Thursday 11 October 2007
By Hendricks Chizhanje
HARARE - Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party says it will carry on talks with President Robert Mugabe's governing
ZANU PF party despite what it described as unabated violence against its
Tendai Biti, secretary general in the larger faction of the MDC led by
Morgan Tsvangirai, on Wednesday told ZimOnline that political violence was
continuing in Zimbabwe and that suppression of the freedoms of assembly and
movement had not stopped, but said the party would not pull out of South
African-led talks with ZANU PF.
"Violence hasn't abated. Suppression of freedom of assembly and movement has
not stopped," said Biti, who is representing the MDC in the talks together
with Welshman Ncube, the secretary general of the other faction of the MDC.
"Nonetheless, we are continuing with the SADC (Southern African Development
Community)-brokered dialogue process and we are pursuing it to its logical
conclusion," added Biti, repudiating earlier reports in the international
press claiming the opposition party had said it could withdraw from talks.
South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki was last March tasked by SADC to lead
efforts to resolve Zimbabwe's eight-year political and economic crisis by
facilitating dialogue between the MDC and ZANU PF.
The Zimbabwean political parties have held several rounds of talks and last
month agreed constitutional reforms that will see parliamentary elections
brought forward by two years and to be held together with presidential
elections in 2008.
Mbeki last Friday told a joint Press conference with visiting German
Chancellor Angela Merkel that his mediation in Zimbabwe was making good
Mbeki, often criticised for his "quiet diplomacy" policy under which the
South African leader has refused to publicly censure Mugabe, has in the past
insisted that talks between ZANU PF and the MDC will see Zimbabwe conducting
free and fair elections next year.
But analysts say Mbeki should urge Mugabe to level the political field and
repeal tough security and press laws that have hampered the opposition from
carrying out its political work if next year's polls are to be free and
Meanwhile, the MDC on Wednesday demanded compensation after the state
withdrew terrorism charges against dozens of its activists who spent nearly
four months in jail.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa said the case against the activists was
politically motivated and the withdrawal of charges was proof that "from the
very beginning, the case did not hold water."
The decision to dismiss the case against the 15 MDC activists, including
parliamentarian Paul Madzore, was made after magistrates had earlier quashed
charges against another 17 party activists who were all rounded up in early
March and refused bail until June.
"We are definitely pressing for compensation," said Chamisa. "Some of them
lost their jobs. Some of them are maimed for life, some of them were
detained for four months, which is as good as serving a jail term when they
had no case to answer," he added.
State prosecutors had claimed that some of the detained MDC activists
underwent military training in neighbouring South Africa and planned to
overthrow Mugabe's government - charges the state could not sustain in
court. - ZimOnline
Thursday 11 October 2007
By Simplisio Chirinda
HARARE - A Zimbabwean political pressure group says it has begun an exercise
to educate and enlighten voters in rural areas that are the backbone of
support for President Robert Mugabe and his government.
The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CZC) says the campaign that began last
weekend in the eastern Mtoko rural district will make use of music and other
forms of pop culture to raise awareness among villagers and the youths on
issues related to voting and elections.
CZC is a coalition of human and civic rights groups, churches, women's
groups, the labour and the student movements campaigning for a democratic
settlement to Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis.
Coalition's coordinator Jacob Mafume said: "It is essentially an exercise to
look for alternative forms of communication to raise awareness on election
"We want to use music, dance and street comic to teach people on how they
can go about it in elections but the ultimate goal is to make sure that the
rural electorate knows their rights when it comes to voting."
Rural constituencies have traditionally voted for Mugabe and ZANU PF and are
expected to do so again in presidential and parliamentary elections next
year despite a worsening economic crisis and food shortages gripping
ZANU PF attributes support from rural voters to what it says are its
pro-poor policies and a long association with the villagers who backed its
guerrillas during the 1970s war of Zimbabwe's independence. However, some
analysts say the ruling party has also largely benefited from some rural
voters' ignorance about their rights.
Mafume said CZC campaign was aimed at educating voters about their rights
only and not canvassing for support for any political party.
He added that a diverse crowd of people attended the music concert at Mtoko
which he described as a "pilot project" to see how the group could inform
and educate voters ahead of next year's polls.
The Harare administration has in the past accused civic groups such as the
CZC of using voter education as a pretext to campaign for the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change party.
However, a law passed by Parliament that would have made it illegal for
civic groups to carry out voter education never made it into the statute
books after Mugabe withheld ascension. - ZimOnline
Thursday 11 October 2007
By Regerai Marwezu
MASVINGO - Ruling ZANU PF provincial chairman Retired Major Alex
Mudavanhu has seized a lucrative conservancy in Masvingo triggering fears of
renewed farm seizures following the expiry of a government deadline for
white farmers to vacate their properties.
Mudavanhu, who was accompanied by a group of war veterans, stormed
Swatsfontain Farm at the weekend claiming that the farm now belonged to him
because he was the holder of a 99-year lease granted to him by President
Robert Mugabe's government earlier this year.
The farm, owned by a white commercial farmer Ronny Sparrow, has a
variety of wild animals among them lions, giraffes, impalas and buffaloes.
The seizure of the property followed the expiry of a government
September 30 deadline to white farmers whose properties were listed for
compulsory acquisition to vacate their properties or they would be dragged
Ten white farmers based in the Chegutu farming district, about 100km
west of Harare, appeared in court earlier this week for refusing to vacate
their properties and growing crops on properties listed for compulsory
Under the Consequential Provisions Act, white farmers whose properties
were listed for compulsory acquisition, had to vacate their properties by 30
September or they would face prosecution.
A defiant Mudavanhu told ZimOnline yesterday that he had taken over
the farm from Sparrow.
"The farm now belongs to me. I am not going to rest until I
effectively take over the property because I have a 99-year lease," said
Mudavanhu, a former senior army officer.
The invasion of the farm comes amid serious divisions within ZANU PF
and the government over continuing disturbances in Zimbabwe's agricultural
sector, the backbone of the country's economy.
Vice-President Joseph Msika last month pleaded with army commander
Constantine Chiwenga to stop soldiers from invading white farms saying the
move was detrimental to the country's economic recovery efforts.
There have also been concerns that newly resettled black farmers did
not have the necessary skills to run conservancies, a fairly new area for
most black farmers.
Masvingo provincial governor Willard Chiwewe, who chairs the
provincial committee on land allocation, refused to comment on the matter
when contacted by ZimOnline yesterday.
But war veterans who spearheaded the violent seizure of white
properties about seven years ago, said they were targeting several farms
still owned by whites in Masvingo promising to invade more farms ahead of
next year's presidential and parliamentary elections.
"It has been the duty of war veterans to see to it that the land is
distributed accordingly hence we will occupy more farms so that the majority
who are still landless get their share," said Isaiah Muzenda, the chairman
of war veterans in Masvingo.
Zimbabwe has battled severe food shortages over the past seven years
after Mugabe sanctioned the violent take-over of white farms that produced
the bulk of the country's food needs. - ZimOnline
By Carole Gombakomba
10 October 2007
Zimbabwe's longrunning land reform saga continued Wednesday as at least five
white farmers appeared in court in Karoi to answer charges of occupying land
A lawyer for three of them, David Drury, said the cases were remanded to the
end of the month. Drury was set to represent 10 other farmers Thursday in
Chegutu who are similarly accused of violating additional land reform
legislation passed in 2006.
The Zimbabwean government of President Robert Mugabe has been seizing the
land of white farmers since 2000, purportedly to redistribute it to peasants
although most large properties have ended up in the hands of ministers or
other top officials. The parliament passed a constitutional amendment last
year nationalizing all farms.
Some 350 to 400 white farmers continue to pursue agriculture in Zimbabwe,
whose harvests have sharply declined since land reform began. United Nations
agencies estimate more than 4 million people will need food aid by early
Those accused in the latest cases could face sentences of up to two years in
prison if they are convicted of failing to meet a state deadline to vacate
One of the farmers in Karoi, Mashonaland West, was evicted from his farm on
Saturday, despite assurances from government officials that farmers who
complied with the law by downsizing farms had a chance of remaining on their
Andrew Stardoff said he reduced his holdings to 400 hectares from 2,000
originally, but that the last 400 hectares were taken over Saturday by an
army major general by the name of N.M. Dube with backing from Didymus
Mutasa, the minister of state security who is also in charge of land reform.
But Stardoff has found allies at top levels of the government, including
Vice President Joseph Msika and Minister of State for Policy Implementation
Webster Shamu, while Karoi community leaders have also been supporting him.
In an interview, Stardoff told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7
for Zimbabwe that armed guards now surround his farm, leaving him homeless.
By Jonga Kandemiiri
10 October 2007
Top officials of the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe met with members
in the capital, Harare, on Wednesday afternoon, and resolved that teachers
belonging to the union should end a strike and return to work pending a
review of strategy.
The union, which launched a strike four weeks ago, said it wants to put
children first and earn the trust of parents while seeking increased
The PTUZ said last week that it would remains on strike after the Zimbabwe
Teachers Association, a rival organization closer to the government,
accepted an offer from Harare for a 422% pay increase and told its members
to return to work.
Grade seven pupils started writing examinations Monday amid widespread
teacher absenteeism and much confusion, with some pupils failing to report
Soldiers and school heads were said to be serving as exam monitors, or
invigilators as they are known in Zimbabwe. Form four exams were set to
begin next week, raising the stakes for students and striking teachers
risking a loss of public support.
PTUZ General Secretary Raymond Majongwe told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that teachers would be heading back to their
classrooms pending a thorough review of strategy by the union's leadership
Mail and Guardian
Johannesburg, South Africa
10 October 2007 05:28
A controversial mission by the Pan African Parliament (PAP) to
Zimbabwe to assess the situation in that country did not take place because
of a lack of funds, PAP president Gertrude Mongella said on Wednesday.
The decision on whether the fact-finding mission should still go
ahead would be made during the Parliament's session next week.
"There are other developments taking place, namely the [South
African President Thabo] Mbeki initiative, which I suspect have resulted in
the dialogue that is now going on between the conflicting parties," Mongella
Speaking ahead of the second sitting of Parliament, which will
take place from October 15, Mongella said her personal view was that the
mission was no longer needed.
She said while the parliamentarians would decide on the best way
to proceed, a possible next step could be to send an observer mission to
Zimbabwe for the elections scheduled to take place next year.
"If the election is properly done we are sure most of the
problems of Zimbabwe would be resolved," she said.
During the first session of Parliament in May delegates, in an
unprecedented poll by a show of hands, overwhelming voted to send a
fact-finding mission to Zimbabwe.
At the time Joram Gumbo, a Zanu-PF delegate to the PAP, said he
and other ruling-party delegates had tried but failed to block a resolution.
He dismissed PAP as just a noise-making organisation and said
Harare had the power to prevent it from coming to the country.
This threat seemed unnecessary as PAP has up to October only
received half of its $12,2-million budget from the African Union. Mongella
said the fact that the mission was not sent as originally planned did not
bring into question PAP's credibility.
"Is there any institution which came out openly to discuss the
Zimbabwe issue [as we did]? That already gives us credibility," she said. --
Mail and Guardian
10 October 2007 12:44
Zimbabwe will import 30 000 tonnes of wheat from its neighbours
in a bid to ease widespread bread shortages of bread, the agriculture
minister has announced, according to the state daily.
Agriculture Minister Rugare Gumbo was quoted in the
government-mouthpiece Herald newspaper as saying 2 000 tonnes had so far
been delivered while the bulk of 30 000 tonnes was expected "anytime soon
"The government is trying its level best to bring in more wheat
into the country and make sure that bakeries are supplied with enough flour
very soon," Gumbo said.
The paper did not specify which countries would supply the wheat
but Zimbabwe has previously imported from Southern and East African
countries such as Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania.
Several major bakers have suspended or scaled down operations
after a critical shortage of wheat across a nation in the throes of deep
There are shortages of other basic foodstuffs like cooking oil
and the staple cornmeal, while at least 80% of the population is living
below the poverty threshold.
Bread is the most affordable food for poor families who often
resort to skipping some meals to stretch their incomes to the next payday.
The Southern African country has faced critical shortages of
bread since the state distributor, the Grain Marketing Board, failed to
supply enough wheat to bakers because of poor harvests.
Zimbabwe's annual wheat requirement is about 400 000 tonnes but
there has been a consistent deficit since land reforms initiated in 2000 led
to the departure of about 4 000 white farmers and triggered a slide in
Last month, the Southern African country imported at least 1 000
tonnes of wheat from Mozambique.
The consignment had earlier been held in Mozambique over debts
owed to an unnamed foreign supplier. -- AFP
Wednesday 10 October 2007
By Thulani Munda
HARARE - Most families of Harare's nearly two million residents were
surviving on one meal a day and malnutrition is on the rise in the
Zimbabwean capital, a city nutritionist said on Tuesday.
City nutrition specialist Clare Zunguza told Parliament's special
committee on health and child welfare that most families were having only
one meal a day due to shortages of food or prohibitive costs when it is
available in shops.
"Most families are not eating anything in the morning and afternoon
and only having one meal in the evening hence malnutrition is now prevalent
in Harare," she said.
Chronic malnutrition had become common among children with at least 30
percent of those under the age of five malnourished, said Zunguza, who
called for the introduction of supplementary feeding schemes at primary
schools where Grade One pupils were the worst affected by hunger.
Feeding schemes were currently underway in the low-income suburbs of
Hatcliffe, Mabvuku and Tafara, said Zunguza.
"Shortage of nutrients among pregnant women in high-density suburbs is
on the increase resulting in them giving birth to underweight children who
are at risk of developing complications and infections," she said.
HIV and AIDS patients were not being spared with three quarters of
families headed by chronically ill parents reported to be food insecure,
Zunguza said, noting that supplementary feeding schemes were often directed
at rural populations when communities in those areas could share food unlike
in urban areas.
Once southern Africa's breadbasket, Zimbabwe has grappled severe food
shortages over the past seven years due to persistent drought and a chaotic
land reform programme that saw President Robert Mugabe's government seize
white farms, that produced the bulk of the country's food needs, for
redistribution to landless blacks.
The disclosure of severe food shortages and rising malnutrition in
Harare comes hard on the heels of last week's warning by the United
States-based Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) that up to 40
percent of Zimbabwe's rural population will need urgent food aid between
October and next March to avert starvation.
FEWSNET warned of massive food insecurity in the south and west of the
country as well as in urban areas during the next six months unless the
government improved its maize import plan and there is a lot of movement on
humanitarian food aid programmes announced recently.
The cash-strapped Harare government has said it will this year import
400 000 tonnes of maize from Malawi and a further 200 000 tonnes from
Tanzania to cover the national shortfall.
However, a serious shortage of foreign currency is hampering efforts
to import food, forcing the Zimbabwean government to resort to barter trade
to secure maize supplies from Malawi.
Responding to a question by committee chairperson Blessing Chebundo on
whether there had been any deaths associated with malnutrition recorded in
the capital, acting city health director Stanley Mungofa said no such cases
had been reported.
Meanwhile, Mungofa bemoaned shortages of water in Harare and its
environs particularly in high-density suburbs saying these were creating a
breeding space for disease such as cholera although he claimed no cases had
been reported yet.
Mungofa, a trained medical doctor, said cases of diarrhea were on the
increase in high-density suburbs of Budiriro, Glen View and Mufakose due to
shortages of water.
"We have had increases which are above what we normally see," he said,
adding that water and blood diarrhea were common.
Scabby and other skin conditions were also on the increase in these
areas, he said.
The shortage of food is only an addition on a long list of problems
facing Zimbabwe as the country grapples with an economic recession described
by the World Bank as the worst in the world outside a war zone. - ZimOnline
Wednesday 10 October 2007
By Nqobizitha Khumalo
BULAWAYO - Student leaders at the National University of Science and
Technology (NUST) have gone into hiding after state security agents
reportedly stormed the campus in reaction to a harshly worded petition that
was sent to President Robert Mugabe on Monday.
In the petition, the student leaders expressed concern at the deteriorating
standards at the state-run university adding that Mugabe, who is the
chancellor of the university, would be capping "half-baked students" at a
graduation ceremony scheduled for this Friday.
The petition is reported to have angered state security agents who are
feared for their brutal tactics in suppressing dissension against Mugabe.
The state agents are said to have launched a massive manhunt for the student
Students who spoke to ZimOnline yesterday said the entire student leadership
at NUST had gone into hiding with several having fled the city in fear for
Hundreds of students at state-run universities have in the past been at the
receiving end of state brutality after attempting to stage demonstrations
demanding an improvement in their payouts and infrastructure.
"State security agents have been visiting the campus enquiring on the
whereabouts of the student leaders but the student leaders have gone into
hiding and none of them has been seen since the petition was sent to
President Mugabe," a student at the university said yesterday.
In the petition that was signed by NUST Student Representative Council
President Clever Bere, the students said hundreds of students at the
university were spending days on end without proper meals, apart from
battling high tuition fees, a critical shortage of accommodation and a mass
exodus of lecturers as well as a shortage of books and learning equipment.
"On the 12th of October 2007, you will be capping half-baked graduands at
the 13th Graduation Ceremony at NUST who only attended lectures for less
than 30 percent of their stipulated learning time. This was because of your
government's failure to address the multi-faceted socio-economic and
political crisis bedeviling our beloved Zimbabwe," read part of the
"We would like to remind you that the Library at NUST is still under
construction and the university is 25 percent complete 17 years after its
establishment. 2007 will be remembered as the year when students just went
for exams without learning as lecturers were on strike.
"We are gravely concerned by your governments' treatment of student
activists and human rights defenders. Thousands of students are either
expelled, suspended, arbitrarily arrested, detained tortured or killed for
demanding better education," said the students.
State Security Minister Didymus Mutasa could not be reached for comment on
the matter last night. - ZimOnline
Wednesday 10 October 2007
JOHANNESBURG - South Africa's central bank chief Tito Mboweni on Tuesday
said he was worried by the effect of Zimbabwe's record-high inflation on the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) economy.
Mboweni was addressing about 200 senior banking officials at an
international banking conference at Sun City in North West province.
Mboweni said SADC inflation without Zimbabwe would be around 9 percent but
would be around 332 percent if the troubled southern African country was
"It is very clear that we do have serious issues arising from what our
colleagues are facing in Zimbabwe," said Mboweni. "There is a problem and
they must deal with the problem."
Zimbabwe is in the grip of a severe economic crisis that has manifested
itself in the world's highest inflation rate of over 6 500 percent,
widespread unemployment and rising poverty.
Mboweni is among the few leaders in South Africa who have spoken up over
Zimbabwe's eight-year economic crisis.
President Thabo Mbeki's government has consistently pursued a policy of
"quiet diplomacy" towards Harare and refused to openly criticize President
Robert Mugabe's administration in Harare.
Mboweni said his colleagues as the central bank in Harare were "doing what
they can in a very difficult situation".
"I have a high regard for the Governor (of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
Gideon Gono) and his staff. You will be surprised at the level and depth of
talent at the central bank of Zimbabwe.
"They are doing their best and they are highly professional people," he
Mboweni said Africa was still a long way from setting up an African Central
Bank and a common currency for the continent given the vast disparities in
resources around the continent.
SADC has been pushing to have a common monetary union by 2016.
"The political leadership must think carefully of who qualifies to be
included in the union - it mustn't be based on brotherhood and sisterhood -
that doesn't work. It has a limit," said Mboweni. - ZimOnline
By Patience Rusere, Carole Gombakomba & Jonga Kandemiiri
09 October 2007
Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, on a U.S. university
speaking tour, called on the international community to take action to
prevent a humanitarian disaster in Zimbabwe where an increasing number of
people need food assistance.
Tsvangirai, founding president of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change, issued the appeal in an interview Monday with the Houston Chronicle
newspaper. He was set to address a forum at the University of St Thomas in
Houston on Tuesday evening before traveling on to New York, Philadelphia
Traveling with Tsvangirai is former parliamentarian Roy Bennett, South
African-based treasurer for the Tsvangirai faction of the MDC. Bennett spent
eight months in prison in 2005-06 serving a sentence imposed on him by the
ruling party-controlled house for scuffling on the floor of parliament with
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa.
The two men met Sunday in Dallas with the local branch of their opposition
Deputy Chief U.S. Representative Ralph Black of Tsvangirai's faction told
reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Tsvangirai is
not meeting with U.S. officials on this trip - only with members of the
party and the diaspora.
At home, meanwhile, Tsvangirai's opposition faction denied reports that the
leader of the formation's women's assembly, Lucia Matibenga, was sacked. The
government-run Herald newspaper reported Tuesday that Matibenga had a
falling out with the party leadership, upon which party chiefs dissolved the
The Herald said the alleged firing was the "latest wave of division" in the
opposition. The MDC split in late 2005 over whether to contest elections for
a new senate.
MDC National Chairman Lovemore Moyo denied there was a rift, telling
reporter Carole Gombakomba that the faction had not singled out Matibenga
but decided to dissolve the Women's Assembly after auditors turned up
Matibenga said she could not comment because had not yet received any
official communication from the party on the decision reported Tuesday in
Separately, the Tsvangirai faction said the state's withdrawal Monday of
charges against activists held for months earlier this year on charges they
carried out violent attacks proved the government is desperate to undermine
Party Secretary General Tendai Biti said the formation suffered greatly
between March and July when about 30 officials and activists were held in
Harare remand jail on serious charges including banditry and sabotage.
Prosecutor Tawanda Zvekare told Harare magistrate Kudakwashe Jarabini that
the state was withdrawing the charges though it might later issue summonses.
Biti told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the
decision by the state prosecutor showed that the cases were trumped up.
Wed Oct 10, 7:44 AM ET
HARARE (AFP) - Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
demanded compensation Wednesday after terrorism charges were dropped against
dozens of activists who spent nearly four months in custody.
"We are definitely pressing for compensation," Nelson Chamisa, a spokesman
for the main MDC faction, said another group of 15 party members had their
case struck off by a Harare magistrate on Monday.
The decision to dismiss the case against the 15, including lawmaker Paul
Madzore, was made after magistrates had earlier quashed charges against
another 17 MDC activists who were all rounded up in early March and refused
bail until June.
"Some of them lost their jobs. Some of them are maimed for life, some of
them were detained for four months which is as good as serving a jail term
when they had no case to answer," Chamisa told AFP.
The spokesman said the arrests were part of a ploy to destroy the party
which has posed the stiffest challenge to veteran president Robert Mugabe's
"The fact that the court has withdrawn charges against these men clearly
shows that from the very beginning the case did not hold water," he said.
"It is a politically motivated strategy to decimate the opposition. We have
been vindicated and the truth has come out that we are the victims not
perpetrators of violence as (the ruling) ZANU-PF would like the world to
The MDC supporters and officials were rounded up in raids in March when the
police claimed to have thwarted plans for a campaign of petrol-bombings.
The arrests came days after security forces broke up a planned opposition
rally and assaulted MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and scores of supporters
and party officials.
State prosecutors claimed some of the detained MDC activists underwent
military training in neighbouring South Africa and planned to unseat Mugabe,
83, who has been in power since the nation's independence in 1980.
One activist still remains in custody after police said they were still
investigating him in connection with the alleged fire bombings.
SW Radio Africa (London)
10 October 2007
Posted to the web 10 October 2007
At least 10 MDC supporters have been injured and several had their houses
and cars damaged in Chipinge in a fresh wave of violence reportedly ignited
by Zanu-PF councillors in the southeastern district.
Trouble started when a local Zanu-PF councillor for ward one stormed the
Gaza business centre on Saturday and tried to disperse the over 300 MDC
supporters attending a rally that had been sanctioned by the police.
A primary school teacher from Musirizwi, Remigio Bundo, has now been
suspended pending dismissal after being seen wearing an MDC t-shirt at the
rally. According to Godfrey Chenjerai, the MDC district chairman for
Chipinge north, half of the 35 Zanu-PF councillors in Chipinge are also
headmasters or teachers. Some work for government institutions.
Chenjerai said disturbances on Saturday were ignited by a Zanu-PF councillor
known as Mbandure, who used abusive language to try and disperse MDC
supporters so he could have his birthday celebrations at the same venue.
'Surprisingly Mbandure was born in February, but wanted to celebrate his
birthday on the 6th October. We knew he just wanted to disrupt our rally and
pointed out to him that we had police clearance. Harsh words were exchanged
and we decided to carry on with our rally and Mbandure went his way,'
Unknown to the opposition supporters, Mbandure is alleged to have rallied
his supporters who armed themselves with sticks, stones and bottles and went
on a rampage, indiscriminately attacking people in the area. No arrests were
made after the attacks.
Bitter MDC supporters took revenge on Mbandure when they beat and left him
badly bruised on Monday. Police arrested MDC supporter Charles Nyathi who
has spent the last two nights in police cells. Chenjerai said the police
were quick to make an MDC arrest but they failed to question anyone from
Zanu-PF about the weekend violence.
'The law is being applied selectively here, but people don't care anymore
and have vowed to hit back when attacked. We have reached a point where we
have decided to defend ourselves,' Chenjerai said.
This is not the first time that Chipinge has been rocked by violence. Three
weeks ago, scores of terrified people were sent packing in political
violence that resulted in the arrest and assault of opposition MDC
Political tensions have been on the rise in Chipinge since the beginning of
last month when the MDC held successful rallies in the district. The MDC has
accused the head of the Central Intelligence Organisation in Chipinge town,
Joseph Chiminya, and almost all Zanu-PF councillors for orchestrating the
The attacks, which first began in Ngaone north of Chipinge town, have now
spread to areas in Tanganda and outlining border areas of Mount Selinda and
Rusitu. These areas are right on the border with Mozambique.
Every time the MDC organizes a rally now, state security agents are taking
over the venue and start distributing maize. Known MDC activists are
forbidden from getting near these distribution points.
SW Radio Africa (London)
10 October 2007
Posted to the web 10 October 2007
The Zimbabwe Students Union (Zinasu) has raised alarm bells over the health
and continued detention of Edison Hlatshwayo, the secretary general for the
students union at the Great Zimbabwe University.
Hlatshwayo was arrested a fortnight ago by Masvingo police while attending a
public meeting organized by the Zimbabwe Youth Forum at Charles Austin
theatre hall. He was arrested on allegations of malicious injury to property
and assault. A magistrate in the city refused him bail arguing that the
state was still hunting for more students following student clashes with the
Students activists on Wednesday said Hlatshwayo's health was fast
deteriorating as he was being denied food and access to lawyers by the
Student leader Mehli Dube of the National University for Science and
Technology (Nust) described Hlatshwayo's condition as worrying.
He said: "Our leadership has been to see him recently and we are concerned
about the squalid conditions he is living and the denial of food and legal
aid they have put over him.
"The ploy by the Mugabe regime is obviously very deliberate and aims to
dampen the students' justified right to question anomalies in the country's
education system. They want to intimidate us into submission by arrests and
beatings and, as we speak, we understand they are hunting down some of our
Meanwhile in Bulawayo, police arrested two student activists in a swoop on a
students general meeting Tuesday.
Themba Maphenduka and Vananceo Jachi were taken into custody and a manhunt
has been launched as police and security details seek to arrest Langalihle
Manyani, the Vice-President of the Students Christian Movement of Zimbabwe
and Cynthia Manjoro, who recently completed her internship with the Media
Institute of Southern Africa. Student Samson Nxumalo has also been forced
10th Oct 2007 15:43 GMT
By Grace Kwinjeh
MDC - no more
The Standing Committee of Zimbabwe's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
has just suspended its women's league leadership in a top-down coup. This
makes me step back and consider two views of women's liberation.
'The emancipation of women is not an act of charity, the result of a
humanitarian or compassionate attitude. The liberation of women is a
fundamental necessity for the revolution, the guarantee of its continuity
and the precondition for its victory', said Samora Machel, the founder of
For Machel, 'to destroy the system of exploitation and build a new society
which releases the potential of human beings. is the context within which
women's emancipation arises.'
Here is another context and quotation: 'Feminism is the radical notion that
women own their vaginas', according to an anonymous sister, with vagina
meaning an expression of feminism, womanhood, strength, resilience,
struggle, as well as our body and reproductive capacity.
The female body is a site of struggle which is why in war situations,
opposing parties take pride in raping women. A Congolese feminist, Christine
Schuler Deschryver , estimates that in the conflict-ridden eastern DRC,
'more than 200,000 women, children and babies are being raped every day, and
right now, thousands of women and children are being taken into forests as
In Zimbabwe, where I was jailed and tortured for peacefully participating in
a protest last March, patriarchy has resulted in some democracy activists
temporarily losing the value system that helped us to stand against Robert
Mugabe's tyranny in the first place. We are seeing regular instances of
sexism and misogyny, sadly perpetrated by would-be liberators whose
leadership is now marked by moral decadence.
Sexism is immoral and should be treated as such.
We would have short changed ourselves as women if we agree to yet another
reproduction of the debauchery, unfairness and inequality that we inherited
at independence, and that soon reared its head in Mugabe's ruling party he
authorised mass arrests of women for being on the street alone at night in
That which united democrats in civil society and the MDC when we went to
battle against Mugabe's regime was a common understanding of what we want to
achieve in a new Zimbabwe. That included a clear vision of the positioning
and placing of women, who have endured decades of patriarchal oppression
passed on like a baton stick from one system to another, from the settler
colonialists to the nationalists - and now sadly to the present-day
Even before the MDC was formed eight years ago, Zimbabwean women made great
strides in fighting for their emancipation. We took on Mugabe before the
boys even woke up to their own oppression. The women's struggle was led by
women like Everjoice Win, Shereen Essof, Priscilla Misihairabwi, Nancy
Kachingwe, Yvonne Mahlunge, Isabella Matambanadzo, Thoko Matshe, Janah
Ncube, Lydia Zigomo, Rudo Kwaramba, and Sekai Holland, fellow torture
survivor and head of the Association of Women's Clubs.
Our first fight was for recognition as equal human beings to our male
counterparts. The Legal Age of Majority Act now recognises us as adults, we
can vote, open bank accounts and even marry should we choose to - none of
which were possible without the consent of a male connection, be it brother
father or uncle. We were perpetual minors.
The Matrimonial Causes Act now recognises our right to own property
independently of our husbands or fathers. After we challenged physical
abuse, parliament passed the Domestic Violence Act. This background made
some of us suitable candidates for leadership in the MDC.
At what point, then, did we women become minors once again, answerable to
male authority, becoming subjects of agendas that have nothing to do with
our empowerment or liberation for that matter? With the MDC's attack on its
women's league, we are relegated once again to second class citizen
The first contact women like Lucia Matibenga (former head of the MDC women's
league), Sekai Holland and myself have with our bodies each morning after we
wake up and take a bath, is the scarring inflicted by Mugabe's police.
These scars are deep, physical and psychological, but their political
significance is that they can be the source of our liberation. They are our
badges of honour, marking us as comrades who have been on the frontline
facing the enemy head on.
Zanu PF has a military history and what Mugabe calls 'degrees in violence'
that we all know of. However, we have been too slow to address other forms
of violence perpetrated against us by our brothers in the democratic
We are told by MDC men, 'It is taboo, it causes unnecessary confusion,
divisions, we have one enemy'. If we keep believing this, it means that like
our sisters in Zanu Pf we may find ourselves on the eve of independence in
the same position they were in at Lancaster House.
Their leading woman in the state, Joyce Mujuru, was suddenly elevated to
Vice President but served merely as a place holder, for as the succession
battle rages it is clear she is not Mugabe's natural successor. She has not
pushed any women's agenda beyond party politics and sloganeering.
Everjoice Win, gender officer at ActionAid, insists that we will not unite
with Mujuru for the sake of biology. Having a vagina does not necessarily
mean we are the same.
Says Win, 'Whatever "deal" is worked out to resolve Zimbabwe's crisis, women
and their rights should be at the centre of it. We want feminists-women who
care about the rights of other women and who are prepared to rock the
patriarchal boat-to be in leadership positions and to be there when the deal
But of the top six dealmakers from two MDC factions and the government, only
one is a woman.
For a long time, women have been bashed into silence: 'If you speak out he
will beat you up more'. Yet whether we speak or not we still take a beating.
Now, at what may become a time of renewed patriarchy under the mantle of the
democratic opposition, it is a historical obligation for any woman to stand
up against the kind of bigotry that is being forced on us, even by our own
brothers in the new liberation movement, a movement still not mature enough
to treat us with respect.
Grace Kwinjeh is a leading opposition activist with the MDC and writes this
article as Visiting Scholar with the Center for Civil Society.
From AFP, 10 October
Women are being regularly tortured and sexually abused by Zimbabwean
security forces for their opposition to President Robert Mugabe's regime, a
new report by a leading rights group charged on Tuesday. "Many of us have
been detained more than once and suffered extreme abuse perpetrated by state
actors," Jenni Williams, national coordinator of Women of Zimbabwe Arise
(Woza), said at the launch of the report in Johannesburg. "Police threats,
insults by police officer, unlawful detention and humiliating and degrading
treatment were all reported with high frequency but assaults, psychological
torture and physical torture were also very high." Williams said that
three-quarters of the Woza members that were surveyed said they had
experienced insults and humiliating and degrading treatment, while half have
suffered assaults and psychological torture. "Forty percent have suffered
physical torture and 50 percent were detained longer than the statutory
limit of 48 hours without being brought to court."
Among those present at the launch in South Africa, which is now home to
hundreds of thousands of Zimbabwean immigrants, was Woza activist Clarah
Makoni who broke down in tears as she related her ordeal in April when she
went to deliver food to friends taking part in a protest over elecricity
shortages. "I was scared, very scared. I have never seen such animosity,"
the 19-year-old from Harare told AFP. "I was beaten, kicked and tortured by
the police... After several hours I was told to report at the police station
the following day as they could not arrest me due to my age. When I went
again I was beaten and tortured again till I fell sick. I was taken to (the
southern city of) Bulawayo where they torture people (Fairbridge torture
camp) where the torture continued for hours. I was whipped while lying on my
stomach. They then put me in a room full of ice." The teenager was then
ordered to cross an electric fence before having to make her way back home,
a journey of more than 400 kilometres. The Mugabe regime, subject to
sanctions by the European Union and United States, has been regularly
criticised over its treatment of its opponents. Main opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai was among a group of dozens of activists who were
assaulted as they tried to attend a prayer rally earlier this year.
Issue 8 : 9 October 2007
Expectations generated by the South African mediated talks that Zimbabwean voters would be registered to create a new and transparent voters' roll before the elections in March next year were dealt a blow last week by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa.
Chinamasa said there would be no re-registration of voters to create ward-specific voters' rolls. In response, stakeholders said the proposed system would prejudice many voters as the delimitation exercise was yet to start.
According to a Zimbabwean commentator, even if the electoral laws are changed, it is impossible to hold democratic elections unless the environment allows all parties to campaign freely in a climate of political tolerance.
Faced with escalating reports of ruling party militants unleashing terror in rural areas and creating no-go zones, the Movement For Democratic Change (MDC) elections secretary Ian Makone says there is no prospect of elections being free and fair in these areas.
In Chipinge, where the MDC has held successful rallies, scores of terrified people have fled the district due to fresh political violence. This has led to the arrest and assault of MDC activists, one of whom is reportedly battling for his life.
In Mutare, police disrupted a public meeting organised by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) to discuss the forthcoming election. Security police stormed the venue where former Zanu PF stalwart Edgar Tekere had launched a blistering attack on Mugabe's human rights record and harassment of the opposition.
The victimisation of student leaders has intensified and a Youth Forum public meeting in Masvingo was disrupted by government militia, leading to bloody clashes. The police reacted by arresting youths from the civic organisations.
A Zanu PF ward chairperson in the Headlands area deliberately started a fire which destroyed eight cottages on a plot belonging to the MDC chairlady for the Headlands ward. The cottages accommodated victims of Operation Murambatsvina who were once again rendered homeless.
In their August report, the human rights monitoring group, Zimbabwe Peace Project, confirmed that cases of politically-inspired violence had increased, while space for the church and civil society continued to shrink.
The government maintains its monopoly of the airwaves through a previous law giving ownership of all radio and television frequencies to the state broadcaster. Opposition parties are denied access.
Even if liberalised media laws are in place by end October, commentators stress it will take time to set up a free daily press and develop a non-partisan broadcaster.
Ironically, the state media recently imposed a blackout on the activities of Ray Kaukonde, governor of Mashonaland East province. Kaukonde is part of a powerful Zanu PF faction that is pushing for Mugabe's ousting from power.
The Swedish Cooperative Centre has published a damning report on the manipulation of food aid by the Mugabe government: "Be loyal - or starve". The organisation is demanding the creation of an independent food observer force to ensure that food reaches those in most need.
An extraordinary top-secret security document leaked to the media reveals a carefully manipulated plan designed to destroy the reputation of outspoken cleric Archbishop Pius Ncube.
And finally, even members of theatre groups are not immune from government paranoia. Two actors and a journalist who challenged their arrest for staging a play about the country's political crisis were arrested by Harare police.
Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa says there would be no re-registration of voters to create ward-specific voters’ rolls for next year's harmonised elections as those already registered would simply be moved into new wards and constituencies.
This flies in the face of expectations by the opposition MDC that voters would be registered to create a new and transparent voters’ roll before the election in March next year. The MDC wants the voters roll revamped to flash out "ghost voters" whom it claims are used by Zanu PF for electoral rigging purposes.
Responding to questions by MDC legislator Nelson Chamisa on how the proposed ward-specific rolls would be created and the timeframe for delimitation, Chinamasa said already registered voters would be put under wards and constituencies to be determined during the delimitation exercise.
He said delimitation, which will now be done by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), was expected to be completed by December after a mop-up mobile voter registration exercise in 939 areas not fully covered in an earlier exercise in June to August.
Only 109 999 people countrywide were registered as voters during that exercise.
Said Chinamasa: "There will be no re-registration of voters to create ward-specific voters rolls. As you may know, when you are registered you are registered to a particular group which is the physical unit area and when they do the delimitation, whether of wards or constituencies, it is a mere exercise of moving a whole block or part of the block in order to create a constituency….
On delimitation, Chinamasa said the exercise would be carried out soon after President Mugabe assented to the recently passed Constitutional Amendment Bill (No 18).
Chinamasa had earlier told parliament: "The point to note is that we are introducing with this change a ward voters roll, a ward-specific voters roll. In other words, a voter can only vote in the ward in which he or she is resident and registered to vote."
Stakeholders last week said the proposed system would prejudice many voters, as the delimitation exercise was yet to start.
They had said this would require an extended re-registration exercise supported by a massive awareness campaign to enlighten the electorate on the new wards and constituencies….
Zimbabwe Independent, The (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.thezimbabweindependent.com/viewinfo.cfm?linkid=11&id=11535
SADC standards breached
chance of free and fair - Makone
Source Date: 26-09-2007
Ruling party militants are unleashing terror in Zimbabwe's rural areas, in what the opposition says is an attempt to lock out its campaigners ahead of the crunch 2008 vote.
Militants are storming rural areas, while members of the ruling party youth militia in green government-issue uniforms are manning roadblocks to seal off districts to supporters of the opposition.
Ian Makone, the MDC elections secretary, accused President Robert Mugabe's party of creating "no go areas" for opposition supporters ahead of the vote scheduled for March next year.
"Such areas are being systematically extended ... there is no prospect of the elections being free and fair in these areas," he said.
Source: Zimbabwean, The (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk/viewinfo.cfm?linkcategoryid=3&linkid=8&id=6237
SADC standards breached
Scores of terrified people in Chipinge have fled the area in fresh political violence that has resulted in the arrest and assault of opposition MDC activists.
Zanu PF youths armed with stones and sticks have been attacking leading MDC activists in the isolated district. The crackdown on MDC activists has spread across the south eastern district, reportedly leaving one seriously injured and at least 15 injured in a number of separate attacks….
Political tensions have been on the rise in Chipinge since the beginning of this month when the MDC held successful rallies in the district. MDC district chairman for Chipinge north, Godfrey Chenjerai, accused the head of the Central Intelligence Organisation in Chipinge town, Joseph Chiminya, of orchestrating the violence.
Chenjerai said eleven of their activists have been held in police cells at Chipangai for the last two weeks. One of them, Stanley Mabuyaye, is reported to be battling for his life after he was severely tortured for organising MDC rallies.
'… All known MDC activists are being forced out of their lodgings, and most are fleeing in numbers because of threats by war veterans and Zanu PF youth,' Chenjerai said.
Every time the MDC organizes a rally now, state security agents take over the venue and then start distributing maize. Known MDC activists are forbidden from getting near these distribution points…
The huge presence of security agents (with reinforcements) has however not deterred people from attending MDC rallies, according to Chenjerai.
Identified perpetrators: Head of the Central Intelligence Organisation in Chipinge town, Joseph Chiminya
Identified victims: MDC activist, Stanley Mabuyaye
Source: SW Radio Africa (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.swradioafrica.com/news260907/chipinge260907.htm
SADC standards breached
Police in Mutare on Friday disrupted a public meeting organised by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights) to discuss the forthcoming elections, after veteran politician Edgar Tekere attacked Robert Mugabe's human rights record.
Security agents stormed the public meeting venue ordering everyone out and accusing organisers of the meeting of abusing the platform to “attack the person of the President”.
Tekere launched a blistering attack on Mugabe for the constant harassment of opposition and for “penning a horrific account of our country’s modern history”.
(On Thursday) the fiery former Zanu PF stalwart said: “I chronicled just a few of the many atrocities that Mugabe has committed on this country and that one day he and his lieutenants such as (army chief Constantine) Chiwenga and (police head Augustine) Chihuri will have to account for.”
He went on to say, “I noted the recent assaults on Grace Kwinje, Sekai Holland and Morgan Tsvangirai; the disappearance of Rashiwe Guzha and the Gukurahundi massacre as events that will scar the annals of our history. My speech and that of Bishop Patrick Mutume, who gave an account of Gukurahundi survivors, made the police halt proceedings because Mugabe does not want the public to know the truth.”
… The ZimRights public meeting was held under the topic: "Will the 2008 harmonised elections be the panacea to the Zimbabwe Crisis?"…
Identified victims: Edgar Tekere, politician
Source: SW Radio Africa (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.swradioafrica.com/news041007/tekere041007.htm
SADC standards breached
Bloody clashes as Zanu PF disrupts youth meeting
Source Date: 07-10-2007
Rowdy Zanu PF youths on Thursday disrupted a Youth Forum public meeting at the (Masvingo) Civic Centre leading to bloody clashes during which 15 youths from various civic organisations were arrested as violence escalated ahead of next year's synchronized polls.
Among those who were arrested are National Constitutional Assembly spokesperson (NCA), Madock Chivasa, Wellington Zindove, co-ordinator Youth Forum and Great Zimbabwe University secretary general, Edison Hlatshwayo.
The ruling party allegedly bussed about 100 youths, who appeared drunk, to disrupt the public meeting, organised by Youth Forum in conjunction with NCA and the Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu)….
Armed with stones and logs, the militia charged towards the participants, including university female students, who also fought back, leading to bloody clashes. The police reacted and quelled the chaos but only arrested the youths from the civic organisations….
Identified perpetrators: Flex Masimbi, Zanu PF youth leader
Identified victims: Madock Chivasa, National Constitutional Assembly spokesperson (NCA); Wellington Zindove, co-ordinator Youth Forum; Edison Hlatshwayo, Great Zimbabwe University secretary general; Gideon Chitanga, Zinasu vice-president
Source: Zimbabwe Standard, The (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.thezimbabwestandard.com/viewinfo.cfm?linkid=11&id=7528
SADC standards breached
10 families left homeless after fire started by Zanu PF
Source Date: 01-10-2007
Ten families were left homeless on Wednesday 26 September, after eight cottages were gutted by fire started by a local Zanu PF official at Mrs Elizabeth Tauro’s plot in Headlands.
Mrs Elizabeth Tauro is the MDC Chairlady for Headlands Ward.
She had constructed the eight cottages at her plot to accommodate victims of the 2005 Operation Murambatsvina. She has always been accused of holding MDC meetings at her plot with the occupants of the cottages.
The fire was started by Mrs Chiparange, a Zanu PF Ward chairperson in the area. The fire destroyed everything in the cottages…. The people are now sleeping in the open without blankets and food….
Identified perpetrators: Mrs Chiparange, a Zanu PF Ward chairperson in Makoni North
Identified victims: Estery Gunya – husband and 4 children; Alberina Mutokozi – widowed and 5 grand children – Aids orphaned; Idah Tandi – single mother with 2 children; Raymond Watura – wife and 2 children; Moreblessing Mutokozi – single mother and 2 children; Brian Katyorera – 2 parents and 1 child; Einice Tauro – 2 parents and 2 children; Thomas Selingwe – 2 parents and I child; Adam Sherekete – 2 parents and 5 children; Elizabeth Tauro – widowed and 6 orphans
Source: MDC Information and Publicity Secretary
SADC standards breached
Violence intensifying says human rights group
Source Date: 01-10-2007
In its report for August 2007 the human rights monitoring group, Zimbabwe Peace Project, records that cases of politically-inspired violence increased nationally with a number of victims suffering severe injuries that required hospitalisation.
Mashonaland East was singled out for special mention of “a definite increase in the level and degree of violence.” …
In a summary of its findings the Zimbabwe Peace Project says that “space for the Church and civil society continued to shrink”. It cites the disruption of workshops organised by civil society to discuss civic and political issues and the victimization of participants as evidence of this trend.
The report is clear that in the month of August ruling party members perpetrated most of the violence…
Source: Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum
Link to source: http://www.hrforumzim.com/
SADC standards breached
Supreme Court defers case challenging control of airwaves
Source Date: 05-10-2007
Zimbabwe’s Supreme Court on Thursday postponed indefinitely an application by a Harare firm (Manala Private Limited) challenging the state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH)’s monopoly of the airwaves.
The court, the highest in the land and that hears constitutional cases, deferred the application … on a technicality …
In papers filed at court, (lawyer Terence) Hussein said although the Supreme Court seven years ago struck down a 43-year statutory provision that granted the old Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBH’s predecessor) monopoly of the airwaves, that monopoly still exists through a law giving ownership of all radio and television frequencies to the state broadcaster.
Journalists, human rights groups and potential investors in the electronic media cite Section 38 (of the Broadcasting Services Act) as one of the key impediments to the liberalisation of airwaves that was supposed to have taken place when the Supreme Court nullified ZBH’s monopoly in 2000.
For example, the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe chief executive Obert Mugunyura last month told a special parliamentary committee on transport and communications that the authority could not license new players in the broadcasting sector because of severe restrictions imposed by the Act.
A ban on foreign funding and partnerships in the broadcasting sector is another hindrance to potential investors.
The ZBH, initially conceived as a public broadcaster, is tightly controlled by President Robert Mugabe’s government which has the final say on senior editorial and managerial appointments….
Source: Zim Online (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.zimonline.co.za/Article.aspx?ArticleId=2120
SADC standards breached
Governor demands lifting of media blackout
Source Date: 01-10-2007
A senior Zimbabwe government official who is closely linked to Vice-President Joice Mujuru last week stormed the offices of the Ministry of Information demanding the lifting of a (state) media blackout on his activities…
The move to blackout Ray Kaukonde, who is the governor of Mashonaland East province, followed a meeting that was called by President Robert Mugabe's press secretary George Charamba last month where he told state media editors to limit coverage of Vice-President Joice Mujuru and her political allies.
Kaukonde is part of a powerful Zanu PF faction headed by former army commander Solomon Mujuru, that is pushing for Mugabe's ousting from power…
Source: Zim Online (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.zimonline.co.za/Article.aspx?ArticleId=2099
SADC standards breached
Swedish development cooperation organisation demands: Send food observers
Source Date: 01-10-2007
The international development cooperation organisation Kooperation Utan Gränser / Swedish Cooperative Centre (SCC) demands the creation of a food observer force. In the same way as the international community supervises elections in other parts of the world, an independent international control of the food aid is demanded to assume that it reaches those who most need it.
The Swedish Cooperative Centre presents today the report "Be loyal - or starve!" … All interviewed persons (families from rural areas) affirm that they lack enough food to survive until the next crop.
Farmers whom we have interviewed confirm that the distribution of food is controlled politically, says Anna Tibblin, director of the SCC in Southern Africa.
The Swedish Cooperative Centre/SCC exhorts the Swedish government to promote that the European Union and the World Food Programme (WFP) create a food observer force. The UN’s World Food Programme is today responsible for great part of the food aid to Zimbabwe. The Swedish Cooperative Centre/SCC considers that the surrounding world should urge the regime to accept an increased international control of the aid…
Source: Swedish Cooperative Centre (SCC)
Link to source: http://www.newsdesk.se/pressroom/kooperation_utan_granser/
SADC standards breached
It is reported that Zimbabwe army and secret police officers overseeing food aid distribution are denying food to hungry opposition supporters as punishment for not backing President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF party.
With an estimated five million people in dire need of food aid out of a population of *12 million, the withholding of such limited quantities of food as are available is having a devastating effect on those excluded.
According to the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, state security agents deployed last week at the Grain Marketing Board (GMB)'s depots countrywide had taken over the vetting of beneficiaries, with known opposition supporters being denied food aid.
The state-owned GMB is the only company permitted to buy maize and wheat - the country's two main staples – and to distribute food aid.
An official with the state grain utility, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed (this)… “They ordered GMB staff not to allow enemies of the government (MDC supporters) to access food," he said…
Masvingo, a recognised stronghold for the MDC, is located in an arid region of the country and is one of the cities worst hit by hunger….
*In view of the massive Diaspora and a conservatively estimated weekly death rate of 3 500 people, recent (unconfirmed) population estimates suggest that 8 million might be a more realistic figure.
Identified perpetrators: Minister of Agriculture Rugare Gumbo
Source: Zim Online (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.zimonline.co.za/Article.aspx?ArticleId=2091
SADC standards breached
Politicised food aid
Source Date: 02-10-2007
Reports of politicisation of food aid are intensifying in the run up to next year's synchronized general elections amid reports of opposition supporters' children being driven away from school supplementary feeding schemes in rural areas.
An aid worker, speaking strictly on condition of anonymity, said that in the course of helping torture victims, she had been told that children of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters were being denied access to school food queues in Mberengwa East, in the far south of the country.
In her office on Friday was Sam Mlilo, district chairperson of Mberengwa East, who told The Zimbabwean he had seen children driven out of the queue for the supplementary meal at the Chamakudo Primary School, near Mataga, because of their parents' political beliefs…
He said people had tried in vain to complain. He added that Zanu PF structures were being used to distribute food and that traditional leaders were also distributing food along party lines….
Source: Zimbabwean, The (ZW)
Link to source: http://www.thezimbabwean.co.uk/viewinfo.cfm?linkcategoryid=36&linkid=1&id=6259
SADC standards breached
New CIO plot to quash government critic, Pius Ncube
Source Date: 01-10-2007
An extraordinary top-secret document, leaked … by an operative in Zimbabwe's Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), reveals that President Mugabe is not satisfied with just the resignation of the Archbishop of Bulawayo, Pius Ncube, after he became a victim of a notorious government-inspired 'honey trap'.
Ncube, a strenuous critic of the Mugabe regime and recently revealed in The First Post to be a possible opposition candidate for President, is to have his reputation ground into the dust by means of a string of carefully orchestrated scandals….
This master plan, complete with its code names (including ‘Zim 1’, the CIO code name for Mugabe), its massive payouts, and its extraordinary allegations, is the result.
Source: First Post, The (UK)
Link to source: http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/?storyID=8792
SADC standards breached
'Final Push' Actors face charges under the Censorship and Entertainment
Source Date: 02-10-2007
Zimbabwean authorities Monday released three men arrested over the weekend (at the Theatre in Harare Gardens) for staging a play called "The Final Push" about the country's political crisis…
Actors Anthony Tongani and Sylvanos Mudzvova, and journalist James Jemwa, now face charges under the country's Censorship and Entertainment Act. Sources said Jemwa challenged the arrest of the actors, leading police to arrest him too.
Identified victims: James Jemwa, independent journalist; Sylvanos Mudzvova and Anthony Tongani, actors
Source: VOANews (USA)
Link to source: http://www.voanews.com/english/africa/zimbabwe/2007-10-02-voa61.cfm?rss=politics
SADC standards breached
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Scoop, New Zealand
Wednesday, 10 October 2007, 10:01 am
Press Release: Save Zimbabwe
End Game in Zimbabwe
On 11 March 2007 Sekai Holland, 64-year-old grandmother and member of the
opposition party MDC (Movement for Democratic Change), was beaten and
tortured by the Zimbabwean police. For challenging the power of the despotic
ruler Mugabe, she paid with fractures of her left leg, arm and ribs. After
having been evacuated to Australia, Holland receives ongoing medical
treatment for her injuries.
Yet she delivered a powerful speech today at Victoria University of
Wellington announcing an imminent 'End Game in Zimbabwe'.
More than a third of the Zimbabwean population has fled the South African
country. The economic situation is deteriorating at breakneck speed with an
inflation rate approaching 1.5% Million percent that leads to daily
increasing hardship among the population.
The administration under Mugabe has driven Zimbabwe into a dark valley of
disaster; still the president shows no inclination of loosening his grip on
This will change, Holland says. Her party, the MDC, would have already won
elections in 2000 and 2005, if their victory had not been "stolen" by
Mugabe. "We have the support of the people", Holland claimed. As evidence of
its declining power, she listed the regime's failure to expel or suppress
the opposition--for which she stands as a living example.
Adressing exile Zimbabweans, she condemned political apathy and commonly
expressed opinion of an unorganised opposition. "The opposition is there and
we have a determined leadership" Mrs Holland proclaimed, then demanding "If
you are so brilliant and know what to do better, come to Zimbabwe!".
While announcing the imminent end of Mugabe's rule, Sekai Holland
simultaneously predicted the MDC to pull out of ongoing negotiations about
the next election with the government, "if they continue to beat us". In
this case, only a UN intervention could prevent the unfolding of a
humanitarian disaster of similar magnitude to Darfur.
Before holding her fiery speech, Holland had just come from a meeting with
Prime Minister Helen Clark. She pleaded for pardoning of illegal Zimbabwean
immigrants and demanded the expulsion of New Zealand based supporters of the
Mugabe regime by tonight.
Monsters and Critics
Oct 10, 2007, 8:20 GMT
Harare - New Zealand is a strange country down under that Zimbabwe does not
recognize, a minister in the African nation's government said Wednesday.
Deputy Information Minister Bright Matonga made the remark in response to
calls on Tuesday by New Zealand's Green Party for the country to take a
firmer stand against President Robert Mugabe's government.
'New Zealand is some strange country down under and the majority don't care
whether the party is green or blue, what they are saying is irrelevant to
Zimbabwe,' Matonga said in comments carried in Zimbabwe's official Herald
Green Party MP Keith Locke on Tuesday referred to Zimbabwe as a disaster
zone, and called on Prime Minister Helen Clark's government to step up
pressure on Harare for a return to the rule of law and democracy.
'Helen Clark should press other Commonwealth leaders, when they meet in
Uganda this November, to take a strong, united stand for a return to
democracy,' Locke said in a statement.
The statement was issued following a visit to New Zealand by Sekai Holland,
a senior official from Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party and a grandmother who was one of dozens of opposition
officials and activists brutally assaulted by police during a crackdown by
state agents in March.
Holland said on Tuesday that her party, which is currently engaged in talks
with Mugabe's ruling party to try to ease political tensions ahead of
elections next year, would pull out of the dialogue if the ruling party
continued to use violence against the opposition.
'Sekai Holland is a living example of why the world must keep pressing
Zimbabwe to return to the rule of law,' noted Locke.
But Zimbabwe's deputy information minister dismissed the New Zealand MP's
comments, saying Zimbabwe was no longer a member of the Commonwealth.
'She (Holland) is on a fundraising campaign and is saying these things to
please New Zealand but that is a strange country that we never recognize,'
'She is addressing the wrong forum and audience. If she wants to discuss
issues of Zimbabwe, she should approach the government,' Matonga was quoted
© 2007 dpa - Deutsche Presse-Agentur
Robert Mugabe's regime is behaving like "a militia or a warlord", and
there is no possibility of free and fair elections next year.
This is according to Zimbabwean women who have been repeatedly
arrested and tortured by Mugabe's security force.
"There is sustained repression in Zimbabwe. Free and fair elections
cannot be held," said Jenni Williams, co-founder of Women of Zimbabwe Arise
or Woza (an apolitical social justice movement) at a Press briefing
yesterday in Johannesburg.
Williams - who has been arrested 25 times - added: "Woza has often
been the target of unprovoked violence."
A preliminary report on political violence against Woza members paints
a shocking picture about acts of suppression perpetrated by Zimbabwe police.
Assault, abduction or kidnapping, political threats, rape, forced
removal of underwear while in custody, unlawful detention and psychological
and physical torture were some of the abuses the Woza women were subjected
to, the report revealed.
Recounting her ordeal, a tearful Clarah Makoni, 19, said she had been
arrested twice and was beaten severely on her back and threatened with
Arnold Tsunga, of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, said: "The Mugabe
regime has become so dangerous to its citizens. Government there is acting
like a militia or a warlord.
"The perpetrators are police, using state machinery to torment women."
He added it was unfortunate that Mugabe had the blessing of African
leaders in his clampdown on organisations he deemed opponents.
Williams called on SADC leaders to recognise the human rights
violations . - email@example.com.
Last updated 10/10/2007 11:07:36
10 October 2007
Financial Services Editor
SUN CITY - Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni said yesterday that African
leaders risked reducing themselves to "a laughing stock" if they pressed
ahead with plans for an African central bank (ACB) and a common currency for
the continent - against the advice of technocrats. He warned that the idea
was bound to flounder like other failed grand African plans.
Mboweni was speaking about a mooted common economic and monetary union for
Africa at a three-day international banking conference in Sun City. He said
African central bank chiefs had proposed the need to achieve macroeconomic
convergence on the continent before a continental central bank and common
currency could be considered, but this had been ignored by the political
leadership of the African Union (AU).
Important changes needed to take place in the structure of most African
economies before monetary integration could happen. These included
increasing economic integration, especially trade, improved transport
networks, diversification of the economies and increased access to developed
markets, he said.
"If we take the convergence criteria into account, we will come to the
conclusion that monetary union is not easy. The challenges are far greater
than the niceties of brotherhood and sisterhood. We cannot just rush to form
the ACB before meeting the basic criteria.
"But the leadership of the AU does not seem to appreciate the advice. The
Association of African Central Banks is being ignored by the AU," he said.
Mboweni said one way of achieving a common currency could be by gradually
expanding existing regional monetary zones such as the Common Monetary Area
and the West African Economic and Monetary Union.
The idea of a common currency for Africa was first discussed by the
Organisation of African Unity , the predecessor of the AU, in 1963. African
leaders see a common currency as "an important symbol of strength and
solidarity" - thus plans are under way to set up the bank as soon as
possible, he said.
"It is possible that we can form an ACB and we think that there might be
benefits in doing so, but the point of caution is - let us not do half jobs
that will lead us to not achieving the objective we set out to. We will be a
The AU had recently approved the creation of an African central bank and a
common currency for the continent, modelled along the European Central Bank
and the European common currency - the euro.
House of Commons
Tuesday 9 October 2007
Oral Answers to Questions
FOREIGN AND COMMONWEALTH OFFICE
The Secretary of State was asked—
James Duddridge (Rochford and Southend, East) (Con): If he will make a statement on the political situation in Zimbabwe. 
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Meg Munn): The situation in Zimbabwe gives grave cause for concern. That is why the Prime Minister has stated he will not attend the EU-Africa Summit if President Mugabe is present. It is also why we are working for change by maintaining international pressure on the regime; supporting those working in Zimbabwe working for democratic change; and giving up to £40 million in humanitarian aid every year.
James Duddridge: In 2003, the Select Committee on Foreign Affairs suggested revoking Robert Mugabe’s knighthood. In July this year, Lord Malloch-Brown said in a letter to me that his Department will continue to keep the issue under close review. When will the Foreign Office stop dithering and take some action on this issue?
Meg Munn: I understand the cause of those who wish to see the knighthood removed, and as my noble Friend said, we are currently reviewing the matter. However, let us clear about this: the situation in Zimbabwe demands a great deal more than that, and removing President Mugabe’s knighthood might detract from that focus and give him more publicity. We need to concentrate on the real problems faced by the people of Zimbabwe.
Kate Hoey (Vauxhall) (Lab): Following on from the Prime Minister’s welcome statement that neither he nor any of his senior Ministers will attend any summit between the European Union and the African Union, and the agreement of the Foreign Office last week not to allow Peter Chingoka, the chairman of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union, into this country, would the Foreign Office consider taking up the suggestion of Lord Morris, the former Transport and General Workers Union general secretary, that we consider co-ordinating with Australia a wider sporting boycott on Zimbabwe?
Meg Munn: We are happy to hold discussions about that. There are currently no formal agreements about sporting sanctions but we have made our position clear and are happy to discuss those matters.
Mr. Andrew Mackay (Bracknell) (Con): It must be right for the Prime Minister to follow our advice and say that he will not attend the EU-Africa summit if Mugabe is there. Will the Under-Secretary confirm that if any of Mugabe’s senior henchmen are there, the Prime Minister will not attend? Otherwise, we will send a bad message to Zimbabwe.
Meg Munn: We have always said that Zimbabwe should be represented because it is important that the issues that affect it and the whole of Africa are discussed. We will have to consider specific personnel at the time.
Mr. Eric Illsley (Barnsley, Central) (Lab): My hon. Friend knows that the German Chancellor has repeated the Portuguese Government’s mistake of suggesting that Robert Mugabe should attend the EU-Africa summit later this year. Will she make representations to not only our German colleagues but other EU countries to try to ensure that the embargo on Robert Mugabe is maintained?
Meg Munn: I assure my hon. Friend that we are in discussion with our EU partners on the matter. Chancellor Merkel was clear that all African countries should be invited to the summit, and we agree. However, we have always said that Zimbabwe should be represented, but not by President Mugabe.
Mr. Keith Simpson (Mid-Norfolk) (Con): We welcome the Prime Minister’s statement and I am glad that we have moved on from our debate in July, when the Under-Secretary was unable to give us the guarantee that the Prime Minister would not go to the EU-Africa conference. Following the comments of the hon. Member for Barnsley, Central (Mr. Illsley) about Chancellor Merkel, do the Government believe that we need to generate additional EU sanctions against Zimbabwe? In particular, does she believe that the EU could go much further and home in on some of the more obnoxious members of the Zimbabwean regime, such as Reserve Bank governor Gideon Gono, who is a leading friend of President Mugabe and helps finance the regime? Does she agree that it is disgraceful that he can still travel abroad and that we cannot impose sanctions on him?
Meg Munn: It is important to examine sanctions carefully. European Union targeted measures are there precisely to ensure that they do not further hurt ordinary Zimbabweans. On the specific issues that the hon. Gentleman raises, we have already argued for Gideon Gono to be added to the EU list. We will continue to do that, and the Home Secretary has excluded him from the United Kingdom.
Mr. Lindsay Hoyle (Chorley) (Lab): Discussions are fine but action is needed. The sooner action is taken, the better. The whole country has been razed to the ground. I have met groups from Bulawayo and they cannot accept that everyone seems simply to be talking. They need action now. I urge the Government not to wait any longer, please.
Meg Munn: I agree with my hon. Friend, but the situation ultimately needs an African solution. Since July, when we had our debate here, the UK has committed a further £8 million to the World Food Programme and we have ensured that Zimbabwe is discussed at the United Nations Security Council. We in the EU have put pressure on Zimbabwe at the UN Human Rights Council. We are clear that action needs to be taken, but the UK cannot do that alone; we need to work with other people. African countries in particular need to act on the matter.
10th Oct 2007 15:48 GMT
By Ian Nhuka
HWANGE - A Zimbabwean court yesterday fined an American citizen after
finding him guilty of attempting to smuggle 300 bullet heads from Victoria
Falls to South Africa last Friday.
Leslie Howell, 39 who had been arrested at Victoria Falls International
Airport was yesterday fined $10 million (or 45 days in prison) by Hwange
resident magistrate Peter Madiba.
Howell, who had travelled to Zimbabwe on a hunting expedition comes from
Florida. He was arrested, as he was about to get on a South African Airways
flight to Johannesburg.
He first appeared before Madiba on Monday and yesterday on his second
appearance pleaded guilty to contravening a section of the Customs and
Excise Act (failing to declare the bullet heads).
The bullet heads were forfeited to the state.
Appearing for the State, Tapiwa Phatisayi said Howell was arrested last
Friday at the Victoria Falls International Airport by police after a tip off
that he was in possession of 300 bullet heads, which he had not declared.
The hunter arrived at the Harare International Airport on 21 September and
declared the other arms and ammunition he had.
The bullet heads had the following tittles 308 diameter, 100x30 calibre,
100x375 calibre, 375 diameter and 100x207 calibre and 277 diameter.
However, the prosecutor said, he did not declare the 300 bullet heads.
After his arrival in Harare he proceeded to Buffalo Range in Chiredzi for
his hunting excursion which ended on 3 October.
He then travelled to the scenic Victoria Falls for a few days and was
He was represented by Tonderai Mukuku.
BY CHIEF REPORTER
The Zimbabwean has obtained 'Top Secret' Central Intelligence Organisation
(CIO) documents revealing a plan to mount phases two, three and four of a
sting operation against Roman Catholic Bishop, Pius Ncube, with the express
authority of President Robert Mugabe.
The documents reveal how the CIO plans to bring down Ncube through a
three-tier sting that includes an HIV/AIDS saga, an abortion scandal and a
further adultery charge involving another married woman.
The document, reference number DG/mm2/ei Cleric, is an executive instruction
to all the divisional heads of the CIO dated "9/14/7" or September 14, 2007.
It is addressed to heads of the Internal division, Counter Intelligence,
Foreign division and CIO assistant directors in Harare, Bulawayo, Midlands,
Matabeleland North and South.
Intelligence sources said the document was drafted a week after press
reports that Ncube was forming a political party. He has denied these
The Zimbabwean has in its possession, a faxed copy of the "executive
instruction" on a CIO official document bearing the Zimbabwean coat of arms.
The documents contain sensitive government information, crudely encrypted.
State Security minister Didymus Mutasa was not immediately available to
comment on the leaked document, bound to cause extreme embarrassment for the
security agency and the government.
The document reveals that the sting operation has been approved by Mugabe
himself, and refers to "Zim1" - standard CIO-speak for Mugabe.
"Collapse phase two and three into one phase as per attached guidelines and
commence with immediate effect," reads the coded message from CIO supremo
Happyton Bonyongwe. "Esigodini payment has been effected.
"Let me stress that it has been made clear that Pius Ncube has always and
still remains a security threat. Please be advised that Zim1 has impressed
upon me to ensure that Ncube keeps his silence and begs forgiveness from
Mugabe was also not happy with the way the media handled the last sting,
where details of the Bishop allegedly having an affair with the estranged
wife of a mid-level government functionary were exposed.
"But sterilize media's involvement. Powers that be not pleased with way op
(operation) was handled in first instance," says the document.
It also makes reference to silencing Ncube before "congress," a reference to
the December Zanu (PF) extraordinary congress expected to endorse Mugabe as
the ruling party's presidential candidate for 2008 elections.
The document implores field agents to "double up their efforts" and says
"Cannot fail to bring him to his knees." Bonyongwe says Ncube's
transgression is that he has "pressed on attacking the sovereign government
Intelligence sources say phase two involves Onesmus Sibanda, husband of
Rosemary, the woman alleged to have been having an extra-marital affair with
The document reveals that Sibanda is due to file a second lawsuit, revealing
that he had contracted HIV from his wife following her relationship with the
Sibanda has been paid Z$12 billion for this sting, according to our sources.
Phase three referred to in the directive contains fresh allegations that
Ncube has sired two children with a married woman in Esigodini. She is
married to Likwa Manjengwa, who has been given Z$3 billion to implicate
Ncube in this scandal. Mugabe was said to have been ecstatic with this
information about Ncube's alleged children. Says Bonyongwe in his letter:
"Briefing on Manjengwa has pleased Zim 1."
The fourth phase involves details of an alleged abortion by a 17 year-old
girl purported to have been impregnated by Ncube. The Bulawayo girl, Tamai
Chirenje, died while in the process of terminating the pregnancy, allegedly
on the instructions of Ncube.
Intelligence sources said Mugabe was desperate to silence the Bishop by any
means necessary. Mugabe was also said to be livid with Ncube's move to
He stepped down from the top position as Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo
saying he didn't want it to appear that the church was being tried for
The Catholic Church in Zimbabwe, South Africa and the UK continues to
support Ncube despite the scandal. But the official position of the Vatican
By Marvellous Mhlanga-Nyahuye
10 October 2007
British opponents of President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday hailed the Foreign
Office's denial of a U.K. visa to Zimbabwe Cricket Chairman Peter Chingoka.
Chingoka wanted to take part in an International Cricket Council hearing on
the case of umpire Darrell Hair, but had to address the tribunal by video
link from Harare after British authorities, denying the visa, said Chingoka
was tied to the ruling party.
That tribunal ended in London on Tuesday after Hair agreed to drop charges
of racial discrimination against the ICC.
British parliamentarian Kate Hoey, a prominent Mugabe critic, told reporter
Ndimyake Mwakalyelye that the move to bar Chingoka was long overdue.
Former Zimbabwe national cricketer Henry Olonga, now living in London,
praised the decision as sending a clear message of dissatisfaction with the
Elsewhere in Zimbabwean sports, Highlanders Football Club was well on its
way to the CBZ Cup finals following a 2-1 victory over Caps United at
Gwanzura Stadium in the capital Wednesday afternoon. Highlanders will now
play the winner of the faceoff between Dynamos and Lengthens Thursday, also
Wednesday 10 October 2007
By Tanonoka Joseph Whande
GABORONE - Why do African leaders tip-toe around the rogue Zimbabwean
It cannot be the nonsense that President Robert Mugabe is viewed as a hero
and so they revere him even when he kills the same people he supposedly
Heroism is bestowed on dead people after taking into consideration the sum
output of their efforts, behaviour and unselfish, daring servitude to the
people or the nation.
Otherwise 'living heroes' have to constantly renew their status until they
Nelson Mandela, the world's most revered statesman, is considered a hero on
all fronts and there is little dispute about that. But to maintain that
'living hero' status, Mandela has to be careful.
It only takes one small mistake for his hero status to evaporate. Is Mugabe
a hero just because he is perceived to have liberated Zimbabwe?
If so, then, does that hero status still stand in light of what has and
continues to happen under his stewardship?
Thousands are believed and known to have died at his hands in the Midlands
and Matabeleland provinces in what he, himself, termed 'a moment of madness'.
There are politically motivated killings blamed on his supporters and he
does not chide them.
Apparently, all these negatives, abuse, mismanagement of the nation's
finances and the economy do not take anything away from a hero.
Mugabe remains a hero for failing to maintain, just to maintain, what our
nation inherited from the white government.
He remains a hero after destroying the nation's agricultural base and
presiding over starving people that he refuses to give food because they are
suspected of not supporting his political party.
He remains a hero whose vanity demands that in every city, town and township
be a street named after him.
He remains a hero to African presidents when he sends millions of his people
into neighbouring countries to look for food. Just how do African presidents
If Mugabe is a hero by any measure, then Africa, not just Zimbabwe, is
doomed. But that shows us that Africa has never been able to elect the right
people into office.
Will we ever get an African president who can distinguish himself or herself
apart from the 'presidential' garbage we have seen on the African continent
since the 1950s up to today? Not likely.
Africa appears to have not even one president with principles anchored in
conviction, reality and belief. Africa's so-called presidents are chancers
who entered politics, not to serve, but to be served and to accumulate
They behave like sheep swayed by a shepherd dog. And, indeed, it appears to
me those collies have a far better sense of direction than SADC leaders.
Unlike African presidents, those mutts not only know where they should go
but also know the right thing to do with what's entrusted to them. SADC,
like the rest of Africa, urgently needs meaningful leadership.
Africa does not deserve the leadership it has. Let us start with Joachim
Chissano, the former Mozambican president. It appears to me that Chissano is
a bored man.
I am almost certain that he did not buy a pig farm while he was president.
Because of boredom, he is spouting embarrassing garbage about Zimbabwe and,
in particular, Robert Mugabe.
Chissano, like the now widely discredited Levy Mwanawasa, urges that Mugabe
be invited to the Portugal summit 'to engage him in an exchange of views',
something he failed to do with Mugabe while he was president.
Only last year Mugabe refused Chissano to be a mediator in the Zimbabwean
crisis. During his presidency, Chissano softly but conspicuously turned away
from Mugabe after discovering that Mugabe was an unreasonable dictator,
immune to any constructive suggestions.
Chissano, unlike Samora Machel, went on to concentrate on rebuilding his
nation and he did a splendid job without being unnecessarily weighed down by
Mozambique's revival must be credited to Chissano after the disastrous start
Machel reigned on the country. But today, Chissano spouts falsehoods about
engaging Mugabe in debate, thereby retarding efforts to reign in the
notorious Zimbabwean leader.
Mozambique is on an economic rise and keeping Mugabe in power gives
Mozambique access to markets that would otherwise be filled by Zimbabwe.
Sometime this year, Zambia's Levy Mwanawasa broke with the old tired and
self-defeating chorus from unthinking African presidents.
He likened Zimbabwe to the legendary Titanic and raised hopes that African
leaders were, at last, ready to confront Mugabe.
Within a few days of that statement, Mwanawasa had dispatched a high ranking
envoy to mend fences with Mugabe.
Mwanawasa wanted the Zimbabwean issue debated at the Lusaka SADC meeting,
Mugabe did not. Mugabe, unschooled in verbal decency, berated Mwanawasa in a
closed-door plenary session.
"Mwanawasa, who do you think you are?" Mugabe is reported to have growled
angrily at the hapless Zambian who immediately retreated into a cowardly
posture, telling Mugabe that he had misunderstood his intentions.
As suddenly as the strike of a match, Mwanawasa's confidence deserted him.
Since that day, he has been behaving in an embarrassing manner.
Suddenly, Mwanawasa said the Zimbabwean situation was being exaggerated and
told the world that he would not attend the Portugal summit if Mugabe were
He is now Mugabe's tea-boy, fetching the political sticks where ever Mugabe
chooses to throw them. What a shame, a president, a lawyer and no principles
Addressing American students at an Arkansas university, Mwanawasa said all
the problems the opposition parties face in Zimbabwe were self inflicted.
"Seizures of land from white commercial farmers in Zimbabwe were a bit
harsh," he said. "But opposition forces brought the push by Mugabe upon
Don't ask me; I have no idea what he meant. Mwanawasa said western powers
must be willing to talk to Mugabe.
"Dialogue is the most important thing.talk to him; give him your message.
and you will find you will be getting better results."
This is from a SADC chairman. He, along with his organization, failed to
speak to Mugabe and now invites foreigners to engage Mugabe in talks. No
wonder he won the presidency with only 29 percent of the Zambian vote!
And Mwanawasa added another untruth, claiming that the issue in Zimbabwe is
over land. It is not and never was. And Mwanawasa knows it.
Several months ago, Ghana's John Kuffour raised the hopes of Zimbabweans
when he stood with Thabo Mbeki outside the presidential offices in South
Africa and pointed out that Mugabe was a problem not to be tolerated.
It now does not appear as if Kuffour remembers that anymore because his
'African Union', like the cowards in SADC, said they would not attend a
summit in Portugal if Mugabe is excluded.
This really is pathetic; African leaders sacrifice their national economies,
potential assistance and possible opening of trade markets for the continued
survival of one of the world's most notorious dictators.
Then there is Mbeki!
And where are Wade and Kibaki? Early on, they made noises about the
Zimbabwean tragedy and both seem to have forgotten about it.
Early this week, Wade said he was going to Zimbabwe in two weeks' time to
talk to Mugabe because, he said, it should not be left to Mbeki alone. I
wish him the best!
Mugabe's irrelevant recent speech at the UN was more than embarrassing to
himself. He tried to give the world an incorrect recital of history. He
spoke, not of Africa's or Zimbabwe's problems, but of his own desire to
It showed us the helplessness of rage. It was like attending his own
funeral. Unfortunately for Mugabe, he can never make himself look better by
reciting someone else's shortcomings.
African leaders are an intolerable embarrassment. And I badly want to remind
them that honesty goes deeper than facts. Honesty is rooted in the soul
rather than the world.
Africa needs honest leaders and none of what we have now.
*Tanonoka Joseph Whande is a Botswana-based Zimbabwean writer
Will President Mbeki and the SADC continue backing Mugabe after his latest
bid to seize 51% of all businesses, putting them into indigenous hands, asks
October 10, 2007 Edition 1
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe seems to contradict himself quite often.
In the latest such example, while Mugabe was in New York reassuring
President Thabo Mbeki and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of
his absolute commitment to negotiations with opposition parties, and plans
to rehabilitate Zimbabwe's economy - and while he vehemently denied the
situation in his country was as bad as regularly portrayed - his parliament
was busy passing the Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Bill that
completely contradicted his words.
The tone of the speeches that guided the Bill through Zimbabwe's
parliament - and the fact that it was passed without recognition of key
economic realities - don't tally with Mugabe's promises to co-operate,
negotiate a settlement or craft logical plans to pull Zimbabwe back from the
economic and political brink.
At best, the Bill - which forces all businesses to cede controlling shares
or a minimum of 51% to indigenous Zimbabweans - flies in the face of the
Mbeki-led SADC effort to help put Zimbabwe back on its feet. At worst, it
This time the paradox between Mugabe's words and actions also worried the
Three days before Zimbabwe's parliament was due to pass the Bill, SA's
government asked regional finance ministers to bring forward their scheduled
November meeting in Zimbabwe. The instruction was to go and investigate the
Bill's potential effects on the country's existing economic catastrophe.
Zimbabwe Central Bank Governor Gideon Gono says the Bill's "unguided
interference" poses the greatest threats to current efforts to restore
confidence in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe's National Chamber of Commerce echoed
similar sentiments, as did its Chamber of Mines. Zimbabwe's opposition
party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), staged a walkout when the
Bill was passed, saying it was just legalising state theft.
Regardless, the Bill has sailed through Zimbabwe's Zanu-PF-dominated
parliament. It now awaits Mugabe's signature into law.
Following a government crackdown on opposition parties in Zimbabwe last
March, Mbeki was appointed by the SADC to secure a political settlement
between its two main political parties - Zanu-PF and the MDC - which have
been locked in an eight-year political stalemate.
While broad political and constitutional issues are being negotiated, SADC
finance ministers are working closely with Zimbabweans to help find ways to
reverse the country's economic meltdown. This Bill will, if nothing else,
certainly add another facet to what they thought they knew and understood.
The indigenisation law is the latest in a string of policies and legislation
that have contributed to Zimbabwe edging closer to total collapse. Inflation
is between 7 600% (its government's figures) and 13 000% (independent
estimates). Zanu-PF has already branded the Bill's critics as people who
want to propagate economic imbalances brought about by colonialism.
Mbeki's office wouldn't comment (as per an agreement concerning the
mediation with the Zimbabweans) on how the Bill affects SA's mediation
efforts, whether it makes them more complex, sets them back or whether it
confirms that Mugabe's promises to co-operate are worthless.
Indeed, if serious with regard to economic rehabilitation, any decision with
the potential to send capital flying from Zimbabwe at this stage would seem
ludicrous. However, the contents of the Bill guarantee it. Zimbabwe's
National Chamber of Commerce predicts it will drive away 30% of the already
inadequate foreign direct investment in Zimbabwe.
The Bill, which requires all businesses to shed a minimum of 51% to
indigenous Zimbabweans, stands in complete contradiction to the call Mugabe
made shortly before the Bill was passed for "true and genuine friends" to
invest in Zimbabwe's natural resources. He promised his security forces
would protect any investments.
Nevertheless, the Bill prescribes that no projected or proposed investment
in a prescribed sector of the economy should be approved unless indigenous
Zimbabweans hold a controlling stake in the investment. For a country where
it's already difficult to do business, to pass a Bill that also requires all
government departments, statutory bodies, local authorities and companies to
procure 50% of their goods and services from companies controlled by
indigenous Zimbabweans also seems off the wall.
Minister Munyaradzi Mangwana, in charge of Zimbabwe's indigenisation and
economic empowerment, will have sweeping powers to prescribe a lower
percentage "depending on the circumstances of each case subject".
Mangwana will also set timetables for the transfer of the controlling
interest. He will approve all proposed transactions. He'll review or reject
any transaction and can cancel operating licences of companies that don't
Zimbabwe's government also looks set to push this Bill as hard as it can.
It's has already cancelled the licence of the country's third cellphone
network, allegedly because a majority share hadn't been transferred to
Zimbabweans by the June 30 deadline.
While Mangwana promises Zimbabwe's government will work with all business
sectors to set timeframes for transfers, Mugabe sticks to his guns about the
country's economic woes being London's fault in co-ordinating a Western plot
of sabotage to punish Harare for land seizures.
True economic empowerment and equity for ordinary Zimbabweans are not up for
debate. It's critical for its long-term stability and prosperity, say
opposition parties, economists and business leaders. But they argue that
Mugabe's latest move makes no economic sense and has no due regard for the
economics of acquisition in a market-driven economy.
nThe Indigenisation and Empowerment Bill defines indigenous as "any person
who before the April 18 1980 [Zimbabwe's Independence Day] was disadvantaged
by unfair discrimination on the grounds of his or her race, and any
descendant of such person".
White business owners will have to prove that they were affected by the
colonial system if they're to be exempted from having to cede 51% of their
businesses to indigenous Zimbabweans.
"A Zimbabwean-born can't qualify. He has to prove that he's been
disadvantaged by colonisation. I've been asked if coloureds are included.
Yes, they're included. Indians, they're also included if they can prove that
they were disadvantaged by the colonial regime. All blacks qualify because
they fall within the definition of indigenous," Mangwana told the Zimbabwean
SW Radio Africa (London)
10 October 2007
Posted to the web 10 October 2007
There was drama in Musina on Wednesday when armed South African police,
accompanied by 9 soldiers in a troop carrier, swooped on 2 advertising
workers erecting a billboard targeting Zimbabweans living in South Africa.
The massive billboard read, 'We know why you are in South Africa: Life in
Zimbabwe is Murder; But please go back to vote in March. We can all be
The poster was originally put up a month ago but within two days had been
scraped off, in what locals say was a job done in the middle of the night.
Initially it was thought operatives from Zimbabwe's state security agency
had crossed the border and clandestinely removed the paper on the board.
Washington Times correspondent Geoff Hill happened to be in Musina Wednesday
and witnessed the arrest of the employees from Red Dot Media, involved in
the placement of the poster. He says the workers were about to put up a new
version of the same advert when the police and soldiers arrived at lunchtime
and ordered them off the site. They were handcuffed and carted off to Musina
Police Station in what Hill described as a heavy handed manner.
It's not clear why the authorities are blocking the placement of the
billboard or if they were behind its destruction a month ago? What is known
however is that the site is a council accredited area which has previously
hosted adverts from the likes of fast food chain KFC and soft drink
manufacturer Coca Cola. Information received seems to indicate that police
acted on a complaint from the ANC dominated Musina City Council.
Captain Makoki, the officer who supervised the arrests, refused to comment
when Newsreel called him on his mobile. He insisted he could only speak to
journalists face to face and not on the phone. Geoff Hill however told
Newsreel the police were stonewalling on confirming the arrest of the Red
Dot employees. Only when they became aware that a journalist had witnessed
everything and was in possession of photographic evidence did they make a
u-turn and confirm the incident.
Red Dot Media boss Will Basson confirmed the incident and spent the day
trying to find out the reasons for the police arresting their workers. The
South African media was abuzz with news of the incident. One radio station
coined the headline 'Armed police and soldiers swoop on 2 poster boys armed
with glue.' Meanwhile Geoff Hill confirmed the release of the employees at
16:45 (SA time). They were not charged.
By Blessing Zulu
10 October 2007
A Zimbabwean government official has publicly admitted that the country will
need to ask for assistance to meet the needs of all vulnerable households.
Labor Ministry Director Sydney Mhishi conceded the need for food aid in
submissions to a follow-up on a national food assessment carried out by the
United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Food Program
earlier this year.
"The government is urging all those who can assist to complement (the)
government's efforts by providing assistance to vulnerable households,"
The admission comes soon after President Robert Mugabe told U.N. Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon last month during the organization's general assembly
that the country would have informed the United Nations if the situation
were "dire." The president maintained that his government was coping with
The FAO-WFP follow-up brought together Health and Labor Ministry officials,
representatives of Zimbabwe's Meteorological Services Department and the
country's Agriculture Extension Services, or Arex, as well as
nongovernmental organizations such as Oxfam and Environment Africa.
Arex forecast national wheat production of some 145,000 metric tonnes, well
short of the 400,000 metric tonnes the country needs to meet requirements.
The Grain Marketing Board, a state monopoly, says it has taken in just
400,000 metric tonnes of wheat to date this crop year. Mhishi told the group
that Harare has allocated Z$347 billion for food assistance for some 3
million people through April 2008.
But economists and other experts say this is not enough and that the number
of those needing assistance could exceed 8 million if urban hunger is taken
Bulawayo-based economist Eric Bloch told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe in putting off submitting a request for international
food assistance - as it has in previous years - Harare had engaged in
South African-based analyst Glen Mpani said Harare delayed in asking for
assistance to ensure that the arrival of food would coincide with the
election campaign running up to local, parliamentary and presidential
scheduled for March 2008.
From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 5 October
Zambia's southern city of Livingstone, which was approaching ghost town
status a decade ago, has experienced a remarkable economic recovery
kick-started by international investment in tourism infrastructure at
Victoria Falls. The city that last saw a boom when the bridge was built over
"the smoke that thunders" more than a century ago has been lifted from three
decades of stagnation and a national economy gutted by the collapse of its
textile and clothing industry, caused by cheap foreign imports. Barry
Standish of the South African-based Economic Information Services, which has
studied the development, says: "Today Livingstone is booming with tourism
contributing nearly $400million to regional GDP in six years. More than 15
000 direct and indirect jobs have been created. There has been major
infrastructure development. Property values in Livingstone are rising
appreciably. Derelict and neglected amenities such as golf courses and
historic buildings have been renovated and refurbished. There has been a
tenfold increase in the city's contribution to Zambia's GDP." The catalyst
for this recovery is the $60million, two-hotel complex built in 2000 by Sun
International Zambia next to the Victoria Falls. The Zambian government
fully supported this single largest private sector investment in its tourism
industry. "The Falls Complex has since stimulated wide-ranging tourism
development in Livingstone, ranging from hotels, guest houses and lodges to
tour operators, concessionaries, activity providers such as river operators,
air charter companies, transport companies, restaurants and informal
traders," says Standish. "By 2005 more than a quarter of Livingstone's
population benefited from tourism. A major factor in the success of
Livingstone's tourism industry has been funding by the Zambian government
and international donors of infrastructural development, most notably for
This has produced some startling statistics. Annually the airport has seen a
30% increase in the number of flights, from 2 700 in 2001 to 7 500 in 2005.
Larger commercial aircraft now outnumber the light planes touching down. In
the same period passenger numbers are up by an astounding 320% a year: 8 900
in 2001 and 180 000 in 2005. The Falls Complex recorded 89 000 bed nights in
2002/03. Two years later, this had risen to 171 000. Standish estimates that
the number of guests accommodated in Livingstone but outside the Falls
Complex is three to four times that of seven years ago. "Importantly, the
Livingstone tourism industry is attracting more and more business from the
United Kingdom, Europe and other non-African points of origin, which means
the city is increasingly becoming a destination for high-spending northern
hemisphere visitors and is becoming less reliant on tourists from South
Africa," says Standish. "Livingstone is an empirical example to other
developing countries that have natural tourism assets and are prepared to
work hard to secure private sector interest on the back of public sector
infrastructural development and, most of all, attractive incentives and a
high level of cooperation." Zambia is now looking to develop other sights,
making tourism one of its most important economic activities and a key
weapon in its national poverty reduction strategy. The country aims to
attract more than a million tourists a year by 2010.
We are solidly behind Zimbabwean teachers who this week downed tools to
press their demands for an inflation-linked salary increase.
The significance of the role of teachers in nurturing and developing the
future of our country - the next generation - cannot be overemphasised.
Teachers are a crucial resource.
They should be fairly compensated for their efforts. Many of them earn
around Z$3 million a month - just enough to buy 10 litres of petrol. This is
Mugabe's recent decree under the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures)
Act, under which salary and price increases are banned, is not only insane -
it is immoral. During the two months or so since the decree, Mugabe's own
salary has been increased from Z$62 million to Z$1.4 billion.
If Mugabe finds it difficult to survive on less than a billion a month - how
does he expect teachers, and indeed most other Zimbabweans who are lucky
enough to be employed, to survive on Z$3 million?
Workers anywhere in the world have the right to withdraw their labour and
for the government, in the person of Home Affairs minister Kembo Mohadi, to
threaten them with violence as has happened in the past is despicable.
Workers in Zimbabwe should unite and rally behind the ZCTU call for a
two-day stayaway on September 19 and 20. What do they have to lose?
We need a new constitution
Zimbabwe's much amended constitution is being tinkered with for the 18th
time. As has been the case in the past, Zimbabweans were never consulted.
They made no input and they will be faced with a rubber-stamped result that
will serve to further entrench Mugabe as a dictator.
What Zimbabwe needs is a new constitution that will provide for a modern
democracy - not a re-write of a substantially flawed instrument that has
outlived its usefulness.
South Africa has a constitution that is respected throughout the world for
its democratic provisions. That would be a good start.
Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to
firstname.lastname@example.org with “For Open Letter Forum” in the subject line.
Dear Jag - Ben Freeth - Chegutu
Perceptions of case in Chegutu Magistrates Court on 1/10/07.
There are eleven white farmers being accused in this case [CRB nos. 1443 to
1451 including John Eastwood, Mike Campbell, Frikkie Buitendag, Jockie
Beattie, Dirk Visagie, Blake Nicolle, Billy Nicholson, Bruce Rodgers, and
Richard Etheredge], Andy Ferreira and Wayne Seaman, charged subsequently.
There was no room in the dock for them to remain in the Court room through
the 2 hour submission given by Mr. Drury [DD] who represented them all. For
their benefit [and others] I will therefore attempt to outline what was said
and add some other thoughts and perceptions.
Before doing so I wish to say in passing that I think it is a good thing to
have faced the problem on the first Monday of the problem. If the State had
waited to the first Friday of the problem there could have been a number of
people on the concrete again. I do not rule out this possibility in the
weeks to come where those that have not already been charged are picked up.
I think we need to warn other white farmers to expect it.
The case was heard on 1 October 2007 at 2.15 pm before Mr. Ndokera [a
Provincial Magistrate] and was prosecuted by the Mr. Matemba the provincial
public prosecutor in Chegutu. They were glared upon by Mr. Kunonga, the
lands officer as well as Mr. Matanhiki [Chegutu War vet chairman wanting
Blake Nicolles farm]; “War vet” Makoni wanting various of the accused
farms but most recently Billy Nicholsons who he attempted to jambabja last
month; and others. The magistrate appeared intimidated by their presence.
The offence deemed to have been committed was under section 3 of the
gazetted land [consequential provisions] act. In this evil bit of
legislation anyone who at the stroke of a pen has had their homes, land, and
livelihood allegedly acquired through the infamous Amendment number 17 to
the constitution, is now deemed to be a criminal if he is on the farm
without permission from the Minister of State Security. The offence can
carry a 2 year imprisonment term. It includes almost every white farmer
still “out there”.
David Drury began by presenting a notice of referral for all the accused
asking that that the case be referred to the constitutional court [supreme
The Magistrate asked why they should be dealt with together and not
DD said that it was for pragmatism and convenience and that he would bring
in prior case law to support that. He presented the Notice of referral to
the magistrate which lists 8 constitutional points as to why the case should
be referred to the supreme court due to the unconstitutionality of the
current laws and process. Most of you received a copy of this. In essence
Amendment no.17 took away the rule of law in Zimbabwe and our right to
protection of the law which is a fundamental right and therefore goes
against the core values within international constitutional law.
It is not “reasonably necessary” [sect 16A of constitution] to take all our
land, homes, livelihood etc.
Acquisition of improvements on the land without compensation can not be
possible in law. sect 16[c] of constitution.
Acquisition of the land itself without compensation [sect 16 A] goes
against all democratic norms.
The method of compensation is unconstitutional [payable over 5 years in
instalments at 30 % interest per year].
No proper identification as laid down in the land acquisition act has been
done for each of the pieces of land for acquisition as it should have been
and it is therefore outside sect 16 B of constitution.
The process is in direct conflict with the SADC treaty.
The gazetted land [consequential provisions] act is in itself an abuse of
powers under section 18 and 18 of constitution.
DD presented a letter to the Public Prosecutor [PP] in Chegutu dated 15/9/07
from himself. It asked the PP for referral to the Supreme Court in the
matters between the State and Etheredge, Visage and Rodgers due to be heard
on 17 October. Copies of the summons, a copy of State outline, warned and
cautioned statements and preambles, statements, preliminary notices relied
upon, minutes of land committees at all levels regarding each acquisition,
certificates of service regarding each acquisition notice, copies of offer
letters for beneficiaries, copies of district technical team reports etc.
had all been requested from the PP in the letter but very little information
had been provided to defend the accused. He presented case law regarding
the right to get information from the State for defending accused.
DD spoke with regard to the Mike Campbell case in the Supreme Court [SC
124/06] which already challenges a number of constitutional issues
[amendment no. 17 taking away the rule of law and protection of the law;
there can be no acquisition without compensation; the whole acquisition
process is discriminatory]. This case was heard on 22 March 2007 but still
awaits judgement. The whole legality of the current process hangs on the
judgement of this case.
DD went on to outline the Etheredge case [SC 194/07] lodged on 3 September
2007 which is waiting for a hearing in the supreme court and brings out
additional constitutional points raised in this referral application.
DD brought in the Paliouris and Wigall case which says that the State is
obliged to pay compensation if it wishes to acquire the land. Nobody had
received compensation 2 years after the State had purportedly nationalised
the land through constitutional amendment number 17.
In his letter to PP, DD had raised 4 cases where the High Court had granted
relief even with amendment no. 17. These included Neville Stidolphs case
that had added the constitutional point regarding the parameters of the
magistrates court ie. That their powers were limited under the constitution
and that issues such as were before them now were essentially too big. In
the Korori high court case [Charles Lock] it was outlined by the judge that
if the State wishes to remove people it first has to apply to a competent
court for an eviction notice and go through the whole process until a final
eviction order is granted. Any short cutting of the process is “contempt of
DD then outlined cases and precedents where matters had been referred
directly to the supreme court including the most recent Farrell case in
Gweru where a farmer had been charged under an identical charge on the 5
September 2007 and all points had gone up to the Supreme Court
The Public Prosecutor opposed referral to the Supreme Court.
PP said that it was “frivolous and vexatious” and it was just delaying
tactics as apart from Campbell and Etheredge nobody had applied to Supreme
PP said it was up to the accused to give resources to the State to photocopy
requested documents as the State had no money!
PP said that accused had all signed orders enacted by parliament regarding
the land being acquired and had chosen not to comply so were now coming
before the court with “dirty hands” [ie. as people on the wrong side of the
law – criminals] and that this could not be tolerated. All the State had to
do was show the land had been gazetted and order that occupants vacate
within time limits.
PP said there was no defence for this criminal charge and that the
Magistrates court could still hear arguments even while the supreme court
was deliberating. PP said beneficiaries needed to get on with agricultural
plans and asked if a determination could be reached on 17 October.
DD summed up by saying that none of the accused had signed orders to vacate
. He said that the PP had not objected to a single one of the 8
constitutional points he had raised; that the PP had not said why the
application for referral was not frivolous and vexatious especially in the
light of the fact that the Mike Campbell matter was still being considered
by the Supreme Court; that the PP had not referred to any documentation
regarding sect 16A of constitution ie. Reasonable necessity and applying
necessary procedures in acquisition process; that there were no responses
from the Minister regarding applications to continue and it was taken in law
that such failure allowed applicant to continue; that it was binding on
State to follow land settlement act; that there was no compliance with
interpretation act by the State regarding service of important documents;
that the SADC treaty was violated; that the administration of justice act
had been violated by the State not giving requested evidence etc. DD added
more case law which he said was binding on the Court.
The magistrate said that the decision by a fellow magistrate to refer the
matter to the Supreme Court was not binding on him. He had to now decide
whether the application for the referral of the matter was frivolous and
vexatious or not.
Conclusion: I believe that in the light of all the case law that DD raised;
and with the absence of any case law or any real legal arguments by the PP;
the balance of probabilities hangs in favour of the Magistrate referring the
matter to the Supreme Court. We have had good judgements in the past from
this Magistrate. The only reason why he may not wish to refer it in this
case is if he is intimidated into not doing so. If he doesn’t refer the
case however, he will have the spot light of intimidation on him for a lot
longer as he will then have to try each accused individually [including
every other owner and occupier of State land which does not have legal
authority to be there] on the criminal charges outlined. We are fortunate
to have 2 cases in other areas already referred to the supreme court under
the same charge. We are also fortunate to have amongst the group a matter
that was heard in the Supreme Court 6 months ago [Mike Campbell]. This case
already awaits judgement. We also have another prior matter pending a
hearing in the Supreme Court [Etheredge].
If justice fails us here we still have the appeal to the SADC tribunal which
we have prepared and which can go in immediately this happens. I believe
pressure needs to be brought to bear on the CFU to join itself with this
case and protect members from being placed on the wrong side of the law as
in the current scenario. Currently the CFU president refuses to be party to
this case; but he can not give me a single legal reason why he doesn't want
to be a part of it.
Unfortunately history appears to be repeating itself. CFU failed to do
anything in 2002 about challenging unjust laws and we lost most farmers then
through them being on the wrong side of the section 8 legislation. CFU have
now done the same again in allowing farmers to be arrested without them
having taken any legal action to protect them and their rights. Is the CFU
there for its members; or are its members there for the CFU? Why as
individuals do the people who set up the CFU [the individual farmers] need
to spend time, money and heart ache on going through all this when the CFU
was set up to do it for them? If the CFU believes in the rule of law why
does it so stubbornly refuse to use the law? Can the few lawyers that are
left cope with running about to every Magistrates court in the country to
defend individuals if the State goes ahead with a big purge this month?
Whatever the case we need to do everything we possibly can to make sure that
other farmers are not caught on the wrong side of the law as the next few
weeks unfold. I hope it is not too late [dirty hands argument] for the CFU
to approach the Courts on constitutional grounds to protect everyone else.
Unfortunately they are the only group with locus standi to do so.
Ben Freeth 3/10/07.- Chegutu
On Thursday 4th October 2007, the Jag Trust sought legal advice from retired
Justice George Smith, re the Trust’s own locus standi, to support this case
in a joinder application in the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe, or, should it
become necessary, in the SADC Tribunal.
Legal opinion given was that where the Jag Trust, and the affiliated Jag
Membership Association, should indisputably have locus standi in the Supreme
Court of Zimbabwe - the State would probably argue otherwise. However, in
the SADC Tribunal, it would be highly unlikely that the “locus standi” issue
would be raised, as it is encumbent on the Tribunal to include all
A subsequent vote taken by the Jag Board of Trustees was unanimous in
support of these legal initiatives, especially in the light of current on
farm pressures to evict remaining farmers.- Editor
All letters published in ‘Open Letter Forum’ are the views and opinions of
the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice for