CIVIC GROUPS URGE REGIONAL BLOC TO MONITOR MUGABE Wed 6
PRETORIA - South African churches and civic society
groups have urged the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to
immediately deploy monitors to Zimbabwe to ensure electoral reforms proposed
by President Robert Mugabe fully complied with SADC norms and standards for
The call came after Zimbabwean civic society leaders,
speaking on the last day of a two-day conference on "Minimum Standards for
Elections in Zimbabwe", dismissed Mugabe's reforms as a "complete
The Zimbabwean civic leaders cited the arrest of 60 women
activists by police in Harare yesterday as yet another example of how Mugabe
and his government continued to violate the SADC norms.
women were arrested after they presented a petition to Parliament protesting
against a proposed new law that will severely restrict Non-Governmental
Organisations in the country.
The conference, which began on
Monday, was organised by the South African Council of Churches (SACC) in
partnership with Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference (SACBC),
Centre for Policy Studies (CPS), the Institute for Democratic Alternatives
in South Africa (Idasa) and the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation
SACC general secretary Molefe Tsele said the conference's
main brief was to determine how the South African community could assist
Zimbabwe in building a solid consensus on minimum election
Tsele said Zimbabwe's election, scheduled for March
2005, was a major test of credibility for SADC. He said the regional body
had to ensure Harare fully complied with the electoral norms agreed by its
leaders, including Mugabe.
However, in a communiqué that
appeared to contradict the contributions of all Zimbabwean and
non-Zimbabwean speakers, the South African conveners of the meeting
expressed hope that Mugabe was going to implement comprehensive electoral
reforms in strict conformity with the SADC guidelines ahead of the crucial
Quizzed at a Press conference on why they remained confident
and hopeful that Mugabe would change despite the unfolding reality on the
ground, Paul Graham of Idasa and Charles Villa-Vicencio of the IJR said they
had no other alternative but to be hopeful.
"We know in the
past our hopes have been dashed but we can't stop hoping that good things
will ultimately happen," said Villa-Vicencio.
Movement for Democratic Change party secretary general Welshman Ncube said
it was already too late to level the playing field in Zimbabwe ahead of the
He called for the poll to be postponed to allow
time to create legal and political conditions in Zimbabwe conducive to the
holding of a free and fair election.
The MDC has suspended
participation until Zimbabwe's laws were sufficiently democratised in
accordance with the SADC norms and standards.
rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, Crisis Coalition in Zimbabwe chairman Brian
Kagoro, academic Brian Raftopolous, were among other prominent speakers who
dismissed the possibility of a free and fair election in Zimbabwe unless
SADC and the African Union pressured Harare to comply with the regional
Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU PF party snubbed the
conference despite having confirmed earlier that it would be present. -
ZANU PF big guns ready to shoot down Jonathan Moyo Wed 6
HARARE - Senior ruling ZANU PF party leaders will
demand only people who have been "consistent members" of the party since
Zimbabwe's 1970s liberation war to represent it in next year's election in
order to block Information Minister Jonathan Moyo from the
The ZANU PF politicians, worried at Moyo's rising power and
influence in the ruling party and in government, also want all aspiring
candidates to have served in the party's provincial structures for at least
Moyo briefly joined ZANU PF but deserted the party's
guerrilla camps in the 1970s to pursue his education in the United States.
He only rejoined the party around 1999 and has never served in its
provincial structures for the required period.
yesterday said ZANU PF Women's League chairwoman, Thenjiwe Lesabe, secretary
for administration Emmerson Mnangagwa, chairman John Nkomo, and
Vice-President Joseph Msika last week lobbied the party's politburo to adopt
the new selection criteria for candidates for the March 2005
A list of the new requirements, a copy of
which was shown to ZimOnline, reads in part: "Aspiring candidates for any
national posts must have served the party for five years at provincial
level. (Candidates must provide) evidence of membership to the
party dating back to the liberation war as well as consistency over the
ZANU PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira yesterday said the
new requirements were not meant to sideline any specific individual. He
said: "The requirements would be strictly adhered to and whoever, whether
it's a cabinet minister or not, who fails to make the grade will be
Once one of President Robert Mugabe's fiercest
critics, Moyo changed sides in 1999 when he was appointed to a government
commission tasked to draw up a new constitution for Zimbabwe.
The constitutional reform exercise flopped but Moyo was rewarded when he was
handpicked by Mugabe into Parliament in 2000 under a constitutional
provision allowing the President to appoint 30 Members of Parliament. He was
also appointed Minister of Information the same year.
Without a personal power base within ZANU PF, Moyo manipulated the state's
vast propaganda machine he controls to widen his power and influence while
undermining rivals, including his seniors, in the party and
Moyo had astutely moved to build his own support
base when he publicly declared he wanted to represent ZANU PF in Tsholotsho
constituency next year. He had already started campaigning for the seat.
Moyo could not be reached for comment to establish whether he would now
abandon campaigning in light of the new requirements.
hawkish Moyo crafted tough media laws that have seen more than 100
journalists charged and three newspapers including Zimbabwe's biggest and
only privately-owned daily, The Daily News, banned. - ZimOnline
Speaker of Parliament out to gag media Wed 6 October
HARARE - Speaker of Zimbabwe's Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa
yesterday ordered leaders of the House's portfolio committees that probe
government departments to ban the media from covering their
Mnangagwa, who until now had seemed to tolerate
media coverage of Parliament and its committees, was also understood to be
pressuring the committees not to issue public statements about their work
without his permission.
"The Speaker has instructed us to seek
his permission first before issuing out public statements and he also wants
the media gagged and prevented from revealing whatever committees of
Parliament are uncovering," said a chairman of one of the House
Both Mnangagwa and Clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma
could not be reached to comment on the new restrictions.
committees of Parliament investigate the work of government ministries and
departments and have in the past exposed mismanagement and
For example, two weeks ago the House's Portfolio
Committee on Public Accounts unearthed how Zimbabwe's national social
insurance scheme, the National Social Security Authority, was two years ago
fleeced of US$10 million in a botched information technology upgrading
project insiders said involved senior government officials.
committee also revealed how the social insurance scheme could have been
prejudiced several millions of dollars when it bought land at an inflated
price from ruling ZANU PF party chairman for Mashonaland West province,
Investigations by the Portfolio Committee on
Energy also revealed how Energy Minister July Moyo will by the end of the
year have used up to Z$200 million on allowances alone at a time when the
ministry did not have cash and was failing to pay its debts.
Zimbabwe's media is already severely gagged under the government's Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act but had some leeway when covering
Parliament. - ZimOnline
Suspected mercenary dies in Zimbabwe jail October
Harare - A South African man held in Zimbabwe over an
alleged plot to overthrow the government in Equatorial Guinea has
Ngave Jarukemo Muharukua (35), one of the 68 men held in a
Zimbabwean jail, died yesterday in a Harare hospital, where he had been
admitted last week, the state news agency reported. The cause of death was
"Ngave, a South African citizen, has died," New Ziana
quoted an unnamed prison official as saying, without giving further
A lawyer who has been representing the men could not
confirm the death when contacted by reporters.
The deceased was
one of 70 men arrested at Harare's international airport in March when a
plane they were travelling on stopped to pick up weapons from a state arms
The men were last month sentenced to prison terms
ranging from one to seven years for violating Zimbabwean immigration,
firearms and aviation laws, and only two were acquitted.
Sixty-seven of them, including the deceased, received prison terms of
between 12 and 16 months for breaching immigration laws.
Eugen Nershz, one of the 15 foreigners arrested in Equatorial Guinea in
connection with the coup attempt, died several days after his arrest,
supposedly from complications arising from cerebral malaria. But Amnesty
International said Nershz died "apparently as a result of torture".
Meanwhile, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has suggested that the easiest
way to deal with mercenaries in Africa is to shoot them.
"Mercenaries, you just shoot them. This is a simple matter, it's not a big
problem," he said yesterday in Harare, where he is on a state visit. -
Zimbabwe police today arrested three press photographers
covering a demonstration in Harare, in a sweep that also saw more than 50
women protesters detained.
Lawyers and witnesses said Howard Burditt
of Reuters, freelance Tsvangirai Mukwazhi and Desmond Kwande of the Zimbabwe
Daily Mirror newspaper were picked up at a public park opposite Zimbabwe's
parliament where the protest was taking place. The demonstration was against
a proposed law on non-governmental organisations.
(journalists) have not yet been charged, but there are suggestions they
could face charges of obstructing police work," said Alec Muchadehama, a
lawyer who represents Reuters in Zimbabwe. All three are Zimbabwe citizens.
Police were not immediately available for comment.
Police in Zimbabwe
have arrested journalists on charges of obstructing police work in the past,
part of what government opponents say is a broader crackdown on media
freedoms. President Robert Mugabe's government enacted tough media laws two
years ago requiring journalists and media houses to register with a
state-appointed media commission and imposing fines and jail terms on anyone
convicted of publishing falsehoods.
Critics say the law, which also bars
foreign journalists from working in the country, has been used to curtail
press freedom with Mugabe facing a political crisis that partly stems from
his controversial re-election two years ago. Three newspapers have been shut
down, dozens of journalists have been arrested and some foreign journalists
have been deported under the law.
Western-sponsored hate campaign The
Zimbabwe government says the law is meant to bring professionalism to a
sector it accuses of waging a Western-sponsored hate campaign against
Mugabe. Mugabe (80) and in power since independence from Britain in 1980,
has attracted international attention over his seizures of white-owned farms
for black resettlement and the alleged rigging of his and his party's
re-election in the last four years.
Government critics say the new
bill proposed by Mugabe's Zanu-PF party on non-governmental organisations is
aimed at closing down operations of some private human rights groups.
Today's demonstration was organised by Women of Zimbabwe Arise, a pressure
group that has mounted a number of protests over civil liberties in recent
Representatives of the group said 54 demonstrators were taken into
custody and remained in police hands late today, although no official
charges had been filed. - Reuters
send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to email@example.com with "For Open Letter
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300 --------------------------------------------------------------------------- THOUGHT
FOR THE DAY
"Get over the idea that only children should spend their time
in study. Be a student so long as you still have something to learn, and this
will mean all your life." --- Henry L.
Letter 1. Subject: Farming Wives - Stories
It is so
good to keep in touch with 'home' with your communiques etc.
I am in the
throes of a new thought process and would like your opinion. Following the
collection of the stories of the farmers of Wedza which eventually after 30
years resulted in Winter Cricket. I wonder whether there would be any
interest by the farmer's wives of the whole country, those still there and
those abroad, who would possibly read your communication who may be
interested in contributing to another booklet about their lives as farmer's
wives - their thoughts, their activities, how they coped with various
situations, their contribution to the community and to the communities
outlying ie the adjoining communal lands, and thereby also outlining the
contributions made by their husbands and their communities as a whole to the
adjoining lands - eg field days etc.
quite a bit
of this can be taken out of Winter Cricket and some of the other books, but
at this stage this is merely a pip. I have not even done any land prep yet!
Please can you let me know your thoughts. Margi is approaching a few of the
ladies she knows who have done enormous good works - but I dont want this
confined to Wedza/Marandellas. Especially interesting would be those wives
who were not of farming origin, and some not even of 'African' origin, but
from eg England.
Please let me have your views and please pop this into
the next JAG classifieds or where you think it is best.
Macdonald _____________________________________________ Letter 2.
Subject: Skin Colour is Irrelevant
Dear Family and Friends
to the people!" has been President Mugabe's call for the last four years and
seven months. It was a call that saw almost a million people in the form of
farmers, farm workers and their families and extended families being made
jobless, homeless and destitute. It was also a call that saw Zimbabwe go from
being a regional seed and food exporter to a destitute beggar in less than
four years. "Our Land is Our Prosperity!" was the call that persuaded
ordinary rural peasants to go and squat on commercial farms around the
country. This call led to hyper inflation soaring to over 600% in January
this year and a massive brain drain with more than three million people
streaming out of Zimbabwe. "The Land is the economy!" was another slogan
which our government shoved down our throats while over 300 opposition
supporters were killed in political violence and foreign journalists were
expelled from the country. "Our land! Our Land! Our Land!" was the
increasingly hysterical call by the government as they clamped down on
freedom of speech, movement, association and publication.
While all of
this went on most of Zimbabwe's African neighbours have kept shamefully
quiet. Perhaps they believed the scores of hateful racist speeches that have
been spouted by our leaders or perhaps they were scared that they'd be called
racists if they criticised events in Zimbabwe. In the last three weeks some
diabolical things have been going on in Zimbabwe and yet still our African
neighbours cannot find their voices. Hundreds of black peasant farmers and
their families have been forcibly evicted from the land they have been living
on since February 2000. Evictions have apparently been undertaken by soldiers
and police who have set light to people's homes and left peasant farmers with
their wives, children, furniture and livestock stranded on the side of main
Quoted in the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper last week, one
evicted peasant farmer said: "We are convinced that the government is now
evicting us from the farms to pave the way for Zanu PF
White commercial farmers lived in fear and were powerless
when the Zimbabwean government came and grabbed their farms in 2000.
Black Zimbabwean farmers are now also living in fear for the powerlessness
that is about to engulf them as our government kicks them off the farms
too. Skin colour is irrelevant, we are all victims. Events in Zimbabwe
have surely now become the shame of Africa.
Until next week, with
love, cathy ______________________________________________
Subject: Mark and Wendy Letcher
Does anyone know the
present whereabouts of Mark and Wendy Letcher . My son Ian has just got a
transfer by the company he works for, to Griffiths. A town between Sydney and
Melbourne. He has had promotion to chief engineer for Australian Meat
Holdings, in Griffiths. They feed 35,000 head of cattle and grow all the
feedstocks They also slaughter and process all the beef in NSW He had heard
that Mark maybe working in that area and he and Nickie would love to make
We are still enjoying life in the UK. I have just had another
Lymphoma lump removed but a CT scan shows nothing else, so yet again I win
the battle. I call my lumps " Mugs " and they cannot survive !! Ian
arrives here from Oz on Tuesday for ten days. Our B&B has been a great
success and we have no weekends available until Christmas now. We seem to
run at 100% most months of the year. My niece from Mkwasine will be running
the B&B for three months while we backpack to Thailand Australia and
North Island New Zealand, as from 5th Jan 2005.
If any Zimbos we know,
see this, make plans, as we will pop in for tea if you are on our route
Yours aye Phil
Brereton --------------------------------------------------------------------------- All
letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions of the
submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice for
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Advert Received 29th September 2004
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If anyone has any canoes for sale please
can you contact Allister Banks on 04 252234 or 073
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Advert Received 4th October 2004
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DISPOSAL OF HOUSEHOLD EFFECTS Household
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House for sale on the PENINSULA, Mazvikadei
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view. --------------------------------------------------------------------------- For
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THE commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces,
General Constantine Chiwenga has brewed a shocker by saying the army will
not support any change of government that is "foreign driven".
Addressing thousands of people at a prize-giving day at a rural school over
the weekend, Chiwenga said the defence forces were there to protect the
country's achievements and would not allow anyone to disturb
"I would not hesitate to go on record again on behalf of the
Zimbabwe Defence Forces, to disclose that we would not welcome any change of
government that carries the label 'Made in London' and whose sole aim is to
defeat the gains of the liberation struggle," Chiwenga was quoted in the
government-owned daily, The Herald, saying.
The Robert Mugabe
government has repeatedly claimed the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party is not a "home-grown" party but is driven from 10 Downing
Street, which is the residence of British premier Tony Blair.
Chiwenga's statement is a repeat of similar utterances made by the then
commander of the defence forces - now retired - Vitalis Zvinavashe in 2002
when he said the presidency was a "straight-jacket" and was not up for
Zvinavashe went on national television just before the
presidential election to say the defence forces would not salute anyone who
did not participate in the liberation struggle.
his comments then as saying the army would revolt if President Mugabe lost
in the presidential race against opposition Movement for Democratic Change
president Morgan Tsvangirai.
However, it is the repeat of the same
statement by Chiwenga that has sent shock waves in a country that is
preparing for parliamentary elections in March 2005.
shadow minister for defence Giles Mutsekwa: "We are not surprised by
Chiwenga's remarks. One has to bear in mind that he, like police chief
Augustine Chihuri, hold their positions because of one man, Mugabe, and must
be seen to be dancing to the piper's tune.
"His sentiments are not
shared by the hierarchy in the defence forces, from brigadier going down. We
are in constant contact with the defence forces and know their position as
regards the politics of the country," he said.
the defence forces were supposed to be professional and non-partisan, adding
that people like Chiwenga had no place in the "army of
Chiwenga and his wife Jocelyn, achieved notoriety
for invading a horticultural farm in 2001. The two are arguably one of the
richest couples in the country, having racked in close to 80 million British
pounds from illegal export of fresh produce to leading UK supermarkets,
among them Sainsburys. (Exchange rate: BP1=Z$12 000).
exports were only stopped after the previous owner of the farm sued the
couple in the UK and asked Sainsburys to freeze payments.
rose to notoriety after she attacked Gugulethu Moyo, the then legal adviser
of the banned Daily News in 2003 at a police station in a Harare
Moyo had gone to the station to seek the release of the
newspaper's photographer who had been arrested for taking pictures of a
Jocelyn then bragged that she was "filthy
rich" and said no one could touch her. No action was taken by the police
during and after the assault.
Chiwenga over the weekend promised
the gathering that they would fund the electrification of both the primary
and secondary schools, drill a borehole and set up a market gardening
He also promised to complete the construction of the
secondary school's library and build more classrooms, saying the programme
was aimed at helping the schools to develop themselves.
also offered 20 scholarships to both primary and secondary pupils, sports
equipment, which included balls and uniforms, stationery and a trophy. The
ZDF Commander also donated cash to various schools in Wedza meant for
"My wife and I strongly believe in the old
saying that give a hungry man a fish and he will come back for another one
as soon as he is hungry again," Chiwenga said.
"But give him a
hook and a line, teach him how to fish and he will not ask for another fish
from anybody again in life. We have given the offer so that the schools can
THEY may have backed
different groups in the civil war in the DRC, but Presidents Mugabe and
Museveni have a few things in common.
They have both been in power
for a long time, Museveni since 1986. They have both publicly displayed a
reluctance to give up that power.
They have both alluded to the
possibility of their countries plunging into chaos once they leave the
political stage, suggesting they hold the key to their countries'
Both men are headstrong and intolerant of
Museveni's flirtation with a political system where there
are not political parties has been condemned by his critics. Some of his
opponents are still in exile, fearing for their lives if they return to
The Lord's Resistance Army may not be at war with
Museveni's government over this peculiar political arrangement, but the long
conflict has cost many, many lives - needlessly, according to Museveni's
In Mugabe's Zimbabwe, there are many political parties,
but the playing field is so uneven, none of them stands a hope in hell of
ever coming to power - until Mugabe's party is prepared for a civilised
electoral playing field.
But during his current visit to
Zimbabwe, Museveni has spoken of trade between the two countries and of
trade between Africa and the rest of the world, but particularly the
Perhaps in private, the two men have discussed their
attitudes to the West's disenchantment with Zimbabwe's politics, rather than
with Uganda's. It can't be Museveni's success in tackling his country's
It can't be his accusation against Sudan for its
support for the LRA.
But it could be how, in spite of the bloody
war with the LRA, Museveni has still managed to gain acceptance among his
own people for his political and economic policies.
Ugandans seem to believe they are better off with Museveni at the helm than
at any time since independence in 1962. They are satisfied with their
standard of living.
Mugabe could learn some useful lessons from
this man, who also fought a guerrilla war to gain power.
never be a Nyerere or a Mandela, but he is not a Mugabe either. No country
has imposed any sanctions on him or his country - smart or