Tuesday 07 November 2006
HARARE - The Zimbabwe government is planning fresh home demolitions,
just a little over a year after a similar campaign to destroy shantytowns
and city backyard cottages left at least 700 000 people without shelter or
means of livelihood.
The government in May last year and weeks after controversially
winning a key general election, ordered the police and army to demolish
thousands of backyard cottages, shantytowns and informal business kiosks, in
a campaign President Robert Mugabe said was necessary to smash crime and to
restore the beauty of Zimbabwe's cities.
In addition to those left homeless, another 2.4 million people were
indirectly affected by the military-style demolition exercise to bring the
total number of victims to about three million or a quarter of Zimbabwe's 12
Authoritative sources told ZimOnline that Local Government Minister
Ignatius Chombo, who oversaw last year's widely-condemned demolition
exercise, had set up a task force comprising officials from his department
and the police to lay out the groundwork for a new offensive against slum
dwellers and informal traders.
"There is some kind of a brigade that is being set up within the
police specifically for that mission (to carry out demolitions)," said a
senior official in the Ministry of Local Government, who did not want to be
named because he did not have clearance from Chombo to speak to the Press.
"New illegal structures have come up since Operation Murambatsvina
(the official codename for last year's clean-up campaign. We will target
these structures that have sprouted up and others that somehow survived the
first Murambatsvina," said the official.
Chombo confirmed the government was planning new home demolitions but
said these would be on a much smaller scale than Murambatsvina.
He said: "It is not Murambatsvina. But the spirit of Murambatsvina
should not die. To ensure that we don't reverse the gains of Murambatsvina
we will do regular follow-ups. We cannot just watch while chaos prevails and
people build wherever they want."
The government, bowing to international pressure after the home
demolitions, announced in August last year that it was launching a new
re-construction programme to build houses for people whose homes it had
But only a handful of houses have been built because the government -
which is also battling to raise cash to import food, electricity and fuel
among other key national requirements - did not have resources.
And thousands of homeless families have tracked back to the sites of
their former shantytowns to rebuild their shacks after the government failed
to provide the homes it promised under the new home building exercise dubbed
Operation Garikayi/Hlani kuhle or Operation Live Well.
Rodrick Chinyau, who appeared to be the leader of about 30 families
squatting in Epworth near Harare, said: "We have nowhere to go. The
government destroyed our houses last year forcing us to come here. The
number of people here is increasing everyday and this will be the case until
we get decent accommodation."
Chinyau however said officials from Chombo's department had visited
the settlement and gave the families up to the end of this week to vacate or
be forcibly removed. - ZimOnline
Tuesday 07 November 2006
MASVINGO - A provincial executive of the ruling ZANU PF party in
Masvingo says former chairman Daniel Shumba - who now leads his own
political party - should be arrested and prosecuted for stealing money from
the ruling party when he was its chairman for the province.
Shumba, together with five other ZANU PF chairmen, were suspended from
the party in December 2004 for allegedly seeking to block the rise of Joice
Mujuru to the posts of party and state vice-president.
Shumba is now the president of the little-known United People's Party
(UPP) opposition party.
The provincial executive says Shumba, his deputy Isaiah Masvayamwando
and former district co-ordinating committee chairman Clemence Makwarimba
should all be prosecuted for failing to account for about Z$1 million in
party funds whilst in office.
An internal report compiled by the executive dated 25 October 2006 and
a copy of which was shown to ZimOnline says Shumba and his accomplices
should be handed over to the police for prosecution.
The missing funds were raised in the run-up to the 2005 general
election through the sale of party cards in the province. But the executive
alleges that not a single cent found its way into the party coffers.
"After thorough investigations, we discovered that money amounting to
over $1 million could not be accounted for.
"Our investigations have revealed that the previous executive chaired
by Shumba is responsible for the disappearance of the money.
"We therefore recommend the arrest of Shumba, his former deputy and
the DCC chairman since they were the ones responsible for the sale of the
party cards," says the report.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Shumba denied any wrong-doing saying
as chairman he was not involved in the sale of party cards.
"As chairman, I was not involved in the sale of the said cards. I do
not know anything about the alleged case. The allegations are baseless and
unfounded," said Shumba.
Two other members of the previous executive, Masvayamwando and
Makwarimba, also denied embezzling the funds saying the charges were being
trumped up to tarnish their names.
ZANU PF national chairman, John Nkomo, yesterday said he was still to
see the report and its recommendations.
"I have not seen that report . . . I can only comment after going
through its contents," said Nkomo.
This is not the first time that ZANU PF officials have been accused of
looting party funds. Last year, the party set up a team headed by David
Karimanzira to probe allegations of massive looting at companies run by the
Former ZANU PF secretary for administration Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is
embroiled in a vicious struggle to succeed President Robert Mugabe, was
rumoured to be at the centre of the investigations.
ZANU PF is still to make the results of the probe public. - ZimOnline
Tuesday 07 November 2006
HARARE - A chaplain with the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) was last
week demoted from his rank after he was caught using his service vehicle as
a taxi, ZimOnline has learnt.
In a clear case illustrating how tough the economic situation is in
Zimbabwe, the officer had resorted to using his service vehicle as a private
taxi to supplement his meager income.
The police officer, identified as Superintendent Doice, was the police's
Chaplain General based in Harare.
Trouble for Doice began last Monday after a junior police officer
boarded "the taxi" to Glen Norah suburb in Harare.
The junior police officer who knew Doice refused to pay the Z$500 taxi
fare arguing the chaplain should not charge any fares because it was a
police service vehicle.
The junior officer later reported the matter to his superiors at
police headquarters in Harare.
Luck for Doice finally ran out last Thursday after Deputy Police
Commissioner Innocent Matibiri himself caught the police chaplain using the
vehicle as a taxi in Glen Norah.
Contacted for comment yesterday, Doice refused to comment on the
matter referring all matters to national police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena.
"I have not yet heard about that so it is very difficult for me to
comment on that matter. I will only comment on the matter when I get full
details," said Bvudzijena yesterday.
Police officers are among the lowest paid civil servants in Zimbabwe
with junior officers earning about $30 000 a month.
The salaries are five times less what the consumer rights body, the
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe says an average family of five needs every
month to survive. - ZimOnline
Tuesday 07 November 2006
HARARE - Zimbabwe Cricket has struck out from its draft constitution a
provision that empowered the sports minister to handpick seven of the union's
12 board members.
The revised draft constitution, which was approved by stakeholders
during a meeting on Saturday, will be presented to the Sports and Recreation
Commission (SRC) for approval tomorrow.
The SRC in September refused to endorse ZC's draft constitution,
saying the union needed to revise Section 25 which gave the sports minister
the prerogative to appoint the majority of the board members.
"The (Saturday) meeting considered Section 25 of the draft
constitution which deals with the appointment of the board of directors and
agreed that the ZC board shall be made up of 13 directors who will elect
from among themselves a chairman and vice-chairman," ZC spokesman Lovemore
The ZC stakeholders also approved the procedure for the election of
the board of directors, with seven appointed by the provincial chairpersons
sitting as an electoral college and six by the chairpersons from provincial
If the SRC approves the draft constitution tomorrow, the tenure of ZC's
interim committee is expected to end on November 18, when a special general
meeting is expected to be held for the adoption of the draft constitution as
well as the election of the 13 board members.
The ZC interim committee's tenure had been extended by another four
months after the SRC rejected the union's initial draft constitution that
would have seen a substantive board taking office on September 1.
The Peter Chingoka-led interim committee was initially given up to
June 30 to sort out the mess in cricket - including the drafting of a new
constitution - but had its term extended to August 31 on request.
The SRC dissolved the substantive ZC board in January following
serious wrangling in cricket.
"We are happy with the progress we are making in implementing the
roadmap to usher in a new dispensation for Zimbabwe cricket. We expect to
meet our deadline of the 18th of this month," said Tavengwa Mukuhlani, ZC's
acting chairman in the absence of Chingoka who was in India to attend an
International Cricket Council (ICC) meeting. - ZimOnline
Mon Nov 6, 9:23 AM ET
BEIJING (AFP) - China's relations with Zimbabwe are "unshakeable", President
Hu Jintao has said as he met his Zimbabwean counterpart amid accusations
that Beijing's ties help shore up a pariah regime.
"Developing friendly relations between China and Zimbabwe is an unshakeable
policy," Chinese state television quoted Hu as saying as he received
President Robert Mugabe in Beijing Monday.
Hu said he wanted to develop "agriculture, telecommunications and
infrastructure" ties with Zimbabwe.
China has faced criticism for not toeing the world diplomatic line in
isolating Mugabe's regime, which is accused by opponents and rights groups
of using torture and arbitrary arrest to quell dissent.
Mugabe has cultivated relations with Asian countries as part of a so-called
"look east" policy since many western countries imposed sanctions on
Zimbabwe four years ago, accusing the president of human rights violations.
"The Zimbabwean government pays a great deal of attention to relations
between the two countries," Mugabe told the Chinese president.
The meeting was just one of several one-on-one encounters planned Monday
between top Chinese leaders and the leaders of African countries who
attended a two-day China-Africa summit in Beijing that concluded on Sunday.
The summit was seen as strengthening China's ties with Africa and resulted
in 1.9 billion dollars in trade deals, plus Chinese promises of aid, debt
relief, and increased bilateral trade in the years ahead.
But fast-growing China, which is keen to gain access to African energy
resources, has been criticized for engaging some tainted African nations
without pushing for improvements in human rights and governance.
A report issued ahead of the summit by Human Rights Watch urged China to
uses its diplomatic leverage to encourage positive change in countries such
"Despite Beijing's growing concerns about Zimbabwean President Robert
Mugabe's repressive tactics -- most noticeably his willingness to literally
starve his opposition and destroy the Zimbabwean economy -- China has
continued to sell the Zimbabwean government technology that enables it to
monitor electronic communications," the report said.
Hu met on Friday with President Omar al-Beshir of Sudan, another regime
under intense international criticism for widespread killings, rapes and
abductions by government-armed forces in the country's western Darfur
China has rejected pressure from other countries over its own human rights
record as outside interference and refused to apply similar pressure on its
Mail and Guardian
06 November 2006 03:58
The Zimbabwean government is to rewrite a controversial Bill
that would allow the state to eavesdrop on private phone conversations and
monitor faxes and e-mails, officials said on Monday.
The Interception of Communications Bill has come under a barrage
of criticism since it was published in May but a government official and a
leading lawmaker confirmed that it is now being amended.
"The minister of transport and communications and Attorney
General have agreed that a rewritten document that takes into account
amendments as suggested by the parliamentary legal committee be submitted,"
said opposition MP Welshman Ncube, who chairs the committee.
"The document has not been withdrawn as such but it has to take
into account the suggested amendments."
Ncube said the amendments are too many to list off the cuff.
George Mlilo, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Transport
and Communications, confirmed the legislation is being amended.
"I am not sure when the amendments will be completed," he said.
"The document is still going through various committee stages in
In August, rights groups and internet service providers urged
lawmakers to reject the Bill, arguing it contravened fundamental rights and
would drag the country back into the past if passed into law.
The proposed legislation would allow for the establishment of an
intelligence centre "to monitor and intercept certain communications" from a
variety of sources.
It would also empower the communications minister to issue a
warrant for the interception of communication between individuals or
organisations while having the power to hear appeals against such
Under the proposed law, telecommunication service providers
would be compelled to install devices to enable interception of phone
conversations, faxes and e-mails. -- Sapa-AFP
Some small comfort for our loved ones at home: your desperate plight is
becoming ever more widely known. Once again the Vigil had to divide its
resources to encompass the protest at what is happening in Zimbabwe. Some
of us engaged the public passing by the Vigil to and from a big rally in
Trafalgar Square demanding action on global warming. Other Vigil supporters
went to hear speakers at a meeting organised by ACTSA (Action for Southern
Africa, the successor to the Anti-Apartheid Movement) in support of the ZCTU
(Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions). We found many sympathizers among the
climate change people - they seemed to know instinctively that what was
needed in Zimbabwe was Mugabe change. As for the ACTSA meeting, Lord
Triesman, Minister for Africa at the FCO (Foreign and Commonwealth Office)
was emphatic: the British government could not stand aside while Zimbabweans
starve. It had contributed £38 million to feed the starving in the last
financial year and was doing everything it could to help the people of
Zimbabwe. It was urging the UN and EU (European Union) to continue
engagement on the issue. He said President Chirac of France was keen to
host a conference for the African Union and wanted to invite all African
leaders including Mugabe to attend. The British government's attitude is
that EU sanctions against Mugabe and his cronies should be maintained (for
more on Lord Triesman's speech see our separate report below). The main
speaker at the meeting was Lovemore Matombo, one of the ZCTU leaders who was
beaten up with his colleagues by Zanu-PF thugs after their recent attempt at
a democratic protest. He said how much he would have liked to attend the
Vigil but his tight schedule made it impossible.
Speaking at the Vigil, the MDC UK Chair and Secretary, Ephraim Tapa and
Julius Mutyambizi-Dewa, reminded supporters of the importance of speaking
out about Zimbabwe and taking part in demonstrations to support the struggle
for a Free Zimbabwe. Ephraim said Zimbabweans must take to the streets
wherever are. This is what membership of the Vigil was about - it was not
about obtaining papers to stay in the UK. However the Vigil was aware of
how difficult it was for asylum seekers to be effective and would help its
supporters in their efforts to gain legal status in the UK. Julius
introduced Joshua Chigwandwa, the MDC UK Secretary for Immigration and
Asylum Issues. He would be available to assist MDC asylum seekers. Even
before hearing Ephraim and Julius, Dorcas Nkomo from Liverpool had taken to
the streets of Liverpool on a one-person Vigil. She showed us one of the
flyers she had been distributing which said, "I am an asylum seeker and one
of the torture survivors. I want Liverpool people to understand the
situation in Zimbabwe." The Bristol Vigil reports that their next two
Vigils will be on 25th November and 30th December under the covered way,
just near the Watershed, Canon's Road, Harbourside, Bristol. They have
plans to teach the non-Zimbabweans Zimbabwean songs and for a fundraiser.
Free-Zim Youth briefed us on their latest initiative - they have a meeting
with the Lesotho High Commission on Wednesday (Lesotho is the present chair
of Southern African Development Community - SADC).
Our day was made by a young fellow on the most extraordinary stilts. Modern
technology has allowed him with the help of springs to bounce up and down to
extraordinary heights and we tried to capture him in photographs but he was
always higher or lower. The climate change people certainly chose a good
day for their demonstration: on Guy Fawkes Eve, normally a cold, wet, windy,
awful day, we had brilliant sunshine - a good day for two girls who attended
the pollution rally dressed in household rubbish. Their headgear was
particularly extravagant - made out of plastic bags. Two young drummers
from the public played at the Vigil for a long time.
Good news from our supporter Chipo Tsuro whose baby boy, Ashley, was born
earlier this month. Unfortunately she is being moved to Glasgow next week.
We are trying to contact supporters there so she can start her own Vigil
there. Thanks to Sue and Francisca for looking after the Vigil table to
enable others to go to the ACTSA meeting. They were doubly welcome because
they brought such splendid presents for Dumi and Gugu's baby due on Boxing
Day. Grateful thanks for Wiz who washed and mended the banners - they are
looking much smarter. One day they will adorn the Freedom Museum in Harare.
We never fail to be impressed by the efforts of our supporters to get to the
Vigil. Tendayi, one of our most regular supporters, has made the long
journey from Stoke-on-Trent, once or twice every month this year. Others
came from Liverpool, Sheffield, Coventry, Manchester and we even had a
supporter from Stockholm today.
For this week's Vigil pictures:
FOR THE RECORD: 49 signed the register.
FOR YOUR DIARY: Monday, 6th November, 7.30 pm, Central London Zimbabwe
Forum. The speaker this week is Elton Mangoma, Vice Treasurer of the MDC. Mr
Mangoma comes to us from Harvest House with fresh news about the outcome of
the just ended rural elections. He will also discuss matters to do with his
department. Upstairs at the Theodore Bullfrog pub, 28 John Adam Street,
London WC2 (cross the Strand from the Zimbabwe Embassy, go down a passageway
to John Adam Street, turn right and you will see the pub).
Britain fears for European solidarity on Zimbabwe
Vigil report on Lord Triesman's speech in London on 4th November 2006
The British government is becoming increasingly worried about European Union
solidarity on the Zimbabwe issue according to Lord Triesman, Minister for
Africa. He was speaking at a meeting in London arranged by ACTSA (Action
for Southern Africa, the successor to the Anti-Apartheid Movement) in
support of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).
The meeting was attended by Lovemore Matombo, one of the ZCTU leaders who
was beaten up with his colleagues by Zanu-PF thugs after their recent
attempt at a democratic protest. Also attending was Kate Hoey, Chair of the
All-Party Parliamentary Group on Zimbabwe, who was warmly praised for her
work by the Minister.
Lord Triesman said targeted sanctions against Mugabe and his supporters must
be maintained, yet there were signs of wavering from France and Portugal.
President Chirac of France wanted to host a conference for the African Union
and invite all African leaders, including Mugabe, in defiance of the EU's
policy. The French were supported in this by Portugal, which takes over the
EU Presidency in July next year. Lord Triesman said the EU sanctions were
due to be renewed in February and trade unions and others should press for
them to be continued.
In a remarkably outspoken speech, Lord Triesman said that Zimbabwe was a
failing state which dealt with all its problems with brutal suppression,
citing the ZCTU's crushed attempt at peaceful protest. He said the UK
Government unequivocally supported the ZCTU and the Zimbabwe Ambassador had
been called in to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and asked to account
for his government's actions.
He said South Africa had genuine dilemmas about the situation in Zimbabwe
but there were signs of increased willingness by Pretoria to confront the
issue. It was crucial, he said, to continue to apply pressure on South
Speaking about what the UK government is doing about Zimbabwe, Lord Triesman
said it couldn't stand aside while Zimbabweans starved. It had spent £38
million on food for Zimbabwe in the last financial year. It was also
pressing the UN to engage the Zimbabwe issue as well as putting pressure on
other African governments.
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place
every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of
human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk
dpa German Press Agency
Published: Monday November 6, 2006
Harare- Zimbabweans will have to brace for another round of massive price
increases after the government gave troubled state companies the green light
to charge higher rates, it was reported Monday. In a surprise announcement,
state radio said struggling state-owned enterprises like the national oil
company NOCZIM and the National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) were likely to
take advantage of a new directive allowing them to up their tariffs.
While this move may be painful in terms of massive price hikes for
consumers, the effect will be to make the companies efficient, the radio
reported analysts as saying.
Last week, state electricity company ZESA was allowed to increase its
tariffs by up to 270 percent, while last month national airline Air Zimbabwe
said it was putting up airfares by as much as 500 per cent.
The hikes were unusual given that President Robert Mugabe's government is
normally reluctant to allow price increases because of the knock-on effect
on inflation, which currently stands at 1,023 percent.
Independent analysts have pointed out that Air Zimbabwe appears to be
calculating its fares on the illegal but widely-used parallel market for
Other companies could follow suit, which would mean six- or seven-fold price
hikes. The Zimbabwe/US dollar exchange rate has been artificially fixed by
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe at 250: 1 but on the black market it trades at
around 1,800: 1.
Monday's radio report said the state-run bus company ZUPCO popular until now
because of its low fares is also likely to take advantage of the directive
allowing companies to charge competitive rates.
Mugabe is out of the country at the moment, attending the China-Africa
summit in Beijing.
© 2006 dpa German Press Agency
By Tichaona Sibanda
6 November 2006
There are allegations Police commisssioner Augustine Chihuri is
excluding officers from United Nations peacekeeping duties because they
sympathise with the opposition MDC.
ZimOnline reported Monday that the long serving commissioner has
barred about 150 junior officers from taking part in lucrative peacekeeping
duties in Kosovo because of their 'questionable loyalty' to Robert Mugabe's
The Zimbabwe Republic Police has been participating in UN peacekeeping
missions for the last 15 years. ZRP officers have served in Angola, and
currently they have personnel keeping peace in Liberia, Sudan and East
It is the selection criteria to be part of the blue berets that has
been controversial ever since. Former police assistant commissioner Jonathan
Chawora said as long as there are no set down rules for selection to UN
duties, the procedure will continue to be dodged by the same accusations.
'Even when I was still serving in the ZRP, we would get similar
complaints that the selection process is flawed and that certain individuals
with strong links to senior officers are always chosen at the expense of
more deserving officers,' Chawora said.
The formation of the MDC made things worse, according to Chawora, as
officers would falsely be accused of supporting the opposition. This is what
happened last week when Chihuri ordered the Police Internal Security
Intelligence (PISI) to weed out junior officers suspected of backing the
main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.
It is believed the commissioner was not happy to deploy officers to
work on the lucrative duties because of their questionable level of loyalty
to Mugabe's government. He has also warned officers during pre-deployment
briefings not to make any negative statements about Zimbabwe while abroad.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Pretoria - Zimbabwe's economic woes could be reversed if the southern
African country implements monetary and fiscal reforms recommended by the
International Monetary Fund, a regional IMF official said on Monday.
Zimbabwe is in its eighth year of recession, marked by the world's
highest inflation and chronic shortages of fuel, food and foreign currency
that critics blame on poor policies and mismanagement by President Robert
"The good news is that can be reversed. It can be reversed if the
Zimbabwe authorities take the appropriate steps to address the issues that
affect the economy," Abdoulaye Bio-Tchane, head of the IMF's Africa office,
told a conference in Pretoria, South Africa.
"We are addressing them on the steps that should be taken," he added.
He gave no specific details of the IMF's suggested remedies but said
it could include "lifting non-fiscal measures that are clearly hurting money
supply, and of course, inflation".
Asked if the IMF was helping to pull Zimbabwe out of its economic
troubles, he said: "We have said many times what needs to be done on the
fiscal front, what needs to be done on the monetary front and what needs to
be done on the social side."
Zimbabwe's central bank has admitted to printing money to shore up the
economy and in some cases pay off huge foreign debts. Analysts say this only
compounds one of the main hurdles to curbing price pressures - rising money
Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate eased in September, but remained the
world's fastest at 1 023%. Unemployment has grown to 70%.
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe's high court has suspended new regulations aimed at
giving state-run fixed line operator TelOne a monopoly on international
calls following protests from two private cellphone firms.
Mobile phone operators Telecel and Econet Wireless had protested against the
new regulations, saying it would push them out of business.
"We sought an order that the regulations be suspended," Telecel's lawyer
David Drury told AFP, referring to a recently passed law which was due to
come into effect last Wednesday.
"That order has been granted. What it means is that pending a determination
on the merits... to say whether the regulations are valid or not, the
regulations will not apply."
Judge Rita Makarau also ordered Telecel and Econet Wireless to join hands in
their court challenge.
The Zimbabwean government had issued new telecommunications regulations to
replace the multi-gateway system with one gateway run by state firm TelOne.
The ministry of transport and communications said the new regulations were
necessary "to ensure accountability by private operators in the industry."
Econet Wireless lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa said the regulations breached the
telecommunications act which authorised Econet to operate its own gateway
for both incoming and outgoing traffic.
She said the company would be filing an appeal in the supreme court
questioning the new regulations.
Agents of the Zimbabwe government have reportedly infiltrated
Botswana, where they are reported to be monitoring the operations of the
country's security forces as well as the activities of a growing Zimbabwean
More than 800 illegal immigrants, most driven into the prosperous
neighbouring countryby economic hardship in their own country, were
reportedly arrested last week.
A weekly newspaper, The Botswana Guardian, reported Friday that
"sources within the Botswana Police Service" had confirmed they "have been
tipped about the presence of members of Zimbabwe's Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) who cross into Botswana from time to time masquerading as
The paper claims that once in Botswana, the CIO agents "at the service
of the Zimbabwe government," then investigate how the Botswana government
authorities treat illegal immigrants in a country that is an increasingly
popular, if somewhat hostile and often xenophobic, destination for desperate
The paper reports that part of the mission of intelligence agents
deployed in Botswana is to track down Zimbabweans who are on the police's
wanted list back at home.
The paper also claims that Zimbabwean newspapers have reported
recently that some of the Zimbabwean illegal immigrants were tortured in
Botswana but the reports, the paper says, were not true.
The Botswana Guardian quotes a senior police officer, who asked not to
be named, as claiming that some of the arrested illegal immigrants had
confirmed these allegations.
The officer was quoted as saying: "We understand there are some who
have been sent here to spy on the way we treat their people, arrested for
staying in the country illegally."
The paper reports that 832 illegal Zimbabwean immigrants were arrested
in the country's Northern Extra region during a two-day joint operation last
Another police officer, Senior Superintendent Alakalani Makobo, was
quoted as saying these allegations about CIO spies in Botswana were "news to
Last Updated ( Monday, 06 November 2006 )
Mail and Guardian
Valentine Maponga | Harare, Zimbabwe
06 November 2006 01:50
The Harare city council's decision to shut down many firms
dealing with funeral services has led to the birth of a thriving but illegal
"death business" at state-owned hospitals in the Zimbabwean capital.
Hospital employees, working with illegal undertakers, are
cashing in on bereaved relatives who can no longer afford skyrocketing
In September, the council temporarily closed down 21 licensed
coffin-selling firms. It had proved they had started preparing bodies for
burial, for which they were neither licensed nor properly equipped.
Moreover, this "moonlighting" by the coffin-makers deprived the
council of much-needed revenue.
But investigations by the Standard newspaper soon proved that
council action had brought an undesirable element to the business of death.
There was a sharp increase in funeral costs after the closure of
the private parlours.
A Harare woman who declined to be named said she went through a
nightmare after a close relative died at home. "We moved from one parlour to
another after the government hospitals told me that they had no space. The
private parlours are charging as if it's a crime to have a dead relative,"
There are only six properly licensed funeral parlours in Harare.
They are now charging between Z$150 000 and Z$200 000 to cover a funeral.
The money caters for the preparation of the body and transport only.
An official at Doves Funeral Services said they now charge Z$180
000 for a funeral. The fee does not include transport costs outside Harare.
Sources at the Harare Central Hospital mortuary said workers,
realising the desperate situation facing many bereaved people, are making
fat profits by preparing the bodies for burial at the hospital under cover
Some of the workers have teamed up with illegal undertakers to
form their own private funeral parlours. One such parlour is located in
Highfield's Gazaland area.
A visit to the hospital last week indicated that more than 20
illegal undertakers were conducting thriving businesses, advising mourners
on how to get their deceased relatives buried at an affordable "people's"
cost. The illegal undertakers were even ready to go to the houses to prepare
"How can we help you?" asked one undertaker, eagerly, unaware he
was talking to a reporter. "Where is the body? Is it an adult or a child? Do
you have the papers [burial order]? We can help you bury your relative and I
tell you we are the cheapest in town."
He said the cost of preparing the body would be Z$20 000. The
job is done in a backyard parlour in Highfield's Gazaland.
"We can also provide transport, a coffin or casket and help you
with the documentation," he said enticingly. "We can even come to your house
to prepare the body and our coffins range from Z$28 000 to Z$80 000."
Investigations last week revealed the probability that normal
procedures were not being followed when private parlours brought in the
Security at both Beatrice Road Infectious Diseases Hospital and
Wilkins Hospital mortuaries proved dubious, at the very least. The City of
Harare's acting director of health, Prosper Chonzi, is reportedly probing
the activities of the funeral parlours.
Last week, he could not be reached for comment as he was
reported to be attending a funeral, out of town.
The City of Harare charges more than Z$20 000 to bury an adult
in any of its cemeteries. A grave for an adult at the low-income Granville
cemetery costs Z$19 550 during weekdays and Z$24 550 at weekends. --
China's economic growth without democracy policy
is spoiling African dictators like Mugabe
By Dr Stanford Mukasa
6 November 2006
In today's Letter from America Dr. Stan Mukasa argues that China's
economic growth without democracy policy is spoiling African dictators like
The announcement by President Hu Jintao that China will double its aid
to Africa to the tune of $5 billion over the next three years will have some
implications on efforts by Zimbabwean civil society and church leadership to
negotiate with Mugabe and ZANU PF a return to democracy and the rule of law.
The excessive generosity with which China has assisted Mugabe and
other dictators of the world makes Mugabe and ZANU PF scoff at any appeals
for human rights or democracy.
Against this background, the document by a section of Zimbabwean
church leaders and which was handed to Mugabe last week will probably carry
little, if any, significance to Mugabe and ZANU PF who feel their Look East
policy will soon bear fruit.
China and Mugabe's Look East policy are giving Mugabe some hope that
he will be able to survive the pressures against him.
China's policy of economic progress without democracy has historically
been a model and a source of great inspiration for dictators in Africa.
Virtually all appeals to the Chinese by the international community to
bring pressure to bear on Mugabe have been ignored.
Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe, Zhang Xianyi , recently spelt out the
principles that govern Chinese policy towards Zimbabwe, namely, what he
called equality, mutual benefit, solidarity and common development.
The ambassador said China's bilateral trade with Zimbabwe will
increase by 11.5 percent to US$500 million in 2008. In 2005 the figure was
Overall, China's trade with Africa in the past 10 years increased 10
times to about $40 billion last year.
China has also announced it will forgive debts owed to it by the
poorest African countries.
President HU also announced other measures by China to boost trade
At a recent meeting of the American Enterprise Institute it was noted
. More exports from Africa to China will receive tariff-free status.
. China will train 15,000 African professionals.
. China will build schools, hospitals and anti malaria clinics.
. China will send experts and youth volunteers to Africa.
. China wills double the number of scholarships to African students to
4,000 by 2009.
China is an emerging world economic power and the second largest
consumer of energy and petroleum products. To meet internal demand China has
invested heavily in oil resources in Nigeria, Sudan, Angola, and Gabon as
well as in copper purchases mainly in Zambia and the Democratic Republic of
In Zimbabwe China is eyeing the country's untapped platinum resources
reported to be the second largest in the world. Zimbabwe has also other
mineral resources like uranium, gold, silver and copper that China would
like to invest in.
While China is looking to invest in raw materials it is also looking
for markets for its products. The United States is now one of the biggest
markets for Chinese products.
Africa is now ripe for a massive influx of Chinese products. China
tends to be very independent in its trade and other policies. And the
consumers in many African markets for Chinese goods are compelled or
attracted to buy, most often at low prices, goods of sub standard quality
while at the same time undercutting local industries.
Yet in its aggressive quest for increased trade China has totally
ignored the human rights implications of its economic growth without
democracy policy. China's refusal to bring pressure to bear on undemocratic
regimes like Mugabe has encouraged the dictators that China will always be
there to bail them out in the case of sanctions and other pressures from the
Western countries and human rights organizations.
China has thus spoiled African dictators. Human rights in China are
not a characteristic aspect of life in that populous country. Life in China
is still highly regimented despite the fact that Hu Jintao is China's
youngest and technocratic president in many years.
This may well explain why Mugabe is dragging his feet on any pressures
to negotiate a resolution of the country's crisis of governance with the
opposition civil society and why Mugabe and ZANU PF have somewhat survived
Mugabe's survival can be attributed to number factors including a
strong military and generous looting of the national resources to reward his
cronies, notably top party and government officials as well as the army. But
the China factor is increasingly becoming a significant lifeline for the
According to reports China has extended generous financial and other
forms of assistance to Mugabe and ZANU PF in exchange for the wholesale
mortgaging of national resources to China. Some people are calling this Look
East policy a new colonialism from China.
China has also given technical assistance to Mugabe and ZANU PF's
instruments of oppression and degradation of fundamental freedoms. Such
assistance ranges from fighter jets, arms, equipment to monitor private
conversations as well as to jam signals from external radio stations like
SWRA and Studio 7 at VOA.
China has thus become Mugabe and ZANU PF's handmaiden in the
repression of Zimbabweans.
Given this environment of the degradation of human freedoms and
dignity it is difficult to imagine what kind of success, if any, the bishops'
anticipated when they presented their document titled, The Zimbabwe We Want,
to Mugabe. The document contains main facts and points that have merit in
identifying the current problems confronting Zimbabwe.
What is at issue here is not so much the substance of the document but
the failure by the bishops to obtain a consensus from civil society on a
common strategy for dealing with the issues highlighted in the document.
The clergy behind this document aroused suspicion when they were seen
several weeks earlier having tea with Mugabe and exchanging jokes. Their
image in the minds of many Zimbabweans would have appeared to be that of
clergy who were engaging in the politics of accommodation with Mugabe.
This pilgrimage to the State House by the clergy was not helped by the
MDC's participation in the district council elections. District councils in
Zimbabwe have never historically had any real and effective political power
or influence. Their roles are effectively reduced to minor administrative
functions under the very close supervision of the minister of local
government where real power lies.
The one or two district councils or wards that the factions of the MDC
won will not play any significant role in the mobilization of the masses in
any action against Mugabe, should this ever happen.
Given the distorted and unreliable voting system in the country it
makes no sense to talk of winners and losers. How can the very same
Zimbabweans whom Mugabe's military chiefs now acknowledge that they hate
Mugabe and ZANU PF so much have given an overwhelming vote to the same
Mugabe and ZANU PF? Also, given the dilapidated state of affairs in Zimbabwe
today what Zimbabwean in his or her right mind could have cast a vote in
favor of Mugabe and ZANU PF in those council elections?
The bottom-line is that the opposition movement has yet to get its act
together. Civil society leadership must remember that, by participating in
elections they know very well that they will lose, given the restrictive and
oppressive system of voting, they are not only wasting their time and
resources but putting their supporters through an emotional roller coaster
of expectations that end up being dashed.
Mugabe has found a formidable partner in crime in form of China. None
of the strategies by the opposition movement, that is, participating in
elections are working. And the mere handing over to Mugabe of a document
giving a road map to the democratization of the country would appear to be a
public relations strategy by Mugabe to project himself as someone keenly
interested in working with all towards resolving the problems of governance
in the country.
The opposition movement and civil society leadership must come to
grips with the fact that Mugabe has in China a real and substantive promise
of support - whether or not China will actually deliver on all promises made
Strategies for confronting Mugabe must factor this reality
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By a Correspondent
LONDON - THE battle between the Home Office and failed asylum seekers
from Zimbabwe enters another phase with the Court of Appeal granting lawyers
from the Refugee Legal Council, who are representing the Zimbabweans,
permission to appeal a ruling allowing the UK to deport them.
The court directed that the appeal should be heard soon. The British
government won the right to deport thousands of failed Zimbabwean asylum
seekers early August but lawyers representing the failed asylum seekers
fought hard to appeal against the decision.
This followed a lengthy legal battle in which the Asylum and
Immigration Tribunal (AIT) had said there was not an automatic risk that
Zimbabweans returned to Zimbabwe would face a 'real risk of being subjected
to persecution or serious ill-treatment.'
In the AA proceedings concerning the safety of forced return to
Zimbabwe, an application for permission to appeal to the Court of Appeal was
lodged with the Court of Appeal, permission having been refused by the AIT,
on 18 September 2006 resulting in the permission to appeal.
The AA case has been in and out of the courts for a long time now
resulting in many failed asylum seekers being forced to live in squalor as
they are not allowed to work or to go to school. An earlier decision by
immigration judges stopping the British authorities from sending back failed
asylum seekers to Zimbabwe until the situation changed was overturned in
August resulting in another appeal being launched by the failed refugees.
"We hope that this time things will come out in our favour," said a
failed asylum seeker who spoke on condition of anonymity. "We do not want to
stay in the UK forever, things are bad in our country and everyone knows
that. All we want is to be given the sanctuary we so badly seek at this hour
and promise to go back and rebuild our country as soon as things change."
Speaking at a London meeting over the weekend, Lovemore Matombo, the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions boss, told those present that Britain
should help Zimbabweans who are here to get education and improve their
skills in preparation for a new Zimbabwe. He said things were bad on the
ground and there was need for countries that have Zimbabweans seeking refuge
to protect them and help them.
Meanwhile the suspension on forced returns to Zimbabwe continues until
the outcome of AA's appeal is known. There has been news, however of
immigration raids in a number of areas with huge concentrations of
Zimbabweans following petty squabbles. Some Zimbabweans have been reportedly
sent back home after being nicked for a variety of crimes, including drunken
driving and stealing.
By Selbin Kabote
BIRMINGHAM - A Christian alliance group, whose major focus is to
promote the development of a resource pool of intellectuals and
professionals in preparation for rebuilding Zimbabwe in the near future, has
been launched in the United Kingdom.
The Zimbabwe Association of Christians in England (ZACE) hopes to
bring Zimbabweans living in the UK together under their Christian banner and
facilitate their growth, development and re-training so they can eventually
contribute to re-building a new Zimbabwe.
Zimbabwe has been experiencing major economic and political problems
for the past six years resulting in the mass exodus of highly qualified and
skilled personnel who are now scattered around the globe.
The Christian alliance also seeks to support members to start
businesses, follow and develop their chosen career paths and Christian
ministries in the UK.
Speaking at the official launch, the alliance's secretary, Dr Siyanda
Mkweli said the group will endeavour to promote and facilitate networking
and advice among members in their field of Christian ministry or secular
Mkweli said some of the association's major objectives will be to
provide a forum through which members and their immediate families could be
supported during their stay in the UK and also in times of illness or
bereavement in an environment where many do not have extended families to
The alliance is also planning to establish a Cultural Centre, where
Zimbabwean children in the UK can be taught and familiarized with their
culture, history and languages.
Mkweli said the association will also promote and support the
development of stronger cultural ties among members and other Zimbabwean
living in the UK.
He said ZACE will also be involved in charitable programmes supporting
the less-privileged back home.
ZACE can be found at Mercury house, Shipstones Business Centre,
Northgate, New Basford, Nottingham, NG7 7FN. Phone:0870 1633063, Fax
6 November 2006
Last month they ambushed and disrupted a London meeting by the South
African Foreign Minister Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, expressing their
displeasure with South Africa's handling of the Zimbabwean crisis. They have
taken part in numerous demonstrations and they say they will continue to
hound African delegates in the UK on the unfolding events in Zimbabwe. The
diligence and determination of this energetic UK based pressure group,
Free-Zim Youth, has resulted in a meeting with Southern African Development
Community (SADC) officials. They will meet Lesotho officials in London on
Wednesday to urge SADC to change their policy on the political and economic
meltdown in Zimbabwe. This is significant because Lesotho's Prime Minister
Pakalitha Musisili is the current co-chairperson of SADC.
The youth activists said in a statement; "This is a follow up to the
just ended SADC finance protocol summit in South Africa in which we feel
member states are mocking our suffering by signing Zimbabwe to the trade
protocol. Yet they know there is no economy to talk about due to bad
policies, with no balance of trade."
Spokesperson Alois Mbawara confirmed that the youths had been invited
to a diplomatic meeting with Lesotho High Commission Officials. He said:
"This is part of our diplomatic approaches trying to approach African
countries, mainly SADC member states, in trying to present and project the
Zimbabwean crisis and what we wish SADC members could do to end the
humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe."
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
From The Financial Mail (SA), 3 November
By Thandeka Gqubule
Zimbabwe is fighting to keep SA from banning asbestos imports
Munyaradzi Hwengwere, former spin doctor to Zimbabwe's President Robert
Mugabe, is in SA on a near-impossible mission - to stop SA from banning
white asbestos. He says he's here to save the livelihoods of the communities
around two asbestos mining towns in the midlands of Zimbabwe. Hwengwere is
on the payroll of Turnall, a Harare-listed company with British and
Zimbabwean shareholders that manufactures cement and mines white asbestos.
The government of Zimbabwe also has a stake in the company, which provides a
valuable source of foreign exchange. The asbestos mines are facing closure
in the wake of a threatened ban on asbestos products by SA. Legislation has
been drafted and is now open for public consultation. It is expected to take
effect in mid-2007. SA is Zimbabwe's main market for the asbestos, consuming
40% of production. It is used mainly in roofs on low-cost housing, car
exhaust pipes and irrigation systems. Hwengwere says closure of the mine
would plunge about 100 000 people into poverty.
Sources tell the FM that the mines are in dire financial straits anyway.
They are faced with regular government raids and confiscation of any foreign
exchange. Local politicians are proving less than sympathetic to the banning
lobby. Quite aside from the communities around the mine, the asbestos market
is a lucrative one for the ruling Zanu-PF and its cohorts. Doors seem to be
closing on Hwengwere as he tries to explain that there is internationally
proved evidence that, because white asbestos is different in structure and
chemical composition from its blue and brown siblings, it is not a health or
environmental threat. He is distributing a self-produced DVD on the
environmental safety of white asbestos. Langa Zita, chair of the portfolio
committee that has the final say on the banning, says the issue should be
subject to government-to-government talks, in which she is willing to
engage. Another committee member says the Zimbabwean government has "left
their industries and companies to beg and lobby SA authorities while they
have not lifted a finger to aid them by talking directly to their
counterparts in SA".
Hwengere has invited Zita and the rest of the committee to Zimbabwe to
inspect more than 70 000 medical records compiled over a period of 40 years
on the communities surrounding the Zimbabwean mines. It is also understood
that Hwengwere recently approached Mugabe, his former boss, at Southern
African Development Community talks in Lesotho, and asked him to urge
President Thabo Mbeki to intervene. Environmental affairs deputy
director-general Joanne Yawitch is adamant that the ban will go ahead. She
points to a World Trade Organisation dispute over the issue after France
banned imports of white asbestos from Canada. The world's largest producer
of white asbestos lost in a tribunal, which confirmed France's right to ban
imports. Yawitch says the difference between white asbestos and the brown
and blue kinds is simply that it kills you more slowly. Disputes over
asbestos have run their course locally too, and include huge settlements
with asbestosis sufferers. Local manufacturer Everite has invested
substantially in technology to produce safe alternatives. Yawitch says cheap
Zimbabwean imports would undermine those efforts.
But the Zimbabweans grumble that the reason for SA's resistance to white
asbestos is a form of silent sanctions against Zimbabwean industry. In this
version, a powerful lobby comprising Everite, trade unions that say they are
protecting their members' health and environmentalists has succeeded in
lobbying the environmental affairs department. While trying to save the
mines, Hwengwere is also doing some repair work after landing a clutch of
SA's empowerment supremos in Chikurubi prison last month. Three executives
from an empowerment mining group ended up on a concrete floor for the night
while discussing the future of the mines. Hwengwere had hoped to pull off a
deal with the politically connected South Africans to protect the Zimbabwean
market. But the executives were arrested and accused of plotting to
overthrow the Zimbabwean government. It took a lot of fancy footwork and
diplomacy by the SA ambassador in Harare and by Hwengwere to secure their
release. Since then, it's been difficult to entice South Africans to the
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org : email@example.com
Tel. No. 04-799410, 011 610 073
NOTICE OF THE JOINT ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING OF JAG AND JAGMA
Notice was duly given on 24 October 2006, of the JOINT ANNUAL GENERAL
MEETING of the Justice for Agriculture Trust (JAG) and the Justice for
Agriculture Membership Association (JAGMA) to be held on the afternoon of
Tuesday, 14 November, 2006 - .30pm for 2.00pm start.
The JAG Trust would like to confirm that the venue for this Annual General
Meeting will be the Main Hall at Northside Community Church, Borrowdale.
Please diarise this important meeting and watch this space for confirmation
of Agenda and directions to venue.
I would like to relate to you what happened to me last Wednesday while
shopping at Borrowdale TM supermarket.
At about midday, I popped into the supermarket to buy some groceries. My
last port of call at the supermarket was the bread department where I got
some bread and bread rolls, which I put into the plastic bags provided. I
actually had a few plastic bags over which I left in the trolley and
proceeded to the till. Once I had paid, I transferred the goods into a
shopping bag which I had, using the extra plastic bags to put some of the
items into. There were some plastic bags over which I just put into the bag
as well. The rest of the groceries were loose in the trolley.
All of this I did in front of the till operator and the assistant. I left
the till and proceeded to push my trolley to my car, which was parked some
distance from the supermarket in the car park, when a very aggressive man
came up to me and said he wanted to search me for stolen goods. I asked him
who he was as he was not dressed in the supermarket uniform but he just said
it was no concern of mine. He searched my trolley and shopping bag and on
finding the extra plastic bags, accused me of stealing and said he was
taking me to the Manager. He was very aggressive and sort of pushed me
along to the Manager's office and was joined by someone else who I did not
pay too much attention to. The black Manager looked more than embarrassed
when I told him there was no sign saying that one was limited to so many
plastic bags and besides that, I always took a few extra to put my goods
into. He obviously recognized me, as I have spoken to him before and he
took the plastic bags and told me to go.
As I left the premises and went past the guy who had searched me, who was
quite a distance from me now, I said to him that this would be the last time
I ever shopped at this supermarket. I carried on to my car and when about
half way there, I heard this voice behind me say ''hey mister'' so I turned
around and there were three people, as well as another one in a blue shirt
which looked like the supermarket shirt. The guy who had searched me said
that I was under arrest for insulting the President of Zimbabwe. ell I was
gob-smacked, as all I had said was that I would not be shopping at that
supermarket again. I tried to wheel my trolley to the car but they jostled
me and pulled me around and when I tried to open the car, the one guy
grabbed me and tried to get the keys from me but I was able to pull them
away and get them into my pocket. They forcibly took the trolley away from
me and prevented me getting into the car. They said they were going to take
me to the Police Station in my car to have me charged for insulting the
President - so it was now my word against theirs. I told them that no ways
would I drive them to the Police Station, especially in my car, as I did not
know who they were. I asked them for their identities and they pulled cards
out of their pockets but would not let me look at or touch them and while
showing me from a distance, they held their thumbs over the writing. They
said that they worked for the President and would show me their cards when
we got to the Police Station. One of them went right around my car looking
in all of the windows. A uniformed Policeman in reservist uniform with a
cap appeared on the scene and asked me what was going on. I wondered if he
was now part of the gang or a genuine policeman. I explained to him what
was going on while the others were still shouting at me. He took them to
one side and moved away from the car and while he was talking to them, I
managed to retrieve the trolley, open the car, put the groceries into the
car and I jumped into the driver's seat and locked the door. One of the
people rushed at the car and tried to open my door and another ran to the
back of the car. Fortunately, I did not have to reverse as there was a
clear passage ahead of me so I went forward and put foot and got out of
I think I was being set up for either a hijacking or political harassment on
a white man and personally, I think that they were probably from a criminal
element of the Youth Brigade, as they were young and this searching thing
was just their alibi - but the scary thing is that they are obviously in
cohorts with some of the supermarket staff. Why are these people being
employed by supermarkets if they are infact being so?
I have thought about putting in an official complaint with the Head Office
Management but have decided against that, as I would have to submit my ID
details and address, which I am not prepared to do - for obvious reasons as
one cannot trust anybody any more.
I was very shaken up but fortunately got away unscathed.
(Name supplied but withheld.)
By Blessing Zulu
06 November 2006
Movement for Democratic Change founding president Morgan Tsvangirai and
leaders of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign are expected to meet the Churches in
Zimbabwe religious leaders promoting a "national vision" document they hope
will help open a dialogue between President Robert Mugabe and his opponents.
But opposition insiders said the meeting would be a mere formality as
Tsvangirai's MDC faction and the closely allied Save Zimbabwe civic
coalition have concluded that the paper amounts to an offer of a "soft
landing" for Mugabe, and dismissed it.
Senior figures from the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Fellowship and the
Zimbabwe Council of Churches presented the paper to Mr. Mugabe last month.
The document said the church leaders sought to "facilitate national
dialogue, debate and national reconstruction across the broad spectrum of
national opinion, constituencies and stakeholders."
Mugabe's response was said to have been lukewarm, particularly on the
document's suggestion that the constitution be overhauled.
Executives of the Tsvangirai faction examined the document Saturday, and
opposition sources said a majority concluded that it did not address
fundamental issues and that church consultations on which the report was
based had not been wide enough.
Tsvangirai faction spokesman Nelson Chamisa told reporter Blessing Zulu of
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the grouping's official position would be
Gabriel Chaibva, representing the rival MDC faction of Authur Mutambara.
said that he had been disappointed by the church's approach.
National Constitutional Assembly Chairman Lovemore Madhuku said the document
could not be of any real use in resolving the country's long crisis.
By Jonga Kandemiiri
06 November 2006
Responding to expression of concern by the International Labor Organization
about the beating of 31 officials and members of the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions in Harare following a Sept. 13 demonstration, the government of
Zimbabwe said that the labor leaders were trying to violently overthrow
President Robert Mugabe.
Harare said the alleged attempt to unseat the Mugabe government justified
the use of force against the leaders of the protest. Critics of the
government have charged that the trade unionists were severely beaten by
police and security agents intending to punish them for organizing protests
and to discourage further demonstrations.
Labor Ministry Permanent Secretary Lancaster Museka, who signed the response
to the ILO, said the union leaders had no right to engage in an illegal
demonstration. President Mugabe has issued similar statements - most notably
in remarks to Zimbabwean embassy staff in Cairo, Egypt, soon after the
Police later said the labor activists sustained their injuries attempting to
escape, but Mr. Mugabe in Cairo seemed to endorse police excesses, warning
that those who demonstrated against his government would be "thoroughly
ZCTU Vice President Lucia Matibenga, one of those beaten by police on Sept.
13, told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
Harare in alleging that the union sought to destabilize to the ILO was
merely seeking to justify its actions.