By Lebo Nkatazo
Last updated: 11/09/2007 11:24:21
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's press secretary George Charamba lied under oath
regarding the crafting of the country's broadcasting laws, a former minister
told the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
In a sworn affidavit opposing an application by Manala Private Limited which
is challenging the state-run Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation's monopoly of
the airwaves, Charamba charged that Harare lawyer Terrence Hussein should be
barred from representing the applicants in the matter.
Mugabe's spokesman claimed Hussein was breaching client-attorney privilege
as he was involved in the formulation and drafting of the Broadcasting
Services Act (BSA).
Manala's constitutional challenge was postponed indefinitely after Charamba,
who was not one of the respondents, requested to be made a party in the
Charamba claimed in his affidavit that Hussein had helped craft the BSA and
should, therefore, recuse himself from the constitutional case.
"It is surprising that Hussein, for reasons best known to him(self), has
decided to exploit the information given to him in confidence and such a
thing should not be allowed as it gives rise to a conflict of interest of a
serious nature," said Charamba.
Charamba further claimed: "He (Hussein) shared his legal expertise with the
then Honourable Minister of Information and Publicity, Professor Jonathan
Moyo, and myself in a series of meetings, some of which included an officer
then with the Attorney General's Office Miss Jennifer Tanyanyiwa. These
meetings were held in the then Minister's office, in Munhumutapa Building."
But in a dramatic intervention on Wednesday, Professor Moyo weighed in on
Hussein's side - exposing Charamba to a possible perjury charge.
Moyo, now an independent MP for Tsholotsho, said Charamba had lied to
Moyo said: "At no time during his brief...did Mr Hussein receive in writing
or otherwise from me or from anyone else in my office any protected or
confidential information or official secret.
"Also, at no time during the same period did Mr Hussein attend a meeting
with Mr George Charamba and Ms Jennifer Tanyanyiwa, who was then a drafting
officer in the office of the Attorney General, over the drafting of the
Broadcasting Services Bill."
He added that it was only himself and Tanyanyiwa who presented the
broadcasting law's draft to cabinet.
"Mr Hussein did not, therefore, attend the crucial meeting of the cabinet
committee on legislation which refined the draft Broadcasting Services Bill
from the Attorney General's Office for onward transmission to cabinet and
Hussein has already written to Charamba and the Attorney General,
threatening to sue for defamation.
"The allegations in our view are seriously defamatory and we give you (the
Attorney General) and your client (Charamba) due notice that unless they are
fully substantiated, we will institute a damages claim," Hussein said in his
Journalists, human rights groups and potential investors in the electronic
media cite Section 38 as one of the key impediments to the liberalisation of
airwaves that was supposed to have taken place when the Supreme Court
nullified ZBC's monopoly in 2000.
The Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe chief executive Obert Mugunyura last
month told a parliamentary committee on transport and communications that
the authority could not license new players in the broadcasting sector
because of restrictions imposed by the Act.
Hussein is representing Ndabenhle Mabhena and his company, Manala (Pvt) Ltd,
in the Supreme Court case in which the applicant is taking on the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ)
Manala is seeking an order declaring that Section 38 of the BSA is
inconsistent with Section 20 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Section 38 of
the BSA states that all frequencies allocated immediately before the date of
the commencement of the BSA would continue to be operational exclusively to
In Zimbabwe, there are only two VHF (Very High Frequency) television
channels and both of them are held by ZBC. There are also three other
available television channels known as UHF (Ultra High Frequency).
Manala (Pvt) Ltd is arguing that essentially, what it means is that when one
wants to start a television station they would have to set up UHF
transmission systems parallel to the one held by Transmedia for VHF
Manala further argues that it is not an option to go on UHF due to the funds
involved while ZBC is sitting on two VHF channels and using only one.
The applicants also contend that ZBC is now a private limited company and
there is no justification for it to tax the public in the form of licence
fees. They argue that collecting licence fees from the public is a ploy to
perpetuate and fund the monopoly ZBC currently enjoys.
In response, the government argues that the other VHF channel has been
reserved for National Television which the applicants argue has not taken
off the ground.
The Ministry of Information in its response is arguing that the retention of
frequencies was not unconstitutional because they were providing a public
Supreme Court Justices Vernada Ziyambi, Misheck Cheda, Luke Malaba,
Paddington Garwe and Elizabeth Gwaunza are hearing Manala's application and
will make a ruling on Hussein's suitability to represent the company. -
Additional reporting Zimbabwe Independent
by Hendricks Chizhanje Friday 09 November 2007
HARARE - Lawyers bodies have criticised the Zimbabwean government for paying
lip service to judicial officers' demands for better working conditions,
warning the delay to resolve the wage dispute is compromising the
administration of justice in the country.
A work boycott by magistrates, which started last week, escalated this week
with prosecutors and support staff at the country's courts joining in to
press for better remuneration and working conditions.
The strike action has effectively crippled the justice delivery system, with
several trials being postponed indefinitely.
Lawyers who had cases set for hearing at the magistrates' court and the High
Court said their cases could not proceed after the court officials embarked
on the work boycott.
Lawyers' bodies yesterday blasted President Robert Mugabe's government for
adopting its usual Wild West tactics while the country's judicial system
crumbled. They charged that the continued stalemate at the courts was a
violation of human rights.
"A lot of cases have had to be postponed and justice delayed is justice
denied," said Irene Petras, the acting director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for
Prominent Harare lawyer Sternford Moyo said the strike action was negatively
impacting on the administration of justice in the country.
"The strike has a negative effect on the entire administration of justice.
It has a negative effect on the work of lawyers and has a negative effect on
the observance of the rights of the accused persons and other litigants,"
said Moyo, who is also president of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) Lawyers Association.
Law Society of Zimbabwe president Beatrice Mtetwa said the industrial action
could have been avoided had the government addressed the judicial officers'
concerns on time.
"The conditions of service are absolutely horrendous and yet the magistrates
and other support staff play a very important role," Mtetwa told ZimOnline.
The lawyers' bodies said the only way of the current impasse was for the
government to take a more serious approach to the issue of remuneration and
working conditions for the judicial officers.
"Their working conditions require immediate attention. There is need for all
concerned to address working conditions. In particular, there is need to
allocate more resources in the next budget to ensure an effective
administration of justice," said Moyo.
Court clerks and interpreters who downed tools this week are reportedly
demanding a review of their salaries to around $29 million to cushion them
against rising prices of commodities.
"These support staff are basing their salary demands on what their
colleagues in the region are getting," said an insider.
On Tuesday, the Master of the High Court Charles Nyatanga held marathon
meetings with the clerks and interpreters in an attempt to address their
grievances. But insiders said the meeting yielded nothing.
The strike comes amid reports that several magistrates have resigned in the
past few months to join private practice.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) yesterday called on
the Ministry of Justice to urgently address the court officials' grievances
by coming up with better incentives to avert a further exodus from the
"The ZCTU calls on the government to put in place a salary review system for
all public service workers and not only pretend to be addressing this matter
when a strike action has occurred," ZCTU secretary general Wellington
Chibebe said in a statement.
Himself a victim of the state's heavy-handed handling of strikes, Chibebe
said the labour federation was disturbed by the "government's attitude
towards not only this strike, but also towards other strikes that have taken
place in the public service".
"Labour believes these browbeating attitudes and tactics by government yield
nothing," he said.
Earlier this year, Zimbabwe's Judge President Rita Makarau criticised the
government for undermining the judiciary by starving it of resources and
reducing it to "begging for its sustenance".
Speaking at the opening of the 2007 High Court legal year last January,
Makarau said the judiciary was barely able to function, hit by corruption
The court that permanently sits in the capital and in Bulawayo was unable to
hold circuit courts in other major centres because there was no money.
She said court libraries were empty while judges and magistrates lacked
basic stationery and corruption had taken root among the poorly paid
judicial support staff. - ZimOnline
by Nqobizitha Khumalo Friday 09 November 2007
PLUMTREE - The trial of a Zimbabwean editor who was arrested last
March for allegedly practising journalism without accreditation has failed
to take off after a magistrate said the matter had not been set down for
Bright Chibvuri, the editor of The Worker, a Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions (ZCTU) publication, was arrested last March while attending a
workers' union training seminar in Plumtree in southern Zimbabwe.
Chibvuri, who is out on bail, is being charged under the tough Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act which bans journalists from
practising their profession without accreditation from the government's
Media and Information Commission (MIC).
Wilbert Mandinde, one of the lawyers handling the case, said the
matter had been pushed to an unconfirmed date after the magistrate indicated
that the case had not been set down for a hearing.
"The magistrate then decided that the lawyer should liase with the
prosecutor before deciding on the dates for the trial but the case did not
proceed as it was not set down for a hearing," Mandinde said.
Chibvuri, who was accredited last year, was arrested in Plumtree after
he failed to present his 2007 press card. His pleas to the police officer
that he was still waiting for a new press card for this year from the MIC
fell on deaf ears.
The journalist spent two days in police custody before he was granted
At least a hundred journalists have been arrested over the past four
years for allegedly violating the country's tough media laws.
President Robert Mugabe's government, which has banned four newspapers
including the country's biggest selling Daily News over the past four years,
is considered among the worst violators of press freedom in the world.
Apart from banning newspapers, journalists must first seek permission
from the MIC before practicing their profession. Those who are caught
violating the law face a two-year jail term.
Meanwhile, the state-run National University of Science and Technology
(NUST) has suspended for three years student leader, Mehluli Dube, for
leading violent protests against the government.
Dube, who is facing treason charges after calling for the violent
removal of Mugabe's government, was served with his suspension letter
Themba Maphenduka, a Student Representative Council committee member,
was also slapped with a three-year suspension term.
NUST information officer, Felix Moyo, said there was nothing amiss
with the suspension as the two had been found guilty by the university's
disciplinary committee. - ZimOnline
by Tafirei Shumba Friday 09 November 2007
HARARE - Artists ravaged by AIDS and hitherto cocooned in self-denial of the
deadly infection are emerging to tackle the disease in an official
declaration the first of its kind in Zimbabwe by artists and for artists.
Artists were long accused of incorrigibility and a laissez-faire attitude
towards AIDS while the debilitating disease was killing entire musical
Now the artists are coming out strong and making passionate public
commitments to bolster initiatives to combat AIDS.
The artists, the majority of them performers, have put together and signed a
milestone official declaration spelling out comprehensive responsibilities
on how they will tackle AIDS.
While being a Zimbabwean initiative, artists from the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) regional bloc are set to add their names to the
declaration when they meet in Harare at the SADC Artists' Aids Festival
(SAAF) penciled for this month-end to coincide with World AIDS Day on
In its declaration entitled the SAAF Bulawayo Artists' Declaration - named
after Zimbabwe's second city where the declaration was born - artists
committed themselves to voluntary testing and having a new start in life.
In the past Zimbabwe's mixed breed of legislators, regarded cynically by the
public as role models, have taken public HIV tests with the event becoming a
farce after the Members of Parliament failed to disclose their status they
had independently offered to do.
Only one artist, a model Tendai Westerhoff, formerly married to ex-Zimbabwe
national soccer team coach, Clements Westerhoff, is the known high profile
personality in recent years to have publicly disclosed her HIV positive
Tendai has gone on to write books about her experiences living with the
virus that causes AIDS.
Also in their declaration the artists wanted to support those affected and
infected by AIDS and use their multi-media art forms as means of awareness.
The artists also committed themselves to avoiding stigma in art. The general
feeling was that artists "knowingly or unknowingly" produced art forms that
stigmatised people infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.
The declaration was drafted and adopted under the auspices of SAAF that is
launching in Zimbabwe after the realization that Harare's response to HIV
and AIDS, at country level, was making notable progress in the region in
recent years. Regional artists would thus use Zimbabwe as a case study.
Zimbabwe's HIV and AIDS prevalence rate has declined to 15.6 percent. A new
report released a fortnight ago by the government revealed weekly deaths
from the disease had also dropped by 23 percent with a decline too in the
rate of infection among Zimbabweans from one in five persons with the virus
in 2003 to one in seven persons in 2007.
But the health ministry cautioned against the decline saying AIDS was still
a major menace to the southern African nation reeling under eight years of
unprecedented economic recession.
Among the forty artists who drafted the declaration are top contemporary
traditional musician Victor Kunonga, gospel diva Fungisai
Zvakavapano-Mashavave, singers Selma Mtukudzi and Tendai Manatsa,
international poets Albert Nyathi and Chirikure Chirikure, author Pathisa
Nyathi and award winning actor Zenzo Nyathi.
Said Kunonga: "We are perishing and we want to take it upon ourselves to
foster behavior change among artists and start being realistic. Its never
But for some of the artists Kunonga's idea is already too late. AIDS in
known to have cleaned out musical bands in Zimbabwe but nevertheless artists
were beginning processes of self-introspection as they finally came to terms
with the disease. - ZimOnline
By Blessing Zulu
08 November 2007
Following his arrest and brief detention earlier this week, Attorney General
Sobuza Gula-Ndebele of Zimbabwe faces charges of corruption over allegations
he failed to prosecute a wanted Zimbabwean banker with whom he recently met
But sources informed on the case told VOA that the abuse-of-office charges
brought against Gula-Ndebele were motivated by ruling party political
Gula-Ndebele is accused of failing to prosecute former NMBZ Holdings Deputy
Managing Director James Mushore, who fled Zimbabwe during a 2004 banking
crisis that saw a number of financial institutions closed by the central
bank - although Mushore's own bank was among those which survived the
Mushore was arrested in Harare recently on allegations that he helped
externalize foreign currency while a senior NMBZ executive.
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said in a statement that Gula-Ndebele was
briefly arrested Tuesday and then released after being charged under the
criminal law act for actions "contrary to or inconsistent with [his] duty as
a public officer."
High Court Judge Rita Makarau meanwhile deferred a bail hearing for Mushore
until Friday. Sources close to the judge said that she pushed off the
hearing from Thursday out of fear of being prosecuted for giving "undue
preference" to the matter.
Police say Mushore, who had sought asylum in the United Kingdom, returned to
Zimbabwe in August and met with Gula-Ndebele, who allegedly assured him that
he would not be prosecuted if he permanently returned to the country.
Bvudzijena dismissed charges that the matter has more to do with politics
Senior government sources said Gula-Ndebele has been targeted by the ruling
party faction loyal to Minister Without Portfolio Emmerson Mnangagwa because
he has lined up with the rival faction of retired army general Solomon
Mujuru. Whether coincidentally or not, Mujuru happens to be banker Mushore's
Gula-Ndebele is also at political daggers drawn with Zimbabwe's powerful
minister of justice, Patrick Chinamasa, considered to be a Mnangagwa ally.
Defenders of Gula-Ndebele say the attorney general in the past has come
under fire from the government and ruling party for refusing to prosecute
Sources said President Robert Mugabe approved the action against
Gula-Ndebele under intense lobbying by the Mnangagwa faction.
Human rights lawyer Jacob Mafume, also coordinator of the Crisis in Zimbabwe
Coalition, told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
he was shocked by the arrest of Zimbabwe's attorney general.
Johannesburg-based businessman Mutumwa Mawere, who faces similar charges of
externalizing foreign currency, said Mushore, with exiled bankers Julius
Makoni and William Nyemba, established NMBZ as the first black-owned bank in
Mawere said the currency externalization charges can be traced to the
appointment of the current governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Gideon
Gono, who lobbied successfully to make the unauthorized export of hard
currency a criminal offense.
By Ndimyake Mwakalyelye
08 November 2007
The continued contraction of the Zimbabwean economy stands in sharp contrast
to the vigorous expansion which its Sub-Saharan African peers are enjoying,
according to the International Monetary Fund's senior representative to
Top IMF official Sean Nolan said in a briefing in Pretoria, South Africa,
that the Fund expects Sub-Saharan growth to exceed 6.5% in 2008. But
Zimbabwe is facing a 6.1% contraction this year - the worst slide since its
recession began in 2000.
Nolan told reporters that Zimbabwe's poor showing was bound to have a
negative impact on the rest of the region and even the continent as a whole.
But Harare economist John Robertson told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye of
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that while the country was much diminished as a
supplier and a market, some neighbors benefited from the emigration of
By Jonga Kandemiiri
08 November 2007
The faction of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change headed
by Morgan Tsvangirai said Thursday that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
should wait until South African-mediated crisis talks are concluded before
it starts delimiting new constituencies under a recently passed
The opposition formation said the questions as to management of the national
voters roll and the ZEC's own composition remained to be discussed in the
negotiations in Pretoria, so the commission should move ahead on major
Local, parliamentary and presidential elections are slated for March 2008.
The commission responded that it is merely preparing for the work of
delimiting the 90 new constituencies to be carved out pursuant to the
constitutional amendment, and it contended that the amendment mandates it to
carry out the delimitation process.
Spokesman Nelson Chamisa of the Tsvangirai MDC faction told reporter Jonga
Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the formation is not opposed
to the commission, but noted that its board mainly includes ruling party
By Patience Rusere
08 November 2007
The Zimbabwean lower court system has ground to a halt in the second week of
a strike magistrates, prosecutors and their supporting staff, sources said
Magistrates walked off the job on Oct. 30 demanding an increase in their
salary to a monthly Z$150 million on average from $20 million.
Sources familiar with court operations on Rotten Row in Harare said the
system was in chaos, with only one court, staffed by a regional magistrate,
was in session.
Staff of the country's high court were said to have joined the strike.
Law Society of Zimbabwe President Beatrice Mtetwa told reporter Patience
Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the real victims of the strike
are suspects being held pending arraignment who have not had the benefit of
a bail hearing.
9th November 2007
Mr Don McKinnon
Marlborough House, Pall Mall
London SW1Y 5HX
Dear Mr McKinnon
We write to express our hope that the plight of Zimbabweans will be
discussed at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kampala
on 23 - 25 November. We are grateful for your efforts on behalf of Zimbabwe
in the past. The insults directed at you by the Mugabe regime should be seen
as compliments. We are sure the Commonwealth understands that it was not
the people of Zimbabwe who walked out of the Commonwealth in 2003 but only
We look to our brothers and sisters in the Commonwealth to help us because
we have been failed by the United Nations. Over the years we have sent it
petitions signed by scores of thousands of people asking for help to stop
human rights abuses in Zimbabwe but the UN seems to have done nothing.
Now the European Union has decided to ignore its travel ban on Mugabe and
instead invited him to the EU / AU summit in Lisbon in December. They seem
to have been blackmailed by the African threat to boycott the meeting if
Mugabe is not allowed to attend.
We know that the EU is worried about the tidal wave of immigrants coming
from Africa. But we believe that the solution does not lie in accommodating
dictators like Mugabe but by dealing with the problems of corruption and
human rights abuses to improve living conditions at home.
It is no coincidence that the International Monetary Fund this week
announced that economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to increase
this year by about 6% - except for Zimbabwe which is expected to fall by
about 6% - clear evidence of bad governance.
For your information we recently submitted the following petition to the
governments of all EU members. "A PETITION TO EUROPEAN UNION GOVERNMENTS:
We record our dismay at the failure of the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) to help the desperate people of Zimbabwe at their time of
trial. We urge the UK government, and the European Union in general, to
suspend government to government aid to all 14 SADC countries until they
abide by their joint commitment to uphold human rights in the region."
The petition was signed by thousands of people passing by the Vigil, which
has been held outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London every Saturday for more
than 5 years. Letters were also written to the governments of all the SADC
countries, most of which will be represented in Kampala.
We must explain that the aid we are talking about is not humanitarian or
food aid but balance of payments support, which is often misappropriated.
We would like all the money saved to go to help the starving people of
To update you on the suffering in Zimbabwe please see "Fact Sheet - The
Zimbabwean Crisis" enclosed and on the following link:
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
Hi, I'm English and worked in Zimbabwe, Harare, for three and a half
wonderful years until December 2006.
Leaving Zimbabwe, as I had to do for reasons of work, was one of the hardest
things I have ever had to do in my life. It broke my heart
In fact I have been back to Zimbabwe three times in the past year to see my
friends in Harare. Every time I leave, I am equally sad and wish I could
The last time I was there was at the end of September, I was staying with a
friend in the Avenues area, the jacarandas were in full bloom,(her garden is
shaded by a huge jacaranda tree-beautiful) the weather was perfect and,
despite all the privations, the people were still smiling and friendly as
they had been throughout the period I had lived there.
I was however shocked at the scarcity of goods, I had previously been there
in July and it had been easier to find things then. My friend who was
working used to ask me to bring her something to her workplace for lunch,
what a task that was. It was unbelievable the search that had to be made to
find a small roll and the price that had to be paid for a can of an imported
As I was on holiday and had the use of a car I was able to "do the
shopping", an adventure sometimes rewarded by being in the right place at
the right time; being in Borrowdale TM when a delivery of frozen chickens
arrived, finding pork chops in Honeydew, acquiring flour with which to bake
bread all these things earning me major brownie points on my return home.
I read the "zimbabweansituation" on a daily basis, and keep in touch with
events in Zimbabwe through friends there and the media.
I know things are tough there, but you must all keep believing.
You live in one of the best countries in the world, you have a wonderful
climate, fabulous scenery and tourist attractions, many natural resources
and the people of Zimbabwe, both black and white are some of the nicest,
kindest and most resourceful I have met anywhere in the world.
Your country has so much going for it that ultimately it cannot fail; it
I know that you must think that it is easy for me to say this, looking in
from the outside and not having to struggle on a daily basis to "survive"
and that is true but, as an outsider looking in, I can see all the great
things about your country, all the things that made it the premier country
in Southern Africa and these cannot be taken away, ever, by a person who
wants to ruin you and your great nation. They are there in perpetuity for
you all and try as he may your "leader" cannot take these things away from
you. They are God-given and not his to take. try as he may.They will be
there as will the people of Zimbabwe, long after this president is gone.
All I can say is "dig in", "hang on" don't let Mr. M. beat you. In the end
you and Zimbabwe will come good, will win the day.
I'll be back soon, so please excuse these ramblings, I just want you to know
that my heart and my thoughts are with all of you who are struggling and
suffering in a country which should be a paradise on earth.
Love and Best Wishes to you all.