|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Searching for Uncle Bob. Where is the President of Zimbabwe?
According to media reports in South Africa, Mugabe is in a ward in a hospital in Gauteng, convalescing after a stroke.
According to the Zimbabwean government, their president is at work in Harare, where he chaired a cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning.
However, no one could confirm that they had actually seen the president.
|'We have no knowledge of this development'|
"Quiet diplomacy has been partially successful
but I would like
to see some movement there," he said.
"Zimbabwe is growing at a rate of -15 percent because there is
no rule of law. What we need there is partnership with labour, government
We need a partnership that is built on trust not on suspicion,"
He said in contrast to what is happening in Zimbabwe, Botswana
is a great example of good relations between government and the private
sector. He said the relationship has enabled the country have the fastest
growing economy on the continent.
He further praised the Kimberly Process -- an agreement between
the industry and government aimed at eliminating conflict diamonds from the
"There has been phenomenal progress with the Kimberly Process.
De Beers is working with several countries to develop a new phase of the
Process," he said.
The conference is scheduled to end on Thursday.
JAG HUMAN RIGHTS COMMUNIQUÉ October 24, 2003
16/10/03 a farmer in Mashonaland central visited his farm to collect a
driver and some of his personal possessions. On arrival he was approached
by a group claiming to be the new owners of the farm (no previous notices
to acquire had been served). The farmer was then beaten with a sjambok all
over the body, punched in the face smashing his glasses, all the while
having racial abused hurled at him. Identities of assailants are known.
Police were very reluctant to accept a report of Assault GBH saying that
they would determine the crime committed.
END THE SILENCE RALLY
March to DEFEND HUMAN RIGHTS IN ZIMBABWE this SATURDAY 25th October, 12PM
WESTMINSTER, London. Tell the South African Government that their refusal
to speak out whilst Zimbabweans slip further every day into poverty, fear
and despair is TOTALLY UNACCEPTABLE. New starting point. Meet at the Queen
Elizabeth Conference Hall, Broad Sanctuary-adjacent to Westminster Abbey.
Speakers there will include Eldridge Culverwell whose Dad was Joseph. The
marchers will procedd to the SA High Commission. For more details visit
www.endthesilence.com Wednesday 22nd NCA Peaceful Demonstration.
78 people have been charged and are in custody at Harare Central Police
Station following the demonstration in Africa Unity Square at lunchtime
today. Lovemore Madhuku is amongst those arrested as is Newton Spicer who
was filming the demo in his private capacity as a Zimbabwean citizen. At
least two hundred people were picked up by armed riot police and some were
reportedly dumped on the airport road. The demo was peaceful except for
some isolated incidents when riot police dispersed onlookers. One woman was
hit to the ground but the extent of her injuries is not known. Human rights
lawyers are to be commended for their strong turnout at the charge office.
Access to those arrested was denied. The 78 activists arrested yesterday
have been charged under POSA Section 19 a(i) which reads 19 Gatherings
conducing to riot disorder or intolerance
(1) Any person who, acting together with one or more other persons present
with him in any place or at any meeting- (a) forcibly- (i) disturbs the
peace, security or order of the public or any section of the public; or
(ii) invades the rights of other people; intending to cause such
disturbance or invasion or realising that there is a risk or possibility
that such disturbance or invasion may occur; or
(b) performs any action, utters any words or distributes or displays any
writing, sign or other visible representation that is obscene, threatening,
abusive or insulting, intending thereby to provoke a breach of the peace or
realising that there is a risk or possibility that a breach of the peace
may be provoked; or
(c) utters any words or distributes or displays any writing, sign or other
visible representation- (i) with the intention to engender, promote or
expose to hatred, contempt or ridicule any group, section or class of
persons in Zimbabwe solely on account of the race, tribe, nationality,
place of origin, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion or gender of
such group, section or class of persons; or (ii) realising that there is a
risk or possibility that such behaviour might have an effect referred to in
subparagraph (i); shall be guilty of an offence and be liable to a fine not
exceeding $50,000 or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 10 years or
to both such fine and such imprisonment.
(2) An offence under subsection (1) is committed whether the action
constituting it is spontaneous or concerted, and whether the place or
meeting where it occurred is public or private. Newton Spicer has also been
charged In spite of the fact that he was not part of the demo but merely
filming for his own records. Additionally he has been accused of
distributing a newspaper which came out on Tuesday called 'street sheet' -
apparently two people who were arrested for distribution in Mabvuku
yesterday stated that they received copies from Newton. The Street sheet is
a two page tabloid-sized free sheet put out by Zvakwana a group of
activists. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for details or go to the zvakwana
website www.zvakwana.org A freelance photographer (non-journo) who works in
Africa Unity Sq was also arrested and continues to be held. Two Herald
journalists and one from the Independent were held briefly yesterday but
released without charge.
THE JAG TEAM
Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
(011) 612 595 If you are in trouble or need advice,
(011) 205 374
(011) 863 354 please don't hesitate to contact us -
(091) 317 264
(011) 207 860 we're here to help!
(011) 431 068
JAG OPEN LETTER FORUM
Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to
email@example.com with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.
Re: Compsensation communiqué
THIS KIND OF SCORNFUL OFFER IS INSULTING AND ALSO UNCONSTITUTIONAL AND
SHOULD BE CHALLENGED AS SUCH. FARMERS NEED TO ENSURE THE SUMS THEY ARE
OFFERED ARE ACTUARLY VIABLE EVEN IF THERE IS NO PRESENT HOPE OF PAYMENT.
Re: Ben Freeth "The Real Enemy" 21/10/03
The society that elected zanupf in 1980 was corrupt in the first place.
I thank you for your updates and letters and wish the community everything
for safety and blessing for their crusade for freedom.
I'm here in Christchurch, just had breakfast, toast and marmalade, Listened
to the news and I even had a plate of Maltabella porridge. Bought it in the
Pak-and-save supermarket here in New Zealand, there were plenty of other
things too, mealy meal, Pronutro, Koo tinned fruit, Mrs Ball's chutney,
Five roses tea etc etc. But it also came with a lump in my throat as I know
only too well that others in the very land that it came from don't have the
choice of three meals a day. The other fact is that the infrastructure to
get these goods here will eventually also disappear, the commercial
farmers, Lever Brothers, Olivine industries, and the like.
The news is very saddening, I did participate in the week of fasting, it
reminded me all day what others are suffering, the difference being I could
still have tea with milk and one or two sugars to stir in, others did not
even have that choice and that is a part of their normal life.
Why is it some will detest from cohabitation with the world, are the first
to spread the word of communism, socialism, then blame misfortunes on
others but will gag opinions (free speech) and not take heed from others. I
remember when we were scared of the words Marxism, Socialism, but didn't
imagine that the current governing body would go this far, and it is
tribalism, a custom of a bygone era, a primitive society where
international trade, technology exchange and education were not at the
forefront (they didn't know of such things), plunder of another's land and
home (kraals) was the daily activity. A true reflection of ignorance and of
a one eyed leader living the past leading the supposedly blind who in fact
are blind folded. Take that blind fold off the nation and they will be
dazzled from having it on for so long. This cycle must be broken,
gradually, or chaos will erupt. They will be hungry for knowledge, a better
life, what they have lost, some have been blind folded since childhood and
will not know right from wrong. It is important who removes these blind
folds be recognised as the person who didn't put the blinds on, but the
one who helped the nation see the light again, and the nation are wise
enough to make their own assumption of who put the blind fold on them in
the first place. They must forget about the past, get on and make things
better, catch up with things they have missed, make the nation prosper by
pulling together with enthusiasm in one direction, there being no whips
needed this time.
This kind of dream can become reality, it was only made into a dream by one
man who denied the reality of freedom to the nation through his own lust
for more freedom for himself.
Yes the fruits from Africa tastes better than any other I have tasted, I
treasure it and thank the right person when the blind fold is taken off.
Dear Mr. Taylor-Freeme,
Clem Sunter writes about scenario planning - looking at possible scenarios
in the future. He is Chairman of Corporate Affairs for Anglo American.David
Saul writes about the past. He is an author on Military History.
At some stage in the future a military historian is going to write about an
event known to us as the "Third Chimurenga." David Saul could well consider
doing it because he has written a book about Military Blunders. There are
many players in the Third Chimurenga, just as there were many in the Third
Reich and there will be a lot of interesting material to cover. Mr.
Henwood, Mr. Cloete, Mr. Hawgood and yourself will have invaluable
information to impart because you were very much "in the ring" to use Mac
Crawford's words. The Honourable Minister of Agriculture will probably have
a fascinating variety of material. It is possible that Mr. Hasluck, Mr.
Olivier and maybe Mr. Swanepoel could make some very useful contributions
to an historical account. Sadly, Dr. Hunzvi's input will have to be second
hand, but the historians could possibly interview Mr. Chinotimba. Mr.
Gavin Conolly and his cousin Mr. David Conolly, along with Mr. Worswick and
Mr. Crawford will probably assist in piecing together a very important
period in the history of Zimbabwe.I think it would be most valuable for the
historians, if you could keep a diary of events - so that a modern day
Arthur Bryant could use it in the future.
Moving on to the Scenario Planning. Could you perhaps impart to farmers,
and ex-farmers (mainly) how you and your colleagues envisage commercial
agriculture over the next three years. Along with Mr. Cloete, you and
Council openly supported the Government Land Reform Programme as far back
as August 2002, and it would be most interesting to be fully briefed on
your dreams for the future of commercial agriculture in Zimbabwe, and the
way forward. I look forward to your reply at
firstname.lastname@example.org at your convenience.
All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
JUSTICE FOR AGRICULTURE COMPENSATION COMMUNIQUE - October 24, 2003
Email: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
REPORT ON COMPENSATION.
JAG has got hundred and ten documents that have been handed in to our
offices. These documents were handed in from the first original printed
version that has evolved to the present electronic form. The result has
been that we have documents in various stages and of varying quality. There
are some that contain 100% information but I the wrong format and there are
those that contain very little facts but have been handed in good faith.
We will be implementing a second phase to get these documents upgraded and
standardized so that all the documents we receive will be in the updated
The facilitators have been busy in the last three weeks and more and more
farmers have now seen that the compensation process needs the Loss document
as a tool to achieve maximum returns on their claims. The average number of
documents that the facilitators are working with are 25 farmers and it
seems that in some cases they will end up finishing between 30 to 60
documents per facilitator. The number of facilitators active up to this
standard are 10. A number of farmers have collected the software from the
office and are doing the documents on their own. I would estimate that a
total of 100 farmers could do it this way. There are a number of farmers
that are in the region or in other countries. I believe that these people
could be more computer literate and that they could be better equipped to
do the documents on their own we have to find a way of ensuring that they
can become members and can benefit even if they have left the country. If a
further 50 people become involved in this process then the total farmers we
can involve are 500 to 600. It has always been my argument that there are
only about 600 to 650 proactive farmers that will actually get involved in
any process in time for action and to ensure any form of results. The
counter argument to this would be that the valuators consortium have got 1
400 farmers on their books. If we argue that there are 400 farmers still on
their farms and a further 400 still farming then this brings us to the
total of 1 400.
There is a target group of three thousand farmers Zimbabwean Commercial
farmers that are not actively involved in ensuring the future of commercial
agriculture in Zimbabwe.
Where are they and why are they not responding. How are we going to get
them to make the first move.
A Mash. East farmer went to Ministry of Agriculture this week and was
offered the equivalent of US$40,000 for their farm improvements, which have
been valued at US $680,000 !!! Something wrong, somewhere !?
UZ students fight running battles with riot police
STUDENTS at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) yesterday fought running battles
with riot police after they marched to the Vice Chancellor’s office
demanding an explanation for the late disbursement of their payouts.
The students said they were also protesting for an increase of their
payouts, which is currently pegged at $300 000.
They said they had decided to demonstrate because it was now more than four
weeks after the new semester began but they had not yet received their
"We are demonstrating because first, we want our payouts and secondly, an
increase of our payouts from $300 000 to about $500 000 or alternatively
subsidise our food or bring back the catering division," said one student.
"We buy a meal for $2 500 and we have three meals a day…we can’t survive
with this meagre payout we are given. If we take for instance a student from
Chitungwiza he would need about $5 000 for transport only," said another
The students said no explanation had been given for the delay in
disbursement of their payouts.
They said they were experiencing a number of problems and the Government
needed to address the issue urgently before the situation gets out of
‘‘At the moment there is no bond paper and we are not getting course
outlines. We have to photocopy on our own for about $100 a copy."
The students said they would continue demonstrating until their grievances
It is understood that the demonstration began on Sunday after students
marched around the university campus singing revolutionary songs.
The students broke into a grocery shop at the campus and looted various
goods. Yesterday riot police were called in and they dispersed the students.
When The Herald visited the campus at around 6pm the college was deserted
with only some riot police milling around.
No comment could be obtained from the UZ authorities.
Zimbabwe's white farmers settle and invest in
October 28, 2003
Lusaka - Growing numbers of white farmers had settled in Zambia after
fleeing Zimbabwe's land seizures, bringing more than $100 million in
investments with them, Richard Chavula, the acting director of operations of
the Zambia Investments Centre (ZIC), the county's official investment
promotion agency, said on Friday.
Zambia is emerging from a severe food shortage and has put agriculture
at the top of its agenda, seeking to boost output and farming skills.
"Zimbabwean farmers have collectively invested a total of $107.6
million from 1993, of which $46.3 million has been invested from 2002 to
Government officials say some Zimbabwean farmers have bought farms for
as much as $1 million.
Chavula said Zimbabwean farmers would bring in much-needed expertise
and help boost production, especially in tobacco. He estimated that
Zimbabwean investments would raise tobacco production from 4 million
kilograms a year to 20 million kilograms within five years.
Chavula said no virgin land had been allocated to the
were buying or leasing farms from Zambian farmers. But the Zimbabwean
farmers were free to apply for state land, he said, adding that 70 percent
of Zambia's arable land was not being used and was available for
Chavula said 10 farmers settled in Zambia between 1993 and 2002, and
31 moved in between 2002 and September.
In March, the ZIC said it had received 125 applications from Zimbabwe
farmers seeking to settle in Zambia. The white farmers have also fled to
other nearby countries, notably Mozambique, and helped shore up their rural
From The Sunday Mirror, 26 October
A2 multiple farm owners exposed
Provincial governors worst culprits
An addendum to the Presidential Land Review
Committee’s report shows that
nearly 200 influential individuals have violated the land reform programme’s
one man, one farm policy and are in control of hundreds of thousands
hectares of commercial farmland, the Sunday Mirror can reveal. While the
government last Thursday made public the findings of the committee, which
was led by former secretary to the President and Cabinet, Charles Utete, it
has however emerged that the report released for public consumption does not
contain the annexure chronicling violations of the cardinal one man, one
farm rule. Although the release of the report to the public has brought to
an end months of speculation on the special committee’s findings, it has
also engendered disappointment among many who expected an expose of the
widely alleged corrupt acquisitions of multiple farms under the A2 scheme,
mostly by powerful Zanu PF politicians and senior government officials.
However, a confidential source has told the Sunday Mirror that the multiple
farm ownership issue is dealt with in detail in a separate addendum to the
report, and that only President Mugabe and land review committee chairman,
Utete, are in official possession of it. The addendum, which is understood
to be circulating freely within senior government and ruling party circles,
lists 178 individuals as having acquired more than one farm under the A2
commercial farming model during the fast-track land reform programme.
The total area under the control of
these individuals is 150 000 hectares.
Two provincial governors, whose names are in the possession of this
newspaper, top the list of avaricious "chefs" who looted the land reform
programme. One of the governors is in possession of nine prime commercial
farms while the second has about 75 000 acres of land under his name. The
latter also enjoys concessions to grant hunting licences on his vast ranch.
Presidential spokesman, George Charamba could not be reached for comment
yesterday as his mobile phone rang without being answered. Following
President Mugabe’s order, made during a Zanu PF politburo meeting, the
government recovered about 30 000 hectares from influential individuals who
had acquired more than one farm under the A2 resettlement model. Special
Affairs minister, John Nkomo, told state radio in September that some
officials had responded to the President’s directive to multiple farm owners
to choose one holding and give up their excess land. "I can confirm some
people have responded to the call to give up excess land," Nkomo said at the
time. President Mugabe’s order came after a preliminary report by the Utete
committee had indicated that a number of high-ranking officials in the party
owned multiple farms.
Although the deadline for
surrendering excess farms has since expired, some
errant individuals are understood to have still not done so. The issue of
multiple farm ownership has contaminated the entire land reform programme
and given the government’s detractors ammunition with which to discount the
historic exercise as a sham. Analysts have warned that unless conclusively
resolved, multiple farm ownership stands to smudge President Mugabe’s
legacy, who has otherwise weathered domestic and external opposition by
drastically changing the historically skewed land ownership structure in the
country in favour of the black majority. This prospect is further heightened
by the fact that a number of communal areas in such provinces as Manicaland,
are still in dire need of decongestion. The Utete committee also notes that
thousands of A2 applicants have still not received any land one and half
years after their names appeared in the press declaring their applications
successful. Some have suggested that President Mugabe fire those of his
lieutenants who have abused the land reform programme for self-enrichment in
order to show that he does not condone corruption and also to instil public
confidence in the programme.
Comment from The Mail & Guardian (SA), 27 October
The power of political ideas
Tony Fluxman and Peter Vale
been written about political change in unjust political systems
such as Zimbabwe. Attention should fall on those at the sharp end of
oppression - a country’s people. It is their support, or compliance, that
enables oppressive minorities to sustain their power. Two conceptual
approaches help to explain the relationship between people and oppressive
regimes. In the first, the authority is maintained by force or coercion -
the threat of force. Its operation is as simple as it is brutal. When any
individual, or group, acts against power they are met with costly sanctions.
Given this, only a minority are prepared to suffer the costs involved in
challenging a repressive regime. The second approach argues that coercive
rule is insufficient to maintain a regime because even a powerful minority
can never contain subversion by the majority. What maintains a regime, in
these circumstances, is that the oppressed believe that rule over them is,
in some sense, justified. So, for instance, the ruling elites deserve to
rule because they come from noble stock - Swaziland is a case in point. Or,
they are divinely sanctioned to rule as in the case of theocracies such as
Iran. In modern times elite rule is more often justified by the argument
that holds that inequalities are essential to uphold the living standards of
the majority. Without wealth differentiation things would be infinitely
worse because there would be no inducements to create wealth. Other
variations of the same idea abound - for instance, the superiority of
racially based fitness to rule was used to justify apartheid. So, how is
rule in Zimbabwe maintained - by coercion or by ideology?
Take the first. Even though it is in the interest of the
majority to revolt
against Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, it is not rational for any
particular individual to do so without an assurance that equally oppressed
fellow citizens would do likewise. In the face of a well-organised security
apparatus, the risk to an individual is not worth it unless the vast
majority of Zimbabweans also act. On this interpretation, the Zimbabwean
case seems to be a classic case of a coordinated minority facing an
uncoordinated majority. But there is more to the argument. Consider this:
Zimbabwean repression - brutal though it undoubtedly is - is not the worst
case of repression in history. In more brutal regimes there has often been
strong resistance. While the South American dictatorships stand out, there
is much evidence of resistance in Cold War Eastern Europe and even earlier,
during the Nazi period. Given the awful everyday treatment of the Zimbabwean
state to its citizens and their decline in living standards, not to mention
the absence of social welfare, should one not expect more resistance? One
possibility for this lack of resistance is the so-called "whining
mentality" - a tendency to blame all the ills of Africa on colonialism,
imperialism and the like. This results in a passive acceptance of immediate
circumstances because contemporary social conditions are held hostage to an
awful past. The problem with this account is that it fails to explain the
capability of Africans to wage wars of liberation against their colonial and
apartheid oppressors. In fact, nation-building, political struggles in
Africa are said to be synonymous with overcoming colonial oppression. So
why, then, have Zimbabweans acquiesced to their oppression? The answer lies
in the power of political ideas.
Liberation is an
effective weapon in the hands of post-liberation
governments. This is powerfully shown in Zimbabwe where the ruling Zanu PF,
and Zanu PF alone, carries the mantle of liberation. The ruling party’s
interests and those of the masses are claimed to be identical, even when
there is patently a gulf between them. As the gap widens even further,
ideological appeal takes on a negative tone. So, as Zimbabwe’s president
emphatically claims with each speech, his country faces a threat from its
old enemy, the British colonisers. In this characterisation of their
destiny, embattled citizens are presented with only two political options -
the return of colonial domination or the status quo. And here, the power of
memory is central. Oppressive rule is constantly buttressed by simple
contrasts between secure insiders and hostile outsiders. The final years of
apartheid South Africa present a powerful example of this phenomenon. Given
the power of this discourse, if liberation is to be successful and, most
importantly, sustainable, then Africans need to develop a new alternative
progressive ideology, one that can create a third alternative to which the
oppressed can give their allegiance. What exactly the content of this is is
for the oppressed and their leaders to determine. The above ideas indicate
that the management of political change in a country like Zimbabwe, as often
suggested by pundits — who habitually resort to stylised answers informed by
a narrow understanding of democracy - is problematic because it fails to
deal with the more fundamental processes at work in the society. These need
deeper understanding and critical inquiry.
Tony Fluxman a is senior lecturer in the politics department of Rhodes
University and Peter Vale holds the Nelson Mandela chair in that department
Jailed Zimbabwe news chiefs 'suffering'
lawyer representing four directors of Zimbabwe's only independent
daily newspaper has complained that they are being imprisoned in inhumane
The directors were arrested on Monday after the paper, the Daily News,
was closed down over the weekend.
Their lawyer, Gugulethu Moyo, told the BBC that the four - Samuel
Nkomo, Rachel Kupara, Michel Mattinson and Brian Mutsau - were being held in
a tiny, unsanitary prison cell and had been denied medicines.
Ms Moyo, who is the newspaper's legal adviser, said the director of
public prosecutions had told her they would appear in court on Wednesday,
charged with operating without a licence and of contempt of court.
The closure of the Daily News at the weekend came after the paper had
reappeared on newsstands for the first time in six weeks.
With a front-page headline saying "We're back", the daily went on sale
on Saturday, following a court ruling that the authorities were wrong to
refuse it a licence.
But the resumption of publication turned out to be short-lived as
police shut the newspaper's offices and detained one director, Washington
The authorities said Friday's court ruling did not give them
permission to start publishing.
The paper's lawyers disagreed, saying the ruling rendered media
On Monday, chief executive Mr Nkomo and three other directors were
arrested and charged with publishing without a licence, bringing the total
in custody to five.
This is the latest setback for the Daily News, which is known for
being highly critical of President Robert Mugabe and his government.
Under controversial legislation introduced last year, all newspapers
must apply for a licence through the state's Media and Information
In September, police
seized computer equipment and closed down the
Daily News offices after a ruling by the supreme court that the paper was
operating without a licence.
The commission then denied the paper a licence, saying it had missed
the deadline for applications and failed to supply the commission with free
copies of the paper, as required under the law.
In Friday's ruling, the judge said the commission had not been
properly constituted invalidating all its actions to date.
The court has now ordered the MIC to issue a licence by 30 November.
Zimbabwe Nurses Join Doctors' Strike
28 Oct 2003, 16:39 UTC
Nurses at Zimbabwe's largest state-run hospitals have
walked off the job,
joining doctors in a strike for higher wages.
Nurses say the government has not yet responded to their pay proposals from
last year. The striking nurses are quoted by the state-run Herald newspaper
Tuesday as saying they will not go back to work until they hear from the
government. They made the decision to strike on Monday.
The Herald reports the nurses are paid the equivalent of US$170-270 per
month at the official exchange rate. But the salaries are worth about seven
times less at the black market rate for the Zimbabwean dollar at which most
goods are priced.
Junior and mid-level doctors in Zimbabwe also complain the government has
ignored requests to review their wages. They say they will continue their
strike until their demands for a large pay increase are met.
It is not clear what impact the work stoppage is having on medical services
But one senior doctor told VOA on condition of anonymity that only a
skeleton staff and student nurses are working at one of the country's
The doctor also says the emergency section of the hospital was closed, and
patients who can afford it are going to private hospitals.
The Herald report says the combined strike has paralyzed operations at
hospitals in Harare, Mpilo and Bulawayo.
Zimbabwe is suffering its worst economic crisis in more than 20 years, with
soaring inflation and chronic shortages of fuel and cash.
Some information for this report provided by AP.
Act On Human Rights Violators, World Churches Say
Information Service for Africa (Nairobi)
October 28, 2003
Posted to the web October 28, 2003
The World Council of Churches (WCC) has expressed grave concern over the
assault of human rights activists in Zimbabwe, and called on the government
in the Southern African country to prosecute those responsible.
In an October 28, 2003 letter addressed to H E Honourable Patrick Chinamasa,
Zimbabwean Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, the world
church body cited violations committed against members of the judiciary and
defenders of human rights between January and October 2003.
"The World Council of Churches," the letter
said in part, "is deeply
concerned at the deteriorating law and order situation in Zimbabwe.
During the year 2003, there [has] been an unprecedented increase in
incidents of police harassment and brutality against human rights defenders
and members of the Judiciary."
The WCC urged the government "to take immediate steps to restore the rule of
law and put an end to arbitrary arrests, torture and killings."
"The most recent of such incidents took place on the night of 12th October,
when Mrs Beatrice Mtetwa, a renowned human rights lawyer, was assaulted by
the personnel of the Zimbabwe Republic Police stationed at Borrowdale Police
Station. The security personnel have the duty and responsibility to protect
the citizens of Zimbabwe," said the letter, signed by Peter Weiderud,
Director, Commission of the Churches on International Affairs at WCC.
"On behalf of the World Council of Churches, I call on Your Excellency to
order an immediate enquiry into the case of Mrs Mtetwa and others who have
been the subject of police brutality, and ensure that justice is done to
them. Those responsible for such reprehensible acts must be brought before
the court of law for trial," Weiderud said.
Other victims include Mr Gabriel Shumba (January 2003), Justice Benjamin
Paradza (February 2003), Mr Alec Muchadehama (March 2003), Mr Reginal
Chidawanyika (June 2003), and Mr Dumisani Kufaruwenga and Mpokiseng Dube
The WCC observed in August/September 2003 that "We share the pain and
suffering of the people of Zimbabwe as a result of escalating violence and
repression of fundamental human rights by the state and groups encouraged
and supported by the government. The violence, intimidation, unlawful arrest
and torture perpetrated by the police, ruling party militia and other state
agents must come to an end."
Formally inaugurated in 1948, the WCC is a fellowship of 342 churches in
more than 100 countries, in all continents and from virtually all Christian
traditions. It enjoys close cooperation from the Roman Catholic Church.
Save Schools From Collapse
The Herald (Harare)
October 28, 2003
Posted to the web October 28, 2003
A DANGEROUS wave of violence in the form of demonstrations has hit a number
of schools in the country, placing the education system under scrutiny.
Several schools have in the past few weeks staged protests in what many
critics have described as a "wave of revolution" that seems to be taking
place in schools, particularly in high schools.
There seems to be a similarity in the causes of the unrest - alleged
ill-treatment by teachers, poor and inadequate facilities and alleged
embezzlement of funds by school authorities.
Disgruntlement by teachers is also said to be very high since school heads
were given the power to hire school staff.
Morale is allegedly very low and teachers were spending the better time of
their working hours doing nothing.
Last month, Mufakose 1 High pupils went on the rampage and destroyed school
property worth millions of dollars protesting against alleged misuse of
funds by school authorities.
During the demonstration, the pupils, who were singing revolutionary songs,
shattered windows in classrooms and threatened to beat up the headmaster who
sought refuge at a nearby school.
Two weeks ago, Dzivaresekwa High 1 and its annex, Nhamburiko Primary School,
were plunged into a state of confusion as students, parents and teachers
protested against alleged abuse of funds and harassment of teachers by the
At the beginning of this month, Lower and Upper Sixth boarding pupils at
Chipindura High School in Bindura went on the rampage and destroyed property
worth millions of dollars in protest against inadequate food.
The pupils started the violent protests during supper after they had not
been served with potatoes, which is part of their supper.
Last week, pupils at St Augustine's Mission in Penhalonga boycotted lessons
and threatened to march into town in protest against a school official they
alleged sexually harassed girl pupils.
Normalcy only returned to the school after the diocesan education secretary
addressed the students and promised them that the matter would be looked
The streak of violence has not been confined to pupils alone, but also to
some parents who have had to resort to demonstrations as a way of airing
their grievances at school heads.
When Mufakose 1 High pupils were engaged in running battles with school
authorities, most parents withdrew children attending Nyabira Primary School
protesting against alleged misuse of funds and maladministration by school
The school is said to have obtained a peace order from the magistrates'
court against some parents.
What has taken place in schools is a clear indication of collapsing
structures within the education system.
While authorities feel that demands were getting out of hand, observers say
the demonstrations could be justified and could be a pointer to serious
maladministration practices currently taking place in these institutions.
A teacher from Mufakose 1 High who refused to be named for fear of
victimisation said although there is an element of violence when students
demonstrate, their grievances should not be dismissed lightly.
"Some of the complaints that students raised when they went on strike were
very genuine, although they were put forward in the wrong context.
"For instance, the parents and the school administration agreed that the
school bus could be used to generate income by hiring it out, but it is not
clear how the money is being used.
"In fact, there is no accountability of the income that is being generated,"
the teacher alleged.
He said all this rot was taking place in full view of the pupils who
resorted to a demonstration with the hope that the Ministry of Education,
Sport and Culture would quickly move in and investigate the issue.
"Sadly, the education ministry and the School Development Association have
decided to sweep these concerns under the carpet," he said.
Some Harare parents have had to transfer their children from a Government to
a private school owing to declining standards.
The problems besetting schools were largely due to the "usurping powers" of
the School Development Associations (SDA) that have apparently been given to
them by the education ministry.
It is alleged that headmasters, with the blessing of SDAs, were now behaving
as gigantic monsters whose authority is beyond check, hence the
demonstrations by students to express their displeasure.
Teaching staff, on the other hand, no longer had a say in school operations,
as they feared reprisals.
Most parents interviewed acknowledged the fact that morale on the part of
teachers, especially in Government schools had plunged to an all-time low.
Because the teachers have failed to channel these grievances, they were now
inciting students to protest against authorities.
"There is a high degree of abuse of funds, serious cases of
maladministration being perpetuated by headmasters acting in connivance with
"More often than not the school administrators often handpick these SDA
members, and as such they have no say when such shady activities occur.
Vanenge vachiguta (they also benefit," said a parent.
The parent had to transfer her daughter, who had been constantly harassed
for complaining of declining standards at the school.
"I was labelled a rebel parent because I would take the school
administrators to task on the standards of the school.
"It is also amazing how docile parents are when it comes to such issues. One
day we will wake up to no school at all because the fact remains that
teachers are not performing and there is no one checking on that," said an
Echoing the same sentiments was another Harare parent who said it seemed
school operations were now detached from the parent ministry.
"Some schools are being run like autonomous bodies, where decisions are
being made between SDAs and school authorities, bypassing the parent
ministry," said the parent.
These perennial revolutions rocking secondary schools seem to suggest the
absence of dialogue between pupils and school administrators.
Secretary for Education Dr Thompson Tsodzo said demonstrations in schools
were normal, particularly during the final term, as students try to "steam
off" the tension that is created by examination preparations.
"There is really nothing unusual with the recent demonstrations that have
rocked secondary schools in the country, with the exception of Mufakose 1
"There are serious problems at the school, and we have since instituted
investigations to try and get to the root of the problem at the school.
There are some elements within the SDAs which are using the school as a
platform to campaign for a council position in the area," said Dr Tsodzo.
Dr Tsodzo lambasted the teaching staffers for being too casual in executing
"Teachers are becoming more irresponsible, and we are beginning to think
that the teaching course is getting more lax."
He promised that his ministry would flush out elements bent on
revolutionising the teaching profession in an unacceptable manner.
However, some analysts have indicated that all is not well in the education
ministry and only time will tell.
This constant disruption of lessons is set to have long-term implications to
the educational standards in this country.
During these demonstrations, classes are disrupted and students who would be
studying for technical subjects which require a lot of practicals and
experiments tend to lose concentration.
It is, therefore, incumbent upon the ministry to seriously address problems
besetting schools to avoid a total collapse of the country's once vibrant
education system that was regarded as one of the best in the region.
The ministry is faced with a crisis, which, if not arrested now, might never
wake up from its deep slumber.
"It would be interesting to find out how many Government officials have
children attending these schools.
"We believe their children are in private schools and they could not be
bothered about standards at Government schools where every Tom, Dick and
Harry goes to," said a parent.
Education in Zimbabwe is definitely in intensive care and the responsible
minister should do something urgently to save the schools from collapse.
Education is a right, not a privilege.
Last straw for Zimbabwe?
solidarity among African leaders that has sustained Robert Mugabe's
brutal regime in Zimbabwe may be on the verge of disintegrating and his
decision to shut down Zimbabwe's only independent newspaper, The Daily News,
could prove to be crucial in weakening the support that he still enjoys in
Three years ago a truck packed with explosives careened into the
building housing the newspaper and its printing press was destroyed. With
the assistance of foreign donors, The Daily News acquired a new press and
managed to keep publishing a first-rate newspaper.
Despite government attempts since then to shut the paper down -
arresting and even torturing some of its staff, as well as tampering with
its circulation and newsprint supply - The Daily News adhered to its slogan
of "telling it like it is." As Zimbabwe plunged into economic chaos and
Mugabe stepped up his repression circulation, once around 100,000 a day,
fell by roughly a third.
Last month, Mugabe's riot police, armed with AK-47 rifles, raided the
paper, halting production and looting much of its equipment - though not the
new printing press, which was too big to carry away.
The purported reason for closing The Daily News is that the paper
refused to register under the bizarrely named Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) of 2002 on the grounds that it violates
Zimbabwe's constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression. Under the
AIPPA, reporters are required to file their home addresses with the
government; presumably this is what the word "privacy" in the law's title
means. Reporters may face criminal prosecution for publishing inaccurate
information; apparently, this is the basis for the reference to "access to
At least a dozen journalists have been arrested under AIPPA, including
the only foreign correspondent permanently based in the country, Andrew
Meldrum of the British newspaper The Guardian. Meldrum was subsequently
The Mugabe regime has committed outrage after outrage. Its catalogue
of crimes includes: stealing the 2002 elections that enabled Mugabe to hold
on to power; torturing and murdering supporters of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change; transformation of a fertile, prosperous country once
considered Africa's breadbasket into a place where half the population
barely survives on foreign food handouts; and, as exemplified by its attacks
on The Daily News, the suppression of critical voices. Yet Zimbabwe's
neighbors, particularly those in Southern Africa, have defended President
In late August, the heads of state of 13 members of the Southern
African Development Community (SADC), including Mugabe and President Thabo
Mbeki of South Africa, the leading regional power, met in Dar es Salaam,
Tanzania, to consider the challenges before them.
Among the 54 paragraphs of the Summit Final Communique, two dealt with
Zimbabwe. One proclaimed "solidarity with Zimbabwe to encourage and sustain
the positive developments that are taking place." The other condemns "the
Commonwealth, the European Union (EU) and the United States of America
sanctions, as they hurt not only ordinary Zimbabweans but also have profound
social and economic implications on the region as a whole."
The suggestion that international sanctions are a cause of Zimbabwe's
economic woes is ludicrous, as the measures that have been imposed have
nothing to do with trade. Indeed, it is the governments cited in the
communique that are donating the food that keeps Zimbabweans alive. The
targeted sanctions address such matters as the foreign bank accounts of
Mugabe and his associates and their right to travel to Europe and the United
States on holidays and shopping trips.
Yet the closing of The Daily News seems to have prompted the first
signs that things may be changing. Nigeria's President Olusegun Obasanjo
responded to the paper's closure by announcing that Mugabe would not be
invited to the December meeting of the Commonwealth Heads of Government
Meeting scheduled to take place in his capital, Abuja. President Mbeki
reacted to Obsanjo's announcement with what South Africa's business weekly,
The Financial Mail, described as "surprise and consternation."
Much depends on whether Africa follows the path now being charted by
Obasanjo or whether the continent's leaders stick to the line of SADC and
Mbeki. It is not only the future of Zimbabwe that is at stake. Also at issue
is whether the rest of the world takes seriously the commitments to
democracy and good governance in the New Economic Partnership for Africa
Development (NEPAD) and the Constitutive Act for the new African Union.
Mbeki and Obasanjo took the lead in making these commitments. Zimbabwe tests
whether they will deliver.
Aryeh Neier, president of the Open Society
Institute and a founder of
Human Rights Watch, is the author most recently of "Taking Liberties: Four
Decades in the Struggle for Rights." - Ed.
By Aryeh Neier
Copyright: Project Syndicate