Chimanimani MP Roy Bennet was picked up by police at Harare
International Airport this morning. Bennet was on his way to a business meeting
in South Africa. He was due back home tomorrow. He is now on his way to the CID
headquarters in Harare. He said he is unaware of the charge as of
More details will be made available later.
COMMITTEE WANTS MP LOCKED UP
Thur 28 October 2004
HARARE - A parliamentary committee yesterday formally requested that
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party legislator Roy Bennet
be jailed for 15 months for assaulting Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
during debate earlier this year.
The verdict of the ruling ZANU
PF party-dominated committee, first
reported by ZimOnline in July, was met
with howls and protests from the
committee comprised three ZANU PF parliamentarians and two others
Labour Minister Paul Mangwana, who chaired the committee,
told Parliament: "The majority voted for a custodial sentence of
with three months suspended on condition of good
Chinamasa was knocked down to the floor by Bennet after
he had called
the white MDC parliamentarian's ancestors thieves who stole
Chinamasa made the remark during debate in
May about illegal attempts
by Zimbabwe National Army and government secret
service agents to seize
Bennet's farm in Chimanimani
Bennet has since said that he attacked Chinamasa in a
fit of rage. The
MDC said it regretted the assault on the minister but
pointed out that its
legislator had been extremely provoked by the
If Parliament, which is dominated by ZANU PF, upholds the
verdict Bennet can still challenge it at the courts. -
Zimbabwe, Botswana to open new border post
Thur 28 October
GABORONE - Zimbabwe and Botswana will next year open a new
in a bid to ease congestion at the only crossing point between
neighbours at Ramokgwebana/Plumtree and also to curb the use of
routes to cross into either country.
Affairs Minister Thebe Mogami this week told the Press
that Gaborone had
provided resources for the construction of the new border
post under its
national development plan for next year.
He did not say how much
was set aside for the project or when exactly
it would start next
Mogami said: "This will also go a long way in addressing the
of illegal border crossing and bring order in the area.
"It is our hope that once the border post is established people will
instead of jumping the border fence. There is no fee charged for
the border at official points and therefore there is absolutely no
jump the border, especially by the bona fide visitor."
He said the
construction of an additional entry point between the two
evidence that relations between Gaborone and Harare were warm
But relations between the two southern African nations are
chiefly because of Gaborone's open criticism of some of President
Mugabe's controversial policies. - ZimOnline
34 MDC supporters arrested for holding meeting
BULAWAYO - Police arrested 34 supporters of the
for Democratic Change (MDC) party attending a meeting
here, in what the
opposition party said was yet more evidence of continued
harassment of its
members by state security agents.
of the opposition party said heavily armed police stormed a
in Mpopoma constituency here and force-marched the MDC
members who were
meeting there to West Commonage police station nearby.
Eight of the
opposition supporters were still in custody by late
yesterday and are
expected to appear in court today to answer charges of
violating the Public
Order and Security Act. Their other 28 colleagues were
detained at the
police station for several hours but were later released.
who were still being held by the police are Sihle Ncube,
Pharaoh Thusu, John Dube, Dumani and Stix.
Under the security Act
Zimbabweans must first seek permission from the
police before they can
gather to discuss politics.
MDC spokesman in Bulawayo, Victor Moyo,
said: "Our supporters were
arrested for holding a meeting at Mpopoma Hall.
They are expected to appear
in court soon.
cannot meet and mingle because of the security Act.
The Act is an
undesirable law. It makes the political playing field very
uneven. It goes
against the grain and spirit of the Southern African
(SADC) norms and standards for
free and fair elections."
The SADC electoral norms and standards require among other key issues
states to uphold human rights during elections and to afford citizens
opportunity to fully participate in national governance. - ZimOnline
Tsvangirai meets Mauritian PM
Thurs 28 Oct
Johannesburg: MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai left Mauritius
yesterday shortly after talks with Prime Minister and Southern African
Development Community (SADC) chairman Paul Berenger over Zimbabwe's March
2005 parliamentary elections.
Tsvangirai's meeting followed
similar talks he held with South African
President Thabo Mbeki earlier this
week. Details of those talks were not
released but it is reliably understood
that Tsvangirai asked Mbeki for help
in ensuring that Mugabe postpones the
elections from March to a later date
to create adequate time to implement
genuine electoral reforms.
Tsvangirai told reporters before leaving
Mauritius that the main
objective of his visit had been to appraise Berenger
of the electoral
environment in Zimbabwe which he said was not conducive to
free and fair
Tsvangirai said that during his
24-hour visit to Mauritius he had also
met trade union and business leaders
to discuss the crisis in Zimbabwe.
He re-iterated his party's
position that it would only contest in next
year's elections if the playing
field was levelled.
Tsvangirai said measures that must be
implemented included setting up
an indpendent electoral commission, ending
violence and intimidation,
getting opposition access to state media and
ensuring freedom of
Berenger and Mbeki are
expected to dicuss Zimbabwe when the Mauritian
premier visits South Africa
Tsvangirai is due to address a press conference in
before leaving for Harare. - ZimOnline.
England lose last exit from Zimbabwe tour
England's cricketers may withdraw from next
month's tour of Zimbabwe if
assurances on safety and security from the
Zimbabwe government and British
Embassy officials are breached.
hurdle that might have prevented the team's participation was
night when the England and Wales Cricket Board said it was
safety and security arrangements. But Richard Bevan, chief
executive of the
Professional Cricketers' Association who is just back from
an inspection of
facilities in Zimbabwe, made it clear that the players
could withdraw in the
event of trouble.
"We are relying on detailed assurances received from
all the relevant
authorities," he said. "Should such undertakings be
breached there will be
an immediate review of the players'
Despite widespread public and political opposition to the
regulations permit the ECB to withdraw without penalty on safety
An inspection tour last week by John Carr, ECB director
of cricket, and
Bevan found no reason not to tour and England's reluctant
arrive in Harare as planned on November 24.
Bevan met the minister for home affairs, police chiefs in Bulawayo
Harare and the British ambassador, and were assured the team, officials,
media and spectators would be safe so long as they adhered to Foreign Office
Boost agric production: CZI
industrial body, the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries
Zimbabwe should return to food self-sufficiency as a starting
full economic turnround.
Speaking at the Institute of Marketing
Management breakfast meeting in the
capital on Wednesday, CZI president, Mr
Pattison Sithole, said it was
imperative that Zimbabwe also increased
production of major export crops
such as tobacco, sugar and
He said restoration of productivity in the agricultural
sector should be
anchored on increased hectrage under irrigation, security
and stability on
the farms, full mechanisation, viable pricing of crops,
funding, more extension workers and restoration of the beef
Sithole said Zimbabwe also needed to revamp its
infrastructure and invest in
capacity building at some of its critical
"There will be no full economic turnround unless we put the
Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) back on rail, we expand capacity at Zesa
for current and future needs, provide adequate water supply to all
production centres, revamp our air transport system, road network and
complete some outstanding major dams," he said.
He said investment in
the areas outlined was a double-advantage, as it would
provide jobs during
construction and after the projects had been completed.
The projects, he
said, could also be a rallying point for mobilising foreign
thereby generating foreign currency for the country.
infrastructure bank would be a useful starting point in
resources," he said.
The CZI boss said concerted efforts must also be
channelled towards growing
exports for the country to build up foreign
The soon-to-be launched export strategy and
industrialisation policy should
focus the whole nation towards import
substitution, beneficiation of raw
materials, attraction of foreign direct
investment and incentives to major
exporters, Sithole said.
strategies that have been adopted to fight inflation should be
vigour in order to reduce the rate to single digit levels.
include the elimination of all forms of speculation,
reduction and close
monitoring of money supply, discipline within government
on expenditure and
improvement in productivity from all producers.
Sithole said confidence
in the banking sector should also be restored while
bold steps had to be
taken to deal with the banks under curatorship.
"Some discipline has
already been restored and these efforts must continue.
Never again should we
experience the same problem of 2003," he said.
Zimbabwe, he said, should
also shift from brain drain to brain gain by
strategies both in the educational and employment
also called for more government investment in the health sector,
an increase in funding from the current 12 percent to 20 percent
Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
He said the economy could never work
without a healthy and productive
Meanwhile, Sithole said a
progressive and non-inflationary movement of the
exchange rate should also
be guaranteed while the foreign currency auction
system needs to be
continuously refined. - New Ziana.
ANC embarrassed at Zim ousting of
Red faces over Cosatu trip
By Sapa-AFP and Sapa
The African National
Congress is "a bit embarrassed" by the
deportation of a 13-member Congress
of SA Trade Unions delegation from
Zimbabwe, Defence Minister Mosiuoa Lekota
said yesterday. But he also
implicitly criticised Cosatu for the way in
which it handled the incident.
A member of the delegation has
described how they were left without
food for seven hours and how Zimbabwean
police tried to beat them.
He charged that they had to leave
Zimbabwe through the "back door",
and the Zimbabwe army, police and
intelligence agency had all been used.
Lekota, who is also the
ANC's national chairman, told reporters at
Parliament: "I know why the Press
feels very keen on this issue because
clearly it is a bit embarrassing to us
as the ANC . We are part of the
and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Aziz Pahad were briefing
the government's programme of action on international
relations, peace and
security. Cosatu, the SA Communist Party and ANC are
members of South
Africa's tripartite alliance.
Cosatu's 13-member team was on a
fact-finding mission when it was
thrown out of Zimbabwe.
Tuesday night, Zimbabwean authorities first tried to get the
delegation on a
flight back to South Africa from Harare, but there were none
They then ferried the union representatives to the
Beit Bridge border
post by bus, without informing them of their destination,
and left them
there. A minibus taxi from Musina in Limpopo fetched the group
at the border
and they arrived in Johannesburg yesterday.
Lekota said the government would work to ensure that the deportation
Cosatu's delegation did not affect the elections in Zimbabwe next
The minister said although he did not have the facts of what
he believed Cosatu and the Zimbabwean government could have
Asked what the incident had
done to relations between South Africa and
Zimbabwe, he said: "Relations are
not necessarily determined by a single
"There has to
be sustained ill will, if one must say that, before we
can say relations
will be bedevilled."
Simon Boshielo, Cosatu's international affairs
secretary and a member
of the delegation, said the Zimbabwean government
kept them at the airport
for seven hours without food while they expected to
be taken to their hotel
The authorities "decided
to take us out of the airport through the
back door", he said. "Whoever was
getting us out of the country used the
army, the intelligence services and
the police," Boshielo said.
Bring Mugabe to order now
By the Editor
When the Zimbabwean government
literally drove the 13 members of
Cosatu out of the country, even the most
ardent defender of the Mugabe
regime had to stagger in
It's like watching a Monty Python movie where the
character falls on
his sword again, and again, and again until he gets it
Although Cosatu is drifting more towards a political
entity than a
pure workers' voice, it still represents the vast majority of
African workforce. Their very obvious ports of call would be with
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions and to a lesser extent the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change.
The worst their visit would
have done was to add to the large number
of dissenting voices chastising the
The decision by the Zimbabwean authorities
to expel the group, and in
so doing defy a court order, verifies everything
that has become popular
rhetoric in the media.
For many who
have come to the defence of the Mugabe regime, the
argument has never been
as clear-cut as the perception of a crazed dictator
who perpetrates gross
human rights abuses and shows a total disregard for
Rather, for his apologists it has become a battle
between the African
who is still forced to bow and scrape before his Western
master for a bone.
For them Mugabe has become a symbol of a defiant African
leader who will no
longer play to the tune of the colonialists still lurking
in our midst and
the new era of donor-based economies.
come from a continent caught in the mire for so very long,
heroes are in
short supply. And in our desperation, Mugabe, who has
destroyed the dreams and hopes of his people, has been given
Our government's response of emphasising that Zimbabwe is a
state once again just does not cut it anymore. South Africa, the
African Development Community and the African Union must apply
direct pressure on the Zimbabwean government to show that its
cannot be tolerated anymore.
October 28, 2004
Whatever fig leaf it was that persuaded Zimbabwean
Mugabe's apologists that he is a born-again democrat must
surely have been
plucked away by events in the past two days.
On Tuesday, Mugabe's goons unceremoniously expelled from Zimbabwe a
fact-finding delegation from the Congress of South African Trade Unions
(Cosatu). They were whisked off to the airport by security officials that
night and summarily ordered to return to South Africa. The last plane had
already left for Johannesburg, so police bused them to the South African
The fact that the delegation had billed itself as a
mission ahead of next year's Zimbabwean general election is
what is it that Mugabe was so concerned about that he was
prepared to put
his special relationship with South Africa at
We suspect it was nothing more than the well-documented
reality on the
ground - a reality in which opposition voices are silenced by
The laughable assertion that the Cosatu
delegation was doing the work
of British Prime Minister Tony Blair is also
revealing. Anyone with a
passing association with Cosatu will know this is
What then to make of the Zimbabwean government's
repeated claims that
the Movement for Democratic Change is also doing
The whole affair has cast a new light on the South
government's policy of so-called "quiet diplomacy" - suspended, of
when it inexplicably and loudly defends the behaviour of the Zanu-PF
government. Yesterday, Department of Foreign Affairs spokesman Ronnie
Mamoepa made the extraordinary assertion that the Zimbabwean government was
acting within its rights in expelling the delegation.
secretary-general Zwelinzima Vavi's response was explosive. As
part of an alliance with the ruling ANC, the whole affair is bound
Will these repercussions finally put
South Africa on to the front foot
in its dealings with Mugabe?
There is no shortage of chemicals for A-level exams -
THE Minister of Education, Sport and
Culture, Cde Aeneas Chigwedere,
yesterday said reports that some Advanced
level students would write this
year's final examinations without adequate
equipment and chemicals for
science subjects were false.
Chigwedere was speaking in Parliament after Chitungwiza Member of
Mr Fidelis Mhashu (MDC) sought to know how the students would sit
examinations without such basics.
"Such information is not based on fact.
There is no shortage of chemicals
and the necessary equipment needed for
A-level examinations in the country,"
said Cde Chigwedere.
the chemicals used in schools for science subjects were not ordered
schools, but by the Zimbabwe Schools Examinations Council (Zimsec)
company called MedTech.
"Zimsec applies for foreign currency from the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to
enable MedTech to order the chemicals and
equipment and those have been
secured," said Cde Chigwedere.
reports over the weekend had alleged that some schools had not yet
chemicals and other materials which are required for practical
a few days before final A-level examinations begin.
'S Africans not welcome in Zim'
27/10/2004 22:52 -
Johannesburg - Hot on the heels of a Cosatu
fact-finding mission deported
from Zimbabwe earlier this week, eight wives
of the alleged mercenaries in
the Chikurubi prison in Harare were prevented
from crossing the Beit Bridge
border post on Wednesday morning.
were on their way to go and visit their husbands.
The women crossed the
South African border post without hassles just after
05:00 on Wednesday, but
then they were told on the Zimbabwean side that
their husbands are criminals
and they would not be allowed into the country
'No South Africans welcome in Zimbabwe'
Tinah Mabuza - whose husband, Paulus, is one of the prisoners - said
customs officials informed them that "no South Africans are welcome in
The women were accused of being part of the team of
"trouble makers" from
Cosatu, who were on their way back to South Africa at
that very moment.
"They looked at our passports and claimed that they
were fraudulent. They
confiscated them as well as our bus tickets," she
Passports stamped 'Cancelled'
Almost six hours and lots
of arguing later, the officials returned the
passports but stamped them as
"cancelled" - because they were apparently
women had been to Zimbabwe before with similar passports, first to
their husbands' hearings and later to visit them in prison.
were given five minutes to leave Zimbabwean soil. According to
customs officials said they had to wait until their husbands are
next year and that attempts to enter Zimbabwe before then will be
"We saved to pay the R160 for the bus ticket. We don't have money
to buy new
tickets, and the officials don't want to return our bus
The women clubbed together on Wednesday afternoon to try and
catch a taxi
back to Johannesburg. According to Mabuza, she is unsure of how
she will obtain enough money to return to Nelspruit, from where
Ronnie Mamoepa, spokesperson for foreign affairs, said on
afternoon that the women did not have the required authorisation
His department will take up the issue with
the Zimbabwean authorities.
He said this authorisation has to be obtained
from the Zimbabwe High
Alwyn Griebenow, the prisoners'
attorney, said there have been numerous
problems when families tried to
visit the men in prison - even if they had
the authorisation to do
"A written request first has to be sent to the South African High
in Harare. From there a whole bureaucratic process follows until
authorities give the Chikurubi prison the order to place the
certain people on the prison's visitors' list.
have to have a copy from the prison authorities. Verbal
authorisation is not
sufficient. There have been problems with visits, and
many more are
"The women were under the impression that their visit had been