October 21, 2011
The African Union has remained largely silent about the death of Libyan
leader Moammar Gadhadfi, who once led the alliance and served as its largest
AU commission chairman Jean Ping released a statement on Friday simply
noting Gadhafi's death.
Mr. Ping then focused on the African Union's concern for the Libyan people,
their aspirations and the need for national reconciliation.He stated the
alliance is committed to working with Libya's new leaders and an inclusive
transitional authority that will help form a new, democratic Libya.
Gadhafi, who once proclaimed himself the King of Kings of Africa, served as
the AU's chairman two year ago.
The late leader wielded a huge influence in the 15-member alliance, using
Libya's substantial oil wealth to become its top financier.
The AU recognized the National Transitional Council as Libya's rightful
government late last month, drawing international criticism for waiting so
long to take the step.
Some leaders in sub-Saharan Africa charged the delay showed that the AU was
out of touch.
By Bridget Mananavire, Staff Writer
Saturday, 22 October 2011 13:11
HARARE - The ouster and eventual death of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi
increases pressure, and the possibility of Tripoli’s new rulers to unwind
“shady deals” between President Robert Mugabe’s government and the late
Zimbabwe is named as one of the destinations for Gaddafi’s money, estimated
at $150 billion in both listed and non-listed entities around the world.
Apart from banking assets, the late dictator had interests in farming,
tourism and mining, and his son Saif al-Islam was in the country last year
to scout for more deals.
Mohammad Elbarat, one of the Libyan diplomats expelled from Zimbabwe for
supporting Tripoli’s new rulers, the National Transitional Council (NTC),
raised the spectre of a reversal of the deals when he handed a dossier on
possible plunder to NTC leaders.
“We have asked the NTC to cancel all the deals that Gaddafi made with Mugabe’s
government, and the NTC has agreed since Mugabe’s government is refusing to
recognise the NTC,” said Elbarat.
“These deals were not done in good faith and we want the NTC to investigate
them because we had no documents to follow the transactions and this must be
made clear on who benefited and for what purpose,” Elbarat recently told the
Daily News from Tripoli.
Zimbabwe expelled Taher Elmagrahi and four other senior diplomats in August
for flying the NTC flag at the Harare embassy.
Mugabe’s coalition partner Morgan Tsvangirai said the change of baton in
Tripoli left the 87-year-old “embarrassed”.
Douglas Mwonzora, spokesman for Tsvangirai’s MDC party, said Mugabe was in a
fix on how to repair relations after “chasing the Libyan diplomats like
“Now that Gaddafi is gone, there is going to be embarrassment on Zimbabwe
government on how to relate with Libya,” said Mwonzora.
“A few weeks ago, Mugabe’s side of the coalition government ignored MDC
advice not to chase away the Libyan ambassador in favour of someone clearly
in the sunset of his political life. As usual, Mugabe displayed arrogance,”
Information minister Webster Shamu yesterday maintained support for the
dictator who, with the help of his family, ruled Libya with an iron fist for
“Government has closely followed developments unfolding in Libya, especially
in the last 24 hours. Zimbabwe just cannot accept what has happened in that
African country as a legitimate way of correcting systems on the African
continent,” said Shamu, a fierce Mugabe loyalist.
Ordinary Zimbabweans, on the other hand, say Gaddafi got what he deserved,
although some feel the death was too brutal.
Harare resident Tafadzwa Chirisa, 32, said: “Justice has been done not only
for Libyans but Africa because he was a dictator.”
One shop attendant said Gaddafi’s fate showed “justice” will always catch up
with leaders who murdered their own people for the sake of power.
“You can never run away from people and justice. He was stubborn.
“If he had stepped down earlier, none of this would have happened,” she
Godknows Kasavi, 21, said: “The man was a cause to many deaths, including
children and that is how he died, chaunodyara ndochaunokohwa (you reap what
36-year-old Bornface Chavira said: “What I am happy about is that Libyans
are now free.”
Political violence is on the rise in Makoni district following the abduction
and assault of MDC-T activists in the area last week.
by Tony Saxon
Zanu (PF) is putting pressure on villagers to vote for the party in the
envisaged elections to be held next year.
Soldiers and war veterans led by a senior army officer only identified as
Chiganza, with the backup of Zanu (PF) youth militia, are reportedly using a
yellow CAM twin cab vehicle to unleash terror on the villagers. The militia
has targeted resettled farmers, where they have made sure that they are all
registered as party members.
An MDC activist, Rison Bende, was last week on Friday abducted and taken to
the notorious 32 Infantry Battalion Army Barracks in Tsanzaguru where a
torture base has been set up.
His relatives told this paper that they found him the following day dumped
in the bush near The Lake View shops after he was severely assaulted for
drumming up support for the MDC-T in the area.
"We had just retired for bed when a group of Zanu (PF) militia broke into
his house. They grabbed him by his hands and forced-marched him to a yellow
truck where they said they would return him alive on condition that he
renounce his MDC membership," said a neighbour who witnessed the abduction.
"We then made a report at the police base but no action was taken and no
arrests were made," said the neighbour.
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has said that the MDC-T and President
Robert Mugabe’s Zanu (PF) should sign a non-violence pact ahead of the
by Chief Reporter
"I am prepared to share the stage with Mugabe and publicly denounce violence
which is now prevalent on the Zimbabwean political scene," said the MDC
"If it means signing an agreement then I am prepared to do that." He accused
supporters of the governing Zanu (PF) of provoking MDC. "We want our
supporters to avoid being drawn into committing acts of violence," he said.
A local rights body, the Zimbabwe Peace Project, recently claimed in a
report that at least 20 rights violations were reported every day. The ZPP,
a faith-based group which pools NGOs who assist victims of organized
violence, said most of the violence was committed by Zanu (PF) supporters.
The rights group said political tension remained "very high" in Zimbabwe
ahead of proposed elections and it reported more than 20 rights violations
each day over a four week period.
The latest bulletin says supporters of President Robert Mugabe's party are
accused of leading political violence and intolerance toward perceived
opponents, some within their own ranks.
Police here arrested MDC-T vice District Youth Chairperson, Charles Ngwena,
activists Brian ‘Gwekwerere’ Phiri and Shawn Chinhai last Tuesday for
allegedly burning a Zanu (PF) banner bearing Mugabe’s picture.
by Jane Makoni
According to the police, the three pulled down the banner which was hoisted
by Zanu (PF) youths at Dombotombo Shopping Centre Sunday, moments before
MDC-T President, Morgan Tsvangirai, addressed a rally at Rudhaka Stadium.
The charges are denied by the accused.
“I am sure police investigations are in progress,” said MDC-T vice
provincial organiser, Boniface Tagwireyi.
Police was also reported to be keen to arrest and investigate MDC-T
Marondera Central District Main Vice Chairperson and councillor ward 4,
Caleb Marange, in connection with the ‘torched’ Mugabe banner. Marange was
out of town on council business.
Residents and MDC supporters said they were puzzled by what appeared like
police continued selective application of justice.
“Last week a police officer in uniform pulled down MDC-T campaign posters
bearing Morgan Tsvangirai’s picture in Cherutombo broad day light, ahead of
the Premier’s visit. Despite MDC lodging a complaint at Marondera District
Police Station, nothing was done to the ‘offending’ officer as police said
MDC had pasted the posters in the vicinity of a police post,” said an MDC
The official also claimed that out of an estimated 1 000 MDC-T posters
displayed around the district, more than 700 were pulled down and destroyed
by identified Zanu (PF) youths. No arrests were made like what happened to
MDC youths. “Sunday, Zanu (PF) youths pulled down MDC-T posters and replaced
them with those bearing Mugabe’s face at places where PM Morgan Tsvangirai
was scheduled to visit.
Tuesday, vendors and other residents were shocked to witness Zanu (PF)
council police officers pull down and tearing to pieces an MDC-T campaign
poster at Dombotombo Vegetable Market.
“The council police officers arrived in a council truck and savagely tore
down the poster bearing Tsvangirai’s smiling face. What surprised us was
that when Zanu (PF) controlled the town, Mugabe’s posters were displayed at
the market which was now no go area for MDC campaign material. We are also
disturbed by the MDC-T city fathers’ helplessness in the face of political
arrogance by the council police.
MDC runs the council and there is no reason why Tsvangirai’s councillors
should be cowed by employees such as Mbizi. What are the city fathers afraid
of? It is time Mugabe and Zanu (PF) are told that they no longer run the
show here”, said a resident who had gone to the market to buy vegetables
when the incident happened.
Investigations by the Zimbabwean revealed that the council police officers
were working under instructions from Zanu (PF) council assistant fire and
security officer, Jorum Mbizi. Mbizi is also Zanu (PF) vice provincial
There are growing concerns that Zimbabwe is unwilling to comply with the
African Charter on human rights. The country’s reports to the African
Commission on Human and People’s Rights are long overdue, and there is
general lack of political will in the promotion and protection of human
rights, according to human rights defenders.
by Chief Reporter
The Zimbabwean can reveal that Zimbabwe, which ratified the African Charter
on Human and People’s Rights on May 30 1986, has submitted only three
Rights defenders have released a damning report on the human rights
situation, saying peaceful protestors were victimised during United Nations
World Peace day in September. This clampdown culminated in a spate of
arbitrary arrests and unwarranted detentions which in some cases have been
followed by prosecution.
The report says the security of journalists and even citizens is a major
concern with rampant violations of the right to freedom of expression.
"Laws such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act,
Broadcasting Services Act, Criminal Codification and Reform Act continue to
be applied with citizens being caught up in this onslaught. Of particular
concern, the inclusive government has rejected some recommendations made by
other member states of the United Nations General Assembly calling upon it
to repeal draconian laws and amend and reform administrative practices that
violate the right to freedom of expression," the report says.
The conditions of prisons remains a concern, as well as the treatment of
women and the failure of the police to uphold the right of citizens and
protect them from executive excesses.
Rights defenders urged the government to take urgent measures to evaluate
their shortcomings and reform legislative and other administrative
frameworks to ensure that the rights enshrined in the African Charter are
enjoyed by all citizens.
The International Organisation on Migration has deplored the Zimbabwe
government's tendency to detain asylum seekers in prison instead of speedily
handing them to UN agencies for assistance.
by John Chimunhu
In a report, the IOM said it had assisted 26 Somali and 74 Ethiopian asylum
seekers relocate to Tongogara Refugee Camp after they languished for months
at Harare remand prison with the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees unaware of their whereabouts.
"Partners are advocating for change so migrants can be accomodated elsewhere
rather than detained at Harare remand prison while awaiting transfer to
Tongogara Refugee Camp," IOM said.
The refugees were detained by the Zimbabwean government in February and
vanished, amid fears that they had been deported to their countries of
origin in violation of United Nations rules.
UNHCR country representative for Zimbabwe, Marcellin Hepie told The
Zimbabwean earlier this year he did not know what had happened to the asylum
They had made the arduous journey from war-ravaged Somalia and drought-hit
Ethiopia but were detained by the Harare authorities for illegal entry.
The UNHCR expressed concern that most refugees granted asylum in Zimbabwe
fled the country before long. Torture by the CIO while in prison was routine
during interrogation to establish if the new arrivals were not spies.
Hunger and deprivation was also said to be widespread in prison as the
authorities could not provide the types of food to which the asylum seekers
were accustomed. Many needed treatment and at least one refugee needed
hospitalisation after release, according to the report.
Moira Gombingo, a senior refugee official in the Department of Social
Welfare confirmed recently that asylum seekers entering Zimbabwe were
routinely handed over to the CIO for interrogation. Gombingo claimed that
entrants into Zimbabwe threatened national security.
"From a security point of view, we have to find out who the so-called asylum
seekers are. We call in the security agencies to deal with these state
spies," Gombingo said.
She confirmed that after being grilled by the CIO, the asylum seekers were
then handed to the security services of their countries of origin without
being allowed access to the UNHCR. This is a violation of UN rules on
treatment of asylum seekers.
Residents here have blamed Zanu (PF) for exposing them to permanent hunger
after the party chased away two NGOs that were providing them with food.
by Tony Saxon
The two NGOs, whose names have been withheld for professional reasons, were
offering humanitarian assistance to the residents in the drought prone area.
"Hunger has struck here and if we do not have any food allocations
immediately some people might die. We used to have some food rations and we
previously embarked on irrigation schemes that sustained our lives with the
help of NGOs, but since the NGOs were chased away most of us have been
exposed to hunger," said a traditional leader in the area.
Munacho Mutezo a Zanu (PF) politburo member who is eyeing the Chimanimani
West constituency was blamed for chasing away the NGOs.
The Zimbabwe Republic Police in Matabeleland North province has been accused
of using vehicles donated for the Victim Friendly programme to crack down on
human rights defenders.
by Zwanai Sithole Harare
Since the initiation of the concept of Victim Friendly Court systems by the
government, United Nations agencies such as UNICEF have been supporting the
initiative with vehicles and resources. However, some of the vehicles are
now being abused by the police.
“Police are abusing Victim Friendly fleet. Last week a police vehicle with a
UNICEF logo was seen in Lupane carrying MDC supporters who were arrested for
campaigning for the MDC –T ahead of possible by-elections in the area. I
wonder if the donors of these vehicles are aware that their vehicles are
being used to suppress freedom in the country,” said Remias Ncube a human
rights activist based Lupane.
Ncube said police in the province were also using vehicles meant for the
programme to do normal policing duties such as manning roadblocks and
pursuing cattle rustlers.
“In Matabeleland province, the police spend most of their time persecuting
human rights defenders and opposition politicians with the few resources
meant for the protection of vulnerable people. I think these donors should
regularly monitor the use of these vehicles,” said a lawyer from the
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights who refused to be named.
RAY NDLOVU Oct 21 2011 14:20
Vusi Mavimbela, South Africa's ambassador to Zimbabwe, has attacked
President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF over its continued invasion of South
African-owned farms and over the mounting rhetoric about the seizure of
foreign-owned mining companies under the indigenisation law.
Observers see the tough talk of Mavimbela, former director general in the
South African presidency, as the outward expression of a major shift in
relations between Pretoria and Harare under President Jacob Zuma, who is
clearly turning up the heat on the 87-year-old Mugabe in a bid to force him
to rein in lawlessness by members of his party.
Political analyst Trevor Maisiri said: "The ambassador's sentiments are a
clear indication of a changing of the guard in Pretoria."
Mavimbela, quoted in the state-owned Herald after meeting Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai at the weekend, said: "We are not happy with the farm
invasions that have been taking place in the country and South African
farmers being evicted from their farms.
"Scores of farmers came to our offices for assistance and the majority have
been rendered destitute, save for a few who have been taken in by friends."
Earlier this month, Zanu-PF youths in Nyazura evicted two South African
farmers -- Koos Smith of De Rust farm and Tienie van Rensburg of Rueben
farm -- giving them an hour's notice to pack up their belongings and leave.
It is understood that the South African envoy has been irked further by
Harare's disregard for a 2009 bilateral trade agreement between the two
countries, intended to protect South African investments in Zimbabwe.
Mavimbela said that some matters "have gone beyond the level of the embassy
and the situation now needs state-to-state dialogue".
Zanu-PF national chairperson Simon Khaya Moyo shrugged off Mavimbela's
comments. "The South African ambassador does not answer to Zanu-PF and so
there is no way that Zanu-PF can deal with the issue. It's a matter between
two governments," Moyo said.
In the past, Zimbabwe's foreign affairs ministry has read the riot act to
Western countries over their perceived involvement in the country's internal
affairs. Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi is well known for his brash
style with foreign diplomats.
He could not be reached for comment.
This week Hendrik Olivier, the chief executive of the Commercial Farmers'
Union of Zimbabwe, welcomed Mavimbela's public stance, saying that it would
"help influence and hold in check" land invasions.
"Invasions have taken place over the past 11 years, despite Zimbabwe being a
signatory of bilateral agreements with many countries, including South
"It remains to be seen whether the government will take the necessary steps
to respect its trade agreements," said Olivier.
Meanwhile, divisions have emerged over the indigenisation laws in Zanu-PF
and the coalition government, with the Affirmative Action Group, a militant
black empowerment project linked to Zanu-PF, splintering over the
beneficiaries of the expropriation of foreign business interests.
The action group's entire executive board, led by journalist-cum-businessman
Supa Mandiwanzira, has stepped down, giving way to Philip Chiyangwa, a
property tycoon and nephew of Mugabe.
The board has been accused of "having lost its way and put individual gain
before mass empowerment".
There have also been claims that $32 000 has been embezzled from the
Embattled national airline Air Zimbabwe is posting $4 million losses
monthly, the CEO told a Parliamentary committee last week.
by Staff Reporter
“Our cost of operating the business sits at about $6 to $7,5 million,”
Innocent Mavhunga told Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on State Enterprises
“Our income is between $2,5 and $3,5 million.” Mavhunga told the committee
that the airline was saddled with a $137,7 million debt, of which $112,7 is
owed to local creditors.
He urged government as the shareholder to inherit this debt and pump
$40million capital into the airline to recapitalise it.
The chairman of the portfolio committee, Zvishavane-Runde legislator Larry
Mavhima, asked what the airline was doing about the appalling situation at
the airline, which last month made a flight with only one passenger from
The company wanted to cut staff but it did not have money to bankroll the
retrenchment packages. It had cut routes and aircraft numbers were
dwindling. Of eight remaining planes only five were functioning. All
attempts to return to profitability were stymied by lack of finance.
"Management is very clear it has got to operate on commercial basis but if
you can't make commercial decisions then it means obviously the challenge
lies not with management," Mavhunga said.
"Successive leadership management has come up with good strategic turnaround
blue prints but when it comes to implementation, management has not been
given the support.
"For instance the issue of retrenchment is not because of management nor the
board but the shareholder."
Reflecting on the company's failure, Mavhunga said the airline was "deeply
apologetic" for the situation that shareholders, creditors and customers now
found themselves in.
He said rolling industrial action by pilots, the high cost of flying the
airline's ageing fleet, loss of passenger confidence in the embattled
airline and lack of support from government was combining to make a deadly
mix that could ground the airline.
The Zanu (PF) initiated anti-sanctions campaign seems to have lost momentum
with heaps of signed petitions gathering dust at government offices in the
by Leona Mwayera
An investigation carried out by this paper revealed that petition forms were
now garbage in the towns with some even being used by vendors to wrap fruit
at market stalls.
Zanu (PF) initiated the campaign in a bid to force Western countries to
remove the so-called ‘sanctions’ it believes have been imposed on President
Mugabe and members of his inner circle.
However, the western countries, including the United States of America, have
remained adamant that the targeted measures were not hurting ordinary
Zimbabwe but affected only Zanu (PF) officials who are accused of trampling
on human rights and democracy.
After realising that the western countries would not respond to the Zanu
(PF) propaganda campaign, it has been shelved and most of the petition forms
did not did not make it to Zanu (PF) headquarters.
"We don't know what they are going to do with these heaps of forms. They are
taking up a lot of space from our offices and I feel Zanu (PF) should
apologise for wasting taxpayers' funds over this propaganda and useless
programme which did not even produce results," said one civil servant who
declined to be named.
Another government official who declined to be named said the anti-sanction
programme was not a national programme and those who abused government funds
to print the material should be held accountable.
"We cannot afford to forgive people who are abusing tax payers money to fund
Zanu (PF) propaganda programmes. What is going to happen to all these heaps
of papers? The money should have been used to buy stationery for poor
schools in rural areas," said the official.
by Staff Reporter
ZIMBABWE is targeting free breast cancer screening after Parirenyatwa
Hospital became the first government hospital to offer the service.
Parirenyatwa, the country’s biggest referral hospital located in Harare’s
middle-class suburb of Avondale, opened a breast cancer clinic on Friday.
Vice President Joice Mujuru, speaking at the launch, admitted most women
would struggle to raise the US$40 for breast cancer tests at the new clinic.
“For the programme to succeed, the government should endeavour to cut costs
of breast cancer screening and shall in future move to scrap the costs once
our economy improves," Mujuru told staff.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women in Zimbabwe,
followed by cervical cancer.
The National Cancer Registry Association of Zimbabwe says 7,000 women are
diagnosed with the disease annually.
Zimbabwe’s most high profile cancer patient is Deputy Prime Minister
Thokozani Khupe, who was given the diagnoses earlier this year.
Health experts say early detection of the disease can increase chances of
survival, and Mujuru said the government was committed to investing in more
facilities for those already diagnosed with breast cancer, including
upgrading of radiotherapy, chemotherapy and pathology services.
A new unified sign language dictionary has gone on sale in Zimbabwe to end the confusion sometimes caused by the country's various signing dialects.
For example, the sign for "shoe" in the capital, Harare, means "pig" in the second city, Bulawayo.
And in Bulawayo, you say "good" by giving two thumbs up, but in Harare the sign is putting four fingers on top of the thumb.
Representatives from all of the country's provinces worked on the year-long project, bringing together the various dialects that have evolved.
Previous sign dictionaries had been rejected by Zimbabwe's deaf community as they were not compiled by deaf people.
“As African hair is often kept short, the sign was replaced in Harare with a sign where the hands are put on the breasts”
Speaking in sign language using an interpreter, one of the compilers, Sindile Mhlanga, said this was a huge breakthrough for deaf people in Zimbabwe.
"Many people were not comfortable to use the old sign language dictionaries as the signs used in them are different to what is being used on the ground, but this dictionary was made for the deaf by the deaf," he said.
"An accurate dictionary is the key for good communication with deaf people, and it will empower us to communicate with others.
"We have situations where a boss will communicate with a deaf worker by writing notes on pieces of paper, that's disrespectful to us, and this dictionary will help to end this."
Other signs have been changed because of lack of cultural relevance.
The widely-used sign for "girl" imitates tugging a lock of long hair with the fingers, which is of US sign origin.'Signs are universal'
But as many Zimbabwean women keep their hair short, the sign was replaced in Harare with one where the hands are put on the breasts.
Sign language is not linked to a spoken language, as the signs precede the words and in Zimbabwe the various dialects have generally evolved in schools for the deaf.
"A volunteer might come in from another country and add their knowledge to the local signs and that is where the confusion came from," says Samantha Nyereyemhuka from Bulawayo's King George VI Centre for the disabled, which led the production of the dictionary.
"A lot of the signs are universal, and we have had students going on trips overseas and they have been able to communicate with deaf people from places like Russia and England more easily than people who use words."
Official government figures say that there are around 20,000 deaf people in Zimbabwe, but those involved in this project believe that the figure is far higher.
Lincoln Matongo, one of those involved as a compiler in the project that has the approval of the government's education ministry, think it will empower deaf people.
"We hope that with this dictionary we will be able to be included fully in society," he says.
"When our leaders think about the deaf they talk about interpreters, but that means the interpreter is the one getting a job.
"So we hope that this sign language dictionary will help people from all walks of life to learn sign language and then the issue of interpreters will fade out."
With the completion of Zimbabwe's sign language dictionary, other countries in the region have now undertaken similar projects.
Lesotho has work on a dictionary in progress and Botswana and Mozambique have begun compiling theirs.
Watching Arthur Mutambara being heckled into silence by MPs in Parliament
recently, one would have been excused for thinking the Deputy Prime Minister
was an unwelcome intruder in Zimbabwe’s pro-democracy politics.
by John Chimunhu
Recently, Mutambara managed to infuriate MPs twice in the House of Assembly
in one afternoon. First, during Question Time, he proved out of sync with
the wishes of Zimbabweans when he defended President Robert Mugabe’s
decision to expel the Libyan ambassador Taher El Magrahi after the latter
defected to the new government in his country.
Then Mutambara further incensed MPs from both MDCs by attempting to
introduce debate on the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission before the
legislators had an opportunity to study it. Even Zanu (PF), to which
Mutambara now looks for support, did not back him. In embarrassment, he
Coupled with his refusal to step down after voluntarily handing the baton of
president of the smaller MDC formation to Welshman Ncube, Mutambara has come
to be seen as a stumbling block in efforts to dislodge Mugabe from power.
Yet a history of student activism in Zimbabwe, published by Africa Watch
recently, places Mutambara at the centre of a movement that first cracked
dictator Mugabe’s decades-old stranglehold on power.
It was Mugabe’s violent suppression of peaceful protests by students led by
Mutambara in 1988 that spurred the then labour leader Morgan Tsvangirai and
others to launch massive strikes which eventually brought the Mugabe
government to its knees.
Many are bound to ask what went wrong for the formerly bold student leader
and fiery orator.
Has Mutambara been bought? Has he been threatened? Is he being blackmailed?
Has he lost faith in the ability of Zimbabweans to shake off the shackles of
Mugabe’s tyranny and misrule? Or does he have a better plan? So many
questions. Too few answers.
Titled ‘Academic Freedom and Human Rights Abuses in Africa’, the Africa
Watch report gives an important insight into the events that shaped
Mutambara. Perhaps as a strategy in those dangerous times, Mutambara and his
colleagues vowed that they were fully behind Mugabe, but were against the
corruption practised by those around him. Read in the light of recent
events, many would accuse Mutambara of always having been a Mugabe protégé.
Seeds of revolution
In the late 1980s, as the euphoria of independence waned and the reality of
independence set in, senior Zanu (PF) officials embarked on a massive
looting spree, grabbing for themselves and their families commercial farms
bought with British funds for resettlement. They also started parcelling out
state firms and entities in the name of privatisation.
In 1988, students at the University of Zimbabwe and the Harare Polytechnic
tried to organise a demonstration against government corruption and blatant
moves to entrench Zanu (PF)’s one-party rule The UZ students led by
Mutambara, who was the Student Representative Council (SRC) president were
tear-gassed and beaten with batons.
Strategically, the students had affirmed their support for Mugabe but were
shocked when he returned from a foreign trip to endorse the brutal police
Mugabe ordered the Kenyan political exile and law lecturer Shadreck Gutto
deported for helping the students draft an anti-corruption manifesto.
Mutambara, along with five other students and four lecturers were charged
with inciting public violence. The criminal charges did not stick but
Mutambara and 14 other members of the SRC had their state grants withdrawn
by the authorities.
“To cut off the students’ means of livelihood was a harsher penalty than
anything the courts were likely to impose. Also, the criminal charges were
unlikely ever to succeed in court, whereas the withdrawal of the grants was
an administrative measure for which the authorities were not required to
give a reason,” the Africa Watch report says.
The public humiliation of Mutambara and his colleagues as they were first
banished and then hauled before disciplinary councils to apologise for
leading the protests was to have lasting effect on the public mood and the
national psyche. In anger at the continuing attacks on the students,
firebrand lecturer and Acting Dean of the law Faculty, Kempton Makamure
criticised the authorities. Mugabe ordered him arrested and he spent a week
in detention under the country’s emergency laws. This only worsened matters.
On September 29, 1989, UZ students tried to hold a seminar to mark the first
anniversary of their aborted anti-corruption demonstration. More than 200
heavily armed riot police and CIO agents descended on the university to
disperse 300 students. Mutambara issued a statement on behalf of the SRC
denouncing the police action.
“In the early hours of October 4, police again came onto campus to arrest
Mutambara and Enoch Chikweche, the organising secretary. Mutambara was
injured while trying to escape arrest,” Africa Watch says.
Mutambara was imprisoned and suffered intolerably after being accused of
instigating violence that led to the university’s closure.
However, today Mutambara is a pariah. His first big mistake, according to
political analysts, was to try and upstage Morgan Tsvangirai following the
MDC’s disastrous 2005 split. Having failed to gain control of the main MDC,
Mutambara tried to get into Parliament but was thrashed in Zengeza in the
2008 plebiscite by the MDC-T.
Mutambara’s biggest gaffe, however, appears to be the decision to refuse to
step down as deputy premier after resigning as MDC party president. With no
party to back him, Mutambara is not expected to have any meaningful impact
on the forthcoming elections.
Worse, some now accuse him of being Mugabe’s mole. His anti-Western rhetoric
has helped to reinforce that view. It seems history is already judging quite
harshly one of the founders of the anti-Mugabe revolution. And Mutambara has
only himself to blame.
Trust Matsilele, Johannesburg, October 22, 2011- Over 70 Zimbabwe and South
African citizens gathering for a three day workshop in Johannesburg to try
and find lasting solution to Zimbabwe’s decade long crisis urged more women
involvement in political processes.
Zimbabwe just like any other African country is dominated by male
politicians making it difficult to end challenges facing the continent like
gender based violence and political violence that in most cases leaves women
as the most affected.
Leading human rights defender and prominent dialogue facilitator Betsie
Pendry from Democracy Begins In Conversation (DBIC) urged African countries
to take up a leading role in resolving Zimbabwe’s economic and political
“A Zimbabwean crisis is an African crisis, hence Africa and South Africa
should proactively assist Zimbabwe end political problems being experienced
currently”, Pendry said to a crowd that was dominated by age group between
20 and 35.
The three day workshop will among others see young Zimbabweans and their
South African counterparts exhibiting poetry, dramas, dance and music.
A leading South African activist Fanito Masike warning his fellow South
African citizens to safeguard the hard earned democracy said “freedom is
fragile and requires extreme care”.
The participants were also exposed to a play written and directed by an
accomplished Zimbabwean actor, Bhekilizwe Ndlovu called Woza Zimbo.
The play that has been also showcased at a number of high level festivals in
and around South Africa talks about challenges Zimbabweans are facing among
them state sponsored violence, land invasions, tribalism and fear that has
gripped the nation.
Zimbabwean audience was reminded of some prominent Zanu-PF jingles such
pataka vhota taka sainirana agreement sung by Tambawoga and Zimbabwe
ndeyeropa. These songs dominate airwaves during electioneering times.
This workshop comes at the backdrop of assassination of President Robert
Mugabe’s long time friend Muammar Gaddafi, former Libyan President who was
on the helm for just above four decades.
The workshop entitled Freedom’s Next Steps will later Saturday grace
prominent rights defenders who will be providing an analysis and preferred
roadmap to democratic elections.
The workshop is being spearheaded by Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, Crisis in
Zimbabwe Coalition and the National Constitutional Assembly and being hosted
by Living Together Institute.
Friday, 21 October 2011 13:18
Clemence Manyukwe, Political Editor
A SPECIAL Cabinet select committee spearheaded violence on the farms in
2000; former indigenisation minister, Cephas Msipa, is quoted as having told
According to revelations contained in a United States diplomatic cable dated
June 2, 2000, former home affairs minister, Dumiso Dabengwa, who is now the
leader of the revived ZAPU, had opposed State-backed violence during Cabinet
deliberations, but was allegedly sidelined.
Msipa is alleged to have added that during the 2000 general polls, every
ZANU-PF aspiring lawmaker, including himself, was allocated a group of war
veterans whose work was to intimidate the electorate into voting for
That year, ZANU-PF narrowly defeated a then united Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) in a hotly disputed poll.
"Minister Msipa began by explaining his own recent defeat as the ruling
party's parliamentary candidate after several primary re-runs, which he
attributed to the work of justice minister,n Emmerson Mnangagwa. Mnangagwa
had organised a campaign against the indigenisation minister in the Midlands
province where Msipa is from, in retaliation for Msipa having supported the
current ZANU-PF chairperson, John Nkomo, during the party's December
convention," part of the cable dispatched to the US 11 years ago reads.
"Moreover, Msipa said there was a special committee of select Cabinet
ministers who were tasked with orchestrating the commercial farm
occupations, which had given rise to much of the political violence. Msipa
said that during the regular weekly Cabinet meetings, mention would be made
of this special committee taking up sensitive issues such as the care and
feeding of war vets on the occupied farms."
The ZANU-PF politician is alleged to have claimed that President Robert
Mugabe was personally involved in overseeing the work of the alleged special
He reportedly told American diplomats that at a central committee meeting
held in February 2000, the ZANU-PF leader was told that he was now a
liability to his party and should prepare to leave office.
The former indigenisation minister is alleged to have expressed fears that
ZANU-PF would be defeated by the MDC-T in polls.
War veterans were alleged to then have been enlisted to shore up the party,
through occupying white-owned commercial farms, and intimidating voters into
voting for ZANU-PF with the blessing of the said ministerial committee.
"Msipa said he believed that Mnangagwa and Minister of State for National
Security Sydney Sekeramayi were on this committee. The minister of home
affairs, Dumiso Dabengwa, had spoken out against government-condoned
violence in cabinet meetings, but had been overruled and effectively
sidelined," the cable further states.
The latest revelations on the existence of a ministerial committee that
sponsored terror in the 2000 polls, come weeks after reports on another
cable that quoted a disgruntled ZANU-PF central committee member, Manatsa
Mutasa, briefing US officials in 2008, where he again cited ministers'
complicity in that year's electoral violence.
Mutasa also predicted that President Mugabe would be defeated by Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in polls.
The alleged accounts by the two ZANU-PF senior officials on the involvement
of ZANU-PF ministers in acts of violence, trashes Justice and Legal Affairs
Minister, Patrick Chinamasa's claims at the just-ended United Nations Human
Rights Council session that reports of State-sanctioned terror in Zimbabwe
Friday, 21 October 2011 13:17
LEGISLATORS are set to get a windfall should the principals in the inclusive
government approve allowances of US$75 per day for each member backdated to
2009, The Financial Gazette established this week.
The move to back-date allowances for legislators could see each lawmaker
pocketing thousands of greenbacks at a time when some of the members of the
bicameral Parliament are accused of failing to account for Constituency
Parliament's presiding officers recently wrote to the Office of the
President and Cabinet proposing that each lawmaker be paid US$75 as a
According to the Parliamentary Members Allowances and Privileges Act, the
power to set allowances for lawmakers is vested in the President.
The Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs, Eric Matinenga,
said Parliament has worked out the number of days each lawmaker has sat in
august House and submitted the consolidated report to the principals to
"I am aware that Parliament has done an exercise and placed it before the
principals. One hopes that whatever decision the principals would make, they
will make it in full consultation with Treasury," said Matinenga.
The minister added that there were suggestions to subtract the allowances
from the lawmakers' debt to government, arising from the vehicles they were
handed as part of the Parliamentary Vehicle Scheme, but that has since been
Legislators have always complained about their welfare, with critics
dismissing their demands arguing that they should bear in mind that going
into Parliament should not be seen as a source of employment.
In 2009, legislators from ZANU-PF and both formations of the Movement for
Democratic Change attempted to block passage of the 2010 National Budget,
pending the payment of outstanding allowances due to them.
If the move had succeeded, it would have been the first time in the
country's history that a budget had failed to sail through the legislative
Vice President Joice Mujuru and Finance Minister, Tendai Biti, are said to
have whipped the legislators into line saying failure to pass the fiscal
plan would be an attack on the Global Political Agreement.
On December 7, 2009, the chairperson of the Budget, Finance and Investment
Promotion Comm-ittee, Paddy Zhanda, who is also ZANU-PF's Goromonzi North
MP, had led lawmakers to revolt over the issue of their welfare saying
claims that government did not have money did not hold water as lawmakers
were being driven into abject poverty.
"Mr Speaker, Sir, on the basis of the above, I move the motion in my name,
that the debate on the National Budget be adjourned to allow consultations
with the Minister of Finance as to the realignment of the budget," said
He was, however, overruled by the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Lovemore
Moyo, saying the manner in which he had attempted to stop the budget process
was not procedural.
Updated at 6:55 am today
The New Zealand cricketers have sealed a 2-0 series win in Zimbabwe after
chasing down the home side to win the second one day international by four
wickets at Harare.
The Black Caps were led home by opening batsman Martin Guptill's century
while first drop Brendon McCullum hit 87 after Zimbabwe set the tourists a
target of 260 for victory.
Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor hit his second successive unbeaten century
to lead his team to a competitive 259 for eight but Guptill's 105 did the
damage and New Zealand reached 261 for six with 10 balls remaining.
Graeme Aldridge debuted for the Black Caps after fellow bowler Kyle Mills
didn't recover from a slight groin strain in time. Jesse Ryder caught a
stomach bug and also sat out the match, replaced by BJ Watling.
Jacob Oram replaced Nathan McCullum in a straight selection swap.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) joins Zimbabweans and the African
continent in commemorating Africa Human Rights Day on 21 October 2011.
This significant day on the human rights calendar affords us an opportunity
to reflect and recommit to the solemn undertaking by African leaders and
African peoples to promote and safeguard fundamental rights and freedoms on
The continent has witnessed decades of numerous human rights challenges
resulting from a diverse range of factors, which include colonization,
racism, oppression, war, poverty, disease, corruption, and autocratic
It is against this background that instruments that enforce values such as
freedom, justice, equality, development and human dignity in Africa need to
be implemented and respected.
While Zimbabwe initially made considerable strides towards upholding and
fostering a culture of respect for human rights, particularly in relation to
social rights such as education and health, it is tragic and regrettable
that State and non-State actors continue to work indefatigably to deny their
citizens fundamental rights which were at the core of the struggle for
Despite the existence of a power-sharing agreement, Zimbabwe still carries
the dictatorial hallmarks of erosion of personal liberties, repression,
torture, surveillance, an oppressive legal framework and abuse of the
criminal justice system to harass, intimidate and persecute Human Rights
Defenders (HRDs) and ordinary citizens caught in the crossfire.
Whilst attempts are being made to move the country forward in terms of
legislative and institutional reform necessary to free the operating
environment agreed under the Global Political Agreement (GPA), State
security agents and other non-State actors aligned to ZANU PF continue to
intentionally disrupt public hearings organised to solicit people’s views on
the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission Bill, the Electoral Amendment Bill and
the constitution-making process.
Similar disruptions and challenges have been faced in relation to other
reform efforts. Arbitrary arrests, baseless prosecutions and persecution,
abuse of criminal defamation laws and insult laws continue to occur.
While the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights ensures Civil and
Political Rights, Economic Social and Cultural Rights, and Peoples' and
Group Rights, it is catastrophic that senior government officials such as
the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Hon. Patrick Chinamasa continue
to reject calls to protect, promote and respect equally all rights owed to
Instead, Hon. Chinamasa selectively believes that economic, social and
cultural rights should form the core of the human rights agenda and
explicitly rejects recommendations made by the United Nations Human Rights
Council in Geneva recently to impartially apply the rights to freedom of
expression, association, and assembly; and ensure protection against
enforced disappearances, torture and political violence with impunity. His
argument that all rights are related and interconnected therefore rings
Senior government officials and the State controlled media frequently label
human rights activists as “subversive” and tools of the western colonial
powers in an effort to undermine their work. These charges have made them
vulnerable to attack by groups allied to government and delegitimize their
critical work in the eyes of the public. This remains an unacceptable
violation of commitments made by Zimbabwe to abide by the UN Declaration on
Human Rights Defenders.
The deceit of endless political dialogue to stall the urgent imperative for
an election in which the free will of the people is expressed and respected
can no longer be tolerated.
Instead the GPA must be used as a tool to facilitate an environment and
institutions that will ensure a genuine, free and fair election in line with
the SADC Principles and Guidelines for Democratic Elections and the AU
Declaration on Principles Governing Democratic Elections and allow for the
credible return to electoral legitimacy which places effective popular
participation at the centre of our choice of leaders. All political parties
involved in the GPA must heed this, and take urgent action to move towards
such necessary conditions.
Dear Family and Friends,
Its been one of those weeks where we’ve been shaking our heads in
disbelief all the time. A week of ship captains, torturers, deported
pensioners and watching TV in the dark.
First came the interview with Zanu PF’s Patrick Chinamasa by the
Independent newspaper. Asked if the 87 year old Mr Mugabe would be the
party’s presidential candidate in the next election, Chinamasa said:
“We will put our best foot forward and President Mugabe is our best
foot. We can’t change the captain in the midst of a storm.”
Then came two stories of Zimbabweans in exile which left us
open-mouthed and wide eyed. On the one hand is the 47 year old Zanu PF
spy and torturer who has been given community service and granted
asylum in the UK. On the other hand is an 88 year old woman who lost
her farm to Zanu PF thugs, went to the UK to live with her daughter
and has now been told she can’t stay in the country.
When the UK Immigration Judge, David Archer said last year that there
was no doubt that ex Zimbabwean CIO spy Philip Machemedze was
“deeply involved in savage acts of extreme violence,” it seemed
pretty obvious that the man would be deported from England. Machemedze
had admitted to electrocuting, slapping, beating and punching a
farmer; smashing someone’s jaw with pliers and putting salt into the
wounds of a female MDC member who was being held in an underground
cell. In the four years that he’d been a spy for Mr Mugabe’s
government, Justice Archer said of Machemedze’s victims: "Some were
killed slowly and their bodies disposed of. He witnessed people with
their limbs cut off. Other acts of torture were too gruesome to
A few months later Philip Machemedze was granted asylum in the UK. A
tribunal ruled that under European Human Rights law Machemedze’s
life would be in danger if he was returned to Zimbabwe. "Those rights
are absolute and whatever crimes PM has committed, he cannot be
returned to face the highly likely prospect of torture and execution
without trial," the Judge ruled.
The reason this whole story has surfaced again is because Machemedze
had been living and working illegally in the UK for seven years before
he was found out. Finally charged for working illegally,
Machemedze’s sentence has just been deferred for six months in
exchange for half a day a week spent in service for the ‘poor and
needy’ at a local Pentecostal Church. Making her ruling, Judge
Julian Lambert said: “If I see you have done good work when you
return and I have your promise that you will continue that good work I
shall give you your liberty.” Punished with church service for
working illegally but going scott free for torture. What about those
‘savage acts of extreme violence,’ and what about the human rights
of his victims?
On the other hand is the story of the 88 year old Zimbabwean woman who
has just been told she cannot stay in the UK. News reports say that
Mrs Werrit went to live with her daughter and son in law in Kent eight
years ago after her farm was taken over by supporters of Zanu PF who
said they would cut her throat if she came back. The UK Border Agency
said it had "fully considered" Ms Werrit's claims of persecution in
Zimbabwe and "found she was not in need of international protection".
Ironically Mrs Werrit, is just a few months older than President
Mugabe but will come back to no health care, no pension and no
government assistance for any of her needs.
Lastly, cause for head shaking came with a list of quotes in a local
newspaper. NewsDay’s front page banner headline was: ‘Gaddafi’s
bloody end,’ and inside came: ‘Some of Gaddafi’s craziest
quotes.’ My favourites were: “Were it not for electricity we would
have to watch television in the dark, ” and “A woman has the right
to run for election whether she’s male or female.”
The end of Colonel Gaddafi sends a dramatic message to dictators who
continue to fool themselves that their people love them. It’s a
message that ends in a storm drain under the road. Until next week,
thanks for reading, love cathy
October 22, 2011, 1:40 am
As the Zanu PF Conference – or is it a Congress – draws closer, the question
of who will be the party’s candidate for president in the next election
takes on increasing urgency.
Time for Zanu PF chefs to reveal where their true loyalties lie! Patrick
Chinamasa this week declared himself in favour of Robert Mugabe, “Zanu PF
will sink without Mugabe” he said. Interesting that it is the party rather
than the country that concerns Chinamasa; the party could not afford “to
change the captain in the middle of a storm,” he added, though what exactly
that storm is, Chinamasa did not stipulate.
Enos Nkala, a founding member of Zanu PF, in whose Highfield home Zanu PF
was born in 1963, thinks otherwise. This week he urged the party to drop
Robert Mugabe as their 2012 candidate saying openly that Mugabe is too old
and if he remains at the helm then the party will lose the next election.
Nkala’s dissatisfaction is, however, not only to do with Mugabe’s age and
leadership style, the state of the party is also a matter of concern. “I am
not happy with the way the party is going…cowboys, power seekers and
fly-by-night politicians have highjacked the party.” Nkala said. There are
reports that various factions within the party have united in a bid to oust
It would be naive to assume that all these dissenters are acting for purely
altruistic motives. Despite the fact that Zanu PF has declared officially
that Mugae is their candidate, the vice-president and widow of the late
Solomon Mujuru, is keen to take on the post of president. Emmerson
Mnangagwa, the Minister of Defence, is another top Zanu PF man eager to take
over the presidency. With so many people after his job, Mugabe might be
tempted to retire from the fray; but, supported by the military, the police,
the war vets and with hundreds of Zanu PF youth ready to stir up trouble
wherever HE wants it, the Old Man is probably not too worried.
It was Zanu PF Youth who disrupted an MDC Rally in Marondera this week,
forcing members of the public to run for their lives. Apparently Zanu PF in
Marondera strongly objected to posters displayed around the town advertising
an MDC Rally. Zanu PF said the posters ‘offended’ them! Meanwhile, soldiers
in the same province were busy handing out notebooks to village headmen to
record how and where people vote in the forthcoming election. Now, that is
offensive. Similarly, when Zanu PF Youths disrupt Electoral consultations
and announce that they intend to target white-owned businesses to fund their
party’s Conference, all true democrats must be offended.
Mugabe’s party is accustomed to condemn anyone who dares to comment even
mildly about Zimbabwe; the party cannot tolerate criticism. It was the
Commonwealth’s turn to provoke Zanu PF’s anger this week when they said they
would be happy to readmit Zimbabwe once the country has been restored to
full democracy. Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi called that comment
‘illegality with arrogance’. A Commonwealth briefing paper had suggested
that it could offer help to encourage Zimbabwe’s progress towards democracy
though why that is either arrogant or illegal escapes me.
Considering Zimbabwe’s recent electoral experiences, it sounded pretty
hypocritical when Mugabe congratulated Zambia on peaceful elections and for
appointing a white man as deputy president. Mugabe boasted about how many
whites he had in his first cabinet but omitted to say how whites – and
especially farmers - have been treated lately. Today, Friday, Zanu PF
proclaimed the late, unlamented Gaddafi as ‘a hero’ even though ordinary
Libyans have been dancing in the streets to celebrate his demise. Once again
we see how party comes before country and people for Zanu PF.
Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH.