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Action Alert: Five people shot – Friedewil Farm, Zimbabwe

We’ve just had word that three five of Louis Fick’s farmworkers were shot today. [A media release received later indicates the figure is five, not three - see update here, with more details] Two of them are in serious condition at Chinhoyi hospital. In addition to the shootings, two more staff houses at Friedewil Farm in Lions Den have been burned down.

Louis Fick himself is not at the farm – he is unable to live there anymore and is currently seeking legal advice and assistance from the South African embassy. Louis Fick is a South African national and he is meant to be protected under the SADC Tribunal ruling that they be allowed to remain on their land.

We’ve been told that the man who carried out the shootings has himself been beaten in reprisal. This in itself is alarming because it suggests the violence may spiral with further reprisal attacks taking place. The police do little to prevent violence against farmworkers so the people living on the farm are vulnerable and unprotected.

Louis Fick has been subjected to sustained unlawful behaviour at the hands of the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank, Edward Mashiringwani, for some time now. Mashiringwani has taken over more than 98% of Fick’s Friedewil Farm and he, along with his farm manager Shepherd Makoni and supporters, are responsible for a wide range of abuses, including violence, theft, arson and gross animal cruelty.

Last month the Deputy Governor denied Fick access to about 4,000 pigs, refusing to allow him to feed or water them, in an attempt to use animal cruelty to force Fick to give up the last of his piggeries. Please see our Action Alert last month for more information on what happened last month.

Violence in Zimbabwe is rising rapidly in the wake of the MDC-T’s disengagement with the Zanu PF party. Yesterday, Zimbabwean immigration officials barred the United Nation’s torture investigator, Manfred Nowak, from entering Zimbabwe. Mr Nowak termed this act a “serious diplomatic incident” and also said ““There are certainly some parts of the government who do not want me to assess the current conditions of torture”.


Call or sms the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank, Edward Mashiringwani, and tell him that the world is watching and shocked by his unlawful actions. Advise him that you are contacting your governments in your countries and will be doing all you can to call attention to this shameful state of affairs. Then please do just that.

Cell: +263 (0)11 800582

Email Mashiringwani:

Call or fax the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, where he works, and insist that Mashiringwani is asked to stop the violence on Friedewil Farm. Make sure the people he works with are aware of what he is doing and that they also know the world is watching. It is very likely that people at the RBZ do not know that people have been shot today. Please tell them, and tell them that you are utterly horrified. Ask them to remind Mashiringwani that attempted murder is a crime and that one day, justice will be done.

Tel: +263 4 70300, +263 4 70311, +263 4 703726, +263 4 703132, +263 4 790562, +263 4 790972, +263 4 791156, +263 4 791162, +263 4 791205, +263 4 791206
Fax: +263 4 707800 and +263 4 706450

Email the RBZ:

Please be calm, polite and factual when calling.

Zimbabweans need you to take action. Please leave feedback in the comments below. Thank you.

Update ~2:30pm – Media Release received:

Five workers shot on SADC protected SA-owned Zim farm

Five Zimbabwean farm workers have been shot on Friedawil farm in the Chinhoyi, district about 100 kilometres north of Harare. The farm belongs to Louis Fick, a South African citizen, who is vice president of the Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU).

“We have just received news of the shooting,” said CFU president Deon Theron. “Unfortunately Louis wasn’t on the farm at the time of the shooting as he is in Harare meeting with his lawyers.”

Fick’s cook was shot in the chest, a second employee was shot in the head and a third sustained leg injuries. The situation regarding the other two employees is still to be confirmed.

The wife of the cook is reported to have been shot in the head and her condition is believed to be serious.

The injured employees have been rushed to Chinhoyi and will be taken to Harare by ambulance.

In addition, a number of homes belonging to the farm workers were burnt down – the exact number has not yet been confirmed.

As has been the case on previous occasions, workers are being blocked from feeding Fick’s cattle, pigs and crocodiles.

The person allegedly responsible for the shootings is Tichiona (surname unknown), an employee of Edward Mashiringwani, deputy governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe.

Mashiringwani has continuously harassed Fick and his workers in his often violent his attempts to take over the farm.

It is reported that after the shootings, Tichiona was beaten up and is believed to have been taken to Chinhoyi hospital. There is no information on his condition.

An updated report just received from Zimbabwe adds a new angle to the incident. It has been confirmed that the bullets used in the attack were rubber bullets – to which, as a rule, only the armed forces have access.

Currently there has been no confirmation of any police reaction to the latest shootings. As a rule, police do not attend to incidents which they categorise as “political”.

Intelligence reports indicate that violence against the remaining white commercial farmers is to be stepped up by Zanu PF. The CFU says that, judging by the recent surge in the number of incidents, which include the burning down of SADC protected Mount Carmel farm, belonging to Mike Campbell, this information is accurate.

Fick is one of 79 farmers who took their case to the SADC Tribunal in Windhoek and his farm is protected by the SADC Tribunal’s ruling of 28 November 2008.

Despite this landmark ruling handed down by a respected international court, Zanu PF has refused to recognise the ruling and has continued to relentlessly harass farmers and their workers across the country.

Fick has met with the South African ambassador in Harare on numerous occasions to seek assistance but has received no support from either the ambassador or from the South African government.* (See additional information on page 3).

“We have been fearing a flare up of this type of violence as reports are being received countrywide of the upscaling of violence by Zanu PF and the redeployment of the youth militia, especially in the rural areas,” said Theron.

“There is a complete breakdown of the rule of law and the situation is extremely volatile – the country is on a knife-edge,” Theron warned. “SADC, the African Union and the international community need to understand that it will take just one small spark to ignite the violence countrywide.”

This latest incident comes the day after UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, was denied entry to Zimbabwe and was detained overnight at Harare airport.

Speaking from Johannesburg Mr Nowak said he remained very concerned about conditions in the country.

“I deeply regret that the Government has deprived me of the possibility to objectively assess the situation of torture and ill-treatment through gathering on-the-spot evidence from all available sources…,” said the UN expert.

“Each hour is critical,” he stressed.

On Tuesday, the CFU issued a statement calling on the Zimbabwean government “to immediately stablise the current situation as a matter of urgency.”

The CFU said the call was being issued in the interests of the nation as a whole.

“As commercial farmers, we are prepared to contribute to Zimbabwe’s food self sufficiency, but can only do so when given the opportunity. Full production of commercial farmland would alleviate the necessity for the constant importation of essential food to Zimbabwe,” the CFU said.

The CFU called on the Zimbabwean government to clarify whether white commercial farmers have any role to play in the future of food production in Zimbabwe.

Previously an exporter of food to the region and known as the bread-basket of Africa, Zimbabwe now relies heavily on food aid to feed its struggling population.

Earlier this month the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s director general, Jacques Diouf, said: “In the fight against hunger, the focus should be on increasing food production. It’s common sense… that agriculture would be given priority, but the opposite has happened.”

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SADC to hold special summit on Zimbabwe

30 October 2009
By Violet Gonda

Joseph Kabila, the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, told
journalists in South Africa on Friday that he didn't believe the political
deadlock in Zimbabwe was out of control. Kabila, the current chairman of
SADC, was speaking as the SADC Troika on Defence, Security and Politics was
in Zimbabwe on its 'fact finding' mission. The South African news agency,
Sapa, said the SADC chair, who is expected to meet the political rivals on
Saturday in Zimbabwe, said the regional bloc still believed that the
implementation of the Global Political Agreement is the only solution to the
problems affecting Zimbabwe.

However, while President Kabila is saying things are not out of control, his
counterpart in Botswana disagrees. President Ian Khama said recently that
the unity government is on the brink of collapse and if it collapsed,
Botswana will not recognise Mugabe. His Foreign Affairs Minister, Phandu
Skelemani, said on Friday that this is still Botswana's position.

Speaking on the Hot Seat programme, the Minister said what is happening in
Zimbabwe is 'disastrous,' and he called for a full SADC summit to address
the issues. Skelemani says the SADC Troika alone cannot take definitive
action that will bring about a resolution and the SADC Heads of State need
to sit down and admit that 'what they thought they got under the auspices of
Thabo Mbeki, has really not worked.'

Meanwhile, speaking to reporters on Friday, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
said that the Troika had decided to recommend a special SADC summit on the
political crisis in Zimbabwe, although no date had been set. There has been
no confirmation of this development from SADC itself.

Even with SADC representatives on the ground in Zimbabwe, violence and
oppression are continuing. On Friday five farm workers were shot and injured
on a South African owned farm in Zimbabwe, protected by a SADC court and
trade agreements with the government. Just a day earlier a United Nations
human rights expert was detained at Harare airport and deported, despite a
formal invitation from Prime Minister Tsvangirai.

Political and civic activists are still being harassed. Officers from the
Zimbabwe Election Support Network and National Association of Non
Governmental Organisations were arrested, in separate cases, for holding
"political meetings". Both the MDC and the civil society have also expressed
concerned that ZANU PF is resorting back to violence to exert its control.
The MDC reported that their Transport Manager was abducted from his home by
armed men on Tuesday, and earlier that day a group of armed men assaulted
and attempted to kidnap the party's Security Administrator.

Despite clear evidence that the situation in Zimbabwe is extremely serious,
critics of the SADC brokered agreement believe the region is not going to
achieve much, especially under the chairmanship of Kabila, who is where he
is today because of Mugabe. Furthermore, there are massive 'trade' links and
deals between ZANU PF and the DRC, and it would be surprising if Kabila
wanted to see any change in this situation.

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Troika says MDC withdrawal unfortunate

October 31, 2009

By Our Correspondent

HARARE - The Southern African Development Community (SADC) ministerial
task-force which ended its visit to Zimbabwe Friday described the decision
by the MDC party led by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to disengage from
the inclusive government as unfortunate.

"The decision of the MDC to disengage partially from the unity government
was unfortunate," said the head of the ministerial team, Oldemiro Baloi who
is also Mozambique's minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.

"We consulted many stakeholders and we want to see how this partial
disengagement can be reversed."

Tsvangirai announced his MDC party's decision to boycott Cabinet and suspend
all cooperation with President Robert Mugabe and Zanu-PF two weeks ago,
blaming Mugabe and his party's failure to fulfil the Global Political
Agreement (GPA) that gave birth to the unity government, and the slow pace
of democratic reforms.

The MDC's action was also to protest the indictment of its treasurer general
and deputy Minister of Agriculture minister-designate, Roy Bennett, as well
as what it says is the continued harassment and politically motivated
prosecution of its activists and legislators.

As a result of the disengagement, Tsvangirai's and his ministers have been
boycotting cabinet meetings for the past two weeks.

A meeting between Mugabe and Tsvangirai on Monday failed to bridge the

Baloi who was accompanied by Zambia's Deputy Foreign Affairs and
International Cooperation, Fashion Phiri, Swaziland Minister of Foreign
Affairs and International Cooperation, Lufto Dlamini and SADC Executive
Secretary, Tomaz Salamao, said they had very frank discussions with the
political players and are hoping that Tsvangirai and his ministers will
return to work on Monday.

"In our observations we made it clear that the problems have to be solved
first and foremost by Zimbabweans themselves. We do support the inclusive
government but we have to show that support by making sure that it is
inclusive in all instances," said Baloi.

"The parties should intensify their dialogue to come out of the situation
and speed up the implementation of the GPA. We urge all parties to normalise
the situation as soon as possible. This is a highly undesirable situation
and it should not be allowed to stay for long."

Baloi said Zimbabwe's political crisis was serious and needs to be solved as
soon as possible.

"We have several sticking points, those mentioned frequently are to do with
the Reserve Bank governor, the appointment of provincial governors and
removal of sanctions. There was also mention of the media reform. There is a
commission which should have been set up, if it was in place it should have
been dealing with every other media related issue," said Baloi.

"We however expect the parties to intensify dialogue. President Mugabe and
Prime Minister Tsvangirai are planning to meet next Monday."

He added that the political parties in Zimbabwe should learn to work
together and solve the political problems.

"There are serious problems and we cannot hide that but those of us who are
married know that it's not a honeymoon at home everyday. We have to
encourage the political parties to stick to it (GPA) and help themselves.
There are no miracles in politics, people have different mentality and it
takes time to change a mentality."

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Global Political Agreement the only tool that will save Zimbabwe: Kabila

      October 30 2009 , 4:16:00

      The South African Development Community (SADC) chairperson and DRC
President Joseph Kabila says Zimbabwe's Global Political Agreement remains
the only tool out of that country's problems.

      He also said the Global Political Agreement is binding to all parties
in the Zimbabwean peace process. Kabila was speaking at the end of the
SA-DRC Bi-National Commission which he co-chaired with President Jacob Zuma
in Pretoria today. The two presidents met to discuss the political and
economic relations between the two countries as well as challenges facing
the region with specific focus on Zimbabwe.

      Zimbabwe's unity government is on the brink of collapse after the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) boycotted Cabinet meetings. President
Kabila said he will soon travel to Harare to help diffuse the situation. The
SADC has helped to broker peace in Zimbabwe which led to some kind of
political stability in the southern African country.

      But the agreement which led to the formation of an inclusive
government in September last year is bedeviled by problems, ranging from the
appointment of the Attorney General to that of the Reserve Bank Governor.
But the re-arrest of MDC treasurer and Deputy Minister of Agriculture Roy
Bennet last month is the straw that broke the camel's back and resulted to
the MDC pulling out of the Cabinet.

      Zanu-PF has on the other hand hinted that it would be appointing
caretaker ministers if the MDC remains outside. Kabila says the SADC organ
on Politics Defence and Security or troika is in Harare to get a better
understanding on the situation that led to the stalemate. President Zuma
also praised his DRC counterpart for his leadership in turning the economy
around and reducing the levels of poverty in less than five years of his
presidency after years of long and devastating war.

      SA to continue working with Kinshasa

      The president also says Pretoria will continue to deepen and
strengthen relations with Kinshasa. He says they will work together in
different areas to improve the lives of people from both countries. Both
presidents agreed that the next session of the SA-DRC Bi-National Commission
will be held in Kinshasa on a date to be determined through diplomatic

      Meanwhile, President Zuma has announced the appointment of Welile
Nhlapo and Mac Maharaj as national security special adviser and special
envoy, respectively. Nhlapo is currently South Africa's ambassador to the
United States.

      He previously served as Special Envoy to Burundi and head of the
technical team that assisted Zuma when he was deputy president of the
country during the Burundi negotiations. Maharaj is a former transport
minister and a veteran of the ANC and South African Communist Party who
spent 12 years in exile. He was commander of a secret ANC operation, Vula,
on his return to the country.

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Zimbabwe foreign minister: UN trip a 'provocation'

Oct 30, 3:18 PM EDT

Associated Press Writer

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) -- Zimbabwe's foreign minister on Friday sharply
criticized as "a provocation of the highest order" an attempt by the U.N.
torture investigator to visit Zimbabwe and investigate alleged attacks by
thugs linked to the ruling party on its opponents.

Manfred Nowak had flown to Zimbabwe on Wednesday, saying it was at the
invitation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, but was held at the airport
overnight and returned the next morning to South Africa. Zimbabwean Foreign
Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi dismissed Tsvangirai's invitation as

"The invitation by the prime minister was a nullity," he told a news
conference in Harare.

The comment raises further questions about how much power Tsvangirai wields
in the perilously fragile unity government. The longtime opposition leader
joined the government with President Robert Mugabe in February but withdrew
from the Cabinet earlier this month after accusing Mugabe's party of human
rights violations.

Mugabe, who has been in power for nearly three decades, is accused of
trampling on human rights and democracy and holding the international
community in contempt.

The U.N. investigator said he had a meeting scheduled Thursday with
Tsvangirai, even though other Zimbabwean officials had told him he was not
welcome and should come later.

"What he did is unprecedented in the history of U.N. protocol by forcing
himself on a country," said Mumbengegwi, a ranking ZANU-PF member. "They
wanted to create a diplomatic incident."

Upon returning to South Africa on Thursday, Nowak used almost the same
language, calling his treatment a "serious diplomatic incident" as well as
alarming evidence of the split in Zimbabwe's coalition government.

Tsvangirai has stuck with the so-called unity government, saying it is the
only way to rescue Zimbabwe from economic ruin and political violence.

Amnesty International's Zimbabwe researcher, Simeon Mawanza, said Nowak's
barring reflects an "increased level of desperation among those forces who
are opposed to the unity government."

On Friday, foreign ministers from Mozambique, Swaziland and Zambia - members
of the Southern African Development Community - met separately with Mugabe
and Tsvangirai in efforts to heal the split in the government. After the
meetings, they said they would recommend to their heads of state that a
summit be convened, a move for which Tsvangirai has pushed. They did not say
where or when.

Congo President Joseph Kabila, who is chair of the regional group that
pushed for Zimbabwe's unity government, said Friday he was headed from South
Africa to Zimbabwe, and also would meet Zimbabwe's president and prime

"I don't believe that the problem has gotten out of hand," Kabila told
reporters in Pretoria, South Africa. "I still believe that the (unity)
government is the only solution."

Tsvangirai's party has reported a recent surge in political violence,
allegations that Mugabe's party denies. Mugabe's party has accused
Tsvangirai's party of not doing enough to persuade Western nations to lift
travel and financial sanctions targeted at ZANU-PF leaders and their
business allies.

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Tsvangirai Riled By UN Torture Expert Deportation

      Harare, October 30, 2009 - The leader of the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) and Prime Minister Morgan Richard Tsvangirai has expressed
disappointment and grave concern at the illegal detention and subsequent
deportation from Zimbabwe of Manfred Nowak, a United Nations Special
Rapporteur on Torture.

      "The Prime Minister is particularly incensed that this comes at a time
when Zimbabwe is on a mission to re-engage the international community and
solicit much-needed support following years of isolation," said Tsvangirai
in a statement posted on his website.

      "We are battling to convince the world that issues of human rights and
the rule of law are being accorded their deserving priority and that
incremental gains are being scored in the expansion of democratic space in
the country. This action naturally attracts condemnation as it dents the
country's efforts to be an acceptable member of the family of progressive
nations," said the Prime Minister.

      "Nowak was meant to visit Zimbabwe from October 29 to November 4 at
the invitation of the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs Patrick
Chinamasa (Zanu PF), " said Tsvangirai. "A request was submitted to the
Prime Minister's office that Mr. Nowack pays a courtesy call during his
visit. The request was duly granted and set for Thursday the 29th of October
at 1000hrs."

      However Nowak had told reporters that he had been invited by
Tsvangirai, adding: "if the Prime Minister is unable to get clearance for me
to enter the country, it  tells a lot of present power problems and where
the real power lies."

      Tsvangirai said he only learnt of the deportation at about 0800hrs
close to an hour after Nowak had been bundled out of the country.

      "This is a major incident because you can't on the one hand invite a
special rapporteur to meet the prime minister and on the other hand somebody
gives an order to the immigration police not to let me in," Nowak told the
BBC's World Today programme on Thursday.

      His said his treatment showed there were clearly parts of the
government who did not want him to assess "the current conditions of
torture", and promised to file a strongly worded complaint.

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Zimbabwe Election Support Network officer released on bail

By Violet Gonda
30 October 2009

The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN) staff member, Thulani Ndhlovu,
who was arrested on Wednesday in Dete, Hwange, has been released on bail by
Magistrate Munamati Madzorere.  Thulani Ndhlovu had been arrested together
with another ZESN staff member, Ndodhana Ndhlovu, for conducting a public
outreach workshop, allegedly without police clearance. This was in spite of
the fact that the election monitoring group had received permission from the
local traditional leadership. Ndodhana was released but Thulani remained in

A statement issued by ZESN Board Chairman, Tinoziva Bere, on Friday said
Thulani was ordered to pay $200 bail and report twice every week at Bulawayo
Central police station.  The Chairman said a local Chief, who had attended
the ZESN workshop was also interviewed by the police, and confirmed that he
had personally informed the district administrator and even the Dete Police
Officer in Charge.

Bere said: "ZESN officials from Harare who were present when the Chief was
being interviewed also confirmed that the Chief was stunned by the action of
the police and he argued that the event was a communal workshop and as the
Chief he actually assisted in convening the workshop while ZESN's major role
was to facilitate and impart information to his subjects."

The group is concerned that the crackdown on free voices, which had to some
extent lessened as a result of the formation of the inclusive government,
was now being resumed.

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MDC activists still live in fear of violence in Mashonaland Central

By Tichaona Sibanda
30 October 2009

Thousands of MDC activists, in various districts of Mashonaland Central
province, agree that a climate of violence still persists in Zimbabwe.

The MDC MP for Mazowe Central, Shepherd Mushonga, told SW Radio Africa that
most of their supporters spoke unanimously of living in a state of
'generalised fear.'

He said the recent disengagement of their party from ZANU PF exposed the
emerging tensions between the two parties. The volatile province, which
suffered the worst cases of murder, torture and displacements in 2008,
appeared on the verge of another major escalation of political violence.

'Hundreds of villagers in Chiweshe district last week fled to the mountains
to seek refuge from the marauding ZANU PF militias. What we saw was a clear
confirmation that the militias and war veterans are at war with unarmed and
innocent civilians,' Mushonga said.

Mushonga said there was sufficient evidence to prove that the rape of women
and girls was also being extensively used as a means of political
persecution. He said torture and other cruel, inhumane and degrading
treatment are normal practices used by the militias during attacks on MDC
supporters in the province.

'People live in constant fear. We had the worst number of murder cases here
and the militias usually return to remind the surviving relatives of the
victims of the consequences of not supporting ZANU PF,' Mushonga said.

When fresh violence erupted in Chiweshe last week, 50 homes belonging to
known MDC supporters, were burnt down by ZANU PF militias. The disturbances
were led by a well known district coordinating committee chairman named as

Additionally over 80 teachers fled the violence that erupted soon after the
MDC disengaged from ZANU PF.  Chiweshe lies about 60km north of Harare and
is traditionally known as a ZANU PF stronghold.

Last year's bloodshed in the province was spurred on by the fact that the
MDC had many significant inroads, winning two parliamentary seats and
countless district council wards, in a province known for declaring its
unflinching support for Mugabe and his ZANU PF party.

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Food crisis set to worsen as farmers remain under threat

By Alex Bell
30 October 2009

The food crisis that is threatening to leave millions of Zimbabweans once
again facing severe hunger in the coming months is set to worsen, as the
country's remaining commercial farmers continue to come under both physical
and legal attack.

According to the Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) the ongoing offensive
against the farming community is having a 'disastrous' effect on the current
summer cropping programme. Already, the US based Famine Early Warning System
Network (FEWSNET) has said more than two million people are facing hunger,
detailing in a report that only a maximum of 1.4 million metric tonnes of
cereals will be available in the coming months, compared with the more than
2 million tonnes needed to meet Zimbabwe's basic food needs.

Commercials farmers themselves have warned that a failed farming season is
on the cards, as a direct result of the state sponsored, ongoing efforts, to
drive farmers from their land. Since the formation of the unity government
in February there has been an intensified wave of attacks on commercial land
owners, by thugs working for top ZANU PF loyalists, all in the name of land
'reform'. Farmers and their workers have been physically and brutally
attacked, valuable produce and equipment has been stolen, and the fast-track
prosecution of farmers in the country's courts has been encouraged. This
year alone, at least 80 farms have been seized, more than 150 farmers have
faced prosecution and over sixty thousand farm workers have lost their jobs.

CFU President Deon Theron explained this week that the culprits behind the
illegal land seizures are from all walks of state-connected life, including
government ministers or related families, army, police and CIO officers and
senior businessmen. He continued that the prevailing 'unjust legal position'
means farmers are left without a legal leg to stand on, because the police
refuse to act on matters classed as 'political'. The police's inaction has
been widespread, and has led to even more lawlessness on seized farms. This
week, the wife of a beleaguered Chegutu farmer, Laura Freeth, explained that
police have physically helped the thugs living on her family's Mount Carmel
farm. She described the situation has 'total anarchy'.

At the same time court prosecution of farmers is intensifying, with Theron
explaining that more than 12 farmers and their workers have all been
convicted by the courts, merely for farming. He explained that in the last
week, the number of farmers evicted by the courts has doubled, 'heightening
insecurity in the agricultural sector countrywide'.

"Until there is sufficient stability in the agricultural sector to encourage
substantial investment, Zimbabwe will be unable to produce sufficient food
to satisfy the requirements of the country and the population will continue
to depend on high volumes of food aid," Theron said.
The state meanwhile is trying to get parliamentary approval to fast-track
the prosecution of the country's remaining farmers, arguing it is the
farmers' refusal to leave their land that is affecting food productivity.
Acting Secretary for Lands and Rural Resettlement Marius Dzinoreva told a
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Water, Lands and
Resettlement this week that the courts should fast-track land cases and
expeditiously resolve so-called 'disputes' on farms.
"We feel that the court process is taking too long to be concluded,"
Dzinoreva was quoted as saying in the state run Herald newspaper.
"It is inhibiting productivity because the new farmer will not be able to
occupy (the allocated plot). We want the cases to be quickly disposed. Only
eight cases have so far been dealt with and we are prepared to comply with
court judgments," Dzinoreva said.

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Concern raised as UK threatens Zim deportations

By Alex Bell
30 October 2009

A Zimbabwean refugee rights groups in the UK has expressed concern over the
Home Office threats this week that it will start deporting some 10 000
failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers in the coming months.

UK Immigration Minister Phil Woolas indicated deportations could be on the
cards, while announcing new cash and aid repatriation packages that will be
made available for failed asylum seekers. Woolas explained the packages,
worth an estimated £6000, are hoped to encourage failed asylum seekers to
voluntary return home to Zimbabwe. But he indicated deportations would be
the next step "to enforce the law."
The Home Office said this week it had carefully considered its position on
enforced returns to Zimbabwe, in light of developments since the formation
the unity government in February.
"The UK Border Agency will therefore be starting work over the autumn on a
process aimed at normalising our returns policy to Zimbabwe, moving towards
resuming enforced returns progressively, as and when the political situation
develops," Woolas said.
He insisted the Home Office took its obligations under the 1951 refugee
convention seriously and said it would continue to consider individual cases
on their merits.
"However, we have always expected those found not to be in need of
protection to return home. We prefer these individuals to return
voluntarily," Woolas added.
The forced removal of Zimbabweans from the UK was halted in September 2006
pending a high court battle, which ended in a ruling recognising that all
those who were unable to demonstrate loyalty to Mugabe risked persecution if
they were sent back.
But Sarah Harland from the Zimbabwe Association, a charity working for
Zimbabwean asylum seekers and refugees in the UK, said the present
precarious situation in Zimbabwe meant there is increased anxiety about
returning home. In the past few weeks there have been increasing incidents
of violence and intimidation against NGOs, rights activists and MDC
supporters, and there are widespread fears of more attacks as the political
crisis unravels. Harland explained that some Zimbabweans who have
voluntarily returned to the country this year have 'regretted their
decisions', which came after Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai earlier this
year appealed for Zimbabweans to return home.
Harland explained that one teacher who recently returned is now "lying low
for fear of victimisation", after the teacher was harassed, victimised and
punished upon returning to Zimbabwe, "merely for being away in the UK."
Harland also explained that one returnee from South Africa, Edwin Chingami,
was murdered in August by ZANU PF youths, shortly after his return from the
UK, "for being a 'sell-out'."
"It is disappointing that the Minister's statement contains the threat of
enforced removals which means those thinking of returning home voluntarily
will now be suspicious about the enhanced (aid) package," Harland said. "It
is counter-productive and will result in much stress and anxiety among the
Zimbabwean community in the UK."

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The Road Map to Democracy in Zimbabwe


Speaking Truth to Power



The Road Map to Democracy in Zimbabwe



Taking the Direct Route to a Democratic Transition



The Roadmap


The Democratic Alliance’s ‘Roadmap to Democracy’ in Zimbabwe is a timely and welcome engagement by South Africa’s opposition party. Its main strength is that it calls for a democratic transition rather than a deal stitched up between Zimbabwean leaders who no longer represent the will of the people.


Their proposal seems simple: agree to hold fresh elections; form an interim government; craft a new constitution; and hold democratic elections. However, it is not simple enough. We should drop the suggestions for the formation of another interim government and the crafting of a new constitution – and move directly to free and fair elections that are supervised and secured by the international community.


An Interim Government


The problem with forming an interim government is that we already have one, but which is not working. The MDC has been at pains to stress that this is a ‘transitional arrangement’ until fresh election are held. Robert Mugabe calls it a ‘government of national unity’ with an indefinite lifespan to maintain and extend his rule. While the MDC has risked alienating its support base by making one compromise after another, Mugabe has remained completely obdurate. He has not only refused to fulfill the outstanding issues since the inclusive government was formed, but has stressed that he has no intention of doing so.


Regarding, for example, the controversial appointments of Reserve Bank Governor, Gideon Gono, and Attorney General, Johannes Tomana, Mugabe said, “I have laid down my foot and said no, they will never be [replaced].” No amount of Morgan Tsvangirai pleading with SADC countries to pressure Mugabe will make the slightest difference.


The MDC is powerless against Mugabe for two main reasons. The first is that, despite having lost the March 2008 Presidential election, the Global Political Agreement (GPA) between the parties reinstated Mugabe’s wide-ranging powers as President. He appoints virtually every senior government official, from governors and ambassadors, to permanent secretaries and the top security personnel. The second reason is that he controls all the powers of state coercion: the police and the military, as well as state security agents and the militia. With these powers, Robert Mugabe is again firmly back in control.


Just as Mugabe has no incentive to see the inclusive government with the MDC work, he has no incentive to form an interim government. Would he agree to negotiate the formation of a new interim government? Probably – but only as a strategy to draw out a process to extend his rule. Bear in mind that it took huge compromises by the MDC and months of negotiation with Mugabe to end up with the GPA that reinstalled all the powers he had lost! Then, to add insult to injury, he has refused to implement the agreement and has carried on ‘business as usual’.


In short, negotiating and forming an interim government would only play into the hands of Mugabe by buying him still more time.


A New Constitution


The notion of a new constitution has a ‘feel-good’ ring to it. Yet, how is it possible to negotiate a new constitution with the very person and the very party that still contravenes the enshrined Bill of Rights of the existing constitution with such impunity? How can it be a ‘people-driven’ constitution when the process is controlled by those who have consistently denied the people their democratic and human rights? What is the point of a new constitution, when Mugabe and his supporters have every incentive to delay the process as a tactic to extend their power and rule? Indeed, ZANU(PF) co-chairperson of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Constitutional Reform, Paul Mangwana, has already said that  the government is likely to last for five years on the highly questionable basis that ”the majority of legislators wanted to serve their full terms of five years”.


The President’s strategy was initiated by his supporters disrupting the first public hearing of the Constitutional Select Committee in July 2009. In the ensuing pandemonium, the police only intervened to arrest MDC supporters who were trying to defend themselves. Another tactic was simply to delay the process. The Constitutional Committee postponed the announcement of 17 chairpersons for the constitutional thematic committees seven times because ZANU(PF) failed to  submit their recommendations. A third was to plead poverty. Although the UNDP allocated $2 million to the Constitutional Committee, Mangwana claimed that further UNDP funding would make the process ‘donor-driven’ hence making it “pointless to plan.”


The process in now three months behind schedule, and the $11.3 million now being made available by the government will simply be wasted by those intent on blocking the process. Mugabe will insist on the ‘Kariba draft’ as the basis of a new Constitution because it retains most presidential powers. Even so, if the President and his party believe that the new Constitution does not serve their purpose, they can block the Constitution in Parliament, in a Referendum, or the President could exercise his Presidential veto by refusing to sign it into law. In short, if a new Constitution does not suit the President’s purposes, it will not succeed.


The inescapable conclusion is that the Constitution-making process is as time-wasting and farcical as it is irrelevant. Accordingly, the drafting of a new Constitution should await the election of a legitimate government to ensure that it genuinely reflects the democratic will of the people of Zimbabwe.




South African President's special political adviser, Lindiwe Zulu, has said that President Zuma has made it clear that Morgan Tsvangirai must resolve outstanding issues with Mugabe because remaining in government is the “only mechanism on the table” and that the way forward is to “engage, engage and engage”.


The problem with this advice is that it takes two to engage. It is not just Mugabe’s refusal to engage, but his active efforts to disengage. He has not made the slightest attempt to fulfill his obligations under the GPA, but continues to use hate-speech in the state-controlled media and to humiliate and berate his supposed partners in government. He has selectively applied the law to charge and incarcerate MPs on the flimsiest of grounds, while turning a blind eye to the appalling crimes and human rights abuses that have been committed by his own supporters. More recently, his militia has been accused of burning huts and closing schools in rural areas, while police have raided MDC houses in Harare.


The call for engagement by SADC leaders will only deepen Mugabe’s resolve to crush the MDC with all the powers at his disposal. Engagement solves nothing. South Africa must therefore abandon the fiction that it is the only option. The Voice for Democracy therefore supports both the call by the MDC and the Democratic Alliance for a democratic transition through elections supervised and secured by the international community.


Elections for a Democratic Transition


There is nothing in the GPA or the constitution that specifies that an election has to be held within a prescribed time. In terms of the Constitution, the President has the prerogative of calling an election at a time of his choosing. To extend their rule, the President and his supporters therefore have an incentive to keep the threat of violence simmering and then claim that the conditions for peaceful elections have not been met.


But, if and when the President so chooses to call an election, he will have at his disposal all the coercive forces of the state security machinery to provide a sufficient degree of violence to ensure that he ‘wins’ the election.  And, even if he does not win, his cabal of generals may simply stop any transfer of power to “puppets of the West”.


In the run-up to the June 2008 Presidential Election, Mugabe reminded the world that, “We are not going to give up our country because of a mere X. How can a ballpoint pen fight with a gun?” True to his word, he unleashed such violence that not even SADC and the African Union accepted the outcome of the election. But by his actions, in these and other elections, he has forfeited the right – both in the eyes of the Zimbabwean people and the international community – to ever again run an election.


The only chance that Zimbabweans will have to exercise their democratic rights will be elections held under the protection and supervision of an international organisation, such as the United Nations, with the backing of SADC and the African Union. To counter any threats of violence and ensure free, fair and peaceful elections in accordance with SADC’s own guidelines, a peace-keeping force must be in place at least three months before elections and at least one month after elections to ensure the orderly transfer of power.


The reaction of Mugabe to such proposals will be all too predictable. He will complain bitterly that Zimbabwe – meaning himself – has the sovereign right to call elections, while denying the people of Zimbabwe their own sovereign right to choose their own leaders in free and fair elections. The one thing that Mugabe most fears is the democratic will of the people. The most appropriate exit strategy for Mugabe therefore will be a democratic one. It will also be one where he must surely be part of the solution.


Building an Alliance for Democratic Transition


The call by the MDC for internationally supervised elections has been echoed in the proposals of the Democratic Alliance. There is now a need to build on this growing consensus within South Africa, within SADC, within Africa, and within the international community. As there is little political will to force Mugabe to step down or use force, the Democratic Alliance needs to reach out to the ruling party and government of South Africa to reach a strong, non-partisan consensus for assisting Zimbabwe make a democratic transition.


The Voice for Democracy believes that there are leaders within Africa and specifically SADC, including President Zuma, who would welcome a fresh and democratic solution to the Zimbabwe crisis.  It will be of great benefit politically and economically for all SADC countries to work towards the reengagement of Zimbabwe with the international donor community in order to rebuild its shattered economy.


The Voice for Democracy applauds the efforts of the Democratic Alliance to bring democracy and justice for all Zimbabweans to live in hope, dignity and freedom.


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Transcript of Blood Diamonds program broadcast on SABC



For most people, diamonds symbolize love, happiness and wealth, but in
countries like Zimbabwe, they've brought terror and misery.  So jewellery
stores like this one in Cresta want to feel confident that the diamonds they
sell are approved by the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.

This is the international watchdog to put a stop to the deadly trade in
conflict diamonds.  Next week in Namibia, they will decide on what action to
take against Zimbabwe. This report investigates the country's blood


In the mountains of Eastern Zimbabwe lies a vast alluvial deposit of
diamonds, one of the richest in the world.  The gems lie near the surface of
the ground, so they can be collected by hand. Nearly half of the diamonds
found here are industrials - a low-grade stone used for drilling and
grinding.  But, perhaps as many as 40 %, are the highly prized gemstones.


 Industrials are the ones we find most often, but the clear ones are higher
quality. They are the ones that bring big money.

These diamonds could earn Zimbabwe as much as 200 million US dollars a
month, enough to fund the country's reconstruction.  Instead, they've
brought nothing but greed and misery.


This is Mutare, in Manicaland, Zimbabwe.  Three years ago news began to
circulate that diamonds could be found in the mountains of Marange, some 100
km south of the city.


This could be, could make Zimbabwe one of the top one or two or three
diamond producers in the whole world. It is a finite deposit by all
appearances and will be mined out in maybe 5  -15 years. In which case it is
all finished, and so, if we squander the opportunity to benefit Zimbabwe and
its people, then that's it. We have only got one shot at this.

African Consolidated Resources had staked the claim to mine diamonds in this
area.  In 2006 the government seized the land and threw them off.

It opened the fields for a free for all and resulted in the biggest diamond
rush of recent years.  Tens of thousands of desperate and impoverished
Zimbabweans flocked to the area, hoping for a share in its riches.


In 2005 when the govt embarked on Operation Murambatsvina, destroying people's
homes, people's sources of livelihoods, and driving more than 700,000
families out of their homes and breadwinners losing their source of
livelihoods. So by 2005, when this diamond rush began, unemployment level in
Zimbabwe was estimated at around 85%.

President Robert Mugabe's government also recognised the potential of this
new resource, seeing the diamonds as a key to maintaining power.  First the
police, and then the army, were ordered to clamp down on illegal miners.


I think the whole situation is extremely fragile. I think that the diamonds
have the potential to do a lot more damage than they have yet done, because
they are worth a lot of money, they are very divisive and if this going to
be a free for all, and with diamonds at the centre, then they have a huge
potential for disruption.

In October last year, the launch of Operation Hakudzokwe, which means, "You'll
never return," was announced on state television.


" We must clean Mutare of this menace first and foremost."

Few watching anticipated the brutality that was to unfold.


We heard "the soldiers are coming." "Soldiers have arrived."  They
surrounded the people.  Then the helicopters came.  They started firing.

In front of me were so many people. 6 people were killed.


The helicopters were throwing teargas.  The policemen were shooting people.
So we were running, and that's when they caught us.


Bullets came from the sky.  He was shot here.  He fell and rolled.  His
tongue came out and his eyes came out.


"Barely some minutes after the helicopters in Operation Restore Order
illegal panners could be seen fleeing.

Tear gas was used to flush out the panners, who were then sprayed with
bullets from the air. On the ground, soldiers pursued, firing with assault


This was hybrid unit which involved the notorious Kwekwe based 5th Brigade,
which committed the known Gukurahundi atrocities of the 1980s

In the area, were commanders Air Marshall Perence Shiri and army General
Constantine Chiwenga.  Under Perence Shiri, 20 000 people were killed by the
5th Brigade in the Matabeleland genocide.


We saw soldiers. They thought everyone running away had diamonds.

They would shoot you.  This boy was surrounded by soldiers and tried to
escape.  He was shot here.


Some had their hands and feet tied together.  They were tied to a tree.

They would set dogs to bite them.


Two girls were stabbed trying to runaway. Two were stabbed and they died on
the spot.

Those who were caught were taken to army bases and tortured. The soldiers
beat people for days, and women were gang-raped.


They took off our trousers, leaving us with shorts and no shirt.  Some took
razor wire to use for beating.


They stamped on us with their boots. They hit us with the back of their
guns. I had a miscarriage because of the beating.


They beat us underneath our feet.  We couldn't move because of the wounds.
We had to crawl on our hands.


I thought they wanted to beat me but they said, "Today you will be our
 wife."  I realised I was going to be raped.


They exchanged. We slept with one and then a second. I thought it would

avoid getting beaten. But it changed nothing.  After sleeping with those
soldiers we went back and another new group came.

People were mauled by police dogs.


I had both my arms stretched out, being bitten. One man would say, "Catch
hands" and then the other one said, "Catch hands." When the dog tore me, he
pulled the chain and then again, "Catch hands."

Many of the injured avoided hospitals, frightened that they could be
arrested again.  But, of those that did seek treatment, these hospital
records show the true extent of the horror.  People had dog bites all over
their body, others were shot in the back as they fled, people were assaulted
or cut down with buckshot.

No one knows the true extent of the massacre at Chiadzwa.


The government gave an order to kill people. We estimate that more than 400
people were murdered by the State in Chiadzwa. These people could have been
arrested and charged and found guilty, they could have been sentenced, but
rather the government chose to kill those people.

Countless others died of their injuries at home.


It was very difficult to go to hospital because if you dared, the soldiers
would follow and capture you.  So many people died at home.


People ended up dying.  Some were torn apart by dogs, which ripped apart
their flesh.  That is what we saw in Chiadzwa.


It was stinking in the mortuary. It was full of panners who were rotting.

In this cemetery on the outskirts of Mutare is a mass grave where 70 bodies
from Chiadzwa were buried.  The government of Zimbabwe denies that any human
rights abuses occurred.


Really without evidence, it is difficult to confirm something that cannot be
supported by any facts. If there is one person, or any people, with that
kind of evidence, why don't they bring it forward so that it can be
investigated? We have nothing to hide.

The international watchdog on "conflict diamonds" - called the Kimberley
Process Certification Scheme - visited Zimbabwe and found gross
irregularities.  They recommended that Zimbabwe be suspended until they
comply with minimum standards.


To get that team to go Zimbabwe was like getting blood from a stone, and the
debate about what should be in the report, what the findings should say,
what should be done the recommendations should be, whether Zimbabwe should
be suspended or expelled, or given gifts of technical assistance, the
debates have gone on and on. It has been messy and it has been slow.

Ian Smillie was one of the founding members of the Kimberley Process.
Earlier this year, he resigned because he'd lost faith in the body's ability
to act on human rights.


I think that the industry as a whole and the countries that depend on
diamonds for their economic future, for their economic development, suffer
when the KP pretends to be effective and is actually ineffective.

This is the Machipanda border post between Zimbabwe and Mozambique.
Smuggling here is rife and diamonds are brought across by the bucket load.
It's estimated that Zimbabwe is losing nearly 50 million US dollars a week
to illegal trade in gold and diamonds.


We have traced the smuggling even up to Mozambique where soldiers, and the
panners, ordinary people, are crossing the border to sell these diamonds.
There is no control of the diamond trade from Chiadzwa.

Vila de Manica is only 18 km from the border.  Travelling into the town,
evidence of diamond money is all too apparent.  This suburb of new houses
has sprung up in the last two years to house the dealers. It's built on the
proceeds of Chiadzwa's diamonds.


It appears that these diamonds end up everywhere and, remember once a
diamond is polished, you cannot tell where it comes from and so,
unfortunately, we are losing a national asset out the back door

When the Zimbabwean government clamped down on illegal buyers, they simply
set up shop here.  Dealers' houses are easy to find. They have armed guards
and tight security.  Outside on the street are groups of Zimbabwean youths
employed to tout for business.

Armed with a hidden camera, we went to find out how it all works. Outside
the house are two men armed with AK47s and, as we arrive, two women leave
pocketing their cash.

This diamond dealer is connected to a businessman in Zimbabwe


Depending on your stone. There's 3 categories of stone.  Your industrial,
middle and gem.  Industrials are about US $ 10.00  - US $ 12.00 per gram.
You're selling per gram. Your gem depends on the buyer, on what your buyer's

His business is thriving.


There' s always going to be, there has always been, people dealing in
Chiadzwa.  There will always be.  Even with the mines there, it's not going
to stop.  It will never stop.

Many of the dealers here are seasoned smugglers. They've trailed blood
diamonds around the world.


You are talking like you have experience.  How long have you been in the

Thirty-five years.

Where did you start?

In Sierra Leone.

Sierra Leone, West Africa.  So when did you move to Mozambique then?

4 - 5 months ago, just to see.

How do you compare Zimbabwe diamonds to Sierra Leone diamonds?

Completely different.  The best in the whole world are Sierra Leone

They may not be the best in the world, but the diamonds we were shown by a
dealer are still worth a lot of money. This one is valued at 25 000 US
dollars.  The smaller one is more cloudy but could still could fetch 4000 US


At the moment, the illegal smugglers, the middlemen, the foreigners, the
overseas people, the foreigners from every nation, and every nation that has
to anything do with diamonds has a finger in this pie.

This is the mosque after Friday prayers. Here it's possible to get an idea
of the extent of the illegal diamond trade in Vila de Manica. The dealers
come mainly from Lebanon and West Africa, including the DRC, Angola, Guinea
and Sierra Leone.  These countries have such weak internal controls, that as
many as half of the diamonds they export can't be accounted for.

Dealers leave in cars with Zimbabwean number plates.  It's an open door for
laundering blood diamonds.


All these countries where control are quite weak, particularly in the Congo
and Angola where controls are abysmally weak, and the KP hasn't done
anything about it, and the KP hasn't done anything about it. All this needs
to be tightened up.

Yet, despite the Zimbabwean government's heavy-handed attempts to secure the
diamond fields, illegal trade continues flourish.  Diamond deals are
happening everywhere. Lebanese and West Africans have set up at the local
swimming pool.

This woman has just arrived from Zimbabwe and is pointed in the right
direction to sell her stones. Soon afterwards we see her going in to the

Round the corner another deal is underway.


We have declared that place a Protected Area and we have investors in the
area right now who have come up with security that is unprecedented,
security that will ensure that nothing gets out of Chiadzwa.

A number of people we spoke to admitted that they got their diamonds from
politicians, CIO officials and army syndicates. Money is seeping away into
the bank accounts of smugglers and syndicates.

This is the road to Chiadzwa.  Despite the risk to their lives, hundreds of
illegal miners still head to the diamond fields. They can continue panning
as long as they are involved with the military. The diamond fields are
supposed to be secured and guarded by soldiers, but the fence is full of
holes so people sneak through.


Nearly every soldier that is in Chiadzwa at the moment is involved in
panning in one-way or the other. They have also formed syndicates with those
panners, civilian panners, so that those panners will get the escort of the
military and they continue panning with the protection of the soldiers

Close to the diamond fields, panners are sorting through the stones they
have collected.  The soldiers guarding the fields allow them access at
night, but at a cost.  A buyer is interested in this stone, but whatever is
paid, little will go to the panner.


We classify it as forced labour because after they pan and they find that
there are some diamonds, the soldiers will take about ¾ of the proceeds and
these young people will be forced to share ¼ and I don't think that they are
benefiting anything out of it significantly. It is the soldiers who are

After the army riots in 2008, President Robert Mugabe has a vested interest
in maintaining their loyalty through profits from illegal diamond sales.


Govt has been protecting that place for the passed 3-4 years and reduced the
influx of panners which had invaded the area and so if one cannot appreciate
that then he is actually advocating for a disaster.

With no moves to demilitarise the area, human rights abuses continue.  This
is the body of a panner.  Only last month, he was beaten to death by


I think that the human rights situation is probably the worst aspect of what
is going on there, but there is smuggling, there is lack of control, there
is no due process. In terms of the diamond leases and ownership and that
kind of thing, the rule of law just doesn't seem to exist. There are all
kinds of reasons for the KP to take a serious view of this if it wants to
protect the reputation of the industry that it was set up to protect.

These are the diamond fields of near Chiadzwa.  1n 2006, mining firm African
Consolidated Resources, or ACR, was forcibly evicted from here.  Last month
they won a High Court ruling restoring their right to mine the area.  But it's
been ignored, and foreign firms are muscling in.

This illegal mining operation is run by the Zimbabwe Mineral Development
Corporation, and they've signed deals with other investors.


The rights that exist under which these foreign entities believe they are
operating are joint ventures with the ZMDC, which has now been ruled to be
illegally on our claims. So the joint ventures signed with the ZMDC really
have no legal force and effect.

A South African security company that's worked on the notorious diamond
mines of Sierra Leone, DRC and Angola has taken over this resort near the
Chiadzwa. They're barring all entry.


The foreign private security agents that have been working on the fields
right now have strictly prevented any of our people getting in and we have
not even been able to see the apparent management of this apparent
operations going on our claims, to evict them.

The Zimbabwe Mineral Development Corporation has signed a shady joint
venture with a Mauritian offshore company, Grandwell Holdings.  They're
operating here under the name Mbada Diamonds.  Behind it all is a South
African company, Reclamation, who's understood to have spearheaded the deal.

Any diamonds they trade will be obtained illegally.  Reclamation director,
David Kassell refused to comment.


They are operating there and are preventing our access, and defying and
ignoring and in contempt of a High Court ruling, and these are foreign
entities who are in contempt of a High Court ruling, in Zimbabwe, a
sovereign state, and these are South African entities, or at least South
African sponsored and masterminded entities, and I think it quite serious.

They're understood to be turning this hanger at Harare airport into a
diamond- polishing centre.  It'll mean they bypass the Kimberley Process,
which is only concerned with rough diamonds.

Minutes of a meeting between Mbada and their partners reveal the building
will be converted to secure against mortar attack.  Their diamonds can be
sold regardless of international control.


The foreign partners will rape it for the foreign interests as opposed to
the national interests and that is the tragedy and that has to be stopped.

Zimbabwe has exposed weaknesses in the Kimberley Process.  What they decide
in Namibia next week will test their commitment to rid the world of conflict
diamonds.  Amidst growing evidence of corruption, the Zimbabwean government
seems unconcerned.


We are not going to stop because they have not supported us. If you go to
Chiadzwa now, you will see a totally different Chiadzwa from the one that
was there a few weeks ago. We are on the ground, we will surprise a lot of
people. We are not going to stop anything that I can assure you.

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Battered and Bruised - Abused Elephants to Be Rescued in Zimbabwe

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, Oct. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The rescue of nine cruelly abused elephants from a commercial training facility in Zimbabwe will begin on Monday, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW - has announced.

The elephants were confiscated in April 2009 after an inspection by the Zimbabwe National Society for the Protection of Cruelty against Animals (ZNSPCA) found cruel and torturous methods were being used to "tame and train" them for the elephant back safari industry - a popular tourist activity in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in southern Africa.

The ZNSPCA requested IFAW to step in and assist in translocating the elephants to a safe haven with a view to rehabilitating the elephants and releasing them back into the wild.

"These elephants have been subjected to the most appalling cruelty, all in the name of servicing an indefensible form of safari industry," said Neil Greenwood, spokesman IFAW Southern Africa.

"In fact 10 elephants were originally caught for training. Tragically one - a young male named Dumisani - died of malnutrition and the abuse he was subjected to. Given all of this, IFAW has assembled a top team of capture experts to translocate the remaining nine elephants to safety with the least possible stress."

The elephants will be transported from a privately owned ranch in the West Nicholson area, south of Bulawayo where the elephants were being "trained," to Hwange National Park, some 700 kilometres (437 miles) further east.

The wild elephants were originally caught on protected land in October 2008. In April 2009 when the ZNSPCA inspected the training facility they discovered some of the following abuses taking place:

  • Elephants chained on one leg and being fed from a distance requiring them to stand on three legs and strain at their chains to reach their food. This practice was intended to enforce the dominance of the handlers and caused severe wounds to the chained legs.
  • Restricted access to water and shade.
  • Varying degrees of wounds caused by training techniques and chaining.
  • An adult female elephant separated from her male calf causing unnecessary stress and physical suffering to both calf and mother.
  • Chaining for long hours preventing the elephants from socialising with each other.

The translocation of the elephants will begin on Monday afternoon, 2nd November and has been mandated by the Government of Zimbabwe. The elephants will be darted and transported in a single group to Hwange National Park overnight before being released into a large rehabilitation boma for monitoring before eventually being released into the park.

For more information on the translocation and on making a donation to support the move, please visit

About the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW)

As one of the world's leading animal welfare organisations, IFAW has representation in 16 countries and carries out its animal welfare work in more than 40. IFAW works from its global headquarters in the United States and focuses its campaigns on improving the welfare of wild and domestic animals by reducing the commercial exploitation of animals, protecting wildlife habitats, and assisting animals in distress. IFAW works both on the ground and in the halls of government to safeguard wild and domestic animals and seeks to motivate the public to prevent cruelty to animals and to promote animal welfare and conservation policies that advance the well-being of both animals and people.

SOURCE International Fund for Animal Welfare

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A letter from the diaspora

29th October 2009

Dear Friends.
There are so many things I miss about Zimbabwe but one thing I absolutely
don't miss is the ZTV Evening News - or any other of their news bulletins
for that matter! Reading Cathy Buckle's account of the way Morgan
Tsvangirai's disengagement from the current arrangement with Zanu PF was
reported on ZTV News just served to illustrate how vital it is to have a
free and independent news media if democracy is to thrive. What strikes one,
above all about Cathy's account is the downright racism and vitriol that is
permitted, even encouraged, by way of comment. The so-called political
analyst interviewed on this particular news bulletin remarked that "The
blame is on the Rhodesians. Roy Bennett is a Rhodesian, Morgan Tsvangirai is
having trouble pleasing his white masters." If the tables had been turned
and it had been a white person commenting on a black Prime Minister's
behaviour, the cries of 'Racism' would have been heard around the world. But
in Zanu PF thinking as reflected by the ZTV and ZBC propaganda, racism is a
strictly one-sided affair and applies only to whites discriminating against
black people. "They only did this to please a white man" was the comment
from the Zanu PF spokesman when the news broke of Tsvangirai's disengagement
from the former ruling party. Logic and reason fly out the window and every
issue is reduced to skin colour. The philosophy can be summarised as: All
blacks good, all whites bad; in my book that is racism at its most
pernicious. It requires no intelligence or clear thinking, no logical
analysis; it is simply a knee-jerk reaction based on skin pigmentation and
racial origin.

The issue of race has dominated the news media in the UK too this week and
it is strangely relevant to what is happening in Zimbabwe. All week long the
media here has been awash with articles and debate about whether the far
right-wing BNP- an offshoot of the National Front - led by one Nick Griffin
should be given airtime on the BBC. The British pride themselves on their
tradition of Free Speech and tolerance and, since the BNP now has two
elected MEPs, they are entitled to a public voice, so went the BBC's
argument. All week long the debate has raged about whether the BBC was right
to have Nick Griffin on the popular Question Time, a primetime weekly TV
programme where the public asks questions of a team of invited politicians
from all the major political parties. At issue was the question of whether a
minority party such as the BNP with its far-right racist views should be
allowed the right, implicit in the doctrine of Free Speech, to air their
views. The argument raged back and forth with opponents claiming that the
BBC was simply giving the BNP the opportunity to promote their violent, anti
immigrant and anti-Islamic viewpoint that would lead to more racist attacks
on minority groups. The BBC Television Centre was invaded by hundreds of
anti-fascist demonstrators yesterday with police in riot gear attempting to
control the angry demonstrators. But the BBC stood firm and Question Time
was aired last night before a racially mixed audience who were for the most
part overwhelmingly hostile to Nick Griffin and the BNP.

For Zimbabweans in the diaspora it was an enlightening experience. This was
democracy at work, wasn't it? Here was a public broadcasting service, in the
name of Free Speech, giving airtime to a man whose party denies the
holocaust - though as he cunningly pointed out he has never been prosecuted
for that - and claims that the only people who have a right to live here are
what he calls 'indigenous' British, ie English, Scots or Welsh people.
"Where do you want me to go?" demanded one brown-skinned man. "I was born
here, this is my home. I was educated here and I love this country." The
question sounded very familiar in the Zimbabwean context. Like the white
population of Zimbabwe, born and bred in the country with no roots in
Europe, who are told by War Vets, Green Bombers and Zanu PF fanatics 'Go
back where you came from' the response is the same: Where do you want us to
go?' Rather like the BNP, Zanu PF, regards all 'foreigners' as aliens,
having no rights; only the 'indigenous' people have a right to live in
'their' Zimbabwe.

As we have seen Robert Mugabe do so often when speaking at international
forums, Griffin cleverly toned down his hate speech for the duration of his
public appearance but it fooled no one. An evil racist philosophy remains
what it is, however sweet the sugar coating.
For Zimbabweans, at home and in the diaspora, what we want to hear is the
truth about where we are going as a country. Will there be a place for
ethnic minorities regardless of their colour or is Zimbabwe doomed to become
an apartheid state where colour is the only determinant of one's cultural
and political identity? As Prime Minister Tsvangirai said at his Press
Conference on the 16th October, "We can't continue to pretend that
everything is well." He was speaking in the context of his disengagement
from Zanu PF but his words apply equally to the question of race. It is an
issue which has never been openly dealt with in Zimbabwe. In a democratic
society where Free Speech is the order of the day, the media would be
obliged to debate this question openly, instead of the one-sided racist
diatribes we currently hear on ZBC and ZTV.
Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH.

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