Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has designated the area around which he is
building his private multimillion 25-bedroomed mansion a "protected area" as
he faces calls to disclose the source of foreign currency for exclusive
imported materials being used at the mammoth project.
designation of the area as "protected area" means access is now severely
restricted and anyone who strays or is caught taking photographs might land
in hot water.
The police can now legally shoot and kill anyone who
strays into the area without authority as has been done at Mugabe's official
residence, Zimbabwe House, where several motorists have been shot and killed
over the years.
Mugabe's private mansion in the suburb of
Helensvale, near Borrowdale, has been under construction for the past five
years and is now expected to cost more than US$25-million (about R) on
Apart from bricks, gravel and cement which have been
sourced locally, sources say everything else at the property,
particularly all the interior finishings and roofing materials have been
imported from China and Europe.
The house is being built mainly by
a Yugoslav company, Energo Project, though some work is subcontracted to
The project also involves the construction of two
sizeable dams around the mansion and extensive landscaping work.
Mugabe is now facing calls to disclose where he has been getting the foreign
currency to purchase all the imported materials for his house particularly
after the arrest of his finance minister, Christopher Kuruneri.
Kuruneri is in jail after being arrested for illegally exporting foreign
currency to South Africa where he is reportedly building a R30-million
mansion in Cape Town.
Zimbabwe is mired in its worst foreign
currency crisis after the collapse of the tobacco farming sector in the wake
of Mugabe's land seizures.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has
therefore imposed stringent rules to prioritise the use of scarce foreign
currency to importing fuel and electricity.
A spokesman for the
anti-corruption watchdog, Transparency International (Zimbabwe Chapter) said
in view of that background, it becomes "absolutely essential" for Mugabe to
disclose where and how he has been getting foreign currency to pay for all
imports for his private mansion.
Scores of manufacturing companies
have folded due to lack of foreign currency to meet essential
Kuruneri claimed that he got his money to pay for his Cape
Town mansion from consultancy work.
ECB need government lead - Ancram Press
Association Sunday May 2, 2004 7:17 PM
Shadow foreign secretary
Michael Ancram has called on the government to provide a clear statement that
they are opposed to England touring Zimbabwe this autumn.
Wales Cricket Board bosses are facing up to the fact that they will have to
fulfil their obligations or face fines, a potential suspension from the
International Cricket Council and subsequent loss of revenue
They meet with foreign secretary Jack Straw on Thursday
to discuss the situation further.
And Ancram insists a formal letter
expressing the government's displeasure at the national side playing in a
country gripped by Robert Mugabe's abhorrent regime will aid England's hopes
of missing the tour.
"What I would like to hear and what the ECB would
like to hear is a clear statement from Jack Straw that this tour should not
go ahead," Ancram told Radio Five Live's Sportsweek programme.
cannot ban it but he can make it absolutely clear that it is the government's
view that it would be wrong for this tour to proceed.
"What we need now
is a clear statement which the ECB can then take to the ICC and say 'the
government does not want us to go'."
Ancram visited Zimbabwe last year
and believes a strong stance by England will emphasise the atrocities in the
"It will certainly give a signal that we are not turning
our backs on what is happening," Ancram added.
"When I was last there
the message was 'don't let the rest of the world forget what is going on
here'. It's totally unacceptable to give any comfort to a dictator who is,
essentially, carrying out ethnic cleansing in his own country, using
starvation as a political weapon and literally destroying the rule of
Harare - Journalists in Zimbabwe still risk arrest and
imprisonment if they publish anything the government deems untrue or unfairly
critical, with no sign of a let-up in a two-year-old crackdown on the
Despite repeated calls for a review of the tough media laws that
came into force in 2002, local journalists say there is little hope that
the regulations will be changed under President Robert Mugabe.
last 12 months we have seen the crackdown on the media being intensified and
taken to new heights," said Abel Mutsakani, president of the Independent
Journalists Association of Zimbabwe (IJAZ).
"We saw a situation where the
media has been brought under the control of the central government," he said,
referring to a recent court decision upholding that the state had a right to
demand that journalists and their employers had to register before operating
in the country.
Under Zimbabwe's media laws journalists and their
employers need to be licensed by a state-appointed commission, while the
communication of false information carries a fine or maximum five-year prison
term under security laws.
The IJAZ, the Media Institute of Southern
Africa (Misa-Zimbabwe), the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists and the Media
Monitoring project of Zimbabwe said in a report to mark press freedom day
Monday that more than 100 people working in the media had been arrested under
the media and security laws since 2000.
"The past four years have seen
some of the worst media and freedom of expression violations being
perpetrated on journalists," they said, adding that the media environment in
the troubled southern African state "can best be described as anarchic", they
"Media practitioners face detention, arrest, imprisonment and even
death," said Misa-Zimbabwe. "Working as a journalist or media
practitioner especially for the independent media, has become a hazardous if
Shamuyarira, Moyo stand-off ends British Sky News
to go ahead with Mugabe interview Innocent Chofamba Sithole
bruising clash between Zanu PF information and publicity secretary, Nathan
Shamuyarira and his deputy, Jonathan Moyo has fizzled out following
a decision by the ruling party to allow the British Sky News crew to go
ahead with a planned documentary on the Zimbabwean situation.
sources told the Sunday Mirror that the embarrassing dislocation of consensus
between ruling party and government over the Sky News saga, manifested in the
apparent clash between Moyo and Shamuyarira, ended after higher authorities
in Zanu PF okayed the Sky News documentary.
On Thursday, Moyo, in his
capacity as Minister of State for Information and Publicity issued a hardline
statement condemning the entry of the Sky News crew into the country without
fulfilling the country's stringent accreditation laws. Moyo effectively asked
the Sky News team to return to "their country of origin" from where they
would then seek permission to fly back into the country for purposes of
accreditation. "Failure to comply would, quite naturally, trigger a decisive
response from agencies whose duty it is to uphold the rule of law in the
country," he warned.
However, the Sunday Mirror understands that Moyo's
radical national defence line, expressed through his insistence upon the
fulfillment of legal requirements pertaining to accreditation of foreign
journalists, came against a background of numerous instructions from his
party boss, Shamuyarira, to make arrangements for the Sky News team's visit
to the country. Documents in the possession of this newspaper show that the
Sky News team's visit had been on the cards as far back as September last
year. The ruling party, swayed by the need to mount a formidable
international public relations campaign, mooted the idea of inviting Sky News
to cover both the December Zanu PF conference in Masvingo as well as such
fundamental issues as the country's national youth service programme and the
land reform exercise. Initially, Sky News had proposed to carry out live
broadcasts, including an interview with President Robert Mugabe. However,
after suggestions from Shamuyarira, on behalf of Zanu PF, the broadcaster
agreed to film a documentary, covering topics proposed by the ruling
party, including the presidential interview.
As recently as April 13,
Adrian Wells, the head of foreign news at Sky News, wrote to Shamuyarira
accepting the conditions under which they would shoot the
"We would be very keen to feature, as discussed, youth
training camps; resettled Zimbabwean farmers, key cabinet ministers, the
governor of the Reserve Bank (Gideon Gono), members of parliament in the
parliament building and other issues as relevant," Wells said.
News team, which was initially scheduled to start filming on April 26, could
not do so, Wells said, since its top news team was currently filming with
American military forces in Afghanistan. Subsequently, Wells suggested that
the filming begin on May 3 (tomorrow).
Wells also welcomed the
opportunity to discuss with Zanu PF how his team could film or illustrate the
economic situation obtaining in the country. He was, however, still to be
advised on a date for the interview with President Mugabe. Letters from
Shamuyarira to Moyo in our possession indicate that the former frequently
updated his party deputy on developments on the Sky News visit. Contacted for
comment on Friday, Shamuyarira was rather guarded, only revealing that he had
referred the matter to the party leadership. Moyo yesterday switched off his
phone after this writer identified himself to him.
Thursday, information and publicity department secretary, George Charamba had
insisted that even though the Sky News trip had been arranged by the ruling
party, the department did not accept visiting journalists through third
parties. "All the party can do is to recommend them, otherwise the obligation
to seek accreditation lies with the journalists themselves," he
The Sky News advance team, comprising producer Ben Depear and
cameraman Martin Smith, who are staying at a Harare hotel, are scheduled to
complete their accreditation process tomorrow (Monday). A source close to
the beleaguered journalists on Thursday said Sky News had assumed that Zanu
PF had liaised with government on their accreditation and had not foreseen
such complications as emerged.
Sky News had also forwarded an outline
of questions, which they intended to pose to President Mugabe in their
proposed interview. The 24 questions fall under four broad categories,
namely: economic crisis; land reform; international community, and domestic
PARIS - Reporters Without
Borders said that journalists in Africa faced worsening working conditions in
2003 and warned that the continent's independent media were in the process of
disappearing in several countries.
"2003 was not a very good year for
press freedom in Africa," the international press freedom advocate said in
its annual report, released to coincide with World Press Freedom
Two journalists were killed in Ivory Coast and a third probably
executed in the Democratic Republic of Congo, RSF said, adding that many
others had been imprisoned.
"Independent news media are becoming
scarce throughout Africa and journalists continue to flee with a heavy
In Ivory Coast, ranked 140th of 193 countries for press freedom
by the US Freedom House organisation, Kloueu Gonzreu, a journalist working
for the Ivorian news agency AIP, was killed in a war zone and Jean Helene,
a correspondent for Radio France Internationale, was shot dead in
A Franco-Canadian journalist Guy-Andre Kieffer, the subject of
violent attacks in the government-supporting press because of his critical
stance, has not been seen since mid-April.
Independent press was an
"endangered species," Reporters sans frontieres (RSF)
"Worrying examples include the closure of 'The Daily News' in
Zimbabwe, the closure of several news media in Gabon, the continuing ban on
any privately-owned press in Eritrea, the harassment of the only
opposition newspaper in Djibouti and the censorship that was temporarily
imposed on radio stations in Burundi and Chad."
The wars and
intermittent fighting in some African countries played a major role in this
declining freedom and it is becoming more and more dangerous to cover a war
in Africa, RSF said.
Journalists must also "face the wrath of aging
regimes clinging to power and protective of their authority. They all balk at
liberalisation, especially when broadcasting is involved," it
Ten countries in sub-Saharan Africa have maintained a monopoly of
radio and television broadcasting.
Free expression also suffered
serious setbacks in Mali, Niger and Senegal, RSF said, listing expulsions and
arrests of journalists and the closure of several privately-owned radio
stations in Niamey.
Significantly, for the first time since World War II,
journalists were convicted of inciting murder and violence in a high profile
hate media case at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, which
prosecutes the key perpetrators of the 1994 genocide.
leading journalists with Rwandan news media received sentences ranging from
35 years to life imprisonment for "inciting genocide" in 1994, when at least
800,000 people were slaughtered.
"It was hoped these sentences would be a
warning to those who continue to put out hate messages elsewhere in Africa,"
RSF said of the ruling by the international tribunal.
But it noted
that several newspapers in Ivory Coast "often cast oil on the flames,
stirring up hatred towards foreigners and pitting communities against each
RSF highlighted Mozambique for the "exemplary" trial into the
murder of journalist Carlos Cardoso, which saw six people receive long jail
"The case is worthy of note, and should serve as a model for
other African countries to follow. It should also be a warning to the
murderers of journalists who are still at large in Angola, Burkina Faso,
Ivory Coast, Nigeria and elsewhere that they, too, will one day have to
answer for their actions," RSF concluded.
Mbangwa sacked, reinstated
Harare: Former Zimbabwe international Mpumulelo 'Pommy' Mbangwa, covering the
Sri Lankan tour as a commentator, was reportedly sacked and reinstated by the
chairman of the ZCU marketing committee Ozias Bvute.
occurred during the final ODI last Thursday.
According to the terms
of the ZCU contract with TV company Octagon, Bvute has the power to fire
commentators. Bvute told Mbangwa, according to TV personnel present, that he
took exception to the latter "criticising the Zimbabwe team".
Later that day, Mbangwa wanted his dismissal reconsidered and Bvute relented,
according to an Octagon senior staff. (AP)
A Zimbabwean rebel player has alleged that Zimbabwe cricket
officials threatened to dig up the pitch for an international match if five
black players were not selected for the series against Sri Lanka. The player
wrote to an Australian friend last week, just as hopes for an end to the
crisis were raised.
The Sun-Herald reported that the player, who chose
to be anonymous, explained to Ross Barrat - the chief executive of Albion, a
cricket apparel company - that the rebels had made it a legal matter, and
that a number of them were considering moves to Sydney and
"Things have gone mad here. We've had non-stop meetings with these
... for the last three weeks," the player said. "We're forcing them
into arbitration, which they don't like because they're so guilty. It's
a dangerous move, but we're doing it to try to save Zimbabwe cricket."
He added that he had "heard Heath Streak is Sydney-bound, but I'm not 100
per cent sure".
However, the conflict appeared to be heading towards a
resolution on Friday, when four rebel players - including Streak - were
selected to play for Zimbabwe A in a four-day game against the Sri Lankans.
Ray Price, Trevor Gripper and Sean Ervine were the others.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---- I
am horrified at the lack of outrage against Robert Mugabe in this
country. Business Day has been almost silent on the issue but prints columns
such as Christine Qunta's, Cheering crowd sees Mugabe as an African hero
(April 30). As far as I know from first-hand information and articles in
other newspapers, many people are starving to death in Zimbabwe.
dare we sit back and pretend Zimbabwe is okay, that this man is a hero didn't
we recently throw out apartheid because it was an abusive system?
okay, because this tyrant is black and he is doing it to black people, to
allow atrocities to continue?
Does his autocratic leadership look like
democracy? Why are you not speaking out? Where is your free thinking, your
ethics, your stand on democracy and where is your outrage at his repression
of the media in Zimbabwe?
Highlands North May 03
2004 07:42:20:000AM Business Day 1st Edition
It was Ian Smith who fought for
liberation May 3, 2004
The Star's editorial April 21 2004,
"Zim's new challenges" propagates a rather odd view of Zimbabwe's history
when it attempts to re-cast it as struggle against British
Ian Smith in his autobiography Bitter Harvest: The
Great Betrayal 2001: page 3, correctly states the position, "... we were
never governed directly from Whitehall, and therefore never came within the
category of being a colony."
The struggle was not even for
independence. Southern Rhodesia had been self-governing since
If anybody was fighting for independence it was Ian Smith's
government which unilaterally declared independence in November
Independence was opposed by Mugabe unless at the same
time it forced black majority rule onto the Smith government. Mugabe was
fighting for black majority rule and his greatest ally in this endeavour was
the British government.
With this background it is very strange
nowadays to hear Mugabe claim to have been fighting British colonialism. It
is even stranger to read The Star echoing these claims.