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Zanu-PF blasts UN Human Rights Chief

By Staff Reporter 3 hours 10 minutes ago

HARARE - Zanu-PF supporters have castigated the UN High Commissioner for
Human Rights, Ms Navi Pillay for calling for the inclusion of gay rights
into the Bill of Rights, saying these are Western machinations which attempt
to dismantle the solid cultural values of African people.

In her final report after a five day fact finding mission on the Zimbabwean
human rights situation, Ms Pillay stirred a hornet’s nest by calling on the
country to legalise homosexuality.

Supporters of President Mugabe's party Zanu-PF says Ms Pillay is an agent of
neo-colonialisism, who wants to clandestinely smuggle immoral values which
are detested by God.

Ms Pillay’s three paged report was not entirely negative as she acknowledged
that Zimbabwe is amongst the top African states to have ratified human
rights protocols.

However, her call for the inclusion of gay rights has been widely condemned
by President Mugabe and his loyalists and some Zimbabweans, saying the
country is conservative and has firm foundations embedded in cultural and
religious morals.

What has irked most Mugabe's supporters is that the Westerners are trying to
force African people to accept what they say are immoral practices which are
even being resisted in their own countries.

Meanwhile, Zimbabwean women in Zanu-PF says they are surprised at Ms Pillay’s
claims that the country’s laws are not gender sensitive, after the UN chief
claimed that women need their husbands’ authority to acquire passports.

After spending five days in the country on a fact finding mission on human
rights, Ms Pillay on Thursday told journalists in Harare before her
departure that she had been surprised that Zimbabwe’s laws require a woman
to get consent from her husband to get a passport.

Apparently, the country has no such laws and Zimbabwean women say they have
no clue as to where the UN envoy got such false information from.

The women say they are accorded the rights to access travel documents
without need for their husband’s permission, adding that Ms Pillay might
have ulterior motives to tarnish Zimbabwe by misleading the international

Ms Pillay was in the country last week on a five day fact finding mission
where she met representatives from government and the civil society on the
prevailing human rights situation in the country.

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Mugabe tests commitment to reforms before polls

ZOLI MANGENA | 27 May, 2012 00:16

AHEAD of Friday's summit of the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) in Luanda, Angola, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is pulling out
all the stops to lobby regional leaders on his plans to call for an early
election, with or without the new constitution.

SADC has developed an elections road map, albeit one with disputed issues,
to guide the country to credible, free and fair elections.

Mugabe is anxious to have the elections this year, while he is still fit to
campaign, and wants to secure consensus and backing for his plans in
Zimbabwe and regionally.

He told UN human rights commissioner Navi Pillay that he wanted elections
soon because the coalition government is dysfunctional. He claimed the
drawn-out constitution-drafting process was being used by his rivals to
delay the polls.

Mugabe this week intensified his bid to get regional leaders to back him in
his plans. He dispatched a number of envoys in the SADC region to South
Africa, Zambia and Tanzania - a powerful troika on politics, defence and
security - as well as Namibia, Botswana and other countries to test their
resolve to insist on the full implementation of the global political
agreement and the elections road map before the polls.

Presient Jacob Zuma is SADC's chief facilitator and his team will be in
Harare this week, ahead of the Luanda summit, for an update on Zimbabwe's
security issues .

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Mugabe targets Tanzania in SADC campaign

26/05/2012 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

STATE Security Minister Sydney Sekeramayi met Tanzanian leader Jakaya
Kikwete Saturday as President Robert Mugabe steps up his campaign to win
SADC backing for elections he wants held this year.

Sekeramayi travelled to Tanzania with a special message from Mugabe after
meeting Zambia’s Michael Sata in Lusaka last Tuesday.

Before him, Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa had also travelled to Angola
to deliver a special message to President José Eduardo dos Santos.

According to local reports, Sekeramayi also briefed the Tanzanian leader on
progress made in the implementation of reforms agreed under the Global
Political Agreement (GPA).

He said although progress had been made in ongoing efforts to write a new
constitution, discussions continued over issues such as devolution of power
and dual citizenship.
Kikwete said he would continue to support Zimbabwe’s efforts to resolve its
internal problems.

“I would like to assure President Mugabe that Tanzania will continue to
support Zimbabwe to secure a permanent political settlement,” he said.
Mugabe needs the backing of the SADC region as he faces down his rivals over
demands for  fresh polls this year.

SADC, whose point-man in Zimbabwe is South African leader Jacob Zuma, helped
negotiate the GPA and the coalition government following the violent but
inconclusive 2008 Presidential ballot. Zuma is now facilitating dialogue
over key reforms expected to lead to new elections.
Parties to the coalition government agree the administration is no longer
workable because of policy and other differences.

But Mugabe’s rivals, with the tacit backing of Zuma, want key reforms
implemented before new elections can be held to ensure a credible the

MDC-T leader and Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai has since said new
elections are only viable in March next year.

Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara has also warned against rushing the
“The ultimate deadline (for new elections) March 2013,” Mutambara said

“(But) we must go through these reforms very carefully; the Constitution,
media reforms, political reforms, electoral reforms, national healing, and
security sector alignment, economic reforms.

“This means seven types of reforms.  These reforms require time and that
time will determine when our elections will take place.”

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Kikwete Pledges Political Support for Zimbabwe

Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

27 May 2012

Tanzania will continue to support Zimbabwe's efforts towards finding a
permanent political solution to its internal problems and has promised to
work hand in hand with the citizens of that country.

President Jakaya Kikwete made the promise at a meeting with a special envoy
of President Robert Mugabe in Dodoma on Saturday.

The president is participating in a retreat for regional and district
commissioners. The envoy, Mr Sydney Sekeremayi who is Zimbabwe's Minister of
State in the President's Office, is on a tour of Southen African Development
Community (SADC) states, aiming to explain about his country's political
latest developments and the fulfilment of political settlement of Global
Political Agreement (GPA) in Zimbabwe.

He told President Kikwete about the development of writing a new
constitution which is now being discussed by the main stakeholders who form
GPA, before it is presented in the parliament. He also told the president
about the main areas of the constitution including government system, power
distribution to the public, sexual freedom and the issue of citizenship of
more than one country.

President Kikwete congratulated Zimbabwe for maintaining the GPA resolution
despite various challenges. "I would like to assure President Mugabe that
Tanzania will continue to support Zimbabwe to achieve a permanent political
settlement," said President Kikwete.

The president also insisted that consultation and consensus were very
important for any country, citing the political settlement that took place
in Zanzibar where the government of national unity (GNU) was achieved. He
further told the visiting minister that Tanzania is also on the process of
writing a new constitution and that he did not see any reason for a
political stand off in a country that respects its constitution.

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Zanu-PF 'hijacks constitution'

JAMA MAJOLA | 27 May, 2012 00:25

ZANU-PF is trying to hijack the constitution-making process by imposing
wide-ranging unilateral amendments to the hotly contested draft constitution
produced by the select committee of parliament (Copac).

ZANU-PF is trying to hijack the constitution-making process by imposing
wide-ranging unilateral amendments to the hotly contested draft constitution
produced by the select committee of parliament (Copac).

The party wants to protect President Robert Mugabe and further its political
agenda ahead of elections it wants this year.

Copac has been riddled with infighting, chaos and endless disputes. The
process has so far gobbled up $45-million, with an additional $5-million
still needed. About $30-million has been set aside for the referendum on the
new constitution.

Zanu-PF has formed a team led by Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa to
supervise the Copac process and try to force wholesale chances to the draft
constitution. The party also has a technical committee working with its
caucus of MPs involved in the process.

After fierce battles over the draft constitution, political parties involved
in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and the coalition government
retreated for inter-party consultations.

However, Zanu-PF, through Mnangagwa's team, came back with a long list of
proposed amendments which would fundamentally change the document to suit
the interests of Mugabe and their party.

This has created a new impasse, further jeopardising the process already on
the brink of collapse.

"The stalemate emerged after Zanu-PF came back from their inter-party
consultation process with substantive amendments that would change the draft
constitution in a significant way," said Dr Alex Magaisa of Kent Law School
in the UK, who is involved in Copac.

"This comes after months of negotiations in which all parties, including
Zanu-PF, participated and agreed on the substance of the draft
constitution." Zanu-PF's decision-making politburo recently rejected the
draft constitution, claiming it was not based on people's views and hence
the party's attempt to revamp the draft.

The party is mainly worried about reform of the country's overbearing
presidency, devolution of power and dual citizenship, which would reduce its
control and influence.

Zanu-PF politburo members have accused their party officials in Copac of
collaborating with MDC leaders to come up with provisions on term and age
limits to stop Mugabe from seeking re-election.

Senior politburo member Jonathan Moyo has hit out angrily at Copac leaders,
describing them as a "mafia" and their process as a "national disaster".

Mugabe has demanded that Copac finish its process quickly or else he would
call for elections unilaterally.

The MDC-T this week attacked Zanu-PF for trying to hijack the
constitution-making process.

"Just a few weeks ago, Copac produced its first draft constitution and
everyone was happy that the long-awaited constitution was slowly becoming a
reality. Unfortunately Zanu-PF and its military junta have started making
determined efforts to derail this programme," the MDC-T said. "Methods
employed by Zanu-PF to derail the programme include massive propaganda
against the process channelled through the state media, unwarranted attacks
on the donor community and the intimidation of the parliamentary select
committee members by some sections of the military."

The MDC said Zanu PF was making "outrageous demands", including that the
military should be allowed to play an active part in national politics; the
president should appoint commissions without parliamentary approval; there
should not be a constitutional court ; there should not be devolution of
power to the provinces; executive authority must only vest in the president;
the president shall not be answerable to parliament on deploying troops and
there shall be no proscription of violence in elections.

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BBC classical music presenter arrested in Zimbabwe had been there as charity volunteer

Petroc Trelawny, a BBC classical music presenter imprisoned by Zimbabwean
authorities for allegedly 'working without a permit' was in the country
doing charity work for underprivileged children when he was arrested,
friends have said.

By Mark Hughes, Peta Thornycroft and Donna Bowater

7:30PM BST 27 May 2012

Petroc Trelawny, a Radio 3 presenter, was charged yesterday following his
arrest on Thursday.

On Sunday, on his 41st birthday, Mr Trelawyne was in a hospital ward under
police guard receiving treatment for a dislocated shoulder. He is understood
to have slipped on water and fell while in a police cell.

Lawyers acting for Mr Trelawny said that they hoped he would be released,
and likely deported, as early as Monday. But friends in Britain spoke of
their frustration that he had been arrested while trying to help young local
musicians in the country. Mr Trelawny was not working for the BBC while in
Zimbabwe, but he travelled to the country on behalf of The British Friends
of the Zimbabwe Academy of Music, a charitable organisation he founded.

President Robert Mugabe regularly tells Zimbabweans that British spies are
operating in the country to effect what he calls "regime change."

Mr Trelawny was appearing at a festival run by the Bulawayo Music Academy, a
music school which struggles to survive. He was acting as a compère when he
was led offstage by immigration officials.

Julian Berkeley, a friend of Mr Trelawny, said that he had travelled to
Zimbabwe about a week ago.

"Whether someone is trying to exploit the situation for political purposes,
I don't know," he said. "But as far as I know, everything he was doing over
there was to assist the charitable foundation.

"I understand he was apprehended because they wanted to see whether he had
the necessary papers but as he was not working he would not have considered
it necessary to have a work permit as he was not there in a professional

"It is very unfortunate that someone who was trying to do something to help
the country should suffer misfortune of this kind because the only reason he
was there was to provide charitable assistance and so it is ironic that it
has rebounded in this way."

The Bulawayo festival is supported by The British Council. He is believed to
have travelled with others from Britain although he is understood to be the
only one to have been arrested.

One of the event's organisers, Bruce McDonald, said Mr Trelawny was injured
when he fell accidentally at the police station and dismissed suggestions
that he was beaten. Zimbabwean police stations are notorious for their poor
conditions. Allegations of beatings and torture are common.

Mr McDonald said Mr Trelawny had aggravated an existing shoulder injury
during the fall. X Rays reveals he suffered a hairline crack.

Mr Trelawny has denied the charges against him. If the case against him
proceeds Monday he will appear, in bandages, at the Bulawayo Magistrate's
Court, and if found guilty, will be returned to police cells and then
deported, probably to South Africa.

His lawyer Munyaradzi Ngaraypenga said: "We are hoping for an immediate
resolution of this case and will be first checking with the Attorney
General's office to ask for an opinion on whether it is even worth going to
court, as Mr Trelawny was leaving Zimbabwe on Monday anyway. This matter
could have been handled differently."

Mike Lander a committee member of the music festival said: "Petroc has been
a regular visitor and has done so much to help keep classical music alive in
Bulawayo. He was telling stories to about 500 children when they arrived to
take him away."

A neighbour of Mr Trelawny, who lives alone near London's Regent's Park,
said she had been expecting to have lunch with him this week.

"He's involved with a lot of things with music. It's just one of his
passions, and to help them out," she said.

"That's why he always went as a tourist because the BBC aren't allowed.

"[The Academy] is the only reason he goes there."

A BBC spokesman said: "We are aware of the situation and hope it will be
resolved soon".

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‘State operatives disrupt students’
State intelligence operatives, police and soldiers should be ejected from institutions of higher learning in Zimbabwe – unless they are students – as their heavy presence on campuses is infringing on academic freedom, a student representative has said, writes Everson Mushava for Newsday.

Zimbabwe National Students Union president Pride Mukono told the parliamentary portfolio committee on tertiary education that security agents, who had flooded universities and colleges, should be flushed out as they have compromised the quality of education.

“Lack of academic freedom is a demon that has paralysed the educational system in the country. Security agents have infested universities and colleges and they limit our academic freedom...Even lecturers have been threatened with death if they talk a position believed to be anti-government,” said Mukono.
Full report on the Newsday site

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Zimplats under renewed siege over foreign funds

JAMA MAJOLA | 27 May, 2012 00:25

Just two months after the Zimbabwean government grabbed Zimplats from South
Africa's Implats under the guise of indigenisation and empowerment of
locals, the company has come under renewed siege from monetary authorities
for refusing to repatriate millions of dollars stashed in offshore accounts.

The move would further reinforce the negative sentiment engulfing the
company after it was seized in a deal widely seen as expropriation.

Implats - which controlled 87% of Zimplats - was forced to surrender 51% of
its shareholding to the Zimbabwe government, although authorities have not
made any commitment to pay for their equity.

Indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere said after the deal was signed
the government was not going to pay because the platinum concessions
Zimplats owned belonged to the state, although by law they are owned by the

Implats has warned that unless the government released the money, estimated
at about $500-million, it was not going to transfer its shareholding to the
bankrupt state-run National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Fund

The 51% shareholding in Zimplats comprised 10% shares given to the
community, 10% to employees and 31% to NIEEF.

Implats had only recently announced it would embark on a $1-billion
expansion programme on its mines. To date, the firm has invested
$700-million in Zimplats and was in the process of establishing the second
phase of its expansion plan, which would cost about $500-million.

As Zimplats was still trying to recover from the shock of seizure, the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe this week pounced on it over funds it is holding in
offshore accounts against its directive. In a backlash, the central bank
directed financial institutions to stop their banking services to Zimplats.

This followed a policy implemented in February which compelled mining firms
to close offshore accounts and transfer the funds to accounts in Zimbabwe.

Zimplats defied the order.

The Reserve Bank said Zimplats and other companies "behaving like that"
would not be allowed to get away with it. It warned that banks, which
collaborated with Zimplats risked "severe penalties".

Reserve Bank senior exchange control division chief Morris Mpofu said due to
the failure by Zimbabwe Platinum Mines to adhere to the provisions to
transfer its offshore funds to a bank onshore, exchange control had taken
corrective administrative measures to enforce compliance.

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Rising star in tourism

MARK SCOFIELD | 27 May, 2012 00:25

Unlike his Zanu-PF colleague Saviour Kasukuwere, Walter Mzembi, the Minister
of Tourism and Hospitality, is a darling of Western countries, foreign
investors and businesspeople as he trots across the globe seeking to restore
confidence in Zimbabwe's tourism sector.

On the other hand, Kasukuwere, the Minister of Youth Development,
Indigenisation and Empowerment, has done the exact opposite to Mzembi and is
the embodiment of plans to seize foreign-owned companies under the country's
51% indigenisation law.

Divisions are common between Zanu-PF ministers and their MDC counterparts,
but are unusual among Zanu-PF-linked ministers.

Economist Eric Bloch said: "Those are the internal contradictions of this
government. There is no policy cohesion because some policies like
indigenisation are being pursued for political expediency rather than
long-term inclusive economic growth.

"While Mzembi is trying to lure investors into the tourism industry,
Kasukuwere is threatening the same potential investors with expropriation of
their capital. This is also the same dilemma that Minister Tapiwa Mashakada
finds himself in as he tries to promote foreign and domestic investment."

But so far, Mzembi appears to have weathered the storm caused by
indigenisation. He fired a salvo at his Zanu-PF colleagues last year after
they invaded a bird sanctuary under the excuse of indigenisation, telling
them to back off, as the tourism sector was sufficiently indigenised.

The main players in the tourism sector are the Rainbow Tourism Group, where
government is the majority stakeholder, and African Sun, which is largely
owned by the country's emerging black elites.

Mzembi has a knack for speaking candidly against elements that make his job
mored ifficult - among them the failed airline, Air Zimbabwe. He has called
for its privatisation to ensure consistent service.

However, he has not lost his lighter side, and at President Robert Mugabe's
88th birthday celebrations, he said it would be easier to convince tourists
to visit Zimbabwe as they would want to see Mugabe whom he called a "tourist

Under Mzembi's three-year-old watch, Zimbabwe's tourism is slowly turning
around after a decade-long battering induced by the country's economic
decline. Mzembi this week celebrated the latest figures from the World
Travel and Tourism Council, which confirmed Zimbabwe's newly found return to

"Zimbabwe is now the second fastest-growing tourism industry in the world,
second only to China. It is a favourable rating by any standard but we have
to work hard to maintain those figures as the test of the pudding is in the
eating," said Mzembi.

Tourism is set to contribute an average 8.2% to the country's gross domestic
product over the next 10 years. It slumped to less than 5% under the
economic collapse.

Meanwhile, Mzembi was elected president of the African Travel Association
for a two-year period at the association's recently ended Victoria Falls
conference last week.

Tourism industry players say the post is an acknowledgement of Mzembi's
contribution to tourism, not only in Zimbabwe but also on the African

The icing on the cake, however, is set to come next year when Zimbabwe
co-hosts with Zambia the United Nations World Tourism Summit in Victoria
Falls and Livingstone. This is certain to be Mzembi's career highlight.

But political observers caution that elections could undo Mzembi's efforts.

Political analyst Charles Mangongera said: "Mzembi has managed to project a
political persona of a pragmatic realist that is not fundamentally partisan.
Sometimes he has contradicted party positions, particularly on
indigenisation, and I believe this might have ruffled some feathers within
his Zanu-PF party. It will be interesting to see how he will emerge after
the next elections, which indeed will be the biggest test of his political

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Role sought for Tsvangirai's wife

JOHN NQINDI | 27 May, 2012 00:25

Elizabeth Macheka will be up against Grace Mugabe when her new husband,
Morgan Tsvangirai, runs for the top job in the next election.

The prime minister tied the knot with Macheka after months of speculation -
and a botched marriage to Lorcadia Karimatsenga-Tembo.

Tsvangirai officially introduced his wife to President Robert Mugabe and
Vice-President Joyce Mujuru on Monday. Last week a traditional ceremony was
carried out at Tsvangirai's homestead in Buhera.

Tsvangirai's spokesman, Luke Tamborinyoka, said his boss's new wife was
expected to take up the role fulfilled by his late wife, Susan, who died in

"She is the new mother figure for our struggle. She will guide the prime
minister through the difficult times ahead," he said.

Senior members of the MDC-T, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they
were concerned that Macheka had close links with Zanu-PF. They also said
Karimatsenga-Tembo had Zanu-PF links.

"Maybe she is Zanu-PF at heart. It is dangerous to lie with the enemy,
especially now that this is the greatest chance ever to unseat Mugabe. But
since love has no boundaries, there is nothing we can do but to hope that
she will stay loyal," said a member of the MDC-T's women's league.

Macheka has yet to find her feet within the party. Her opposite number,
Grace Mugabe, is largely viewed as a mother figure by Zanu-PF members. They
refer to her as Amai , Shona for "mother".

Grace Mugabe has managed to stay away from factional politics. Macheka needs
to earn respect within the MDC-T.

When election time approaches, the two leaders will go on their nationwide
campaign trails.

Mugabe usually conducts his "star rallies" with his wife by his side. They
usually wear identical Zanu-PF regalia, with Mugabe giving his campaign
speech and Grace portraying a closely knit family. Their children sometimes
make a guest appearance .

Political analyst Trevor Maisiri of the International Crisis Group said it
was too early to judge what effect Macheka would have on Tsvangirai's
presidential bid.

"As Africans we value the marriage institution. It is one way of showing
maturity, because when one gets married one is expected to make informed

"It is up to the MDC-T and Tsvangirai to find a role for his new wife in the
political matrix. There are some women who choose to be behind the scenes
and there are some who want to take an active role. If she is to be active
in politics she first has to study how the First Lady conducts herself,"
Maisiri said.

Macheka is the daughter of Zanu-PF stalwart Joseph Macheka, a former mayor
of Chitungwiza. She is also the widow of a former Air Force wing commander,
Mabasa Guma, who died in a car crash in 2002.

She runs a beauty salon and a clothing boutique in the Avenues area of

Tsvangirai paid a bride price of $36,000 and 15 cattle to marry
Karimatsenga-Tembo in a customary marriage. However, he called off the
wedding in November, citing the alleged involvement of state security

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Mudenge's Third Wedding

Masvingo, May 27, 2012 – Higher Minister of Education, Stan Mudenge, tied
the knot for the third time at his Bawa rural homestead in Chief Zimuto on
Saturday, which was snubbed by Zanu (PF) big wigs.

Mudenge's second marriage was witnessed by Preisdent Robert Mugabe at
Gokomere mission together with a large crowd. But this time around only a
handful of people witnessed his marriage to Mildred Kada together with
Masvingo provincial governor Titus Maluleke, two Members of Parliament and
top ally senator Josiah Hungwe.

The visibly ill Mudenge had to be helped to walk by his best man, at a
ceremony presided by Catholic Father Jaya.

Close sources from Zanu (PF) said although wedding invitation cards
circulated a few weeks ago, party carders said they were now fed up by
Mudenge’s weddings.

“People have other things to do; they can’t keep going to Mudenge’s
weddings. Zanu (PF) members support each other but on this one, people
thought it was wiser for Mudenge to hold a secret wedding at the
Magistrate's court,” said the source.

Mudenge’s first and second wife died in 2001 and 2004 respectively.

Villagers in Bawa told Radio VOP that some Zanu (PF) youths spent Friday
night trying to force ordinary people to grace the Minister’s wedding.

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Alert : MDC Ward 1 chairperson murdered in Mudzi

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Cephas Magura (67), MDC ward 1 chairperson in Mudzi North was murdered while
seven party members were injured after an attack by Zanu PF thugs yesterday
afternoon. They were on their way from a district rally at Chimukoko
business Centre.

The people’s struggle for real change – Let’s finish!!!

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What’s the point of Pillay? – Zimbabwe Vigil Diary: 26th May 2012

Vigil supporters were dismayed by the presumptuous conclusion of the UN Human Rights High Commissioner Navi Pillay that sanctions against Mugabe and his cronies should be lifted. Ms Pillay asserts that sanctions have worsened Zimbabwe’s economic problems with ‘quite serious ramifications’ for the poorest and most vulnerable.


She cites no evidence for this, and the EU and the United States and others who have imposed sanctions argue otherwise.


Ms Pillay also says ‘There seems little doubt that the existence of the sanctions regimes has, at the very least, acted as a serious disincentive to overseas banks and investors. It is also likely that the stigma of sanctions has limited certain imports and exports’.


‘Little doubt’? As far as we can see there is ‘little doubt’ that Mugabe’s populist economic policies such as indigenisation are the main cause of the economic challenges facing Zimbabwe, together with rampant corruption and incompetence and the dishonouring of debts.


We wonder why Ms Pillay, a South African, hasn’t devoted as much attention to the reasons why the sanctions were imposed in the first place and challenged Mugabe on why he has refused to implement the Global Political Agreement signed nearly four years ago. She could also have asked him where the diamond money is going and why, after 12 years of land reform, Zimbabwe imports 80% of its food.


To us these are the real questions. And we doubt whether lifting sanctions will make any difference whatsoever.  On the contrary, unless there is more pressure on Zanu PF there will be no free and fair elections . . .


Other points

·        Thanks to contacts in Bulawayo, the Vigil was first to break the news of the arrest of the BBC classical music producer Petroc Trelawny who is accused of working there without a permit.

·        Since King Mswati’s visit to London, more details have emerged of his extravagance while his people starve.  Apparently his children are given an allowance of one million rand a year each while his many wives each receive 1.6 million rand from the state coffers. It’s rather like the Bulawayo City Council where senior officials get luxury cars while ordinary workers go unpaid.

·        A wedding party on an open top double-decker bus passed by, the bride and groom dancing to our music.


For latest Vigil pictures check: Please note: Vigil photos can only be downloaded from our Flickr website – they cannot be downloaded from the slideshow on the front page of the Zimvigil website.


FOR THE RECORD: 51 signed the register.



·        Next Swaziland Vigil. Saturday 2nd June from 10 am – 1 pm. Venue: Swazi High Commission, 20 Buckingham Gate, London SW1E 6LB.  Please support our Swazi friends. Nearest stations: St James’s Park and Victoria.

·        Zimbabwe Action Forum. Saturday 2nd June from 6.30 – 9.30 pm. Venue: Strand Continental Hotel (first floor lounge), 143 Strand, London WC2R 1JA. Directions: The Strand is the same road as the Vigil. From the Vigil it’s about a 10 minute walk, in the direction away from Trafalgar Square. The Strand Continental is situated on the south side of the Strand between Somerset House and the turn off onto Waterloo Bridge. The entrance is marked by a big sign high above and a sign for its famous Indian restaurant at street level. It's next to a newsagent.  Nearest underground: Temple (District and Circle lines) and Holborn.

·       ROHR North East Meeting. Saturday 16th June from 12 - 3pm. Venue: Gateshead Council Civic Centre, Regent Street, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear NE8 1HH. 3mins walk from Gateshead Interchange and Metro station before Gateshead Central Police Station. Free parking available.For directions please contact Tapiwa Semwayo 07722060246 / 07412236229, Susan Ndlovu 07767024586 and Catherine Tshezi 07428189705.

·        Zimbabwe Vigil Highlights 2011 can be viewed on this link:  Links to previous years’ highlights are listed on 2011 Highlights page.

·        The Restoration of Human Rights in Zimbabwe (ROHR) is the Vigil’s partner organisation based in Zimbabwe. ROHR grew out of the need for the Vigil to have an organisation on the ground in Zimbabwe which reflected the Vigil’s mission statement in a practical way. ROHR in the UK actively fundraises through membership subscriptions, events, sales etc to support the activities of ROHR in Zimbabwe. Please note that the official website of ROHR Zimbabwe is Any other website claiming to be the official website of ROHR in no way represents the views and opinions of ROHR.

·        ZBN News. The Vigil management team wishes to make it clear that the Zimbabwe Vigil is not responsible for Zimbabwe Broadcasting Network News (ZBN News). We are happy that they attend our activities and provide television coverage but we have no control over them. All enquiries about ZBN News should be addressed to ZBN News.

·        The Zim Vigil band (Farai Marema and Dumi Tutani) has launched its theme song ‘Vigil Yedu (our Vigil)’ to raise awareness through music. To download this single, visit: and to watch the video check: To watch other Zim Vigil band protest songs, check: and

·        Vigil Facebook page:

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Vigil co-ordinators

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.

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UN’s Navi Pillay failed to press Mugabe on key issues

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, 27 May 2012

One would be excused for feeling short-changed by the UN human rights chief
Ms Navi Pillay after she ‘failed’ to press Mugabe on key issues let alone
travel beyond Harare.

Zimbabwean activists and analysts fear that Robert Mugabe is trying to steal
another election by among other things disenfranchising an estimated 3
million exiles whom he cannot manipulate through violence and politicised
food aid.

It was therefore a very big disappointment that Ms Navi Pillay hardly
mentioned ‘Diaspora Vote’ as a human right that Mugabe was violating with

Zimbabweans expected the UN rights chief to get a firm commitment from
Mugabe to an election roadmap, transparency and UN supervision of the
planned elections. But, there was no indication the issue of election
monitoring or peacekeeping was ever put to him.

As for the missing human rights activist Paul Chizuze and the Gokwe 7 or 8
who went missing during the 2008 election violence, it was very
disheartening to note that the UN rights chief Navi Pillay maintained
silence on something within her mandate.

Similarly, Ms Navi Pillay’s lack of mention of the outstanding issue of
compensation (a basic human right) for Zimbabwean commercial white farmers
whose properties were seized by the Mugabe regime under the guise of land
reform was very untypical of a human rights chief.

It is an undeniable fact that land reform is yet to be conducted
transparently in Zimbabwe after a up-to-date land audit.

However, Mugabe’s land reform programme was more than a ‘Robin Hood’ style
because he (Mugabe) and his inner circle became the main beneficiaries –
with some owning on average half a dozen farms each, while the poor still
need resettlement.

Pillay ‘acquiesced’ to what is tantamount to Zanu-pf-imposed travel
restrictions and possibly a ‘curfew’ on her visit resulting in her
unprecedented five day visit being confined to Harare only.

There was no valid reason for her failing to travel beyond Harare- not even
to Bulawayo, the country’s second largest city given the long duration of
her stay.

It is fair to conclude that contrary to the regime’s claims that it had
nothing to hide the securocrats kept Navi Pillay under very close
surveillance and “banned” her from visiting the controversial Chiadzwa
diamond fields where proceeds are not reaching Treasury.

It remains to be confirmed whether Pillay’s omission of “Diaspora Vote” and
“Chiadzwa” from her 7-page lecture at UZ and also 7-page ‘end of mission
report’ on Friday 25 May, 2012 was deliberate or involuntary.

Zanu-pf ensured the rights chief committed herself on the controversial
subject of  “sanctions” to the point that she put her credibility on the
line after being ‘fed’ on unempirical evidence of the purported negative
effects of targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe’s maternal mortality rate for 2011
despite the inclusive government.

How one can draw a link between a travel ban on Mugabe, his wife and 122 of
his allies from e.g. visiting the UK to a high death rate of expecting
mothers and outbreaks of typhoid and cholera defies logic. Western diplomats
must have been shocked.

It will be recalled that when cholera first began rampaging in December
2008, Robert Mugabe and his ministers tried to play down the epidemic then
said it was a “biological warfare” waged by Britain after about 800 people
had died.

Touched by news of the tragedy the UK government released funds but Mugabe’s
regime failed to account for proceeds from Chiadzwa diamond mining which had
since started.

The Zimbabwe Demographic Health Survey 2011 is not credible as it suffers
from problems of reliability and validity given the hostile survey
environment that is Zimbabwe.

By adopting Zanu-pf’s loose definition of sanctions to describe a travel ban
and asset freeze on specific individuals Pillay put her credibility into

Zimbabwe is under no sanctions at least in the UN context or meaning of the
word because South Africa with the help of Russia and China blocked their
imposition in the Security Council in July 2008.

What we have in Zimbabwe at the moment are travel restrictions and asset
freezes imposed by some Western countries on specific individuals as
punishment for their roles in human rights abuses and vote rigging.

Zanu-pf might have scored an own goal on its so-called sanctions court case
against the EU through extensive hype and solicited commentary on state
media that make a fair hearing almost impossible.

The question is ‘Was Navi Pillay’s 5-day visit worth it?’ The answer depends
on what one would have wanted her to do. In view of the foregoing
discussion, just an email could have been enough.

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri is reading for a higher degree in International
Relations and is due to commence a full time study for a PhD focusing on
Forced Migration at the London South Bank University in September.

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