The ZIMBABWE Situation
An extensive and up-to-date website containing news, views and links related to ZIMBABWE - a country in crisis
Return to INDEX page
Please note: You need to have 'Active content' enabled in your IE browser in order to see the index of articles on this webpage

High Court Orders South African Authorities To Investigate Crimes Against
Humanity Committed In Zimbabwe

News Release – Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC)
8 May 2012

JOHANNESBURG – In a landmark decision for local and international justice,
the North Gauteng High Court ruled this morning that the South African
authorities must investigate Zimbabwean officials, who are accused of
involvement in torture and crimes against humanity in Zimbabwe.
“This judgment will send a shiver down the spines of Zimbabwean officials
who believed that they would never be held to account for their crimes but
now face investigation by the South African authorities,” said Nicole Fritz,
Executive Director of the Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), which
brought the case along with the Zimbabwean Exiles Forum (ZEF).
In a very strong ruling, Judge Hans Fabricius said that the National
Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the South African Police Services (SAPS) had
acted unconstitutionally and unlawfully in not taking forward the original
investigation. His judgment also underlined in the strongest terms South
Africa’s obligations under international law.
“This decision is not just about Zimbabwe, it also sets a much broader
precedent by ruling that South African authorities have a duty to
investigate international crimes wherever they take place,” said Fritz. “It
is a major step forward for international criminal justice.”
In March 2012, SALC and ZEF argued in the High Court that the decision of
the NPA and SAPS not to investigate Zimbabwean officials linked to acts of
state-sanctioned torture should be set aside. Brought in terms of South
Africa’s International Criminal Court Act, which defines torture as a crime
against humanity, the applicants' argued that the NPA and SAPS had failed to
take into account South Africa’s international and domestic law obligations
to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of international crimes regardless
of where they are committed or by whom.
The case highlighted South Africa’s duty to investigate crimes against
humanity, the sufficiency of the evidence presented by SALC to the NPA and
SAPS to trigger an investigation and how irrelevant considerations – such as
political concerns – improperly influenced the decision. The case also
exposed divisions within the NPA after Anton Ackermann, the head of the
Priority Crimes Litigation Unit that is responsible for the investigation
and prosecution of international crimes, stated in an affidavit that he
believed that an investigation should have been initiated and that he was
not satisfied with the manner in which SALC’s request was dealt with.
For more information and interviews contact:
Nicole Fritz, SALC Executive Director, +27 11 587 5065, Cell +27 82 600
Gabriel Shumba, ZEF Chairperson, Cell +27 72 639 3795
Alan Wallis, SALC, Off + 27 11 587 5065, Cell +27 82 826 5700;

SALC promotes human rights and the rule of law in southern Africa through
litigation, advocacy and training. ZEF seeks to combat impunity and achieve
justice for human rights violations in Zimbabwe and to support Zimbabweans
in exile. Lawyers for Human Rights represented SALC and ZEF in this matter.

Ethel Maphiwa-Ndlovu
Office Manager
Southern Africa Litigation Centre
t: +27 (0) 11 587 5000
f: +27 (0) 11 587 5099

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Court Orders S. African Prosecutors to Investigate Torture in Zimbabwe

May 08, 2012

Delia Robertson | Johannesburg

South Africa's high court has ordered prosecutors to investigate Zimbabwean
officials who alleged committed torture and human rights abuses in the
run-up to Zimbabwe's violent and disputed 2008 elections.  The decision has
important practical, political and diplomatic implications for South Africa.

Judge Hans Fabricius told the National Prosecuting Authority to probe
accusations contained in a dossier of complaints compiled by the South
African Litigation Center and the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum.  Nicole Fritz of
the Litigation Center says the complainants accuse 18 Zimbabweans of torture
and abuse.

“One is not talking about isolated incidents, it is not one crime," she
said.  "We are talking about a huge of number of individuals who can testify
to the same type of crime being committed against them.  It is widespread
and systematic.”

South Africa is a signatory to the 1998 Rome Statute which brought about the
International Criminal Court, and passed implementing legislation in 2002.
Fritz says this enables South Africa to prosecute individuals of human
rights crimes committed elsewhere.

“That gives South African investigating and prosecuting authorities power to
investigate and prosecute international crimes, genocide crimes against
humanity, where the perpetrators of those crimes are present on South
African territory after having committed such crimes,” said Fritz.

Fritz says the complainants are members of the Movement for Democratic
Change, who were detained when the party’s headquarters was raided by
security officials of President Robert Mugabe’s government in 2007.  She
says a number of the accused officials travel regularly to South Africa, for
both official and personal reasons and that the local authorities have
enough information to identify and arrest them should they again enter the

The names of the accused have not been released and there was no immediate
comment from Zimbabwe's government or Mugabe's ZANU-PF party.

Fritz says that, while it is preferable to secure justice in the location in
which crimes occur, this is not possible in Zimbabwe because the rule of law
there has collapsed and there are no feasible or credible ways to ensure the
accused are prosecuted.

Fritz says South Africa played a leading role in negotiating the Rome
Statute. "South Africa was once a leader of the international criminal
justice project; it led at the Rome negotiations in securing an independent
court, its implementing legislation is a model the world over, for what
should be done, and the court basically said you need to live up to the
vision of those efforts at [the] Rome Statute and the vision that is
contained in implementing legislation,” she said.

South Africa has also become home to several individuals wanted in their own
countries for crimes against humanity, and Fritz says the ruling is a
warning to those who seek to use this country as a safe haven that they
cannot expect to enjoy impunity here.

Prosecuting authorities in South Africa are already burdened with a high
incidence of serious crime to investigate, and may find it difficult to
obtain the resources to investigate several hundred cases of Zimbabwean

Also, the ruling could further complicate South Africa’s role as mediator to
the parties in the shaky coalition government in Zimbabwe.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

COPAC negotiations suffer another setback

By Tichaona Sibanda
08 May 2012

Stalled efforts in dealing with parked issues in the draft constitution have
suffered another setback after ZANU PF indicated it needed more time to
study the document.

COPAC co-chairman and MDC-T spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said they have since
received feedback from most stakeholders, except ZANU PF. Mwonzora revealed
that ZANU PF had initially requested a day to go over the document, but that
period has been extended to a week.

‘They don’t appear too happy with the contents of the document. But we have
had good response from other stakeholders like the MDC formations and
several key civil society organisations,’ Mwonzora said.

He said that when he enquired from ZANU PF’s co-chairman Paul Mangwana about
the delay, he was told that certain senior members in the former ruling
party needed time to look at the draft.

‘Its ZANU PF that are delaying the process and at the same time they are the
ones pushing the country for an election and yet it’s clear they do not want
to move forward,’ Mwonzora added.

South African based political analyst, Mutsa Murenje, agreed with the MDC-T
MP for Nyanga North, saying Robert Mugabe’s party are not serious at all in
seeing Zimbabwe adopt a new constitution ahead of elections, which ZANU PF
want held this year. However it is looking increasingly likely that the next
general elections cannot be held before the first quarter of 2013.

‘From the word go they’ve (ZANU PF) never been serious about power sharing.
The delay is confirmation they are not willing to relinquish power through
the ballot box. They are quite aware that they will lose an election under a
new constitution, when conditions are free and fair.

‘So now they’re creating an impression that the whole constitution is not
about the people of Zimbabwe or the future of the country. I want to believe
they’re primarily worried about their comforts, personal aggrandizement, as
evidenced by their policies in the last two decades,’ Murenje said.

Observers claim ZANU PF is jittery at the prospect of Zimbabwe having a new
constitution that gives parliament more independence and power to make key
government appointments. Under the current constitution the President exerts
too much power and is solely responsible for all key appointments in

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Constitution Panel Accuses President Mugabe's Party of Delaying Process

08 May 2012

Jonga Kandemiiri | Washington

Zimbabwe's parliamentary committee writing the nation’s new constitution is
expected to meet Wednesday to finalize some outstanding issues as divisions
within President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF threaten to delay the process.

Sources in the committee say ZANU-PF has asked for more time to study a
draft handed to the political parties in the unity government. President
Mugabe's party is divided over the new constitution with hardliners pushing
for the process to be ditched altogether.

Select committee co-chairman Douglas Mwonzora of the Morgan Tsvangirai MDC
told VOA the meeting, originally scheduled for Tuesday, had been postponed
due to two funerals.

ZANU-PF co-chairman Munyaradzi Paul Mangwana was not available for comment
but Mwonzora told VOA Studio 7 reporter Jonga Kandemiiri that Mr. Mugabe's
party is unnecessarily delaying the constitution-making process by demanding
more time to study the draft document.

Mwonzora says ZANU-PF is using excuses to delay the process since it was
well-represented in the select committee right from the beginning of the

Meanwhile, the MDC co-chairman adds, major outstanding issues such as
devolution will have to wait for the return of management committee members
who left Harare Tuesday for Brussels to resume dialogue talks with the
European Union.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Draft constitution triggers new gay storm

08/05/2012 00:00:00
    by Staff Reporter

THE Parliamentary committee leading the country’s constitutional reforms
(COPAC) has triggered yet another storm over homosexuality after including
in its latest draft a clause that critics say could be used to guarantee gay

A draft released in February included a controversial reference to “natural
differences” which had been rejected by the majority of Zimbabweans during
the constitutional outreach exercise.

But the new draft released last week replaced the contested phrase with
‘‘circumstances of birth’’ which legal experts and political analysts said
was still open to manipulation by gay rights activists.

Said Harare lawyer Jonathan Samukange told the Herald: “Circumstances of
birth may include sexual orientation because those peo­ple can actually go
to court and chal­lenge any discrimination based on that clause.

“That is how other countries end up having gay rights in their
constitu­tions, it won’t be clearly stated for instance the South African
constitu­tion provides for non-discrimination and that is used by the gays.

“This provision in our draft I think is actually intended to cover up for
homosexuality and the moment it’s in the constitution then it will be used
by the gays.”

Another Harare lawyer Terence Hus­sein added: “The clause itself is vague,
it will need to be clarified by the courts because someone can argue that
they were born with a particular sexual ori­entation and demand that they
not be discriminated against.

Tsholotsho North MP, Jonathan Moyo whose Zanu PF party is opposed to the
inclusion of gay rights in the constitution said it was scandalous that
COPAC was resorting to “trickery and deceit” in a bid to protect

“It is scandalously revealing that the latest Copac draft constitution
released last week has resorted to trickery and deceit in a desperate but
ill-fated attempt to retain and entrench homo­sexuality by mischie­vously
hiding it under the cover of a new seemingly innocuous and yet loaded phrase
of ‘circumstances of birth’ which has replaced the roundly rejected phrase
of ‘natural difference’ which was contro­versially included in the February
Copac draft,” he said.

“What is very offensive about this is that the people of Zimbabwe
specifically and vociferously rejected the con­stitutional protection of
homosexuality during the Copac outreach programme.

“The fact that homosexuality has come back in a fool­ishly hidden way in the
latest draft demonstrates beyond any doubt that the Copac co-chairs, who
have taken ownership of the draft in the name of a negotiated con­sensus,
are contemptuous of the people’s views and proves that the MDC-T, which has
been very vocal in support of the latest draft, is fully behind the latest
sinis­ter trick to entrench homosexuality in the Copac draft constitution
against the very clear views of the people of Zimbabwe who have spoken in
their great numbers against homosexuality.”

But former Attorney General, Andrew Chigovere said in his view there was
nothing wrong with clause in question.

“If provisions are written in such a way that is susceptible to many
interpretations, then we may have problems but as far as I understand this
clause, it is not about homosexuality but the manner in which one is born,”
he said.

“We may have a situation where one is born by an insane person and those are
the circumstances of birth that are being talked about.

“We already have a provision for marriage being between people of opposite
sex so it is not possible for someone to claim that homosexuality is
provided for. The only thing gays can do is to argue that the provision on
marriage is discriminatory in the sense that it talks of people being of
opposite (sex).”

Zimbabwe is currently writing a new constitution as part of a raft of
political reforms expected to culminate in fresh elections to choose a
substantive government.

But the critics have dismissed the process, already delayed by constant
bickering between parties to the coalition government, as a costly failure
with many insisting the exercise should be abandoned.

Said Harare academic Ibbo Mandaza last week: “Copac got its mandate
through … the Global Political Agreement (GPA) wherein the three political
parties agreed it should lead the drafting of a new constitution for

“Herein lies the first problem: a political tri-partisanship that has proved
almost fatal for Copac and in general accounts for the incessant bickering
therein, the failure to complete work within the stipulated 12 months and
the obscene budget of US$45 million!

“Copac has so far succeeded most in affording constitution-making a negative
image. A laughing stock perhaps! But Zimbabweans in general are no more
informed about constitutionality under Copac than they were in 2000 when the
draft constitution was rejected, for the wrong reasons, in that referendum.
“To be fair, people have become cynical about constitution-making, let alone
about Copac.”

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

President Can Be Prosecuted After Leaving Office

Bulawayo, May 08, 2012 - Zimbabwe’s draft constitution states that the
President can be prosecuted after leaving office for human rights abuses or
any other offences committed while serving as the country’s leader.

According to Clause 6.11 (2), immunity against prosecution ceases after the
President leaves office.

“(1) While in office, the President is not liable to civil or criminal
proceedings in any court for things done or omitted to be done in his or her
personal capacity

“(2) After leaving office as President, civil proceedings may be instituted
against him or her for things done or omitted to be done (a) before he or
she became President: (b) in his or her personal capacity while he or she
was President,” the clause reads in part.

Civic society activists have said they will lead prosecution proceedings
against President Robert Mugabe for human rights violations since 1980.

Civic society activists blame Mugabe for crimes against humanity. Examples
include the 1980’s Gukurahundi massacres, the 2000 land reform that resulted
in the killing of white commercial farmers, the 2005 clean up Murambatsvina
operation that was accompanied the destruction of people’s property and the
2002 and 2008 violent presidential elections that saw the displacement and
the killing of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has on numerous occasions also called for
the arrest and prosecution of those behind the Gukurahundi campaign that
killed at least 20 000 civilians in Matabeleland and all other violent
campaigns that resulted in the killing of his party supporters.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Mugabe's Party Doubles Down on E-U Election Observer Ban Ahead of Talks

07 May 2012

Jonga Kandemiiri | Washington

The ZANU-PF party of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe insisted on Monday
it will not allow European Union observers to monitor the country's next
vote, as a government delegation readied to resume stalled dialogue with the
EU latter this week.

The delegation leaves Harare for Brussels Tuesday hoping the dialogue will
lead to the normalization of bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and the
European Union.

The EU slapped President Mugabe and some senior ZANU-PF officials and
companies with sanctions following the disputed 2002 elections. Some have
since been removed from the list.

Observers say the threats by Mugabe's party were meant to put pressure on
the Europeans ahead of Thursday's talks. For relations to be restored,
ZANU-PF insists on the lifting of the travel and financial measures, but the
EU wants comprehensive reforms first.

The party's parliamentary whip Joram Gumbo told VOA the EU would not be
accredited for general elections that Mr. Mugabe has demanded this year.

Gumbo accused the bloc of being biased against his party. But he said if the
talks resolved the Harare-EU standoff, ZANU-PF would reconsider its

University of Zimbabwe lecturer John Makumbe said ZANU-PF's ban on EU
observers was ill advised.

The Harare delegation will be led by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa,
Energy Minister Elton Mangoma and Regional Integration Minister Priscilla

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

EU’s Ashton to meet Zim ministers

May 8 2012 at 06:07pm

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is to meet on Thursday with three
ministers from Zimbabwe to discuss political reforms but a further easing of
sanctions is unlikely, an EU official said on Tuesday.

EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton is to meet on Thursday with three
ministers from Zimbabwe to discuss political reforms but a further easing of
sanctions is unlikely, an EU official said on Tuesday.

After easing sanctions against Zimbabwe in February, the European Union aims
to express “our encouragement of continuing political reforms”, said
Ashton's spokesman Michael Mann.

The three ministers are from the three main political parties in the
coalition government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai - the MDC-T, ZANU-PF and MDC-N.

In Harare, state media last weekend quoted one of the three - Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamasa from Mugabe's ZANU-PF - as saying the ministers
hoped the talks would lead to the unconditional removal of remaining EU

But a senior EU official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said “progress
on political reform has continued in the right direction, but is fairly

“The talks will give us an opportunity to say what we are looking for and
for them to say what they are planning,” the official added.

The other two ministers travelling to Brussels are Energy Minister Elton
Mangoma of the MDC-T and Regional Integration Minister Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga of the MDC-N.

In February, the 27-nation EU removed a visa ban and asset freeze on 51 of
150 people targeted by the restrictive measures and 20 of 30 companies under
EU sanctions imposed in 2002.

It maintained sanctions against Mugabe, who is 88 and has ruled since
independence from Britain in 1980. After failed elections in 2008, he was
forced into a power-sharing government with his rival Tsvangirai, a move
meant to clear the way to new polls. - Sapa-AFP

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Confusion in the Zimbabwe Media Commission

May 8, 2012 7:02 pm

By Farai Gwenhure

Confusion reigned within the Zimbabwe Media Commission after its
commissioners contradicted each other while responding to questions posed by
journalists on the issue of the establishment of a complaints board when the
voluntary media council of Zimbabwe was already in place.
Zimbabwe Media Commission chairman Godfrey Majonga

Zimbabwe Media Commission chairman Godfrey Majonga

Asked why the commission wanted to establish a board to deal with complains
against journalists, when VMCZ was doing the same job, ZMC Chairman Godfrey
Majonga put forward the idea of incorporating VMCZ in the statutes to act as
an extension of the commission but a fellow commissioner, Ambassador Chris
Mutsvangwa thought otherwise.

“We work as a commission guided by the existing laws we are not legislators
who are there to amend the Law therefore we do not see VMCZ being an
extension of ZMC,”Mutsvangwa. Journalists who had gathered at a local hotel
to celebrate world press freedom day attributed the contradictions in the
ZMC to the divisions in the Government of National Unity.

A journalist from The Zimbabwean said, ”The commissioners are political
appointees who represent political interests of either MDC or ZANUPF
therefore it is not surprising that they are in contrast.”

Scribes also castigated Zimpapers Chief Executive Officer Justin Mutasa who
said there is no 100% press freedom in any part of the world suggesting that
there was nothing surprising about the draconian laws in Zimbabwe.

“The problem is that he has never been arrested on accusations of criminal
defamation or any other case criminalized by either POSA or AIPPA and some
other parts of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act.

“That is why he is saying the laws should stay just because he believes they
safeguard the so called National interests which he is a direct beneficiary
to and therefore sees it fit to sacrifice journalists to protect his
personal interests,” Donald Rixter Ndlovu a freelance journalist said.

Other speakers at the function who also opposed the idea of media self
regulation are Minister of Information and Publicity Webster Shamu who was
guest of owner and also ZBC CEO Happison Muchechetere.

The ZMC was formed in 2009 as a replacement to the dreaded MIC to become the
new regulatory board in charge of registering newspapers and accrediting
journalist as well as overseeing their operations.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Amnesty petitions Zimbabwe leaders over death penalty

08/05/2012 00:00:00
    by Phyllis Mbanje

AN INTERNATIONAL human rights group has written to Zimbabwe’s three main
political party leaders urging them to scrap the death penalty from the new

Amnesty International says in a letter to Zanu PF leader Robert Mugabe and
the two leaders of the MDC Morgan Tsvangirai and Welshman Ncube that the
death penalty’s deterrent effect is negligible.

"The death penalty was one of the most hated forms of punishment during
Zimbabwe's liberation struggle which was applied by the white minority
government against freedom fighters,” Amnesty said in the letter signed by
its Zimbabwe chapter’s executive director, Cousin Zilala.
Zilala said the death penalty was the “ultimate violation of the right to

"One of the reasons countries retain the death penalty is the misplaced view
that it acts as a deterrent to serious crimes, but studies show otherwise,”
he added.

Zimbabwe’s new constitution which is being steered by the three parties is
currently at drafting stage. A draft released last week shows the death
penalty will be retained, but only for aggravated murder.
But Amnesty International is urging a complete abolition.

Zimbabwe has 61 people who are currently on death row. Since 1980, 78
prisoners have been executed by hanging, but there have been no new
executions since 2003, partly blamed on the lack of a hangman.
The last hangman retired after executing murderous armed robbers Edmore
Masendeke and Stephen Chidhumo.

Meanwhile, pressure is mounting on a parliamentary committee to meet the May
target to approve a draft to be sent to a referendum.

Paul Mangwana, who represents Zanu PF on the committee, said the drafting
process for the new constitution had been complicated by splits among the
three ruling coalition parties.
"It is no easy feat to represent all parties but we are optimistic that it
will be done,” he said.

But his optimism is not shared by a growing number of critics of the

National Constitutional Assembly chairman Lovemore Madhuku said: “We are
wasting time and money with this COPAC. You can give them 100 years but
nothing will come out."

Zanu PF’s Tsholotsho North MP Jonathan Moyo said without intervention by the
leaders of the three parties to move the process forward, the constitution
would be stalled.

"They have been at it for 36 months, and gobbled $45million but all they
have to show for it is an incomplete first draft. Surely, one would have to
be an incurable optimist to think the principals will remain patient and
keep extending the deadline," he said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

‘Angry’ teachers threaten June strike action

By Alex Bell
08 May 2012

Zimbabwe’s new school term opened this week with teachers threatening
another round of industrial action, if the government fails to meet their
demands by June.

The new term got under way on Tuesday and teachers have agreed to hold off
on a countrywide strike for the next month. They are still waiting for the
government to conduct a total review of their salaries and working

The start of the last school term was marred by a nationwide strike, which
only ended when the government agreed to pay teachers an extra US$58 and
urgently address their needs.

But according to Takavafira Zhou, the President of the Progressive Teachers
Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), there has been no further attempt to deal with the
plight of the country’s teachers.

“Teachers returned to work for the new term very angry and apprehensive,
because the government still has not reviewed salaries and conditions of
service. Also, violence against teachers has once again been on the rise and
there has been no attempt to secure the working environment,” Zhou told SW
Radio Africa on Tuesday.

He accused the unity government of only paying ‘lip service’ to the demands
for better working conditions and fairer pay, saying: “There is a lot of
politicking at the expense of resolving our problems.”

“We will give them time to address our anger, but it seems that the only
language the government understand is one of industrial action,” Zhou said.

He added that strike action is not what the teachers want to do, explaining
they feel they’ve been left with little choice but to down tools.

“Teachers are united by poverty and they believe the strike might at least
force government to address their needs,” Zhou said.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

As Schools Open, Zimbabwe Parents Complain of Fee Hikes

07 May 2012

Marvellous Mhlanga-Nyahuye and Sithandakile Mhlanga | Washington

Zimbabwe's Education Minister David Coltart has threatened schools with
unspecified action if they continue to raise fees and levies unrealistically
without consulting and agreeing with parents on the way forward.

Most government-run boarding and day schools as well as private ones applied
to the state to increase their fees and levies but were turned down.
Nevertheless, they went ahead, raising the ire of cash-strapped parents.

Some schools are reported to have raised fees by $50, while some by as much
as $100, leading to a chorus of complaints.

Coltart told VOA while the government is still failing to adequately fund
the education sector, schools should not use this as an excuse to hike fees.

“I am urging parents who are not satisfied with the fees levied at their
schools to contact my Ministry so that investigations can be carried out to
ensure that amounts charged are Government sanctioned, “ said Coltart.

He said parents can also contact him using social media like Twitter,
Facebook or by calling his offices directly, although critics have
complained of the red tape hampering direct communication with the minister.

Zvavamwe Chambare, a parent and chairman of Montrose Girls High School
Development Association in Bulawayo, said parents are worried about
incessant school fee increases.

He urged the government to subsidize fees using returns from the country’s
abundant natural resources.

Ambrose Sibindi, organizing secretary of the Progressive Bulawayo Residents
Association, said the country's Basic Education Assistance Module meant to
assist disadvantaged children should assist the needy.

He said the scheme was failing to rise to the occasion because it was poorly

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Tsvangirai’s security aide not involved in violence

By Tichaona Sibanda
08 May 2012

A security detail in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s office was never
arrested or charged by the police as reported in the Herald, the MDC-T’s MP
for Kambuzuma said on Tuesday.

The state controlled Herald reported that police had arrested Ambitious
Muzuva of Kambuzuma Section 3, for allegedly assaulting a police officer and
a ZANU PF sup¬porter at a rally in Kambuzuma on Sunday.
He is employed in the security section of Tsvangirai’s office.

But Willias Madzimure, the MDC-T legislator for the area, denied Muzuva was
arrested, insisting that he was taken unlawfully to the police station in
Warren Park for questioning. The MP said Muzuva was not even present during
the party rally that was disrupted by the police.

‘His only crime is that he’s a resident of Kambuzuma and is linked to the
office of the Prime Minister. The only motive in that story is to try and
tarnish our leader’s name by falsely portraying staff in his office as
criminal elements,’ he said.

He admitted that two party cadres, Pass¬more Jaricha and Lovemore Chimbangu,
were arrested for trying to stop a ZANU PF supporter from infiltrating the
rally. He defended their actions saying the ZANU PF supporters were not
welcome at their rally.

‘Ask yourself what ZANU PF supporters were doing at our rally. The police
were informed of their presence and took no action to disperse them. They
only got involved when our members wanted to physically eject them at which
time a police officer in civilian clothes was caught in the cross fire,’
Madzimure said.

The legislator blamed the police for their unprofessional approach when
dealing with MDC-T rallies, charging that they allow ZANU PF supporters to
disrupt and beat up their supporters in their presence and yet do nothing to
arrest the perpetrators.

‘In February we had a rally that was disrupted by ZANU PF in Sunningdale in
full view of the police. On Saturday a rally in Highfields had to be called
off following attacks on our supporters by known ZANU PF thugs. Yet again
this happened in full view of the police.

‘On Sunday, a rally in my constituency was disrupted by the police after
certain ZANU PF individuals managed to cause mayhem. These events tell you a
lot about the unprofessional conduct of the police force.

The crackdown on the MDC in Harare by ZANU PF and the police is increasing
as the country moves closer to elections. The former ruling party’s leader,
Robert Mugabe, is desperate for another five-year term as president despite
his candidature in ZANU PF causing a rift in the party.

The ageing leader is facing the toughest electoral challenge of his rule. In
an effort to gain greater control, his militants are forcing people to
support the divided party. A report in The Daily News said the former ruling
party is now divided into five factions; Joice Mujuru, Emmerson Mnangagwa,
the military, the Mugabe faction and Generation 40, known as the G40
faction, led by youthful cadres.

The independent daily said on Tuesday that divisions within ZANU PF have
manifested themselves in the form of intra-party violence, back-biting and
double speak. It said party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo admitted that all was
not well with the party although he insisted ‘it is not over yet for ZANU

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Release political detainees, arrest terror gang members

The MDC notes with resentment the arrest of an MDC official, Ambitious
Muzuva and two activists arrested over the weekend and currently detained at
Warren Park Police Station on allegations of assaulting a Zanu PF member and
a police officer in Kambuzuma.

It continues to baffle the minds of Zimbabweans as they day in and day out
witness the arrest of innocent MDC activists yet known Zanu PF terror gangs
continue to walk scot free.

On Saturday, Shepherd Mumba was assaulted by known Zanu PF hoodlums,Jim
Kunaka, Gochera, Pasco, Gomwe and Moffart in Highfield but police took no

The police inaction has compelled Zimbabweans to call for security sector

29 other MDC activists are in police custody, some for almost a year, facing
fabricated charges of murdering a Glen View policeman in May 2011.

The MDC calls upon the Inclusive Government to constitute the Police Service
Commission so that the acting commissioner, Augustine Chihuri is retired and
a competent Police Commissioner General appointed.

Zimbabweans are tired of violence. The police should not provoke the nation
into action. The people have remained calm over the years in the forlorn
hope that such pharaohnic tendencies may subside.

The MDC calls for professional policing.

The people’s struggle for real change: Let’s finish it!

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Maguwu is a True Hero- Diamond Group

Harare, May 08, 2012 - An international diamond group has praised human
rights activists, Farai Maguwu, describing him as a true hero who risked his
life to inform the world of the gross human rights abuses in Marange and
working to protect diamond diggers.

"He is a true human rights hero who has risked his life to protect the
lives, freedom and human rights of diamond diggers," said Martin Rapaport,
Chairman of the Rapaport Group.

"He is someone that every ethical person in the diamond industry should
support, honour and emulate. As an industry and as individuals we must stand
up and proclaim that the sanctity of life and the human rights of diggers
are more important to us than diamond profits. I encourage every member of
our industry to meet Maguwu and support his goals."

A Director of the Centre for Research and Development, Maguwu, will lead a
special session at the Rapaport Fair Trade Jewellery Conference next month
during the JCK Las Vegas Jewellery Show.

The Rapaport Group is an international network of companies providing added
value services that support the development of free, fair and competitive
global diamond markets. Established in 1978, the Rapaport Diamond Report is
the primary source of diamond prices and market information.

Group activities include publishing, research and marketing services,
internet information and diamond trading networks, global rough and polished
diamond tenders, diamond certification, quality- control, compliance,
shipping, and financial services. Major activities of the group include the
development of markets for Fair Trade Diamonds and Jewellery as well as the
creation of diamond futures markets.

In May 2010, Maguwu’s house was raided by Zimbabwean authorities and he was
arrested on false charges after giving information to the Kimberley Process
monitor. Despite being sent to prison and denied proper medical care for
over a month, he emerged dedicated and committed to ensuring the rights of
Marange diggers.

Last November Maguwu was honoured by Human Rights Watch with the Alison Des
Forges Award for Extraordinary Activism.

His activism has helped in relaxation of rules by government, which has so
far allowed journalists, the Prime Minister's Office, civil society
organisations and Members of Parliament to visit the controversial diamond

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zanu PF splits into five factions

Written by Thelma Chikwanha, Deputy News Editor
Tuesday, 08 May 2012 12:44

HARARE - Zanu PF’s never ending succession saga has taken a new twist with
the emergence of three more factions joining the long-drawn battle to
replace President Robert Mugabe when he finally leaves office.

Mugabe, fighting old age and reports of ill-health, has fuelled the problem
by failing to appoint or groom a successor.

He has also refused to leave the scene by claiming that he is the only one
who binds Zanu PF together because of succession wars.

The factions, which are linked to the youth and the military, join other
groups such as the ones led by Vice President Joice Mujuru and Defence
minister Emmerson Mnangagwa who have for decades  been tussling to outwit
each other to replace the frail 88-year-old.

Briefings to the Daily News by top Zanu PF officials in the past three weeks
reveal that the military has joined the fray following infighting within the
party and realisation that it could use its huge influence on government and
Zanu PF matters to field a replacement for Mugabe.

The highly-placed insiders say the former ruling party is now divided into
five factions which are; the Mujuru and Mnangagwa factions, the military,
the Mugabe faction and the Generation 40, also known as the G40 faction led
by youthful cadres.

In the event that Mugabe somewhat leaves office, Mujuru is well-poised to
take over being Mugabe’s deputy in both the party and government. But
Mnangagwa, who has always been seen as the 88-year-old’s blue-eyed boy, has
also been eying the presidency and enjoys a close relationship with Mugabe.

Mnangagwa, who played a pivotal role during the disputed 2008 presidential
runoff, has in the past denied that he entered into a gentleman’s agreement
with Mugabe to take over.

Serial political flip-flopper Jonathan Moyo, whose previous attempt to
topple Mugabe was botched in 2004 in what was later referred to as the
“Tsholotsho debacle” is said to be working with both the military and G40.

The former information minister has been fighting other Zanu PF heavyweights
using his access to state media, where in one article he described other
faction leaders as “riff-raff”.

“Several guys in the military are challenging the top brass in Zanu PF. They
want to contest for political positions and they think they have enough
backing to do so as they  have academic muscle too,” the source, who refused
to be named said.

Zimbabwe’s top military brass, which has historical links with Zanu PF
dating back to the days of the armed struggle, faces stiff competition from
the G40 faction that wants to see new blood taking power.

“G40 is equally powerful because it has young people who are hungry for
power. They have used all the tools they have at their disposal and can
easily sway the vote. They realise that if they do not fight for these
positions, the old guard will continue to have it their way,” said the

Youth and Empowerment minister Saviour Kasukuwere, who is spearheading the
indigenisation campaign, is said by sources to be at the helm of the G40

Mugabe leads the other faction, which has loyalists such as Information
minister Webster Shamu, minister of State in the President’s Office Didymus
Mutasa and Mines minister Obert Mpofu among its ranks.

The divisions within Zanu PF have manifested themselves in the form of
intra-party violence, back-biting and double speak.

Party spokesperson Rugare Gumbo admits that all is not well for the party
credited for ushering in independence but says it is not over yet for Zanu

The intra-party violence is so bad that Mugabe now feels that it might cost
his party dearly in the next election, whose date is yet to be announced.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Fear in Mutare as Zanu PF explodes

Written by Sydney Saize
Tuesday, 08 May 2012 12:59

HARARE - A tense atmosphere has engulfed Zanu PF Manicaland, with some party
members scared to set foot on the party’s headquarters because of potential

So deep are the differences between faction supporters and leaders that some
senior provincial officials often hesitate to visit party offices when
members of a different group are present.

Officials and ordinary supporters who spoke to the Daily News said the chaos
rocking the provincial structures made it “impossible” for the party to
reclaim votes lost to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC party in 2008.

Divisions have been simmering for long, but matters came to a head during
district coordinating committee elections described by party members as
riddled with violence, rigging and vote buying.

Zanu PF Manicaland provincial chairman Mike Madiro, who was once suspended
from the party for being part of a clandestine succession plot in 2004, has
denied rigging the elections.

The district elections are critical to top leaders fighting a nasty
succession war to replace President Robert Mugabe because members elected
into these committees later influence the composition of provincial

Provincial executives wield the power to elect Mugabe’s successor, if the
88-year-old decides to step down or is incapacitated.

In Manicaland, Clever Muparutsa’s “election” as the chairperson of Mutare
district ahead of Joseph Mavhiza has deepened ruptures. Interventions by
party secretary for the commissariat Webster Shamu, who reversed the results
of some of the DCC elections, have failed to end the rift.

27 Zanu PF districts out of the 34 in Mutare have refused to recognise the
election of Mparutsa.

“These are people who have been imposed on the people by senior party
officials,” said a Zanu PF official speaking on condition he was not named
as this would jeopardise his position in the party.

Supporters sympathetic to Mavhiza held a three-night vigil at the party’s
provincial offices starting on the eve of Independence Day commemorations.

Since then Zanu PF supporters loyal to different factions have been taking
turns to visit the party offices for protests.

“Zanu PF has been losing its wide support base as a result of the imposition
of candidates by the top brass. We have to put an end to this if we want to
unite the party,” said Mavhiza on the sidelines of a night vigil at the
party provincial offices.

As jostling for positions within the party reaches fever pitch, numerous
faces have appeared at the provincial offices.

These include Chimanimani East parliamentary aspirant Joshua Sacco.

He was part of the crowd present at the party offices where singing,
drum-beating and dancing took centre stage for days. Zanu PF Manicaland
provincial youth chairperson Tawanda Mukodza, who is linked to party
chairperson Madiro, has however denied any friction within party structures.

“Zanu PF is a party of the people and our offices are there to serve the
people. We always have our people coming to their party offices,” said
Mukodza vehemently refusing to explain recent running battles at the former
ruling party provincial offices.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Hunger-Stricken Zimbabwe Villagers Trade Off Livestock at Low Prices

08 May 2012

Gibbs Dube | Washington

Hundreds of villagers in Zimbabwe's drought-ravaged Matabeleland and
Midlands regions have started selling off their livestock at below-market
rates to raise money for food as humanitarian aid agencies continue to
assess the situation on the ground.

Starving households are now trading their cattle for between $150 and $200 a
beast, instead of the market price of around $500, just to save their
families from hunger, VOA was told.

Some villagers revealed they had since resorted to gold panning and other
illicit activities to raise money for food.

A number of aid agencies stopped distributing food handouts to the needy in
March when the harvest period set in. They are currently assessing the

The government has since declared five provinces in the country disaster
areas. Zimbabwe has suffered serious food shortfalls over the past years due
to successive droughts.

Gwanda villager Stephen Sibanda said he feared some people may starve to
death if relief agencies did not intervene timely.

“The situation is desperate in most parts of Gwanda South where the majority
of people are now surviving on one meal a day,” said Sibanda.

Gwanda lawmaker Thandeko Zinti Mnkandla said aid was needed urgently. "We
hope non-governmental organizations will respond to the villagers' desperate
appeal for food aid," he said.

The government has a grain scheme targeting especially the vulnerable, but
the food program has been plagued by allegations of corruption and
politicization by loyalists of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF party.

Development worker Faith Ncube said the state food program was not reaching
the needy.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

EU $2 million fund for midwifery training

The European Union (EU) has availed a $2 million package to support the
Accelerated Midwifery training programme in the country to ensure that at
least 60 percent of nurses at any health facilities are midwives.
by Leona Mwayera

Head of EU Delegation in Zimbabwe, Aldo Dell'Ariccia said the midwifery
programme is one of the European Commission support to the Zimbabwean public
health sector and local people.

"As part of the recognition for more qualitative health services the EU
decided to support the "Accelerated Midwifery Training" programme at a cost
of $2 million to ensure that at least 60 percent of nurses at any health
facility are midwives," said Ariccia during the launch of Accelerated
Midwifery Training programme at Murambinda mission hospital.

He said increase in number of qualified midwives is expected to lead to the
reduction of martenal death, which currently stands at 960 per 100,000 live
birth up from 555 per 100 000 live birth in 2006.

He added that the programme also aims at reducing the peri natal death.

"Qualitative midwives are key in an effort to achieve the Millennium
Development Goal (MDG) to reduce maternal mortality ration by 75 percent
compared to that of 1990, by 2015,"he said.

Ariccia said qualified midwives plays a critical human right role in
providing women with information on their rights during pregnancy and issues
related to HIV/AIDS prevention, care and mitigation and sexual productive

He said the EU has been consistent and engaged partner of Zimbabwe in the
health sector for more than 10 years.

"We enjoyed a very close collaboration with the Ministry of Health even
during difficult times, when the health system was near to collapse and our
focus moved to responding to vital short term health needs rather than
contributing to overall sector development,"he said.

He went on to say the EU has been playing a critical role in the training
and retention of human resources in the country`s health sector.

"In particular, considering the high vacancy rate especially among nurses
and environmental staff we supported the Ministry of Health and Child
Welfare in the training and retaining of primary care nurses and
Environmental health assistants as well as other critical staff of health
system," he said.

He added that the country`s health sector was progressing towards
stabilization and there was need to look at more qualitative health service
for the population, especially the most in need, the women and their

Ariccia encouraged midwives to continue with their sterling work in reducing
the unnecessary deaths of mothers and babies, in particular in rural areas
where health facilities are usually limited.

"To further contribute to battle to the battle in reducing maternal
mortality, the EU is also contributing to the revitalization of the
Maternity Waiting homes in hospital, an intervention that will be
implemented jointly with UNFPA,"said Ariccia.

There are 17 primary Care Nurses Training Schools that are taking part in
the EU sponsored training programme to Up-skill primary care nurses in
obstetric and maternity care. These include government and mission
hospitals. The schools are located in all the eight rural provinces of the

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe mining companies concerned about erratic grid power

8 May 2012 - The president of Zimbabwe’s Chamber of Mines, Winston Chitando,
says that the body is in discussions with Zesa Holdings on electricity
supply and is hoping to come up with a framework conducive to the
development of mining in the country.

Erratic power supplies have continued to affect production in the mining
sector, and puts projected growth in the sector of 15.5% under threat.
Platinum mining firms Mimosa and Zimplats recently advanced US$10 million to
Zesa to enable it to settle part of its debts and ensure guaranteed
uninterrupted power supply.

Chitando says negotiations are ongoing with Zesa subsidiaries Zimbabwe Power
Company and Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission Distribution Company to arrive
at an agreed tariff for ring fenced customers.

During 2011 an average of 1,105 MW was realised within Zimbabwe’s power
generation against an envisaged capacity of 1,600 MW. An increased output of
1,244 MW is envisaged for 2012 compared to demand of 2,200 MW required to
service all the sectors of the country’s economy.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Zimbabwe’s mining indigenisation moves ahead

Harare, Zimbabwe --- 08 May 2012 - The government of Zimbabwe is expected to
have concluded the transfer of majority stakes in foreign-owned mining
companies to locals by the end of the month.

Foreign firms operating in Zimbabwe are required to sell a controlling 51%
stake to indigenous Zimbabweans or State-approved agencies.

Daily newspaper “The Herald” reports that national indigenisation and
economic empowerment board (NIEEB) general manager Zwelibanzi Lunga told
Bloomberg’s online publication that mostly Chinese and Asian mining
companies had complied with the law.

According to statistics released by NIEEB, 260 companies had submitted
transfer plans to the government, with 69 approved, 14 rejected and 177
still pending.

“The Government will invoke penalty provisions, such as cancellation of
operating licences, if companies don’t comply,’’ said Lunga.

He added that 15 companies had been given approval for community share
ownership trusts and employee share ownership plans, which resulted in
mining firms ceding 10% each to the community and employees.

Zimbabwe Platinum Mines, Mimosa and Anglo Platinum have already launched
their employee share option schemes and community share ownership schemes.

Chamber of Mines of Zimbabwe president Winston Chitando told journalists
that equity laws were “company specific”.

He said negotiations between the government and individual companies were
continuing and that both parties would reach an agreement. “We have not
received a directive from government that all mining companies should cede
51%, but we understand that it is company specific,” said Chitando.

Impala Platinum Holdings Limited, the world’s second-largest producer of the
metal, agreed in principle in March to sell 31% of its Zimplats unit to
NIEEB and 20% to employees and communities. Impala owns 87% of Zimplats.

Aquarius Platinum, which owned the Mimosa Platinum Mine with Impala,
submitted a proposal to hand over control of the operation to Zimbabwe,
which accepted the plan.

Source: “The Herald” newspaper. For more information, click here.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

Indigenisation=More Corruption?

8th May 2012 18:15 GMT

By Chenjerai Chitsaru

ONE critic of the government’s indigenisation and empowerment drive says if
it is represented by the ownership of the commuter omnibus sector: “Count me

This entirely indigenous sector is shamelessly chaotic and riddled with
corruption which, some critics say, has sucked in the police – at every

If that is the fate of the programme, says another critic: “Heaven help us!”

Some time last year, there was a flurry of debate in he media on the future
of the commuter bus sector: was it worth the bother at all? A proposal that
it be abolished altogether seemed to gather momentum.

But it fizzled out as the alleged major beneficiaries of the sector gave
that proposal the thumbs-down. There was much speculation on the identity of
the sector’s supporters: were they not mostly politicians from the former
ruling party?

Although there has never been any conclusive evidence that the sector is ”untouchable”
because many “chefs” have a stake in it, the allegation persists. They would
not be stupid enough to register ownership in their own names. There are
ways in which they could use relatives as their “fronts”.

Some of the sector’s impunity is breath-taking. Their absolute disregard of
the rules of the road can be amazing. The roadworthiness of the vehicles is
always suspect, which has apparently raised the number of police road blocks
all over the country.

That, according to some cynics, has created another racket – this one
involving the traffic police. The so-called “spot fines” for offences are
believed to be fattening the pockets of the police – not of the Treasury.

It’s probably contentious to infer that any indigenization and empowerment
programme in Zimbabwe would not be immune from the corruption cancer. That
there is corruption in high places cannot be disputed. There are top people
mentioned routinely in such corruption-ridden activities as the Chiadzwa
diamond operations in Marange in Manicaland province.

The tollgate operations on many highways are said to be riddled with
corruption: one or two officers have been brought to court. Millions of
dollars are involved. Someone is making a killing and it is not the small
fry operating a shoestring racket in the ghettos. There are mostly big names

For this reason, most people fear that the programme will turn out to be
another  racket – dominated by the chefs or their “fronts”. Some people
quote Nigeria as an example. Others suspect that the Zimbabwean leadership
is incapable of tackling corruption in high places with the decisiveness
recently used by the Tanzanians: cabinet ministers were named and shamed and
were due to get the boot.

The programme is itself unquestionably noble: the indigenous people, for so
long marginalised by the colonialists, have a chance to prove their mettle
as entrepreneurs of distinction. In the years shortly after independence,
some of them tried but the domination of the whites was formidable.

Also, there appears to have been – by the reckoning of many neutral
observers – an unwritten requirement for success: you had to owe some form
of allegiance to the ruling party, or things would not go right for you –
however brilliant you turned out to be as an entrepreneur.

Two young people, now deceased – Lupi Mushayakarara and Samuel Gozo – come
to mind, as examples. They encountered difficulties more political than
anything else.

Under colonialism, sterling efforts were made by a number of Africans to
carve out a niche for themselves in entrepreneurship. In Harare township
itself there were such notable achievers as Barnabas Mkwedeya, a
photographer, Kawadza, a merchanic,  Dausi, M’nyanda and Moffat, who ran
grocery shops - successfully too

At the huge Musika itself, Naison Mhlanga ran a thriving butchery. Of
course, nobody ventured into the “European” sector – the laws were vintage
racism: Africans would mix with Europeans only as their servants and

Charles Mzingeli, a vocal critic of the racist policies, ran a shop at the
huge market. In his spare time, he held forth on how Africans could fight
this racism. He is credited with firing the political awareness of many
African nationalists..

In every African country that has achieved independence from colonialism,
the battle to crush the economic domination of the whites has proved more
intractable than the political one. Understandably, the colonialists would
not vacate that domination without a fight, literally, to the finish.

In most instances, the whites left the country, rather than cede their
privileged positions, and have their enterprises taken over by the blacks.

There was emphatic racism – then called, rather graphically, the colour bar:
the whole citadel of colonialism was built on racism. Moreover, the
colonialists were so reluctant to give up their economic domination, they
did little to help the “natives” acquire the skills and expertise to make
the takeover a profitable success -  to themselves individually and to the
country’s economy..

So, in most instances, the reluctance of the former colonialists poisoned
the chances of a smooth transition. In the three former members of the
abortive federation, the economies suffered terribly in the early days of
independence. To forestall any upheavals occasioned by massive unemployment
and food shortages, the governments all chose a political path designed to
frighten all opposition: the one-party system.

The trade unions, allies of the political parties during the struggle, were
particular targets of persecution. Unfortunately for the politicians, the
people in general rallied behind the unions. In Zambia, the shift was so
pronounced the union leaders eventually replaced the political party which
claimed to have single-handedly fought for independence.

In Zimbabwe, it took some time, but the union movement eventually subdued
the political party to the extent that they were virtually invited to join
the government, a strategy designed to forestall the inevitable – the
outright electoral victory of the union-backed political party.

In Malawi, Kamuzu Banda, blind to all pleas for a chance in direction from
his one-party one-man rule, was beaten hands-down in an election, the people
rejecting  his party for its lack of sympathy for the working class.

In fact, all over Africa, after independence, indigenisation was the way
forward. In Nigeria and a few other Western and North African countries,
high levels of corruption followed the shift to indigenous ownership of
business and government. The soldiers came into the picture, mostly to claim
their share of the pickings from corruption.

Many critics have suggested that if African governments had been more
circumspect in their takeover of the economies from the former colonialists,
an entirely different and profitable economic dispensation might have

Moreover, the unbridled greed of the politicians meant that the ordinary
people were subjected to terror to subdue their agitation against the
immoral plunder of the country’s resources by the minority

There ought to be an attempt to catalogue some of these disasters, none of
them precipitated by foreigners, but by the greed of the indigenous

So, the immediate threat to the economies which are being prepared for
indigenization is entirely indigenous too. If the programme are as hurriedly
implemented as some of the hare-brained as were some of the first
“development plans” - launched, not for the benefit of ameliorating the
economy - but as political targets dressed up in economic disguise, only
disaster can result.

Corruption has plagued many countries – new and old. At the end of
communism, the former Soviet Union’s largest component, the Russian
Federation, was and is still plagued by a level of corruption reminiscent of
the typical “banana republics” of South America.

Vladimir Putin, a former KGB supreme, is said to have used a patronage of
sorts to hang on to power. His partners are the so-called “oligarchs”.

India and China have fared no better. The third and fourth members of the
BRICS group – Brazil and South Africa –have had their problems with graft.

The problem seems to be a failure to work on a blueprint that all
participant s have agreed upon.

In Zimbabwe, there is absolutely no general agreement that the Zanu
PF-created indigenisation and empowerment laws are any good for the
population at large. This is particularly so since the suspicion abroad is
that Zanu PF is using the programme to garner votes for any election.

Zanu PF may claim it is sincere and honest in applying itself so zealously.
But its record of political probity has been in tatters for years. Moreover,
it has not yet shaken off the reputation of being a corrupt party, enshrined
in its slogan, Tambawakachenjera, which could be translated in English as
“keep your cards close to your chest”.

Getting the MDC formations to look at a blueprint that would meet their
absolute approval would help. But this would take a big leap of faith for
Zanu PF.

Click here or ALT-T to return to TOP

UN rights chief should press Mugabe on rights abuses

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, 8th May 2012

Zimbabweans hope that the planned visit to Zimbabwe by the UN Human Rights
Commissioner Navi Pillay will help put the country’s human rights record
under the spotlight.

During her five-day visit starting on 20 May, Mrs Pillay is expected to pile
pressure on Mugabe to account for rights violations and to reform ahead of
the UN Secretary General’s expected visit in August 2013 for UNWTO.

The public is anxious on which rights abuses will feature in Mrs Navi Pillay’s
engagement with the Zanu-pf leader, Robert Mugabe given an ever-growing list
of military operations and reluctance to implement the Global Political

Of major concern is the regime’s lack of remorse for rights violations
during Gukurahundi, ‘Jambanja’ (the bloody farm seizures), Murambatsvina,
Hakudzokwi and Makavhotera Papi and election 2008 political violence.

While Mugabe’s decision to ratify the 28-year old United Nations Convention
Against Torture (CAT) is commendable, however, his ‘Damascus Moment’ is
suspect as it arguably suggests he is only after the safeguards in the
convention before his rule comes to an end.

It is one thing to agree to be bound by a convention, and another to
implement it because there is need for political will.

Sadly, the lack of political will manifests itself in many ways including
failure to account for the whereabouts of human rights activist Paul Chizuze
who mysteriously went missing a month ago.

So is the delayed enactment of the Human Rights Commission Bill with a
mandate to investigate pre-2009 rights violations as opposed to only
post-2009 incidents as proposed by Zanu-pf.

Furthermore, there is reluctance to investigate the alleged military-run
torture camps at Chiadzwa which were exposed by BBC Panorama in August 2011.

Mugabe stands accused of applying the rule of law selectively, whereby 29
opposition activists have been on remand in a maximum security prison for
nearly a year for the alleged murder of a policeman, whereas six police
officers accused of fatally assaulting a mineworker in Shamva were released
on US$50 bail within a week.

In spite of these and other rights abuses, all opposition parties and their
leaders have been ineffectual in getting Zanu-pf and Mugabe to observe the
rule of law in its conventional sense.

Obviously, Mrs Pillay would be expected to also raise the issue of the SADC
Tribunal which was arguably sabotaged by the Mugabe regime – to frustrate
white commercial farmers from getting compensation.

Zimbabweans expect the international community to insist that the lifting of
targeted sanctions on Mugabe and his allies be conditional on the holding of
peaceful at least UN-supervised free and fair elections preceded by key
reforms including security sector, media and electoral reforms, the
revamping of the voters roll and the adoption of a new constitution in a
peaceful referendum.

Although Mugabe cannot afford to alienate the United Nations entirely, he
has however, carefully ‘cherry picked’ the priorities of any association
with the world body.

For instance, the Zanu-pf leader has to date attended all annual General
Assembly sessions in New York since the 1980s but expelled a UN torture
expert, snubbed UN election funding, turned down UN food assistance in 2005
and shot down Tibaijuka’s critical report on Murambatsvina.

The regime has also resisted opposition demands for a probe to ascertain the
architects of the widely condemned Murambatsvina amidst revelations it was
designed by the CIO. Instead, the regime embarked on a witch hunt.

Reports say prominent academic and publisher Dr Ibbo Mandaza was grilled on
2 August 2005 by state security agents for allegedly writing the damning UN
report on Operation Murambatsvina which exposed government to international
criticism (Zimbabwe Independent, 07/10/05).

It remains to be seen how the regime will handle the UN rights envoy’s
visit, her findings and recommendations. A question on every person’s mind
is “Will there be victimisation after the UN envoy’s departure for blowing
the whistle on Mugabe’s rights abuses?”

Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London,

Back to the Top
Back to Index