MONTREAL – Nov. 17, 2008 – Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights is the winner of Rights & Democracy’s 2008 John Humphrey Freedom Award in recognition of its courageous pursuit of justice for victims of human rights abuses inside Zimbabwe.
The organization has played a leading role in the promotion and protection of human rights across Zimbabwe since its founding in 1996. Guided by a professional commitment to the rule of law and Zimbabwe’s international human rights obligations, ZLHR provides essential services ranging from legal support for victims of state-endorsed persecution to public education and human rights training for activists and civil society organizations working at the community level.
In 2003, ZLHR established a project to provide legal support for human rights defenders facing prosecution. Up to 1,500 Zimbabweans now benefit from the service each year, and its lawyers have yet to lose a single case in the project's five year history. Irene Petras, Executive Director of ZLHR, attributes this perfect track record to both the heroic tenacity of the project's lawyers and the fact that there is rarely any evidence to support the charges brought against their clients. “Prosecution is used as a tool of persecution,” she said. Ms. Petras and fellow lawyer Andrew Makoni will accept the John Humphrey Freedom Award on behalf of ZLHR at an Ottawa ceremony on Dec. 10, International Human Rights Day.
“Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights provides a vital democratic lifeline for those who would otherwise have no recourse against state-sponsored abuses and persecution,” said Dr. Jacques P. Gauthier, Interim Chair of Rights & Democracy’s (the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development) Board of Directors. “Its determined, non-violent struggle against impunity and repression reminds us that, in the end, tyranny is no match for human dignity and the rule of law.”
Rights & Democracy established the annual John Humphrey Freedom Award in 1992 to honour an organization or individual for exceptional commitment to the promotion of international human rights and democratic development. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights was nominated by the Canadian Embassy in Harare. An international jury selected ZLHR unanimously from a field of almost 100 candidates.
Named in honour of John Peters Humphrey, the McGill University law professor who prepared the first draft of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the annual John Humphrey Freedom Award includes a speaking tour of Canadian cities to help increase awareness of the recipient's human rights work. This year’s tour will bring Ms. Petras and Mr. Makoni address public events in Calgary (Nov. 27), Toronto (Dec. 2), Halifax (Dec. 5), Montreal (Dec. 8) and Ottawa (Dec. 10).
Rights & Democracy is a non-partisan,
independent Canadian institution created by an Act of Parliament in 1988 to
promote democratic development and to advocate for and defend human rights set
out in the International Bill of Human Rights. In cooperation with civil society
and governments in Canada and abroad, Rights & Democracy initiates and
supports programmes to strengthen laws and democratic institutions, principally
in developing countries.
For More Information
Please contact Steve Smith (ext 255) at Rights & Democracy, 514-283-6073.
Mugabe sends in the military - and will reap rich rewards
Despite official denials I can confirm today that Zimbabwe soldiers have
been sent once again into the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo, and are
fighting alongside President Joseph Kabila's army against the Rwanda-backed
rebels of General Laurent Nkunda.
Sources told me today, Monday, that more than 3,000 of our troops are
already in action in Goma, the DRC's volatile eastern province, and many
more are expected to be on their way within days.
Kabila is said to have appealed for help from both Zimbabwe and Angola
several weeks ago, after his own troops failed to defeat Nkunda and his
Mugabe was quick to respond, for the usual reason - his involvment will be
rewarded with choice pickings amongst the Congo mineral deposits, which
include diamonds, gold and copper. This trick of exchanging troops for
treasure has enriched him and his cohorts in the past, and will do so once
This is why, officially, Zimbabwe is not involved in the conflict. Spokesman
Bright Matonga told me: "We have nothing to do with the DRC war. The rumours
are false We have no interest in it. We have our own problems to deal with."
That last bit is true enough. But three sources within the armed forces
confirmed today that the rumours are true.
"We began sending troops early last week," said one. "Previously they had
been in training for a month. We expect that we will deploy up to 10,000
troops during the next three months, if the war continues."
Mugabe must hope it will do so. Of course, while it will personally enrich
him,the actual cost of the commitment will only further impoverish the
country. But what does that matter to our President. Inflation, health care,
education, the economy...all these things may pass away. But as someone once
said - and Mugabe knows well - diamonds are forever.
And now - a quick follow-up
Further to my earlier posting about the resurgence of PF-Zapu, and the
resulting threat of a major split in Zanu-PF, there was a sight for sore
eyes outside Magnet Building in our second city of Bulawayo at the end of
The building was once the property of PF-Zapu. Then, when Mugabe enfolded
the party into a so-called government of national unity in 1980, it,
together with all PF-Zapu holdings, was nationalized. But then, last week,
the party took it back.
In doing so they evicted the present occupants. Who were they? None other
than officers of our dreaded secret police, the Central Intelligence
Thus Bulawayo passers-by were treated to the unique sight of government
spies being virtually kicked out on the street by PF-Zapu members.
The movement to re-establish PF-Zapu as a political party continues to gain
momentum. Watch this space!
Posted on Monday, 17 November 2008 at 12:08
November 17, 2008, 15:45
Zimbabwean health workers are set to go on strike tomorrow to protest over
the deterioration of standards in the sector. This action comes after cases
of Cholera continue escalating. Major hospitals have almost closed down due
to staff exodus and unavailability of drugs.
Parirenyatwa Hospital is Zimbabwe's largest referral centre. Hospital beds
are empty, testimony of the gravity of the situation in the country's health
"In the whole country we have just one or two neuro-surgeons. Imagine
servicing the entire nation. This is definitely not healthy," says Douglas
Gwatido, President of Zimbabwe's Doctors for Human Rights.
The remaining skeleton staff says it will down tools tomorrow morning, as
the nation battles with a Cholera outbreak that has claimed scores of lives
throughout the country.
Meanwhile, the treason trial of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
Secretary General, Tendai Biti has been adjourned to tomorrow. Biti faces
numerous charges which include the unauthorized announcement of the March
general election results.
17 November 2008
The residents of
At the time of arrival around mid-day of the 16th of November 2008, there were over 50 patients queuing at the hospital. Within less than an hour spent at the hospital 6 deaths (5 adults and 1 child) had been recorded. During the three hours that the CHRA Secretariat was observing the goings-on at the Hospital, an average of 5 patients would be brought in at 20 minute intervals. The hospital has run out of admission beds and some patients who are considered to be seriously ill are made to lie down under trees upon which the water drips are then hung.
Furthermore, the hospital is heavily
understaffed because of the general brain drain which has crippled the country’s
health and other sectors and because of the magnitude of the Cholera scourge
which has seen the hospital staff working over time. The nursing staff at the
hospital is said to be largely nurse aides taken from other health centres. The
City of Harare
The conditions at Budiriro Poly clinic are no better as some of the patients actually mess themselves at the environs of the clinic and there is no adequate water to clean up the mess. Even those people without cholera who visit the place usually contract the disease from the clinic.
In its propagandizing mission, the state media has reported very conservative Cholera statistics (a paltry 37 deaths) in a bid to conceal the reality on the ground. The government continues to pretend that all is well in the country and can not acknowledge failure. This only helps to further illuminate the Government and ZINWA’s culpability of the Cholera pandemic and deprives the victims and the nation of the desperately needed aid.
CHRA is in the process of compiling more
statistics of the Cholera cases in
Exploration House, Third Floor
Landline: 00263- 4- 705114
By Tichaona Sibanda
17 November 2008
The MDC MP for Glen View south Paul Madzore claimed on Monday that eleven
people are dying of cholera daily in his constituency and that the deadly
intestinal disease is now raging through the capital.
When the MP spoke to us on the phone he was at a funeral, of another victim
of cholera. He said cholera strikes hardest in areas plagued by water
shortages, a problem for most people in Zimbabwe. Wherever water systems run
foul with human waste and people live without toilets or clean running
water, cholera finds a perfect breeding ground.
Doctors in Harare are treating dozens of new cholera cases a day, amid
reports the death toll from the disease may now be well above 500. Madzore
urged the international community to step in and help fight the disease
before it becomes too late.
'People are dying like flies in Glen View. At least eleven people die on a
daily basis and I've spent the last weeks attending funerals on a daily
basis. Children have become the most vulnerable in my constituency and if
this is not a disaster in the eyes of the government, I don't know then what
constitutes a major health disaster,' Madzore said.
When cholera struck Harare early last month, it quickly spread to high
density suburbs of Budiriro, Glen View and Glen Norah. The epidemic has
affected tens of thousands of people. Unconfirmed reports put the number of
dead at over 1000 since the outbreak, mostly in shantytowns and poor
Madzore blasted the government for not using the media to maximize efforts
to fight the disease. Instead of running campaigns to provide information on
diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of cholera, Madzore said the regime was
busy still running election material, all of which has become irrelevant.
'This is the time for the government to educate the public about effective
preventive measures. Instead they're busy bombarding us with ZANU PF
propaganda from the March elections. If they are not careful, this city will
be wiped out.I'm not being alarmist, but this is real,' Madzore said.
People in wealthier communities have remained relatively unharmed, however,
since they can afford the fuel or generators, to boil their water. Public
health expert Oliver Mudyarabikwa told us cholera can also be simply and
successfully treated by immediate replacement of the fluid and salts lost
through diarrhea. This medication is unavailable to the majority of people
in Zimbabwe. The international organization, Doctors without Borders, is
currently in Zimbabwe to help with the cholera crisis. But the last report
we heard was that they had applied to the government agency to import the
rehydration salts, but had not yet received permission to do so.
With prompt rehydration, less than one percent of cholera patients die. But
in areas with poor sanitation, a cholera epidemic cannot be stopped
immediately, hence the failure by authorities in Harare to eradicate the
The Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights have released a statement signed by
the health workers at Parirenyatwa and Harare Central Hospitals.
In it they say they will present a petition to the Ministry of Health and
Child Welfare on Tuesday, on the crisis in the public health system in the
This will be preceded by a March to protest against the collapse of the
health sector. The protest march will commence at 8am from the University of
Zimbabwe's medical school at Parirenyatwa Hospital.
The statement said there is an absence of medical supplies, functional
equipment and drugs that have rendered public hospitals and clinics
virtually closed, resulting in preventable deaths.
'Since hospitals and clinics are, for all intents and purposes, currently
closed, Zimbabweans that fall ill have no access to health care given the
high cost of private health care. We call upon the responsible authorities
to take urgent steps to remedy the situation above in consultation with the
health workers concerned,' the statement added.
"Most people [used to be] reluctant to get into the funeral business because of the myths that are associated with the dead, but with more and more people dying from HIV/AIDS and other diseases related to the economic crisis ... it has become a lucrative business.
"The reason small businesses like ours are still getting customers is because we still charge affordable prices compared to the big and established funeral parlours, who are now only charging in foreign currency, just like all other businesses in the country.
"However, there is still a large number of people that cannot afford to bury their loved ones in the city because of the high costs, and they instead take them to the rural areas ... That is an opportunity we take advantage of, to provide the hearse that will transport the corpse; depending on the distance, I can rake in up to R2,000 [US$200] a trip.
"On a normal day I handle between three and four funerals, but on a good day I can handle as many as 10, and when that happens I have to juggle my time so that my three vehicles can be stretched to cover all the funerals.
"When I started business eight years ago, I used to handle two funerals a week, but these days people are dying in large numbers, and those dying are from poor backgrounds; people who cannot afford medical specialists and expensive medication, so there is always business for us.
"The average cost of a simple wooden coffin ranges from R2,000 [US$200] to R5,000 [US$500], while expensive coffins range from between [US$500] to [US$1,000] while caskets can cost as much as [US$2,000].
"With hunger setting in on the country, more people are going to die, and we will not be able to handle the number of clients; but business is business, we will have to expand."
November 17, 2008
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE - Harare magistrate, Gloria Takundwa on Monday postponed to Tuesday a
remand hearing for Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Secretary General
Tendai Biti who faces treason charges.
The State alleges Biti authored a document entitled "The transition
document" before the March 29 elections which outlines a plot to seize
power from President Robert Mugabe's government.
Until Monday, Biti's lawyers had been fighting for their client to be
removed from further remand arguing the State was only buying time into
their client's case as it was not able to sustain a reasonable case against
Biti. Biti is a lawyer by profession.
Biti's lawyer, Advocate Lewis Uriri wants the State to either provide a
trial date for or completely withdraw the charges against their client.
He argues the case is straight forward as the State bases its evidence
solely on a document the MDC legislator is alleged to have authored.
But the case took a new twist Monday when the State submitted that Biti's
treason charges be split from the rest of the charges arguing it is not yet
ready to present evidence on charges of treason.
The State wants the treason charges to be tried separately at the High Court
while the other three are tried at the magistrate's court.
Uriri argues it is not proper for the State to split the case as all the
charges arise from one document.
"This is prejudicial to my client," said Uriri. "It is not proper for the
State to split the charges. It is clearly meant to defeat our application
for refusal of remand."
Uriri says this is in violation of Biti's rights to obtain a single trial.
"We are opposing a course of action which is clearly prejudicial to the
accused person. There is nothing to stop the High Court from hearing all the
"This is more of a fishing expedition to say if we don't get him in this
court, then we will get him on the treason charge at the High Court after
conducting a post mortem of where they would have gone wrong."
After listening to submissions by both the State and the defence, Magistrate
Takundwa ruled that the State be given the chance to have its own arguments
"Natural justice should prevail," she said, "The state has a right to
respond to your submissions."
The case resumes on Tuesday when the State is expected to submit its
arguments on why it wants the treason charges to be separated from the other
Biti also faces charges of communicating falsehoods through the press after
he made what the State alleges was a false declaration of the March 29
election results in which he suggested his party had won.
This, the state argues, was calculated to cause a riotous situation if the
Zimbabwe Electrical Commission (ZEC) had announced results different from
what Biti announced.
The State also alleges the MDC legislator insulted President Robert Mugabe
by calling him an evil man who should be taken to The Hague for crimes
The State also accuses Biti of causing dissatisfaction among members of the
Biti denies all the charges.
afrol News, 17 November - Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change has rejected state media reports that it has joined ruling Zanu PF in
formation of an inclusive government.
According to MDC statement, The Herald and ZBC have been claiming that
opposition had resolved to join ruling party in forming government despite
shortcomings and loopholes in power sharing agreement.
Last Friday, MDC announced its rejection to Troika resolution of sharing
highly disputed home affairs ministry that also controls police force with
president Robert Mugabe, saying it will not be part of 'illegitimate'
MDC statement said party will only participate in a new government if there
is equitability and fairness in the allocation and distribution of all
ministerial portfolios as well as those of provincial governors.
MDC said government reports were misleading, further expressing concern that
state media has violated global political agreement signed on 15 September,
which stipulates that public media should provide balanced and fair coverage
to all political parties.
"The misrepresentation of facts by state media is very mischievous as people
of Zimbabwe would like to know the truth concerning the issue on formation
of an inclusive government," said statement.
MDC led by Mr Morgan Tsvangirai won the first-round presidential vote in
March, when his party gained a majority in Parliament, forcing Mr Mugabe's
Zanu-PF into the minority for the first time since independence in 1980.
But Tsvangirai pulled out of a June run-off, accusing Mugabe's regime of
orchestrating attacks that left more than 100 of his supporters dead.
Zimbabwe holds world's record hyperinflation, since southern state adopted
land redistribution policy that sacked white farmers out of commercial land
for distribution amongst its black population. This was a move seem to have
driven Zimbabwe to its deep economic dive.
APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Zimbabwe's largest newspaper group has indefinitely
suspended subscriptions in the Zimbabwe dollar and now demands payments in
the more stable United States dollar in yet another sign of Harare's
deteriorating economic crisis, APA learnt here Monday.
The state-owned Zimbabwe Newspapers Group (ZIMPAPERS) no longer accepts
personal or bank cheques for subscriptions until further notice, the
Only bulk subscriptions for companies can still be paid for by cheque while
anyone else is now required to get their newspapers for cash from street
ZIMPAPERS insiders said on Monday that ordinary subscriptions are also still
open to anyone willing to pay US$10 a month.
The group publishes Zimbabwe's two main daily newspapers, the Herald and
Chronicle, as well as three weeklies, the Sunday Mail, Sunday News and
All the newspapers under the ZIMPAPERS stable are the official mouthpieces
of the government of President Robert Mugabe.
The newspaper group becomes the latest Zimbabwe company to refuse cheques as
a payment mode, reflecting the growing lack of confidence in the value of
By Ray Ndlovu
One of the country's leading fast food chains, Innscor Africa, which
operates Chicken Inn, Creamy Inn and Pizza Inn is now accepting fuel coupons
as payment for meals, Chronicle established yesterday.
A survey of the chain's outlets in Bulawayo revealed that some clients were
paying for their food using fuel coupons.
Private schools have been demanding payment of fees and levies in fuel
coupons to hedge themselves against the prevailing hyper-inflationary
environment and this payment system seems to be spreading to other sectors
of the economy.
Auctioneers such as Hammer & Tongs are also accepting payment in fuel
The coupons are either in American dollars or South African rand.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe two months ago introduced the Foreign Exchange
Licensed Warehouse and Retail Shops programme (FOLIWARS).
This saw 200 wholesalers and 1 500 retail shops being licensed to sell their
goods in foreign currency.
Yesterday customers who were buying at Haefelis's Pizza Inn along Fife
Street expressed dismay at the new payment system requiring them to pay
using fuel coupons.
"It's too expensive to buy food using fuel coupons and if they want foreign
currency they should simply apply for a licence," said Miss Pamela
Nzarayapenga of Mahatshula.
However, Mr Patrick Dzavakwa of Barbourfields who lives in Harare and was
visiting the city with his family, said payment in fuel coupons was not new
"This is not new for some of us who live in Harare. This trend of asking for
fuel coupons is the way that companies that don't have licences trade in
foreign currency," he said.
A mega pizza at Pizza Inn is costing a US$14,5 litre coupon and the cheapest
pizza is US$2,88. Customers are being asked to part with an equivalent of
R140 for a mega-sized pizza.
Charges in the local currency range from $10 million for the most expensive
meal to $1,5 million for the cheapest pizza.
Recently, Innscor was involved in a pricing row with the National Incomes
and Pricing Commission which accused the fast food chain of charging
exorbitant prices for its food.
Innscor was among the companies accused of fleecing customers by charging
extremely high prices for cheque payments.
Efforts to get a comment from the Innscor staff at the Fife Street outlet
were fruitless as the manager was said to be off-duty.
17th Nov 2008 16:07 GMT
By Chenjerai Chitsaru
THERE has been an almost deafening silence, almost similar to that of lambs
being led to the slaughter, on the crucial need for a transformation of the
essence of freedom of expression in the "change" envisaged in a new
The media landscape today is studded with so many obstacles negotiating it
is as hazardous as traversing a maze in which some of the paths lead to a
dead-end under which are planted "smart bombs", likely to explode at the
sound of voices raised in protest.
The Sadc summits held so far to explore the means by which this new Zimbabwe
must be created have not addressed the freedom of the media as
comprehensively as they ought to.
This new Zimbabwe will be born, whatever Zanu PF intrigues and shenanigans
are employed to sabotage it. The old order must soon yield to the new, with
no turning back.
There may be a postponement, albeit a short one, but the end of the old
order is nigh.
The media of Zimbabwe must be released from its bondage. The same forces
which dragged Zanu PF to negotiate an accommodation in the new dispensation
must ensure that all the notorious, Stone Age structures which have
stifled freedom of expression since independence are dismantled.
An understanding of how these shackles were imposed on the country is vital.
One journalist who might have opened our minds and eyes to the depth of the
evil designs of the Robert Mugabe government on the manipulation of the
media's neutrality after independence died before he could write his
There have been chronicles relating to the upheavals in the media by other
luminaries still alive. But there is still much more to be recorded about
the history of the media after independence.
Unless people obtain a full and unpolluted account of how and why Zanu PF
emasculated the media, the future of journalism in Zimbabwe could remain as
perilously uncertain as it is now.
One reason for the Sadc leaders' reluctance to grapple with the media
conundrum is that most of them, like Robert Mugabe, don't believe in freedom
of expression, in the first place. Most view it as a Western concept, alien
to Africans who are - presumably - raised to listen to the voice of the
village chief without question.
The leaders maintain an iron grip on the media. Where there is a semblance
of media freedom, it is decidedly cosmetic. Only South Africa remains
untainted by this curse - but for how long?
In Zimbabwe, future historians will research the rise and fall of Willie
Musarurwa as one of the most fearless and feared "government newspaper
editors". But they might still not fathom the true story of how and why he
was humiliated by the government.
They might even be flummoxed by the government's official language when it
fired him, and when it declared him a national hero and buried him at Heroes
Acre in Harare.
In his short book, The Politics of the Mass Media - A Personal Experience,
Elias Rusike, quotes Robert Mugabe as saying of Musarurwa: "He had strong
and firm views, but that is how a principled person should be."
Without Mugabe's approval nobody can be buried at the Acre.
But in firing him, Mugabe's minions at the ministry of information had
ordered Rusike to fire Musarurwa because "he was embarrassing the government
and was publishing opposition views in his newspaper", The Sunday Mail, then
owned by the government.
Nobody has ever explained to our satisfaction, as his fellow journalists,
how it was that this one person could have such a complex impact on
They didn't seem able to make up their minds about him - hero or villain?
In retrospect, some cynics have referred to the bizarre incident of the
female herbalist-spirit medium who convinced senior government officials
there was diesel to be obtained, almost for nothing, from rocks in a remote
part of the country.
There has always been something "other worldly" about the devices Zanu PF
has used to arrive at its conclusions - on anything.
Musarurwa was a nationalist, an editor and a controversial columnist - in
that order. By the time he died in April 1990, he still wrote a column, for
an independent newspaper, then run by Rusike, another former nationalist,
journalist and media chief executive..
Musarurwa's earlier column, in The Sunday Mail, was refreshing in its
candour, its unabashed love of shocking conventional political thinking and
throwing up new interpretations on what true nationhood ought to entail.
Musarurwa died while having lunch with Geoff Nyarota, the editor of that
independent newspaper which published his last column, and Andy Moyse, the
editor of the independent magazine, Horizon.
All three men had once worked for Zimbabwe Newspapers, of which Rusike
became a controversial chief executive before going "independent". Moyse had
worked at The Sunday Mail, under Musarurwa.
Nyarota, of course, achieved fame as editor of The Chronicle, with his
Willowgate scandal expose. Musarurwa had left the table in the restaurant
in Harare, to go to the washroom, complaining of feeling unwell. The next
thing his two colleagues heard was he had been taken very ill in the
Musarurwa was the first black editor of The Sunday Mail, after the
publishing company, Zimbabwe Newspapers, was taken over by the government
from the Argus Company of South Africa.
He had been appointed editor because he was a veteran journalist, having
worked for African Newspapers in the 1950s-60s as editor of The African
Weekly, which was in the same stable as The African Daily News, whose editor
was Nathan Shamuyarira.
After independence in 1980, Shamuyarira, now a senior official of Zanu PF,
emerged as the Minister of Information and Broadcasting.
In 1981, Zimpapers was taken over by the government through the Zimbabwe
Mass Media Trust. A grant from the Nigerian government had financed the
buy-out of the Argus stake in the company.
Musarurwa was a long-time member of PF Zapu, even after Ndabaningi Sithole
broke away to form Zanu.
After George Nyandoro and James Chikerema, originally from the same province
of Mashonaland West as Musarurwa, quit Zapu to form the short-lived Frolizi,
Musarurwa stuck with Joshua Nkomo in Zapu.
He even stood on a Zapu ticket in the elections leading to independence, but
lost. Zanu and Zapu formed a short-lived coalition government after the
It is easy to imagine that it was on that basis that Musarurwa was given the
editor's job at the largest-selling paper in the country.
But Musarurwa relished the challenge in his own inimitable way. He brought
a gutsy independence to the paper, raising its circulation and writing a
fiery weekly column, under a nom de plume in which he railed against
old-fashioned nationalist notions of governance.
Musarurwa scolded reporters who indulged in "sunshine journalism" -
reporting government plans without probing their impact on the country and
He rejected stories which simply praised the government for being the
In time, the government realized Musarurwa was not the typical government
editor - who spoke no evil, saw no evil and heard no evil of the government.
He was fired in 1985.
His successor was another nationalist, Henry Muradzikwa, also fired a few
years later on similar grounds: not toeing the government line. Muradzikwa
was fortunate that he wasn't thrown to the wolves, as Musarurwa was, He
continued to work for the government, until he was fired from his job as the
head of ZBC, only last year.
There are independent newspapers in Zimbabwe , but they operate in an
atmosphere of the ever-present danger of being shut down, either under the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) or the Public
Order and Security Act (POSA).
In addition, there is also the peril of being heavily infiltrated by the
Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO). This security outfit is said to
have an unlimited budget to bribe and "buy" reporters and junior editors to
do its dirty work...
There are even frightening reports that it has wormed its way into media
representative organizations, to the extent that it can direct their
agendas, more or less without being challenged by their members.
The fear of a free media in Zimbabwe is no different from what inspires it
in other countries, East or West, rich or poor, democratic or authoritarian:
the fear of being found out, of being exposed as thieves, liars, cheats,
charlatans and hypocrites.
That, by the way, is the function of the truly free and fearless media - to
expose and expose...
The theory has been advanced that without this free media, much of Africa
will remain poor, underdeveloped, ravaged by internecine wars, the easy prey
of brigands posing as do-gooders, selling trinkets as genuine development
Freedom of expression in a country would almost certainly entail a freeing
of the people's initiative to search for enterprise, enhancing their spirit
South Africa has so far not tampered with the independence of the media. It's
a cruel irony that its leaders do not campaign for a Zimbabwe in which the
same media freedoms exist
They have never existed and will never exist under Mutable and his fat cats.
Media Institute of Southern Africa (Windhoek)
14 November 2008
Posted to the web 17 November 2008
MISA Zimbabwe notes with great concern the appalling state of fixed and
mobile telephone networks in Zimbabwe.
The sole fixed telephone network, run by the state-owned company TelOne, is
in an appalling state of affairs with erratic coverage in urban areas and is
virtually non-existent in rural areas. This has inadvertently led to a major
increase in the use of mobile telephones by the majority of Zimbabweans from
all socio-economic and geographic backgrounds. The three mobile telephone
networks (Econet Wireless, Telecel, and the state-owned Net One) have,
however, failed to cope with the market demand for their services in
Zimbabwe's hyperinflationary environment.
On 6 November 2008, Econet Wireless published a statement in the local print
media withdrawing its contract line services for clients under the Business
Partna scheme as of 10 November, a move which has left thousands of
Zimbabweans deprived of their right to communicate. Other mobile service
providers and affiliated service companies, in tandem with Econet Wireless,
have increased tariffs, with the average cost of a text message having risen
from approximately ZW$1000 (approx. US$0.28) to at least ZW$20 000 (approx.
US$5.65), an increase of 2000%.
It is MISA Zimbabwe's considered position that this state of affairs in the
telecommunications industry is a serious impediment to the right of the
people of Zimbabwe to communicate; as well as their right to freedom of
expression as guaranteed in Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and
People's Rights. This right includes the ability to use and access tools of
communication such as the internet, fixed telephones and mobile telephone
networks by ordinary people, as emphasized by the World Summit on
Information Societies (WSIS) held in Tunis, Tunisia 2005.
In light of these universally accepted principles, MISA Zimbabwe urges the
fixed and mobile telephone service providers as well as the Postal and
Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) to act with the
full understanding that communication is a human right and not a privilege.
We also emphasize to the same that whilst the Zimbabwe national economy
remains unpredictable, telecommunications remain a key pillar of freedom of
expression and access to information the world over. To therefore
unilaterally increase tariffs without consulting members of the public or
carrying out publicized surveys of the importance of communication to the
people of Zimbabwe in times of social and economic strife is to act in
contradiction of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and
to ignore the WSIS principles established under the auspices of the
International Telecommunications Union which outline that all forms of
communication, especially ICTs, must be geared towards meeting the
Millennium Development Goals.
MISA Zimbabwe urges all of the fixed and mobile telephone network providers
to reconsider their position, if they are to be seen as corporations with an
understanding of corporate social responsibility.
HARARE, Zimbabwe, November 17, 2008/African Press Organization (APO)/ --
European Commissioner Louis Michel has underlined Europe's commitment to
helping the people of Zimbabwe during talks with Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai at this year's European Development
Days in Strasbourg, France.
During a series of meetings, Commissioner Michel underlined that the EU
stands ready, once the agreement of 15th September 2008 is actually
implemented and permits the restoration of the rule of law and respect for
human rights, to adopt a package of measures to assist in the consolidation
of democracy and in the country's economic and social rehabilitation.
Commissioner Michel stated: "I am delighted that Morgan Tsvangirai chose to
begin his visit to Europe by participating during two days at this year's
European Development Days. International development assistance will be key
to assisting Zimbabwe on its future recovery. The humanitarian crisis in
Zimbabwe is multifaceted and so our response needs to be the same providing
not only humanitarian assistance but also essential assistance for health
and education projects for example to help the vulnerable populations."
In 2007, The European Commission provided 90.9 Million euros in both
humanitarian and essential development aid which was channelled through our
international partners such as UN agencies. The European Commission is the
main donor to the vulnerable populations of Zimbabwe having provided more
than 500 million euros in direct support to the population since 2002.
SOURCE : European Commission
Monday, 17 November 2008 07:16
LESOTHO'S PRIME MINISTER SAYS:
"I personally told President Robert Mugabe that you don't have the
majority and he said I do. And I said you don't,"
Lesotho PM urges Zimbabwe leaders to resolve deadlock
Southern African leaders cannot order Zimbabwe around but the feuding
leaders of the crisis-riven nation should resolve their differences in the
national interest, Lesotho's prime minister said Friday.
Pakalitha Mosisili told journalists said the deadlock in the
power-sharing deal in Zimbabwe had to be unblocked internally, stressing
that the Southern African Development Community (SADC) could not impose its
"SADC is not a super government. It is just an association of
sovereign countries and can not impose directives in Zimbabwe because it is
a sovereign country and we must respect that," he told journalists.
Lesotho, a tiny mountain country engulfed by South Africa, is a member
of the 15-nation bloc which unsuccessfully tried last weekend to break
Zimbabwe's ongoing political deadlock.
Mosisili accused Zimbabwe's leaders of being selfish.
"I personally told President Robert Mugabe that you don't have the
majority and he said I do. And I said you don't," Mosisili said, speaking in
the local Sotho language.
Under a power-sharing deal signed on September 15
-- whose implementation has been blocked over key cabinet posts --
Mugabe will remain president while main opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
will assume the new post of prime minister following contested elections.
enjoys what she does and her pupils love her
She enjoys what she does and her pupils love her too; at the end of class some of them crowd around to get a hug. For the past five years she has been HIV positive and says her work keeps her mind from "straying" to problems like whether she will be able to afford next month's supply of antiretroviral (ARV) drugs.
As a member of the Progressive Teacher's Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), Motsi was one of 60 teachers receiving subsidised ARVs from the union after it launched the treatment programme in June 2007. Before that she had been on the government's ARV waiting list for at least two years and was slowly losing hope of ever getting the medication.
For over a year the PTUZ had funded its ARV scheme using monthly subscriptions from its members, but in September 2008 its treatment programme began experiencing difficulties in the hyperinflationary environment.
Takavafira Zhou, President of the PTUZ, told IRIN/PlusNews that ending the programme was the most painful thing the leadership of the union has ever had to do.
"We couldn't sustain the programme because the prices of drugs just kept skyrocketing. Each month they would go up and we would increase our membership fees, until such a time when we couldn't afford them. When we launched the ARV scheme we had thought donors would come in and support us but unfortunately they have not been forthcoming."
After the scheme folded, the union managed to enrol some of the teachers in private ARV schemes run by non-governmental organizations; others, like Motsi, have not been so lucky, and have been struggling to keep themselves on treatment.
After working hard for my money ... I've been
asking myself, is it worth it that I go hungry and buy these ARVs? But I guess I
have no choice
Surviving in Zimbabwe's failing economy is like living in a nightmare. After working for more than 15 years in the teaching profession, Motsi has little to show for her dedication and hard work: a three-door wardrobe, a single bed, a two-plate electric stove, a kitchen cabinet and a rusty old kitchen table with only two chairs remaining.
Her ARVs, costing about US$50 a month, often mean foregoing other things. "After working hard for my money, these past two months that I have had to buy my own drugs I've been asking myself, 'Is it worth it that I go hungry and buy these ARVs?' But I guess I have no choice."
Motsi is one of the many teachers living with HIV who are struggling to get access to ARVs and medical care, even though they contribute about three percent of their meagre earnings every month to the National AIDS Trust Fund, commonly known as the "AIDS levy".
The AIDS levy, to which every worker in Zimbabwe contributes, was set up in 1999 to beef up national resources in the national fight against HIV/AIDS. Proceeds from this levy also helped finance the establishment of the National AIDS Council, which coordinates all the country's HIV/AIDS interventions.
According to the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), the high infection rate of teachers in Zimbabwe can be attributed to the government's policy of deploying qualified teachers to other areas; statistics show that at least 72 percent of married teachers in rural areas do not stay with their spouses.
The PTUZ estimates that every school in the country has lost at least three teachers to AIDS-related deaths in the past few years, and that one or two teachers are on sick leave every term as result of an HIV-related illness.
In the absence of official statistics, the PTUZ has used "cluster-based information" to show the vulnerability of teachers to HIV/AIDS and the serious impact it is having, not only on the profession but also on education in the country.
* Not her real name
From APA, 17 November
Harare - Zimbabwe is using shares of dual-listed insurance giant Old Mutual
as security for electricity imports from South Africa's power utility Eskom,
London-based think-tank Africa Confidential revealed here on Monday. Africa
Confidential said in its latest newsletter that the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) had been buying Old Mutual shares on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange and
transferring them to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. In September, 670,000
Old Mutual shares were transferred from Zimbabwe to South Africa in this way
and probably more in October, the think-tank said. "These have been held
largely by Eskom Pension Fund as security against payments for electricity
supplied to Zimbabwe," said Africa Confidential. Old Mutual is listed on the
ZSE, JSE and the London Stock Exchange and the shares are easily transferred
between the various stock exchanges. Zimbabwe is currently facing serious
power shortages and relies on imports from South Africa, Mozambique and the
Democratic Republic of Congo. An eight-year economic crisis has however
meant that the country has regularly defaulted on payments for the imports.
November 17, 2008
By Barry Ronge
LEADERS on our continent are masterful at spewing forth unbelievably
"Chutzpah" is not an African word, but it certainly comes in useful when
surveying events on the continent. It's a Hebrew word, pronounced something
like "hootspar" and it means impudence or audacity. Those confrontational
questions like "How much did you pay for that?" or "How much do you weigh
now?" are chutzpah-lite. But there's a famous definition, created, I think,
for Leo Rosten's very funny book, The Joys of Yiddish.
He writes: "Chutzpah is when a man is on trial for murdering his parents but
pleads for lenience on the basis that he is an orphan." Chutzpah also
applies to the funniest un-funny joke in the world. It goes: "What's green,
hangs on a wall, and whistles?" Answer: "A herring painted green, nailed to
the wall and I added the whistling just to make the joke funny." It's the
worst joke ever, but people remember it because it has chutzpah, and that
always catches the attention.
Although they don't know it, African politicians are masters of chutzpah. I
almost drove off the road a couple of weeks ago when I heard about Gideon
Gono, governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), who was smart enough
to see that his head was destined for Mugabe's chopping block.
As the governor of the RBZ, he must have seen, at first-hand, how Mugabe and
the big-spender, Grace, looted the nation's cash reserves, to say nothing of
the generals who assume they are above the law concerning cash.
Not that Gono is an innocent party here. Less than a month before he made
his leap for safety, he was touring South Africa, the US and Britain, the
so-called "Zimbabwean Diaspora", with operation "Homelink".
He was asking expatriate Zimbabweans to use the "Homelink" structure,
supervised by the RBZ, to ensure that any money sent back to friends or
relatives still living in Zimbabwe would actually get to them.
My first thought was that if those "people in the Diaspora" who are actually
impoverished refugees were smart enough to get out of Zimbabwe, why would
they be dumb enough to send their money back, especially into the hands of
Mugabe's banker? Surely nobody would be that stupid.
And who devises a scheme so transparent and thinks they can get away with
it? Gono does, and he went on this extensive trip to beg money from the
people who fled the country in terror. Now that's real chutzpah.
It's also not beyond the realms of possibility that on such a trip, the
foreign currency that still exists in Zimbabwe might have been transported
covertly - under the terms of diplomatic immunity - into safe deposit boxes,
in those discreet banks that are just a two-hour flight away from London. I'm
not saying that it happened, but it could have, and if it did, then that's
But all that was just a prologue to Gono's masterpiece of chutzpah. When he
learned that Mugabe had reluctantly handed over the finance ministry to
Morgan Tsvangirai, of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), he marched
straight to the US Embassy, where he told officials he would give them
details of the looting of the country by Mugabe via share transfers and
foreign exchange deals.
In exchange, Gono requested 5-million and residence permits in a western
country for himself, his wife and his mistress. It's those words ".and his
mistress" that got me.
Here he is, a turncoat, ready to sell out his country and the leader he has
served for several years. Gono was silent as the treasury was raided.
Indeed, he may have even picked up some of the spare cash that fell out the
pockets of the looters, but now he wants to be rescued, mistress and all.
I wonder how his wife feels about that? This must be a splendidly elastic
marriage for the couple in question, who are fleeing for their lives, but
they treat the mistress as carry-on baggage. Now there's a sense of priority
that gives one pause.
Two other issues interested me. Why only ask for 5-million? It seems a
paltry sum for a man who watched an entire economy vanish. Surely that
5-million is just bridging finance to take him and his ménage to the real
fortune that lurks somewhere in a foreign bank.
And will the mistress, when duly given citizenship by her new country, start
bringing all the members of her extended family into her new country to
start a new refugee community that will lobby the UN for urgent financial
I hope, however, that the US Embassy gives Mr Gono shelter. If they don't,
he'll probably move into one of those costly Cape Town mansions that
Zimbabwe has allegedly been acquiring. To have him live here and seek South
African citizenship would be the greatest chutzpah the world has ever known.
(This article appeared in the Sunday Times where it formed part of the
latest contribution by columnist Barry Longe.)
African Charter Article# 13: Every citizen shall have the right to
participate freely in the government of their country and to equal access of
public services .
Summary & Comment: This 47-page Human Rights Watch report entitled, Our
Hands Are Tied, documents how ZANU-PF has compromised the independence and
impartiality of judges, magistrates, and prosecutors and transformed the
police into an openly partisan, unaccountable arm of ZANU-PF. The report
documents how police routinely and arbitrarily arrest and detain MDC
activists and use harassment and detention without charge as a form of
persecution. Here are the Summary and Recommendations. DN
"Our Hands Are Tied" - Erosion of the Rule of Law in Zimbabwe
You may read the entire 47 page report at:
To the Future Government of Zimbabwe
To the Chief Justice
To the Office of the Attorney General
To the Commissioner General of the Zimbabwe Republic Police
To the Southern African Development Community and the African Union
To International Donors (including the US, UK and other EU members, etc.)
Brief History of ZANU-PF's Repression since 1980
Political Situation before and after the March 2008 Elections
Political Impasse Persists
Establishment and Functions of the Judiciary, Prosecutors and Police
V. A Compromised Judiciary
VI. Magistrates and Prosecutors under Pressure
Intimidation, Threats and Attacks against Magistrates
Political Interference by the Office of the Attorney General and Public
VII. A Politicized and Partisan Police Force
Police Inaction when ZANU-PF and Allies are Implicated in Political Violence
Police Persecution of MDC Leaders, Supporters and Perceived Supporters
Police Response to Court Rulings
Police Harassment of Civil Society Leaders and Activists
Attacks, Harassment and Abuse of Lawyers Taking up Political Cases
Police Engagement in Partisan Politics
Police Complicity in ZANU-PF Abuses
Police Abuses since the Power-Sharing Agreement
VIII. Restoring the Rule of Law and Addressing Accountability under a New
Our hands are tied. We cannot do anything where ZANU-PF is involved.
However, if your case was not political, we could have helped you-all
political violence matters are off limits for the police.
-A Police officer in Chegutu, Mashonaland West province, declining to
a political violence complaint, June 2008.
Over the last decade, Zimbabwe's ruling party, the Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), has progressively and systematically
compromised the independence and impartiality of Zimbabwe's judiciary and
public prosecutors, and instilled one-sided partisanship into the police.
Since 2000 it has purged the judiciary, packed the courts with ZANU-PF
supporters and handed out "gifts" of land and goods to ensure the judges'
loyalty. It has provided instructions to prosecutors to keep opposition
members in jail for as long as possible. It has transformed Zimbabwe's
police force into an openly partisan and unaccountable arm of ZANU-PF.
The power-sharing agreement between ZANU-PF and the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), signed on September 15, 2008, provided an opportunity to begin
fundamental changes within the judiciary and police. However, in failing to
recognize the collapse of respect for fundamental rights and the rule of law
in Zimbabwe, the agreement sidesteps the urgent need for reforms. As this
report demonstrates, ZANU-PF lacks the necessary commitment to end its
improper and unlawful involvement in the justice system, let alone to be
entrusted with instituting the necessary reforms.
Police partisanship has contributed heavily to Zimbabwe's disastrous human
rights situation. Serving police officers told Human Rights Watch that
between April and July 2008, police across Zimbabwe were issued with
specific instructions not to investigate or arrest ZANU-PF supporters and
their allies implicated in political violence. Human Rights Watch also found
that of at least 163 politically motivated extrajudicial killings-almost
entirely of MDC supporters-since the March 29, 2008 general elections,
police have only made two arrests, neither of which led to prosecutions.
Members of the ZANU-PF militia who killed six people in Chaona on May 5
continue to walk free. The ZANU-PF supporters who killed MDC councilor,
Gibbs Chironga, and three others in Chiweshe on June 20 have not been
investigated. The murder of Joshua Bakacheza, an MDC driver, on June 24 has
not resulted in any arrests. The police refuse to investigate the abduction
and beating by ZANU-PF youth of Kadombo Chitokwa and thousands of others.
Police have arbitrarily arrested and detained hundreds of MDC leaders and
activists. MDC leaders subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention include
Tendai Biti-arrested at the airport on June 12-Ian Kay and Eric Matinenga.
Human Rights Watch also documented cases of police officers openly engaging
in partisan politics in contravention of the Police Act. In several
provinces where armed ZANU-PF members have unlawfully taken policing duties
upon themselves-carrying out arrests, investigations and meting out
punishment-government authorities have refused to intervene.
The power-sharing agreement has not ended the violence. Human Rights Watch
found that police continue to routinely and arbitrarily arrest and detain
opposition activists, using harassment and detention without charge as a
form of persecution. On October 16 police in Bulawayo assaulted, arrested
and detained several members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA). All the
women were later released without charge except for their two leaders-Jenni
Williams and Magondonga Mahlangu-who have been denied bail and who at this
writing remain in jail. Police detain accused persons beyond the 48-hour
statutory limit, show contempt for court rulings and frequently deny
detainees access to legal representation or relatives.
On September 18 police arrested the president of the Progressive Teachers'
Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ), Takavafira Zhou. He was held without charge in
solitary confinement for four days without access to water, a toilet or
blankets, before being released on September 22. Several former detainees
have reported that police officers frequently beat or otherwise mistreat
those in custody.
This report finds that legal accountability and the rule of law in Zimbabwe
have been seriously eroded under the ZANU-PF government through its
interference in the criminal justice system. It shows that victims of human
rights abuses-mainly MDC supporters-continue to be denied their right to
justice and an effective remedy. At the same time, perpetrators of human
rights abuses enjoy de facto immunity from prosecution by virtue of their
association with ZANU-PF.
At the time of writing, over a month after the power-sharing agreement was
signed, there has been no substantive movement towards implementation nor
towards forming a new government. The two main parties have sharp
differences over the allocation of new cabinet positions. On October 11
ZANU-PF, without the agreement of the MDC and contrary to the power-sharing
agreement, published a list of new cabinet positions. President Robert
Mugabe allocated all senior ministries-including Home Affairs and Justice,
as well as Defence, Foreign Affairs and Finance-to ZANU-PF members.
The ZANU-PF list was rejected by the MDC, which released its own alternative
list. Human Rights Watch is concerned that any settlement of the current
political crisis must address the need for reforms in the criminal justice
system and the pervasive climate of impunity, and that this cannot be
achieved so long as ZANU-PF controls the Home Affairs and Justice
As the people of Zimbabwe confront an ever more rapidly deteriorating
economic situation, with more than five million facing severe food shortages
and inflation, at the time of writing, running at 2.79 quintillion,1
expressing serious concern over the erosion of key justice institutions
might seem a step away from the lives and concerns of the public at large.
However, the fact is that despite the rearguard ethical action of some of
those within them, these institutions have been transformed by ZANU-PF into
critical agents of repression. Their reform is fundamental to the
restoration of normality and respect for human rights, not just in
Zimbabwean political affairs, but also in the lives of ordinary Zimbabweans.
Human Rights Watch calls upon any new government in Zimbabwe to undertake an
independently managed program of reform of the judiciary and police with
clear timelines. Priorities should include independent and impartial
investigations into past human rights abuses and the problem of impunity, a
review of police organizational structure and practices, and revisions of
criminal justice legislation to ensure compliance with international legal
standards. Human Rights Watch urges donor states and institutions to support
genuine reform efforts, but also to maintain existing sanctions until
reforms are implemented.
To the Future Government of Zimbabwe
End impunity for election-related political violence. Set up an independent
commission of inquiry to investigate serious rights abuses by state security
forces and others that occurred since the March 29 elections and present
recommendations on how best to ensure justice and accountability.
Restore judicial independence. Create an independent and impartial judicial
commission to investigate infringements of judicial independence and provide
public recommendations for judicial reform. Examine in particular reforms
that prevent the distribution of unlawful payments or gifts to judges.
Enforce the principle of equality under law. Convene an independent body to
examine past practices of the Office of the Prosecutor to devise measures to
ensure that the office operates in a non-partisan fashion. Revise or
abrogate section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, which
permits prosecutorial appeals of bail rulings, to limit the possibility of
End partisanship in the police force. Create a special body under the Office
of the Prosecutor to impartially investigate allegations of human rights
abuses by members of the police force. Discipline, dismiss or prosecute, as
appropriate and in accordance with due process standards, those police
personnel responsible for abuse. Put the police under a new, non-partisan
and professional leadership, itself accountable to an independent
Improve respect for human rights by government officials at all levels. Seek
international assistance to provide appropriate training and education to
members of the police and other state agencies on human rights. All training
should be consistent with international human rights standards, such as the
United Nations Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the Basic
Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials.
To the Chief Justice
Defend judges against political pressure. Adopt measures to promote
adherence by government officials to the UN Basic Principles on the
Independence of the Judiciary.
Take appropriate steps to promote adherence by judges and judicial officers
to the UN Basic Principles.
To the Office of the Attorney General
Re-commit to professional and impartial discharge of duties; conduct an
independent and comprehensive audit of prosecutors, focusing on ethical
conduct and respect for due process.
Ensure that policies and practices do not violate the principle of
presumption of innocence and other international due process and fair trial
Promote adherence by government officials to the UN Guidelines on the Role
To the Commissioner General of the Zimbabwe Republic Police
Publicly condemn and bring an end to partisanship by police officers,
including by ending selective application of the law and targeted harassment
of opponents of ZANU-PF. Take appropriate disciplinary action against those
who act improperly.
Fully and impartially investigate and arrest those responsible for acts of
politically motivated violence following the March 29 elections.
Take all appropriate steps to ensure that the police respect court orders
concerning the rights of persons arrested and detained.
To the Southern African Development Community and the African Union
Urgently convene an extraordinary summit to discuss and help resolve the
Urgently review the effectiveness of the SADC mediation initiative. Ensure
that it is led and staffed so as to lend it maximum effectiveness and that
it has specific benchmarks and a timeline for resolving the Zimbabwe crisis.
Facilitate greater involvement in the mediation process by the AU and the
UN, in order to bring additional expertise to bear on problems in Zimbabwe.
Call upon the new government of Zimbabwe to promptly adopt measures to
ensure respect for human rights and the rule of law.
Insist upon full accountability for the perpetrators of human rights abuses,
including prosecutions, and press for appropriate remedies to victims of
To International Donors (including the US, UK and other EU members, etc.)
Withhold non-humanitarian development aid to Zimbabwe in the absence of
clear progress in promoting respect for human rights, including reforms of
key government institutions and agencies; set specific benchmarks and
closely monitor progress.
Maintain targeted travel sanctions and asset freezes against ZANU-PF and its
leadership until it meets specific human rights and good governance
Carefully provide effective support for fundamental reforms to the criminal
justice system, including strengthening judicial independence, providing
appropriate rights-relevant training for the police, and improving the
administration and financial auditing of justice institutions.
By Mutumwa D. Mawere
Posted to the web: 17/11/2008 16:56:37
IT IS now almost seven months since the defining and historic election that
saw Zanu PF lose the parliamentary majority for the first time since
independence in 1980.
What is significant is that there appears to be no substantive responses to
the challenges that face the nation. When people voted on March 29, they
wanted to see change and regrettably, the change they sought is more elusive
now than it was at the time of the elections.
It is like someone has stolen the agenda and no-one seems to know what to
do. Even SADC appears to be confused about what time it is in Zimbabwe. The
problem has been reduced to a single issue of who should be allocated the
Ministry of Home Affairs and not what kind of leadership and affirmative set
of solutions should be on the table to lift the country from its current
People want to know what the politicians are going to do about the
challenges that face the country. Things are so bad that something has to
give and yet the urgency of now does not appear to be on the top of the
agenda of the wise men and women who have the privilege of shaping the
The future is uncertain and the population is being reduced to hopelessness.
There are no easy solutions and yet the leadership deficit is apparent to
any rational mind.
Who is to blame? To what extent are President Mugabe and Zanu PF culpable
for the current political quagmire? To what extent do the opposition leaders
bear some responsibility for the stalemate? To what extent has the
involvement of SADC undermined the change agenda?
History will determine who is to be blame for the current state of play in
Zimbabwe, but what is significant is that there is no longer a link between
the citizens and decision making at the political level. The gaps that the
post-colonial state was meant to bridge have grown wider largely through the
actions of the very people the citizens had invested in to bring a better
The project of Zimbabwe's renaissance is now playing hostage to the egos of
The nature, content and context of the challenges that confront Zimbabwe are
well known to all rational minds and even SADC would accept that the status
quo ante is just not acceptable, however one tries to camouflage it in the
context of the Global Political Agreement.
The post-colonial state was supposed to deliver justice, freedom and equity
but after 28 years of one-man rule, we must accept that the promise of
independence has not been realised. One would have expected a serious
conversation on what kind of Zimbabwe citizens want to see to be part of the
It is apparent that the people's agenda for change has been hijacked and the
issues at hand have regrettably been reframed in a minimalist and
retrogressive manner. What appears to be at stake is the agenda of
constructing a government at all costs irrespective of what the country
requires to move forward.
Leadership is evidently in demand in Zimbabwe but choices have now been
distorted through political manipulation. The nature of the threats
confronting Zimbabwe requires serious and urgent actions.
Although the challenges are not insurmountable, there is evidently no unity
of purpose at the top. The values and ideals that inform the decisions of
Zimbabwe's political actors seem to be at variance with what people want to
History will record that for the last seven months, the country has been
governed by an illegitimate administration that has refused to accept that
the choices made on March 29 by the voters represent their only voice to
register their distaste about the toxic and lethal leadership deficit.
The few wise men that now control the government continue to display their
arrogance notwithstanding the seriousness of the situation.
Narrow cliques of highly ideological absolutists who control the state still
believe that they have a monopoly of wisdom and truth. They continue to see
problems in historical context through preconceived notions about how
Zimbabwe should work.
For Zimbabwe to access the global economy, change must visit it urgently but
it is evident from state propaganda that President Mugabe and Zanu PF have
invested in an impossible task of attempting to change the world rather than
changing their ways.
Mugabe has presided over the economic decay and it must be accepted that he
does not seem to have any substantive responses to the challenges of the
There are no easy solutions ahead but it appears that the drivers of
Zimbabwe's post-colonial agenda have no clue about what to do.
Opportunistically Zanu PF has invested in creating a perception that
Zimbabwe is a victim of targeted sanctions and the salvation lies
exclusively in the removal of such sanctions. Zanu PF still has to concede
defeat to the two MDC factions and President Mugabe believes that
notwithstanding policy bankruptcy, he is the legitimate head of state and
He offers no solutions to the debilitating economic problems. While not
prepared to concede power in line with the wishes of the voters, he
nevertheless wants the assistance of Tsvangirai as a junior partner to
restore the country to its former state. He has not and probably will never
accept any responsibility for driving the economy to its current albatross.
Zanu PF is a race-based nationalist party that continues to believe that an
open, competitive and open society is a threat to stability and nation
While many would agree that 'it is the economy stupid', Zanu PF still holds
the view that excelling in political games will solve the challenges ahead.
Tsvangirai finds himself at this defining moment in Zimbabwe's history
holding all the political cards and privileged to have the veto on what is
to happen in terms of political change. Arthur Mutambara has accepted that
without MDC-T as part of the deal, there is no deal. Equally SADC has
resolved that there is no choice but to form an inclusive government.
No inclusive government can be established in Zimbabwe without the consent
of the MDC-T. Clearly, no constitutional amendment as contemplated will be
passed by parliament just because President Mugabe wants that to be the
case. For the first time, President Mugabe finds himself in a corner with
limited room to maneuver.
The negotiations so far have exposed the fact that notwithstanding the
wishes of Zimbabweans for change, President Mugabe is still a powerful force
in SADC. He can have his way but Tsvangirai has demonstrated that he has
what it takes to take Mugabe on.
The future remains in the balance. The real stumbling block to progress is
known and he knows it. Any attempt to divert attention from the core problem
that has visited Zimbabwe over the last 28 years will not be in the national
The futility of proceeding with a national unity government is evident to
all suggesting that only one of the three principal players in the current
drama must remain standing when the storm is over if the country has any
prospect for moving forward. Who will that be? Only time will tell but it
will not be long as the economy is already saying enough is enough.
Mutumwa Mawere's weekly column is published on New Zimbabwe.com every
Monday. You can contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org