(AFP) - 2 hours ago
JOHANNESBURG - Nestle said Thursday that it will stop buying milk from a
farm owned by Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe's family, who seized it from
white farmers under his controversial land reforms.
The world's biggest food company said in a statement on its website that it
had begun buying milk from Gushungo Dairy Estate and seven other farms in
February because local dairy processor, Dairy Board of Zimbabwe, was not
able to pay for its orders.
"In February 2009 the food and economic crisis in Zimbabwe reached a level
where the dairy industry was at real risk of collapse, and the Dairy Board
was no longer able to buy milk from these eight farms," the statement said.
"In light of our long-term commitment to Zimbabwe, we bought this milk on a
temporary basis. This helped prevent a further deterioration in food
supplies in Zimbabwe at that time."
Nestle said the Dairy Board would resume its purchases from the eight farms,
and that the Swiss firm would stop receiving milk from Gushungo from Sunday.
Newspaper reports last weekend revealed that Nestle was buying milk from
Gushungo, one of the farms seized under Mugabe's land reforms meant to
correct colonial-era imbalances that left the best land in the hands of
Gushungo is one of several farms now controlled by Mugabe's family, and has
been touted in state media as an example of successful land reforms.
The land reforms began in 2000 but were marred by widespread political
violence, devastating the economy as agricultural production plunged,
leaving the nation dependent on international food aid.
The table at the end of this post holds a list of names of army personnel responsible for specific atrocities in Zimbabwe.Some of these names may already be familiar to you, but we are now calling on our readers to do all they can to publicise this list widely. We ask you to carefully look through it and try and remember some of these names.
Look at Harare, for example, where an army employee identified as “Paratema” has been associated with several victim testimonies: “soldiers assaulted Rungano Kureva and force marched her to their base, chanting zanu slogans”; “he heavily assaulted Beatrice Musiiwa with sticks and she sustained body injuries. This was 30 May 2008.”; “Forced Patrick Makarabha to surrender his party regalia, made him chant liberation songs and beat him severely in May 2008.”
The image above is of a man who was beaten with fan belts and chains towards the end of April 2008. To remind yourselves of how severe the violence was, please visit our Flickr set showing images of post-election violence. Not for the faint-hearted!
The significance of this list is that all these people, as army employees, answer to the State. At the time of these crimes, their direction came from the Zanu PF party under the leadership of Robert Mugabe and his henchmen. The fact that they are known to have done these things is evidence that the Zanu-PF party orchestrated the terrible violence in the aftermath of the elections last year. We have future elections to face, it is important that soldiers engaged in criminal behaviour understand they are not protected by the State and that their names will enter the public domain if they set out to violate human rights.
The best way to send this signal to the army and to their controllers, is to get this list out as far as it can possibly go. Please circulate it by email, tweet it if you have a twitter acount, re-tweet it from our twitter account, and publicise it via your Facebook accounts by sharing it with your Facebook friends from our Facebook page. Please ask everyone to do the same.
All of the victims are Zimbabwe civilians, guilty of absolutely nothing more than believing in democracy and freedom, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
|Named army personnel responsible for atrocities in Zimbabwe|
|Squadron Leader U. Chitauro||Inciter of violence in Marondera.||Army|
|Major Gurure||Murehwa||Part of the gang that assaulted people in Murewa.||Army|
|Lt Colonel Mukurazhizha||Murehwa||Part of the gang that assaulted people in Murewa.||Army|
|Lt Colonel Chinete||Murehwa||Part of the gang that assaulted people in Murewa.||Army|
|Sgt Magorimbo||Hwedza||One of the culprits at Mhakwe torture base where they are staying with two young girls.||Army|
|Major Makanandure||Hwedza||One of the culprits at Mhakwe torture base where they are staying with two young girls||Army|
|Mrevererwi||Hwedza||One of the culprits at Mhakwe torture base where they are staying with two young girls.||Army|
|Karenga||Hwedza||One of the culprits at Mhakwe torture base where they are staying with two young girls.||Army|
|Sgt Nhenga||Hwedza||One of the culprits at Mhakwe torture base where they are staying with two young girls.||Army|
|Chembwa||Hedzwa||One of the culprits at Mhakwe torture base where they are staying with two young girls.||Army|
|Cde Mutsata||Hwedza||One of the culprits at Mhakwe torture base where they are staying with two young girls.||Army|
|Cde Mutsata||Hwedza||One of the culprits at Mhakwe torture base where they are staying with two young girls.||Army|
|Jairos Kunonga||Hwedza||One of the culprits at Mhakwe torture base where they are staying with two young girls.||Army|
|Dehwa||Harare||They as soldiers assaulted Rungano Kureva and force marched her to their base, chanting zanu slogans.||Army|
|Paratema||Harare||They as soldiers assaulted Rungano Kureva and force marched her to their base, chanting zanu slogans.||Army|
|Paratema||Harare||He heavily assaulted Beatrice Musiiwa with sticks and she sustained body injuries. This was 30 May 2008.||Army|
|Dehwa||Harare||He heavily assaulted Beatrice Musiiwa with sticks and she sustained body injuries. This was 30 May 2008.||Army|
|Nkala||Harare||Forced Patrick Makarabha to surrender his party regalia, made him chant liberation songs and beat him severely in May 2008.||Army|
|Paratema||Harare||Forced Patrick Makarabha to surrender his party regalia, made him chant liberation songs and beat him severely in May 2008.Army||Army|
|Dehwa||Harare||Forced Patrick Makarabha to surrender his party regalia, made him chant liberation songs and beat him severely in May 2008.||Army|
|Wellington Tutisa||Harare||Led the gang of zanu supporters that abdcuted Takaruza Tangai to their base where they heavily assaulted him, left him unconcious.||Army|
|Colonel Masamvu||Makoni||The leader of displacements, assaults and tortures in Makoni district.||Army|
|Mhuruyengwe/ Machakaire (soldier)||Buhera||One of the main leaders of politically motivated chaos in Buhera.||Army|
|Tsuro (soldier)||Buhera||One of the main leaders of politically motivated chaos in Buhera.||Army|
|Dzifarwi (soldier)||Buhera||One of the main leaders of politically motivated chaos in Buhera.||Army|
|Major Moyo||Gokwe North||He is part of the group that stabbed Isaac Danda to death.||Army|
|Major Moyo||Gokwe North||He struck to death R. Gomwe, looted his property and burnt his house on the 8th day of May 2008.||Army|
|Colonel Muzilikazi||Makoni||Member of the active unit causing political violence in Makoni and Buhera districts.||Army|
|Dangirwa||Mutare||He beat Funagi Nyakuwanda for more than 3 hours and later destroyed his home in July 2008.||Army|
|Norbet Kuwanda (soldier)||Mutare||He beat Fungai Nyakuwanda for more than 3 hours and later destroyed his home in July 2008.||Army|
|Major Kairo Mhandu||Mazowe||He led the group in army uniform to murder Jeff Jemedze, David Mapuranga and Patson Madzuramhende in Mazowe on May 5 2008.||Army|
|Major Maravadza||Mazowe||He led the group in armyuniform to murder Jeff Jemedze, David Mapuranga and Patson Madzuramhende in Mazowe on May 5 2008.||Army|
By Tichaona Sibanda
1 October 2009
The hidden crimes of systematic detention, torture and murder committed
against MDC activists and pro-democracy campaigners by state security agents
will soon be exposed, in a $500 million lawsuit against the government.
Prominent human rights activist Jestina Mukoko and eight MDC activists are
suing the government for a record $500 million, after terror charges against
them were dropped on Monday by the Supreme Court. The Court granted them all
a permanent stay of prosecution because of their illegal detention and
torture. They were facing charges of plotting to overthrow Robert Mugabe and
recruiting people to train as bandits in Botswana.
Lawyer Harrison Nkomo confirmed on Thursday that he had filed the $500
million lawsuit in Harare on Tuesday. Respondents in the case are the police
commissioner, Augustine Chihuri, former Intelligence Minister Didymus Mutasa
(who sanctioned the abductions) and several CIO and police officers.
Besides Chihuri and Mutasa, a number of senior security agents and police
officers, involved in the planning and execution of the abductions, were
named in a court affidavit some months ago. They are: Assistant Director
External of the CIO retired Brigadier Asher Walter Tapfumanei; police
Superintendents Reggies Chitekwe and Joel Tenderere; Detective Inspectors
Elliot Muchada and Joshua Muzanango; Officer Commanding CID Homicide the
notorious Crispen Makedenge; Chief Superintendent Peter Magwenzi; Senior
Assistant Commissioner Simon Nyathi.
SW Radio Africa has it on good authority that a list of the 'foot soldiers - the actual abductors and torturers within the state apparatus - has been compiled and will be released at the appropriate time. The list is accompanied by a damning dossier that documents what the agents did, when, where and how.
'Its like you are reading a book from the Nazi torture camps. But we've
entered a period in the country where human rights violations cannot be
ignored any more. The best way to deal with these dastardly acts is to
expose the names of the perpetrators,' a source told us.
The source added that the transitional government should be prepared to be
held accountable by a critical, questioning populace that is now refusing to
be cowed into compliance.
'We all know ZANU PF still controls the levers of power but gone are days
where Robert Mugabe will trample on people's freedoms with impunity,' the
During the past three decades, Mugabe's security forces have continually
violated the rights of the people of Zimbabwe - they have killed, tortured,
raped and massacred with impunity, free from any fear of punishment.
'This lawsuit will act as a test case to gauge the level of freedoms enjoyed
under the unity government. The victims in the lawsuit have been able to
document what happened to them since the periods they were abducted,' our
He added; 'Historically, mankind has always shown a propensity for
inflicting agony upon its fellow man but what these people went through can
only be described as hell. The torture techniques, ostensibly designed to
extract confessions, were often so brutal that almost all the victims have
been left scarred for life. In Mukoko's case, after she was abducted from
her home in Norton in December, she was constantly moved from one police
station to another and other places of detention.'
'She was made to kneel on gravel, punctuated with beatings on the soles of
her feet, to try to force her to admit she was recruiting Zimbabweans for
military training in neighbouring Botswana,' the source said.
Thu Oct 1, 2009 3:26pm GMT
By Cris Chinaka
HARARE (Reuters) - A human rights group called on Thursday for Zimbabwe to
pursue all cases of rights abuses, which critics say continue despite a
power-sharing deal between President Robert Mugabe and rival Morgan
In a statement welcoming a court decision barring the state from prosecuting
a leading rights campaigner who says she was tortured to confess to
terrorism charges, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights said it was important
for the government to restore the rule of law to win international
The government has yet to respond to the court ruling.
The group's executive director Irene Petras told reporters that in a normal
democracy, Zimbabwe Attorney-General Johannes Tomana would have resigned
over Jestina Mukoko's case.
"The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights believes law officers should be
disciplined, and any similar cases should immediately be reviewed and
charges withdrawn," Petras said.
"Immediate and concerted action should also be taken to investigate and
prosecute the perpetrators of the violations," she said, adding that this
was important for restoring public confidence in Zimbabwe's justice system.
"This has implications on the regional confidence in the democratisation of
our country," she said.
Zimbabwe's Supreme Court ruled on Monday the government could not prosecute
Mukoko, head of a local human rights group, as her abduction and torture in
custody infringed her rights.
Mukoko's lawyer Harrison Nkomo said she was suing the state for over
$500,000 in damages, but refused to go into details.
Analysts say the Supreme Court ruling on the Mukoko case has opened the way
for other rights and opposition activists to have similar charges dropped.
That could help ease tension within the unity government formed by Mugabe
and Prime Minister Tsvangirai in February to try to end a decade long
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, is
feuding with Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) over the pace
of reforms and the appointment of some top state officials, including
Tomana's continued stay as the attorney-general.
Tomana and his office have not commented on the Mukoko case.
By Violet Gonda
1 October 2009
Webster Shamu, the Media, Information and Publicity Minister, has announced
a scandalous list of new media board members for the six parastatals under
his ministry. Disturbingly every board has at least one military person and
many staunch ZANU PF individuals, such as the notorious 'media hangman' Dr
Tafataona Mahoso. The list poses a serious impediment to the democratisation
of the media in Zimbabwe.
The Minister is quoted in the state controlled Herald newspaper saying the
'government and the people of Zimbabwe expected the appointees to work hard
to ensure the entities were economically viable'. Shamu said: "We expect no
less from them than hard work. The people have been selected for their
expertise in various fields related to the companies they will be serving,
and we want to see these entities contributing to the development of the
The controversial Mahoso is now head of the Broadcast Authority of Zimbabwe
(BAZ), even though he is said to have come absolutely last in recent
interviews for the long awaited Zimbabwe Media Commission - which has still
not come into being. Mahoso must take the blame for the complete muzzling of
the private media, when he was chair of the now defunct Media and
Information Commission (MIC).
The board members were appointed to the BAZ; Zimpapers; Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Holdings; Transmedia; Kingstons and New Ziana Boards, with
There are very few independent thinkers on these new boards and equally
worrying is that all of them are littered with military personnel - a total
of eight retired senior military officials - in a move that shows that ZANU
PF wants to remain firmly in power and in control. The Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Board contains three retired army generals.
One notable controversial appointee to this board is Retired Major General
Gibson Mashingaidze, who was allegedly deployed to Masvingo province last
year to 'force' people to the polling stations to vote for Mugabe.
Commenting on the board appointments the media watchdog MISA-Zimbabwe said:
"While it remains the right of any Zimbabwean to serve the country in
whatever democratically arrived at government position, it is extremely
disturbing that retired brigadiers and colonels would be seconded in such
numbers to civilian regulatory authorities. MISA Zimbabwe is therefore wary
of the potential for the militarisation of the media at a time when it
should be democratised."
Andy Moyse, the Director of the Media Monitoring Project of Zimbabwe (MMPZ),
said the announcement illustrates the unilateralism of the ZANU PF arm of
government over important appointments such as the broadcasting authority.
"All the appointments are ZANU PF loyalists or apologists, CIO, the military
and represent a huge leap back into the dark ages. This goes to show
completely how ZANU PF are insincere about any form of significant or
authentic media reform."
MDC sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, say the list is scandalous
and also exposes serious nepotism. They say the new Deputy Chair of the ZBH
board is Mrs Doreen Sibanda, wife of Misheck Sibanda, the Chief Secretary to
the President and the Cabinet. Dr Charles Utete, the former Chief Secretary
to the President and Cabinet, is the new chairman for the Zimbabwe
Newspapers Group. But while there is an outcry from the MDC, it is widely
believed that the party will merely rubberstamp these new appointments.
Moyse said the fact that the MDC did not anticipate this and has not been
able to stop it is quite worrying. He said the MDC actually contributed to
the problem by corrupting the process by which the broadcasting authority
was going to be selected, by agreeing to have the rejects of the Zimbabwe
Media Commission, allowed to be candidates to the BAZ. Some observers fear
that the appointments of some of the ZANU PF apologisers, especially to the
BAZ, will neutralise the Zimbabwe Media Commission, which is still to be
MISA criticised the latest appointments saying it creates an impression of a
lack of transparency and accountability to the Zimbabwean public. "It is
MISA-Zimbabwe's strong view that the nomination and appointments to public
bodies should have been characterised by broader public consultation and not
only in so far as it pertains to who can be appointed to these boards, but
also the very nature of the Acts and Statutes that establish these media
regulatory bodies which to this day remain patently undemocratic."
Complete List of Appointments:
Zimpapers Board: Dr Charles Utete (Chair), Mr Chakanyuka Karase (Deputy
Chair) Mr Alexander Kanengoni, Dr Munyaradzi Kereke, Brigadier-General
Epmarcus Kanhanga (Rtd), Dr Nyasha Madzingira, Mr Joseph Mandizha, Mr
BAZ Board: Dr Tafataona Mahoso (Chair), Dr Primrose Kurasha (Deputy Chair),
Mr Edward Dube, Colonel Reuben Mqwayi (Rtd), Ms Charity Moyo, Brig-Gen
Elasto Madzingira (Rtd), Mrs Erica Mususa, Reverend J D Mutuvira, Chief
Gambiza, Mrs Susan Makore, Dr Vimbai Chivaura, Dr G Chada.
ZBH Board: Mr Cuthbert Dube (Chair) Mrs Doreen Sibanda (Deputy Chair),
Brig-Gen Benjamin Mabenge (Rtd), Mr Job Jonhera, Mr Olley Maruma, Brig-Gen
Felix Muchemwa (Rtd), Advocate Farai Mutamangira, Mr Christopher Pasipamire,
Mr Bob Nyabinde, Major-General Gibson Mashingaidze (Rtd), Mr Clement Mabaso,
Bishop Trevor Manhanga.
Transmedia Board: Dr Paul Chimedza (Chair), Ms Mercy Chizodza (Deputy
Chair), Engineer David Chikowore, Mrs Beauty Simpson-Zhuwao, Brig-Gen
Livingstone Chineka (Rtd), Mr Raymond Takavarasha, Mr Clive Murwira, Mr
Zwelitsha Masuku, Mrs Sithsengiso Muzanenhamo-Zivhave, Eng Emmanuel Midzi.
Kingstons Board: Dr Millicent Mombeshora (Chair), Mr Justin Mutasa (Deputy
Chair), Brig-Gen Collin Moyo (Rtd), Mr Munyaradzi Machacha, Mr Mohamed
Allana, Ms Cynthia Khumalo, Rev Elias Musakwa, Mr Foster Chitava, Ms
New Ziana Board: Mrs Rosemary Mazula (Chair), Mr Goodson Nguni (Deputy
Chair), Rtd Col Claudius Makova, Mr Douglas Dhliwayo, Mrs Florence
Sigudu-Matambo, Mr Stephen Mpofu, Mr Nimrod Chiminya, Mrs Evelyn Kawonza, Mr
Written by Martin
Thursday, 01 October 2009 15:08
MISA-Zimbabwe is deeply concerned with the arbitrary and opaque manner
pertaining to the appointments of the new board members for state funded and
state controlled media bodies and corporations.
The appointments of individuals to the Broadcasting Authority of
Zimbabwe (BAZ), Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH) and Zimbabwe Newspapers
Group, New Ziana, and Transmedia by the Minister of Media, Information and
Publicity, Honourable Webster Shamu gives the immediate impression of a lack
of transparency and accountability to the Zimbabwean public.
It is MISA-Zimbabwe's strong view that the nomination and appointments
to public bodies should have been characterised by broader public
consultation and not only in so far as it pertains to who can be appointed
to these boards, but also the very nature of the Acts and Statutes that
establish these media regulatory bodies which to this day remain patently
It is apparent that the haste and secrecy concerning the appointments
to these regulatory boards was intended to limit the extent to which the
public as well as the Parliament of Zimbabwe can oversee the appointment
process. It is also regrettable that these appointments only serve to
undermine the agenda of consulting media stakeholders on key challenges and
the envisaged reforms of the media - a process that has been stalled since
the Ministry's Media Stakeholders Conference held in May 2009 in Kariba.
Further to this, MISA Zimbabwe can only construe these appointments as
an attempt by the responsible ministry to undermine the necessary democratic
reforms of the media in Zimbabwe. As MISA Zimbabwe has sated both publicly
and to the government before, such reforms would, among other important
results, lead to the reform of the ZBC from a state to a truly independent
public service broadcaster; the introduction of a singular
telecommunications law that would establish and independent
telecommunications authority to oversee both frequency allocations and
broadcasting; and the limiting of the role of the government in the print
A further disturbing development is the fact that a total of eight
retired senior military officials are also among some of the board members
appointed by the Ministry. While it remains the right of any Zimbabwean to
serve the country in whatever democratically arrived at government position,
it is extremely disturbing that retired brigadiers and colonels would be
seconded in such numbers to civilian regulatory authorities. MISA Zimbabwe
is therefore wary of the potential for the militarisation of the media at a
time when it should be democratised.
MISA-Zimbabwe reiterates its calls for the repeal of the undemocratic
media laws that empower the Minister with the wide discretionary appointing
powers. These are notably the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA), the ZBC
Commercialisation Act, the Interception of Communications Act as well as the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).
It is imperative that the government begins the process of
establishing independent regulatory bodies more so as it pertains to
broadcasting and the imperative need to transform the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation into a truly independent public broadcaster.
(AFP) - 2 hours ago
HARARE - Zimbabwe will grow one-quarter of the food it needs to feed its
people, with the next maize harvest expected to drop by 70 percent, the UN
food agency said Thursday.
Zimbabwe is expected to reap 450,000 tonnes of maize during the next harvest
in May, against 1.5 million tonnes this year. The government estimates that
the country needs 1.8 million tonnes to feed its people.
"Due to low yield level due to poor land and crop management... the expected
output for this year is 450,000 metric tonnes, which is a quarter of the
national requirement," said Michael Jenrich, an FAO operations officer.
The announcement came one day after the government's secretary for
agriculture Ngoni Masoka told reporters that he expected cereal production
to increase this year.
The World Bank on Wednesday announced that aid agencies would nearly triple
to 74 million dollars its funding for Zimbabwe's farms, aid that will be
channeled through non-government organisations.
Jenrich said small farmers lacked enough fertiliser, seeds and other inputs,
but urged authorities to improve their management of the nation's land
rather than to rely on handouts to farmers.
The country's power-sharing government said the increased funding would help
boost yields, but farmers' unions report that large tracts of land are lying
fallow as farmers lacked the means to plant.
The country has faced chronic national food shortages for years, as a result
of drought and President Robert Mugabe's controversial land reform
In 2000, Mugabe embarked on land reforms that saw Zimbabwe fall from a food
exporter to a regular recipient of food aid, after some 4,000 mostly white
farmers were forcibly removed from their properties.
But the new farmers often lacked experience and government support, while
the reforms were tinged with political violence.
Agriculture was once the backbone of Zimbabwe's economy, but now accounts
for only about 20 percent of the gross domestic product.
October 1, 2009
It has been claimed in court documents lodged in South Africa that
"commissions" worth £115 million were given to agents who facilitated a £2.3
billion arms deal for BAE as they negotiated contracts for Gripen and Hawk
aircaft in 1999. Two South Africans have reportedly already been convicted
South African police raided the Johannesburg home of British businessman,
John Bredenkamp, over bribery allegations. His assets were also frozen by
the US treasury, who accused him of financially supporting Robert Mugabe's
There are allegations of corruption surrounding an air traffic control deal
in Tanzania in 2002, worth almost £28 million. The radar-based air traffic
control system was branded a "waste of money" by the World Bank, and the
investigation is reportedly focusing on whether Tanzania was overcharged and
whether alleged commissions of more than 29 per cent may have been paid into
a Swiss bank.
The original deal was backed by Downing Street against the opposition of
then Development Minister Claire Short, who made corruption allegations.
Tanzania, one of the poorest countries in Africa, had no need for a complex
military system to control its air traffic and could, it is believed, have
bought a civilian system for around an eighth of the price.
The SFO is also examining an abortive deal to provide fighter planes worth
over £1 billion to the Czech Republic in 2001. There are allegations of
corruption in the deal to lease BAE Saab Gripen fighters to the country. The
US protested to Britain at the time. The US had offered fighters such as the
F-16 to the Czech Republic, which said it would consider the offer, but BAE
ended up as the only formal bidder.
The investigation centres on around £7 million of commissions allegedly paid
during a deal to provide obsolete frigates to Romania. Adrian Nastase, the
Romanian premier at the time, has also faced an investigation. Two surplus
British frigates, HMS Coventry and HMS London, were taken to Romania in 2003
in a deal organised by the MoD.
The ships had cost £250 million to build in 1989, but were given to BAE for
a scrap value of £100,000 each. BAE organised a deal with the Romanian
government to receive £116 million to refurbish the ships. A British
businessman, Barry George, was investigated as the agent who allegedly
received around £7 million to fix the deal, paid into an anonymous Guernsey
Harare, October 1, 2009 - Human rights activist Jestina Mukoko is
suing the the Ministry of Home Affairs for USd 500 000 for unlawful
detention as well as demanding the return of her passport, title deeds and
The Supreme Court on Monday upheld an application by Mukoko, a former
TV journalist and director of the faith-based rights group, Zimbabwe Peace
Project (ZPP) in which she argued that her constitutional rights to liberty,
full protection of the law and right to freedom from torture had been
infringed when she was abducted from her Norton home on December 3 in a
Mukoko's lawyer, Harrison Nkomo, of Mtetwa and Nyambira legal
practitioners, said they served the summons to all the respondents.
"The financial damages sought are for illegal abduction, disappearance
and torture at the hands of State players," said Nkomo.
Mukoko was held incommunicado in secret detention facilities until
December 24, when she appeared in court charged with sabotage, banditry and
During her detention, she says she was tortured by her abductors
together with 23 other human rights and political activists.
Seven other people who were abducted around the same time with Mukoko
are said to be still missing.
Handing down judgement in the matter Monday, Chief Justice Godfrey
Chidyausiku, sitting with Justice Paddington Garwe and Justice Luke Malaba,
ordered a permanent stay of prosecution in the criminal case.
Mukoko is also demanding her bail deposit, passport and title deeds
from the Attorney General (AG)'s Office following her acquittal.
In a letter written to the AG's Office just after her acquittal, Nkomo
said the AG's Office should reimburse Mukoko her bail money of USd 600,
return her title deeds and her passport which she surrendered in February as
part of her bail conditions.
"We are fully aware that all these are in the custody of the clerk of
court, but a letter from your office explaining the legal position to the
clerk of court might expedite this matter," read part ofNkomo's letter.
Mukoko said she needs her passport to enable her to travel to Germany
to receive a human rights award and to attend meetings in the United States
Jestina Mukoko's abduction, detention and torture in 2008, and the subsequent
dropping of all charges by a full bench of Zimbabwe's Supreme Court on 28
September 2009, is serving as a timeline in a country emerging from the depths
of despair into the first glimmer of hope. Mukoko, a single mother, journalist and human rights campaigner, became a
cause célèbre for both local and international human rights organizations, with
her personal ordeal seen as a representation of the state's repression and its
contempt for the rule of law. The Supreme Court said in its judgment: "The court unanimously concludes that
the state, through its agents, violated the applicant's constitutional rights
protected under the constitution of Zimbabwe to an extent entitling the
applicant to a permanent stay of criminal prosecution associated with the above
violations." Mukoko was charged with banditry, but many believe her work of collating the
litany of human rights abuses committed against political activists, unionists
and civil society members by President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF government -
which held power before the current unity government - ensured that she would
occupy the same dank prisons and suffer the same beatings as those whose stories
she had documented. After the judgment she told IRIN: "I came out of this experience not a bitter
person, but a better person; better in the sense that I was able to understand
what fellow Zimbabwean activists had been going through all this time." In 2008 Zimbabwe was trapped in a vortex of political violence, widespread
hunger, hyperinflation and keenly contested elections that threatened to end
Mugabe's nearly three decades of rule. Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) and now prime minister, withdrew from the second round of the presidential
poll - after narrowly failing to win the first round outright - in protest over
the deaths of scores of activists, and the torture of hundreds if not thousands
more. Mukoko, head of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, a non-governmental organization
that detailed human rights abuses such as gang rape and political violence
allegedly perpetrated by the security forces, patiently transcribed the
harrowing experiences of those who survived while they recuperated in hospitals
or safe houses, fearing further arrests. The international community, including African election monitors, declared
Mugabe's uncontested presidential victory as hollow. On 15 September 2008,
ZANU-PF and the MDC signed a power-sharing agreement, but it was only enacted in
February 2009 with the formation of the unity government. The intervening months
were marked by increased reports of state violence, meticulously documented by
Mukoko. "I am so relieved to know that the charges against me have been dropped, but
I think the victory was only possible because of the support from the
international community, fellow journalists and colleagues in civic society, and
human rights defenders," she told IRIN. The abduction In the early hours of 13 December 2008 a group of masked men and a woman
hauled Mukoko from her bed, and under the terrified gaze of her teenage son,
bundled her into an unmarked car and disappeared as fast as they had arrived.
Photo: Africa News
Mukoko at one of her court appearances I view the judgment in a
positive sense, in that it resulted in a reform of the judiciary, especially at
a time when the country is going through a constitution-making process
Jestina Mukoko's abduction, detention and torture in 2008, and the subsequent dropping of all charges by a full bench of Zimbabwe's Supreme Court on 28 September 2009, is serving as a timeline in a country emerging from the depths of despair into the first glimmer of hope.
Mukoko, a single mother, journalist and human rights campaigner, became a cause célèbre for both local and international human rights organizations, with her personal ordeal seen as a representation of the state's repression and its contempt for the rule of law.
The Supreme Court said in its judgment: "The court unanimously concludes that the state, through its agents, violated the applicant's constitutional rights protected under the constitution of Zimbabwe to an extent entitling the applicant to a permanent stay of criminal prosecution associated with the above violations."
Mukoko was charged with banditry, but many believe her work of collating the litany of human rights abuses committed against political activists, unionists and civil society members by President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF government - which held power before the current unity government - ensured that she would occupy the same dank prisons and suffer the same beatings as those whose stories she had documented.
After the judgment she told IRIN: "I came out of this experience not a bitter person, but a better person; better in the sense that I was able to understand what fellow Zimbabwean activists had been going through all this time."
In 2008 Zimbabwe was trapped in a vortex of political violence, widespread hunger, hyperinflation and keenly contested elections that threatened to end Mugabe's nearly three decades of rule.
Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and now prime minister, withdrew from the second round of the presidential poll - after narrowly failing to win the first round outright - in protest over the deaths of scores of activists, and the torture of hundreds if not thousands more.
Mukoko, head of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, a non-governmental organization that detailed human rights abuses such as gang rape and political violence allegedly perpetrated by the security forces, patiently transcribed the harrowing experiences of those who survived while they recuperated in hospitals or safe houses, fearing further arrests.
The international community, including African election monitors, declared Mugabe's uncontested presidential victory as hollow. On 15 September 2008, ZANU-PF and the MDC signed a power-sharing agreement, but it was only enacted in February 2009 with the formation of the unity government. The intervening months were marked by increased reports of state violence, meticulously documented by Mukoko.
"I am so relieved to know that the charges against me have been dropped, but I think the victory was only possible because of the support from the international community, fellow journalists and colleagues in civic society, and human rights defenders," she told IRIN.
In the early hours of 13 December 2008 a group of masked men and a woman hauled Mukoko from her bed, and under the terrified gaze of her teenage son, bundled her into an unmarked car and disappeared as fast as they had arrived.
In fact, she was constantly being moved from one police station to another and other places of detention. Disorientated and suffering round after round of interrogation, during which she was made to kneel on gravel, punctuated with beatings on the soles of her feet, to try to force her to admit she was recruiting Zimbabweans for military training in neighbouring Botswana.
On 2 March 2009, a month after the unity government was formed, amid a furore over her detention by local and international journalists as well as human rights organizations, she was released on bail. She immediately filed a court challenge over the manner of her "arrest", and violation of her human rights.
"I view the judgment in a positive sense, in that it resulted in a reform of the judiciary, especially at a time when the country is going through a constitution-making process, and that the same charges brought against other activists will be dropped," she said.
The emotional scars of her ordeal are still fresh. "It is difficult at this stage to give a detailed account of what I went through because it is such an emotional subject. I would really have to psych up for that kind of discussion."
|I am a widowed mother, and what I went through brought a lot of trauma to my family, especially to my son, who did not know if he had lost the only remaining parent that he had|
The ordeal has not deterred her or her organization from documenting human
"I am a widowed mother, and what I went through brought a lot of trauma to my family, especially to my son, who did not know if he had lost the only remaining parent that he had."
By KING SHANGO
Published on: 1st October, 2009
HARARE - One month on, the SADC troika has not taken any action to resolve
outstanding issues in the troubled government of national unity.
The SADC Summit in Kinshasa referred the overseeing and monitoring of the
implementation of outstanding issues on the power-sharing agreement to the
Troika of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security Co-operation.
No date or venue has been announced for a Troika meeting to commence this
assignment. The Troika is chaired by Mozambican President Armando Guebuza
and the Deputy Chairperson is President Rupiah Banda of Zambia, who were
elected to these positions at the Summit and will hold office for a year,
until the next regular Summit.
The third member is the outgoing chairperson, King Mswati of Swaziland.
South African President Jacob Zuma will also be involved in discussions, as
South Africa 's role as facilitator and guarantor of the GPA continues.
MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa has said that MDC-T has written to SADC
since the Summit requesting urgent action on the outstanding issues.
But there has been no movement to date.
By GETRUDE GUMEDE
Published: October 1, 2009
BULAWAYO - Online business in the country was on Tuesday and Wednesday been
brought to a standstill after an Internet connection blackout on Powertel
optic fibre connections outside Harare.
Powertel, a subsidiary of Zesa's Zimbabwe Power Company, runs a network of
optic fibre cables that link to major Internet service providers.
Powertel's sales and marketing officer Vimbai Gwenzi said the fault was
caused by vandalism on an optic fibre cable in Harare linking the capital to
other parts of the country on Tuesday.
"Powertel engineers are working flat out to resolve the problem. As for now
we are not so sure of the nature of the damage and the total amount required
to repair the damages. We urge our customers to bear with us in this
difficult time," said Gwenzi.
Some clients failed to access money from their bank accounts because their
computers are linked to servers in Harare by the Powertel optic fibre cable.
"I came here on Monday morning and they told me that I should change my bank
account to US dollars. When I went back to collect my money after changing
my account I was told to come tomorrow (Tuesday) and when I returned the
internet was down and up to now I have not accessed my money," said an FBC
U.S. Embassy Harare
The Department of State announces the opening of the registration period for the DV-2011 Diversity Visa lottery. Entries for the DV-2011 Diversity Visa lottery can only be submitted electronically. It is not possible to mail or submit paper entries. The registration period for the DV-2011 program begins at 1800 hours Zimbabwe time, Friday, October 2, 2009, and ends at 1800 hours Zimbabwe time, Monday, November 30, 2009.
Applicants may access the electronic Diversity Visa entry form (E-DV) and submit their entries free of charge at www.dvlottery.state.gov during the registration period. Applicants are strongly encouraged not to wait until the last week of the registration period to enter. Heavy demand may result in website delays. No entries will be accepted after 1800 hours Monday, November 30, 2009.
In the DV-2010 program, 170 Zimbabweans were selected and will be processed through the U.S. Embassy in Harare. The congressionally mandated Diversity Immigrant Visa Program is administered on an annual basis by the Department of State and conducted under the terms of Section 203(c) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Section 131 of the Immigration Act of 1990 (Pub. L. 101-649) amended INA 203 and provides for a class of immigrants known as “diversity immigrants.” Section 203(c) of the INA provides a maximum of 55,000 Diversity Visas (DVs) each fiscal year to be made available to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.
The annual DV program makes visas available to persons meeting simple, but strict, eligibility requirements. A computer-generated, random lottery drawing chooses selectees for DVs. The visas are distributed among six geographic regions, with a greater number of visas going to regions with lower rates of immigration, and with no visas going to nationals of countries sending more than 50,000 immigrants to the United States over the period of the past five years. Within each region, no single country may receive more than seven percent of the available DVs in any one year.
No countries have been added or removed from the list of eligible countries. The list of eligible countries remains the same as for DV-2010.
The Department of State implemented the electronic registration system beginning with DV-2005 in order to make the DV process more efficient and secure. The Department utilizes special technology and other means to identify those who commit fraud for the purposes of illegal immigration or those who submit multiple entries.
For detailed information about entry requirements, along with frequently asked questions about the DV lottery, please see the instructions for the DV-2011 DV lottery available at www.dvlottery.state.gov or write to firstname.lastname@example.org
# # # #
Issued by Tim Gerhardson, Public Affairs Officer, U.S. Embassy Harare, October 1, 2009. Previous statements and reports from the U.S. Embassy can be accessed at http://harare.usembassy.gov
This morning, the internet had a story that told us that just 3% of farmers
had been compensated for the loss of their land.
Before we can actually comprehend what that 3% represents, we have to
remember that Mugabe and ZANU PF will only pay compensation for improvements
to the land - nothing more.
But a fair percentage of the land taken by Mugabe was purchased since
independence by the commercial farmers after his government had declared 'no
interest' in developing the land.
Then it must also be borne in mind that the compensation paid will be based
upon figures arrived at by a ZANU PF appointed assessor who, reportedly,
undervalue the land by as much as 90% and then, consequently, the
Any compensation for the land itself is to be paid for by the British
government. Well, that is what Mugabe wants - but he wants that money to be
channelled through his government - so he can plunder it just like he has
done with any other money that has been detoured via his government.
But let's not concentrate on supposition. Just 3% in nine years - even based
upon the ZANU PF undervalued assessment - is a few shillings only.
I remember reading an article quite a few years ago where it was reported
that evicted farmers were pressured into accepting the reduced payments
because they had been rendered paupers by the evictions and needed the money
to stay alive!
Mugabe will, no doubt, wear the 3% as a badge of some merit, telling the
world that his administration has paid that much without the assistance of
the former colonial power. In reality though, the monies so paid - and I
find it quite annoying that the article has failed to quantify the 3% - a
far less than the true value of any improvements to the land.
And that some of the farms that were forcibly taken over, were valueless
even after independence, and it is only the work of the commercial farmers
that have endeavoured to make that land worth something.
To declare no interest in the land until such time as the commercial farmer
has developed it into a project that is worth something, not only to the
farmer, but to the country as a whole, is tantamount to theft - especially
if the 'compensation' is a mere fraction of the investment on the land, let
alone the initial financial outlay to purchase the land!
I, personally, understand the need for the land appropriation, but would
certainly have preferred that it be done properly without any violence,
abductions or deaths. Mugabe is steadfast in his claim that Britain should
pay any compensation, but is also ignoring the basic rule of law in Zimbabwe
by allowing the land grab to take on such a tragic environment.
We should also remember that it is not just the commercial farmer that is
rendered without a farm, a livelihood and a home when these enforced
evictions take place. The farm workers are also rendered jobless and
homeless when the farmer is thrown off, as the new 'owner' has no
requirement for workers who sided with the 'bloody whites' (Mugabe's words,
not mine) - not to mention how the country is affected by the loss of the
farm's production which is for either domestic use or the export market.
Land appropriation is one thing, a 'land grab' is another thing entirely -
and Mugabe may profess to be conducting the former when he is really
perpetrating the latter.
Robb WJ Ellis
The Bearded Man
1st October 2009
On Wednesday close to two hundred thousand people from Arizona to Zanzibar
read the last email from ZW News - a daily email compilation of the latest
news stories on Zimbabwe.
Despite the cost effectiveness and wide subscriber base, the man behind ZW
News in the UK, and his colleague in Zimbabwe, have been unable to source
funding to keep going.
We wanted to pay tribute to these guys, who like to keep a low profile so no
names mentioned, and we asked if one of them would like to give us an
interview. That was declined but, in his own words, here are a few details
of the extraordinary reach of ZW News.
"There are a little over 160 000 readers of ZWNEWS/Grimnews every day, in
just about every place you can imagine, from Alaska to Zambia, via Cuba,
Thailand and Afghanistan, amongst many, many other places. But the vast
majority are in Zimbabwe, including in the corridors of power in Harare (or
corridors of powerlessness, in the case of the MDC ministries). Very senior
members of ZANU PF have been loyal subscribers since day one.
Very cost effective - a small fraction of a US$ per reader per year, and
produced 363 days a year, technical hitches and finances permitting. (Xmas
and New Year's Day off).
Benefit of being one person? No commuting, no office politics, no meetings,
no dress code. Although it hasn't been just me - there is someone in Harare
who has been part of ZWNEWS for years.
ZWNEWS motto: There are only two kinds of politician: those who have lied,
and those who have yet to get round to it. Followed, if possible, by (a
wholly inappropriate) rendition of 'Always look on the bright side of life'.
SWRA and 160,000 other people (barring perhaps the ZANU PF subscribers) are
very sorry to see you go. Thanks for everything.