) Law and Order Maintenance Act 1960, section 50(2)(a).
(116) Resolution on Zimbabwe adopted at the 38th Ordinary Session of the
African Commission on Human and People's Rights.
(117) Amnesty International, Zimbabwe: Rights Under Siege, 2 May 2003,
(118) Amnesty International Report 2006, "Zimbabwe", AI Index: POL
AI Index: AFR 46/016/2007 22 May 2007
By ANGUS SHAW, Associated Press Writer
HARARE, Zimbabwe - Momentum is building to start South African-brokered
talks to resolve to resolve the political and economic turmoil that has left
Zimbabwe impoverished and shunned by the West, opposition officials say.
But the opposition Movement for Democratic Change has again refused demands
that before talks proceed, it recognize President Robert Mugabe as the
nation's legitimately elected leader. That condition stalled two previous
The opposition alleges it has been robbed at parliamentary and presidential
races by violent intimidation of voters and ballot rigging. The opposition
also has demanded the repeal of sweeping media and security laws, electoral
reforms and an end to state-orchestrated political violence.
Officials said this week both main opposition parties were now considering
setting aside their demands in order to return to negotiations.
The officials asked not to be identified. South Africa has insisted on a
South African President Thabo Mbeki, appointed in March by the Southern
African Development Community to mediate on Zimbabwe, was given until the
end of June to return with concrete proposals on narrowing the wide
differences between Mugabe's ruling party and the opposition Movement for
"The situation here is impacting on the whole region and President Mbeki has
a deadline to meet," said one official.
Mugabe's fellow African leaders have heard repeated calls to do more to
press Mugabe to embark on reforms. But at the summit at which Mbeki - who
has long advocated quiet diplomacy over confrontation with Mugabe - was
appointed to mediate, the Southern African Development Community voiced full
support for Mugabe.
At another regional summit in Kenya this week, Mugabe had harsh words for
his opposition and his critics in the West, and was applauded by fellow
Earlier this month, Mbeki sent a delegation headed by Sydney Mufamadi, a
Cabinet minister, to Harare for talks with Mugabe.
Mufamadi did not meet with opposition leaders in Harare, but several top
aides of Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of one opposition faction, and rival
faction leader Arthur Mutambara have shuttled to and from South Africa in
There were suggestions for at least initial talks in June for Mbeki to
deliver to regional leaders, he said.
No comment was immediately available from the ruling party.
Ronnie Mamoepa, South African Foreign Affairs spokesman, would not confirm
any details of the mediation process.
"We are not going to comment except to say that mediations remain on
course," he said.
Friday, 25 May 2007
Former President Jerry John Rawlings and Zimbabwe Minister of Justice, Legal
and Parliamentary Affairs, Hon. Patrick Chinamasa, on Wednesday this week,
vehemently opposed each other on current political issues in Zimbabwe.
The former Ghanaian Head of State suggested to the Zimbabwean Minister and
his entourage to apologize to the people of Zimbabwe and others for troubles
that have come up as a result of President Mugabe's land reform policy.
The ex-president was of the view that, in the land reforms, it was possible
that toes were stepped on especially considering the manner in which the
policy was implemented.
But Minister Patrick Chinamasa totally disagreed and stated that they owed
no apology to anybody.
According to him, what the Zimbabwean government was seeking from the
African Union Chairman, President J.A Kufuor and his team was a defence of
African countries so that sanctions that have been imposed on Zimbabwe are
lifted to enable them access credit from international markets.
"We are not apologizing for anything. If there had not been any resistance
against us by going to European capitals campaigning against us and lobbying
the British not to own up to their commitment that would not have happened,"
he said, adding "clearly they must realize the consequences of resisting; is
not in their interest. So we have no apologies at all," he said.
The Minister made the observation when he led a team to pay a courtesy call
on the former President, at his Ridge residence.
"Somehow, we are not making much ammunition from the fact that, this is one
man, who has dealt with the most repugnant policy of the past as far as land
acquisition issues are concerned. This is one man who has stood up and
actually fought against imperialist policy. Admittedly, some aspects of it
were a little bit too painful in terms of the manner in which it was
approached. I believe that can be apologized for, for we all make mistakes,"
were the words of the former president.
Minister Chinamasa, who was accompanied by H.E. Ambassador Musaka,
Zimbabwean Ambassador to Ghana; Mr. David Mangota, Secretary for Justice,
Legal and Parliamentary Affairs; Mr. Water Tapjumaneyi, from the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs; Mr. Wayne Vudzijena, Ministry of Home Affairs; Mrs. Monilla
Kuhenee, Ministry of Justice and Mr. Jeremiah Mukota, Deputy Ambassador,
further explained to the ex-President why there was no need to render an
apology to the people of his country but rather stressed the need for the
lifting of sanctions.
According to him, the Zimbabwean government remained a principled one and
was prepared to accord everybody equal rights irrespective of where one came
He stated that it was unfortunate that people who had refused to apply for
the re-allocation of lands were now crying all over.
Hon. Patrick Chinamasa who again disagreed with the ex-president over the
latter's assertions that perhaps, the land reform policy could result in the
whites leaving Zimbabwe with all their scientific competence, said sanctions
should be lifted; "we don't need the largesse from the IMF or the World
Bank. For the past 10 years we have been operating on our own resources
without any financial support, which demonstrates the resilience of our
economy. We have been pummeled as far as we are concerned and all that we
are asking for is the lifting of the sanctions".
The visit which afforded all the members the opportunity to openly discuss
matters saw the Zimbabwean Minister argue that his government was battling
seriously with the issues of de-colonisation and charged the AU under the
chairmanship of President Kufuor to ensure that the liberation process,
which was started some years back, would be completed.
Jerry Rawlings, after listening attentively to the explanations from the
Minister whom he consistently referred to as "Chief" took a swipe at the
Western Media for blacking out the other side of the story.
"Thank you. But the point is that some of these things are kept from some of
us. Maybe, some of us are speaking from the perception of the Western Media
who are against you.
"Or maybe, this is where a lot more effort had been made but I am saying
that recently, the Zimbabwean government began to make some moves with
regard to what they perceived as areas of rejection, as far as acquisition
of land was concerned."
Before he proceeded, the Minister of Justice interjected and said, "What we
are saying is that, the objective of the struggles must be realized. We did
it by nationalizing our farm lands," adding that any Zimbabwean was eligible
for allocation of land irrespective. of whether the person is white or
black. "If you are a black or white citizen you would all queue and make the
application," he said.
Continuing, Flt. Lt. Rawlings who had with him, his wife, Nana Konadu
Agyeman-Rawlings; Mr. James Victor Gbeho, former Foreign Minister and Mr.
Emmanuel Victor Smith, his Special Assistant who is also the Managing Editor
of Weekly Standard, said, "from what we are seeing under this unipolar
exercise of power, the right of might under the leadership of some of these
Western Powers is actually made to supercede the philosophy of the might of
Describing President Mugabe as a good leader for, "his sense of patriotism,"
he said perhaps some of the scenes that were captured by the Western media
and broadcast were designed to demonize the policies of the Zimbabwean
After launching his usual attacks on British Prime Minister Tony Blair and
U.S. President George W. Bush, he said, "what I want to say is that the
fight against neo-colonialism appears to be a more Herculean task than the
fight against colonialism. It appears we have got a long way to go."
He did not also mince words on what he thought was wrong on the part of the
Pope and the outgoing Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo.
|Friday, 25 May 2007, 06:45 GMT 07:45 UK
|Judith Melby, an
Africa specialist with aid agency Christian Aid, says that Zimbabwe's economic
and political crisis has also led to a moral decline.
"They know that a quick deal on the black market can give them the same amount as a month's salary."
Like many people in Zimbabwe, she did not wish to be identified.
Students milling about in the sunshine at the University of Zimbabwe don't have much faith in degrees either.
Tuition fees increase every term and students find it impossible to pay even for notebooks, much less books.
You have to go on the black market in order to pay for all this.
"It is so hypocritical," said one young student.
"All those people in power received free education under [former white minority leader] Ian Smith or from the missionaries. They don't care that we can't afford the education; also all the good teachers have left. Is it any surprise we look for other ways to get money?"
The government has warned there will be wheat shortages in the coming months because farmers have only planted 10% of the required winter wheat crop.
Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation of 3,700% is destroying the economy.
The official rate for $1 is 250 Zimbabwe dollars but on the black market $1 can net you more than 40,000 Zimbabwe dollars.
That's fine if you can get your hands on foreign exchange, but what happens if you can't?
"I earn 200,000 [Zimbabwe] dollars a month," said a security guard.
"But cooking oil costs 90,000 and I still haven't paid for food, rent, clothes, school fees and transport to work. How am I supposed to live?"
The worthless currency is also one of the reasons people are fleeing the country; by some estimates up to one-third of Zimbabweans now live abroad.
"It is impossible to find farm workers," complains a farmer outside Bulawayo in the south of the country.
"They prefer to chance their luck in South Africa where at least the money is worth something. Even if it is dangerous crossing the border and they risk being deported back home."
The Christian Alliance is an organisation, supported by Christian Aid, which is seeking to find a peaceful transition to democracy.
It wants to participate in the mediation efforts by South African President Thabo Mbeki.
But the alliance sees the restoration of traditional values as just as important as the reform of government institutions.
"We are a very divided society," said Christian Alliance coordinator Jonah Gokovah.
"As a result we have become very suspicious of each other. People are finding all kinds of ways of surviving and that is turning a large number of our people into criminals."
This struggle for survival corrupts everyone.
The security services have infiltrated opposition groups and informing on others is common.
"We have lived in a society for a long time now that has tended to reward political criminals," Mr Gokova said.
"Those who engage in violence need to be punished openly and those who are seeking to promote peaceful coexistence need to be rewarded for those actions."
The director of an aid agency, who also did not want to be identified, said she felt she was ridiculed when she travelled abroad.
"They think that if you are still in Zimbabwe you must be stupid; they say anyone intelligent would have left long ago."
And she worries any change may come too late for a return to the Zimbabwe she knew when she was a child, a Zimbabwe that cherished and rewarded education and hard graft.
"The warmth of the people's hearts is slipping away."
Saturday 26 May 2007
By Nqobizitha Khumalo
BULAWAYO - Armed war veterans last week violently broke up a meeting called
by the Christian Alliance, a coalition of churches fighting for political
change in Zimbabwe, to launch a women's branch in the Midlands town of
President Robert Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party has in the past seven years
used veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation war as its foot soldiers to
harass and crush the ruling party's political opponents.
The war veterans, who were armed with axes and knobkerries, stormed the
Roman Catholic Church Parish in Redcliff and ordered that the Christian
Alliance should not proceed with plans to launch a women's branch in the
They also threatened to kidnap Father Mapfumo, who presides over the
Catholic Church in Redcliff working class suburb if he allowed the group to
proceed with the launch in his church.
The war veterans accused the Christian Alliance leadership of plotting
together with the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to
overthrow Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe's independence from Britain 27
Christian Alliance national co-ordinator, Useni Sibanda, confirmed the
disturbances in Kwekwe.
"War veterans disrupted the launch and threatened local pastors with death
if they allowed the launch to proceed. We cancelled the event because they
were threatening to beat up women who would attend the launch.
"They also threatened Father Mapfumo and said he should not dare allow the
launch to take place in his church," Sibanda said.
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena could not be reached for comment on the
The war veterans have since 2000 been a virtual law unto itself after they
spearheaded the violent seizure of white farms as part of Mugabe's efforts
to redistribute land to landless blacks.
Scores of white farmers and over a hundred supporters of the MDC party were
killed during the political disturbances, sparking a waver of international
condemnation for Mugabe's government.
Mugabe has since last March stepped up a crackdown on the opposition and
other voices of dissension ahead of key presidential and parliamentary
elections next year that political analysts have said he and his party could
lose. - ZimOnline
25th May 2007 23:20 GMT
By a Correspondent
REDRESS, the international NGO working to obtain justice and reparation for
torture survivors, today calls on the African Commission for Human and
Peoples' Rights (ACHPR) to firmly address Zimbabwe's torture record, which
is rapidly spiraling out of control.
Recently, human rights lawyers in particular have been targeted, including
Zimbabwe Law Society President Ms Beatrice Mtetwa who earlier this month was
severely beaten by police when she and
other human rights defenders were participating in a peaceful protest
outside the Harare High Court.
"This blatant and public attack puts torture into the spotlight and cannot
be ignored," said Carla Ferstman, REDRESS' Director.
Ms. Mtetwa and her colleagues are the latest victims of an alarming new
trend of violence.
Starting in March 2007, we have seen the open serious assaults on high
profile MDC leaders including Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, as well as the abduction
and torture of students, trade unionists and journalists. Beatings and other
forms of torture are no longer only taking place behind closed doors but are
now deliberately unleashed in
The ACHPR is well placed to act and must send a clear message that torture
is unacceptable in all circumstances.
The latest trend must be seen in the context of the deteriorating human
rights situation over the last decade. In a recent Report produced by
REDRESS and four other leading international human
rights organizations - ZIMBABWE: Human Rights in Crisis - REDRESS analyses
the endemic nature of torture in Zimbabwe and shows how torture survivors
have little if any realistic prospect of obtaining reparations under the
"The Zimbabwe Government continues to be responsible for widespread and
systematic human rights violations, including torture, and there is little
sign of either a decline in violations or of any serious action to
investigate allegations and prosecute offenders" said REDRESS' Director.
"There have been numerous reports of victims who have tried to report an
abuse to the police, only to be detained and further abused by the police
themselves," she said.
The REDRESS chapter includes several high-profile case studies where torture
survivors were subjected to severe beatings, electric shocks, water
immersion, or falanga, including journalists,
opposition activists (grass-roots workers as well as an MP and human rights
lawyer) and even Zanu-PF supporters involved in factional disputes.
The Report ZIMBABWE: Human Rights in Crisis, was submitted this month as a
Shadow Report to the ACHPR meeting in Ghana from 16-30 May 2007, in response
to Zimbabwe lodging its first periodic
State Party report on the status of human rights protection to the
Commission since 1996.
The fact that five international human rights organisations have come
together to produce this Shadow Report illustrates the gravity of abuse,
contrary to the view of the Zimbabwe Government in its State Party report
that it has shown commitment to the development and protection of human
In seeking to ensure that all the information gathered is made available to
the ACHPR to determine the status of human rights violations in Zimbabwe in
the last ten years, the Shadow Report addresses the following key areas:
Human rights violations during the land ownership reform programme and
Operation Murambatsvina (the forcible clearing of slums) (Human Rights
Watch); Attacks on the rule of law (International Bar Association); Torture
and ill treatment (REDRESS); Violation of the rights of freedom of
association and assembly (Amnesty International);Violations of the right of
freedom of expression (ARTICLE 19).
Note: A copy of the Shadow Report ZIMBABWE: Human Rights in Crisis can be
A copy of Zimbabwe's State Party report submitted to the ACHPR can be found
For further information contact:
The Redress Trust
3rd Floor, 87 Vauxhall Walk
London SE11 5HJ
Tel: +44 (0)20 7793 1777
Fax: +44 (0)20 7793 1719
Business Day (Johannesburg)
25 May 2007
Posted to the web 25 May 2007
MUCH has been said recently, since the assault on Movement for Democratic
Change leaders, about SA's foreign policy on Zimbabwe. Consensus in the
media appears to be tending toward approval of Southern African Development
Community- (SADC-) supported talks. The justification for this, however,
seems tenuous. It is not as if President Robert Mugabe has not committed
himself to talks before, only to renege on the agreement. His public
statements since the SADC meeting in Dar es Salaam, combined with reports of
increased human rights abuses, suggest that the pressure that was applied
behind closed doors is not having much impact, and neither is it likely to.
"So what?" say the critics scornfully. "What should we do, invade? Cut off
the power supply? There is no precedent for such actions by a legitimate
African government against a sovereign state." Actually, there is. At the
height of Idi Amin's murderous regime and after much provocation, one of the
heroes of the African independence movement, Julius Nyerere, sent Tanzanian
forces into Uganda, and Amin was overthrown. True, he was replaced by Milton
Obote, who was by all accounts not a great improvement, but on the other
hand we do not know how much worse Amin would have become.
In addition, while Nyerere was provoked by cross-border attacks
and we have not been, it is quite reasonable to argue that a flood of
millions of refugees across a border is also provocation of sorts.
The refugees are, of course, merely the symptom of the deeper problem. Yet
instead of attempting to assuage the symptoms while attacking the root
cause, current policy does the opposite. Instead of dealing humanely with
refugees, it effectively attacks them (putting them in repatriation centres,
exposing them to dangerous illegal border crossings and depriving them of
even vaguely certain livelihoods), while mollycoddling the administration
that is the core of the infection.
But perhaps we should still rule out invasion on pragmatic grounds; given
the one botched incident in Lesotho we certainly do not seem to have the
capacity for such an operation anyway.
What about severing all economic and infrastructure relations and support
with the Mugabe regime? "Oh no," say the critics, "that will just hurt the
Zimbabwean people." But what if the Zimbabwean people are prepared to pay
During apartheid, this claim -- that sanctions would "hurt innocent
people" -- was often thrown in the face of antiapartheid activists
campaigning for an end to international relations with the apartheid
In the mid-1980s, Mark Orkin, the first head of Statistics SA after 1994,
led a team of researchers whose express aim was to get the opinion of "the
people" on sanctions.
They did this through a carefully designed survey across various regions of
the country to get as close as possible to the views of the majority. Their
finding: the vast majority of respondents supported sanctions aimed at
bringing down the apartheid regime.
Two things stand out here. First, that once again we have a precedent --
contrary to the claims of the "quiet diplomacy" naysayers. Second, we might
pause for a moment and ask ourselves what might happen if someone tried to
conduct a similar kind of survey in Zimbabwe right now -- whatever the
findings might be. The answer is that it would likely not be pleasant, if
the brutal attacks on all forms of dissent and free media are anything to go
by. What does that say about what is happening in Zimbabwe relative to what
happened in apartheid SA?
The critics of more forthright policies on Zimbabwe are merely one
consequence of a crude reactionary element in post-independence Africa which
opposes every view put forward by "the west". The ironic result of this is
that as Africans we continue to define our policies by the views of the
developed world, rather than striking out on an independent, principled path
of our own.
Contrary to what you might be thinking, this article is not arguing for
either an invasion of, or a thoughtless severing of ties with, the Zimbabwe
controlled by Mugabe. What it aims to demonstrate is the ignorance and
hypocrisy of those who now would casually dismiss all alternatives to the
current failed engagement -- and let us be clear, it has failed.
They refuse even to see the nightmare that has been visited upon the
Zimbabwean people, and so are blind to the real possibilities -- however
distorted -- for a future.
Muller is a masters student in applied economics and Public Policy
Partnership Fellow at the University of Cape Town. He writes in his personal
HARARE, May 25 (IPS) - Attempts to convince Zimbabweans to stay in their
country are futile as long as the political and economic crisis continues,
say activists and politicians.
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has launched a campaign
in Zimbabwe to dissuade the youth from crossing the border to neighbouring
But Nicholas Mukaronda, coordinator of the Crisis In Zimbabwe Coalition
based in South Africa, said that economic stabilisation is the only lasting
solution to migration dynamics facing the southern African nation.
''Unless the people are assured of a stable economic situation, nothing will
lure exiled youths back,'' Mukaronda told IPS.
Wilson Khumbula, an opposition politician, also said that especially young
men will continue to desert their communities for neighbouring countries.
''Girls are turning to prostitution and young men are crossing the borders
illegally because of the economic hardships and political retribution.
Unless these fundamental issues are addressed, we will see more
border-crossing,'' added Khumbula.
Moses Churu, a 30-year-old man who was recently deported, confirmed what
Mukaronda and Khumbula said: ''I am trying to find my way back to South
Africa. I know the risks but I do not have any choice. Things are hard
According to IOM statistics, 25 percent of deported youths unsuccessfully
applied for passports. Some 28 percent stated that the high cost of a visa
deterred them from applying for one.
Acquiring a South African visa is a far-fetched idea for many as one has to
produce traveller's cheques worth 2,000 South African rand (about 285 US
It is also becoming increasingly difficult for ordinary Zimbabweans to get
passports. The registry temporarily suspended the processing of passports
last year due to high costs.
IOM opened a youth information centre, called Safe Zone, in Chiredzi in the
south-western part of Zimbabwe earlier this month. Chiredzi is only two
hours from the border with South Africa, and is therefore an area where high
numbers of border jumpers pass through.
The centre also provides a haven for deportees who have returned home.
''Safe Zone is a place where youths can enjoy themselves and be informed
through daily education sessions on safe migration, responsible sexual
practices and HIV prevention,'' Nicola Simmonds, IOM Zimbabwe's
communications officer told IPS.
IOM has also launched a ''safe journey road show'' which goes around
Zimbabwe. The road show is done with a truck that converts into a stage and
a giant movie screen with a crew of actors trained in interactive theatre.
Through audiovisual information packages, the target audience is drawn in by
music, dance and film.
They can win t-shirts, posters and music cassettes. The messaging revolves
around illegal migration, human trafficking and HIV/AIDS.
''I have seen the films and they are good. They are in local languages. I
have learnt a lot. It has made me think twice about border jumping,'' said
Solo Chauke of Tshovani township in Chiredzi.
''The response has been amazing so far. We draw huge crowds every night.
During the day we have youth clubs that help spread the message in the
community,'' added Simmonds.
IOM bases its activities on statistics that an estimated 17,500 illegal
migrants are being deported every month from neighbouring South Africa and
Botswana. Some 70 percent of deportees are from south east Zimbabwe.
IOM has initiated hairdressing and carpentry income-generating projects and
plans are underway to help illegal Zimbabwean migrants in cities like
Johannesburg to return home.
One such initiative received an indifferent response in the United Kingdom.
IOM offered packages worth 3,000 British pounds (about 4,300 US dollars) for
voluntary repatriation but the initiative failed. Thousands of Zimbabweans
are illegally living overseas, with an unofficial figure that 2,5 million
are residing in South Africa alone.
A support centre was set up at the Zimbabwe-South Africa border post town of
Beit Bridge. To date, thousands have benefited from the centre by receiving
medication and travelling money. A shocking number of 1,450 unaccompanied
children have also passed through the centre.
Khumbula is concerned that the ruling party, ZANU-PF, will hijack the IOM
programme. ''We are heading towards the 2008 elections. ZANU PF will use its
old trick of hijacking these projects.''
By Lance Guma
25 May 2007
Police have banned rallies and demonstrations in 4 districts of Harare until
the 23rd June citing what they called 'recent disturbances.' Police
spokesman Andrew Mandipaka told journalists they wanted to avoid problems
such as the looting and bombing of police stations, an excuse used to effect
the first ban in February this year. The ban expired on the 20th May and the
extension has taken many by surprise, given that security forces have been
on the offensive abducting and torturing opposition activists.
Areas covered by the extended ban include Mbare District, Harare Suburban,
Harare South, and Harare Central. Our correspondent Simon Muchemwa reports
that for some strange reason the district that covers areas like Mabvuku, a
traditional hotbed of opposition demonstrations, has not been included in
the ban. The MDC recently launched operation 'free them now' to put pressure
on the government to release 32 of its officials locked up in Harare's
remand prison for over 2 months. The exercise is said to include extensive
diplomatic lobbying regionally and internationally to put pressure on Mugabe's
It's not known however if there is a link between the MDC campaign and the
renewed police ban. The opposition party has been putting posters around the
country with the names of all the officials in jail and there are fears in
government circles this could galvanise MDC supporters into action. A legal
challenge to the first police ban declared in February is still awaiting a
ruling by the country's courts. The MDC has in the past argued the ban
constitutes an undeclared state of emergency and preceded a brutal attack on
its leadership, including their President Morgan Tsvangirai.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Blessing Zulu
25 May 2007
Zimbabwe's opposition and civic groups have expressed outrage at the
announcement by Harare, Thursday, that it had extended its ban on political
rallies and public demonstrations, for another month, with immediate effect.
The two factions of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, joined
hands in condemning the state's actions, and promised to defy the ban, which
is restricted to four districts of the capital - Mbare, Harare South,
Central and Suburban.
The government's latest ban in the four districts, which ends June 23, is an
extension of the one police enforced in February, in Mbare and Harare South
district, fearing an outbreak of rioting. That ban expired on May 20.
Chairman Lovemore Madhuku of the National Constitutional Assembly, also said
his organization would intensify its defiance campaigns, despite the ban.
Police spokesman, chief superintendent Oliver Mandipaka, told VOA the bans
were put in place to curb political violence, and that they would be
reviewed periodically. Senior police officers in Harare, have accused the
MDC of launching a violence campaign of beating up police officers, and
throwing petrol bombs into police stations, and other civilian targets.
The opposition has dismissed the charges as a cover up for the ongoing
crackdown on the opposition.
Spokesman Nelson Chamisa, of the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC faction, told
reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe, that Harare is now in
an undeclared state of emergency. The Deputy secretary general Priscilla
Misihairambwi-Mushonga, of the rival MDC faction led by Arthur Mutambara,
told reporter Zulu that the government is being clearly undemocratic.
But ZANU-PF Information Secretary Nathan Shamuyarira, told reporter Zulu,
that the ban is necessary to curb opposition violence.
By Violet Gonda
25 May 2007
Pressure is mounting on the African Commission, which is currently sitting
in Ghana, to take urgent steps against the human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
Five leading international human rights groups came together and issued a
joint shadow report expressing concern and refuting a propaganda report that
was submitted by the Mugabe regime to the Commission.
Despite denials by the Zimbabwe government, scores of opposition and civic
activists have been under attack for several years now, but the last three
months have seen an escalation of state sponsored violence, including
abductions and killings. Since March the attacks have also spread to include
lawyers, journalists and church leaders.
Kevin Laue from REDRESS, an international NGO working to obtain justice and
reparation for torture survivors, said the shadow report (ZIMBABWE: Human
Rights in Crisis) is to give the Africa Commission an alternative
perspective, at a time when it is considering the Zimbabwe government's
State Party Report. The government document carefully ignores or denies the
state sponsored violence and the collapse of the country
Laue said REDRESS has done a chapter on torture, Human Rights Watch on land
reform and the Murambatsvina catastrophe which displaced more than 700 000
people, Amnesty International on questions of freedom of association and
assembly, the Article 19 chapter deals with freedom of expression issues
analyzing attacks on journalists, and the International Bar Association
wrote a section analyzing rule of law issues and attacks on the legal
Groups like REDRESS say they are becoming increasingly concerned about the
welfare of victims of torture in Zimbabwe and human rights doctors have
recently expressed concern over the condition of the 32 political detainees
who have been in custody for two months. Many of the prisoners were abducted
from their homes and tortured in police custody.
REDRESS' Director Carla Ferstman said: "This blatant and public attack puts
torture into the spotlight and cannot be ignored." The group called on the
African body to send a clear message that torture is unacceptable in all
circumstances. The group said such is the widespread nature of torture in
Zimbabwe that the survivors have little if any realistic prospect of
obtaining reparations under the present regime. "There have been numerous
reports of victims who have tried to report an abuse to the police, only to
be detained and further abused by the police themselves," Ferstman said.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
May 25, 2007 Edition 1
Momentum is building to start South African-brokered talks to resolve
Zimbabwe's deepening crisis.
But the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has again refused
demands that before talks proceed, it recognises President Robert Mugabe as
the nation's legitimately elected leader. That condition stalled two
The opposition claims it has been robbed at parliamentary and presidential
elections by violent intimidation of voters and ballot rigging. The
opposition also has demanded the repeal of sweeping media and security laws,
electoral reforms and an end to state-orchestrated political violence.
Yet both main opposition parties are considering setting aside their demands
in a bid to get to the negotiating table, where the demands can be tackled
later, say opposition officials.
"There must be an environment where there are no conditions and where no
issue is taboo in negotiations," said one official who asked not to be
South Africa has insisted that none of any likely participants in talks,
including representatives of civic groups, air their negotiating positions
through the media and has enforced a news blackout, saying the new
initiative will not be conducted through the media.
President Thabo Mbeki, appointed in March by the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) to mediate on Zimbabwe, was given until the end
of June to return with concrete proposals on narrowing the chasm between
Mugabe's ruling party and the MDC.
The official said: "The pressure is on. The situation is impacting on the
whole region and President Mbeki has a deadline to meet."
African leaders have heard repeated calls to do more to press Mugabe to
embark on reforms. But at the summit at which Mbeki - who has long advocated
quiet diplomacy over confrontation with Mugabe - was appointed to mediate,
the SADC voiced full support for Mugabe.
At another regional summit in Kenya this week, Mugabe had harsh words for
his opposition and his critics in the West, and was applauded by fellow
Earlier this month, Mbeki sent a delegation, headed by Provincial and Local
Government Minister Sydney Mufamadi, to Harare for talks with Mugabe.
Mufamadi did not meet with opposition leaders in Harare, but several top
aides of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and rival faction leader Arthur
Mutambara have shuttled to and from South Africa in recent weeks.
Mutambara, his secretary-general Welshman Ncube and Ncube's opposite number
in the Tsvangirai group, Tendai Biti, have met South African officials in
In line with the South African news blackout, none has confirmed reports of
a meeting in South Africa with Mugabe's justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa,
the ruling party's chief negotiator in previous failed talks.
Opposition officials dismissed as "rubbish" media reports that secret talks
were already on track.
But "something has to be done to find a way forward and it has to be done
urgently", said one official.
There were suggestions for at least initial talks in June for Mbeki to
deliver to regional leaders, he said.
Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ronnie Mamoepa would not confirm any details of
the mediation process. "Mediation is a process, not an event. We are not
going to comment except to say that mediations are on course."
Zimbabwe's economic meltdown worsened this month as inflation spiralled to a
record 3 714%, the highest in the world. Consumer prices doubled in April,
according to the official Central Statistical Office, putting basic goods
out of the reach of citizens.
SW Radio Africa
on Tuesday 23 May 2007
See part one of this topic with Moeletsi Mbeki and Brian Kagoro
Violet Gonda: My guests on the programme Hot Seat this week are Brian Kagoro a political commentator, Tapera Kapuya coordinator of the National Constitutional Assembly and Ralph Black the deputy representative of the MDC in North America .
The discussion centres on the controversial targeted sanctions issue, the restrictions imposed on members of the Mugabe regime by western countries. The Zimbabwe government blames the crisis in the country on the sanctions while the West says they are targeted sanctions against individuals and will only be removed if the rule of law is restored in Zimbabwe . But the regime is now saying the sanctions must be removed as a pre-condition before talks can begin.
We received quite a few responses from last week’s debate with Moeletsi Mbeki during which Brian Kagoro said the issue of sanctions should be reconsidered as a way of getting the stakeholders to the negotiating table. So I will start with Brian. What is your understanding of the restrictions imposed by the West.
Brian Kagoro: There are two separate types. The ones that were imposed under the Cotonou Arrangement by the EU. Those are purely travel bans and they affect individuals that are named in the EU list – that list has grown as large as 96. They were indiscriminately applied to all senior ranking ZANU PF members. Then under ZIDERA, in fact Lovemore Madhuku, myself and Tawanda Hondora did an analysis of ZIDERA …
Violet: The Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act
Brian Kagoro: That’s correct and at the time we issued what became the official – the regional official Crisis Coalition position dissociating ourselves from ZIDERA. Partly because on the face of it ZIDERA really is a non issue accept that I think it was the then clause 3A or 3C that said all representatives of the United States government, the IMF and the World Bank would veto – would have the right to veto any support to Zimbabwe should the matter be tabled before them. So that meant that representatives to all international and financial institutions carried a veto vote, which is anti, until such a time as democracy would be restored to Zimbabwe and that support would only be towards specific pro-democracy entities. There were no objections at the time to support to civil society, to radios and to issues like that.
In the broad context there are no economic sanctions in the nature you have in South Africa , against Zimbabwe . There are no military sanctions or diplomatic sanctions in the nature that you have seen the Americans impose on others like Libya and elsewhere. So there are two issues there; the ZANU PF broad reference to sanctions is misleading because it suggests sanctions in the broad sense that its sanctions against the country, but even in common opposition speak the understanding of what subsist seems to be limited because ZIDERA itself was not subjected to any broad discussion save within the space of the so called then ‘think tanks’ that were constituted. There was no broad civic engagement with ZIDERA.
But let me then, from there also say there is a third regime of sanctions which are popular people to people sanctions. Which is when people, consumers boycott popular products made by particular companies because they are controlled by interests that don’t uphold certain values. Those don’t currently exist against Zimbabwe because those are not pushed by an ideology of particular countries. They fall into a separate category and I will explain with time later on why my position on people to people sanctions is different from a position that grants veto powers in the IMF and World Bank as well as the governmental sanctions.
And my position last week let me restate it; it’s simply that the opposition gained in my view nothing significant from travel bans and that if the choice were between ordinary Zimbabweans and the opposition being allowed to campaign freely in rural areas against scrapping of travel bans, because that’s really the only substantive operative form of targeted sanctions that exist, I don’t see, if the choice as I understand it is between the ability and the freedom to do that particular level of organising ahead of the 2008 election – and that is where the catch is at – then I am not sure why any particular person would insist that there is a real choice between travel bans and that anybody should really be in serious contention with ZANU over the travel bans.
Violet: Ok let me move to Ralph Black, as he is an opposition official. Now Ralph the MDC says there are targeted sanctions and that there are no trade sanctions against Zimbabwe but it is a fact that the IMF and the World Bank are treating Zimbabwe as a pariah state and that could be interpreted as sanctions. Don’t you agree with this?
Ralph Black: I understand that ZANU PF would use it as mileage and say that there are sanctions because the IMF and World Bank don’t want to deal with them and the IMF and World Bank I believe have a structured process of reasoning as to why they would not deal with ZANU PF. However the travel ban, I will disagree with Brian slightly, in that the travel ban has a nuisance factor that is causing a great amount of annoyance among ZANU PF officials because they are unable to travel to certain countries and deal in diamonds or purchase equipment and visit their children. Basically restrictive measures that have a higher annoyance value, a nuisance value than any substantive value and it is this annoyance that is causing a lot of pain within ZANU PF. They are unable to strike deals in America, if Gideon Gono or anyone on the travel ban comes to America - they have to come on an official business - their visas are only given with the condition that they cannot travel 20miles outside the radius of the World Bank or IMF. Which leaves a very small place for these men to operate based on their business dealings and interests in many of the foreign countries, mainly Britain and to some extent America . And so the fact that ZANU PF has raised the issue that sanctions must be repealed is nothing more than a negotiation ploy. They understand they have their backs against the wall. The demands being made by the opposition if they were to be met even in part would weaken their grip substantially within the country and so…
Violet: But what about the issue of the IMF and the World Bank?
Ralph Black: Well the IMF and World Bank basically don’t, any bank would not give money to any individual that first of all doesn’t have collateral and secondly has no capacity to repay a loan and I think this is why the IMF and World Bank don’t want to deal with Zimbabwe. When Robert Mugabe compulsory acquired land he destroyed the
collateral-bility of that land and he hampered that means by which Zimbabwe could raise foreign currency to make the balance of payment dues and interest payments on loans. So the World Bank has said simply “the fact that you have reduced your own capacity to repay these loans we are not prepared to forward you any money.”
So I think that’s the thinking, the general thinking behind the IMF and World Bank funds. And also in the past five or six years the IMF and World Bank are beginning to change their model simply from giving money to African countries and not demanding some sort of accountability. I know that the Fund has products that help the Central Bank – the Reserve Bank trade and follow donor funds and hold people accountable. The World Bank under Paul Wolfowitz and now probably somebody new from the United States within the Bush Administration were also looking at curbing corruption and the siphoning off of funds by governments that was meant for development aid not for their pockets. So there are a number of factors that led them to that decision but what precipitated their actions was the inability of Zimbabwe to adopt economic reforms and secondly the destruction of the collateral-bility of land – the violation of private property law or private property rights, led them to believe that “listen we can’t just keep giving Zimbabwe money and there is no chance of it being repaid based on their policy.”
Violet: Now Tapera, Brian said as the leadership of the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition they actually opposed ZIDERA, what is the position of the National Constitutional Assembly as far as ZIDERA is concerned and the sanctions in general?
Tapera Kapuya: I thinklike what Brian has said, I think he has spoken much in effective representation of the position of the broader civic movement within Zimbabwe that there is a general consensus that no one supports ZIDERA. But it’s a separate issue when one begins to think around issues about personal sanctions effected on individuals members of the ruling clique of Zimbabwe and personal sanctions in the category of person to person. But I also think, probably in a personal capacity, that we must not de-historify Zimbabwe . There are a number of other issues we have to put into context here. That Zimbabwe is not necessarily suffering economically as a result of the sanctions. The Zimbabwean crisis did not emanate from 1989. The economic crisis was already obtaining post the ‘80s, when we entered into the ‘90s our adoption of the economic structural adjustment and failed policies, corruption and so forth, this is where much of the economic crisis began to be felt so I think its part of the historic context as well which should be put into place and the 1996 food riots or the retrenchments which we saw in ‘94 and so forth were not a result of the sanctions which we are beginning to see now.
So I think the discussion around the economic meltdown, the economic crisis which we are experiencing must be taken within the historic context which acknowledges that economic failure, failures around national economic development was already obtaining prior to these sanctions being put in place and I just felt that was one picture of the general context of the economic meltdown which we have to put in place. And as well following up on the previous debate in which Brian made his contributions where he suggested that we must within the broader pro-democracy movement consider the lifting of sanctions if that would make Mugabe to go. I think I would be speaking for the majority of Zimbabweans in saying that should not be an issue. We must not and we must never be made to feel that our liberation of freedom is dependant on the charity or goodwill of Mugabe. I think if there is any pressure, which has to be applied, it must be continued to be applied.
Ralph Black: And I agree with Tapera. I think the notion that we must lift the travel ban as a goodwill measure in the negotiations is overly simplistic. Robert Mugabe does not require a visa to Britain to reconsider his dictatorial position and our advocacy, and it’s my personal position, that ZIDERA – which has lapsed in a way that has been ineffective in a way, needs to be revisited by the Americans and in the run up to the next year’s elections have another stick and carrot arrangement if Mugabe does not adopt democratic reforms. The country will be further isolated, his party and regime will face stringent measures that must be broader to include some legislators who support undemocratic legislation that will inevitably perpetuate Mugabe’s rule.
Brian Kagoro: Violet, let me state the full contradictions that I hear from my two colleagues. Ideologically I think Tapera and I agree. Tapera for example appropriately places the historical context of the economic crisis as being linked to the structural adjustment programmes of the World Bank and the IMF. Which relate to this whole thing of collateralisation of land, treating historically and inequitably acquired private title to land as sacrosanct and making that a condition precedent for judging whether or not a country is democratic. So there are ideological contradictions. The first one is that many of us opposed not the land reform programme but the violence that attended it and this was consistently the position of people in the broader civic movement. So let me make that one point. But number two, I raised the issue of sanctions because they are as we understand negotiations behind closed doors going on between ZANU PF and MDC that are going to be facilitated by SADC. Now to be realistic, if your leaders are already negotiating they can even negotiate on a minimalist platform of holding elections, which they did previously and it resulted in ZANU PF strengthening or they can negotiate in a context that broadens the table that allows the Taperas of this world and others to participate and allows the nature and formal political access and participation beyond electioneering. For Tapera and I, for example, the issue of going back to a people driven constitution is appropriate but we can’t do that as long as our meetings in the townships, our meetings in the rural areas are barred by either the militias or by state police. It is not the charity of Robert Mugabe that we are looking for.
Violet: But Brian that is exactly what I wanted to ask you that even on the issue of the talks that are underway right now, we have seen that over the last few years Mugabe has made false promises and has shown that he cannot be trusted, so shouldn’t people be making demands for him to stop what he is doing first and then remove the restrictions?
Brian Kagoro: I mean if you are going to go into negotiations firstly negotiations are on the face of it a sign of capitulation. If you believe that pressure and force alone will get you what you want what the hell are you doing at the negotiating table? But the history of our country teaches us that even after a bloody war, in 1979, unwilling parties went to Lancaster to negotiate independence. 1987, after a seven-year standoff between ZAPU and ZANU they went to the Unity Accord. Even in South Africa the apartheid state and the nationalist movement had to negotiate. If you listened to me last week I said the reality is that there is no substitute pressure. Negotiations are no substitute for pressure. Pressure is not a substitute for negotiations all fronts must be explored. But when you are exploring negotiations you must be clear on what it is you are demanding and the point I want to put on the table is simply this; if the opposition cannot sink its life on targeted sanctions – if we are all agreed that these have a nuisance value as my colleague from North America has said, and not a substantive value for the common man on the street why would nuisance value be of such importance to negotiate. We are not the ones that imposed the targeted sanctions it was the Europeans…
Ralph Black: But perhaps ….
Brian Kagoro: so you know…
Ralph Black: But perhaps Brian there is the issue of leverage, there is the issue of what has caused Robert Mugabe - Robert Mugabe’s regime has backed up. His economy is collapsing. His governor is saying we need to negotiate with international financial institutions in order to get money to pay upgrade our power plansto get fuel. Now you are going to say at this particular point because there is that admission and we are at the table let’s just remove the restrictive sanctions or the restrictive measures, especially the travel bans, and hopefully Robert Mugabe will have a change of heart and step forward and say OK, let …
Brian Kagoro: No No No
Ralph Black: … let Tapera and Brian …
Brian Kagoro: No No No
Ralph Black: … hold on, hold on let Tapera and Brian go to the rural areas and campaign.
Brian Kagoro: No No No…
Ralph Black: I think there is …
Tapera: I think…
Brian Kagoro: No No No
Violet: Let’s hear from Tapera and then will come to Brian
Tapera: Ya, I think here, I think here one of the missing elements within the national narrative, which we are beginning to develop at the moment, is an insistent focus around what the pro-democracy movement should yield. Which is the pro-democracy movement should yield on the pressure, which it is applying on the regime. I think we should equally focus on the sanctions which the regime itself is meting on the majority of our people! Which is continued abductions on a systematic level on activists, the oppression, the torture, which is continuing to happen. The de-industrialization on the country, which is happening, the rampant resource stripping of the nation, which is happening at a coordinated level by the regime. These are issues, which I think are much more fundamental than what the pro-democracy movement should be yielding. With or without sanctions our economy will still go down for as long as we have the current crop of leadership, which we have. For as long as we don’t have and don’t focus on building the necessary institutions which can sustain a developing nation, which can sustain a people who are geared towards development and to me I think we mustn’t be apologetic in our demands for unfettered freedom, for total democracy. Democracy on the economic field, democracy on the social field, democracy on a political field and I think these are issues which must occupy our demands. What we should perhaps put much more energy around is what exactly is bringing ZANU PF around to even consider negotiations with the pro-democracy movement, which it never wanted to negotiate with in the first place?
And beyond that there is an issue, which Brian raised around the circumstances the environment, which is necessary for dialogue or for talks to happen, and he gave an example of South Africa. The example of South Africa is quite telling; you needed good will on both parties, you need to establish at least a framework of mutual respect and a framework of mutual understanding. We cannot have a situation of negotiations when we still have political prisoners. I mean people like Paul Madzore who are senior members of the Movement for Democratic Change are still locked up in dungeons in Harare and we talk about negotiations!
Brian Kagoro: I think
Tapera: You need to first create a situation where people can negotiate, you need to create a situation where the nation can dialogue around what it sees as it’s own priorities together and I think that process and that framework needs to be established first before we can even talk about what pressures one is facing and what pressure the other one is not facing.
Ralph Black: ya
Brian Kagoro: Violet I think it’s because; Tapera is right. I agree totally with him. I am not sure exactly where him and I disagree. What I have said from the beginning is you need a conducive environment to go to dialogue. However as we understand it the leaders of the opposition are already in some form of dialogue, right. For me, the question that I was asked was simple; what is at stake when you go to dialogue? Tapera is also right; the economy is not on its knees, the regime is not at the negotiating table because of targeted sanctions, if anybody believes that then they may as well believe that there are angels in the world.
Violet: Brian if Zimbabwe is not suffering as a result of the sanctions why should they be removed?
Brian Kagoro: No no no. I said because Mugabe has raised sanctions as a red herring. You see it’s a pyrrhic victory because as Tapera rightly says the economy has been on its knees since the late 80s. It worsened when we went into the Congo. It worsened even further when we gave war veterans gratuities that were unbudgeted for. So to ever delude ourselves and try and link the targeted sanctions to the economic meltdown and the pressures to negotiate actually it’s being ahistorical. So if historically you follow the trajectory of thought that Tapera has adopted; that this is a structural crisis that was linked to the IMF and World Bank conditionalities in the first place; poor policy prescriptions in the first place. That we are at the negotiating table not necessarily because Mugabe took land but because the country has been ill-governed and because the country has been ill-governed because it has bad leaders and bad policies and that what we need is not just democracy in the political realm but democracy in the economic and other sectors to ensure that ordinary Zimbabweans have access to quality public services, have access to opportunities to develop themselves. If that…
Ralph Black: Sorry Brian I …
Brian Kagoro: Sorry,if it is that is the trajectory of thought you take, you must then go to the second question that says, “how did targeted sanctions end up being imposed on Zimbabwe?” Was it because the opposition asked for them? Not necessarily. Those of us who were very active in pro-democracy politics at the time will tell you that it was the Europeans that started this debate. It was the Europeans that imposed them, from the Europeans perspective in the notion this would force Mugabe to see sense. We are seven years into this crisis, ok, and if my understanding of what Tapera is saying is correct; targeted sanctions are not necessarily what is pushing these guys to the table, we must focus ourselves to what is it that we are trying to achieve. As pro-democracy forces I am not particularly sure.
If we are trying to achieve the conditions that say “our pre-conditions are free all political prisoners, dismantle institutions of violence, seize forthwith the abductions and murder of pro-democracy activists.” If these are our pre-conditions and if all Mugabe is asking for is the scrapping of targeted sanctions the question I asked last week and the question I ask again, is seeing as the most fundamental thrust of all pro-democracy politics in Zimbabwe is to ensure that there is space, political and democratic space to organize, to mobilize, to campaign and to resist – within the confines of course of constitutionalism – and that the only restraint to that is this infrastructure of violence, this repressive legislation, this resort to stone-age tactics, and if we agree as Tapera has rightly said that the economic crisis history is more in the macro economic prescriptions of the IMF and World Bank and the conditionalities that were inappropriate and that what is pushing the regime to a corner is this collapse of the economy which is not linked to personal targeted sanctions; the targeted sanctions are affecting, as Ralph said, people’s pockets, I am not sure why – and this is why I am trying to get my colleagues to explain to me - we would stake any reputation on the targeted sanctions necessarily.
I see them as nuisance value and I agree with Ralph. Why is it not, because it’s a red herring as far as we are concerned we know that Mugabe is not serious, we know it’s a dialectic tactic and we know that he wants to detain the opposition because for the opposition there might be a moral question because if we say scrap targeted sanctions we are conceding defeat. But in real terms targeted sanctions or no targeted sanctions makes no difference to the economic trajectory or the economic developments that we are seeing in Zimbabwe’s decline.
Violet: Ralph can you give us your reaction to what Brian Kagoro has just said and also on the issue of sanctions some have said Mugabe can easily limp along from crisis to crisis if pressure is reduced. Do you agree with this?
Ralph Black: Ya I agree with it. I think Brian’s position makes sense in the absence of other factors. I believe that for the last seven years critical functions of government were being financed from, I would like to say personal finances – organizational finances from ZANU PF. They were dealing with diamonds, they were dealing in property, they were dealing in timber, they had a tobacco crop, they had export flowers and food crops. There was foreign currency that was coming into the pockets of ZANU PF leaders that they were able to forward the government. The former finance minister used his ‘personal finances’ to help in an election. But one of the aspects of the targeted sanctions regime is the assets freeze. I believe that there is more to Mugabe’s wanting to talk than just him simply being backed up into a corner because things are collapsing. He is likely to limp from crisis to crisis if the asset freeze is lifted and we are seeing a greater difficulty for the oligarchy, the bourgeoisie, the leadership to make money to keep certain functions in government going. The recent information I received was that there are foreign functionaries – the Bredenkamps and the Rautenbachs are unable to offload diamonds on the black market as easily as they could three years ago simply because the asset freeze now is beginning to have teeth. We are beginning to see that huge mounts of properties and money is being seized in America that belongs to leading members of the regime. That they have been able to launder their money through and keep the country going.
So I think Mugabe, the ZANU PF leadership has come to the crossroads and in this process of negotiations has come to the crossroads and is asking that the sanctions be lifted just to give them sufficient time to catch their breath and limp from this crisis to another. And I believe that at one particular point in the process of negotiations those that are responsible for the targeted sanctions have to review their effectiveness and at what point they begin to alleviate the pressure. But this is not the point. No concessions have been made by the Mugabe regime. They are countering a proposal that is on the table and placing a condition to accepting that proposal; that if you lift the targeted sanctions and scrap the asset freeze. I think all that has been said in this discussion is somewhat relevant on a continuum or as we progress in these discussions but alleviating the pressure at this particular stage will be foolhardy.
Tapera Kapuya: One thing which I wanted to add on Violet before we moved on is that I think we must be very clear on a number of other issues and I think the primary issue here is that the MDC never called for any sanctions be it ZIDERA, targeted sanctions or these travel bans.
Ralph Black: Correct.
Tapera Kapuya: It was not the Crisis Coalition, it was not the NCA which ever called for sanctions on the country and we must be equally clear that it was the Unites States government – its Congress, the European Union which imposed sanctions on Mugabe and if Mugabe and his cronies have any problems about the sanctions they should use the multi-lateral channels which they have; the UN, the African Union or diplomatic channels to talk to their counterparts in the EU, their counterparts in the United States to lift the sanctions. It is not the business of Zimbabweans to be talking about sanctions, which they never called for in the first place.
Violet: So are you saying that the pro-democracy movement does not want the targeted sanctions and you are blaming it on the West and that the West should then reconsider the issue of sanctions?
Tapera Kapuya: I am not apportioning any blame about sanctions nor am I saying those sanctions should be removed. What I am saying is Mugabe should not turn back to us and say we called for those sanctions. We did not call for those sanctions; if he has any problem with them then he must talk to those who have imposed sanctions on him. It’s not our business to act as his middlemen to talk about how much pressure should be applied or not applied on him. These are moral positions, which I think the broader pro-democracy movement should adopt. We should not even concern ourselves about how other people decide or governments or societies decide to respond in solidarity of an oppressed people.
Violet: But then what happens when Mugabe is making that as a pre-condition to talks?
Brian Kagoro: But Violet I think Tapera has a very fundamental point and this is why in my entry last week; my point was it is not the MDC that has the power to suspend sanctions or the pro-democracy movement. If Mugabe is making that as a pre-condition towards talks the only business that the pro-democracy movement has is to set its own pre-conditions, which pre-conditions must also be set by African countries. These are the pre-conditions I have kept on harping on; dismantle the infrastructure of violence, seize forthwith the organized torture and violence, scrap the oppressive and repressive legislation, open up democratic space, open up free access to the rural areas for the purposes of mobilization and campaigning. It is the business of the EU and the Americans to decide whether the conditions that would satisfy them to lift those sanctions exist. So on that point I would agree totally with Tapera but I think Ralph made another very important point. At what time, at what point in the negotiations do you even start thinking, if you were the Europeans or the Americans, of easing pressure. I think that is a question that we shouldn’t be answering because we are not the EU we are not the Americans. That’s a point that the Americans and the EU should be answering.
Violet Gonda: But it seems to me you are all refusing to answer to that point, to the point that the West would not have imposed these measures without the consent of the pro-democracy movement. Is this not the case?
Tapera Kapuya: No, no, no it’s not the case Violet. The reverse is actually the case.
Ralph Black: Violet from the part of the opposition we did not ask for sanctions. We did not ask for the targeted sanctions, the assets freeze or the IMF isolation. However we understand why the Americans and the Europeans imposed them however it’s not our business to say to them at this particular point repeal them and normalize relationship. I believe that Robert Mugabe knows his way to 10 Downing Street; he knows his way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. If he has issues with these particular restrictive measures he must approach them. At that particular point if it suits the Americans and the Europeans they might ask - have the conditions on the ground improved? Perhaps then, and I am not saying we will, but perhaps we will then give them input. But I agree that the concept that he is raising the issue knowing full well that we don’t have the all in all to ask for these measures to be lifted or repealed. I believe that we must stick to the moral aspect of our demands, our pre-conditions as Brian has so eloquently placed them; stop the torture, stop the beatings, stop the abductions, repeal repressive legislations, grant access to the media so that we can campaign and mobilize and have an internationally observed and monitored election which is relatively free and fair. It’s difficult for us who have not caused something to work to bring about a change. Sanctions I believe were an act of solidarity and they can only be reversed by an act of congress and an act of parliament in Europe and there is nothing that the MDC can do to change that.
Violet Gonda: And we have run out of time but we’ll bring you the final discussion with our three speakers next Tuesday.
Comments and feedback can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Institute for War & Peace Reporting
Both sides in the Zimbabwean confrontation want to change the constitution -
but in radically different ways.
By Zakeus Chibaya in Johannesburg (AR No. 113, 25-May-07)
Constitutional matters look set to feature large in the mediation effort led
by South Africa president Thabo Mbeki to seek a solution to Zimbabwe's
continuing political crisis. While the opposition wants Mbeki to facilitate
progress towards a more democratic constitution, the ruling ZANU-PF may
pre-empt this by getting its own constitutional changes in first.
Mbeki has been mandated by the Southern Africa Development Community, SADC,
to talk to President Robert Mugabe and his political opponents. As he
engages with the two sides, he is hearing demands from the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, MDC, for a major overhaul of the current
constitution as a precondition for fair elections.
According to political analyst Edmund Gwazai, "The road map should lead to
constitutional amendments which are acceptable to both parties.
"A new and well-drafted constitution will definitely solve the whole
conflict facing the country. It will provide a platform for fair and free
elections, and there will be an independent judiciary to arbitrate on issues
of conflict arising from elections."
The MDC has threatened to boycott the 2008 elections if the mediation
process fails to result in an agreed set of constitutional amendments.
IWPR understands that both factions of the MDC have submitted letters to
Mbeki identifying the constitution as the source of the present political
"The talks should lead to a new constitution where draconian laws will be
scrapped to make way for free and fair elections," Thamsqwa Mahlangu, the
MDC's national youth chairperson for MDC, told IWPR.
Zimbabwe still uses the constitution that was drafted at Lancaster House in
London as a prelude to independence in 1980. There is common consent that it
needs to be changed, but the consensus stops there.
Mugabe's critics say he has used amendments passed over the years to
steadily strengthen his position and marginalise opponents, notably in 1987
when the rules were changed allowing him to become president instead of
merely prime minister.
Like the MDC, the National Constitutional Assembly, NCA, a pressure group
calling for legislative reforms, is demanding that a democratically-inspired
constitution should be in place before any election takes place.
"Whilst supporting the mediation efforts being led by South Africa, the NCA
believes that without promoting a process of assisting Zimbabweans to
establish a people-driven and democratic constitution as a basis for
substantive democracy, the culture of anti-democratic practice will persist
at an extreme human cost to Zimbabwe and the region," said NCA spokesperson
"Without a constitution that rests on a vision of democracy, any talk of
mediation does nothing but buy time for the regime to perfect its art of
thuggery and abuse."
Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party appears to be avoiding discussion of the issue
in the mediation talks. But it is likely to rush though further amendments
slanted towards strengthening the president's position. That could derail
any effort by the South African leader to forge a constitutional solution
acceptable to both sides.
When ZANU-PF's Central Committee met on March 30, it decided to introduce a
constitutional amendment to parliament enabling the 2010 presidential
election to be brought forward so that it coincided with next year's
parliamentary ballot. Other changes would bring in a new procedure whereby
parliament selects a successor if Mugabe resigns before the end of his next
term - meaning the head of state would be indirectly elected by a ZANU-PF
dominated body rather than chosen by the people of Zimbabwe.
It is these revisions, rather than a new document agreed in consultations
with Mbeki and the MDC, that ZANU-PF plans to push through.
"We are not going to have a new constitution now, and we don't know what
they are talking about," said ZANU-PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira, in
remarks quoted on the website of The Zimbabwean.
Speaking to IWPR earlier this year, an anonymous ZANU-PF insider was
dismissive of the MDC's demand for a new constitution, and refused to say
whether his party would consider the issue if it were put on the agenda of
"They rejected a new constitution in 2000. Have they changed their mind now?
What are they proposing?" he asked. "It is their problem. Comrade Mugabe has
said the current constitution is sacrosanct and non-negotiable."
He was referring to a referendum in 2000 in which Zimbabwean voters rejected
a new constitution proposed by the authorities, which would have legitimised
the confiscation of white-owned farms as a way of providing redress for the
British colonial past. Mugabe went ahead with the land seizures anyway, with
disastrous effects on the country's agricultural production.
A fait accompli by ZANU-PF will make the South African leader's job that
much more difficult.
"Mbeki is going to face a problem where Mugabe rejects a new constitutional
initiative and drafts his own," said Gwazai. "The opposition would demand an
outright new constitution. The issue of the constitution is going to take up
much of the time."
This is not the first time Mbeki has been involved in attempts to put
together a constitution that both sides could sign up to.
With Mbeki as intermediary, ZANU-PF and the MDC draft a secret document in
2004. Mbeki told the South African Broadcasting Corporation last year that
the process was complete before the 2005 parliamentary election, and that he
had copies of the document initialled on every page by ZANU-PF and the MDC.
Mbeki has said subsequently that the election put the process "on the
back-burner" and it was not revived.
Other accounts suggested that Mugabe got cold feet on the constitution, not
so much because of concerns about the opposition as over a meeting attended
by some of his officials which he saw as a coup plot, requiring him to pull
in his horns.
In Zimbabwe, many people are putting great store in the South African
president's ability to find a political solution and thus open the way to
Esinath Majoni, who is a nurse by profession but makes a living from
cross-border trading, captured this sentiment when she said, "We hope that
the talks will end our suffering in the country. It's now difficult to
survive in the country, and everyone is putting her last million dollars on
Mbeki's efforts to rescue us."
Zakeus Chibaya is a regular contributor to IWPR.
A herd of elephants have destroyed 40 hectares of winter wheat at Shashe
Irrigation Scheme, some 135 km west of Beitbridge, Zimbabwe's border city
with South Africa, The Herald reported on Friday.
Beitbridge Senator Tambudzani Mohadi said this was a very disturbing
situation as it came when the district was facing food shortages. Elephants
were becoming a regular problem in the area and there was need for urgent
actions to protect the community.
The destruction of irrigation schemes and fields was hampering efforts to
realize a good harvest as a measure to alleviate poverty and hunger in the
district, he said.
Mohadi said the destroyed irrigation scheme was the livelihood of the area
and this could mean a bleak future to residents.
The Parks and Wildlife Management Authority was called in to help in curbing
"People are living in fear. The jumbos are really a threat to our crops and
lives," said Mohadi.
School children in the district were also not attending class due to fear of
being attacked by the elephants, according to the newspaper.
By Jonga Kandemiiri
25 May 2007
The management of Zimbabwe's People's Own Savings Bank, or POSB, has
suspended more than 20 of it's workers, for taking part in what it said is a
At the management's request, police ordered the workers off the POSB
property, Wednesday, after they attempted to sleep in the canteen for a
second night, after claiming they had no transport money to go home.
The workers, who had slowed down production, were served with the suspension
letters Thursday afternoon, as they prepared to leave for the day.
The workers claim they took the action they did, because POSB failed to
honor a 165% salary increase, that was determined by an independent
Zimbabwe Banks and Allied Workers Union President, Blessing Mujuru, declined
to comment on the situation until he received an official update.
A POSB employee, who did not want to be named, told reporter Jonga
Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe, that the management was not being
sensitive to their plight.
Studio 7 failed to reach POSB Human Resources Manager Malvern Kujeke, who
signed the suspension letters, for comment.
Mail and Guardian
25 May 2007 01:42
Zimbabwe's soldiers are not starving, a government minister was
quoted as saying on Friday, refuting press reports that the army was running
out of food and might have to suspend training of recruits.
"It is not true that the soldiers are starving as reported,"
Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga said.
"We have a robust army and we do not have soldiers who are
starving," he added in comments carried by the official Herald newspaper.
Reports in a private weekly said Zimbabwe's Secretary for
Defence, Trust Maphosa, told a parliamentary committee that soldiers were
disgruntled over poor pay and conditions.
A private in Zimbabwe's army earns only Z$300 000 a month, a
figure worth about US$10 on the widely used parallel market for foreign
That salary is lower than many being offered in the private
sector and less, in some cases, than that earned by domestic workers in
Rampant inflation of more than 3 700% has wreaked its worst on
many Zimbabwean professionals, who are leaving the country in droves.
While central bank governor Gideon Gono this week urged private
companies to up their workers' salaries, saying paltry pay encouraged
corruption, so far the authorities appear unwilling to cater for civil
servants' wage demands.
According to Zimbabwe's Financial Gazette newspaper on Thursday,
Maphosa catalogued a litany of army complaints, including the cutting-off of
water supplies to military installations because of unpaid bills and the
failure of a farming project due to lack of funding.
The deputy minister claimed that Maphosa had been misquoted. "He
did not say that the soldiers were starving but highlighted the need for a
quick response by Treasury on the issue," Matonga said.
"Treasury has responded very positively and funds have been
released," he added. -- Sapa-dpa
24th May 2007 23:39 GMT
By Ian Nhuka
BULAWAYO - The trial of Bright Chivuri, an independent journalist who was
arrested early this month for allegedly practising without accreditation,
started at the Plumtree Magistrate's Court yesterday with his lawyer
applying for the charge to be thrown out.
Chivuri, 25, is employed by The Worker, a magazine owned by the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).
His lawyer, Munyaradzi Nzarayapenga, told the court that when his client was
arrested on May 3, he was covering a workers' workshop in the border town
workshop and was not covering a story in his capacity as a journalist.
Presiding magistrate, Sheilla Nzombe is expected to make a ruling on the
application on 5 June.
In his argument, Nzarayapenga said at the time of his arrest his client was
awaiting his accreditation card from the Media and Information Commission
(MIC), which he has since obtained.
In terms of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA),
a journalist working in the country must be accredited by the MIC.
Practising without accreditation is illegal and a journalist convicted of
doing so can be jailed for up to two years.
Opposing Nzarayapenga's plea for the quashing of the charges against
Chivuri, Plumtree prosecutor Prince Butshe-Dube said throwing out the
charges at this stage is inappropriate.
"The charge, as currently framed is not defective and therefore cannot be
quashed," he argued.
"The application by my learned friend amounts to an indication that his
client was denying the charges and therefore the application before this
court is frivolous and vexatious."
The prosecutor stated that in his opinion, the best way to go about the case
was for the defence lawyer to advise his client to plead not guilty to the
charge so that they go to trial.
Chivuri, who is out of custody, has not been formally charged with
contravening a section of the AIPPA - practicing as journalist without
The trial initially failed to take off earlier this month after officers
from MIC who are key state witnesses failed to turn up. It is the state's
case that on 3 May, Chivuri addressed a ZCTU meeting in Plumtree, telling
those gathered that he was a journalist employed by The Worker.
Then, says the prosecutor, he started writing notes and taking photographs
of the proceedings.
However, two plain-clothes police officers who had gatecrashed into the ZCTU
meeting approached him and asked for his press card. It is alleged that the
scribe produced an expired card. He was immediately arrested.
The arrest of Chivuri comes amid increasing state-repression of the
independent press in the country. In March, police arrested award-winning
Mukwazhi when he was covering an opposition Movement for Democratic Change
rally in Harare.
He was detained and allegedly tortured while in police custody. Luke
Tamborinyoka, another journalist who used to work for the banned Daily News
remains in remand prison after his arrest around the same time. Edward
Chikomba, a freelance television cameraman was most unlucky after he was
abducted in Harare by unknown people and found dead in Darwendale
24th May 2007 23:43 GMT
By Julius Sai Mutyambizi-Dewa
IT has been repeated and now it has become a really tedious chorus that the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change lacks capacity to govern.
It has of course come from detractors of the opposition Party but it has
also come from other people who are not at all ZANU PF. Recently Brain
Kagoro, a respected lawyer in his own right, recycled the same unfortunate
theme. Of course he was corrected by Moeletsi Mbeki during their interview
on SW Radio Africa.
The people who are rushing to say that MDC lacks capacity to govern are in
all essence taking a very remote look at the opposition Party. I am not so
sure how they come to the conclusion as I believe a political party first
and foremost is formed with the intention to govern.
The first facet of a political Party that is interested in governing is when
they have in place the structural capacity to fill in the shoes of a
government should they be elected into office. We have to examine the MDC
first and foremost in its structural framework.
Does the MDC have the necessary structures to pose a serious challenge to
the ruling Party and also extend that to governing in Zimbabwe? The
political party that is the MDC has four structures: The Executive MDC which
comprises of all the officials of the Party, the Parliamentary MDC which is
the party in parliament i.e. MPs, the grassroots MDC which is the party
support at the first instances i.e. branches and wards and also the
Secretariat MDC which is the wing of the Party that is tasked with the
running of the Party on a daily basis.
These structures of the MDC are up and running and there is clearly a lot of
efficiency on the ground with the possibility of strengthening them of
I am not being defeatist by submitting that in fact these structures
themselves can easily feel in the shoes of governance should there be need.
The MDC in Parliament is also formulated into a Shadow cabinet and so are
the Portfolio Secretaries of the Party who are in a way shadowing ministers
as their roles like that of cabinet ministers are for policy formulation,
stimulation and simulation.
To add to that let us not forget that the Party in Parliament is also
members of Parliamentary Portfolio Committees whose roles we can not
downplay. The structures of the MDC have shown their potential in elections
where the Party has consistently been able to field candidates
overwhelmingly in all Constituencies making it way ahead of other opposition
parties which have only fielded candidates in selected Constituencies.
A party that is intending to run the government shows that by being
overwhelmingly nationalistic and there is one of the ways of doing so is by
being relevant to every part of Zimbabwe. It shows the readiness that is
demanded of a serious government in waiting by being for all the people of
This structural readiness of the MDC also transgresses borders and thus
justifying the presence of the Party even outside Zimbabwe. Here the Party
shows a shift in philosophy; a paradigm shift that actually recognises the
effect globalisation has had even on the governance of Zimbabwe. It is
therefore way ahead of both ZANU PF and the current Government of Zimbabwe
in that it recognises that people of a country will one day leave the
country and find themselves in other countries where they will be relevant
to the politics of their country nevertheless.
This is recognition of modernity and we have seen this in modern parties in
the region such as the National Resistance Movement of Uganda, the Forum for
Democratic Change (Uganda's main opposition), the rainbow Coalition of Kenya
and also rejuvenated old political parties such as ANC, Chama cha Mapinduzi,
Frelimo, SWAPO, and KANU etc.
It is a trend that moves away form the existentialist philosophy that those
who are calling MDC incapacitated by the megaphone are intending the Party
to pursue. The Movement for Democratic Change does not exist because of ZANU
PF rather it exists because it offers a new line of thinking to Zimbabwe
that has not been pursued before. It is not driven by mere existentialism
but maybe by the need to be relative to the current needs of Zimbabwe at
very given time as they relate to the cosmos in its entirety.
Structural relativism is to me more relevant and more pragmatic to a country
in continuum than mere existentialism because the later looks at what is
happening now and does not intend to take us into the future. Structurally
the MDC is the Party that is the most ready to take Zimbabweans to the next
Then comes capacity as to personnel? Does MDC have the personnel to govern
Zimbabwe? We must start by the Presidency. Is Morgan Tsvangirai really fit
to be the President of Zimbabwe? Does he have the acumen.does he have the
charisma? One does not need any persuasion and even to look far back into
history to realise that historically the only political leader that Zimbabwe
has ever had who has a truly administrative background is Morgan Tsvangirai.
For countries to run effectively you need a strong administrator and the
President of the MDC has that experience. As the Secretary General of the
ZCTU he was the head of the Secretariat. He was not a trade union politician
in ZCTU but an Administrator of the Country's sole labour movement. He was a
manager and was in that role for a spell that is more than 10 years.
Contrast that with Robert Mugabe who was a teacher not a headmaster before
he led ZANU PF and eventually the country's Prime Minister.
He learnt administration on the job and with disastrous consequences as we
have seen. Morgan Tsvangirai interacted with all industries, he was part of
the Tripartite Negotiating Forum where he also met with consumers,
Government, Employers and other stake holders in his previous role as the
Secretary General of the MDC. He was also the countries representative at
the International Labour Organisation; a UN Inter-Government Agency and was
also part of many other Inter-Government agencies for the Commonwealth,
Africa and the region. His negotiating skill at international level is not
questionable, so are his credentials. Unlike Robert Mugabe, his first
international exposure will not be the equivalent of Lancaster House
Conference. He is already experienced.
Tsvangirai's Government will include people like Tapiwa Mashakada, Gift
Chimanikire all reliable administrators in their own right owing to their
trade union experience, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, Ian Makone, Jessie Majome etc
all of whom have been administrators before. It lays to worst the argument
about incapacity as to personnel. This is not the same with ZANU PF when
they took over as serve for a few people; all they had then was guerrilla
war experience. Joyce Mujuru, Edgar Tekere, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Sydney
Sekeramayi all of them did not know an inch about administration when they
were made cabinet ministers.
In South Africa Nelson Mandela came straight from prison to become
President, in Namibia Sam Nujoma came straight from the bush to head the
country..so did Yoweri Museveni of Uganda in 1986. The same is true of the
UK where Tony Blair had not been an administrator before become the leader
of New Labour in 1994 and eventually the country's Prime Minister in 1997.
The depth as to personnel argument that is being advanced is totally
moribund as it does not capture the reality that the MDC as a political
organisation is currently the best qualified in Zimbabwe. Likewise the Party
has in the Diaspora people like Elliot Pfebve, Durani Rapozo, Jonathan
Chaora, Grey Samakande, Jeff Madzingo, Professor Stanford Mukasa, Brian
Nhandara, Nicholas Mada, Andrew Manyevere, Benjamin Chitate, Emily
Madamombe, Chipo Chaya, Bonny Adams, Virginia Ncube etc all of whom are
capable of serving their country one day.
Brian Kagoro with all due respect must realise that it wouldn't have been
the will of the MDC to politicise the Civil Service and as such the thinking
that the Party would have been along the lines that the Civil Service will
not be touched. This is ethics of public governance and there is no way that
the MDC will be expected to have an army of shadow civil servants that are
loyal to it if we are not intent on turning the Party into a bunch of
hypocrites that practices the same style of governance we are seeing in
Yes it is true that there is a lot of corruption in the civil service but it
has been reiterated by the senior Party leadership that there will be
sweeping changes to public management but such sweeping changes I am sure do
not translate to the wholesale dismissal of all public servants and their
replacement with those pliable to MDC. That's not the idea.
Having looked at the structural and personnel readiness, I will then look at
the functional capacity of the MDC to govern. Has MDC addressed the issue of
functions of the future government and are we prepared? I think the real
barometer for this is the Constitution. The Movement for Democratic Change
is part of a wider movement in Zimbabwe that has said the first condition
that has to be met before the 2008 Elections should be a new democratic
It is this Constitution that shall bring about the necessary institutions
for a truly democratic and successful Zimbabwe. The Party once it becomes a
government will be guided in its functions by this new Constitution and it
is clear that by positioning itself with those who are calling for a new
constitution the Party is also reflecting their knowledge that the current
functions of the Government as spelt by the existing undemocratic
Constitution are not going to be entertained.
Once again, it is my view that MDC is running away from the trappings of
existentialism that ZANU PF has shown in the way they have enacted reactive
laws. The MDC is leading the way in calling for a functional democracy where
the Constitution comes from the people and where that Constitution is the
main manual towards the operation of Government.
To conclude I am not persuaded by protagonists of the incapacity of the MDC
to govern. Rather it is just short sightedness that has not attempted to
take a very close look and do a comparative analysis of the both the current
and historical context of public management in Zimbabwe. If that is done
honestly it will be seen that the Movement for Democratic Change and their
leader Morgan Tsvangirai, is more than ready to take Zimbabwe to the next
day and surely they will meet a lot of light there!
JULIUS SAI MUTYAMBIZI-DEWA IS THE SECRETARY OF MDC UK AND IRELAND. HE IS
ALSO THE AUTHOR OF A BOOK CALLED "PREACHING TO PRIESTS". HE WRITES IN HIS
24th May 2007 23:24 GMT
By Liberty Mupakati, Leeds, UK
I have previously shied away from writing about the Robert Mugabe ZANU PF
government's oft used excuse for the mess that our country currently finds
itself in, "illegal sanctions" imposed against it by the West.
It has become such a buzz word and now appears to have overtaken inflation
as the number one catch word in Mugabe's vocabulary. Government figures show
inflation scaling the 3 700% barrier, but independent figures suggest that
it is above 8 000%. There has been no word from the government about how
they intend to tackle their so-called number one enemy.
Indeed, it has been seized upon by the Mugabeites both within the country,
who have been falling head over heels amongst themselves to gush
superlatives through the state-controlled media houses, and outside the
country as evidenced by the recent publicity offensive that is being fronted
by the UK based Ghanaian, Baffour Ankoma and other government-funded
It is not a coincidence that the issue of "illegal sanctions" took more
prominence in Mugabe's and his acolytes' speeches soon after the
international revulsion that greeted the brutal attacks that were visited on
the MDC leadership on 11th March 2007.
The sadistic assaults brought back the international spotlight on the
glaring human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. Mugabe and his Robber Barons,
perturbed by world outcry over his treatment of MDC President, Morgan
Tsvangirai, and his colleagues in the police cells, sought refuge in
diverting the world's attention by inventing macabre events that were
attributed to the MDC, in a vain bid to portray it as a violent party.
Thus was born the ZRP report that has been doing the rounds on the internet.
It is an indictment of the regime that it has sought to dig itself out of
the hole by destroying its own infrastructure and injuring its own
personnel. In military speak, they are referred to as collateral damage and
are worth of sacrifice if this is going to result in the perpetuation of the
regime's hold on power.
The Robber Barons have chosen to politicise the targeted sanctions that have
been levied against them and deliberately portrayed them to the world as
"economic sanctions". Economic sanctions have been defined as "the actual or
threatened denial of economic relations by one or more states intended to
influence the behaviour of another state on non-economic issues or to limit
its military capabilities".
It is therefore, discernible from the above definition that the "sanctions"
currently in force against the luminaries in Harare are nowhere near
wholesale sanctions that they claim have been slapped against them by the
Like Ian Smith's Rhodesia that breached and managed to evade sanctions
during the UDI period, the same can be said of the efficacy of military
sanctions as the government has repeatedly managed to dodge them through the
assistance of "friendly" countries such as Namibia, Malawi and others.
By their very nature, sanctions represent a middle ground in international
politics, being more severe than mere verbal condemnation, but less severe
than the use of force. In the case of Zimbabwe, the smart sanctions being
applied to it have largely been confined to freezing economic assets of ZANU
(PF) leading lights and military sanctions. It has to be admitted that there
has been little headway in blocking the assets of those targeted given the
perceived riches that they have spirited away.
Far from the daily propaganda that is churned from the Harare about "illegal
sanctions", the sanctions that have been levied on Zimbabwe fall in the
domain of travel sanctions as these include individuals being precluded from
travelling to the EU countries and USA, on their favourite shopping sprees.
By their very nature, travel sanctions are targeted, as they specifically
involve government ministers and other top ZANU PF functionaries.
These travel sanctions have been breached by government ministers on several
occasions on the pretext that they would be on state business. A recent case
in point is Francis Nhema, the Tourism and Environment Minister being
allowed to visit the USA to attend a UN function.
The geriatrics and securocrats who are in control of the wagons of the state
today, are keen to hype up and attribute the economic ills currently
plaguing the country being the of these sanctions. They have unashamedly
used the sanctions as an excuse to paper over their own inadequacies and
ineptitude in managing the once vibrant economy.
The notion that the country is struggling under the burden placed on it by
these "illegal sanctions" has won support from some misguided African
leaders who appear to have swallowed Mugabe's white-lie, hook, line and
sinker. Behind the façade of African camaraderie by these African leaders is
a real fear of what happen in their own backyards were the MDC come to power
in Zimbabwe. Mbeki, is particularly fearful of the impact such a development
may have in his own country, given the immense political power that the
COSATU hold in the triumvirate that currently rules South Africa.
Mugabe has stoked up the fires and ratcheted up the pressure on the West by
invoking the issue of colonialism, that Britain wanted to recolonize
Zimbabwe and that the sanctions were imposed as retribution for having
dispossessed white farmers of their land for redistribution to the majority.
It is too simplistic and naïve to attribute the country's economic problems
to the non-existent sanctions and the land reform exercise. What is
inescapable is that the chaotic land reform exacerbated the economic
Zimbabwe is still in receipt of development aid with Britain and the US
being the biggest donors. It is thus evident that the West is continually
being blamed for the collapse of the Zimbabwean economy when the authors of
such economic demise are holed up in the confines of Harare living in
extreme luxury and filthy riches that even the richest in the West can only
It is immoral that a few people can live in such luxury whilst the rest of
the population wallows in poverty, yet they endeavour to extricate
themselves from the trail of destruction that they have caused by blaming
non-existent sanctions imposed by non-existent enemies.
Generally it has been observed that in a country that is under sanctions,
the middle class is eliminated, the poor get poorer, and the rich get richer
as they take control of smuggling and the black market. Zimbabwe may offer a
case study of debunking this view as Robber Barons who have contributed
immensely to and benefited in equal measure from the economic collapse have
"Zanunised" the country's industrial base.
It is therefore, hypocritical for them to continually blame the sanctions
when they are the beneficiaries. In fact it is a fallacy that they want
people to believe whilst they are lining their already heavily lined pockets
and feeding their troughs.
Apart from a few multinational companies, the remainder are in the hands of
the either the state or ZANU PF functionaries. One can go as far as
asserting that with the passage of time that ZANU PFhas been in power, it is
increasingly becoming difficult to distinguish the State from ZANU PF. It
now appears as though the two are synonymous with each other. Whereas, it is
acceptable in democracies for one to oppose the government of the day, in
Zimbabwe, it is a crime. This is evidenced by the continuous arrests and
detention without trial of scores of MDC activists and anyone who dares to
challenge the excesses of the regime.
The monopolization of the means of production by ZANU PF and its
functionaries is one reason why there has to be a paradigm shift in trade
union circles about the efficacy of stayaways. They simply have seen their
sell-by date and would not work in this day and age when the people who owe
their riches to the government own the companies and have unfettered access
to the state security machinery to call upon to identify the "ring leaders".
The fact that the unemployment rate is close to 90% and rising mean that
workers are more intent on keeping their jobs.
The shrinkage of the economic space has seen the ZANU PF Mafia strengthening
its grip on an economy teetering on the brink of an abyss. The diminishing
trade channels have meant that only those with control over assets and
networks can dominate economic and political activities. If anything, those
in ZANU PF have benefited immensely from the so-called sanctions as they
have been able to amass these riches without any known history of primitive
accumulation. It beggars belief that government ministers can suddenly
become zillionaires when prior to their appointments they led modest
The drive to sanitise the offensive regime of Robert Mugabe has sucked in
the Church, with the Anglican Church being the most high profile to have
openly expressed views that chime with the daily propaganda that is churned
out of the government controlled media. The Pastoral Letter of its Bishops
released after the Episcopal Synod in April demonstrates how pliant and
subjugated the Anglican Church has become to the regime of Robert Mugabe.
One would be forgiven for thinking this report was authored in the
Munhumutapa Building as it bore an uncanny resemblance with, and has all the
hallmarks of a George Charamba literary product. It has since emerged that
some men of the cloth are dissociating themselves from this ecclesiastical
Students of African history would recall the assertion about "missionaries
being forerunners of colonialism" throughout the length and breadth of the
continent. The Nolbert Kunongas, Obadiah Msindos, Trevor Manhanga and other
state apologists are craving to fill the void left by the late Border Gezi
in delivering the church vote to the regime.
The Anglican Pastoral Report of April confirmed the widely held suspicions
of the politicisation of the pulpit. The Anglican Bishops' report was a PR
coup for an embattled Robert Mugabe as it lent ecclesiastical approval to
his obnoxious views about "illegal sanctions". Kunonga and his fellow
primates regard themselves as part of the African Church, and feel duty
bound to stand "shoulder to shoulder" with this dictatorship.
One would have thought that the Pastoral letter would empathise with the
suffering of its congregation and spoken about the causation of such
suffering. Instead, the report parroted the official line that the suffering
was a consequence of sanctions. There was a glaring lack of understanding of
the dynamics at play in the country and clearly one could see nothing but a
resonance with the daily propaganda stuff churned out daily in the Herald
and other state media.
That the Herald gave the Report a ringing and rapturous endorsement speaks
volumes for how grateful the regime was for the support from these men of
cloth. It was in stark contrast to the reception that was given to the
Pastoral Letter that was released by the Catholic Bishops at Easter.
The Pastoral Letter led to the Catholic Bishops being labelled opponents of
the state and would therefore be treated as such, whilst the Anglican
Bishops were garlanded and lauded for their patriotism. The Anglican Bishops
report demonstrated just how far removed these primates are from the harsh
reality that obtain in the country.
For feedback, Liberty Mupakati can be contacted on email@example.com
By Blessing Zulu
25 May 2007
A parliamentary committee dominated by Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF, has
recommended that the government temporarily close its controversial National
Youth Service training centers.
The committee, chaired by ZANU-PF's member of parliament for Gutu South,
Shuvai Mahofa, cited starvation and unreported cases of sexual abuse of
female recruits by male instructors and fellow male trainees, as reasons for
the suggested closure.
The committee's recommendation, came ahead of an announcement by Zimbabwe's
deputy youth minister Saviour Kasukuwere, that his ministry intended to
expand the youth program, which he described as a noble idea that helps
youth contribute positively to society.
Kasukuwere however, declined to comment on the parliamentary report saying
he had not yet studied it.
The timing of the announcement, less than a year before the March 2008
presidential and parliamentary elections, has raised suspicion among many
opposition, as well as human rights advocates, who have accused President
Mugabe's government of using the youth, also called "green bombers," as
shock troops to harass, intimidate and torture political opponents.
Political analyst Glen Mupani, based at Cape Town University in South
Africa, told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe, that the
closure of the camps was long overdue, as they were being used for political
expediency by the ruling party.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
May 25, 2007
About 300 youths from Mutare gathered at a church on Friday for a peaceful
rally organized by the Christian Alliance. Coordinator Pastor Ray Motsi said
the idea was to inform them about the issues concerning our country, how
they ought to behave and what is the way forward. The event took place just
a day after the government extended a ban on political rallies and back in
March the police blocked a prayer meeting organized by the Christian
Alliance, claiming it was a political gathering. Pastor Motsi said: "It was
very peaceful and we never had any disturbances at all. There wasn't even
any noticeable police even though we know that the CIOs would be part of the
Pastor Motsi said the church was full and there were 6 or 7 local pastors
and various youth groups from Mutare. Representatives from the Zimbabwe
National Students Union (ZINASU) addressed the youth about the situation in
the colleges. Some entertainment was also provided by local groups and
special guest Pastor G. The popular musician said music is a non-threatening
form of communication.
Asked how the youth responded the Pastor said: "They felt very encouraged
and some of them communicated that they had found a way to express
themselves as Christian youth in Zimbabwe."
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
NewsTalkZB, New Zealand
Opponents of the Mugabe regime in Zimbabwe have voiced their concerns
outside Parliament today.
Around 50 people, including representatives from human rights and expatriate
groups, rallied on Parliamentary grounds after midday.
Amnesty International spokesman Ced Simpson says there has been a major
deterioration in human rights in Zimbabwe in the past year. He says hunger
and homelessness are spreading and repression under the regime has
Green MP Keith Locke is calling on the Government to be more proactive in
its opposition of the Mugabe regime and even provide regulations that will
allow sporting groups to pull out of tours without suffering penalties.
By Tichaona Sibanda
25 May 2007
The first ever MDC strategic planning workshop to prepare for a new Zimbabwe
will be held in Birmingham, UK on Saturday. Activists will examine various
issues, including how the party could work with Zanu (PF) progressive
Makusha Mugabe, a member of the MDC press unit in Birmingham, said the
workshop is open to all card carrying members of the party in the UK and has
a number of guest speakers lined-up who will present topics of major
concerns to the opposition party.
In a post Mugabe transition era the MDC, aware of the consequences of being
caught off guard, will specifically study the role of the security forces
and how the party would relate to them.
'We have professionals for each category that will discuss issues ranging
from unity to how the MDC can maximize co-operation with other democratic
forces. We will also have lawyers who will present a draft on the history of
post-independence elections in Zimbabwe, the lessons learned and the way
forward,' Makusha Mugabe said.
In a free and fair election analysts believe Mugabe doesn't stand a chance
against a united opposition. Mugabe's current term in office expires next
year but he is reluctant to leave office and recently proposed running for
another six-year term in 2008.
However support for the ruling Zanu (PF) leader in the country and within
his own party is declining rapidly and several influential party officials
are jockeying for the presidency. There are clear indications of unrest
among the broader population and within the armed forces, the police and
While the end of Mugabe's reign is long overdue, it will be no guarantee
that a Zanu PF successor will prove more willing to support multi-party
democracy or abandon the repressive economic and political policies that
have led the country into its current crisis.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Angel Tabe
25 May 2007
Roaming elephants in Zambia are said to be destroying food crops, property
and even human lives. The country's wildlife authorities say they are
working to resolve the problems, but villagers blame the continuing rampage
on what they see as the government's reluctance to take action.
Lewis Saiwana is the director-general of the Zambian Wildlife Authority
(ZAWA.) Voice of America English to Africa reporter Angel Tabe asked him why
there's a nationwide problem with elephants and what is being done about it.
He said, "There is an increase in the elephant population. They have found a
better habitat in Zambia. As the Zambia Wildlife Authority, our control
hunters control these problem elephants through.fencing. When elephants
destroy public property, our hunters control them."
Saiwana says the animals are fleeing harassment in search of
security, which can be guaranteed not only by good wildlife policies, but
also by better resources. He says, "The protection of wildlife is actually
the same in the region, but [if funds are] available, the level of
protection is also quite good."
Since this issue involves the borders of Zambia and Zimbabwe, Sainwana says
the two countries have agreed to work things out as a team: "There are
arrangements that we establish a trans-frontier conservation area." And to
balance wildlife conservation and community livelihood demands, He says, "We
need to sit down with the Zimbabwean Wildlife Authority so that we can put
programs in place which are accepted on both sides.maybe the situation can
Regarding compensation for losses resulting from rampaging elephants,
Sainwana says, "No law exists to regulate that. But in terms of crops, maybe
an estimation can be used and our government is actually discussing [the
possibility of] compensating people, but there are just debates on that."
Saturday 26 May 2007
By Pfudzai Chibgowa
HARARE - Zimbabwe trade union leaders and some Members of Parliament have
criticised plans by the government to introduce a new compulsory health
scheme, which they say is a new tax that will only help impoverish
They said besides adding a fresh financial burden on struggling workers,
there was little chance the new health scheme could work given the gross
incompetence at the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) tasked by the
government to run the proposed scheme.
"Is this not another scheme to make life more miserable for the worker and
the poor peasants?" queried Zimbabwe Council of Chiefs president and
parliamentarian Fortune Charumbira during a public hearing on the health
Under the scheme, all workers in the country would be required by law to
contribute to the health scheme. Workers on private health insurance schemes
could retain these but would still be required to contribute to the national
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary general Wellington Chibebe
called the scheme a new form of taxation, adding that what workers were
clamouring for was reduction in individual taxation to help them make ends
meet amid rocketing inflation and worsening economic crisis.
He said: "Let's not fool and cheat the workers that NSSA is doing it for the
workers' benefit. Workers are agitating for a tax reduction and this scheme
is another form of taxation."
Defending the proposed health scheme, NSSA boss Arnold Takawira said the
scheme was necessary to ensure that every worker enjoyed some form of health
insurance unlike at present when only a small fraction were covered by
private health insurance providers.
Takawira said: "Current health insurance schemes only cover 10 percent of
the working population and we hope to cover all workers. Out of the 1.6
million workers, private health insurance schemes only cover 200 000 of
Zimbabwean workers are some of the highest taxed in the world, while the
remainder of their salaries is quickly wiped away by inflation, which at
more than 3 700 percent is the highest in the world. - ZimOnline
26/05/2007 12:00 AM (UAE)
Zimbabwe is an enigma. It is a problem that will not go
away by ignoring it, nor will anything improve through offers of help from
Robert Mugabe came to power as prime minister in 1980, a
post subsequently abolished in 1987, paving the way for him to become
President in 1987.
Since then he has ruled the country, and driven it into
its present chaotic state, as a dictatorship, suppressing all forms of
opposition and using the police and armed forces to quell discontent.
Unemployment in Zimbabwe now stands at 80 per cent;
inflation at 3,700 per cent. The paucity of basic materials is making people
criminals as they try to eke out an existence.
There is a decline in industry in all areas, in what was
once the "bread basket" of Africa. A moral decay permeates society,
engendered by a sense of hopelessness and helplessness.
And all the while, the bloated leaders continue their
ways, impervious to criticism and making no concessions in their lifestyle.
Mugabe likes to blame the West for all the ills of
Zimbabwe, but that is merely pandering to his supporters. The situation will
not change until Mugabe steps down, but sadly it is unlikely to be soon.