|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Your Excellencies, as you are aware the verdict in the MDC President’s treason trial is scheduled for tomorrow, October 15 at 10 am. Naturally, I assume that you might want to know our positions, state of our preparedness and responses to several scenarios that might unfold in the next 24 hours.
The position of the MDC on the whole treason trial saga has been a matter of public record since the whole charade began.
The whole trial was nothing but a political show specifically designed to cripple the opposition by targeting the leadership with the hope of eventually paralyzing and ultimately destroying the MDC.
The Mugabe regime has a well-established record of using trumped accusations of treason to destroy opposition political parties in this country. The political experiences of Abel Muzorewa, Joshua Nkomo and Ndabaningi Sithole are well known to the international community. In line with the political behavior of despots the world-over, this particular dictator regards criticism and opposition to his tyranny as treasonous.
A treason charge has therefore been a handy tool for Mugabe to silence political opponents and as was the case with Muzorewa and Sithole. Morgan Tsvangirai was accused of treason during the run up to an election as a strategy to discredit and cripple the MDC. It is a case with all the hallmarks of Mugabe’s legendary ruthlessness, opportunism and total moral deficiency.
The lengthy trial was an unnecessary and somewhat criminal abuse of public funds and a clear demonstration of the extent to which pillars of the state, state institutions and law enforcement agencies have been politicized and subverted in the service of a brutal tyranny.
In these clear circumstances of institutional abuse, the position of the MDC is that an acquittal is the only possible outcome dictated by the fundamental facts of the case. It is the only verdict capable of public defence.
The timing of the judgment is also designed to inflict what the regime believes to be maximum political damage on the MDC. The regime believes that a conviction of the MDC President would paralyze the organizational structure of the MDC, dismantle leadership cohesion and derail the focus of the party from concentrating on electoral reform and the upcoming elections. It is therefore a judgment, which will be delivered in the context of political calculation to weaken the MDC.
But of course all this is a terrible miscalculation on the part of the regime. The leadership is united on all our common objectives and party organization is focused to confront this challenge and achieve the goals that we have set for ourselves.
Finally, I want to state for the record and put to rest any idle speculation on one critical issue. Whatever will be the outcome of tomorrow’s verdict Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai will remain the President of the MDC and so will the constitutional perking order of the party. Nothing will change in the leadership structure, personnel or composition. The leadership crisis within the MDC, which the regime has been expecting and trying to engineer in the press and through the treason trial will not materialize. If anything, the MDC will emerge stronger and more resolute and united from the experience of the treason trial.
ZANU PF PLANNING TO DISRUPT TOMORROW’S HIGH COURT PROCEEDINGS
Reports reaching us indicate
that Zanu PF is planning to stir up trouble at the High Court in
We are aware of a series of
meetings since Friday last week at the Zanu PF provincial headquarters in
The plan will be executed by members of the Zanu PF militia, with the support of rogue war veterans and misguided state security agents. New clothing has been procured for the militias to enable them to gain access to the High Court, fill up the court room and then execute their plan. Altogether, 600 Zanu PF activists are to be deployed for this operation.
The question uppermost in our minds is why the state should go that far. Is there someone, other than the judge, with advance information as to the contents of the judgment?
We are further informed that
there shall be a heavy police presence throughout the City of
I wish to reiterate our
position that instead of wasting time trying to harass the MDC, it is high time
the Mugabe regime realizes that the priority today is food and jobs. The nation
needs a new beginning. The n ationneedsafreshstart.Weneednationalhealing. We
need a new
Paul Themba Nyathi
Secretary for Information
ZNSPCA INSPECTORATE : OCTOBER 2004 UPDATE
The small ZNSPCA crew continue to respond to the relentless reports. Their work on farms, of necessity, has increased and this has probably been the team’s busiest period yet.
Inspector Simon Chikadaya has been promoted to Senior Inspector and Trainee Mahias Trengaruwa is showing great potential – Meryl reports that he has a wonderful way with animals. – presently bottle feeding 2 young orphaned lambs that were found in a kraal on an invaded farm in Featherstone. Trainee Inspector Justine Dare is kept very busy with her administrative duties, but has also been conducting investigations into condition of Security dogs.
Meryl has submitted the following report on recent events:
1. Roy Bennett’s invaded farm, Charleswood Estate, continued to occupy much of our time during June and July. ZNSPCA were tipped off that the Government owned Agricultural and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) was going to commence moving Roy’s cattle from Chartleswood to their Charter Estate in the Chikoma area. We were appalled as this would entail a journey of some 400 kilometres lasting approximately 12 hours and we knew that many of these cattle were too weak to survive the journey. We also heard that several of the experienced cattle transporters had refused the job because of the very steep gradients between Chimanimani and Mutare. The whole exercise was tantamount to stock-theft, but ZNSPCA were unable to stop it.
Simon and I drove down to Chimanimani to monitor the first load - we were not impressed with the two hired trucks and the loading of the cattle by ARDA staff was very rough. The presence of ZNSPCA was vital and we were able to stop several weaners being loaded that would never have survived the trip. We followed the first two truckloads out of Charleswood and were promptly stopped at a Police roadblock just outside the village of Chimanimani. Normally ZNSPCA vehicles are always waved through. This time they ordered Simon and I out of the truck and they just about stripped the vehicle.
Then began the long trip to Charter Estate. The two trucks were in poor mechanical shape and several times on the steep inclines, the drivers had great difficulty changing from second to first gear. At Clouds End we left them and droved down to Chipinge to collect an abandoned security dog. At 9.30 pm the ARDA vet phoned me to ask me if I knew where the Charleswood cattle were. They finally arrived at 10 am the next day, having had mechanical breakdowns and 2 punctures.
We monitored the off-loading of the cattle, several were ‘down’ and all were exhausted. It was as if they had not been expected - there was no access to food in the kraal they were put into and ZNSPCA had to start mobilising ARDA staff to provide hay. We returned to Charter Estate the following day to find two ‘downed’ cows still lying in the hot sun - no water and only a small handful of crushed maize had been placed near them. ZNSPCA cut green grass for them, collected hay and brought them buckets of water. They were extremely hungry and thirsty, but despite our efforts they both died the following day.
Over the next few weeks, approximately 600 head of Bennett’s cattle were moved by road to ARDA’s Charter Estate. ZNSPCA monitored the loading and off-loading when we could, but several more did not survive. We watched whilst ARDA workers superimposed their brand over Bennett’s brand. On one of our many trips to Charleswood we had Roy’s old mare ‘Cutex’ euthanaised – she was loosing condition rapidly, had a very bad eye and was not being given the essential medication which we had provided for her.
2. A family was violently evicted from Pendennis Farm in Karoi, this time by an Officer from the Prison Services. Thugs arrived at 4pm and gave the family until daybreak to get off the farm. In the early hours of the morning as they were leaving they went to put the 2 family dogs in the car but ‘Sheba’ an elderly Ridgeback was extremely stressed and bit the Son as he tried to lift her into the car. Further attempts to catch her failed and the distraught family had to leave without their beloved dog. ZNSPCA were contacted and several days later we drove the 193 km to Karoi. Armed Prison Officers at the farm gate told us that we couldn’t go in without a “pass” from Harare. We drove down the road, picked up a female Prison Officer, informed the guards that she was our “pass” and drove in.
We soon found Sheba wandering round the garden looking very lost and the house was empty and deserted. However, as soon as she saw us she disappeared into the flowerbeds. This was not going to be easy, but we had brought some steak and tranquillisers with us. She ate the drugged meat hungrily but two and a half hours later she was still running away from us. Finally she walked unsteadily into the garage and we were able to catch her. It was after dark by the time we delivered Sheba to her anxious owners who had rented a house in Harare. There was an emotional re-union that made it all worthwhile. We later heard that Sheba slept for the next 48 hours!
3. When driving through Karoi recently, we found a German Shepherd and a Labrador, both in excellent condition, running around in a very anxious state in the middle of the main Karoi/Kariba road. We managed to catch them and get them into the back of the ZNSPCA truck. We later discovered that their owner’s farm had been invaded and they were away. Neighbours rallied round and moved all their possessions to another farm, putting the two dogs temporarily in the garden of the local churchyard. Later a resident, unaware that the dogs were there, left the gate open. The dogs were later re-united with their owners.
4. In mid-August we received a frantic phone call from another farmer, again in the Karoi area. He was the owner of 2 tame Lions ‘Beau’ and ‘Storm. Officials from National Parks had arrived at the farm together with the Police, wanting to arrest him because he did not have a Permit for the Lions and because he had “dangerous animals” on the farm. They had obviously been sent by war veterans in the area who wanted the farmer to leave. He was taken away by the Police and spent two nights in jail for this “offence”. In the meantime, we applied to the Parks Department for an urgent Permit. The farmer was released on the Monday but he and his Wife felt it was not safe to go back to the farm. He had left two workers (whom the Lions loved!) to look after them. A few days later, a neighbour phoned to say that the Police and Parks were back again, this time to “confiscate” the Lions. I spoke to one of the officials and informed him that the Permit was being processed, that the female was pregnant and could possibly abort from the stress of being moved. Parks later left the farm, without the Lions.
The issue of the Lions’ Permit was then held up by a major investigation into corruption taking place at National Parks. In an official’s words “all permits will in future go under the microscope”. Eventually, it was issued, but by this time the farmer had taken the matter of his arrest to Court where it was ruled that his detention had been unlawful. The harassment continued and he and his Wife decided to leave the farm for good. He requested the ZNSPCA’s help with relocating the Lions to another farm in the Karoi area. In the meantime, Storm had given birth to two cubs, but sadly the stress of not having ‘Chalkie’ with her had taken its toll and she rejected the cubs – one subsequently died, but the other is being hand-reared and is doing well.
The Lions were successfully darted by a game-capture unit and relocated to a spacious new boma on the other side of Karoi. It was a huge wrench for Chalkie to say good-bye to his beloved Lions for the last time – he and Sandy left for the UK a few days later.
5. Several months ago farmers in the Odzi area had been violently evicted and left behind many of their possessions, including horses. The owners were concerned about their welfare but it was not safe for them to visit the farm. The ZNSPCA gained permission from the Police Officer-in-Charge to check on the horses. We found war veterans in the garden who had been sent to “guard” the property. They helped us find the horses which were in a pretty bad way – a chestnut pony mare had a wire snare round both hind legs, dragging half a tree behind her, several of the Palominos (these belonged to the farmer who had accidentally shot and killed a war veteran when he was attacked) had bad ear infections caused by ticks, with pus pouring down their cheeks. A young gelding had very bad mange and all the horses were covered in ticks, especially large Bont ticks. It took some time to catch the mare with the snare, but we were able to cut the wire and treat the wounds. One or two of the Palominos were approachable and we were able to treat them, but the young gelding was very nervous, as were the other 5 Palominos. ZNSPCA is grateful to Mark Evans who accompanied us to Mapor Farm and who used all his Monty Roberts cunning to catch the horses. I asked the resident war vets if we could uplift the 7 horses and pet donkey. We were referred to the war vets in Mutare and the Chairman later phoned to give ZNSPCA the necessary authority. Two weeks later, we returned to Mapor Farm with a large lorry borrowed from a local farmer, horse cubes, hay and of course Mark Evans accompanied by wife, Claire. We had a feeling the settlers had been chasing the horses as they were even more elusive. Sadly, in spite of our search, there was no sign of the pet donkey ‘Tackies’, presumably stolen for ploughing. It took us 6 ½ hours to catch and load them with the little chestnut gelding being the easiest of the lot. Without Mark and Claire, Simon, Mathias and I would still be trying to catch them. Because they were so stressed we decided to move them a short distance to a ‘safe’ farm on the outskirts of Mutare. Mark offered to leave one of his grooms with the horses for a week whilst he got to know their temperaments and suitability for re-homing. The two owners had given ZNSPCA instructions “to do what you have to do” as they were now living in suburban Mutare unable to have the horses back.
We returned a week later. Sadly in this job decisions have to be made and we euthanaised five of the seven, returning to Harare with a Palomino gelding and the chestnut pony. A vet was called in to attend to both of them and in Mark and Claire’s care they are looking much better already. ‘Alaska’ and ‘Denver’ will be re-homed as soon as the vet has given them the all clear.
6. Brunton Farm, Bromley, was mentioned in our last report (owner’s Wife badly beaten and house ransacked). ZNSPCA were monitoring the feeding of the horses, but after a few days workers were chased away by a local war vet (female) who wants the farm. Horses had to be moved and two were euthanaised as unsuitable for re-homing.
Three cats were left behind and for over 6 weeks ZNSPCA has been checking the cat traps every day. The cats are very nervous because the house is not empty and settlers are camped in the garden. Tragically a settler with a grievance against the owners took 2 of the cats out of the traps before we got there and their bodies were found floating in a nearby well. We called the Police and had him arrested. He is due to appear in Court soon. As for ‘Silver’, we are determined to catch her and now have the resident settlers on our side. We have put the trap inside the house and have broken a window in the lounge, which she is now using to get in at night.
7. Distressed Nyanga residents asked ZNSPCA to check on 6 horses that belonged to Brondesbury Park Hotel that, in spite of the hotel being closed, horses are still there. Hotel has been closed for two years due to current decline in tourism, but a skeleton staff remains including two grooms. Horses were not in bad condition, there is plenty of grazing and the grooms are doing the best they can under difficult circumstances. However, ZNSPCA euthanaised one young horse that was very ill – neck and throat covered in abscesses – had apparently been like that for some time.
8. August Hill Farm, Goromonzi, elderly owner violently evicted for the second time. His farm was taken over several months ago by a member of the Central Intelligence Organisation who felled many fir trees and sold the wood, but did not move in. Owner informed the local Police that the farm continued to be unoccupied, so the Police told him to return. He had been living there for several weeks when he was violently evicted again. Extremely traumatised, he left for this original home in Scotland. ZNSPCA was called in to rescue the owner’s pet cat for the second time. After two weeks we caught his cat but found her very dehydrated and stressed, however after a week at the vets she had made an excellent recovery and we are hoping to re-home her.
9. The Sable on Tengwe Estate were mentioned in the previous report – ZNSPCA had high hopes that after many weeks of negotiating with all stake-holders, with the Movement Permit issued by the Parks Dept and a Game Capture Unit organised, that we would at last be able to secure the release of the Sable. However, it was not to be. We arrived at the gate of the farm early in the morning. The large trucks to move the Sable belonging to the Game Capture Team were already in place, but so was a large mob of settlers, war vets, ex-workers and their rent-a-crowd. Two armed guards from National Parks arrived to oversee the re-location but to no avail. The crowds were demanding a ”percentage” in exchange for allowing the removal of the farmer’s Sable – this could run into millions and was pure extortion. All ZNSPCA could do was once again express our concern over the welfare of the Sable as they were being hunted and poached every weekend by Government Officials from Harare. No one would listen to reason and finally a delegation, including war vets, National Parks and the Game Capture Unit departed for the offices of the Urungwe District Council.
Simon and I waited outside the gate all day, nearby a beer hall provided loud music and alcohol to keep up the spirits of the waiting crowds. At 5.30 pm, it was starting to get dark and the crowd were getting restless and talking about stoning the ZNSPCA truck – we left, having waited 9 ½ hours. Returning to the farm the following morning, it was to learn that the meeting had not reached any agreement and the crowds were continuing to refuse the trucks entry. We headed back to Harare. Since then a fire has swept through Tengwe Estate and there is virtually no grazing for the Sable. I spoke to the main war veteran at the farm this week who informed me that he was “now bored with the issue of the Sable and wants to get on with farming” – but he will still not allow them to be moved. ZNSPCA will continue to fight for their re-location to a safe place.
10. Lussoff Farm in Featherstone – The Police phoned to report that sheep were dying in large numbers on this farm where the owner had been evicted, but had left the sheep on the farm in the hopes that he would be able to return. ZNSPCA was provided with a Police escort and found the situation critical. There was no grazing and several lambs had died, as their mothers had no milk. We were shown the ‘graves’ of many adult sheep. The owner was advised and immediately sent supplementary feed and moved all the sheep to an unlisted farm this week.
11. For two and a half years ZNSPCA has been fighting for the release of 90 Sable that have been incarcerated in bomas at Somerby Farm, Norton at the Quarantine Station there. Due to a long complicated dispute over ownership, involving a conservancy and politicians, the Sable have been living a miserable existence in small bomas lined with black shade cloth. The Sables’ deteriorating health has resulted in most youngsters that were born not surviving or else the mothers aborting. Adults’ hooves have grown too long as they have not worn down naturally. Twice all the Sable have had to be tranquillised in order have their hooves trimmed – on the first occasion this was funded by ZNSPCA.
As the wrangles continued in Court and the whole issue became a political hot potato, the Sable began to die because they were not being fed properly. ZNSPCA has now “seized” the sable in terms of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act – we obtained a Court Order from a Provincial Magistrate in Harare and this in effect puts them in our care, until they are strong enough to be re-located. Funding has been set up for their feeding and now that, after many months, they are receiving the correct food – their recovery has been remarkable. One female has died in the last week, but she had recently aborted and for her, sadly help came too late.
Ironically the day after ZNSPCA obtained the Court Order, the Supreme Court ruled that the Sable did belong to the original owner (i.e. the farmer and his associates).
There are now only 54 sable left from the original 90, but in a few weeks time, they will have their hooves trimmed again and will be set free on a conservancy. ZNSPCA’s long fight for their release has all been worth it.
We have held meetings with:
§ the Permanent Secretary for Lands in an effort to relieve the plight of the Dairy Cows at Collingwood Farm, Concession - he said he did not want to see our photos of the starving cows as he is “an animal lover”!;
§ the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Environment and Tourism in an effort to secure the release of the wild Leopard held in captivity by National Parks at Nyamaneshe;
§ the Executive Director of ARDA in an effort to secure the release of Roy Bennett’s horses at Charleswood Estate.
ZNSPCA continues with its work in the Chinyika and Rusike communal areas with Trainee Inspector Mathias visiting the villagers there as often as possible. We are currently trying to save a few cows belonging to a widow in the Chinyika area. The grazing is non-existent but we have been taking hay and soya bean stalks to her and so far the desperately thin cows are holding their own.
Many of the local people come to our office at Goronmonzi seeking help for their animals – puppies, day-old chicks, donkeys, goats, etc. One old man walked a very long distance to ask us for help for his donkey which had been attacked by a pack of dogs belonging to settlers. It was in a bad state, but we have patched him up and filled him with a long-acting antibiotic. He has found himself a little patch of settlers’ wheat to munch on and we do hope he makes it.
In addition to the farm issues which take up so much of our time, we have also dealt with the transportation of livestock, security dogs, chicken vendors, baboon control on the timber estates, etc.
Michael Madondo of Eaglesnest was found Guilty of Cruelty to a horse by a Rusape Magistrate, was fined $100,000 and banned from keeping an animal for 6 years. This was an excellent result for us as this banning is provided for in the Cruelty Act but so few Magistrates use it.
We have since discovered that he is still keeping another two horses on his property. When ZNSPCA informed the Magistrate, he requested that we uplift the two horses immediately, inform him afterwards and he would have Madondo arrested and “put inside”. The Magistrate informed us that Madondo had tried to bribe him to drop the case and had also asked ZANU PF ‘Chefs’ in the area to see that the charges against him were dropped – this is one Magistrate who will not be treated with contempt.
I have also appeared in Goromonzi Court twice in the Mtetwa case - a woman who was keeping 12 large dogs in small cages. She is very argumentative in Court – case remanded to 30 September.
The trial date for our dog fighting case is 17 November. The accused has already appeared in Court and was remanded IN CUSTODY pending Z$200,000 bail. The shocked expression on the accused’s face was a picture. His mother paid the bail 2 days later.
We have many other cases awaiting trial dates, and several dockets being drawn up before being passed on to the relevant Police Stations.
(End of Report)