Grinding poverty forces graduates
onto the streets
Rory Carroll in Harare Sunday October 17, 2004 The
Night falls across Harare and Tracy Ncube sashays up Fife Avenue
in a tight skirt and borrowed shirt to sell the only thing she can. Half
a dozen other young women are already stationed outside Tipperary's bar and
Ncube picks her spot, a tree opposite the car park illuminated by
headlights. She has been a prostitute for two weeks and has bagged three
customers, earning $45 (£25).
Zimbabwe's youth were once considered
Africa's brightest, graduates of one of the continent's best education
systems which bred sophistication, confidence and ambition.
economy has crumbled and, with it, opportunity. There are virtually no jobs.
Some 90 per cent of the country's 11.8 million people live on less than $1 a
day. Hyperinflation and food shortages are making the middle class
So, a fortnight ago, Ncube, 23, turned to prostitution.
'These days life is very hard. My family doesn't know that I do this, but
how else am I to survive?'
She was visibly nervous. Her voice
trembled, but she was determined to bag a fourth customer to earn between $7
Aid jargon calls prostitution, or transactional sex, a 'negative
coping mechanism', a desperate but effective way to get by.
emigrate, flying to Britain to work as nurses or jumping a fence to scrounge
jobs in Botswana or South Africa. Their pay keeps many families afloat. For
President Robert Mugabe, all this is excellent news. Inflation is close to
400 per cent, unemployment is at 70 per cent and hunger and homelessness are
spreading, but there is no sign of revolution.
Yesterday the country was
digesting the surprise acquittal of the opposition leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, who had been charged with attempting to assassinate the
president. On Friday a high court in Harare dismissed the case which for two
years had crippled his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). It was a
significant boost for the party but there was little public
jubilation. Partly this was because police in riot gear patrolled the
capital with guns and batons. A military jet roared low overhead to
reinforce the authority of a regime in power since independence from Britain
But another reason was resignation. Analysts say that the ruling
Zanu-PF party will sweep parliamentary elections due next March because
opposition has been crushed.
Starved of an independent media and the
right to campaign freely, the MDC has withered, according to a senior MP who
asked not to be named. Its narrow defeats in rigged elections in 2000 and
2002 were high-water marks, he said.
Both cause and symptom of its
malaise are to be found on Fife Avenue. At night, the smart, leafy suburb
close to the city centre is a red-light district.
None of the
prostitutes had a good word to say about Mugabe, whom they accused of
despotism, but none responded to the MDC's plea to rally at the high court
for Tsvangirai's verdict.
'Look, I'm a working girl. I need to sleep and
do things around the house during the day,' said Talent Mushonga, 23.
Samantha Hazvinei, 24, said girls as young as 15 and middle-aged married
women were turning up. 'We are too many ladies looking for too few men. I
need to come earlier and earlier and stay longer to get business.'
UN report last year said poverty and hunger were fuelling child labour and
prostitution. An aid worker, who did not want to be named because of a
crackdown on non-governmental organisations, said she knew middle-aged
women, including nurses, teachers and police officers, who had turned to
Maxine, 27, a three-year veteran of Fife Avenue, said
the new arrivals were reckless. 'They are hot hot, chilli chilli, all in a
rush. But they don't last, they die fast.'
Official figures show that
24.6 per cent of the adult population is infected with HIV, one of the
highest rates in the world.
Ncube said she preferred to use a condom but
admitted the competition for customers - and frequent demand for unprotected
sex - could weaken her resolve.
'What else can I do? Go out and
demonstrate against the government? Demand change?' The notion made her
Racism in Zimbabwe dominates first day
discussions at ICC moot
From our correspondent
Executive Board of the International Cricket Council (ICC) started two-day
deliberations here on Saturday and an inquiry report on racism in Zimbabwe
cricket was the main item of interest from the outset.
Although there was
no official word available from the ICC and its General Manager for
corporate affairs, Brendan McClements on the first day proceedings,
apparently the report on racism in Zimbabwe cricket dominated the
The ICC President Ehsan Mani and chief executive Malcolm Speed
will hold a press conference on Sunday evening to announce details of the
The board is also scheduled to carry out a review of the
structure of test and one-day international cricket.
"The board will
consider a range of alternatives while discussing the future structure of
the programme of Test match and One-day International cricket," it was
confirmed by a member.
"It's is the first opportunity for the board to
consider this important issue following discussions by the Chief Executives
of all countries in September."
There is expected to be intense
debate on the future structure of test and ODI cricket including the 10-year
Future Tours Programme.
According to the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB)
Chairman Shaharyar Khan the board will consider several proposals prepared
by a appointed consultant but it was unlikely any decision would be taken
until the next board meeting in June next year.
The consultant has
prepared several proposals and one of them is to have an A and B structure
in international cricket while scheduling majority of the matches of
Zimbabwe and Bangladesh at home.
Many of the cricket boards have
complained about the ICC's ten-year future tour programme being crammed with
too many series scheduled against the weaker teams like Zimbabwe and
Bangladesh. But understandably both the nations are strongly objecting to
Sources said that on Saturday the report of India's
Solicitor General, Mr Goolam Vahanvati, and South African High Court Judge,
Steven Majiedt into the allegations of racism in Zimbabwe cricket was
The inquiry was initiated by the ICC after 15-white rebel
players walked out of the Zimbabwe team in April accusing the Zimbabwe
cricket Union of racism.
Sources said that the board is also scheduled to
discuss the awarding of the 2006 Champions Trophy to India because of the
tight tax laws prevalent in that country.
Shaharyar said discussions
were likely to center on the tax concessions the ICC will get when the
Champions Trophy is held in India.
He said that India is keen to host the
next tournament but the ICC members want to get more feedback and assurances
from the Indian board on the concessions the ICC can get on earnings because
of the stringent tax laws in India.
Pakistan is taking keen interest
in the scheduling of the 2006 Champions Trophy as it will affect its hosting
of the Asia Cup the same year.
Shaharyar said the hosting of the ICC
meeting was a matter of pride for the Pakistan board and another indication
that it is safe to play cricket in Pakistan and hold international
"We hope this meeting will send out the right message to the
international community," he added.
Pakistan's other interest in the
meeting centers around a discussion on a recommended amendment to the ICC
Code of Conduct to include team selectors in the definition of `team
officials' and further discussions on the future location of the
The amendment is being sought after Pakistan's chief selector Wasim
Bari made disparaging remarks about veteran umpire David Shephard after a
three-nation tournament final between Pakistan and Australia in Holland in
The president orchestrated his opponent's
acquittal all along, reports Fred Bridgland
THE judge who
presided at opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai's 20-month treason trial in
Zimbabwe is a corrupt placeman who last year grabbed a prize white-owned
farm for himself. paddington Garwe was promoted by President Robert Mugabe to
the second highest post in the land - Judge President - three years ago
after a purge of independent-minded judges who had, until then, ruled that
land grabs and the eviction of mainly white commercial farmers were illegal.
Judges who have refused to toe the line have been arrested, attacked and
toppled. Several have fled into exile.
"What we have seen is a
politicisation of the judiciary," says Ms Gugulethu Moyo, a lawyer who fled
Zimbabwe and who now works for the International Bar Association in London.
"The government has manipulated the legal structure to keep its iron grip on
power. The rule of law itself is under attack."
The farm Garwe took is
Mount Lothian, in the fertile wheat and tobacco Enterprise belt east of
Harare, the capital. It was owned by Christopher Tracey, one of the first
white farmers to embrace independence from Britain in 1980. Tracey arranged
the key international aid and investment donor conference after independence
and was highly praised by Mugabe.
So why this sudden burst of
independent-mindedness by Garwe in acquitting Tsvangirai and saving him from
a possible execution by hanging?
The answer lies somewhere in the tough,
wily and enigmatic mind of Mugabe. It is impossible to imagine that Garwe
reached his decision without intense consultation with the man who gave him
Mount Lothian, a gift that would have seen Garwe expelled from the bench in
a normal democracy.
Despite Tsvangirai's acquittal, Mugabe emerges
victorious. For the past 20 months he has kept his most dangerous opponent,
who by all objective accounts was the true winner of elections rigged in
Mugabe's favour in 2001 and 2002, tied down since he was first charged in
Tsvangirai's passport was withdrawn and he was unable to
travel abroad to promote his opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC). The prolonged trial also stymied Tsvangirai's ability to campaign
domestically. The trial, described by Nobel peace laureate Archbishop
Desmond Tutu as a "legal †circus", sowed divisions in the MDC and drained
A truly independent judge would have declared the
proceedings a farce within weeks and dismissed the charges. Tsvangirai's
passivity throughout the travesty has also made him appear weak. Mugabe may
well have calculated that sending Tsvangirai to prison would have given his
opponent a dangerous Nelson Mandela-like status.
The truth is that
Mugabe, with Garwe's help, made one of his cleverest moves in trying
Tsvangirai on charges trumped up in collaboration with an internationally
known crook, the Canadian-Israeli lobbyist Ari Ben-Menashe.
"I would read
this result as a sign that Tsvangirai is not as much of a threat as he was a
few years ago," said Alex Vines, head of the African Programme at London's
Royal Institute of International Affairs. "Today Mugabe is in a stronger
position and the MDC is much weaker."
Noria Mashumba, a former Zimbabwean
prosecutor and human rights worker now working at South Africa's Institute
for Security Studies, said Mugabe will use Tsvangirai's acquittal to counter
"It's a plus for the government, in terms of the
general allegations that the judiciary is no longer impartial, that it is an
instrument used by the government," she said. "The not guilty verdict looks
to me like a very strategic move on the part of the
While Tsvangirai has been trying to save himself from the
noose, Mugabe has introduced rafts of repressive measures that have closed
newspapers, swept the country clean of foreign correspondents and ensured
white farms occupied on behalf of "the people" have now been given to
government ministers, top military and police officers, civil servants,
senior state television journalists and compliant judges.
is that Mugabe can afford to let Tsvangirai go free because he has destroyed
the opposition, the independent press and civil society," said Albert
Musarurwa, head of the Legal Resources Foundation, one of the few human
rights groups still working in Zimbabwe. "The government has closed the
space for anybody and everybody who opposes it."
The latest clearances of
black peasant settlers, encouraged to occupy farms from 2000 onwards by
Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF, happened last week in farms in the Chinhoyi area,
150 miles northeast of Harare. Soldiers and police burnt the settlers'
shacks to make way for a takeover by top Zanu-PF and government officials.
In another raid, on a farm to the west of Harare, hundreds of peasant
families were made homeless to make way for Mugabe's sister Sabina. The
Zimbabwe Landless Farmers Association, one of the organisations originally
used by Mugabe to purge white farmers, issued a statement saying the
evictions were now happening to "the poor and landless people of Zimbabwe to
accommodate the rich and politically powerful".
calculating Mugabe has been can be seen by the fact that Tsvangirai again
goes on trial on November 3, facing a second charge of treason relating to
his call last year for street protests to oust Mugabe.
So he will still
be unable to retrieve his passport or concentrate on the opposition's
political struggle ahead of next April's parliamentary elections.
first reward for Mugabe, following Tsvangirai's acquittal, is likely to be a
verdict by the International Cricket Council that the expulsion of former
Zimbabwe cricket captain Heath Streak and other top white players from the
national side by Zanu-PF commissar Ozias Bvuti did not constitute
It will pave the way for the England team's tour of Zimbabwe
next month, another success in Mugabe's relentless bid for international
††††††††††† Mugabe rival may call off poll
boycott ††††††††††† Karen MacGregor, Durban
ZIMBABWE'S opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, has hinted that his party
may drop a threatened boycott of general elections in March after his
unexpected acquittal on treason charges last week. ††††††††††† Tsvangirai
said that the "not guilty" verdict, denounced as a travesty of justice by
President Robert Mugabe, could "free up political space" for his party, the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), to take part in the
††††††††††† "It may provide the basis for rapprochement and
dialogue in seeking a resolution to a national crisis that has been dragging
on for far too long," Tsvangirai said.
††††††††††† The "major
preoccupation" of the MDC, which won nearly half of the vote in the 2000
general election, would now be working towards an election that would
deliver a legitimate government, he added.
††††††††††† The former trade
unionist said he would take action to secure the return of his passport,
which was confiscated during the legal proceedings. This would allow him to
embark on a foreign tour to rally support among African
††††††††††† "Some need persuading that their solidarity should
lie not with Mugabe but with Zimbabwe's people," he said.
The MDC announced its boycott of the election last August, saying it was no
longer prepared to put supporters' lives at risk in a violent and corrupt
††††††††††† The party nevertheless continued
preparatory work for the election and Tsvangirai now appears to believe the
time may be right to take part. "We certainly want to go in," he
††††††††††† Tsvangirai's political activities have been severely
curtailed since before the 2002 elections, when he was charged with hiring
Canadian consultants with the aim of assassinating the president. He claimed
he had been framed but his passport was taken away and he had to report to
the police, who regularly raided his home.
court battles are still not over, however. He faces a second treason charge
for calling a strike in June last year to protest against government
policies. Tsvangirai is not worried about the eventual result, but
supporters fear this second case, which has been remanded until November 3,
might be used to bar him from contesting the election.
acquittal surprised many observers in Harare where it was widely believed he
would be found guilty. Mugabe is known to have stacked the judicial system
with his supporters. Paddington Garwe, the High Court judge in Tsvangirai's
case, is thought to be a staunch supporter of the
††††††††††† Despite Mugabe's denunciation of the verdict
- and hints the state may appeal - some believe the wily president may have
ordered a "not guilty" verdict in an attempt to convince the world of the
independence of Zimbabwe's judiciary.
††††††††††† "A guilty verdict,
which carried a possible death sentence, would have placed huge pressure on
Mugabe at a time when he is trying to bolster African and international
support," said Brian Kagoro, chairman of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, a
body of pro-democracy groups.
††††††††††† Reconciliation between Mugabe
and his opponents will be difficult to achieve, however, in a country that
has been in turmoil since 2000, when the MDC came from nowhere to beat the
president in a referendum on constitutional reform. It was the first threat
to Mugabe's iron grip on power since independence in
††††††††††† Nor will the verdict have any immediate effect on the
economic collapse caused by Mugabe's policies, including his encouragement
of the seizure of white-owned farms.
††††††††††† A report released on
Friday by Amnesty International, the human rights group, warned that
millions of Zimbabweans were at risk of starvation after the government's
refusal to accept food aid.
††††††††††† Other problems also abound: the
International Monetary Fund is about to pull out after 11 years, in despair
over an economy that has shrunk by more than a third in four years.
Unemployment has passed 70% and Zimbabwe is in the throes of a banking
crisis that has seen six financial institutions closed in the past
year.Meanwhile, oppression and corruption continue
††††††††††† In what for many is the biggest irony of all,
Mugabe's government has in recent weeks evicted the land-hungry poor from
the former white-owned farms. These are the very people whom the Zimbabwean
leader encouraged to invade the farms in the first place. In some cases they
have been ousted to make way for senior officials.
little to cheer about in Zimbabwe these days. What should have been the
bread basket of the region has become a place of hunger, both of the body
and the soul.
A country that inspired many when it held its first
democratic election in 1980, not least those hoping one day to free
apartheid South Africa, is now a by-word for despair and destitution. The
acquittal of Morgan Tsvangirai offers a rare moment to rejoice.
verdict was also a triumph for the South African lawyer, George Bizos, 76.
Four decades ago, Bizos helped defend Nelson Mandela on charges of treason.
His skills were widely credited with saving the future South African
president from the death penalty. The world benefited from his courtroom
skills then and possibly the world will benefit from his defence of
The case had nothing to do with the farcical charge of
treason against Tsvangirai and more to do with crippling the political and
financial resources of the Zimbabwean opposition, which had to mount a
time-consuming and costly defence of its leader.
The trial sapped the
opposition of precious funds and energy. Tsvangirai's battles with the law
are not yet over. Another trial looms. But his acquittal may be a sign that
Mugabe is finally relenting to international pressure.
for Democratic Change (MDC) which Tsvangirai heads, came close to winning
parliamentary elections in 2000 and the presidency in 2002, but
international observers said intimidation, violence and vote rigging saved
Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party.
The MDC poses a very real threat to
Mugabe's hold on power. Whether this ruling marks a crack in the edifice of
Mugabe's reign of terror or is a defiant act by a brave judge will soon be
revealed. For now though, despite the renewed hope, Zimbabwe is a land of
despair for its people.
Tsvangirai speaks about his future By our own
o MDC to lodge multi-billion dollar lawsuit MOVEMENT for Democratic
Change president, Morgan Tsvangirai says his acquittal from treason charges
means the party can now forge ahead with its drive for a free and democratic
He was speaking in an exclusive interview with The Standard
at his Strathaven house in Harare. The High Court acquitted Tsvangirai of
charges arising from an alleged plot to kill President Robert Mugabe before
the 2002 presidential election. Tsvangirai said campaigning and the
strengthening of MDC political structures around the country would now move
a gear up ahead of the March 2005 general elections.
"We are very
clear on the way forward. Our detractors had written us off as the MDC but
the outcome of the treason case has made us blossom. Our spirits have been
lifted. We can now mobilize the people of Zimbabwe and bring change to our
beloved Zimbabwe through the March elections if the SADC Protocol on
election guidelines are implemented by the Zimbabwean
"Democracy now has an opportunity to thrive in Zimbabwe.
There is a lot of intolerance and hate speech in Zimbabwe and we need, as a
nation, to rise above that and embrace each other as countrymen and
On the pending treason trial in which he is alleged to have
called for the ouster of Mugabe during the "Final Push", he said: "In light
of these developments (acquittal), it would be an injustice to waste tax
payers' money in pursuit of a political motive."
While the interview
was taking place, an impromptu party started as a stream of friends,
relatives, party members celebrated his release.
Susan, was over the moon over her husband's acquittal. "We have been having
weekly prayer meetings since 2002 with members of the party, and several
women and we were convinced that God would be on the side of justice," said
Susan, a devout Methodist.
Tsvangirai said while the treason trial had
traumatised him, he had not allowed it to dominate his life.
children were the most affected. After the verdict, one of them who is at a
university outside the country broke down in tears after hearing that I had
been acquitted. Of course, it was a difficult period as the State media had
all but found me guilty before the trial even began."
was acquitted, jubilant members of the opposition started celebrating in
central Harare and as the celebrations started spreading, police moved in
and fired tear-gas to disperse the crowds. The controversial water cannons
bought from Israel were deployed outside the MDC offices at Harvest House in
a show of might.
MDC secretary general, Professor Welshman Ncube, said it
was a momentous time for the party as it cleared the dark cloud that had
been hovering above the party's activities.
"This has given us some
space to push for our goals. You can imagine the chaos and confusion that
might have erupted in the country if Tsvangirai had been convicted," Ncube
"I was an accused person together with Tsvangirai for two years and
I know the trauma that is associated with this. This had been a war of the
people of Zimbabwe as we fight for our democratic freedoms," he
Sternford Moyo, a legal expert, said there was never going to be a
better and unbiased judgment than the one handed down on Friday.
analysis of the evidence that was before the court by the judge president
was sound. Moreover the conclusion is the only conclusion that any
reasonable court could have reached ," Moyo said.
Tsvangirai's lawyer said: "It was also good for Morgan that he was put to
his defence because his side of the story was heard. A lot of allegations
had been made and in some circles they had already convicted
"The judgment came actually as a surprise for me but nonetheless it
was a good, professional and well reasoned judgment. This is a clear
indication that the judge refused to be intimidated and I hope all our
judicial officers should learn from this."
Former University of
Zimbabwe Vice-Chancellor Professor Gordon Chavunduka, said the decision was
very positive for MDC.
Lovemore Madhuku, a constitutional lawyer and the
chairman of the National Constitution Assembly, said it was not necessary in
the first place to have Tsvangirai on trial.
"It was never necessary
or justified to put Tsvangirai on trial. The judgment does not show that the
judiciary is independent at all. The acquittal was meant to send a false
message of the presence of the rule of law and it was a convenient decision
on their part," Madhuku said.
Veteran politician Edgar Tekere said: "I am
very happy for him (Tsvangirai), and I wish him well in his political
career. Politically it could not have been good for us as a nation if
Tsvangirai had been found guilty," Tekere said.
is expected to launch a multi billion dollar lawsuit against people who made
"reckless comments" regarding the alleged assassination plot during the past
two and half years
GMB's seizure of maize leaves families in distress By
SEVERAL desperate families who are resorting to rural
areas for grain end up the losers as the State run Grain Marketing Board
(GMB) intensifies its crackdown on "illegal" grain
Investigations by The Standard reveal that overzealous GMB
officials, in many cases, are impounding all the maize they find in the
possession of people returning from rural areas. Officially, a person is
only allowed to carry 150kg of maize and any extra grain can be impounded by
the GMB because of poor deliveries to its depots.
So far, the GMB has
only received about 300 000 tonnes of the grain.
Officials say they are
optimistic they will meet the estimated 2,4 million tonne harvest this
Tafara Gweru, a new farmer from Shurugwi had his maize impounded
along the Masvingo- Beitbridge highway on Monday last week .
seven 50kg bags of maize which were meant for three families. We had
contributed money for fuel with my young brothers to go and collect maize
from our farm in Mvuma. I tried in vain to explain why I had more than the
stipulated amount. I then asked the officials to leave me with 150 kgs and
take away the rest but they ignored my pleas and took all the maize," said
Gweru who says he is struggling to feed his family.
Gweru has kept
the receipts as evidence that the GMB impounded his maize.
people who spoke to The Standard complained that even the 150 kg limit was
too little considering that maize had become too expensive for low income
people living in urban areas.
With the rising cost of fuel and at times
its unavailability, they said, it was necessary for them to carry as much as
they could each time they visited their rural areas.
"150 kg is a
non-starter. I have got eight children and an extended family. The
stipulated kgs can only last for about two and a half months. I cannot
afford to go to my rural home each time we have exhausted the maize
supplies," said another Harare resident who identified himself only as A
Fares for rural buses rose sharply last week, with
travellers to areas such as Muzarabani and Dotito in Mashonaland Central now
paying between $38 000 and $40 000 a single trip. Operators cite the high
cost of procuring replacement parts, most of which require foreign currency
and increases in the price of fuel.
The Standard heard that some
corrupt GMB officials were also worsening the situation by allegedly
demanding bribes before they allow travellers to pass through the
checkpoints with their maize.
"We are left with no option but to share
with the officials so that we can proceed with the maize," said one Harare
Retired Colonel Samuel Muvhuti, the chief executive officer of the
GMB, was not immediately available for comment.
However, a loss
control official who spoke to The Standard said: "It is only the surplus
that is supposed to be impounded."
Government has designated maize a
specified crop that should be delivered only to GMB depots immediately after
The GMB is the sole buyer of maize in the whole country as
stipulated by the GMB Act, which compels farmers to register with the
organisation and to deliver their produce within 14 days of
The Act prohibits farmers from exporting grain without the
permission of the board.
††††† Judge lashes at State's 'suspect witnesses' †††††
By our own staff
††††† JUDGE PRESIDENT Paddington Garwe on Friday reduced
to shreds, the evidence led by star prosecution witness Ari Ben-Menashe and
his personal assistant Tara Thomas and declared the two be treated as
††††† He said the videotape that formed the
basis of the case was of inferior quality and could not be relied on, while
the audiotape of the London meeting in November 2001 did not help the
State's case either because it was of even poorer quality. ††††† "What is
clear is that Mr Menashe had a financial interest," the judge said,
referring to a contract between Ben-Menashe's firm, Dickens and Madson and
the Zimbabwe government that was about to be renewed when the treason trial
opened in February last year. "Neither he nor Tara Thomas can be said to be
impartial. They should be treated as suspect witnesses.
††††† "It's not
in dispute that neither in the audio nor the video tape is there a specific
request by the accused to Mr Menashe for the assassination of President
Mugabe and the staging of a military coup.
††††† "The court is not
satisfied that there was such a request. According to the transcript (of the
video-tape) remarks made by the accused were largely in response to
questions put to him. He said in the majority of the cases, Tsvangirai was
asked questions and showed that he did not know what was
††††† He said the prosecution had not established high treason
beyond reasonable doubt.
††††† The prosecution team of Acting
Attorney-General Bharat Patel, Director of Public Prosecutions Joseph
Musakwa and Senior Law Officer Morgen Nemadire, did not immediately respond
to the judgment.
††††† MDC officials and supporters who had thronged the
public gallery waiting anxiously as Garwe read the judgement, erupted into a
rapturous applause when the judge pronounced the "not guilty"
††††† "God is great!" Glen-Norah MP Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga said with a heavy sigh after the more than hour-long
judgment. Jubilant party officials mobbed and hugged Tsvangirai, his wife
Susan, smartly dressed in an olive-green dress, and members of Tsvangirai's
††††† Tsvangirai, in a grey suit and greyish-blue shirt,
wore a broad smile and joined his supporters in clapping hands when the
judge pronounced the verdict.
††††† The judgment day attracted
foreign diplomats accredited to Zimbabwe, representatives of human rights
organisations and members of the public keen to hear the outcome of the
widely publicised case.
††††† Senior MDC officials including national
chairman Isaac Matongo, deputy secretary-general Gift Chimanikire and
Fletcher Dulini-Ncube and former Harare executive mayor Elias Mudzuri, were
in the public gallery.
††††† "We are going back to business,"
secretary-general Welshman Ncube told reporters outside the court before
riot police drove everyone away. "This has been a cloud hanging over our
heads and now it has been cleared. It was a political trial but the
judiciary has acquitted itself very well."
††††† MDC vice-president
Gibson Sibanda said: "It's not total that justice has prevailed in Zimbabwe.
In the first instance there was never any evidence."
gripped the city centre as the news of Tsvangirai's acquittal spread among
MDC supporters who had earlier been driven away. The jubilation was,
however, short lived because scores of baton-wielding police went about
indiscriminately beating up pedestrians found in groups.
Unlucky shoppers were caught up in the melee.
††††† Truckloads of
anti-riot police patrolled the streets in Harare's central business district
while others stood at street corners in small groups.
jets zoomed repeatedly over the Harare skies in a manner that can only be
discribed as intimidatory.
††††† Armed anti-riot police physically
prevented the Acting German Ambassador to Zimbabwe, Counsellor Jan Hendrik
van Thiel from entering the High Court.
††††† Six police officers
armed with guns and baton sticks accosted Van Thiel and ordered him in Shona
to leave the High Court premises at once. The group of police officers
surrounded Van Thiel before prodding him with baton sticks, while some
manhandled him across Sam Nujoma Street.
††††† In an interview with The
Standard on Friday, Van Thiel said:"What the ZRP did is not acceptable, and
its a clear violation of the Vienna Convention." He has since lodged a
complaint with the government
††††† The police also arrested three women
at the main entrance to the High Court. One of the women asked why she was
being taken by the police, and was told specific charges would be decided at
the charge office.
††††††††††††††††††††††† Former ZBC staffers form radio
station ††††††††††††††††††††††† By Fanuel
††††††††††††††††††††††† FORMER ZBC presenters have started a radio
station in London to "provide independent news and information" to
Zimbabweans who are concerned about the deteriorating situation at
††††††††††††††††††††††† According to reports from London, the new
radio station - which is available on the Internet - is called Afro-Sounds
FM and went live two weeks ago. Its aim is to provide an alternative to
ZBC's Internet broadcasts. It operates
round-the-clock. ††††††††††††††††††††††† "We don't want to only entertain,"
station manager and former Radio 4 (now National FM) DJ, Zenzo Ncube, told
on-line newzimbabwe.com last week.
††††††††††††††††††††††† "We want
to use entertainment to draw the attention of Zimbabweans and update them on
what is happening in their beloved country.
"We are happy to be able to provide independent news and information to
Zimbabweans who are concerned about the deteriorating situation at home. For
the greater part of the day, we play music and we have hourly news updates
in the evening."
††††††††††††††††††††††† Among the DJs who will host
programmes on the station are Ezra Sibanda, who made his maiden live
broadcast on the new station on October 1; Gibson and Zenzo
††††††††††††††††††††††† Sibanda, popularly known as "Tshisa" by
his legion of fans back home, left Zimbabwe for the UK during the run-up to
the March 2002 presidential elections.
joined the ZBC straight from high school in 1987 and went on to become a
listeners' favourite because of articulate skills on programmes such as the
bilingual Dzemhuri/Ezemuli musical request show. He also did soccer
commentaries on Radio 2 (now Radio Zimbabwe).
Gibson Ncube was a presenter on Teen Scene while Zenzo presented Afro Beat,
apart from his work at Radio 4.
††††††††††††††††††††††† Zenzo said they
were working on their programme schedule. He said the programmes would
include phone-in slots as well as interviews with celebrities, ordinary
people and policy-makers.
††††††††††††††††††††††† The former ZBC staffers
become the latest group of Zimbabwean broadcasters who have resorted to
practising their profession abroad because of the country's tough broadcast
laws, which make it virtually impossible to operate an independent broadcast
station in the country.
Blair's African commission creates goose pimples in
Harare By Kumbirai Mafunda
BRITISH Prime Minister Tony Blair could
have come to Africa, avoided stepping his foot on Zimbabwean soil and could
be resting at 10 Downing Street.
But although Blair was kilometres
away from Harare when he attended an Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
meeting in Ethiopia, Zimbabwe was once again brought under the
spotlight. Blair, who was attending an ECA meeting in Addis Ababa last week,
committed his country to funding Africa's economic recovery. He told the
commission that he would rally the European Union (EU) and Group of Eight
(G8) countries to support Africa's cause as well. Already, Gordon Brown,
Chancellor of the Exchequer has pledged London would write off its share of
debt owed by the world's poor countries.
"The commission for Africa
will help us to examine how Africa can be helped through means such as debt
relief, health programmes and trade. It is important for African countries
to decide what their own priorities are rather than having them imposed from
outside. That is why it is so appropriate that this second meeting is taking
place in Addis Ababa, the seat of the African union," said
Britain formed and funds the commission for Africa, which seeks to
solve Africa's problems. However, the British Premier warned that countries
with a poor human rights record would not benefit from the initiative, while
African leaders would also have to step up peer pressure for rogue
governments to reform bringing to light Zimbabwe as a focal point of the
Africa Peer Review Mechanism.
The Africa Peer Review Mechanism is a
new mechanism for monitoring each volunteering country's progress towards
political and economic reform. Launched early this year in Rwanda, it is a
step towards implementing the continent's economic recovery plan, the New
Economic Partnership for Africa's Development, otherwise known as
Except for crisis-torn Zimbabwe, 23 countries, covering 75% of the
population of sub-Saharan Africa, have now signed up for peer reviews, which
will improve governance and accountability. Ghana and Rwanda have already
been the first countries to be assessed under the Africa Peer Review
Economic analysts believe the peer review mechanism is a
step in the right direction for it encourages African leaders to pursue
established ideals on good governance, while being able to assess their
"It is the in thing because Heads of States agreed upon the
launch of NEPAD to avail themselves for assessment," says Tapiwa Mashakada,
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)'s shadow finance
minister. "The only unfortunate thing is that it remains
Blair, reports say, is likely to convince the EU and G8
countries to release billions of pounds for Africa's recovery and the
British Premier said he would put the continent on the top of the EU and G8
agenda for next year.
Blair tasked his commission on Africa, whose
members include Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, Ethiopian Prime Minister
Meles Zenawi, South African Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, among others, to
come up with a report detailing Africa's needs by February next
Analysts say the commission is likely to call for multilateral debt
to be written off and the international budget to double.
the other hand, asked Africa to intensify peer group review to stamp out
human rights abuses in return. He would also convince rich countries to
cease selling arms to rebel groups and governments with poor human rights
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw recently said his country
was working on ensuring an international arms sales embargo to countries
such as Zimbabwe and North Korea.
Most analysts interviewed were
unanimous that Zimbabwe would not benefit from this initiative as long as
the ruling Zanu PF government is in power.
"With its irregular policies
and with its determination to ruin the future of this country the chances of
benefiting from the commission are zero," said economic consultant Peter
Robinson of Zimconsult. "When you have regimes like the one in Zimbabwe you
can't write off debt," he added.
Currently Zimbabwe is saddled with a
huge foreign and domestic debt estimated to be hovering around US$6
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is closing down its
offices in the capital, will consider Zimbabwe's expulsion from the
184-member fund in December for persistently accumulating overdue
Blair says both African leaders and the international community
should not have any excuses by the time the report is produced next year. He
said the lack of political will to solve the continent's problems was
hindering Africa's growth.
"Next year will be the year of decision
for Africa and the international community. The time for excuses will be
over. The one thing that stands between them and us, between success and
failure, is the absence of political will," he said
critics warn that Blair's commission could be a public relations exercise
meant to spruce up his international image in the aftermath of the Iraqi
"The commission has quite a lot to do with Blair. He wants to be
seen as an international statesman," said one critic who spoke
Diplomatic tiff over dead SA mercenary suspect By our own
THE South African embassy has complained to Zimbabwean authorities
for not using official diplomatic channels to inform them about the death of
Ngave Jerukemo Muharukua, one of the suspected mercenaries at
The South Africans were reportedly annoyed to learn of the
death of a compatriot from journalists who were seeking confirmation of
Muharukua's death last week. Muharukua was one of a group of 68
foreigners arrested at the Harare International Airport early this year
allegedly on their way to Equatorial Guinea to topple that country's
despotic leader, Theodore Obiang Nguema. They were jailed for contravening
the Immigration and Aviation Acts.
Muharukua, who reportedly died of
meningitis at Harare Central Hospital on 4 October, was a Namibian national
holding South African citizenship. Jonathan Samkange, who represented
Muharukua and the other suspected mercenaries, confirmed on Thursday that
the South African embassy had lodged an official complaint.
Sithole, the Counsellor Political said:"There should have been consultations
between officials from the South African mission and relevant ministries on
Prices of basic commodities continue to skyrocket By
THE prices of basic commodities have drastically shot
up well beyond the reach of ordinary Zimbabwean workers in the past three
months despite reports of the falling inflation rate, The Standard has
As a result of the regular price increases now being
effected almost on a fortnightly basis, most Zimbabweans are failing to make
ends meet and can now only afford one meal a day. According to figures
compiled by the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe (CCZ) a packet of 2kg white
sugar was going for $2 800 in August but rose to $5 680 in
A 750 ml bottle of cooking oil shot up from $7 500 to $10 280
during the same period, while a bar of washing soap is selling at $9 250 up
from $7 300 while a 500ml packet of fresh milk rose from $2 486 to $3
"Whenever I come to buy household food stuff I carry with me an
extra $2 000 for each product because every time I go shopping there would
be new price tags," said Mr Ennita Sigauke, as she picked up a handful of
commodities for her family in Harare on Wednesday.
watchdog said a family of six required a minimum of $1 494 700 in September
up from $1 400 078 a month before.
This is despite reports that the
country's year-on-year inflation went down by 62,9 percentage points to
251,5 percent by the end of September.
The CCZ public relations manager,
Tonderai Mukeredzi, expressed concern at the recent increases saying they
seriously eroded family incomes. He said there were serious discrepancies
between what most people were earning and what they have to spend on food
"The CCZ is concerned that basic commodities continue to
be priced beyond the reach of many consumers. Recent increases in the price
of fuel and landline phones have triggered a wave of price increases," the
The consumer watchdog is currently lobbying for a minimum wage
of $1 400 000, in line with the poverty datum line. Most people in the
country get a net salary of less than $750 000, making life unbearable,
IGNATIUS Chombo, the
Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing, has been
summoned to appear before a Mutare magistrate this week to testify in the
trial of Mutare City Council which is in the dock for contaminating Sakubva
The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) is the
complainant. The City Council, represented by Issue Matting, on Wednesday
appeared before Musakwa facing charges of polluting Sakubva River as well as
disposing raw sewage without a permit from ZINWA.
The council needs
to pay about $173 million in order to get a permit from water authority to
dispose of its refuse. The amount includes accruing levies.
Prosecutor, Abiot Kachirika told The Standard that either Chombo or his
permanent secretary, David Munyoro, is scheduled to appear before Mutare
magistrate, Billiard Musakwa, on Tuesday to testify that he directed Mutare
City Council to suspend rates increase.
Mutare City Council had
increased its rates to ensure sustainability under the current
"The City Council requested that the
Minister be there to testify because it (council) is saying due to the
suspension of rates, it has no money to upgrade its sewerage works or to buy
a permit from Zinwa," said Kachirika.
Chombo suspended the 2004 Mutare
City Council budget on May 28 this year saying the residents would not be
able to pay the new rates under the current economic hardships. He also
suspended many other council budgets including those of Harare and
Mutare executive mayor Misheck Kagurabadza on Thursday also
confirmed that Chombo had been summoned to testify that he directed the
suspension of the 2004 Mutare council budget.
He said because
Chombo's suspension directive was verbal, the Minister has to appear in
person to testify. The suspension of the rates increases had crippled
operations of the council, he said.
"They want to prove that he suspended
the 2004 budget because that actually incapacitated the operations of the
council," Kagurabadza said.
It is the State case that council employees
at Gimboki Sewerage Works unlawfully discharged raw effluent into Sakubva
River without a permit on May 26 this year. It said the raw effluent from
the sewerage works polluted water downstream.
investigations by a water quality scientist with ZINWA, Webster
Munhundiripo, revealed that the water was contaminated and that the council
was carrying out operations without a permit from the
Meanwhile, official sources at ZINWA told The Standard that
several municipalities countrywide face legal action from the authority for
polluting water sources.
The official cited Chitungwiza City Council,
Chinhoyi, Kwekwe and Bulawayo as some of the councils facing legal actions
"For example, Chitungwiza is disposing its raw sewage into
water sources. You can actually go there and take nice photographs," said
Lawyers complain of human rights abuse in Zimbabwe By
THE Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) in
conjunction with the Institute of Human Rights and Development in Africa has
filed a complaint with the African Commission on Human and People's Rights
(ACHPR) over continued gross abuse of human rights and poor administration
of justice in the country.
The two organisations called on the
African Commission to apply pressure on President Robert Mugabe's government
to stop gross human rights abuses as well as allow the participation of
citizens in issues of governance.
The ACHPR, earlier clashed with
Zimbabwean authorities over a damning report that detailed gross human
rights abuses in the country. In July debate on the report was deferred
after the Zimbabwean government lobbied against its discussion at the
African Union (AU) summit in Ethiopian.
Dr Stan Mudenge, the Minister of
Foreign Affairs, protested against the report at the AU summit, saying
Zimbabwe was not accorded an opportunity to respond to allegations in the
The controversial report is scheduled for discussion at the
commission's 36th Ordinary Session in Senegal next month.
Tsunga, the director of ZLHR, a human rights advocacy organisation, said his
organisation had taken up the matter with the ACHPR after being gravely
concerned about the absence of real and effective remedies for human rights
violations in domestic tribunals.
"In particular, the courts in Zimbabwe
have increasingly failed to be the guarantor and protector of fundamental
rights and freedoms resulting in the rise in cases of lawlessness and abuse
of power by the Executive," said the ZLHR director.
elections in March 2005, it is necessary that the Zimbabwean government be
taken to task on issues of addressing electoral irregularities, which
characterized the elections in 2000 and 2002," Tsunga said.
communication to the ACHPR, the organisations also cited, among other
things, skewed laws and pending electoral petitions that were yet to be
finalised, six months before Zimbabweans go to the polls again in
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) filed most of
the outstanding electoral petitions soon after the 2000 parliamentary
Also, MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai's electoral challenge of
Mugabe's victory in the 2002 presidential polls has not been
Philliat Matsheza, the executive director of the Human Rights
Trust of Southern Africa (SAHRIT), said filing of a complaint to the
commission is normally done after all internal channels have been
"Although the commission has no enforcement mechanisms,
governments are expected to comply with its findings because it puts the
image of that particular government in bad light," Matsheza said.
GWERU - Harassment of independent journalists continued last week
with police arresting Richard Musazulwa, the Midlands correspondent for The
Police from the Law and Order Section in Gweru arrested
Musazulwa on Tuesday over a story that appeared in the August 22 edition of
the paper. Musazulwa appeared before Gweru magistrate, Tineyi Saugweni,
onWednesday facing charges of contravening Section 80 (1)(b) of the Access
to Information and Protection and Privacy Act (AIPPA) Chapter
He was accused of "abusing journalistic privilege by publishing
falsehoods" and remanded to 28 October on $50 000 bail.
who is the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ) secretary for Midlands
reported on the chaos that ensued at Thornhill Airbase in Gweru when hungry
Zanu PF youths tried to gatecrash a Heroes' luncheon hosted by the army
According to the outline of the charge, Musazulwa who witnessed
the incident "wrote a story in which he alleged that some hungry Zanu PF
youths had rioted at Thornhill Airbase intending to gatecrash at the
Luncheon which was being hosted by the army for senior party
"He further alleged that army and police personnel were called
to quell the violence. Investigations proved that there was no such incident
but it was merely accused's fabrications."
Tonderai Chitere of
Chitere, Chidawanyika and Associates, is representing
Musazulwa becomes one of the first few journalists in
Midlands to be charged under AIPPA and it is also the first time a Gweru
Magistrate's Court handled such a matter.
Before the August incident
anti-riot police at a CASEP workshop in Gweru assaulted Musazulwa before
Colonel Thomas Moyo and a Major Peters assaulted him at the Zimbabwe
Military Academy (ZMA) camp.
Six months after a report to the police, no
investigations have taken place and police sources told The Standard that
there was a plan to charge Musazulwa for allegedly making a false
Meanwhile Kwekwe CID Law and Order arrested another journalist,
Owen Matava, who works for the Midlands News on Wednesday.
lawyer, Dumisani Charles Kufaruwenga of Dzimba, Jaravaza and Associates,
said the journalist did not appear in court but made a warned and cautioned
statement at the CID in Gweru.
Kufaruwenga said Matava was released
and proceedings would be by way of summons. Matava is accused of writing a
false story in which he alleged that former Kwekwe mayor Johnson Mawere
would be taking over as the new Midlands governor from Cephas
The story did not go down well with Msipa who on Wednesday
instructed members of the CID to arrest Matava, said his
Midlands ZUJ chairperson Zerubabel Mudzingwa condemned the arrest
of the reporter saying AIPPA was still being discriminately applied to
journalists working for independent media.
Umzingwane villagers plead for food assistance From
Savious Kwinika in Umzingwane
UMZINGWANE - Traditional leaders and Zanu
PF councillors in the drought ravaged Matabeleland South province are
appealing to international food relief agencies to urgently return to the
region and start feeding thousands of villagers on the verge of
Speaking to The Standard during a tour of Matabeleland South
last week, several Zanu PF councillors, chiefs and people living with
HIV/Aids complained that the food situation had drastically deteriorated
thereby worsening conditions of people living with HIV/Aids. The Standard
visited Umzingwane, Esigodini, Mawabeni, Mtshede, Msizini, Sikoveni and
Gongo-Zolo communal lands in Matabeleland South.
The villagers bemoaned
the withdrawal of World Food Programme (WFP) and its supporting agencies
such as World Vision Zimbabwe and ORAP (Organisation of Rural Associations
for Progress), which were mainly involved in food relief operations targeted
at thousands of starving villagers.
Zanu PF Ward 3 Councillor for
Gongo-Zololo in Umzingwane, Nathaniel Mhlanga, said the food situation in
the area had been worsened by insufficient grain at the sole Grain Marketing
Board (GMB) depot in the district.
"The food situation is very bad and we
need urgent assistance. We have a GMB depot here, but the grain comes once a
month, and in most cases the is insufficient for the needs of the entire
"Villagers have exhausted the little grain they harvested and
from July 2004 up to the present moment (October) people have been buying
grain while others go for days without food," said Mhlanga.
head for Sikova, Reuben Ncube (65), said government departments, including
the Agricultural Rural and Extension Services (AREX) officers in the area,
were aware of the acute food scarcity but nothing was being done about
Ncube said he feared the situation might have contributed to untimely
deaths of those living with HIV/Aids.
He appealed to the WFP and
international food relief agencies to urgently revive the abandoned food
redistribution programme and rescue an estimated 700 000 people in
Matabeleland South region from starvation.
"We have been knocking at the
government doors on a daily basis for food relief but there is nothing
concrete in sight. The government always tells villagers to wait for the
grain but once again, the grain that comes once a month is too little for
thousands of people who would have gone for days without
Mtshede village head in Esigodini communal lands, Moffat Chisali,
said the rate at which people living with HIV/Aids were dying could be
worsened by the acute food shortage.
"There is little grain and
people living with HIV/Aids are suffering. They are weak and they need
food," said Chisali.
Pelina Sibanda, a volunteer community worker told
The Standard at Sikoveni communal lands that the situation was
"The situation is pathetic, especially for those living with
HIV/Aids. Some may be dying before their time comes due to lack of food,"
Contacted for comment last week, the World Food Programme
(WFP) spokesperson, Makena Walker, said the chiefs, headmen, villager heads
and Zanu PF ward councillors in the drought stricken Matabeleland South
province should not direct their appeal to the WFP but to the
"An appeal for food aid should not be directed to us (WFP)
but to the government. Once the government approaches us for food relief, we
will act to avert the suffering.
We have done that before and we will
always help when called in.
"Currently we are we not distributing food
aid to everybody. We are channelling our aid to the vulnerable people in the
countryside, especially children whose parents have died of
"Personally, I understand the difficult situation the people of
Matabeleland region are going through but there is nothing we can do unless
they (villagers) have made a strong appeal to the government, then we will
come in and act," Walker said.
She said the World Food Programme had
covered the entire country to assess the food situation and filed their
findings for future references.
Efforts to get comment from Matabeleland
South governor, Angeline Masuku, proved fruitless. Her secretary
continuously told this reporter that the resident minister was out of
Recently, the government threatened Bulawayo city authorities and
the independent Press over stories on the acute food shortage in the
country, which have resulted in several children under the age of five and
some elderly people in Bulawayo dying as a result of malnutrition.
SUCH was the extent of the belief in the partisanship of the
judiciary in this country that the Movement for Democratic change (MDC)
party had prepared two statements before the verdict, ensuring a quick
turnaround whatever the result was to be.
Even when they were
confronted by the actual news that Morgan Tsvangirai had been acquitted,
there was shocked disbelief in many circles and some people refused to
believe it. "That cannot be" many were heard to say. This is hardly
surprising when one considers that we are dealing essentially with a
poisoned and polarised political environment. Be that as it may, the
point is that Tsvangirai has been acquitted, and thus absolved of any blame
for the alleged plot to assassinate President Robert Mugabe. One did not
have to be a lawyer to conclude on the basis of evidence presented during
the trial that the charges were illogical and completely
It was abundantly clear that international fraudster
and fortune-hunter Ari Ben Menashe had framed the rather naive Tsvangirai
and the charges were trumped-up and politically motivated.
is beyond the means of this newspaper to immediately gauge Ben Menashe's own
reaction to the verdict, presumably in sharp contrast, most Zimbabweans
received the news of Tsvangirai's court victory with audible gasps of
Here was a man standing in the shadow of the gallows with the
hostile eyes of Zanu PF upon him - and all right thinking people must thank
God that justice has not only been done but has been seen to be done. God
has answered not only the prayers of the Tsvangirai family but the prayers
of all fair-minded people at home and abroad.
These are difficult
times for the Opposition in Zimbabwe. And it is during these turbulent times
that judges and magistrates should stay out of political differences that
exist. And clearly here, Judge Paddington Garwe and the assessors have
applied the law on proven facts and they have, as they should, jealously
guarded the liberty and rights of citizens. More power to them!
other verdict would have been tantamount to a travesty of justice. The video
tape in which Ari Ben Menashe claimed that the MDC leader plotted the
assassination of President Mugabe was an amateurish piece of
clock-and-dagger theatre that has no place in civilized human
While modern electronic gadgets such as those used by the
former Israeli spy to entrap Tsvangirai would ordinarily place undeniable
evidence before the courts, to convict on the basis of the Menashe's video
recording, described by all who saw it as grainy, blurred, inaudible among
othe adjectives, could have been seriously undermined public confidence in
the justice system. The truth was more mundane - and more
Indeed, to deduce an act of conspiracy and treason from the
flimsy evidence that was the hallmark of the charges against Tsvangirai
would have been to turn the very concept of justice on its head!
more important is the fact that Tsvangirai's victory this first round is as
charged with sorrow and doubt as it is with joy and gratitude. A second
treason charge is hanging over his head and democratic forces everywhere
cannot sleep easily. The battle is not over yet. Zimbabweans are in for a
It is important to emphasise the point that democracy is
always and everywhere a job in progress. It goes back and forth.
all thought that full-blown democracy was established in 1980. We were wrong
- very wrong. Looking back on the past 24 years that Zimbabwe has been
independent, it has been a case of two steps forward and three steps
And in our country today, freedom and democracy are as vulnerable
as ever and justice and fair play in particular are in intensive care
In Zanu PF's scheme of things at the moment, thinking differently
is treasonous. This is the party which, with its much touted liberation war
credentials, fought hard for the same freedoms that it is now busy trampling
In the second treason charge, Tsvangirai's language could be
more dramatic than its practical interpretation but the truth of the matter
is that he was merely calling on Zimbabweans to peacefully demonstrate to
show their discontent and disillusionment with the government's failure to
resolve the country's economic calamity. What is so treasonous about
But this is the reality of our country today. Express a different
opinion or view from Zanu PF's, then you are branded an enemy. How sad that
former patriots have been transformed overnight into traitors!
Tsvangirai must continue to push on in the full knowledge and comforting
belief that pain and a price attends progress and that God is on his side
and so are men and women of goodwill nationally and
Your money, yes - your vote, no! overthetop By Brian
TROUBLED central Africans in the Diaspora were alarmed to learn
this week that their government wants their money, but not their
The troubled central African nation's minister of curious justice
announced that only people resident in the troubled central African country
could vote. Meanwhile the embattled governor of the central African
nation's depleted central bank continued to make calls for exiled troubled
central Africans to send their money home.
The same exiled troubled
central Africans, interviewed by Over The Top, said they'd consider sending
money home if the money was to be used to buy transparent ballot boxes for
their postal votes.
As this was not going to be the case, they said, they
had a short and unprintable answer for the worried banker back
Assurances that repatriated foreign currency would be put to "good
use" went unheeded by troubled central Africans in the Diaspora.
know what those good uses are," said one troubled central African living a
long way from home in the frozen north. "Mainly they involve the purchase of
blunt instruments that are used to influence elections in a manner not
usually associated with democratic principles of good
Meanwhile the government of the troubled central African
nation put its other foot in its mouth by accusing a confused African Union
and United Nations of "ambush tactics" at a conference in
Zany officials said a report criticising the troubled central
African regime had been sprung on them at the last minute in an ambush that
gave them no time to respond.
Not so, said the compilers of the
report. It was written in conjunction with the obviously muddled government
who certainly had sight of it long before it was distributed.
this stopped the Zany Party's Daily Horrid newspaper engaging in a
propaganda orgy over the matter, claiming enthusiastic support for the
troubled central African regime in Addis Ababa.
When asked just how
enthusiastic the support was, an independent observer said,
Pressed further, the independent observer, who cannot be named for
the same reasons as the Horrid cannot name its sources, said, "There was
considerable spontaneous support for the troubled central African nation
from delegates from the troubled central African nation. Other than that, I
am afraid I know nothing."
While the events are unrelated, they fall
ahead of elections set for March next year in the troubled central African
country. Over The Top can dispel rumours that the results of the election
are already secretly available. This is because there is considerable
disagreement within the Zany Party about who's names should be on the ballot
papers. Still, in common with democratic principles established by such
friendly nations as North Korea, Libya, Cuba and China, officials will soon
begin working on the problem and an inner circle should know the March
election results as early as December.
Meanwhile in a further unrelated
event, the same Zany justice minister (surely an oxymoron?) said the
opposition More Drink Coming Party could not expect access to the Zany-owned
airwaves until the run-up to the election.
In the meantime, he said, the
broadcaster was free to show what news it liked, so long as that news was
acceptable to the Zany Party. This is because the Zany Party represents all
true, patriotic troubled central Africans, while the More Drink Coming Party
represents the millions of troubled central Africans who have fled poverty
and violence and are not allowed to vote anyway.
Insiders in the Zany
Party told OTT that the best place for the More Drink Coming Party to seek
broadcasting time was on CNN.
about fuel selling at most ridiculous prices and the ongoing corruption at
Noczim comes to me as no surprise at all.
Certainly, this is nothing new
to Zimbabweans; this sort of massive corruption at Noczim is not
unprecedented. This has gone on for far too long and has earned
perpertrators of this gigantic fraud, who happen to be well connected Zanu
PF faithfulls, billions of dollars. When I look back to those days under the
strict rationing of fuel during Ian Smith's UDI, one cannot but admire the
integrity of those who ran this task. They were all basically committed to
their cause. Rightly or wrongly these Rhodesians were steadfast in ensuring
the economy ran smoothly.
This was just one aspect of the commitment to
UDI. There are many more examples. When we compare this to our present
situation, what we are witnessing is an absolute tragedy. Our independence
created a new selfish class bent on filling their pockets, aided and abetted
by Zanu PF and creating new billionaires overnight.
Robert Mugabe has
the audacity to accuse the West for our economic downturn; he should be
comparing his own mismanagement of Zimbabwe and admit to himself that Ian
Smith at least did a lot better.
Yes, Ian Smith was a resolute racist and
yes he denied Zimbabweans basic human rights, but at the end of the day we
still had affordable food, shelter and transport.
Mugabe in a
relatively short period has turned the lives of 99% of our people into a
living nightmare; this man has nothing to be proud of. He is the principal
architect of Zimbabwe's downfall.
Challenging Chombo's undue influence By Takura
THE crusades by the Minister of Local Government, Public Works
and National Housing, Ignatious Chombo, against local authorities in
opposition strongholds is the stuff that depressing politics is made
While it may sound like everyday language, the consistency the
minister has shown in dealing heavy-handedly with local governments has
undermined the democratisation process where it matters the most in Zimbabwe
. Perhaps with deliberate and malicious intent, Chombo has begun a
redefinition of what it means to be a locally elected politician. He has,
albeit with the acquiescence of the executive, trivialised local government
elections, local political institutions and community-based organisations
beyond the pale.
He has shown that local elections are secondary to
the national ones not only in relation to the practice of power, but more so
in terms of their relevance to the bringing of freedom to the doorstep of
the people of Zimbabwe.
In the capital of Harare, there is a subtle
if sometimes non-existent discontent with the Chombo sanctioned remnants at
Town House. The water crisis, for all its health hazards as well as its
continuity, is being articulated in the most political of fashions. The
government and its media have placed the blame on the opposition councillors
while the opposition, in turn, has blamed blatant government interference in
the activities of council as the reason why the capital city is in its
What one might however disagree with is the reaction to
these machinations by Chombo and officials in the ministry as well as the
council. It is the familiar feeling of anguish, hopelessness that pervades
many a Harare resident when they wake up in the morning to the stark
realisation that there is no water to take a bath/shower and any other such
uses that we make of water every morning. Beyond that, it is acquiescence,
and the shrugging of shoulders.
To explain this acquiescence, it it
is convenient and preferable simply to point a finger at the repressive laws
and brutality of the police but that is patently inadequate. Chombo
functions on the basis of the politicisation of local government
institutions and issues. At every turn in his political manoevering, he
waits to utilise the Urban Councils Act to undermine the opposition led
councils strictly for the purpose of the reclaiming political ground lost by
An example of this type of political trickery has been the
manner in which he is dealing with the Bulawayo City Council's position on
starving residents in the City of Kings. Chombo conveniently ignores the
actual issue of the dying and starving, and pursues the mayor with
The opposition councillors on the other hand, react in kind. They
react with a simultaneous politicisation of local council issues. They got
into office by correctly claiming the failure of Zanu PF but have since
proven inept at de-politicising their electoral victories in order to garner
support among the residents.
One might argue, that everything in
Zimbabwe is political and therefore the councillors were not naive or
simplistic in attacking Chombo from a politicised view. True, this argument
would sustain a conversation but I hazard to add, would come nowhere near
sustaining a continually politically conscious urban populace.
perhaps should be addressed is the meaning of "local issues" and as a
consequence, the significance of local government in the context of
Zimbabwe's dictatorship. local issues related mainly to the provision of
amenities within a specific community. These services will include running
(and clean) water provision, health services, education and management
This goes both for the rural and the urban
communities that comprise Zimbabwe. These issues have direct relevance to
people's lives and essentially, are life and death matters. They do not in
any way pre-suppose a distant governing authority that is run solely on the
basis of the number of council meetings held or the type of offices that an
authority is housed in. Local issues are "living" or "organic" issues that
are articulated everyday in the locality in which they are residing. In
other words, local issues, because they relate to the day-to-day events of
people's lives, are the bedrock of mass mobilisation.
running the Harare council into the ground, should have created fertile
ground for discontent within the capital. On the contrary however, he has
successfully managed, at least for now, to create a comfortable victory for
himself. Because the elected councillors reacted in an "political" sense, by
correctly accusing the government of usurping the people's will, they lost
out on the meaning of continued engagement with the local issues affecting
To clarify, the engagement with local issues does not mean
council resolutions and availability of funds only from rates or central
government. It means continued mobilisation of residents on the basis of the
evident discontent over the manner in which services are being
To centre on power institutions is to miss the mark widely. A
city council exists in so far as it regulates the city, but the issues that
are affecting residents exist with them and they must be moved to act upon
issues that are being ignored.
When there have been the organisation
of demonstrations, issues of mass action, the central focus has been
targeting institutions of authority in the country and articulation of a
good governance agenda. The brave men and women who have been organising
these demonstrations have to include as part of their grievances, local
Moreover, they need to decentralise these demonstrations to
places such as residential areas, where even though they will get less press
coverage, they will etch themselves into the local psyche for working on
more immediate concerns.
It is from there that there will be a
renewal of the popular support against the government and the likes of
The former MDC councilors for Harare should now be directly
involved in challenging Chombo on the basis of community mobilisation in
their wards, and the creation of alternative means of dealing with the
problems bedeviling the residents.
Moyo has successfully destroyed Zanu PF Sundaytalk with
IN Zanu PF you just can't fight against Professor Jonathan
Moyo, the Minister of State for Information and Publicity, and
He is untouchable. This is why I laughed out loud when I read in
last week's Standard that Vice-President Joseph Msika had vowed to take
"drastic measures' against him and war veterans' leader Jabulani
Sibanda. The fact that the Vice-President talked to the so-called "British
sponsored" Standard and not to the government owned Sunday Mail or Herald
shows the depth of his problem. He was afraid that the government papers
would either not print his views or twist them to Moyo's advantage since he
directly controls them.
Msika, in The Standard story, said he had
advised President Robert Mugabe that elevating Moyo and Sibanda to Zanu PF's
Central Committee and Politburo was a mistake. He said: "I told President
Mugabe that these boys are like misguided missiles which can attack the one
triggering them. Their wrong doings are now clearly known by the Central
Committee. These boys behave like renegades. President Mugabe must be wary
of these Johnny-come-latelies."
The Standard reported that Msika, who
was seething with anger, stressed the need to deal with the two. "We are
going to take drastic measures against these people," he seethed,"After all
they are fake freedom fighters. These people never participated in the armed
struggle but they are always causing commotion in Zanu PF.
boggles the mind is that these mafikizolos have found their way into both
the Central Committee and the Politburo yet they are not from Zanu PF
structures such as cells, branches, wards, districts and
Vice-President Msika's mind needs not be boggled as to how
these two, especially Moyo, leap-frogged party structures. They were helped
over by none other than President Robert Mugabe himself. Surely, the
Vice-President is aware of this self-evident fact. By threatening to fight
Moyo, Msika might be taking on the President himself for Moyo enjoys the
Not that the President takes Vice-President
Msika seriously. He never did from the very beginning. His appointment to
the Vice-Presidency after the death of Joshua Nkomo was just a political
ploy to continue to accommodate and placate Zapu leaders whom he had
reluctantly taken aboard in order to consummate the so-called Unity Accord.
He does not have much use for them. They are just convenient window
dressing. The Accord itself did not result in the amalgamation of Zapu and
Zanu, but the swallowing of the former by the latter.
have learnt this by now. He has been contradicted left and right by both the
President and Moyo. The latest was the Kondozi affair. He precisely ordered
the invaders to leave Kondozi alone only to be contradicted by Moyo. What
did he do about it? He put his tail between his legs and sheepishly told the
nation that he had reached and understanding with the President about it -
whatever that was supposed to mean.
I just can't figure out what makes
the Vice-President think that now he can fight Moyo and win. Respected Zanu
PF stalwart, Nathan Shamuyarira tried it and failed precisely because Moyo
has the approval of the President. I would not be surprised if, as rumour
has it, Msika finds himself out of the Vice-Presidency to be replaced by
Moyo. Already Moyo has more clout in Zanu PF than the Vice-President.
Already he is squaring up to challenge Zanu PF national chairman, John
Nkomo, in primaries for the forthcoming general elections. With the
President's patronage he might just win and if the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) does not contest the elections he will be in and Nkomo will be
It is not only the Vice-President whose mind boggles at how Moyo
found his way into the highest echelons of power in Zanu PF and the
government. It is an open secret that his rise to power and disrespect for
Zanu PF senior leaders has raised the ire of most of them. This is more so
because of his opposition and criticism of Zanu PF in the past.
1993 the Zimbabwe Independent published a speech in which he said: "A few
months ago the Minister of State Security, Sydney Sekeramayi, claimed that
Zimbabwe was facing a serious threat to national security from special
sections of the Press.
"Such claims are preposterous not least
because they fail to recognise that more often than not, national security
is compromised by those in power who are in a position to trade in official
secrets to which they have unlimited access. On the basis of this premise,
one can analyse considerable public information to show that Zanu PF poses
the greatest threat to national security in Zimbabwe today."
years ago, yours truly realised that Moyo was the best ally that the
opposition MDC ever had. He was slowly destroying Zanu PF from within. I
said, about him, in The Daily News of December 23 2000: "He (Jonathan Moyo)
still hates Zanu PF. The only difference is that he has changed his strategy
and tactics. He was smart enough to realise that the Zanu PF monolith could
never be dislodged by confrontation.
"Professor Moyo followed the
wise saying: 'If you can't beat them, join them.' Thus like a weevil he
wormed his way into the ruling party until he became a member of the
Politburo. He did not have to start from the cell to the branch, the
province, the central committee and then the politburo as is the norm. No,
sir, he was in a hurry to accomplish his mission of destroying Zanu PF from
". He took note of Mugabe's vanity, egoism and egotism and
decided to use that to catapult himself to the highest echelons of power.
This was not difficult because Jongwe is terribly susceptible to praise and
adulation. He, therefore, started to sing the President's praises and in no
time, his soft purring voice put the mighty Gushungo in a trance and had him
literally eating out of his hands."
Yes, Professor Moyo has almost
won his battle against Zanu PF. He has created commotion and disunity in the
party as Vice-President Msika says. He has destroyed Zanu PF as people knew
it. It is now but a shell of its old self. The only thing holding it
together is the person of President Robert Mugabe. It is now his private
property. When he goes Zanu PF is finished.
"The government of Zimbabwe is of the strong view that the
accused, Morgan Tsvangirai, has been wrongly acquitted," justice minister
Chinamasa said on Friday, as if Tsvangirai's acquittal had come as a shock
to him. A headline in today's Sunday Mail reads "We congratulate Justice
Garwe for his verdict, but." Elsewhere, Tsvangirai's acquittal has been
trumpeted as a victory for justice, and proof positive that the Zimbabwe's
courts and judges are still impartial. The court gave the correct verdict.
Tsvangirai was never guilty of treason. But a victory for justice? Let's
take a short walk through the chronology.
The judgement in this
trial was originally due to be handed down on 29 July. Two weeks before,
information emerged that the court intended to convict. A week later, the
judgement date was suddenly and indefinitely deferred. Something changed
profoundly in that week before the decision was taken to postpone the
judgement day. What could have brought about such an abrupt change of
One possibility is that other African countries may have been
briefed in advance as to the content of the forthcoming verdict. One or more
of those countries - South Africa and Nigeria seem likely candidates - may
have reacted with alarm, and warned the Zimbabwe government of the
consequences of a guilty verdict. Another possibility is that the two lay
assessors - who are somewhat analogous to the jury in other countries -
played a pivotal role in this case. They and the judge each have an equal
vote when deciding matters of fact. When the original judgement date was
postponed, there were many media reports that the judge had not properly
consulted the assessors before arriving at his verdict. The government
vehemently denied this, although it did admit that the assessors had asked
to revisit the court trial record.
Whatever happened, it is
pretty clear that the judge did not undergo a Damascene conversion while
making his decision. Justice Paddington Garwe was bought long ago. When the
justice minister and the information minister speak of "respecting" and
"congratulating" Justice Garwe for his verdict, those are weasel words. If
he had been told to, Garwe would have ruled that the moon is made of green
cheese. There are brave magistrates and judges in Zimbabwe, who defy
intimidation to adjudicate as they know is right. In the Cain Nkala murder
case, for example, Justice Sandra Mungwira, with immense courage, spoke the
truth about the corruption of the police and prosecuting authorities. But
The State vs Morgan Tsvangirai was not the Cain Nkala trial. And Justice
Garwe is not Justice Mungwira.
††††† HARARE - Police on
Friday went on a rampage, assaulting civilians, including old women, who
were celebrating the acquittal of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, in Harare's central business
††††† The incidents, which were concentrated along Harare's
CBD streets, Samora Machel Avenue, Nelson Mandela Avenue and Angwa Streets
came after judge president, Justice Paddington Garwe, acquitted Tsvangirai
of treason, arising from his meetings with a Canada-based consultancy firm,
Dickens and Madison.
††††† Lunch-time shoppers were caught
unaware as police pounced on a group of MDC supporters who were celebrating
††††† Using batons and tear smoke canisters,
about six truck-loads of police officers, mainly from the Police Support
Unit, pounced on the unsuspecting shoppers and
††††† They beat them at will and those who could not
run fast were beaten while sprawling on the ground.
group of officers descended on the MDC headquarters at Harvest House along
Nelson Mandela Ave, beating everyone they came across.
††††† A Daily
News crew, which had visited the opposition party's headquarters in
anticipation of a news conference by Morgan Tsvangirai, witnessed two women
who were severely beaten by the police.
††††† Another person was
severely assaulted at the Ximex Mall, along Angwa Street, a popular spot for
††††† At the High Court, those who came after
nine o'clock were being turned away by members of the police
††††† In the morning, residents of Mabvuku and Tafara
townships on the
††††† outskirts of the city centre, were the worst hit
as they were subjected to body searches at road blocks which had been
mounted by the police force.
††††† Those found wearing anything
red, were subjected to further searches and questioning, with some of them
being assaulted by the police officers. Red is associated with the
opposition party's main symbols.
††††† The police brutal action comes
in the wake of Thursday's appeal by MDC for its members to come to the High
Court and hear the court verdict.
††††† Home Affairs minister, Kembo
Mohadi quickly went on national radio, warning all MDC supporters against
coming to the High Court. He said police would be on the alert and that all
those found on the wrong side of the law would be dealt with
††††† At the High Court, security was very tight, with
police barricading Sam Nujoma and Third streets. A suspicious fly-past by
the Air Force of Zimbabwe was also observed during the passing of judgment
††††† Justice in Zimbabwe: Lest people forget
††††† Date:18-Oct, 2004
††††† IN the welter of
self-congratulatory statements by Zanu PF and the government, over the
acquittal of Morgan Tsvangirai last Friday, a few facts need to be
††††† Since 2000, Zanu PF has waged a relentless campaign
to re-create the judiciary in its own image.
††††† Chief Justice
Anthony Gubbay was hounded into early retirement. The Minister of Justice,
Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa, played a crucial role in
showing Gubbay how unwelcome he was to Zanu PF.
Robert Mugabe made a statement to the effect that if the government did not
welcome a judgment by the courts it reserved the right to refuse to
recognise that judgment.
††††† Some people thought this was a fair
enough statement for the president to make. Others thought it was aimed
specifically at those judges and magistrates who thought they were free to
make rulings only on the basis of the law.
††††† They had to
remember who put where they were, the statement seemed to be
††††† Judges and magistrates have left the country, some to
seek greener pastures, as other professionals have done over the years, but
others because they feared for their jobs or even their
††††† One judge, Justice Michael Majuru, of the Administrative
Court, left the country because he had decided to rule in favour of ANZ in
their case with the Media and Information Commission.
Majuru alleged he had been offered a farm to rule against ANZ. He said he
refused and fled to South Africa. He is still in that country today, but the
government has not commented on his allegations.
††††† To conclude
from Judge President Paddington Garwe's acquittal of Tsvangirai in the
treason trial that the government has decided to leave judges and
magistrates to rule as they see fit would be very
††††† The atmosphere of intimidation of the citizenry
and the denial of the freedom of the press, of assembly and of association
remains as pervasive as it was since 2000.
††††† Most neutral
observers believe that as long as we have on the Statute Books laws such as
the Access to Information and Protection Act (AIPPA) and the Public Order
and Security Act (Posa) the idea that the
††††† Judiciary has been freed
from government interference is patently unrealistic.
government wants to add the Non-Governmental Organisations Bill to further
reduce the space in which dissenting voices can be heard. This is not the
action of a government ready for true democracy.
††††† TALKING POINT: WHILE most progressive forces
have hailed the favourable judgment passed by Justice Paddington Garwe on
the MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, over his trumped-up treason case,
retrogressive forces in the likes of Patrick Chinamasa, Zimbabwe's
controversial and partisan Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary
Affairs thinks otherwise.
††††† In a shock announcement at the
weekend, Chinamasa, who has a track record of coercing members of the
judiciary to make rulings in favour of the government, said he was
disappointed with the outcome of the Tsvnagirai case.
his considered view, moulded on a Zanu PF philosophy, Chinamasa, a trained
lawyer himself said there was enough evidence in the videotape to justify a
††††† How low can a man charged with the administration
of justice for the entire nation sink?
††††† Said Chinamasa, one
of President Mugabe's most loyal supporters: "A guilty man has been allowed
to walk out of the court scot-free and no one is more surprised of this
outcome than the accused himself."
††††† What Chinamasa fails to see,
yet it is very clear for those without political blinkers is that Tsvangirai
did not have a case to answer. Period.
††††† From day one, the
government was taken in by a conman, out to make easy money from a gullible
government. It is ironic that the government chose to engage the same
Canadian consultancy firm, Dickens and Madison that had been hired by the
MDC to spruce the opposition party's international image.
It was foolish for the government to accept the line of thinking brought in
by Ari Ben Menashe, the former Isreli intelligence officer now with Dickens
and Madison that Tsvangirai had plotted to assassinate President
††††† A very crude and poorly-doctored video tape was used as
the main evidence in the 20-month trial which cost both parties a lot of
††††† The court correctly ruled that the
evidence brought before it did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that
Tsvangirai had plotted to assassinate President Mugabe.
the venerable Chinamasa thinks otherwise.
††††† Fortunately he was
not the judge. Justice Garwe should be commended for making the ruling that
he did, against all odds.
††††† Considering the amount of zeal and
effort put into the trial case by the government, to whom a guilty verdict
would have brought joy, Justice Garwe must have realised that it was prudent
to put his profession ahead of political considerations.
After all, Justice Garwe is still relatively young and has a future within
the legal profession. And Mugabe and his Zanu PF will not be around
††††† If one were to juxtapose the two lawyers, Justice
Garwe and Minister Chinamasa on this particular case, then Chinamasa would
be described as bigoted, biased and opinionated.
††††† On the
other side, Justice Garwe could be described as sound, rational and
The ICC has found no
evidence to support claims of racism in the Zimbabwe Cricket Union,
following the conclusion of an inquiry, instigated in the wake of
allegations made by 15 white "rebel" players, who claimed that they had been
driven out of the game in their country.
"We do not find any
evidence of racism within Zimbabwe cricket," the panel decided, and that
conclusion has been accepted by the ICC, which believes that the inquiry was
able to get to the root of the issues in Zimbabwe, despite the early end to
the oral hearing phase, after the lawyers for the players and the board
failed to agree on whether testimony should be heard in front of members of
the ZCU board.
The inquiry was conducted by India's Solicitor
General, Goolam Vahanvati, and the South African High Court judge Steven
Majiedt, and their long-awaited 73-page report was presented to the ICC's
executive board in Lahore today.
The two panel members
acknowledged that there had been a "complete breakdown" in the relationship
between the board and the players, but believed nonetheless that they had
been successful in reading between the lines of the affair. "We had every
reason to believe that we would be able to ascertain the truth," says the
report. "We believe that we have been able to do so."
Mani, the president of the ICC, described the report as a "vital piece of
work", adding that it should prompt people to reflect carefully on the
allegations that have been made. "These allegations . invoked one of the
most serious and damaging claims that can be made against an individual or
an institution," said Mani. " I believe that anyone who has made these
allegations . is now obligated to study this report and to respect and take
heed of the findings."
The report attempts to lay the blame
for the affair at the feet of the former captain, Heath Streak, who
threatened to resign back in April if his demands were not met. The ZCU, the
report claims, had no option but to take his threat at face value, thereby
setting off the chain of events that led to the 15 rebels withdrawing their
services in support of their captain, in the mistaken belief that he had
"In giving the board an ultimatum that he would
resign if his demands were not accepted, he [Heath Streak] put his own
future on the line," the report finds. "Streak obviously did not anticipate
(and was not advised) that given the ultimatum that he would retire by April
5, 2004, the board would take the position that it had no option but to
reject his demands and accept his retirement. They did precisely
As to the allegations of institutional racism in the
ZCU, the report found that their policies for the integration of cricket in
Zimbabwe were based on sound principles and were generally accepted by all
stakeholders in Zimbabwe cricket. However, there were some aspects of
selection and the functioning of some ZCU directors which needed to be
In conclusion, the report made eight
recommendations, most of which centred around issues of selection and
integration. In particular, the establishment of a players' association is
high on the agenda, so that future grievances can be channelled more
Opposition still 'under grave threat' in Zim ††††††††† October 17
2004 at 03:40PM
††††† By Basildon Peta and Edwin Naidu
Opposition leaders and human rights campaigners have dismissed suggestions
that the acquittal of Morgan Tsvangirai on treason charges is the start of a
new dawn of independence for Zimbabwe's judiciary.
††††† Relief over
Tsvangirai's acquittal this week was tempered by the Zimbabwe government's
response that the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) had
been wrongly acquitted.
††††† "After perusing the judgment, the
government of Zimbabwe is of the strong view that the accused, Morgan
Tsvangirai, has been wrongly acquitted," Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
††††† Zimbabwe academic Lovemore Madhuku said he was angered by
suggestions that the Tsvangirai verdict had vindicated Zimbabwean
††††† "When we say a judiciary is not independent, we don't mean
that it always gives judgments in favour of the government," said
††††† "What we mean is that in very key matters, the judiciary
rules in such a way that it favours the government. Tsvangirai's treason
case is not a key matter in this regard."
††††† Madhuku said
Tsvangirai's treason case was not a key matter but a simple political matter
which gave the Mugabe regime two options.
††††† "The first one was to
convict and jail Tsvangirai and make him another Nelson Mandela. The second
option was to let him free and achieve two further goals.
first one being for the regime to stand up on top of a mountain and proclaim
Zimbabwe a democracy with the rule of law while second - ensuring that he
(Tsvangirai) is encouraged to participate in the next elections in which
they will beat him."
††††† Brian Raftopolous, a professor at the
Institute of Development Studies at the University of Zimbabwe, said it
would be fatal for anyone to assume that Zimbabwe now enjoyed an independent
††††† "Let's look at the broader process of authoritarian
legislation that is at the core of Mugabe's dictatorship and that has
survived professional scrutiny by the courts," said
††††† "I certainly think that one should not read much into
††††† "At best, this judgment can be regarded as an
indication of an improvement. But the fact remains that a single indication
of an improvement should not leave us to believe that everything is well in
the judiciary," he said.
††††† MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi,
said: "The fact remains that this is a case which should not have gone to
court in the first place. Furthermore there was not an iota of evidence on
which any judge could have justified a conviction."
††††† Nyathi said
Tsvangirai had been unfairly deprived of time he could have devoted to his
party while attending the treason case which lasted 18 months.
Mugabe's spokesman, Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, said the Tsvangirai
judgment had confounded critics who "falsely claim" that Zimbabwe is
undemocratic and its judiciary not independent.
††††† Moyo said in a
statement published in the state-run Herald newspaper: "Today's high court
judgment acquitting Morgan Tsvangirai from treason charges which the
government has already accepted, albeit with strong reservations, once again
confounds, exposes and shames those merchants of lies and falsehoods,
including the British-sponsored MDC, always given to maligning and
denigrating Zimbabwe as undemocratic and without an independent judiciary
††††† "The legal system which has acquitted Morgan Tsvangirai,
himself a beloved protege of the West, belongs to the same country that the
West has routinely castigated, demonised and slapped with illegal sanctions
under the pretext that there is no rule of law, no democracy."
Before the judgment this week many feared the worst - Tsvangirai would get
the death penalty - but even he was taken aback by the verdict.
Tsvangirai told Sunday Argus: "I am frankly surprised. This whole trial was
political and, although I had hoped for the best, I cannot hide that I had
largely feared the worst."
††††† He said the situation on the ground
remained grave. Rights of citizens continued to be trampled
††††† Advocate George Bizos, who was part of Tsvangirai's legal
team, said when justice was under stress, there was always a concern about
††††† "The judge president to his credit analysed everything
correctly and led to the inevitable conclusion that Tsvangirai was not
guilty," Bizos said.
††††† Bizos said the case was one of the most
difficult he has been involved in. He said the rule of law had been to an
extent abrogated, its orders not obeyed, delays in proceedings, and police
had been given freedom to violate peoples' rights without recourse, and
prosecute on unfair laws.
††††† "In respect of these conditions, things
are very difficult in Zimbabwe and one hopes that the verdict was a good
example of a brave judge following the path laid down by the law, where he
analysed the facts critically and came to a fair conclusion."
Bizos said he hoped other judges would follow this example and be true to
their office instead of bowing to political demands.
††††† On Saturday,
Ronnie Mamoepa, the spokesperson for Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the South
African minister of foreign affairs, said the government hoped the acquittal
would ensure that the climate could be created for negotiations to start
between Zanu-PF and the MDC so that they could find ††††† a
††††† Joe Seremane, the DA deputy leader, said there was
little reason for cheer as Zimbabwean opposition leader faced a second date
in court over inciting people to strike.
††††† "The DA is relieved by
the Harare High Court's decision to find Morgan Tsvangirai not guilty of
treason," said Seremane.
††††† Seremane said it was clear from the outset
that this was a political trial designed to discredit Tsvangirai and to
limit his ability to operate as the leader of the opposition.
"It now appears likely that the Mugabe regime will try to use this (the
second) set of charges to convict Tsvangirai and ensure that he is unable to
challenge Mugabe in the 2008 presidential elections.
decision does not detract from the fact that democracy has collapsed in
Zimbabwe and that the opposition remains under threat."
This article was originally published on page 2 of Cape Argus on October 17,
- Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai could sue ruling party
officials and others for defaming him when he was facing charges of plotting
to kill President Robert Mugabe, his spokesperson said Sunday.
was on Friday cleared of charges of planning to assassinate Mugabe and mount
a putsch ahead of 2002 presidential polls.
If found guilty, he could have
faced the death penalty.
The feisty opposition leader had always denied
the charges, saying they were fabricated by the government.
spokesperson, William Bango, told AFP that Tsvangirai was considering taking
legal action against "a large number of people" who he believed defamed him
before and during the trial.
They included "quite a number of (ruling
party) politicians" as well as local and international media.
we're doing now is putting together material we'll send to our lawyers next
week," Bango said.
He said the offending material included several hours
of television news footage "designed to lower (Tsvangirai's) reputation,
lower his esteem and question his character as the leader of a political
Zim 'looks forward to meeting' MDC at polls ††††††††† October 17
2004 at 04:48PM
††††† By Ryan Truscott
††††† Harare - The
Zimbabwean government says it looks forward to meeting opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai and his party in crunch polls next year after his
acquittal on charges of plotting to kill longtime President Robert
††††† "Government will accept the judgment. We'll respect it,
and we now look forward to meeting the MDC and its current leader Tsvangirai
at the polls in March 2005," Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said late
††††† He made no allusion to a possible appeal by the state
against the acquittal of the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) who was cleared of high treason by the High Court on Friday, a charge
which could carry the death penalty.
††††† Chinamasa had said earlier
that Tsvangirai was "wrongly acquitted" by Judge Paddington Garwe and two
lay assessors, and announced that the government could consider taking
further legal action.
††††† Treason charges against Tsvangirai arose in
2002 after he was secretly filmed allegedly discussing the "elimination" of
Mugabe with a Canada-based political consultant, who was also in the pay of
††††† The opposition leader said he had been set up and
††††† In a front-page editorial, the
state-run Sunday Mail newspaper, which toes the government line, urged the
opposition party to contest general elections set for March.
Tsvangirai has said his party will take part in those parliamentary
elections only if key electoral reforms are implemented to ensure a level
††††† "Boycotting elections and then seeking
unconstitutional means to change the government will only result in more
treason charges and trials," the Sunday Mail warned.
opposition party believes that general and presidential elections in 2000
and 2002 were rigged and won through intimidation and violence.
says it will not contest in any future election unless electoral guidelines
agreed to by Zimbabwe at a meeting of Southern African Development Community
(SADC) members in Mauritius in August are implemented in full.
But as he welcomed his acquittal on Friday, Tsvangirai - a persistent thorn
in the side of the government - said it was "a good basis for national
reconciliation" in the politically divided southern African
††††† "The difficulty Mr Tsvangirai has with the 2005 polls is
the non-implementation of the SADC guidelines and principles," Tsvangirai's
spokesperson William Bango said on Sunday.
††††† He said Tsvangirai
had written to Mugabe recently "urging him to ensure Mauritius protocols are
implemented, and see to it that... he works closely with the MDC to see the
††††† The government has hardened its stance
against the MDC since the SADC conference, saying that the opposition will
not be given access to the public media to air their policies, claiming the
party was not loyal to the country.
††††† Access to state media by
all contesting parties is a key clause in the SADC principles. -
††††† England dismay over Zimbabwe ††††† Sunday
October 17, 2004 (1334 PST)
October 18 (Online): England have been left in an "impossible situation"
over the Zimbabwe saga, England's new cricket chief David Collier
said. ††††† The new chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket
Board said the team will have to fulfil their obligation to tour or face
††††† But he added there would be no pressure on
players to go on the two-week tour.
††††† He told "we are in an
impossible situation and do not condone the Zimbabwe regime."
He said the International Cricket Council's future tours programme had only
two forms of acceptable non-compliance - a government instruction or safety
and security concerns.
††††† But the British Government has said it
cannot issue a directive.
††††† On the safety and security issue, a
delegation from the England and Wales Cricket Board was flying to Zimbabwe
on Sunday to check out the facilities.
††††† Collier said: "We are in
a very difficult situation but I believe the board has done everything it
can to minimise the stay in Zimbabwe.
††††† "We have also given the
players the option to tour.
††††† "And we will be paying detailed
attention to the findings of the safety and security
††††† England are set to play five one-day internationals
starting in Harare on 26 November.
††††† And Collier warned the
threat of bankruptcy was a real one if they pulled out without an acceptable
††††† "It is a reality. If England were to be suspended and we
did not have any international cricket say for one season, then without the
international revenues, cricket in this country would not be able to survive
as it is at the moment," Collier added.
††††† The only other
opportunity for the tour to be called off is if Zimbabwe are expelled from
international cricket if a hearing into allegations of racism finds in
favour of 15 white cricketers who were sacked earlier this
††††† The ICC is expected to announce the hearing's decision later