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Mugabe Appears on Zimbabwe TV; No Sign of
Wed October 29, 2003 12:14 PM ET
(Page 1 of 2)
HARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
appeared on state television Wednesday, smiling and showing no visible sign
of the health problems reported by some media in South Africa and Britain.
The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation showed footage of Mugabe
addressing an international cultural conference in the northwestern tourist
resort of Victoria Falls and urging delegates to take time to enjoy one of
the wonders of the world.
"Even as you go through your busy schedules you should not forget to
enjoy the visit and in particular the Victoria Falls and other natural and
cultural heritage sites that this country offers," said Mugabe.
Tuesday, the government dismissed as "wishful thinking" and
"mischievous" South African and British media reports that Mugabe had been
secretly flown to South Africa for treatment after suffering either a stroke
or a bad fall.
Rumors about Mugabe's health have cropped up more frequently as
Zimbabwe sinks into a political and economic crisis that critics blame in
part on his policy of seizing white-owned farms to give to landless blacks.
Hotel employees and other witnesses reached by telephone from the
capital Harare said Mugabe appeared his normal self when he addressed the
"There was a lot of curiosity, people trying to see whether there was
anything wrong with him after all those reports. He appeared fit and okay to
me," said one employee, who asked not to be identified.
There has been speculation that Mugabe, in power since Zimbabwe's
independence from Britain in 1980, has suffered both throat and prostate
cancer in the past. But in frequent appearances on state television, Mugabe
has been seen rallying supporters or busy with affairs of state.
Zimbabwe, once southern Africa's breadbasket, faces chronic food, fuel
and foreign currency shortages, unemployment of more than 70 percent and one
of the world's highest inflation rates.
Mugabe denies mismanaging the economy and says he is being sabotaged
by domestic and foreign enemies. He has also vowed not to step down before
the end of his term in 2008.
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), formed in
1999, emerged as the biggest threat to Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party when it
won nearly half the 120 contested seats in a parliamentary election in 2000.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who faces treason charges of plotting to
assassinate Mugabe, is mounting a legal challenge to the president's
re-election last year in polls that both the opposition and several Western
governments said were flawed.
Mugabe dismisses the MDC as a puppet of former colonial power Britain
and other Western countries.
Zimbabwe court grants bail to newspaper directors
October 29, 2003, 08:28 PM
A Zimbabwe court has granted bail to four directors of the
country's only privately-owned daily, but reserved judgement on whether they
would be prosecuted for publishing their newspaper illegally. Mishrod
Guvamombe, the magistrate, said he would rule on November 13 on whether to
drop the case against the four senior officials of the Associated Newspapers
of Zimbabwe (ANZ), or place them on remand pending trial.
Sipepa Nkomo, Rachel Kupara, Stuart Mattinson and Brian Mutsau,
ANZ directors, appeared at Harare magistrates' court on charges of
contravening a law seen as aimed at muzzling President Robert Mugabe's
critics. The four, arrested on Monday two days after the ANZ's Daily News
hit the streets for the first time since police shut it down some six weeks
ago, were each freed on bail of Z$50 000 bail (R236 at official rate, about
R62 on the black market).
Lawyers for the ANZ argued that the company was entitled to
publish after a court ruled it should not have been denied an operating
licence required by strict new media laws introduced after Mugabe's
controversial re-election last year. The newspaper was ordered closed in
September after the Supreme Court found it to be illegal because the ANZ had
not been registered by a state-appointed media commission. Elizabeth
Mwatse-Sumowah, the state prosecutor, said a court order on Friday for the
commission to grant the newspaper a licence by November 30 did not give ANZ
authority to resume publication immediately.
No right to operate without licence
"Accused persons caused the publication of the paper in contempt
of the Administrative Court's order. The accused had not right to operate in
that manner without a licence," Mwatse-Sumowah said. Beatrice Mtetwa, the
defence lawyer, argued that the law allowed media houses already in
existence before its introduction to continue operations pending the outcome
of their application for registration. ANZ had initially refused to register
for a licence in protest against the law, which the government says is meant
to instil professionalism in the media.
The Daily News began publishing in 1999 and has been critical of
Mugabe's government as the country grapples with an economic and political
crisis widely blamed on official mismanagement since independence from
Britain in 1980. Mugabe (79) denies mismanaging the country and in turn
accuses local and foreign opponents of sabotaging Zimbabwe's economy to
punish his government for seizure of white-owned commercial farms for
landless blacks. - Reuters
Zimbabwe dispatches army and prison doctors to replace striking hospital
HARARE, Zimbabwe, Oct. 29 — Zimbabwe's health minister on Wednesday
dispatched police, army and prison doctors to replace striking health care
workers at government hospitals.
The move came as President Robert Mugabe dispelled persistent rumors
that he is in poor health with a public appearance to welcome delegates from
69 international organizations to the northwestern resort town of Victoria
Falls for a conference on monuments and heritage sites.
About 500 doctors walked out Friday demanding pay raises of up to
8,000 percent to keep pace with rampant inflation, officially running at
about 455.6 percent. They have since been joined by some 20,000 nurses.
The only doctors currently providing services at state hospitals are
foreigners brought in to assist under long-standing agreements with Cuba and
The state-owned Herald newspaper reported Wednesday that one doctor
at Harare's main hospital had to attend to casualties from four road
accidents assisted only by student nurses. Some outpatients had been turned
away, the paper said.
Health Minister David Parirenyatwa told state radio that medical
personnel from the armed forces, police and prisons would ease pressure on
the hospitals and ''prevent further loss of life.'' He did not specify how
many, if any, patients had died as a result of the work stoppage.
This is the second time the country's health care professionals have
gone on strike this year. Doctors interrupted services at state hospitals
intermittently in June.
Meanwhile, Mugabe told delegates at the International Conference on
Monuments and Sites gathering that land was Zimbabwe's greatest heritage and
had been reclaimed for the country's black farmers, state radio reported.
Mugabe's often-violent land reform program has seen 5,000 white-owned
farms confiscated for redistribution to blacks.
The program has crippled Zimbabwe's agriculture-based economy, with
the country now facing 70 percent unemployment and accute shortages of food,
gasoline and medicine.
When students at the University of Zimbabwe were told they would not
be receiving overdue living allowances, it sparked a riot Tuesday on campus
in Harare's Mount Pleasant suburb.
Some 12,000 students stoned the acting vice chancellor's car and
looted a grocery store. Police dispersed the protesters.
Mugabe's Wednesday appearance came after a flurry of rumors that he
had collapsed and been admitted to a hospital in neighboring South Africa
Government press secretary George Charamba insisted Mugabe was in
good health and accused western diplomats of trying to ''destabilize'' the
JUSTICE FOR AGRICULTURE
COMMUNIQUE - October 28, 2003
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
We have been experiencing problems with our computers since Friday noon
hence no correspondence from us. Please bear with us; we should be fully
operational by tomorrow.
The JAG Team
JAG OPEN LETTER FORUM
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to
firstname.lastname@example.org with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.
Dear Fellow Zimbabwean Farmers
You may well ask...so who cares about property rights?
It's a strange thing, life......
All those people who so gaily have "taken up their rights to land" are
going to find that they have a very transient right to the land. When a
bigger chef comes along or a stronger war vet, or a bigger group of green
bombers who suddenly fancy the piece of land that the "new" farmer has
spent so much money on....he is going to start looking around for a means
to secure his ownership of his piece of land. He is going to find that his
nebulous piece of paper from the lands office or the rural council or the
governor or his minister or who ever gave him the patronage to use the
piece of land, will be valueless in the face of a bigger force.
He will then have to find a way of securing his title to the property.
And so it is when those very people who have taken the land away from us,
have to try and resort to the law to secure their property that we will
start to revisit a man's right to title to his property.
Letter 2: Re John Kinnaird's Letter.
What started off as controversial and really got up some noses, that people
did not even want to read JAG, has caused a lot of debate and we are nearly
getting to the same conclusion. I suppose John well done for sparking it
off. I tend to agree with Willem Botha's last letter, and believe it is
time to stop criticising each other and picking out the mistakes of the
Let us work with the present situation and go forward with positive ideas.
Mugabe wanted to divide us and we are now allowing him a victory. You can
go on about to farm or not, to deal or not, to stand up for your rights or
not, it does not really matter - at the end of the day you are going to
make your own personal decision, and basically it is going to be a business
decision or a safety one for your family, and that has happened to most
farmers. Appreciate it and respect them for making such a difficult
I am one of those extinct species - yes still farming - and in my heart
with a conscience! Some would say no conscience because I am not perfect
just like every Zimbabwean I know or not know! Please find me a Zimbabwean
who has not done a deal?? If it was not for the booming Harare black market
the economy would have crashed long ago! I have not found a business trying
to keep our input prices low while we get a controlled tobacco price at
800 - 1. I have not come across a forex dealer that is prepared to give you
a discount cause they will not be able to afford their overseas holiday.
How can you survive in Harare if you do not buy on the black market?
Therefore it is business, and in Zim today, the key word is SURVIVAL!! The
CFU told us to farm if you can and so we did waiting for better days. Any
normal human who has invested so much into something is not going to walk
away easily and if you able to still hang in on your farm - you are going
to? Farming is not a life anymore and if I can get out today I would.
Basically there is no answer to this whole problem and that is why we are
frustrated and starting to get at each other. There is no answer and we
have tried everything, and if there was I am sure every farmer would be
Generalising is very dangerous. One is welcome to come see the situation
first hand if you suspect dealing - not many visitors come out here
anymore. I agree the dealers are losing as much as the non-dealers. I am
definitely not paying anyone to farm and I am doing nothing on farms
without the real farm owner's approval. We are down to 9 farmers. One
farmer (who finger pointers claim he deals but really talks a lot) is
getting a lot of pressure this week. Our neighbour was told to get off
yesterday. We have an unlisted farm we can't get onto, we have section 7's
& 8's,we have an eviction notice sitting at the police, we have A1's and
A2's claiming the same land, we have settlers, we have objected in court
thru the lawyer, we have been pegged, we have offered unused land, our
manager has been beaten twice, we have been labeled MDC, we have talked to
Zanu PF and warvets, we have been locked up in our house, toyi-toyied, work
stoppages continually, got the police, phoned the DA, helped the sick, put
the farm on to the database, written reports and so on. My planting was
stopped on Friday by unofficial A1's who are bleak with the A2 pegging so
they take it out on us. Our labour demanded the package so we have just
changed the whole labour force. The old labour now will not get out of
their houses. The PF District Chairman now blame us for preventing him
moving onto his 2nd farm cause my new labour live there and have told him
to get a life. We had 3 labour assaults this week. This is a tip of the
iceberg and probably boring you sick, but we accused of dealing cause we
still farming - please!!!?
Some better news - the warvet also had a work stoppage the same day next
door and another one was handed his Section 8! What goes round comes round.
If John Kinnaird is a brave leader. Stop talking. Lead all farmers to our
rights. Return and let's stand for our rights on our farms where we
rightfully should be. If you stood up 2 years ago and told all farmers to
stop farming to make an immediate effect I would have done that. If you
stood up now and led us to State House to demand compensation now I will be
there. I know town has already failed on this one. Let us stop criticising
the victims but face up to the cause of the whole problem - the Government.
Let us follow Andy Flower and Henry Olonga's example - action. What is the
answer or which way we should turn - I am not sure but let us do it
together with faith.
Anyway, there is a stress seminar next week which I am attending - all are
welcome - starting on 10th Oct at a DSTV near you - book now. Buy a raffle
ticket or a team and enjoy, relax, this is Africa.
Another Kiwi supporter - real rugby!
Letter 3: Transparency
Commercial Farmers' Union,
Dear Mr. Olivier,
Today is 25th October, 2003 - ANTI CORRUPTION DAY - put out by TRANSPARENCY
In August last year the President of your organization (Mr. Cloete) was
TRANSPARENT in saying that your organization, with the mandate and support
of COUNCIL was working with Government on the land reform programme.
In August this year your Vice President (Mr. Hawgood) was TRANSPARENT and
told Matabeleland farmers, in Bulawayo, that he was on his farm through
assistance from a Mr. Chinotimba. This statement appeared to give the
farmers the impression that there had been no change in policy since August
On a number of occasions the Honourable Minister of Agriculture has
referred to your organization as irrelevant. This is somewhat disturbing
for some farmers who used to support your organization. The very people
whom Mr. Cloete, Mr. Taylor Freeme and Mr. Hawgood have said that they
"working with," have termed them as irrelevant. However, quite a few
farmers are starting to understand Dr. Made in this specific instance.
(Hence Matabeleland's decision to withdraw from your organization?)
In the interests of TRANSPARENCY, please could you ask your Council:
* why they still choose to work with Government on the land reform
* how they are going to resolve Mr. Freeth's suspension? - well over a year
* if they look back on their achievements over the last eighteen months,
sharing the same pride and honour as Government?
* if they are quite happy to be held accountable for supporting what has
happened to commercial agriculture over the last few years? - it seems that
they will be held accountable.
I would be most grateful if you could reply on their behalf to me at
email@example.com after your next council meeting, in the
interests of transparency.
Dear Fellow Zimbabwean Farmer
Expropriation of land is legal if it is carried out on the following
1. for a public purpose
2. on a non-discriminatory basis
3. compensation is paid at market value
Do you believe that any of these conditions were met in our current land
Have all your farms been utilised fully by the current regime to reach full
Have you been paid at market value for your property?
Have you been discriminated against?
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?
Letter 5: Agriculture In The Post Mugabe Era In Zimbabwe
In my view there has been debate on numerous subjects in your open letter
All very interesting. The letters all make you either fume, laugh, cry, or
shout hear hear, well said, but I have yet to read much about what my
fellow ex farmers, who are now living on the last of their capital, think
about their future as farmers in Zimbabwe, or of Agriculture as a whole in
the future Zimbabwe. One can't help asking, what is the problem? Are you
afraid to have a look into the Crystal ball or do you believe in the saying
" hold tight my friend all will be well in the end ", which, by the way, is
a saying I have heard at C.F.U.
Do you not think it is time we all realised that Agriculture and our mode
of life, as we knew it, is something of the past never, to return, and that
the future government of Zimbabwe, and in fact all first world countries
will look to us, to the people on the ground, and the people most affected
by the actions of a mad man To come forward with a plan for the future of
Agriculture in Zimbabwe which will benefit the entire population of the
small central African country once referred to as the pearl in the African
oyster, which I feel quite sure we all still love in spite of the fact that
the Pearl has fallen out of the oyster, and is now just a grain of sand
which could quite easily be reintroduced into the oyster to grow into
another pearl. Perhaps not a completely white pearl, but a pearl none the
less, which would be acceptable to the entire population. It is my opinion
that the black Zimbabwean is streets above all other blacks in Southern
Africa, and has only for a short time been misled by a madman who was once,
not very long ago, a hero not only to the blacks of Zimbabwe but to the
people of the civilised world as a whole.
I fully appreciate the fact that a team of learned fellows has been set up
by JAG and who are working day and night to reach the correct solution,
which I feel they will do in the end. But like all mortals do not know it
all and I feel quite sure that they will take cognisance of a debate
amongst all fellow ex farmers, and in fact anybody, be they white, black,
yellow or green. Farmers or townies or politicians, I believe that JAG is
Justice for Agriculture and not just justice for white ex farmers. There
are many, and I wonder where they all are, my ex associates from the
ministry, from the C.S.C, from the communal lands, from industry and from
other parts of the world .All people who I feel sure have something worth
while to contribute to a discussion of this nature. Where are you Keith,
Robbie, Eddie, Professor Leng, Dave Allen, and many more, who may be
interested in saving a once beautiful country from becoming a desert?
It is my intention to write a series of letters on the subject of the
Future of Agriculture in Zimbabwe. And I invite one and all to contribute
to this debate, as I feel sure that like myself all ex farmers now have too
much time to think and can find nothing to do, especially all the oldies.
The younger generation are no longer with us as they are scattered around
the world trying to provide a living for their families, and that may just
be a starting point of our debate .Do you feel that they will be returning
to Zim if they were offered their farms back. If yes, under what
conditions? If no, why not??
And perhaps another one. If we are offered our farms back, who will get rid
of the settlers and who will pay for the exercise, and please categorise
those who have settled on our farms. Spare a thought for ninety percent of
our farm workers who are all ex pats.
For those of you who are going to participate please stick to the point as
our time is limited, but there will be time for it all to come out and this
time I will even listen to all Matabeles especially those who tell good
stories and have double barrelled names.
Please write to me personally if you feel that there are points I may leave
out. And please don't hesitate to tell me to P* off as I am wasting good
MY IDEAS ON THE SUBJECT
I do not believe that a young man who has succeeded in finding an
alternative to farming in Zim, and whose children are happily at school
somewhere near their new homes, or are doing well at schools abroad, would
ever consider returning to their old farms in Zim. I do not believe that
more than 10% of evicted farmers would return to rebuild their farms. Some
may return if such a move helps in obtaining good compensation, or to
retire should they have a young son who would be keen to rebuild the old
farm. I do not believe that white farmers will ever return to Zim to open
up land only to be evicted after having spent a lifetime and Millions of
Dollars (The old Kind) to build a beautiful home for their retirement or
for the younger generation to continue the good work. The trauma of being
illegally evicted and watching your beautiful home being trashed, or the
Game and cattle herds, which have taken a lifetime to build being
indiscriminately slaughtered, is too heartbreaking to ever have repeated.
On the second point I do not think it wise or possible without immense
drama of a second eviction, to move the genuine settlers, who I have seen
build their homes on land they believe has been legally given to them,
bring their families, their goats, their cattle and dogs, and then plough
with their own oxen or hired oxen sufficient land to work with their
families. They plant various crops without any financial or other
assistance from government and produce sufficient food for their own needs.
Their livestock are on the best grazing that they could have dreamed about,
and I do not believe that any government in the world would provide funds
or assistance to move these people except if acceptable alternative is
offered to them. I will later express my ideas on how to deal with these
people, and I do believe that there is an acceptable alternative.
As to the other groups, the Chefs or Green bombers who have absolutely no
idea as to how go about producing food from the soil, they should be
evicted by the law post haste.
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
Forex Taskforce Formed
The Herald (Harare)
October 29, 2003
Posted to the web October 29, 2003
GOVERNMENT has formed a special taskforce to urgently address the management
of foreign currency after realising that the root cause of the obtaining
economic problems was the unaccountability of foreign currency by exporters
and other players.
The taskforce - made up of nine Cabinet Ministers - was formed through the
reconstitution of the taskforce on the cash crisis, which successfully
resolved the shortage of bank notes that had gripped the country.
It will be tasked with compiling a data bank of all major exporting
companies and examining foreign currency leakages and externalisation of
funds by some exporting companies including Export Processing Zones.
"There are at least 8 000 exporting companies in Zimbabwe but less than 10
are accounting for their foreign currency on time.
"The rest have virtually acquired Export Processing Zone status which means
they do not remit their foreign currency which they keep offshore and claim
that they are creating employment yet employment figures are going down.
"That anomaly is one of the root causes of foreign currency shortages," said
Analysts also gave an example of the tourism sector, which was grossing less
than US$2 million per month even though tourist arrivals and bookings were
The taskforce will also find ways and means of mobilising all gold from
small-scale miners and panners to market it through Fidelity Refineries.
It will check whether all banks and other authorised dealers are complying
with the requirement to acquit CD1 forms within the stipulated period as
well as work out water tight mechanisms of remitting foreign currency to the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.
The taskforce will recommend the best foreign currency allocation mechanism
in accordance with national priorities and recommend an appropriate Central
It is expected to table its report to Cabinet within three weeks.
The Minister of Rural Resources and Water Development Cde Joyce Mujuru will
chair the taskforce which comprises the Minister of Finance and Economic
Development Cde Herbert Murerwa, the Minister of State for Information and
Publicity Professor Jonathan Moyo, the Minister of State for National
Security Cde Nicholas Goche and the Minister of Industry and International
Trade Cde Samuel Mumbengegwi.
Other members are the Minister of Mines and Mining Development Cde Edward
Chindori-Chininga, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement
Cde Joseph Made, the Minister of Environment and Tourism Cde Francis Nhema
and the Minister of Home Affairs Cde Kembo Mohadi.
A Government spokesman said the root cause of the economic instability,
characterised by relentless price increases and the shortage of such
critical agricultural inputs as seed, fertiliser and diesel, was the
unaccountability of foreign currency.
"All available evidence indicates that this economy is generating more
foreign currency today than it did three years ago.
"But this foreign currency is being externalised and abused in the black
market for reasons which are either political mischief or economic sabotage
and the time to stop this rot has come," the spokesman said.
"This (taskforce) is due to realisation by the Government that unless we
deal with the shortage of foreign currency we will not be able to stabilise
prices, reign in inflation and stimulate supply response," the spokesman
He said the instability in prices was threatening agriculture as the high
cost of inputs meant farmers would demand higher producer prices, which
translated into higher consumer prices.
Sources in Government said there were indications that forces hostile to the
country were still hoping to derail the land reform programme by killing
agriculture through black marketeering and profiteering where prices have
nothing do to with real costs.
The sources said the task force came against the background of failure by
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to effectively monitor foreign currency
"In an economy which some analysts say grosses US$700 million a month from a
combination of agriculture, mining, tourism and manufacturing products, the
RBZ is said to be getting a paltry average of below US$5 million a month,"
said one source.
The RBZ had also failed to provide foreign currency to critical needs of the
economy notably the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority, which observers say have been the major
culprits in driving the foreign currency parallel market.
"The moment Zesa and Noczim get out of the parallel market sanity will
return but that will not happen without the central bank playing its role.
"Rather than having the two companies depend on the parallel market, there
is a growing feeling in Government that managing to get foreign currency at
the official rate is the solution.
"The Reserve Bank has no reason to be there if it cannot meet the minimum
foreign currency requirements of Zesa and Noczim," said a source.
The shortage of fuel was threatening agriculture and had also grounded the
Government fleet of vehicles and paralysed the public transport sector.
Analysts said the dual fuel pricing system was unworkable because it was
being abused in the same way the dual exchange rate system, in which
exporters had a support rate of $824 to US$1 while the official rate was $55
to US$1, was being abused.
"Government is particularly concerned that these developments are negatively
affecting not only the farmer but ordinary people such as commuters who are
being charged high fares.
"Benchmarking prices in US dollars is the cause of the ridiculous salaries
of $30 million per month that doctors are demanding. All these are based on
black market rates. There has been too much opening of the economy although
the Economic Structural Adjustment Programme is dead.
"This is what the Cabinet taskforce chaired by Minister Mujuru will look
A free press and Zimbabwe
October 29, 2003
By the Editor
The Zimbabwean government has the ability to surpass even its own
excesses. Take the detention of staff members and directors of the Daily
News, that country's only independent newspaper.
In arresting the directors of Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ),
Robert Mugabe's law enforcers committed two serious criminal acts.
The first and most serious offence was the failure of the police to
respect the verdict of the courts. Last week a judge ruled that the Media
Commission, which is empowered to licence all media in Zimbabwe, was
That meant that all licences issued by the commission were invalid.
The ruling also meant that the Daily News, prevented from publishing because
it was unregistered, could publish.
Not so, according to the Zimbabwe police. They have now charged some
ANZ directors of operating without a licence. This was an act of flagrant
contempt and, in fact, the officers of the law should be charged.
In committing offence number two, the police held an ANZ director
hostage to force other directors to hand themselves over.
The worst thing about this circus is that nothing will
happen to the
very officials who are supposed to uphold the law but have done the exact
opposite. They are, it would seem, above the law.
All of this has been done with one aim - to silence the Daily News.
And there is absolutely no doubt that this harassment is being carried out
because the paper is critical of Mugabe and his government.
We are aware that serious attempts are being made by Zimbabweans to
find long-lasting solutions to their problems.
Efforts are being made to set up a draft constitution and soon we may
see a new political dispensation. Shelves in the shops are not empty
anymore. But the high price of foodstuffs remains a problem.
So there is hope.This is why the action by Zimbabwe's police is so
wrong and should not go unpunished. A free press plays an important role in
nurturing democracy. And Zimbabwe's is in great need of such nurturing.
'Arrests in Zimbabwe Intended Only to Punish'
October 29, 2003
Posted to the web October 29, 2003
HARARE The publisher and three directors of the Daily News, an independent
newspaper highly critical of President Robert Mugabe's government, were due
to appear in court yesterday after being arrested for publishing without a
licence, but the hearing was delayed for no stated reason.
A company lawyer, Gugulethu Moyo, speculated that the police were merely
seeking to punish the owners of the country's only private daily newspaper.
"The police are detaining people not because
they require time to
investigate, but it seems they intend to punish them before they have
actually been convicted of any crime, and it's very disappointing," Moyo
said outside the courtroom.
The charges against the newspaper's owners follow the short-lived return to
the news stands on Saturday of the Daily News, six weeks after it was shut
down by the authorities.
The reappearance of the popular newspaper followed a court ruling on Friday
that a state-appointed media commission had been wrong to deny the paper a
Police, insisting that the newspaper may not publish until it has a
certificate, shut down the paper's city offices on Saturday for the second
time and briefly detained 18 staff members.
Under the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, signed into
law by Mugabe just days after his disputed re-election, all publications and
journalists must be licensed.
South African Daily News
Mugabe treated at home
October 29, 2003
By Basildon Peta & Peter Fabricius
President Robert Mugabe, did suffer a minor stroke recently but was
treated in Zimbabwe and not South Africa, some senior Zimbabwean officials
said privately yesterday.
They dismissed widespread speculation and media reports yesterday that
the 79-year-old leader had been surreptitiously flown to South Africa for
South African Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad said that the South
African government had been notified that Mugabe was chairing the regular
Tuesday cabinet meeting in Harare yesterday. He said the South African
government had no knowledge of Mugabe having been to South Africa for
Zimbabwe's high commissioner to South Africa, Simon Moyo, said the
reports were "absolute hogwash" and that Mugabe was chairing cabinet.
Independent Newspapers' correspondent in Harare, Brian Latham,
confirmed that Mugabe's motorcade had arrived at his central Harare
presidential offices yesterday, presumably for the cabinet meeting.
But Latham did not actually see Mugabe and in Harare his absence from
public engagements for some time appears to be fuelling speculation that he
is seriously ill.
And Pahad could not completely rule out the possibility that Mugabe
might have entered South Africa without informing the South Africa
government and then returned to Harare for the cabinet meeting. He said
under the rules of international protocol Mugabe need only have informed the
South African government of a visit if he wanted VIP treatment in South
According to some media reports Mugabe was
collected in Harare by a
South African military aircraft and flown to Pretoria for treatment on
Monday. Defence spokesman Sam Mkhwanazi said he did not know if Mugabe had
been in South Africa but other defence officials denied firmly that he had
been treated in any South African military hospital.
Independent Newspapers contacted most of the major civilian hospitals
in Gauteng and they all denied Mugabe had been treated there.
Top sources in Mugabe's ruling ZanuPF party and his spy agency, the
Central Intelligence Organisation, (CIO) said Mugabe had recently suffered a
minor stroke but was treated by Chinese doctors in Harare and had recovered.
One source said: "If you only knew the President's paranoia over white
'Rhodies' in South Africa, you would not even imagine he might want to spend
a night in a hospital there." Rhodies is a description of white Zimbabweans
who lived in the country when it was still called Rhodesia and under white
During his last official visit to South Africa, when he attended the
funeral of ANC veteran Walter Sisulu, the Independent Foreign Service
established that Mugabe had refused to be served any food by staff at the
five-star Westcliff Hotel in Johannesburg.
Mugabe brought his own cooks who prepared food from Zimbabwe for him.
Sources also say he does not trust South African military hospitals.
Zim media chiefs on remand
29/10/2003 16:17 - (SA)
Harare - A Zimbabwean magistrate's court on Wednesday placed
of the independent newspaper the Daily News on remand, quashing a defence
bid to have the charges against them dropped.
The four are facing charges of contempt of court and publishing the
newspaper, a harsh critic of the government of President Robert Mugabe,
without a licence.
Magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe ordered them each to pay bail of Z$50 000 and
return to court on November 13.
The magistrate placed them on remand to allow himself time to study a ruling
on Monday on a similar matter involving another of the paper's directors,
who was freed by the High Court in Zimbabwe's second city Bulawayo on
Defence lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa had pointed to the Bulawayo court's finding
that no grounds existed to place Washington Sansole, who had been arrested
on Saturday, on remand.
Mtetwa said the facts surrounding Sansole's case were similar, and argued
against applying the law selectively for the others.
"It will clearly be discriminatory. The constitution provides against
selective application of the law," Mtetwa said.
The four - Samuel Nkomo, Rachel Kupara, Brian Mutsau and Sturat Mattinson -
were locked up in police cells for two days and two nights.
"Clearly the intention is to lock up the accused not because they committed
any offence but (because) someone has to be punished," Mtetwa said.
"There is nothing that justifies the accused having been placed in custody
for two nights," she said.
Elizabeth Mwatse-Simowah argued on behalf of the state that the four acted
in contempt when they proceeded to publish on Saturday against a Supreme
Court ruling that they should get registered first.
The charges follow the short-lived return to the news stands on Saturday of
the Daily News, six weeks after it was shut down by the authorities.
The reappearance of the popular newspaper followed a court ruling on Friday
that a state-appointed media commission had wrongly denied the paper a
licence when it applied for one in September.
It ordered the paper to be licensed by November 30.
Oct. 29, 2003. 01:00 AM
Editorial: Zimbabwe's sad story
President Robert Mugabe mugged
Zimbabwe's frail democracy last year,
clinging to power in a rigged election during which the army signalled it
wouldn't tolerate a change of regime, as opposition supporters were beaten,
arrested, burnt out of homes and murdered.
Then Mugabe, who is a pariah in the Commonwealth, pressed thousands of
white commercial farmers to surrender their land without any compensation,
compounding a major economic disaster that has left most people jobless and
half of them hungry.
Last week, Human Rights Watch accused Mugabe of using food as a
political weapon by denying relief to critics of the regime.
And now, as Zimbabwe's crisis deepens, Mugabe has silenced the Daily
News, the only private newspaper and a persistent critic.
Staff at the News are used to being "bombed, arrested, tortured," says
Strive Masiyiwa, who heads the paper. They are fearless. But the regime is
determined to suppress them.
So the police have just invoked Zimbabwe's draconian media law to
shutter the News, one day after it won a court ruling that it should be
allowed to operate after a six-week closure. The law empowers a
government-appointed commission to grant or deny licences to newspapers. The
News was refused. Critics rightly see the law as a garrotte to free speech.
This latest abuse by Mugabe's corrupt, autocratic regime deprives 12
million Zimbabweans of a spirited opposition voice. The state now controls
the only "legal" mass media.
This is a low point in Mugabe's 23-year rule, which now will not
expire until 2008. And it spells more misery for a country that was once
southern Africa's breadbasket.
With characteristic pluck, the Daily News has set up a new Web site
just beyond Mugabe's reach, in neighbouring Zambia
Meanwhile, "we will continue to fight (in court) to get the Daily News
back on the streets ... telling the Zimbabwean story like it is," Masiyiwa
Embattled democrats must hope this story isn't over yet.
Health System Weakens As Nurses Strike
October 29, 2003
Posted to the web October 29, 2003
BULAWAYO Nurses at Bulawayo's state hospitals have joined the four-day
strike by doctors for pay rises that keep pace with spiralling inflation.
This will push Zimbabwe's health delivery system closer to collapse. The
Hospital Doctors Association, which is leading the strike, has vowed to
continue in spite of Health Minister David Parirenyatwa's warning that their
actions are illegal.
Hundreds of patients are being turned away from United Bulawayo Hospitals
and Mpilo Hospital. On Monday, some nurses at private health clinic Galen
House joined the national strike.
The nurses demand rises to match runaway inflation of 469%, in a move likely
to signal the start of general strikes in the civil service. Strikes in
state-run health services have in the past triggered strikes among teachers
and other public servants.
Parirenyatwa said the doctors' demands were unrealistic. Hospital Doctors
Association president Phibion Manyanga said doctors would go back to work on
condition that government made a commitment to a "reasonable" pay
adjustment. Michael Mhlophe
Zim students clash with police
29/10/2003 19:55 - (SA)
Harare - Zimbabwe's main university said on Wednesday it had
several students who led demonstrations that turned into riots, causing
damage to campus buildings, shops and a bank.
Riot police fired tear gas at the protesting students during the
demonstrations on Tuesday and beat them, said Jonga Tutsirayi, a member of a
The vice chancellor's car was damaged and another car was burnt to "ashes",
according to a statement fromn the University of Zimbabwe.
"Students were protesting peacefully when riot police came and started
firing teargas and beating up students. Otherwise there was no violence,"
Tutsirayi said the students were demonstrating against delays in the release
of their grants, which they said have not been paid out since the semester
began in mid September.
He said some students who did not reside at campus in a plush suburb of
Mount Pleasant in Harare, have not attended lectures because they do not
have money for transport.
The students are also demanding more money. Each student receives Z$300 000
(US$375) in grants per year.
"The money has not been released on time and the students want a review," he
Tutsirayi said he understood some 23 students had been arrested following
the clashes and that they had paid a fine.
Public demonstrations are illegal in Zimbabwe unless cleared by the police.
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena confirmed the disturbances that had
taken place at campus, but said he was not aware of the arrests.
10/29/2003 10:23:38 AM (GMT +2)
DITSHWANELO - The Botswana Centre for Human Rights wishes to
express its concern about the continuing deterioration of the human rights
situation in Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
in their statement of 22
October 2003, publicised information about:
¥ the denial of access by lawyers to members of the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA), who had been arbitrarily arrested and
detained by the police on the morning of 22 October 2003, and
¥ the intimidation of lawyers by the presence of the riot squad
at the entrance to the Harare Central Police station.
DITSHWANELO calls upon: The Government of Zimbabwe to uphold the
rule of law and human rights; SADC leadership to urge Zimbabwe to abide by
the SADO Protocol on Politics, Defence and Security Cooperation, which
provides for the observance of universal human rights; and the Southern
African Regional Police Chiefs Cooperation Organisation (SARPCCO) to also
urge the Zimbabwe Republic Police to abide by the SARPCCO Code of Conduct
for Police Officials.
DITSHWANELO urges the government of Botswana to contribute
towards regional stability by registering its concern with the government of
Zimbabwe about the deteriorating human rights situation in that country.
DITSHWANELO - The Botswana Centre for Human Rights
Jailed Zimbabwe news chiefs 'suffering'
10/29/2003 10:18:21 AM (GMT +2)
A 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
The newspaper says media regulations are invalid
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.