ALERT: Broadcast Authority of Zimbabwe chairperson attacks High
Court Originator: Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) Date:
2001-11-06 Country: ZIMBABWE Person(s): Target(s): Source:
FXI Type(s) of violation(s):
(FXI/IFEX) - Nhlahla Masuku,
chairman of the Broadcast Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ), has accused the
Zimbabwean High Court of failing to understand the administration of airwaves
in the country, "The Daily News" reported over the weekend of 3-4 November
The BAZ chairman attacked the judiciary for its ruling in a case
involving Capital Radio, a privately-run broadcaster, against Minister of
State for Information and Publicity Jonathan Moyo.
started broadcasting on FM 90 on 28 September 2000, following its successful
Supreme Court challenge of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation's (ZBC)
monopoly. The government then fast-tracked new regulations, under which it is
illegal to possess a transmitter without a broadcasting licence. "It is a
pity that our judicial system was about to become an international disgrace
by failing to understand the need for the international administration of
airwaves," Masuku said. He explained that according to an international
convention to which Zimbabwe was a party, the International
Telecommunications Union (ITU) oversaw the allocation of airwaves to regional
blocks such as the Southern African Development Community and different
countries, to ensure that there was no interference of airwaves. "You cannot
allocate yourself an airwave," Masuku said. "An international convention is
powerful. You cannot break it." He was speaking at the unveiling of BAZ's
logo at the authority's offices in Harare.
The authority was set up by an
Act of Parliament in late 2000 in order to oversee the liberalisation of
airwaves in Zimbabwe. Masuku said a signal-carrier company to be branched off
of the ZBC would provide transmitters for other broadcasters wishing to enter
the industry. The company would invest money to purchase more transmitters in
order to achieve 100 percent coverage of Zimbabwe. At present, the ZBC only
covers about forty percent of Zimbabwe, at most, through its Radio 2, which
broadcasts mostly in Shona and Ndebele. Masuku denied this would give an
unfair advantage to the ZBC over its competitors, since the new Broadcasting
Act provided for the establishment of another private signal-carrier
company. The ZBC's signal-carrier company would eventually be privatised, he
said. He added that it would actually cut costs for locals intending to get
into broadcasting as foreign participation in broadcasting was limited.
Locals would be able to rent airwaves from the signal-carrier company, he
Masuku noted that his authority had just finalised drafting a
national broadcasting map for radio airwaves and was now working on the map
for television broadcasters, before registering them with the ITU.
Mugabe threatens to force closure of critical newspaper
By Basildon Peta
in Harare 07 November 2001 The Zimbabwe government yesterday ordered the
country's only independent daily newspaper to close. It accused the company
directors of The Daily News of flouting investment laws and exchange control
regulations, says the state media.
The Zimbabwe Investment Centre
(ZIC), an arm of the Zimbabwe government's Ministry of Finance, told
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ), which publishes The Daily News, to
surrender the paper's investment certificate and discontinue operations
immediately, claiming the basis on which the company was established had been
Human rights campaigners condemned the move as a bid to
intimidate opponents of President Robert Mugabe's regime and silence free
speech before next year's presidential elections. Geoff Nyarota, the
newspaper's editor-in-chief, said the News had not violated any of the
mentioned laws and vowed to continue publishing.
"They haven't moved
to try to force us to stop publishing but you never know with this
government," Mr Nyarota said. "Anything may happen from the moment I end this
conversation with you."
The barely concealed government attempt to close
the newspaper has outraged the opposition in Zimbabwe. "Having failed to ban
The Daily News or to silence it through two bombings, new and naked attempts
of muzzling the paper are now being formulated," the main opposition party,
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said.
The MDC, which is
shunned by the publicly funded government-run media except when the reports
about the opposition party are negative, relies on the News and other
privately owned papers to get its message across to the electorate. The
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) said the latest action was not
surprising, given the government "would stop at nothing in its efforts to
silence all perceived critics ahead of crunch presidential elections next
Richard Mbaiwa, the executive director of ZIC, in a letter to ANZ,
accused the firm of violating the Zimbabwe Investment Act by changing
its shareholding structure without the authority of the ZIC. He declared
null and void an investment into The Daily News by a company called
Renaissance Asset Management (RAM)last year. RAM, wholly owned by
Zimbabwean businessmen, took over much of the foreign investment into The
Daily News and owns a controlling 60 percent stake in the company.
fact, RAM rescued the News when it was facing financial difficulties.
The newspaper, established in 1999, has overtaken the state-owned Herald as
the best-selling newspaper in Zimbabwe with 100 000 copies daily. In January
a bomb destroyed the newspaper's printing press in what it claimed was
a political attack.
Mr Mbaiwa said the investment by RAM into the News
was unprocedural because it had not been authorised by ZIC. He also accused
the founders of ANZ, Geoff Nyarota and Wilf Mbanga, of misleading ZIC about
their investments into ANZ
In a lengthy statement yesterday, ANZ
denied all the allegations levelled against the company and its director by
ZIC and dismissed them as part of sustained efforts to try to close the
newspaper. Ten days ago, four ANZ directors were arrested by police in
connection with similar allegations.
The foreign minister, Stan Mudenge,
has claimed the News was a key beneficiary of funding from the British
government. News spokesmen deny they were funded by the UK, although they
admitted the paper was originally kick-started by money from a company called
Africa Media Investments (AMI), which is owned by British
And the land grab continues. On Monday, the government
seized 35,000 hectares owned by the famous South African mining dynasty, the
Oppenheimer family. The Oppenheimers, main shareholders in the diamond-mining
giant, De Beers, are believed to own the largest tracts of land by a single
family or company in Zimbabwe.
The vice-president, Joseph Msika
descended on the Oppenheimer Deshan Estate and declared the government had
carved out for resettlement 35,000-hectares out of the 140,000-hectare
estate. He told illegal settlers, who invaded and occupied the land in
February last year, that the government would properly resettle them on the
seized land from next week. He said the government would also shortly seize
30,000 more hectares from the Oppenheimers.
Four seriously injured in university political clashes
11/6/01 8:00:38 AM
Four students were seriously injured
and the police arrested 20 students’ leaders at the Midlands State University
yesterday following an outbreak of politically-motivated violence on the
campus on Sunday night.
The students’ leaders are expected to appear in
court today on charges of inciting public violence.
were admitted to the Gweru General Hospital after they sustained serious
injuries in the melee.
Property worth thousands of dollars was destroyed
when suspected Zanu PF students clashed with their MDC counterparts following
a solidarity march by a group of so-called Zanu Students Movement in the city
centre on Saturday to register their allegiance to the government’s
controversial land policy, re-introduction of price controls and funding
policy on tertiary education.
The group, which was led by former
president of the Students Representative Council (SRC), Tatenda Chinoda, was
later joined by Zanu PF youths and some women from Mkoba high-density
Chinoda later addressed the demonstrators when he pledged the
students support for the government’s new funding policy where students at
tertiary institutions are expected to fund their education through bank
He also pledged the students full support of the government’s
controversial land redistribution exercise and re-introduction of price
The demonstrators, some of whom wore Zanu PF T-shirts and waved
placards, returned to the campus aboard Municipality of Gweru
This allegedly angered the MDC students who attacked the
solidarity march as illegal and a gross misrepresentation of the facts on the
Two months ago students at all institutions of higher learning
countrywide went on strike in protest against a 3 000 percent increase in
tuition fees and the privatisation of catering services by government. The
move has seen an upsurge in violence on campuses around the
“We have no qualms with Chinoda having a different political
affiliation but we get worried when he misrepresents such basic facts just to
please his masters and worse still, when he speaks on behalf of all the
students as if he still holds office in the SRC”, said McDon Lewanika, the
Furniture worth thousands of dollars was
destroyed in the lecture rooms and dining halls as the groups fought running
battles with the police.
The police yesterday maintained a heavy presence
on the campus to ensure that there was no disruption of lectures, although
very few students remained on campus following the violence.
One of the biggest obstacles in the
international community’s efforts to get the government of Zimbabwe to
effectively enforce the rule of law in this country lies in the tragedy that
Zanu PF, which is the governing party, does not believe that it can make
Ever since 1985 when the first general elections were held
under a Zanu PF government, evidence has continued to build up pointing to a
conscious selective application of the law in this country.
instance where a crime has been committed and members or supporters of the
ruling party have been implicated, ordinary Zimbabweans have come to expect
one of three scenarios showing clearly that government expects
total co-operation from all relevant arms of government in subverting justice
by rendering sterile all due processes of the law.
The first scenario
involves the police. Whenever a crime is committed involving political
violence between Zanu PF people and any other persons and the former are
either the aggressors or gaining an upper hand, the police are expected
either to look the other way or to assist Zanu PF supporters by arresting and
harassing the non-Zanu PF elements.
We have two good recent examples of
that scenario. There was the case involving Chegutu farmer, Philemon Matibe,
who was the MDC’s candidate for the constituency in last year’s parliamentary
Although he lost, Zanu PF is still victimising him for
subsequently having petitioned the High Court to have the result nullified on
the grounds that the ruling party secured victory directly as a result of
employing violence on the electorate.
Zanu PF is alleged to have
orchestrated the invasion of his farm as a way of forcing him to withdraw his
Realising his life was in danger, he agreed and after he had
done that, he was given another farm which apparently is the envy of another
Zanu PF heavyweight, Paddy Zhanda, whose brother as confirmed by one
senior policeman, has “indicated that he would kill Matibe if he went back to
In a court application last week, Matibe alleges that
Zhanda supplied arms to the brother and Zanu PF militias to kill him if he
refuses to vacate his new farm. When Matibe sought help and protection from
the police, all they did was accompany him to his farm, disarm the militias
and advise Matibe to vacate the farm and never return.
The police did
not arrest anybody even though all the accused, who had also looted Matibe’s
house, were all there in front of them.
It was the same scenario with
regard to the orgy of violence being perpetrated by Zanu PF militias against
MDC supporters in Gokwe district as reported in this newspaper last
After receiving reports of the abduction and torture of the MDC
supporters, the police went to the Zanu PF militias’ base camp and rescued
the abductees. But they did not arrest the youths who, according to one of
the victims, “are still camped at their base”.
If by some “mistake”
the police arrest Zanu PF criminals, some magistrate or judge would somehow
see to it that they walk out of the trial court free men.
for some reason, even the partisan courts find it impossible to convict the
Zanu PF lawbreakers, they would pass ridiculously light sentences or merely
wait for scenario number three to take its course: Presidential pardon, as
happened to those who attempted to murder Patrick Kombayi.
It is for
this reason that people like Adella Chiminya and Evelyn Masaiti were forced
to seek justice in a foreign country.
There is no justice any more in
Zimbabwe for anyone who does not support Zanu PF, something which the likes
of Ambassador Tichaona Jokonya would do well to realise.
The MDC did
not “orchestrate” anything. Rather Zanu PF committed a criminal offence in
all those cases.
A UNITED Nations (UN)
mission is in Zimbabwe to speak to stakeholders in the agricultural industry
and other related sectors as efforts to find out what donor organisations can
do to facilitate the implementation of the Abuja Agreement.
outcome of the mission would be a proposal for funding of the Land Reform
Programme by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
of the Committee of Commonwealth Foreign Ministers on Zimbabwe in Abuja on 6
September 2001 recognised that as a result of historical injustices, the
current land ownership and distribution needed to be rectified in a
transparent and equitable manner.
It also agreed that land was at the
core of the crisis and cannot be separated from other issues of concern to
the Commonwealth, such as the rule of law, respect for human rights,
democracy and the economy.
At the same meeting, it was agreed that there
would be no further occupation of farms, to speed up the process by which
farms that do not meet set criteria, be de-listed and the removal of
occupiers on farms that are not designated.
At the meeting Britain
promised that it would fund the Land Reform Programme by providing funds to
compensation farmers affected by the compulsory acquisition programme but on
condition that the process remains transparent and the rule of the law was
The meeting also encouraged an acceleration of discussions with
the UNDP, with a view to reaching a funding agreement as soon as
Several donor organisations in Zimbabwe including the UNDP,
the International Monetary Fund and World Bank suspended aid to Zimbabwe
as the country failed to meet some of the donors’ conditions.
Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) sub-regional representative for
southern and eastern Africa Victoria Sekitoleko said: “As part of
the technical implementation of the Abuja Agreement, the first part of
the UN-led mission arrived in Harare last weekend and would be in the country
in the next two weeks to one month.”
She said one delegation, David
Palmer who is the UN Land Information Management expert based in Rome was
already in the country and was currently meeting stakeholders and assessing
the land management systems in Zimbabwe.
She said the larger UN team is
expected in Zimbabwe on 14 November and if it arrives it would help the
Ministry of Land, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement to establish a land
information system that would enable transparent re-distribution of
She said the mission, which was being fielded by the FAO at the
request of the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement aimed to
assess capacity for establishing a land information management system within
FAO would soon field another mission to look at
capacity strengthening needs in land administration and land legal processes
to come up with another proposal to be funded by UNDP.
government has been criticised by the international community for failing to
come up with a proper plan for the Land Reform Programme.
While the Abuja
agreement discouraged new farm occupations, the Commercial Farmers’ Union
claims that there have been more than 800 new farm occupations since the
signing of the accord.
The Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural
Resettlement, Dr Joseph Made has denied that there have been any new
A Commonwealth committee, comprising six foreign affairs
ministers was in Zimbabwe last week and it urged the government to speed up
the land reform programme in a transparent and legal manner.
ministers, who were from Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Canada, Britain and
Jamaica raised concerns that the Abuja Accord was being violated.
Banking on Made’s new settlers could spell
11/6/01 8:13:06 AM (GMT +2)
NUNGU AT LARGE WITH
EMOTIONS always run riot in any discussion about
In the past year, this topic has turned almost everyone here into
a historian, an economist, an expert and a farmer; it has reopened debates
on race, ethnicity and xenophobia.
Initially Zanu PF wanted five
million hectares and was forced to revise the figure upwards after the
opposition MDC said it wanted seven million hectares. The two main parties
are agreed on the need to redistribute the land.
They differ violently
on the methods and tactics.
While the subject has dominated discussion at
funerals, in the media and at all kinds of meetings, few ventured to explore
beyond the mere acquisition of a plot on a once-owned farm. Land? For
residential or business use?
Now that the rains are with us, the nation
awaits what the government has to say and do with the vast tracks of land
acquired and distributed under the fast-track resettlement
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made officially announced that the
programme has ended with between 130 000 and 150 000 having
Assuming an average family size of six, the programme has
benefited a small fraction of our estimated 13 million people.
white commercial farmer, we are told, is no longer part of the equation. They
lost their security as part payment for the sins of their ancestors.
leaves us with the black commercial farmers as national models.
include mainly “telephone” farmers such as Cabinet ministers and
senior government officials. None could be described as successful on the
land, despite massive injections of Agricultural Finance Corporation
(AFC) capital, support and understanding.
In fact, the AFC now
AgriBank is seriously exposed because of the size of its nine-digit dollar
Now that the land hype seems to have died down, perhaps it’s
time to reflect and examine ourselves.
Since 1930, blacks – who in the
eyes of the colonial settlers had the potential to take on farming as a
business – were allocated 10 629 farms on 1 651 million hectares. The sizes
varied from 70 hectares to 500, with most averaging about 100 hectares. Some
of the farms are in Zviyambe, Chitomborwizi, Wiltshire, Msengezi, Chesa and
For the past 21 years, production on these farms has been
disappointingly low, accounting for a mere 3 percent of the annual area
planted to principal crops.
The farms were never run as commercial
enterprises or businesses. In fact, the majority have since been run down to
a point where, for some, their counterparts in the communal lands are much
They often speak negatively, and with disdain, about the
State’s inability to service and support them.
The first generation of
these farmers has bequeathed the properties to their children, the majority
without the necessary wherewithal or interest to work the soil for either
wealth or sustenance. They openly argue – understandably from a point of
history and knowledge – for industrialisation, so that they can be absorbed
in towns and cities.
Land was considered a sign of wealth then,
influencing many to engage in polygamous marriages. That resulted in serious
ownership and inheritance disputes, especially since independence, as
families fought over title and territory.
There are few success
stories from post-independence resettlement schemes, some, now 15 years old.
These early reforms were well-supported by donors and the government. But
they have merely provided settlers with adequate residential safety. They are
neither mini-businesses nor food security baskets.
The 1994 commission of
inquiry into appropriate agricultural and land tenure systems, chaired by
Professor Mandivamba Rukuni, suggested a detailed policy review to turn these
The question now is, how ready are Made’s people, drawn
mainly from Zanu PF, to stay on the land, feed the majority and revive our
It is important to record that, like their purchase area
counterparts, they were given the land to meet a political demand, not out of
a genuine desire to re-engineer national growth.
newly-found wealth, many of these villagers were classified as the poor of
the poor, with limited education, limited farming knowledge, lacking in basic
survival skills and completely inexperienced farmers, even at the subsistence
level. Their presence or absence was hardly noticeable.
explains why Chief Jonathan Mangwende told Parliament the other day that an
audit was necessary to determine who the new settlers are. Mangwende said
communal lands were still congested and wondered where the settlers were
For the part-time indigenous farmer who loves the bright
lights of the town and city, their goodies, vices and other pull factors, a
piece of land some distance away is nothing but a retirement site.
Sydney Sekeramayi, as Minister of Lands responsible for Resettlement in 1981,
sought to discourage part-time agriculture.
What he had in mind was a
safety net mechanism, a solid social security scheme backed by rapid
industrialisation that could enable workers to live and retire with their
families at or near places of work.
If that idea was followed, it would
have helped in stabilising population pressure on the communal lands and
helped the government identify the serious farmers for prime land
The emotional debates on land today come in partly because
of the absence of an expanding industry that could guarantee workers work,
absorb our annual army of school leavers and support comprehensive social
security and investment windows.
Zimbabweans must fight the dominant,
but false impression that at 65, one can retire to the village plot and
become a millionaire with the help of a span of oxen or donkeys.
people, those still mobile and keen to explore, hate to be confined to the
hoe and furrow when, through their education and exposure, think they could
drive the information and computer age.
They hate village life because of
its limited opportunities and challenges.
They want to experiment with
new ideas and products, become tourists and link up with their age-mates
elsewhere. These issues go way beyond shouting “Heki Charuveki, Bandomu” at
the break of dawn. Or mixing compost manure and cow dung as a permanent way
THREE South African newspapers yesterday
carried a statement from Welile Nhlapo, the deputy director-general in the
South African foreign affairs ministry in which he denied that he ever said
Zimbabwe’s opposition MDC and the independent Press were acting as agents for
The false story was published in The Sunday Times in
Johannesburg and repeated in The Herald yesterday.
Business Day, The
Citizen and The Cape Times reported that when Nhlapo spoke to the media, he
was quoting verbatim from information supplied by the Zimbabwe government
which insinuated that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change was the
recipient of funds from the UK’s Westminster Foundation and that some
privately owned newspapers were also getting funding from British political
parties, including Prime Minister Tony Blair’ s Labour Party.
basis of the false information, Nhlapo said western countries were “causing
further problems in Zimbabwe in their eagerness to assist the troubled
Asked whether the South African government believed the
essential problem in Zimbabwe was Mugabe’s clinging to power at all costs,
Nhlapo said “the problem is clearly defined”, but South Africa was not
prepared to contribute “to what Zimbabweans detest” by saying Mugabe was the
cause of all of the country’s problems.
Nhlapo also said although the
land issue was central to Zimbabwe’s crisis, the Abuja Agreement, forged by
the Commonwealth and recognised by Zimbabwe, included other fundamental
- President Robert Mugabe's government is to begin carving up a significant
portion of a 137000 hectare cattle ranch owned by South Africa's Oppenheimer
family, Zimbabwean media reported in Harare on Tuesday.
Daily News quoted Vice President Joseph Msika as saying that agriculture
ministry officials would start demarcating plots for squatters on a 34000ha
section of Debshan ranch next week.
Msika has demanded another 30000ha
portion of the ranch by next month. "We want a total of 65000ha before the
end of the year," he said.
Debshan - short for De Beers-Shangani, the
name of the Oppenheimer's family business and of the Shangani district in the
southern province of Matabeleland - is fully stocked with 21000 cattle bred
for export to Europe.
The government ignored an offer made last year by
Nicky Oppenheimer - chairman of South African gold conglomerate Anglo
American Corporation - to hand over the 34000ha section and to set up a USD
2-million trust fund to help resettle farmers.
In return for the land
and cash, Oppenheimer asked for the rest of the families 240000ha holdings in
Zimbabwe to be spared from the land seizures.
Oppenheimer made the offer
personally to Mugabe in September last year shortly after all the family's
land in Zimbabwe was formally listed for "compulsory acquisition".
government responded that it wanted twice the amount of land from the farm it
said was "the size of Belgium".
The Daily News said on Tuesday that a
meeting between government and Anglo American officials yielded "nothing
A company spokesman was not immediately available for
Debshan is one of about 4600 white-owned farms listed for
confiscation by the Zimbabwean government.
Farm union officials say
that violence and lawlessness has escalated on farms since September 18 when
the Zimbabwean government agreed in Abuja, Nigeria to a proposal made by
Commonwealth foreign ministers. In terms of the proposal Zimbabwe agreed to
halt the land invasions.
November 6, 2001 Posted to the web November 6,
A US federal court judge ruled last week in New
York that Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF party can be held liable in US courts for
political violence in the southern African country.
Marrero ruled in a 130-page opinion that although President Robert Mugabe was
protected from being personally sued because of immunity granted to heads of
state, in his capacity as head of ZANU-PF he was legally liable.
ruling clears the way for a US magistrate's court to award damages in
a lawsuit filed last year which sought US $63 million in compensation
for victims of political violence and their relatives.
assets can be identified and attached, then this is an important avenue for
Zimbabweans seeking justice in these cases," international criminal lawyer
Chris Roederer told IRIN on Tuesday.
A spokesman for the plaintiffs,
Topper Whitehead, told IRIN that it was unlikely that Mugabe or ZANU-PF would
pay compensation and that arrangegments had already been made to identify his
US assets. "He's got plenty of money here and we know about it," he
Legal experts told IRIN that under US federal law, information
about ZANU-PF bank accounts anywhere in world could be legally requested if
the institution holding the account had any business in the United
"A US court couldn't necessarily get the money from say,
Switzerland, but it would be legally empowered to get details of accounts
held in Switzerland if the bank there has US holdings," Cathi Albertyn of
Wits Law School in Johannesburg said.
Relatives of three Zimbabweans
who were killed and a political opponent who claims she was beaten before
Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections last year sued Mugabe in a US District
Court under the 211-year old Alien Tort Claims Act.
The law gives
nationals of other countries the right to file civil suits in US courts for
injuries suffered in violation of international law, although it is rare to
collect judgments in such cases.
Mugabe accepted the summons in October
2000 while on a US visit as he entered Mount Olivet Baptist Church in Harlem.
Foreign Minister Stanley Mudenge refused to accept the papers but they were
recorded as having been duly served after they were placed at his feet during
the same visit.
Adella Chiminya is suing ZANU-PF on behalf of her late
husband, Tichaona, a senior opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
advisor who was allegedly burnt to death by ZANU-PF supporters identified in
court as Tomu Kainos "Kitsiyatota" Zimunya and Joseph Mwale.
plaintiff, Elliot Pfebve, was an MDC parliamentary candidate for Bindura, a
town 50 km north of Harare, who survived several assassination attempts,
although his identical brother was killed in a case of mistaken identity.
Maria Stevens, also suing, lost her husband David, who was abducted from a
police station and killed.
No Zimbabwean official has contested the suit
and the government in Harare has denied the case's existence. Several
Zimbabwean journalists and at least one newspaper have been charged with
criminal defamation for reporting on the lawsuit.
The success of this
recent action against Mugabe and ZANU-PF could open the door to other such
claims in US courts, experts warned. "I think we're likely to see more of
these kind of cases. Lots of lawyers have started specialising in them
because of the big sums involved and last week's judgement could open the
flood gates," Roederer said.
HARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) -- The Zimbabwean government
has stepped up a propaganda war against the main opposition party ahead of
elections in April in which President Robert Mugabe will face a tough
challenge to his rule.
But the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) said on Tuesday the campaign would not guarantee Mugabe
In the past week, state media have published a series of stories
suggesting the MDC -- which nearly beat Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party in last
year's parliamentary election -- is set to split over Morgan
The MDC dismissed the articles, which said
that Tsvangirai, a fiery former trade unionist, was being challenged by his
secretary general, Welshman Ncube, a university professor.
quoted unnamed MDC members of parliament saying Tsvangirai, who has no
university degree, did not have the right academic qualifications or the
skills to lead Zimbabwe.
The legislators reportedly accused Tsvangirai of
failing to deal with the public spats within the MDC which led it to suspend
some members last month pending an internal probe.
Ncube said the
stories were "attempts to discredit and demonise the MDC leadership with
false and fictional stories concocted within the corridors of the Central
Intelligence Organisation and the Department of Information."
temptations He told Reuters that even if ZANU-PF managed to "sponsor some
superficial split for propaganda purposes," the rump of MDC leaders would
back Tsvangirai and the party's strength would remain
Political analyst Masipula Sithole said the MDC had the capacity
to weather the hostile campaign, although the careers of some promising young
MPs who allowed themselves to be lured away from the main MDC might be
"I think there are serious temptations in the political field
at the moment, but there is also the real danger of living with the label of
'sell-out'," he said.
Tsvangirai says there is no danger from the
internal spats, which spilled over when MDC member of parliament Job Sikhala
accused a party colleague of organising an attack on his
Sikhala threatened to quit the party, but later backed off, saying
he did not want to play into the hands of ZANU-PF, whom he now blames for
Zimbabwe has been in political and economic turmoil since
February 2000 when ZANU-PF supporters, led by veterans of the liberation war,
invaded hundreds of farms in support of Mugabe's drive to seize white-owned
land for redistribution to blacks.
Last month Mugabe endorsed a
Nigerian-brokered plan to end the farm seizures in exchange for funds from
former colonial ruler Britain to carry out a fair land reform
But analysts doubt Mugabe will implement the accord before the
election because he wants to use land as his campaign theme.
07 November 2001 All
those who wish Zimbabwe well have cause to be concerned about the worsening
situation in that country, where the wide-scale harassment of opponents and
white farmers in the past two years has exacerbated problems caused by the
government's mismanagement of the economy. Whatever hope there once was that
Robert Mugabe's government would respect the vital Abuja agreement it entered
into with the Commonwealth seven weeks ago no longer exists. Instead,
prospects for this blighted land have worsened rather
President Mugabe, who last week gave the clearest
indication yet that he intends to remain in office until his death, has
blatantly violated the Abuja agreement. His government continues to harass
opposition members and his cadre of war veterans continue to occupy farmers'
land, while Mr Mugabe himself has refused to allow election observers from
the European Union or other concerned bodies into the country ahead of next
year's presidential election.
That he is intent on confrontation
became even more apparent last week when his Foreign Minister summoned the
ambassadors of Britain, Spain and Belgium to his office to harangue them on
the European Union's threat to impose sanctions. In another alarming
development, Mr Mugabe has now ordered Zimbabwe's only independent daily, The
Daily News, to close.
There is no doubt that land redistribution is
important in Zimbabwe, which is why we welcomed Britain's undertaking in the
Abuja agreement to help finance orderly reform. However, as has long been
suspected, it is now clear that President Mugabe merely uses land inequity to
win the support of the disillusioned black masses to shore up his decadent
President Mugabe has plunged his nation into crisis. It is
believed that as many as 75 per cent of Zimbabweans are living in terrible
poverty, with many facing the threat of starvation. Inflation is running at a
calamitous 83 per cent and there has been a 40 per cent fall in agricultural
output predicted for this year.
It is imperative that the
international community acts quickly to impose targeted sanctions on
President Mugabe and his ministers. They should be banned from travel abroad,
their foreign assets frozen and Zimbabwean Airways denied foreign landing
rights. Perhaps that, at last, might help drive some sense into Mr
AMNESTY International (AI), the universally respected human
rights campaigner, has appealed to the European Union (EU) and the
Commonwealth to immediately apply pressure on President Mugabe to restore the
rule of law in Zimbabwe.
Both the EU and the Commonwealth, have
already expressed concern over reports of human rights abuses in
Another internationally revered human rights organisation,
the Brussels-based International Crisis Group last month called on the world
to immediately apply pressure on Mugabe and Zanu PF officials.
the report reads: "Amnesty International is calling on the EU to address
speedily the climate of fear in Zimbabwe and help restore the rule of law and
accountability for human rights violations."
They urged the Commonwealth
Ministerial Action Group (CMAG), which is due to meet this month after the
postponement of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Brisbane, to
take immediate action against Zimbabwe.
The Brisbane meeting was
postponed following the 11 September terrorist attacks in the United
There was no immediate comment from the government
AI wants CMAG to indicate when it will act on breaches of the
undertaking agreed upon by Zimbabwe and the Commonwealth during the 6
September meeting in Abuja, Nigeria.
The organisation said Zimbabwe
pledged renewed commitment to "the protection and promotion of the
fundamental political values of the Commonwealth" and was now concerned that
the focus on Abuja was now on land reform and no longer on the previous
emphasis on Zimbabwe’s obligations to uphold the rule of law.
the report, says the Commonwealth should publicly condemn the "on-going
State-sanctioned human rights violations, including politically-motivated
killings, physical assaults, destruction of property, as well as threats of
The EU and Commonwealth should ensure the perpetrators of
violence are brought to justice, says AI.
Both the EU and the
Commonwealth, should insist on sending international observers into the
country this month, including experts on policing to review the conduct of
the police. This would act as a preventative measure against further
violations in the run-up to the presidential election due in April next
Zimbabwe expelled a mission from the United States and blocked the
EU from entering the country in September.
Zimbabwe should undertake
to accredit all observers in time to allow them to travel to their assigned
areas and provide them with police protection from attack and intimidation,
They should support local observers and monitors to ensure they
are adequately trained and equipped to do their work.
AI said the two
bodies should urgently meet with non-governmental organisations and victims
of attacks as well as support the efforts of Zimbabwe’s civil society to
protect human rights.
The EU and Commonwealth should help develop codes
of conduct for politicians, their supporters, and on the access to the media
during the campaign and election periods. This should be done in consultation
with the government, opposition parties and civic society.
co-ordinate their efforts with the Southern African Development Community,
through the governments of Malawi as the chair and Mozambique, the
co-ordinator of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security.
examples of violations, the organisation said it remained gravely concerned
that the human rights situation in Zimbabwe continued
"Amnesty International continues to receive evidence of
human rights violations, amounting to a State-sponsored pattern of repression
of any form of opposition in several by-elections held before and after the
The organisation said MDC candidates and supporters,
and constituency residents of no political affiliation have been attacked in
order to instil fear.
Journalists, lawyers, and teachers in rural
areas, have been targeted for reporting political clashes, representing
victims of violations, and for supporting the MDC or other opposition
"The human rights situation remains serious and persistent and
without expected improvement. "The violations have been carried out
predominantly by so-called war veterans and other supporters of the ruling
Zanu PF party.
"These militias have acted with impunity and with the
acquiesence of government authorities, and in some cases with the complicity
of the police," the report reads.
Meanwhile, ZTV last night reported
Professor Jonathan Moyo, the Minister of State for Information and Publicity,
emotionally telling journalists at the Bulawayo Press Club on Saturday that
Zimbabwe would never allow foreign monitors during the presidential election.
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has been systematically trying to undermine
human rights and the rule of law in Zimbabwe ever since he came to power more
than 20 years ago, the country's former Chief Justice said last
Anthony Gubbay was speaking in London at the annual John Foster
Human Rights Trust lecture, the first time he has spoken publicly since he
was forced out of office in March.
He said that President Mugabe's
government had subverted the principle of equality before the law by "setting
one standard for themselves and another for the people they
In particular, he condemned Mr Mugabe for apparently endorsing
the harassment of the judiciary by the country's so-called war
He said that Zimbabwe was on the verge of becoming a pariah
state. He called on the international community to step up diplomatic
pressure on Zimbabwe, saying that the human rights record of one country was
the legitimate concern of every country.
He also gave warning that the
worsening political crisis in Zimbabwe could precipitate instability
throughout southern Africa, "if not the entire African continent".
Gubbay said he was saddened and disappointed not to have been allowed
to serve until April next year, when he was due to retire. But he said
his determination to establish human rights and the rule of law as
the foundation for modern Zimbabwe had "attracted the continuing annoyance"
of the government.
Despite paying lip service to the importance of an
independent judiciary, Mr Mugabe's government had sent confusing signals as
to the sanctity of human rights and the rule of law.
Within months of
coming to power in 1980 he had clearly stated his willingness "to disobey the
law whenever it was deemed necessary to maintain law and order".
Gubbay said: "With hindsight I do not believe this can be dismissed as the
teething troubles of a new government flexing its muscles after an inordinate
period of white minority rule".
He said that whenever the courts ruled
against the government, President Mugabe and his allies would accuse the
judges of being class-biased and racist.
Faced with unpalatable
rulings by the High and Supreme Courts, such as outlawing the whipping of
prisoners, the Mugabe government would either try to ignore them or interpret
them as narrowly as possible. Later, it changed the constitution to make it
easier to overrule the courts.
Mr Gubbay said he was surprised when he
was made Chief Justice in 1990, not least because he had been a firm advocate
of human rights and a thorn in the government's side.
Chief Justice of Zimbabwe spoke last night for the first time about the
“blatant and contemptuous disrespect” for the judiciary shown by President
Anthony Gubbay, who was forced to leave his post earlier
this year after a campaign of vilification and intimidation, including death
threats, said that the most “disturbing” conduct by the authorities had been
the harassment of judges. “They have called upon judges to resign or
face removal by force,” he said.
The former Chief Justice had incurred
the wrath of the Mugabe regime with a series of rulings in favour of white
He said: “The official stance taken up is that land distribution
is a political and not a legal matter which cannot be resolved by the ‘little
law of trespass’ . . . It is completely unacceptable to qualify the rule of
law in this way.”
Mr Mugabe had also disregarded court rulings made in
favour of white farmers whose land had been taken over, Mr Gubbay said. “Such
attacks show a blatant and contemptuous disrespect of the process of the
Constitution, which guarantees judicial independence.
not be made to feel apprehensive of their personal safety. They should not be
subjected to government intimidation in the hope that they would become more
compliant and rule in favour of the executive.”
Some 300 senior members
of the legal profession, including the Lord Chief Justice, several law lords
and Court of Appeal judges, turned out last night to hear Mr Gubbay deliver
the John Foster Memori-
al Trust lecture in London.Still living in
Zimbabwe, he was on a brief visit to London and the occasion, chaired by Lord
Woolf, the Lord Chief Justice, it was the first time that Mr Gubbay had
spoken about the events earlier this year. He went on to describe events
leading up to his resignation, including the invasion of the Supreme Court
building last November by some 200 so-called war veterans and followers of Mr
Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) party, which he said “can only be described as
The policeman on guard was assaulted and the mob rushed to
the courtroom, where a case was due to be heard, shouting slogans. They had
“even called for the judges to be killed”.
The war veterans had stood
on chairs, benches and tables “in a show of absolute contempt for the
institution of the court. Such deplorable behaviour sent the clearest measure
that the rule of law was not to be respected,” Mr Gubbay said.
former Chief Justice said that he was grateful that he had served 11 years in
his post, was sad and disappointed not to have been able to retire in happier
circumstances — but he was not resentful.
He added: “Unjustifiable and
unreasonable attacks on the integrity (of the judiciary) . . . undermine the
constitutional role of the judiciary, eroded confidence in its decisions and
damaged it as an institution. It is virtually defenceless against such
Mugabe threatens to force closure of
Harare - The Zimbabwe government yesterday ordered the
country's only independent daily newspaper to close. It accused the company
directors of The Daily News of flouting investment laws and exchange control
regulations, says the state media. The Zimbabwe Investment Centre (ZIC), an arm
of the Zimbabwe government's Ministry of Finance, told Associated Newspapers of
Zimbabwe (ANZ), which publishes The Daily News, to surrender the paper's
investment certificate and discontinue operations immediately, claiming the
basis on which the company was established had been removed. Human rights
campaigners condemned the move as a bid to intimidate opponents of President
Robert Mugabe's regime and silence free speech before next year's presidential
elections. Geoff Nyarota, the newspaper's editor-in-chief, said the News had not
violated any of the mentioned laws and vowed to continue publishing. "They
haven't moved to try to force us to stop publishing but you never know with this
government," Mr Nyarota said. "Anything may happen from the moment I end this
conversation with you."
The barely concealed government attempt to close the newspaper
has outraged the opposition in Zimbabwe. "Having failed to ban The Daily News or
to silence it through two bombings, new and naked attempts of muzzling the paper
are now being formulated," the main opposition party, the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) said. The MDC, which is shunned by the publicly funded
government-run media except when the reports about the opposition party are
negative, relies on the News and other privately owned papers to get its message
across to the electorate. The Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) said the
latest action was not surprising, given the government "would stop at nothing in
its efforts to silence all perceived critics ahead of crunch presidential
elections next year".
Richard Mbaiwa, the executive director of ZIC, in a letter to
ANZ, accused the firm of violating the Zimbabwe Investment Act by changing its
shareholding structure without the authority of the ZIC. He declared null and
void an investment into The Daily News by a company called Renaissance Asset
Management (RAM)last year. RAM, wholly owned by Zimbabwean businessmen, took
over much of the foreign investment into The Daily News and owns a controlling
60 percent stake in the company. In fact, RAM rescued the News when it was
facing financial difficulties. The newspaper, established in 1999, has overtaken
the state-owned Herald as the best-selling newspaper in Zimbabwe with 100 000
copies daily. In January a bomb destroyed the newspaper's printing press in what
it claimed was a political attack.
Mr Mbaiwa said the investment by RAM into the News was
unprocedural because it had not been authorised by ZIC. He also accused the
founders of ANZ, Geoff Nyarota and Wilf Mbanga, of misleading ZIC about their
investments into ANZ. In a lengthy statement yesterday, ANZ denied all the
allegations levelled against the company and its director by ZIC and dismissed
them as part of sustained efforts to try to close the newspaper. Ten days ago,
four ANZ directors were arrested by police in connection with similar
allegations. The foreign minister, Stan Mudenge, has claimed the News was a key
beneficiary of funding from the British government. News spokesmen deny they
were funded by the UK, although they admitted the paper was originally
kick-started by money from a company called Africa Media Investments (AMI),
which is owned by British businessmen.
And the land grab continues. On Monday, the government seized
35,000 hectares owned by the famous South African mining dynasty, the
Oppenheimer family. The Oppenheimers, main shareholders in the diamond-mining
giant, De Beers, are believed to own the largest tracts of land by a single
family or company in Zimbabwe. The vice-president, Joseph Msika descended on the
Oppenheimer Debshan Estate and declared the government had carved out for
resettlement 35,000 hectares out of the 140,000-hectare estate. He told illegal
settlers, who invaded and occupied the land in February last year, that the
government would properly resettle them on the seized land from next week. He
said the government would also shortly seize 30,000 more hectares from the
From News24 (SA), 6
Harare - Pro-government militants occupying white-owned farms
in Zimbabwe are disrupting work as the new planting season gets under way, the
Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) warned on Monday. The CFU - which groups some 4
500 mainly white farmers - said the militants, who have illegally occupied more
than 1 000 farms since February 2000, were in some cases slashing crops. "The
status quo regarding lack of planting remains the same. Work stoppages,
displacements of farmworkers and extortion continue to occur," the CFU said in
its latest update on the situation. In the Horseshoe farming district of
Mashonaland Central province, a property owner was evicted and irrigation of his
tobacco crop stopped, while work on a coffee plantation at a neighbouring farm
was also stopped, the CFU said. Aid agencies have warned of severe food
shortages in rural Zimbabwe in coming months, citing a combination of drought
and the farm invasions, which the militants say are meant to bolster a programme
to redistribute white-owned farmland to landless blacks.
A recent survey by the CFU showed that nearly a third of the
country's 12.6 million people have applied for food aid. It also showed
intentions among CFU members to plant maize, the country's staple food, in the
new season had declined from 74 000ha to 55 000ha due to the land crisis.
Industry officials say Zimbabwe needs to import at least 600 000 tons of maize
to meet domestic demand. The government has acknowledged a need to import 100
000 tons. Zimbabwe is facing its worst political and economic crisis since
President Robert Mugabe came to power in 1980. The Zimbabwe Joint Resettlement
Initiative, a grouping of commercial farmers that seeks dialogue over the land
issue, has urged the government to end the work stoppages. "Violence,
intimidation and extortion have no place in the process of land reform," ZJRI
chairperson William Hughes said in a statement. "The (planting) season is
already upon us. Let us not wait until it is too late. Let us act now to
maximise production for the nation, lest the cries of hungry babies haunt us to
our graves," Hughes said. Farmers say Mugabe has failed to honour his
endorsement of a deal brokered in Abuja, Nigeria, in September under which his
government agreed to end the farm invasions in return for pledges of financial
help from former colonial power Britain.
From The Financial Mail (SA), 26
Robert Mugabe goes for
Zimbabweans can be forgiven for feeling confused. Last Monday
President Robert Mugabe (77) announced that after a decade of structural
adjustment he was returning to the path of socialism. On Friday government said
it would set up a panel of bankers and economists to recommend the way forward.
Whatever they decide, the country has already been abandoned to Mugabe's private
militias who will take over and run factories whose owners have refused to
accept price controls. The government's panel of experts is unlikely to endorse
a return to the past. State socialism in the Eighties failed to produce growth
and jobs on the scale needed to absorb school leavers. Hence the economic
structural reform programme of 1991, which was designed to replace a command
economy inherited from the Rhodesian regime. But Mugabe declined to let go of
bloated parastatals that provided sheltered employment for his followers and
refused to stop spending hand over fist on the pampered military and an
overstocked government. As a result the budget deficit ballooned to 15% of
He was equally suspicious of proposals for constitutional
reform that would deprive him of his overweening executive powers. Locked in a
mindset of imagined conspiracies by recalcitrant Rhodesians, UK Prime Minister
Tony Blair's "gay gangsters" and US imperialists, Mugabe became increasingly
obdurate. The defeat in a referendum last year of constitutional proposals that
would have legitimised his autocracy and legalised land seizures led him to
embark on a programme of violent and lawless land acquisition that has brought
the economy to its knees. Designed primarily to punish whites, who he believes
are behind the surging opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the land
grab has also dispossessed tens of thousands of Mozambicans, Malawians and
Zambians. It has reduced agricultural output by 40%.
Oblivious to this, Mugabe believes returning to a command
economy will restore popular confidence in his deeply unpopular regime. The
record is not auspicious. State management has been costly and inept. The
present campaign of violence and intimidation together with rural cleansing of
opposition support may win him votes. But if he succeeds in procuring his return
next March, it will be as President of a deeply divided nation. The MDC retains
the support of the young, the educated and the urbanised. It also has a huge
following in Matabeleland in the southwest and parts of Manicaland in the east.
Mugabe on the other hand can count on his Mashonaland fiefdoms in the northeast
and northwest. He can win only if the election is not free or fair. A flawed
poll will undermine his legitimacy at home and abroad.
However damaging his policies, there are few challengers to
Mugabe's grip on power. Only a few years ago he was obliged to accommodate the
views of regional barons who had accompanied him on his march to power and
dominated the all-powerful politburo. Now they have been emasculated: Emmerson
Mnangagwa, defeated at the polls last year, was rescued by Mugabe and appointed
Speaker of parliament; Eddison Zvobgo, the most outspoken critic of Mugabe's
autocracy, has been marginalised in his Masvingo home area; Kumbirai Kangai,
former Agriculture Minister, is facing corruption charges; and Solomon Mujuru,
former army chief, has been humiliated by mutinous war veterans. Instead, Mugabe
is surrounded by lesser men such as Information Minister Jonathan Moyo,
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made and Legal Minister Patrick Chinamasa who are
unelected MPs dependent on the President's patronage. Finance Minister Simba
Makoni, who is keen to secure a rapprochement with international donors, is
thwarted at every turn.
As well as turning his back on economic reform, Mugabe has made
it clear there will be no independent electoral commission to supervise the
forthcoming poll. His officials will be in charge. War veterans and land
invaders under their control will be registered on a supplementary roll, voting
at mobile polling stations on the occupied farms. It is against this formidable
power structure, buttressed by a suborned police force, a politicised army
command and a compliant State broadcaster, that the opposition, armed only with
an idea whose time has come, must now pit itself.
Comment from The Financial Mail
(SA), 26 October
Stopping the rot
Imagine this scenario in Zimbabwe. Robert Mugabe continues to
rule beyond the planned presidential election date in 2002. He may win the
election, by hook or by crook, or he may simply suspend the electoral process on
account of widespread violence, much of it apparently perpetrated by thugs under
his command. What then? This will hardly be a spur to foreign investment in the
region, already too low for the 6%-7% growth rates required to deal with
unemployment and social backlogs. It will be a setback to the New African
Initiative, predicated as it is on the establishment and policing by African
states themselves of conditions of good governance and the rule of law. It will
also taint SA leadership of the initiative and undermine the well-intentioned
efforts of the Commonwealth and Southern African Development Community (SADC) to
bring Harare into line. Mugabe's continued rule will, put simply, have great
costs beyond his country's borders.
Two events have reduced the pressure on Mugabe to toe the line
on land redistribution and State-sponsored terror despite the apparently
positive outcomes of the Abuja, Commonwealth and SADC Task Teams. First, the
events of September 11 in the US overshadowed the SADC meeting in Harare on the
same day. Second, the fall-out from the US bombings caused the October Brisbane
Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit (CHOGM) to be postponed, relieving the
pressure on Harare. The situation in Zimbabwe has already deteriorated
considerably. Zimbabwe is experiencing an estimated 9% GDP contraction this
year. The economic crisis has the potential to send significant numbers of
refugees into the neighbourhood, never mind the damage to the region's
investment reputation and cost to its currencies and financial markets.
What can SA and other countries do to ensure that this does not
happen? There is an obvious dilemma in this regard. What happens if the election
is free and fair and declared to be that way by the international community -
and Mugabe wins? Then it will be necessary, somehow, to deal with the land
question and restore both the rule of law and Zimbabwe's (and the region's)
image in the process. This will be no easy task, given all that has gone before.
For while the uneven distribution of land in Zimbabwe needs to be solved, it is
equally clear that the violence and lawlessness accompanying the land issue have
contributed to the economic troubles.
Nonetheless, most critically, it is important for Pretoria and
others to investigate ways in which the regional and international community
can, in liaison with Zimbabwean authorities, assist to ensure a smooth and
peaceful electoral process. This has to include: an early agreement to train,
fund and deploy local and international election observers; ensuring independent
control of the media; and monitoring State and non-statutory military and other
militia forces. One additional strategy is to establish codes of conduct for
political parties and the security forces. The implementation of such a strategy
cannot wait: today is late, and tomorrow may be too late.
But if Mugabe's chances of winning the presidential ballot are
predicated, as many argue, on up-ending the electoral process, then he will
probably not agree to the early deployment of observers and maintenance of a
code of conduct. If this happens, then pressure will arguably need to be
ratcheted up through a mixture of public and private sanctions, including
seizure of the assets held outside Zimbabwe by Cabinet Ministers and a ban on
travel abroad. Such measures will not worsen the plight of the average
Zimbabwean, only the elite. SA and others should, of course, also undertake to
help establish a suitable and transparent land redistribution programme in
Zimbabwe once the election has passed. In addition, clear processes for reform
of the justice system will have to be set out, through which the independence
and principle of non-interference of the judiciary can be re-established.
It is clear that the Zimbabwean situation is worsening despite
the Abuja meeting and apparent agreement on the suspension of land invasions,
and the activities of the SADC Task Team. These events did, however, make
important progress in forcing (rhetorical) concessions from Mugabe and
shattering the notion of sovereign impunity in the region. Now is the time for a
strategy to keep Harare to its promises and ensure the planned March election
goes ahead without violent and unconstitutional interference.
Greg Mills is the national director of the SA Institute of International