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Forced evictions in Zimbabwe leave thousands of children without access to education
At Hatcliffe Extension children as young as 13 seek construction work to earn a living

At Hatcliffe Extension children as young as 13 seek construction work to earn a living

© Amnesty International

Settlements such as Hopley provide some education by setting up unregistered schools

Settlements such as Hopley provide some education by setting up unregistered schools

© Amnesty International

5 October 2011

The Zimbabwean government must ensure that children living in the settlements it created to re-house those made homeless by its mass forced eviction program six years ago are able to go to school, Amnesty International said in a report released today.

Left behind: The impact of Zimbabwe’s mass forced evictions on the right to education shows how thousands of children and young people forced from their homes during Operation Murambatsvina are unlikely to access adequate schooling.

"These government-created settlements were supposed to offer the victims of forced evictions a better life," said Michelle Kagari, Amnesty International's deputy Africa director.

"Instead the victims have been driven deeper into poverty while denial of education means young people have no real prospect of extricating themselves from continuing destitution.

"The government's removal of people from places where they had access to education, and its subsequent failure to provide education has struck a devastating blow to the lives and dreams of thousands of children."

The government justified its 2005 mass evictions program, Operation Murambatsvina, by claiming that the communities evicted were living in deplorable conditions.

They set up a housing scheme named Operation Garikai (Better Life) to re-settle several thousand of the 700,000 victims of the eviction program promising them better access to services.

Thousands of children and young people were forced to move away from their schools, in some cases school buildings were destroyed by the eviction program.

Many families were left destitute because their homes and sources of livelihoods, such as markets and small businesses, were destroyed during the forced evictions, so they could no longer afford the school fees and costs of uniforms and stationary.
Six years on, the majority of those allocated land and or housing under Operation Garikai are living in plastic shacks or other poorly constructed structures with no access to roads, public transport or job opportunities.
Many young people told Amnesty International that after the evictions they were forced to find work to help feed their families.

In one settlement called Hatcliffe Extension children as young as 13 seek construction work in neighbouring communities to earn a living. Many young women said that when they were unable to attend school they decided to get married.
Irene, a 21-year-old living at Hopley who married in 2007 aged 17 told Amnesty International:

"I decided to get married so that I could have someone to provide for me. I could not get a job. I did not want to go into sex work like most of the girls who dropped out of school."
In some settlements, such as Hopley and Hatcliffe Extension, community groups and individuals have set up unregistered schools to provide some education for children. However, a lack of trained teachers, furniture, stationary and no supervision from the Ministry of Education mean that the quality of education is poor.
Fatima, a young woman from Hopley said:
"While we send the children to community school I am still concerned about the quality of the education. There is barely any learning going on. There are no books and trained teachers. It's just sending the children to while up time since we really have no alternative."
Amnesty International also found that children attending unregistered community primary schools at Hopley settlement risked not being able to sit exams as the examination board does not recognize the unregistered schools as examination centres. Children who don't sit the exam cannot enrol for secondary education and end up dropping out.

"It is appalling that a government can get away with making life harder for its poorest and most vulnerable people. The Zimbabwean authorities must immediately use all available resources to adopt and implement a national education strategy which ensures that all children access free primary education," said Michelle Kagari.


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Zanu (PF) chefs agree Mugabe must go now

Senior political figures and democracy activists have called on President Robert Mugabe to resign after his seventh medical trip to Singapore, saying his ill health is disrupting government business.

Mugabe struggling to walk
Mugabe struggling to walk

Ministers who spoke to The Zimbabwean off the record this week said they had asked him to step down.

But Information Minister Webster Shamu dismissed the call, saying there was "no basis" for the president to leave office.

Mugabe travelled to Singapore again last week for what his administration claims is an eye problem. It is his seventh state-funded trip this year, each one costing the taxpayer an estimated $3million in travel and medical expenses.

Finance minister Tendai Biti last week lamented budget overruns on travel, and said the GNU had so far blown $40million on travel.

Shamu insisted the president "has not been found incapable of discharging his functions”.

A Zanu (PF) minister said the president's illness "has created a dangerous situation whereby no-one is in charge of the affairs of state during his absence". Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has not been permitted to exercise full executive authority during Mugabe's absences, and Cabinet does not meet when he is away.

Another minister spoke of "a vacuum of leadership" whereby ministers are "engaged in infighting" and "routinely flout the orders of the president".

An MDC minister Mugabe was an obstacle to peaceful transition. "We need to carry out the necessary transformation needed for the economic, social and political recovery of Zimbabwe, and for that to happen Mugabe must go," he said.

The ministers’ words reflect the general mood in the country, where there is real concern that the president's recurring health problems have rendered him unable to do his job. Upon his return from the UN General Assembly, he looked very frail, with acute hair loss.

According to confidential US embassy cables wired to Washington and leaked by whistleblowing website Wikileaks, Mugabe is plagued with cancer which has metastasised to other parts of his body.

"According to Gono, Mugabe’s doctor had recommended he cut back on his activities," reads part of the 2008 cable. "Gono told us last year that Mugabe was ill and that his doctor had urged him to step down immediately. Mugabe told his doctor, according to Gono, that he would leave office after the election."

One minister said Zimbabwe risked ending up with a Woodrow Wilson or Kamuzu Banda scenario where the incapacitated head of state in effect surrendered the running of affairs of state to their wives. Mugabe's wife Grace is 40 years his junior, but maintains a low profile.

Qhubani Moyo, an executive member of Welshman Ncube's MDC, said perhaps Mugabe was clinging to power so that he could hand the baton to his son Chatunga.

Political analyst Ibbo Mandaza said the issue was of profound national importance and authorities must come clean on the 87-year old leader's health.

"It is a matter of serious public interest,” he said. Zimbabwe’s current The constitution provides for a joint committee to be set up upon the request of only one-third of MPs to look into the President’s health.

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Zimbabwe GDP seen slowing in 2012-finmin

Wed Oct 5, 2011 5:27pm GMT

* Growth seen at 7.8-9 pct in 2012 vs 9.3 pct in 2011

* Inflation to be contained at single digits

* Revenue to rise, donor inflows seen lower in 2012

* Politics "putting a premium" on economy

By MacDonald Dzirutwe

HARARE, Oct 5 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's economy will grow at a slower pace in
2012 than this year as politics puts a drag on full recovery and inflation
should stay in single figures, partly due to prudent fiscal policy, Finance
Minister Tendai Biti said on Wednesday.

The economy grew in 2009 after a decade of contraction amid political
turmoil, lifted by President Robert Mugabe's formation of a power-sharing
government with long-time rival and now prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai.

Zimbabwe's economy is likely to grow 7.8 to 9 pct in 2012 compared with 9.3
pct in 2011, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said in a pre-budget statement on

Biti said agriculture and mining would remain the major drivers of growth
while tourism, manufacturing, transport and communication would also
contribute to the growth.

"You may ask why we are discounting the GDP (projecting slower growth). We
are making the assumption that there will be corrosive politics in 2012,
election talk, which will affect the economy," Biti told a sitting of

Biti added that Zimbabwe's growth was vulnerable to a dip in commodity
prices, as high gold and platinum prices contributed significantly to the
country's revenues.

The southern African country has also recovered from hyper-inflation which
hit 500 billion percent in 2008 but has fallen back into single figures
thanks to the adoption of multi-currencies in 2009.

Annual inflation was seen averaging between 3.7 and 5 percent up to the end
of 2012.

Revenue was expected to rise to $3.4 billion in 2012 -- the same figure as
expenditure -- from $2.7 billion in 2011, but inflows from foreign donors
were seen dipping to $500 million from $593.7 million this year.

Donors have continued to channel funding through non-governmental
organisations -- rather than directly to government -- and United Nations
agencies due to sharp policy differences with Mugabe's previous government,
such as the seizure of white-owned commercial farms in 2000.


Export earnings should increase slightly to $4.6 billion next year from $4.1
billion in 2012, Biti said. Imports would remain higher, however, at $5.7

Biti said the government would need to find money to fund a referendum on a
new constitution and a general election that would bring an end to the
uneasy coalition government.

Last week Biti said government spending was a big concern and on Wednesday
reiterated that Zimbabwe would spend $2 billion on salaries for its 250,000
state workers next year, which he said was "a disaster".

The high salary bill leaves little for the government to provide clean
water, electricity, health and education.

Biti also called on government to sell off loss-making state enterprises. He
suggested selling state-owned airline Air Zimbabwe, mobile phone operator
Net One, the national rail company and the state grain procurer.

The government has previously said it needs $10 billion to rebuild the
economy but donors are demanding more political reforms from Mugabe, who has
clashed with the West, mainly over charges of human rights abuses against
his opponents.

"No one wants to help us because of political noise. We are not being judged
on our management of the economy, we are being judged for our politics.
Politics is putting a premium on this economy," Biti said.

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Army divided over Generals who criticized Chiwenga

By Tererai Karimakwenda
05 October, 2011

Serious divisions are reported to have emerged among Zimbabwe’s top military
chefs, regarding the action to be taken against two army generals who
criticised their commander, General Constantine Chiwenga.
Brigadier-Generals Herbert Chingono and Fidelis Satuku, are under
investigation for comments they made to the US Ambassador Charles Ray,
criticizing Chiwenga as a “political general” who has “little practical
military experience or expertise.”

Their comments were revealed in US Embassy cables published by the WikiLeaks
website. According to the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper, there is general
consensus within the military that Chingono and Satuku were wrong to talk to
US officials.

The paper quotes “top military sources” who said some commanders, including
Chiwenga himself, want action taken against the two generals. Others prefer
to allow the matter to pass, “following Robert Mugabe’s lead” and not take
punitive action against those exposed by WikiLeaks.

A politburo member quoted by The Independent said: “We in the party are not
doing anything about it and I don’t expect us to discuss the cables in
future meetings.” He also said: “The president is not going to deal with the
matter, so why should he? He should leave them alone.”

Chingono and Satuku could be court-martialed if it is found they have a case
to answer, according to regulations in the Defence Act. They can be
subsequently charged with treason or subversion, according to military
sources who spoke to The Independent.

Former Zimbabwe Army Colonel Bernard Matongo, told SW Radio Africa that in
military circles, you do not criticize the boss. But he questioned whether
the two generals can be prosecuted under the Defence Act. “It would depend
on what is considered treason or subversion in the Act, which is quite
extensive,” Matongo explained.

The WikiLeaks cables have revealed a lot about the internal dynamics within
ZANU PF and the opinions of many party officials regarding their leader
Robert Mugabe. Significantly, the cables showed that Mugabe is not popular
within his own party and many realize he is a liability and want him to go.

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Arrest unruly youths: Mutasa

Sloganeering, marching, singing, taunting passersby, wielding sticks and
uniformly raising vicious fists in the air, Zanu (PF) youths ransack
foreign-owned shops and market stalls owned by suspected MDC activists.

Innocent people struggling for survival have fallen prey to these youths who
demand money simply because they belong to Zanu (PF). The militant group has
seized bus terminuses around the city and even invaded people’s homes.

“We are losing money every day to these criminals. They claim it goes to
their party,” said Honest Murombedzi, a kombi driver plying the
city-Kuwadzana route.

“Every time we park in town, violent youths, claiming to be sent by Zanu
(PF) bosses, demand $1,00, which they say is for some party projects. The
money is not receipted,” he said.

Another victim of the scam, Phindi Sibanda, who used to operate a market
stall in Mbare, claimed that she lost her business to the youths, who
besieged her market stall, accusing her of supporting MDC.

“I was told to go and make a market stall at Harvest House, the headquarters
for MDC-T,” Sibanda said.

Henry Okonkwo, a Nigerian businessman, said he was tired of young people
claiming to have been sent by Zanu (PF) leaders asking him to contribute
money towards their party.

“It is so bad. Every day these youths storm my business premises, demanding
money. They claim it is meant for party business. They carry what I strongly
suspect is a bogus letter signed by Didymus Mutasa, Secretary for
Administration,” Okonkwo said.

Scores of other businessmen interviewed across the city concurred.

“This is not new, we have endured this rot for a long time, but we have no
choice because we want to keep our businesses up and running,” said Amid

The independent media has been awash with reports of suspected Zanu (PF)
youths demanding “toll fees” from commuter omnibuses, claiming to have been
sent by Mutasa.

The minister has now gone on record, disowning the youths, saying he is keen
to see them being brought to book.

“I don’t know who sent them to illegally get money from the kombis,” Mutasa

“The police must arrest the culprits because they are using my name and
unlawfully siphoning money from people. When the police arrest them, they
should also notify me,” said Mutasa.

Zanu (PF) Harare Youth Chairman, Jim Kunaka, has also refuted claims that
the marauding youths were linked to the party.

“In our vocabulary we don’t have such fraud. We will not tolerate people
going about dirtying the party’s name and I will investigate,” he claimed.

But while the youth chairperson was busy saying this, youths had seized
control of car parks in Westly, Warren Park and Kuwadzana and braced for a
showdown with city fathers who control the car parks.

Political analyst, Charles Mangongera said the behaviour of the youths
showed a party on the verge of collapse.

“The moral fabric of the party has been destroyed. Anyone can now use the
name of the party to do anything and get away with it. I think the riotous
youths are not coming from Zanu(PF). They are just criminals,” Mangongera

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Government criticised over human rights abuses

By Tichaona Sibanda
5 October 2011

The unity government comprising ZANU PF and the MDC formations has been
criticised for its failure to stop human rights abuses, like extrajudicial
killings, torture and political arrests.

The country’s civil society organisations (CSO’s) released an advocacy
charter in Geneva on Wednesday offering concrete recommendations on how the
government could improve human rights in Zimbabwe.

The CSO’s also called on the international community to pressure the
Zimbabwean government on this issue. The government will next week Monday
officially present a 15-page report to the UN Human Rights Council’s 12th
session of the Universal Periodic Review, which began in Geneva this week.

The report paints a rosy picture of the human rights situation in Zimbabwe
and has been heavily criticised by civil society leaders who have descended
on Geneva to ‘set the record straight.’

The CSO’s advocacy charter highlights the inclusive government’s lackluster
performance in curtailing and responding to rights abuses, which was more
open and brutal during the years ZANU PF was in sole charge of the country.

Reacting to the government report Dewa Mavhinga, a leading human rights
defender, said they have been ‘outraged by the self-delusional claims by the
government of its human rights record.

‘It is a self-serving, selective and totally one-sided depiction of the
human rights situation. Human rights violations have persisted in the
country despite the official pronouncement the government is respecting the
rights of the Zimbabwe people.

‘Unfortunately, the government is only paying lip service to the idea of
human rights. The country’s failure to punish those responsible for
political violence was spurring more such abuses from state forces,’
Mavhinga said.

He said Zimbabwe may be a signatory to many human rights treaties and
programs that are supposed to prevent human rights abuses, but these legal
instruments are not implemented.
For example he said, the government report argues it has adopted several
mechanisms to promote the welfare of vulnerable children, women, and other
vulnerable sectors of the Zimbabwe society. In particular it states that
education is of primary importance to the government.

But Amnesty International has just released a report criticizing the way the
Zimbabwe government has dealt with forced evictions, which tens of thousands
of children homeless and facing a life with no hope of education.


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MDC Senior Official Arrested Over Cop Murder

Harare, October o5, 2011 - The youth assembly chairperson of the larger
formation of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Solomon Madzore has
been arrested by armed police at his house in the Waterfalls surburb.

Police detained him at Harare police station where they interrogated him
about the murder of Inspector Petros Mutedza.

Addressing journalists at the party headquarters, Harvest House MDC youth
assembly secretary general, Promise Mkwananzi condemned the arrest of
Madzore saying it was driven by ulterior motives.

"The MDC Youth Assembly President Solomon Madzore was arrested at his house
today at 1305hrs. The MDC Youth Assembly condemns in the strongest possible
terms the unwarranted harassment and intimidation of its leaders and
members," Mkwananzi said.

"The arrest of Madzore comes in addition to thousands of our members and
supporters that are either in detention, or being intimidated by Zanu (PF)
terrorists outfits such as Chipangano that continue to walk scot free. The
Youth Assembly wishes to state that Solomon Madzore is innocent; he has not
committed any crime. Recently, the police arrested the MDC Youth Assembly
Deputy President Costa Machingauta for no valid reason."

Mkwananzi said the MDC views the arrests of it's members as "an obvious ploy
to weaken the Youth Assembly ahead of the coming elections" adding that
police have been acting partisan in the past months denying the MDC youths
to gather and march in Harare.

"The MDC Youth Assembly is a law abiding entity. As recent as last week, on
the 26th of September 2011, the MDC Youth Assembly notified the police of
their intention for a peace march. As usual, the police turned down the
march," Mkwananzi said.

" He (Madzore) should be released unconditionally and with immediate effect.
Further, the assembly re-affirms its determination to press ahead with the
democratic agenda of delivering real change to the people of Zimbabweans. We
are not intimidated, we will not waiver. We are committed to deliver the
change that Zimbabweans want and no amount of terror or intimidation will
deter us."

Madzore’s lawyer, Gift Mtisi of Musendekwa and Mtisi Legal Practitioners
confirmed the arrest of Madzore whom he said was being interrogated by the
police led by Detective Chief Inspector Clever Ntini from the Law and Order
Section at the Harare Central Police Station.

The arrest of Madzore brings to 27 the total number of Glenview residents
and MDC members who have been arrested and charged in connection with the
murder of Inspector Mutedza, who lost his life in Glen View on May 29, 2011.

Eight Glenview residents have since their arrest been detained in prison
after High Court Judge Justice Tendai Uchena dismissed their bail

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MDC-T activists have now spent over 4 months in custody

By Lance Guma
05 October 2011

Seven MDC-T activists are still in remand prison, over 4 months after being
arrested for the death of a policeman in the Glen View suburb of Harare. The
seven, arrested as part of an initial group of 26, were on Wednesday this
week further remanded in custody to 19th October.

Inspector Petros Mutedza was killed at a night club in Glen View after an
alleged altercation with vendors and patrons. Residents described him as a
notorious thug who robbed     Chipangano gang

vendors of their wares, demanded bribes and was deeply unpopular in the
area. Following his death a politicised witch hunt saw dozens of MDC-T
activists being arrested as ZANU PF sought political mileage from the

The police claim Mutedza was murdered by MDC-T members who held a meeting at
the pub, despite evidence that many of them were not even at that location.
A total of 26 activists were arrested on different dates, with many of them
later granted bail. The remaining seven were denied bail at the High Court
in July and they have since made an appeal to the Supreme Court. But the
case is yet to be heard.

Meanwhile the MDC-T on Wednesday said its National Youth Assembly
chairperson, Solomon Madzore, who was arrested on Tuesday, has now been
transferred from Rhodesville Police Station to Harare Central Police station
for interrogation. Madzore was arrested at his Waterfalls home “again on
cooked up charges of murdering the Glen View police officer,” the MDC-T

The spokesperson for the MDC-T Youth Assembly, Clifford Hlatywayo, told SW
Radio Africa that the arrest of Madzore was deliberately timed to coincide
with a strike by prosecutors and law officers which began on Wednesday. Most
cases set for trial were postponed after the law officials went on strike
over salary discrepancies between them and magistrates.

Hlatywayo told us the idea was to keep Madzore locked up for as long as
possible and weaken the youth assembly in its attempt to mobilise supporters
for possible elections next year.

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Williams visit for solidarity: church

by Tobias Manyuchi     Wednesday 05 October 2011

HARARE – Next week’s visit to Zimbabwe by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan
Williams is meant to show solidarity with the southern African nation’s
persecuted Anglicans, the local church said.

Harare Bishop Chad Gandiya said the October 9 visit by Williams – the
ceremonial head of the world’s Anglicans -- was to show support for the
dioceses of Harare and Manicaland that are under siege from their
ex-communicated former leaders.

"His visit is to show support to Anglicans in Zimbabwe,” said Gandiya, who
has had to conduct services in the open after church halls in the capital
were seized by former bishop Nolbert Kunonga, a top supporter of President
Robert Mugabe who unsuccessfully tried to withdraw the Harare diocese from
the worldwide Anglican communion.

Williams’ office has said he has requested a meeting with Mugabe at which he
is expected to plead with the Zimbabwean leader to order Kunonga and another
renegade bishop from Manicaland to stop persecuting Anglican worshippers
from the two dioceses.

It was not clear last night whether Mugabe will meet Williams. Mugabe is a
staunch Catholic who is strongly anti-homosexual and will most likely not be
pleased that Williams has not used his position to campaign against
consecration of gay bishops in the Anglican Church.

Williams has in the past said he personally has no problems with gay people
being made bishops as long as they remain celibate. But he has refrained
from endorsing gay bishops apparently for fear that could only help deepen
divisions among the world Anglican congregation.

When Kunonga and former Manicaland bishop Elson Jakazi revolted against the
Church of the Province of Central Africa (CPCA), the supreme authority of
the Anglican church in the region, they claimed they were doing so because
the mother church supported ordination of gay priests.

However this is not true as the Anglican Church in Africa is largely
conservative and has strongly opposed ordination of gay priests.

Kunonga and Gandiya were excommunicated in 2008. A staunch supporter of
Mugabe, who tried to use the pulpit to defend the Zimbabwean leader’s
controversial policies, Kunonga was excommunicated together with several
priests and other church leaders who backed his revolt against the CPCA.

But Kunonga has with the backing of government police and security agents
been able to grab control of most of the diocese’s church halls, the
cathedral in Harare and several other properties.

An application by the CPCA to reclaim its properties from Kunonga’s is
pending before the Supreme Court, Zimbabwe’s highest court. -- ZimOnline

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Coltart intervenes in Anglican saga

Minister of Education, Sport, Arts and Culture David Coltart has ordered Mash East Provincial Education Director to produce a detailed report of school children and teachers who were evicted by ex-communicated Anglican church leader Nolbert Kunonga in Mrewa.

“I have instructed the Mashonaland East Provincial Education Director to prepare a report detailing what happened to the teachers, headmasters and children. I got a very disturbing report that teachers were physically beaten up. This is very disturbing as it affects lives of school children,” said Coltart in an interview this week.

Kunonga evicted headmasters, teachers and priests for allegedly aligning themselves with the diocese of his arch-rival, Chad Gandiya.

“I have said time and again that politics should stay out of schools. What is happening in the Anglican Church is not religious – it is politics,” Coltart said.

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AG's Dilemna Over Prosecutors' Strike

Harare, October 05, 2011 - The Attorney General’s Office (AG) on Tuesday
reportedly failed to draft an urgent chamber application seeking to stop a
potentially crippling work boycott by prosecutors.

Informed sources told Radio VOP that the three Deputy Attorney Generals
(DAG)’s failed to draft the urgent chamber application to file at the High
Court seeking to declare as unlawful the prosecutors strike which commenced
on Tuesday.

The AG’s office has three DAG’s namely, Prince Machaya in charge of civil
division, Florence Ziyambi in charge of criminal division and Nelson Dias,
who oversees legal drafting.

The AG’s office had resorted to legal action to stop the work boycott which
started on Tuesday. The prosecutors are protesting salary discrepancies
between them and the country's magistrates. Magistrates who now fall under
the Judicial Service Commission earn around $700 while the prosecutors get
around $250 and yet they hold the same qualifications as magistrates.

“They (AG’s office) had no choice but to hire Mlotshwa (Gerald) to help
draft an urgent chamber application  to declare the strike unlawful after
the deputy AG’s who are only in office failed to do that,” said the sources.

The Zimbabwe Law Officers Association, which represents the prosecutors, has
vowed to defy threats and intimidation targeted at them by their superiors.

Dereck Charamba, the secretary general of Zimbabwe Law Officers Association
(ZLOA) said: "They are using unqualified staff to act as prosecutors. These
bogus people have been remanding accused people. We will only go back to
work when they raise our salaries are on the same level with prosecutors,"
Charamba said.

"We recieved the same training with magistrates and we want the salaries to
be the same."

Charamba said magistrates' salaries were reviewed upwards in the past month
but prosecutors salaries were not reviewed which resulted in them striking.
Magistrates now fall under the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) while
prosecutors have remained under the Public Serivce Commission (PSC), a body
for all other civil servants.

Zimbabwe prosecutors once went on strike together with magistrates in 2007
when the country was still using the local dollar hit by running inflation
of over a billion.

Charamba said the prosecution department has witnessed many resignations
because of the poor salaries in the past months. He said; "Over 20
prosecutors handed their resignations in the past two months, a sign that
things are not normal."

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SA rights group says Zim deportations have begun

By Alex Bell
05 October 2011

A Cape Town based refugee rights group has said that deportations of
Zimbabwean nationals have begun, despite denials from the South African

According to rights group PASSOP, the South African department of Home
Affairs has sent out directives about the immediate resumption of
deportations of undocumented Zim nationals.

This echoes reports in Zimbabwean media this week, which quoted officials
from the Zim Immigration Department as saying this directive had been

On Tuesday SW Radio Africa spoke to Ronnie Mamoepa, the spokesperson for the
South African Home Affairs department, and he insisted that he was “unaware”
of such a communication. He refused to comment further and when asked if the
directive could have been sent without his knowledge, he repeated: “I am
unaware of this.”

A moratorium on Zim deportations has been in place in South Africa since
2009. The government then launched the Zimbabwe Documentation Project (ZDP)
last year, to try and regularise the stay of as many eligible Zimbabweans as
possible. About 275 000 applications were received and the government said
it would only resume deportations when the process was finalised.

The project is still in its final stages, and officials from Home Affairs
have told civil society groups involved in the process that they would be
notified of the project’s conclusion. This position was also stated during a
parliamentary session in Cape Town earlier this year.

But according to PASSOP’s Braam Hanekom, these promises have only been “lip

“Through our investigations we have discovered that these directives to
resume deportations have been sent. Clearly civil society has been
undermined,” Hanekom said.

More than a million Zimbabweans are said to be in South Africa currently,
meaning hundreds of thousands now face deportation. Hanekom explained that
the timing of this “silent” decision is particularly bad, because of the
situation waiting for people back home in Zimbabwe.

“We don’t think Zimbabwe is in a situation that can be called ‘stable’.
There is another election on the cards and we believe violence is very
likely,” Hanekom said.

This apparently clandestine decision comes as South Africa’s ANC government
has faced some of the strongest criticism yet, for what appears to be a lack
of concern for human rights.

On Tuesday South African peace leader Bishop Desmond Tutu slammed the ANC
government for being “worse than apartheid,” after it failed to approve a
travel visa for the Dalai Lama. Tutu said: “This government, our government,
is worse than the apartheid government, because at least you were expecting
it with the apartheid government.” Tutu also told ANC leaders to “watch out”
and warned them about becoming too complacent as the country’s chosen

“Well, (Hosni) Mubarak had a large majority. (Muammar) Gaddafi had a large
majority,” he said, referring to toppled Arab leaders in Egypt and Libya.
“One day we will start praying for the defeat of the ANC government. You are

The Tibetan spiritual leader had been invited by Tutu to deliver the opening
lecture at his 80th birthday celebrations. But the ANC government delayed
granting the Dalai Lama permission for so long, that he eventually canceled
his trip.

South Africa had previously denied the Dalai Lama a visa to attend a 2010
peace conference also staged by Bishop Tutu along with former Presidents
Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk. At the time it admitted acting out of
deference to China, which views the Tibetan leader as a threat.

A spokesman for the Tibetan government-in-exile said this week the South
African government had once again acted out of fear of angering China.

“We are very disappointed that a sovereign nation like South Africa would
succumb to Chinese pressure. It is a great pity,” said a spokesman.


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Public hearings for radio licenses begin this month

By Tererai Karimakwenda
05 October, 2011

Public hearings to scrutinize candidates who applied for commercial radio
licenses from the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ) are scheduled to
begin this month, amid concerns by media groups and the MDC-T that real
reforms have not yet been implemented.

BAZ called for applications five months ago offering two commercial radio
licences, and an estimated 15 applications were received from aspiring
broadcasters. No progress was made until two days ago, when BAZ announced
the public hearings would begin on October 18th. Several applicants have
reportedly been shortlisted and results will be announced in the next few

The public hearings will give ordinary Zimbabweans and media groups an
opportunity to challenge the suitability of applicants and their background.

However concerns remain that the hearings are just window dressing, timed to
give the impression the unity government is tackling media reforms required
by the Global Political Agreement (GPA), ahead of elections due in the
country. A report that says licenses have already been issued is due to be
presented to the United Nations by the Ministry of Justice this week.

Murisi Zwizwai, Deputy Minister of Media, Information and Publicity, told SW
Radio Africa that the inclusive government is “very concerned” about the
lack of seriousness in ZANU PF regarding media reforms.

Zwizwai explained that the BAZ board has not been reconstituted as agreed to
by the political parties. He also pointed to the existence of repressive
legislation such as the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
(AIPPA), saying it shows a lack of political will to make real changes.

“We are saddened by this smokescreen to deceive the general populace that
reforms are being implemented, using this piecemeal approach to fulfill the
GPA,” the deputy minister said.

He added: “There is a total blackout of the MDC on public media, negative
reporting and hate language against the person of the Prime Minister and
officials in the MDC formations.”

Zwizwai accused the public broadcaster ZBC of “exulting” Robert Mugabe and
ZANU PF. He also criticized the Information Minister Webster Shamu, for
threats he has made to foreign media, accusing them of a regime change

“But that agenda (regime change) is breeding within ZANU PF as well and
WikiLeaks showed that most senior officials in the party want Mugabe to go,”
he explained.

Meanwhile The Daily News newspaper has exposed an alleged plot to award the
two commercial radio licences to the state print media and to a company
owned by a top Affirmative Action Group (AAG) official.

The paper quotes “government sources”, who said the move to award radio
licences to ZANU PF allies “is a ploy to convince SADC” that Zimbabwe was
fulfilling the GPA requirement for tangible media reforms.

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GNU a tug-of-war: Khupe

Deputy Prime Minister Thokozani Khupe has described the Government of
National Unity as unworkable and a tug-of-war between Zanu (PF) and her MDC
by Fungi Kwaramba

She told an MDC youth meeting recently in Chitungwiza that Zanu (PF) was
“bent on frustrating progress”.

“The Inclusive Government it is not working,” said Khupe, reflecting the
growing frustration within the MDC as haggling over outstanding issues drags
on while SADC the mediators seem incapable of enforcing a lasting solution
to the crisis.

Despite having won the election in 2008, Zanu (PF) continues to play second
fiddle to Mugabe. Last week, senior civil servants snubbed Tsvangirai who
was on government business when he visited Mashonaland East. The province is
regarded as a Zanu (PF) stronghold.

The frustrated premier said he would engage Mugabe over the behaviour of the
government officials.

Zanu (PF), which has control of key government departments such as the
Ministry of Defence, and Ministry of Mines and also State Security, has been
reluctant to institute any institutional reforms in the partisan security

No minister or legislator from the MDC has been allowed access to the
controversial Chiadzwa diamonds fields where Zanu (PF) is allegedly looting
and stashing a war chest ahead of elections next year. The Mines ministry
has not channelled proceeds from mining activities to the treasury.

Khupe said that the only solution was free and fair elections and urged
people, particularly youths who constitute 60 percent of the population, to
register as voters.

The MDC is adamant that elections will only take place after the new
constitution is in place, as well as agreed election roadmap that among that
ensures the outcome of the election will be respected by all concerned.

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PM meets Mugabe over civil servants

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on Monday piled pressure on President
Robert Mugabe to discipline senior civil servants who are refusing to
respect the office of the Prime Minister.
by Fungi Kwaramba

Speaking after last week’s tour of Mudzi, Mutoko and Murewa to asses the
needs of the people ahead of the budget presentation by Finance Minister
Tendai Biti, Tsvangirai expressed concerns over the behaviour of some top
civil servants who boycotted the government programme.

“I was in Mudzi yesterday and the DA disappeared and here again (Murewa) the
DA has disappeared, this does not look well for the inclusive government,”
said the PM.

While senior servants have continued to treat Tsvangirai’s office
contemptuously Mugabe has made no attempt to rein them in.

“We need maturity among our civil servants,” added the PM. His spokesman,
Luke Tamborinyoka, confirmed the meeting. “Some civil servants are running
government programmes as members of Zanu (PF).”

Permanent Secretaries in the government who were appointed to their current
posts unilaterally by Mugabe have also been a thorn in the flesh for the
premier, with some publicly attacking his office. Here again, Mugabe has
remained silent.

While Tamborinyoka could not divulge the outcome, he said that the meeting
was fruitful.

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Chinese cannot sell Zim diamonds

Eyewitness News | 6 Hour(s) Ago

A Chinese mining company in Zimbabwe on Wednesday said it was sitting on 1
million carats of diamonds and it was not allowed to sell them.

Anjin Investments operates in the controversial Chiadzwa diamond fields in
the east of the country.

Manicaland Governor Christopher Mushohwe said western interference in the
Kimberley Process is behind Anjin Investment's failure to sell 1 million
carats of diamonds.

The company's vice chair told state media that Anjin had complied with all
the KP requirements.

However, it had not yet been certified to sell its gems.

The KP has given limited permission to sell rough diamonds to two other
companies operating in Chiadzwa.

That has provoked outrage from western countries and rights groups who
suggested that abuse was continuing in the eastern diamond fields.

Anjin has a joint venture with the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA).

However, it was not clear what background the military have in diamond

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South Africa urged to ensure Zim Diaspora vote

By Alex Bell
05 October 2011

The South African facilitators in Zimbabwe’s political crisis have been
urged to ensure that the Diaspora will be able to vote, as part of a roadmap
towards elections.

The Diaspora vote has been completely excluded from talk of reforms in
Zimbabwe, despite more than four million Zim nationals said to be living out
of the country. Instead, only government officials have been given
permission to vote outside the country.

The Johannesburg Zimbabwe Exiles Forum has now met with South Africa’s
Lindiwe Zulu, the chief facilitator in President Jacob Zuma’s mediation
team. The Forum’s Executive Director, Gabriel Shumba, told SW Radio Africa
this week that Zulu has promised that the facilitation team “will do all we
can to assist” in getting the Diaspora voting rights.

“Ambassador Zulu told us that they are going to meet with the principals in
the unity government later this month, and she said she will raise some
issues for clarification, including the Diaspora vote,” Shumba explained.

He added: “The Diaspora’s right to vote is a fundamental one that we are not
requesting but demanding. Any election without considering the vote of the
displaced communities in the Diaspora is illegitimate.”

Meanwhile Zulu told that same meeting that Security Sector reform is another
issue set to be raised with Zimbabwe’s government principals later this
month. She said that all the necessary reforms for a free, fair and
democratic election must be made, including reforms to the “holy cows” like
the Security Sector. Zulu added that what Zimbabweans want is “hope,
security, political space, freedom, human rights and leaders that keep
promises and are accountable to their people.”

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Government suspends proposed vehicles ban

04/10/2011 20:46:00    by

HAHARE - Government has suspended the proposed ban on the importation of
second hand vehicles of more than five years till further notice.

The Minister of Transport, Communication and Infrastructural Development,
Nicholas Goche said after wide consultations, the proposed ban on the
importation of second hand vehicles has been suspended until the economy has
fully recovered.

“We have been persuaded to suspend this aspect of the Statutory Instrument.
So the proposed ban on the importation of vehicles that are five years old
and above, that has been suspended," said Goche.

Statutory Instrument 154 of 2010 had also proposed the ban on left hand
driven vehicles on the country’s roads.

Goche said with effect from the first of November this year, there will be
restriction on the importation of these vehicles but those already in the
country will be allowed to be on the roads up to the end of their lifespan.

“The ban on the importation of left hand vehicles will remain, but we have
made a concession that those vehicles already in the country will remain on
the roads,” Minister Goche added.

Minister Goche said the Statutory Instrument was put in place in
anticipation that the economy would have improved and banks will be offering
loans to individuals and companies.

However, there has been little economic expansion and government saw it fit
to suspend the ban until the economy is fully functional.

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99-year leases can be cancelled: Govt

Ninety-nine year land leases offered to new farmers could be terminated
should the beneficiaries fail to utilize the land for two consecutive years,
the ministry of lands officials said over the weekend.
by Jane Makoni

The government gave 99-year lease letters to a few top party and government
senior officials believed to have the capacity to fully utilize acquired
large scale A2 farms.

“I hope you are aware that there were not many farmers who benefitted from
the 99-year lease facility. The long lease on its own was no guarantee that
one may do as he pleases with the allocated land. Should a farmer let the
farm lay idle for two consecutive years, he risks losing the land to the

Before a farmer receives the 99-year lease offer, he cannot tamper with
structures left at the farm by the former owner,” said an official at the
ministry of lands exhibition stand at the Mashonaland East Provincial Show.

Contrary to the regulations, new farmers went on to vandalise property left
by evicted white commercial farmers soon after invading the farms. No
serviceable infrastructure was left on most of the occupied farms.

The official said should the beneficiary of the 99-year land lease pass on
before the lease period expires, his living dependents may approach the
Lands Ministry and sign relevant agreement papers to inherit the property.

Farmers interested in benefitting from the land reform programme are
required to express their interest by way of an application letter through
the ministry of lands. Applications are vetted by a committee made up of
government officials, traditional leaders and War Veterans, among other

If the application is approved, the applicant is given an offer letter for
the land applied for. After proving to the ministry of land inspectors that
he is a capable and productive farmer, the farmer is offered a 99-year lease

“Composition of the vetting committee membership compromised the land
redistribution exercise with mainly Zanu (PF) supporters benefitting. In
fact, the exercise was regarded as a Zanu (PF) project used to thank party
cadres for standing by Mugabe during his dark days as head of state, hence
the inclusion of war veterans in the vetting process,” said a resident,
Stephen Chamunorwa, who was denied the opportunity to access land as he was
a known MDC activist.

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CIO, cops tortured me to confess: Kuzipa

State security agents tortured a diamond dealer until he passed out to make
him confess to working with MDC-99 leader Job Sikhala in shady Marange
diamond deals, a Magistrates Court heard on Friday.
by Chief Reporter

The state accuses Sikhala, the leader of a breakaway MDC faction, of
kidnapping diamond dealer Mapurisa Tonderai Kuzipa in what the MDC-99 leader
says is a trumped-up charge.

Prosecutors claim Sikhala gave Kuzipa money to buy diamonds, but he
allegedly did not supply the precious stones.

Kuzipa, who came to court under the escort of 10 police and intelligence
operatives, delivered stunning testimony, in which he denied ever having any
relations with the MDC-99 leader or receiving any money.

Kuzipa told the court that police and intelligence operatives tortured him
until he lost consciousness to force him into making a confession
implicating Sikhala.

He said he was forced by Zimbabwe Republic Police investigating officers to
sign the affidavit they sought to use to establish a basis for a case of
kidnapping against Sikhala after the torture session.

"If the government has wars to fight with Sikhala, or wants to kill him,
they should fight by their own means and leave me out of these battles,”
Kuzipa told a full court.

"I never reported this case but was forced by police to come and appear as
witness in a case I don’t know about.”

Repeated efforts by the state prosecutor to intimidate and deter Kuzipa fell
through. The state attempted to prove that Kuzipa was a “compromised”
witness when he was taken through cross examination, albeit unsuccessfully.

The prosecutor said Kuzipa implicated Sikhala voluntarily during
questioning. Kuzipa, who says he was tortured into implicating Sikhala, has
written to the attorney-general saying he has no evidence to give against
the MDC-99 leader.

The other State witness, Tichaona Mupfukudzwa, has skipped the border,
thwarting a bid to pressure him into giving evidence against Sikhala.
Sikhala was arrested in February and tortured during a 7-day incommunicado

For seven months the state had failed to bring the two witnesses to court,
prompting Sikhala to apply for refusal of further remand.

Kuzipa was then abducted and tortured into implicating Sikhala when the
trial opened on Thursday. The party slammed the "dirty and illegal tactics
of the police and the office of the Attorney General, as exposed openly by
their own state witness."

"We salute Kuzipa for honestly refusing to be an accomplice in the sinister
plot by the state and hope that justice will prevail," MDC-99 said in a

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Ambassador Bronnert meets Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara

The British Ambassador to Zimbabwe Deborah Bronnert met Deputy Prime
Minister Arthur Mutambara in Harare today.
by Staff Reporter

Ambassador Bronnert said “I paid a useful and productive courtesy call on
DPM Mutambara where I updated him on the United Kingdom’s (UK) support of
US$130 million to ordinary Zimbabweans, which is the UK’s largest support to
Zimbabwe ever. The support is being channelled through the Department for
International Development (DFID) to reach millions of Zimbabweans,
particularly women and children.”

Ambassador Bronnert and Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara discussed the UK and
Zimbabwe’s strong links and the potential for a growing economic
relationship in particular. Ambassador Bronnert noted that bilateral trade
between the UK and Zimbabwe has increased by 85%, during the first five
months of 2011 against the comparative period last year.

Regarding indigenisation, Ambassador Bronnert said “The UK fully supports
constructive and progressive measures for economic empowerment. But several
British and other international companies have expressed concerns to me
about the uncertainties surrounding the current indigenisation legislation
and how it will be applied in Zimbabwe in the future. This current
uncertainty is unfortunately acting as a disincentive for companies to
provide the kind of investment which Zimbabwe needs.”

Ambassador Bronnert and Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara agreed on the
importance of implementation of the reforms envisaged in the Global
Political Agreement (GPA) ahead of elections. The Ambassador reaffirmed the
UK’s support for the Government of National Unity and said that “the UK will
continue to support the aspirations of the Zimbabwean people for a
prosperous and democratic Zimbabwe through credible, free and fair
elections. The UK will work with any of the parties who form a government
with a legitimate mandate from the people.”

On the issue of the EU’s Restrictive Measures, the Ambassador noted that the
EU High Representative Cathy Ashton had said that the Measures would be kept
under review as there is concrete progress in the implementation of the GPA
leading to credible elections. 35 individuals were removed from the list of
Measures in February 2011.

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Milk production down

Zimbabwe’s milk production is in decline due to the reduction of milk
producing cows, an official has said.
by Tony Saxon

There used to be 200 000 milk producing cows in the country but now there
are only 38 000. Commentators said President Robert Mugabe’s chaotic land
reform has

seen dairy farming crumbling, as the resettled farmers slaughtered the dairy
cows to sell the meat, while others did not have the dairy farming technical

Nestle Zimbabwe country manager, Kumbirai Katsande, said Zimbabwe should
resuscitate the dairy industry to stimulate competition.

“This will see the steep producer price of milk which farmers are charging
going down. The dwindling milk production over the years has caused the rise
in milk producer prices. Our Zimbabwean milk is very expensive as a result
we are now importing from South Africa to supplement local supplies,” he

Katsande said Nestle’s milk processing line was running at 30 percent
capacity utilization.

He said: “In addition to lowering production costs, resuscitating the dairy
industry will also ensure adequate provision of some milk products which are
currently in short supply.”

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Zimbabwe puts food giant Nestlé on the ropes

Oct 5, 2011 - 13:47

The supply of fresh milk is essential for Nestlé’s operation in Zimbabwe

by Andrea Ornelas,

Swiss food giant Nestlé, like other multinationals, faces losing the right
to operate in Zimbabwe under a controversial reform known as the
indigenisation law.

The Zimbabwean authorities say 700 foreign firms have not met the legal
deadline to sell majority shareholdings to locals, and face serious
consequences. Nestlé, which has Swiss support, says it is still in talks
with the authorities.

Under the indigenisation law, which was enacted in March 2010, any foreign
company with assets valued at over $500,000 (SFr453,000) must sell 51 per
cent to indigenous Zimbabweans.

Nestlé, along with Barclays Bank, Cargill and British American Tobacco
amongst others, had until  September 25 to comply with the law or risk
losing their license to operate in the country.

The world’s biggest food group confirmed to that the Zimbabwean
government intends to force it to sell 51 per cent of its assets, but gave
few details.

“Nestlé Zimbabwe proposed an indigenisation plan in November 2010 to the
Zimbabwean authorities which is in line with the principles of the
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Act,” said Nestlé spokeswoman
Melanie Kohli.

“Later we responded to the letter received from the indigenisation minister
on August 18, 2011, and have remained in constant contact with the
authorities since then.

“We are confident that our proposal will contribute to the growth of the
Zimbabwean economy.”

On September 29 a Zimbabwean official declared that 700 foreign-owned firms
had not complied with the law.

Anyone considering defying the law should prepare for “serious consequences”,
including the “cancellation or suspension of their licence and heavy fines”,
said Wilson Gwatiringa, head of the National Indigenisation and Economic
Empowerment Board.

Buy from me

Nestlé’s recent relationship with President Robert Mugabe’s government has
been difficult. The firm has been present in Zimbabwe for 50 years. It
employs some 200 people in its factory in the capital Harare, which produces
cereals and powdered milk for the local market.

In 2009, the factory was forced to close temporarily following pressure from
government authorities to purchase milk from certain suppliers which were
not under contract by the company.

Nestlé’s operations in Zimbabwe came in for severe international criticism,
when it was learned that one of its suppliers was Gushungo Dairy Estate,
owned by Mugabe’s family. The farm had been seized from its former owners
under the government’s controversial land reform programme.

On October 1, 2009 Nestlé announced it would stop buying from the farm and
the factory was re-opened on December 31, 2009 after assurances that the
government would not interfere in its operations.

“Economic emancipation”

Mugabe’s government is championing the ownership law, dubbed the final phase
of "economic emancipation", after controversial land reforms targeting
white-owned farms a decade ago. It says it is unacceptable that foreigners
own the country’s riches.

The world's leading platinum miner, Anglo American Platinum, number two
producer Impala Platinum, and Rio Tinto, which operates a diamond mine, are
some of the major foreign firms operating in Zimbabwe.

But critics see the law as a way for the government to squeeze cash out of
foreign firms and say the money will go to top officials, not to ordinary
people, who rank among the poorest in the world.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who is a partner in the fragile coalition
set up two years ago after disputed 2008 elections, and who has clashed with
Mugabe over the ownership policy, says the law is hurting investor
confidence and stalling recovery.

"The warped indigenisation policy has eroded investor confidence and created
a sceptical international business community that has developed a
wait-and-see attitude," Tsvangirai told reporters on September 29.

Little leverage

The Swiss foreign ministry says it is following the issue closely.

“Our embassy in Harare will support Swiss interests where possible,” said
spokesman Stefan von Below.

But Nestlé’s future in Zimbabwe remains uncertain and Bern’s relationship
with Harare offer’s few advantages.

Switzerland imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe, which came into force in March
2002, following allegations of electoral fraud and human rights abuses.

The sanctions include an embargo on the export of military materiel and
items that could be used for repression, and the freezing of assets
belonging to Mugabe and his immediate entourage.

Some 198 people and 31 companies are covered by the financial sanctions and
a travel ban forbidding entry to or transit via Switzerland.

Andrea Ornelas,

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Chipangano – a law unto itself

It is now patently clear that the police are unable to contain the violence
and criminal activity of the Chipangano Gang in Harare. The Zanu
(PF)-supporting police hierarchy has for years instructed junior cops to
stand aside while these criminals harassed MDC supporters in the suburb of
by Editor

The gang has now grown in numbers and widened its criminal activities. It
has transformed itself into a real mafia – running protection rackets,
extorting money from companies, forcibly taking over businesses and, for
good measure, beating up MDC supporters and evicting them from their homes
in order to maintain its Zanu (PF) credentials.

The Chipangano mafia has grown so large and become so powerful that the
police are unable to control the beast. In fact, Harare policemen have been
shown to be afraid of them. Some policemen have actually been assaulted by
members of Chipangano. No arrests have been made.

The gang listens to no-one – not even President Robert Mugabe. Recently,
while Mugabe was addressing Parliament, saying there should be no violence
in Zimbabwe, these thugs were outside the building beating up people –
including one policeman. Again, no arrests were made. And this despite
photographic evidence, which clearly identifies some of the thugs, being
published in various newspapers.

As the police have been shown to be impotent, Zimbabweans are talking about
what they can do to protect themselves from these thugs. There have been
some suggestions that people should form vigilante groups to protect
themselves and their businesses. But this is no solution as the ZRP would
undoubtedly swing into action against them. And violence always begets more

The failure by government to stop Chipangano’s outrageous behaviour is a
serious dereliction of duty. A time will come when people will feel that
they have nothing more to lose and will take the law into their own hands.

Sensing that they have nurtured a monster that could destroy them, Zanu (PF)
secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa has disowned the thugs and would
like to see them arrested. We wait with bated breath to see whether Police
Commissioner Augustine Chihuri will obey his master’s voice, and whether
indeed he will be able to put a stop to this now widespread criminal

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MISA-Zimbabwe Statement on abuse of opinion pages

5 October 2011

MISA-Zimbabwe statement on abuse of opinion pages

MISA-Zimbabwe is appealing to the media, politicians and Zimbabwean citizens
in general to desist from abusing the right to freedom of expression and
media freedom as evidenced by some of the personal vilifications and vile
name-calling that is manifest in the opinion-editorial (op-ed) pages of both
private and public newspapers.

The right to freedom of expression and journalistic privilege demands
greater responsibility and integrity on the part of editors and journalists.

It is trite to note that MISA-Zimbabwe’s concerns come on the backdrop of
the Media Ethics Indaba held in Harare on 29 September 2011, almost a week
after the International Media Ethics Day which is commemorated annually on
23 September.

Delegates at the indaba acknowledged the decline in journalism ethics and
professionalism in Zimbabwe and agreed that corrective self-regulatory
measures needed to be instituted as a matter of urgency.

It was agreed that there is urgent need to retain respectability to the
profession through strict adherence to the cardinal rules of reporting
truthfully without bias, embellishments or resort to personal vilifications.

This calls for journalism that eschews hate speech, xenophobia, tribalism,
gender discrimination, racism and vile name calling and intemperate

MISA-Zimbabwe is therefore urging publishers, editors and journalists to
seriously reflect on their professional conduct as dictated by the codes and
ethics of journalism in order to retain and maintain the integrity and
respect of the profession.


Njabulo Ncube

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Asylum Found?

October 5th, 2011

Over the last decade or more, many Zimbabweans fleeing their country have sought political asylum in the United Kingdom. The UK holds Zimbabwe’s second-largest diasporic population, and their shared language and historical linkages make the UK the obvious destination for many seeking refuge from Zimbabwe’s political situation.

As a country that takes seriously its commitments under the Refugee Convention to protecting those fleeing from persecution, the UK has provided and continues to provide shelter to thousands seeking sanctuary.

But the UK has not been entirely benign to those seeking political asylum. A wealth of recent reports has exposed the grim reality of the UK’s asylum policy, detailing the misery into which those seeking asylum can be thrown.

Those seeking asylum in the UK face numerous and persistent barriers to having their cases properly heard: serious flaws have been found in the adjudication of asylum claims. The authorities tasked with administrating and assessing asylum cases have been said to foster “a culture of disbelief”,  which “denies sanctuary to some who genuinely need it and ought to be entitled to it”.[1] A particularly helpful indicator, experts state, of such a culture is the comparatively high success rate of appeals against initial decisions made on individual cases, which stands at around 30%.[2] The United Nations High Commission for Refugees has provided public statistics for the UK court’s 2008 record for the granting of refugee status and it has shown a pattern of refusal and failure to a far greater degree than other European countries such as Germany and France[3].

As a result of the prohibitive barriers to the successful claiming of asylum, discussed below, the asylum authorities are said to routinely issue “perverse and unjust decisions”.[4]

Those seeking asylum, for one, meet significant cuts in legal aid, said to “have made it difficult to access good legal advice and reduced the amount of time available for legal representatives to work on an asylum claim”.[5] Serious problems, moreover, are presented with the more recent introduction of a ‘Fast-track’ system. Under the system, many cases are processed within a prohibitively short period of time, sliced from what should be a number of months to a matter of days or weeks. Often those whose cases demand serious, prolonged attention – often those including claims of torture – are wrongly placed in the system and rushed through. Moreover, those falling into the Fast-track system are placed in government detention immediately, which with the stringent time-constraints makes access to legal advice and the preparation of a convincing case more urgent and more difficult.[6]

Enormous difficulties are also faced in the collection of evidence and the comprehensive recording (with rigorous translation, if necessary) of an individual’s case. Individuals can be placed on the fact-track system regardless of the complexity of their case, sometimes with no legal representation at all. When their cases are refused, and no route of enforced return to their country  of original is available, they can be left in immigration detention indefinitely. More worryingly, the system has been stated to place substantial burden on women in particular, as a result of its lack of sensitivity to numerous gender-related difficulties afflicting women seeking sanctuary. For one, it presents little opportunity for the individual and her lawyer “to build trust, and women, especially in cases involving rape or abuse, may only reveal relevant information late in the process, or not at all”, with “limited opportunity to access expert evidence, such as medical reports”.[7]

However, what is most worrying is the destitution into which those seeking asylum are forced. Reports from across the country have shown “high levels of destitution and, in particular, that many people have been left in this dire situation for prolonged periods”[8]. People are forced to live with nothing, for often longer than a year, many with dependants or illness, alongside the anxious struggle for refugee status.

The majority of those seeking asylum are ineligible for government support: to receive it an individual must be both destitute and have applied for asylum as soon as is ‘reasonably practicable’ on arrival in the UK[9]. Even when those seeking asylum receive support from the UK government, it is as little as £5 ($8) a day – where a loaf of bread costs £1 ($1.60). Adding to the difficulties faced, the money is given in the form of vouchers, rather than cash, significantly restricting where, and which, necessities can be purchased. Some are forced to walk long distances to find supermarkets or shops which accept the vouchers they are given. Moreover, not being permitted to use cash, as an ordinary person is able, compounds the feelings of inferiority and degradation an individual seeking asylum is likely to face. Housing is available, but the standard of accommodation is often low, and very many people remain homeless.

The provision of support, where it is even available, is often fraught with delay, leaving many without assistance for several months at a time and when it is most desperately needed.[10]

Even worse, the overwhelming majority of those seeking asylum are prohibited from supporting themselves by finding employment. There are some who are ultimately granted the right to work, but those permitted are dwarfed in number by those who must remain completely dependent on hand-outs from others. Moreover, those denied refugee status are entirely precluded from working, even after they have lost their entitlement to any government assistance. Those seeking asylum, it so often seems, are expected to wait, with no clear means of support, until their cases are processed – but with only a meagre chance of security at the end. It seems destitution is the ultimate destination for many, not sanctuary.

In fact, even those who ultimately receive refugee status, often cannot escape destitution: after years of waiting for the success of their cases, many find it difficult to move on with their lives even after their refugee status is accepted. As found by a study of London’s refugee population, a small minority are able to find work ‘underground’ in the informal labour market, undertaking ‘cash-in-hand’ work said to be “out of necessity” induced by poverty, and “partly due to the fact they face difficulties accessing the formal labour market”.  It was reported that “[m]any of the barriers to entering the formal economy were related to them being refugees” including “insufficient knowledge of entitlement to support and benefits, language difficulties, unfamiliarity with the way that the UK job market operates, employers not understanding refugee entitlement to work, limited recognition of skills and experience gained outside of the EU, experiences of protracted periods without work during the asylum process and delays in receiving paperwork when refugee status is granted”.[11] Many of those granted refugee status are therefore not unlikely to remain as destitute as they were when they first entered the UK.

The situation of Zimbabweans continues to be almost uniquely problematic. Studies indicate that the destitution of those seeking asylum can be linked to country of origin: 21% of those found to be destitute by one study were Zimbabweans alone[12]. In 2009, there were at least 8500 Zimbabweans seeking asylum in the UK who did not receive any government support whatsoever.[13]

Importantly, Zimbabwe has remained (other than during a period of eight months in 2004) a country to which the UK government does not forcibly return those denied refugee status. Such individuals are free to leave the UK and return to Zimbabwe voluntarily, and will often be granted aid packages by the International Organisation for Migration if they do. However, those who refuse to return are most often stripped of any public support, having exhausted what the UK government sees as their entitlement to assistance in the pursuit of refugee status.

A study conducted of 292 Zimbabweans seeking asylum in the UK presented alarming evidence of the problems faced in the UK. 71% of those interviewed had no support whatsoever from the UK government, whilst “[m]ore than a third of people had been unable to buy necessities such as toiletries and clothing” and all were “heavily reliant on friends and family for support, with charities, community and faith groups also providing assistance”.[14] Only 8% had been granted permission to work to support themselves. Most worryingly, 30% had experienced homelessness at some point.

All across the country, those seeking sanctuary are forced to live in limbo, with ever-dwindling hope for any future outside the country from which they have fled. A Zimbabwean man, in one study, was reported to have deliberately smashed the window of a police car so as to spend a week in a jail, giving him a warm bed and steady meals – for him a considerable improvement to the support he would otherwise receive[15].

Despite public government assurances to the contrary, many believe that the destitution of those seeking asylum is the deliberate policy of the UK government. It has been stated that the UK government deliberately denies permission to work and erects obstacles to government support so as to make the UK a far less attractive destination for those seeking asylum[16].

This has been through “legislation and regulations designed to reduce the number of people who come to the UK to seek sanctuary”, “policy decisions to set the bar for protection at the highest level permissible in law”, and “problems with a decision-making process that too often denies protection to individuals who are in need of it”[17]. The persistent barriers to seeking asylum in the UK, including the threat of destitution, are faced by those whose cases demand serious attention: many who deserve sanctuary therefore fall away unnoticed, without the help they so desperately require.

The issue of destitution, however, remains only one amongst many. Large numbers of those seeking asylum are held in immigration detention, facilities  established to detain those whom the UK government believes will flee its immigration authorities or it hopes to quickly remove from its shores. They are run by private security firms seeking to profit from immigration detention. Brook House, a particularly large such facility near Gatwick Airport, was recently condemned by the UK’s Chief Inspector of Prisons as “fundamentally unsafe”. It was found to be rife with bullying, violence, and drug abuse, with “deeply frustrated detainees and demoralised staff”[18].

As Zimbabweans cannot be forcibly removed, many have languished in immigration detention for months or even years. This includes children, whose detention by the immigration authorities has remained a contentious and as yet unresolved issue in UK politics. This is despite repeated testimony from medical authorities that it is associated with “post-traumatic stress disorder, major depression, suicidal ideation, self-harm and developmental delay in children”[19]. It has also been found that “in a considerable number of cases, families were detained when there was little risk of them absconding, their removal was not imminent, and they had not been given a meaningful opportunity to return voluntarily to their countries of origin”[20].

Access to healthcare remains another serious issue. Those seeking asylum already face a high risk of severe health problems, coming from countries such as Zimbabwe in which they have borne violent abuse or have failed to receive the medical attention they deserved. The physical and mental problems that follow them to the UK are often exacerbated, or further problems created anew, by the trials they face in seeking sanctuary. This can be as a result of the poor quality accommodation some receive, the stress of the legal issues they face, detention in immigration facilities, or, worst, living through prolonged and intense periods of destitution[21].

Most worryingly, unlike UK citizens, those who have been refused refugee status do not have comprehensive access to the UK’s free healthcare system. In 2004, the UK government introduced charges for what is deemed ‘secondary’ healthcare, leaving many to pay for aspects of their healthcare which they simply cannot afford. Now, the only treatment Zimbabweans who have been refused refugee status can receive is immediately necessary or urgent treatment – and this does not include treatment for HIV/AIDS.

It has been stated that “confusion about entitlement remains widespread and urgent and immediately necessary treatment, including maternity care and cancer treatment, continues to be denied to refused asylum seekers”[22]. The same report interviewed a Zimbabwean, refused asylum, who suffered from a rare form of blood disorder similar to leukaemia and a recent heart attack, was informed that he would be required to pay for all treatment in future[23].

The UK remains a country to which thousands of individuals seek sanctuary from the persecution faced at home. Zimbabweans, in particular, have looked to the UK to provide refuge in what has been a decade of serious need. However, the policies of successive UK governments have inflicted very real and persistent suffering on those seeking asylum. This is a suffering borne by the many Zimbabweans who reach the UK’s shores. It is clear that over the last decade the Refugee Convention has provided a means of safety for thousands of those fleeing ZANU-PF’s violence and repression. It has been less clear what kind of life would await those coming to the UK in search of that safety. For so many Zimbabweans, and so many from across the world, that life is very, very different from the one imagined and hoped for as they fled.

[1] Fit for Purpose Yet?, Independent Asylum Commission, Interim Findings, 2008.

[2] At the End of the Line, Still Human Still Here Campaign, 2010, pp. 17-18.

[3] At the End of the Line, Still Human Still Here Campaign, 2010, pp. 15.

[4] Ibid.

[5] At the End of the Line, Still Human Still Here Campaign, 2010, pp. 18.

[6] Working Against the Clock: inadequacy and injustice in the fast track system, Bail for Immigration Detainees, 2006.

[7] Fast-tracked Unfairness?, Human Rights Watch, 2010, pp. 3.

[8] Still Destitute, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, 2009, pp. 4.

[9] I Hate Being Idle, Refugee Council, 2009, pp. 12.

[10] At the End of the Line, Still Human Still Here Campaign, 2010, pp. 35-36.

[11] Understanding the informal economic activities of refugees in London, the Refugee Council, 2009, pp. 8.

[12] Still Destitute, Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, 2009, pp. 5.

[13] I Hate Being Idle, Refugee Council, 2009, pp. 8.

[14] I Hate Being Idle, Refugee Council, 2009, pp. 5.

[15] At the End of the Line, Still Human Still Here Campaign, 2010, pp. 40.

[16] At the End of the Line, Still Human Still Here Campaign, 2010, pp. 71-72.

[17] At the End of the Line, Still Human Still Here Campaign, 2010, pp. 3-4.

[18] Report on a full announced inspection of Brook House Immigration Removal Centre,HM Chief Inspector of Prisons, 2010, pp. 5-6.

[19] First Resort or Last Resort: Immigration detention of children in the UK, Bail For Immigration Detainees, 2011, pp. 1.

[20] Ibid.

[21] At the End of the Line, Still Human Still Here Campaign, 2010, pp. 52-54.

[22] At the End of the Line, Still Human Still Here Campaign, 2010, pp. 57.

[23] Ibid.

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Dark clouds of brutality that changed Andy Flower’s life
By Matthew Syed – October 4 2011 12:01AM

Perhaps it is unfair to begin a story about a man as inspirational as Andy
Flower with the observation that he was once racist in his outlook.

Flower is lauded not merely as an outstanding coach and former player, but
for the bravery of his stand against Robert Mugabe, wearing a black armband
to mourn the death of democracy in Zimbabwe.

But to understand the curious, complex and revelatory journey of this
remarkable man, as well as the parallel journey of the nation he still calls
home, we must rewind to his upbringing, first in South Africa and then his
cherished Zimbabwe.

It was a time when Nelson Mandela was an inhabitant of Robben Island and
when the colonialist assumptions of Ian Smith held sway in what was then

“It is amazing how easily racist ideology is absorbed by young people,” he
says, shaking his head, when we meet at Lord’s. “I lived in South Africa
until the age of 10 and then moved to Rhodesia while civil war was still
raging. The idea of whites as superior to blacks was not just publicly
stated, but connived at in all sorts of subtle ways in both nations.

“It is a form of indoctrination because you just don’t realise how your own
ideas and assumptions have been coloured by what you are told and the norms
of the culture you are living in. It was only when I got to my late teens
and early twenties that I first started to ask the question: ‘What the hell
am I thinking here?’ My views were very backward, which is deeply
embarrassing to admit today.”

The initial trigger for Flower’s racial awakening was a trip to England as
an 18-year-old. A principled young man who had been brought up in a
Christian household, Flower was given a priceless but daunting opportunity
to glimpse his own culture through the eyes of outsiders. It left him
confused and, in some ways, dazed.

“I had really been looking forward to the tour of England,” he says. “We
were a casual cricket team called the Stragglers and I was billeted with a
lovely family in Esher. They had a son of my age and I remember having a
discussion with him about interracial relationships. I was truly astonished
when he said that he would contemplate having a non-white girlfriend. We
argued for hours one night about it. I began to realise something was deeply
wrong with my beliefs.

“A year or so later I went to play cricket at Heywood Cricket Club in
Manchester. The local professional was John Abrahams, who comes from a Cape
Coloured background. He and his family were heavily involved with the club.
It should have been easy to see them for what they were: kind, decent and
rather magnificent people. But I had these powerful and conflicting emotions
going on, and hardcore beliefs to breakdown. It took time.”

Flower’s candour is deeply moving, but it also speaks volumes about his
character. The willingness for self-examination, to ask brutal and searching
questions, has not only defined his moral and political journey, but also
his approach to sport.
As he puts it: “Unless you are honest in a way that is sometimes
uncomfortable, you cannot learn from your mistakes. That is something I have
tried to inculcate in every England player, because it applies as much to
sport as to life.”

But even as Flower was re-evaluating his deepest beliefs, his nation was
gradually spiralling out of control. Robert Mugabe, who had started out as
President amid such high hopes of reconciliation, had created nothing less
than a gangster state. It was not just administrative incompetence that
brought Zimbabwe to its knees, but the use of state-sanctioned terror.

By 2003, extrajudicial punishment, endemic corruption and electoral
intimidation — to put it simply, the full horrors of de facto totalitarian
rule — were firmly established in Zimbabwe. Mugabe had lost all inhibition,
using torture and violence indiscriminately. With society nearing total
breakdown, and with starvation looming in various communities, the political
establishment turned its attention to the World Cup of 2003 as a new
opportunity to shore up its flagging legitimacy.

And it was at this point that Flower, once again, found himself questioning
many of the deepest assumptions of the culture he lived in. “Human rights
abuses had been occurring in Zimbabwe for quite a while,” he says. “But you
just don’t see things clearly when you are embedded in a system. You just
accept it as what happens to a nation in transition. You are normalised into
what is happening.

“But I was jogged out of my complacency in 2003 by two things happening
simultaneously. A friend of mine [called Nigel Hough], who had played
cricket for Zimbabwe, phoned me up one day to say that he had had his land
taken off him. He drove me out to his farm to show me what had happened. It
was a once-thriving enterprise that supported the community, had a clinic
and a school, and employed several hundred people in the area.

“Now, it was rack and ruin. No one was using the land, no one was generating
income and nobody was supporting those families. It was horrendous to see.
He said: ‘Look at what is happening in this country. You have a moral
obligation to highlight this.’ Once he had planted that seed, I thought:
‘Yes we do.’

“On the same day I opened a newspaper — it was the only independent paper at
the time and was constantly harried by the Government. On the inside page
was an article about an MP who had been arrested and tortured in police
custody. It was a tiny article, hardly any space at all. And suddenly I was
struck, as if for the first time, by the sheer horror of living in a nation
where torture is so widespread it does not even make front page news.”

But if Flower had to search deep inside to confront his own racial
assumptions as a teenager, he knew that he would have to confront Mugabe in
more public fashion. Hough suggested a full boycott of the World Cup, but
Flower felt uneasy with the idea of pressuring younger players to join a
protest that would effectively end their careers.

So, along with Henry Olonga, the first black man to play for Zimbabwe, he
hatched the plan for the two of them to wear black armbands.

“I asked Henry to a meeting to put to him the idea of taking a stand,”
Flower says. “Henry’s involvement was vital, and it didn’t take him long to
realise it was the right thing to do. Henry is deeply principled and his
willingness to join in gave the protest moral authority. A protest by a
white man alone would have been dismissed as a colonialist gimmick. But with
one black and one white, it told the story that this was not about race, but
about terror and brutality.”

The dangers were obvious, but neither man flinched from what they had come
to believe was their duty. “We took advice from security people who told us
that we would be safe during the tournament — because we were in the public
eye — but not afterwards,” Flower says.

“The modus operandi of the regime was to involve you in a car crash or to
stab you during a fake mugging. They told us to get out as soon as the
competition was over.”

Flower and Olonga’s historic stand took place on February 10, 2003, in the
opening match against Namibia. They had kept news of the protest to a small
coterie of trusted friends to ensure that it was not railroaded by the
regime. Only at 9.30am on the morning of the match, with the teams about to
take the field, did the world find out what was about to take place via a
prepared statement. Images of the protest made front pages in almost every

“We were eventually knocked out of the competition in a match in South
Africa,” Flower says. “Henry did not go back to Zimbabwe, he was too
worried. He had already received death threats. I went back for three days
to clear up a few things and then left for good. My family had already moved
to England before the World Cup started. I haven’t been back since.”
Flower’s reputation as one of the outstanding coaches in sport today, a man
who inspires loyalty and admiration from his players and staff, is
unequivocally a consequence of the journey he has taken and the lessons he
has learnt. A young man who, by his own admission, lacked empathy and
perspective, he has blossomed into a leader who combines moral seriousness
with deep humanity.

It is no coincidence that under his leadership, England players have been
put through programmes designed to challenge their perspective. The two-day
trip to Flanders, to visit war graves and attend a memorial service, is one
of many examples.

“We have tried to grow leaders within our unit and that means broadening
perspectives and challenging assumptions,” Flower says. “It is only when we
are forced to look beyond ourselves that we really learn.”

When I ask Flower whether he has ever wondered if cricket is rather a
trivial thing to devote one’s life to, he nods slowly before tackling the
question head on. “I feel very privileged to be in this job,” he says. “But
I know that cricket is not like devoting one’s life to charity. Cricket may
be fun, but it is not about saving lives or making the world a better

But for the first time in the interview he is mistaken. Along with Olonga,
he did use cricket to make the world a better place. And those of us who
witnessed their dignified and chastening protest in Harare will not forget

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