ZANU PF MILITANTS FORCE VILLAGERS TO BUY PARTY CARDS Mon 6
BINGA - Villagers in this mainly
opposition-supporting remote district lying more than 300 kilometres west of
Harare say ruling ZANU PF party militants are forcing them to join their
Several villagers as well as local business-people and civil
servants interviewed by ZimOnline said the militants were forcing them to buy
ZANU PF membership cards. Those who refused had been beaten up or had their
property destroyed and burnt down.
A teacher at a local
secondary school, Susan Ndou, said two of her colleagues had been forcibly
expelled from the district by militants who accused them of influencing
students to support the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
She said: "This place is no longer safe especially for
teachers like us. My two colleagues were expelled from the school after being
accused of teaching opposition politics to their students."
Local businessman Silas Siwela said his grocery shop was burnt down
by suspected ZANU PF militias and self-styled veterans of Zimbabwe's
1970s liberation war, who accused him of selling food to MDC
Both ZANU PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira and party
chairman John Nkomo could not be reached for comment on the matter yesterday.
ZANU PF has in the past strongly rejected claims its supporters commit
violence saying such claims were mere opposition propaganda intended to
demonise the ruling party and President Robert Mugabe.
war veterans leader, Pius Nsingo alias Zvabhenda-Zvabhenda, told ZimOnline
that they were working to cleanse the area of all
He said: "The MDC is like a disease, once it
enters your body you have to go to the hospital or consult a traditional
healer to drive it out. If you don't fight a disease it kills
Most of Zimbabwe's rural voters have in previous elections
voted for ZANU PF with Binga one of only a few rural areas that have backed
the MDC. The MDC has however said it will not participate in elections
including next year's crucial parliamentary ballot unless Zimbabwe's
electoral laws were sufficiently democratised. ZimOnline
MDC election boycott plan worsens uncertainty in business
sector Mon 6 September 2004
HARARE - The decision by the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party to pull out of next
year's parliamentary election has triggered fresh uncertainty in the business
sector, according to analysts.
They said failure to hold a credible
election next year would put paid efforts to attract back foreign aid, which
is critical to any attempts to resuscitate Zimbabwe's collapsing
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), used as a yardstick
for a country's credit worthiness, will most certainly not resume aid to
Zimbabwe. And local companies will find it even harder to regain their
foothold on the international market.
An official with one of
the country's largest hotel groups, ZimSun Leisure Group, said the leisure
and tourism industry would, "suffer shocks of the sanctions that might ensue
if the MDC boycotts the elections."
The official said ZimSun
suffered a decline of more than 20 percent in both domestic and international
arrivals due to the general loss of confidence in the industry in the 12
months to March 31 2004. He said next year's results were likely to be
Chairman of industrial conglomerate TA Holdings, Shingai
Mutasa, said: "Our destiny as a nation and a company is intricately woven to
the political dispensation.
"It is my hope that the country's
leaders will initiate meaningful dialogue with each other so that they find
an urgent solution to the current economic malaise."
The MDC two
weeks ago said it was suspending participation in elections until the
country's electoral laws were brought in line with Southern African
Development Community (SADC) norms and standards for elections.
Under the regional norms elections must be run by independent commissions
while the electoral process must be sufficiently fair
President Robert Mugabe has promised to set up
an independent electoral commission that will be tasked with ensuring truly
free and fair elections in the country.
The MDC says Mugabe is
insincere pointing out that the proposed commission will lack independence
because its chairman will be answerable to the President. ZimOnline
Non-Governmental Organisations street protests put on
hold Mon 6 September 2004
HARARE - Non-Governmental
Organisations (NGOs) will tomorrow submit their objections to a proposed new
law to govern NGOs in the country to Parliament's Portfolio Committee on
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare.
The committee will
bring civic society's objections before the House when it debates the draft
NGO Bill that civic activists say will virtually force 90 percent of NGOs in
the country to shut down.
Nationwide street demonstrations to
protest against the Bill that had been penciled in for tomorrow will now be
put on hold while NGOs attempt to lobby Parliament.
Coalition of Zimbabwe chairman Brian Kagoro told ZimOnline: "Members of the
National Association of NGOs agreed in Harare to make their submissions known
to the Parliamentary committee.
"There would be no demonstrations
but all civic society would gather and make submissions."
Executive director of the NGOs' association Jonah Mudehwe said: "We have been
requested by NGOs to make use of the opportunities that are being created by
Parliament for engagement. We are rigorously pursuing negotiations for now
and not demonstrations." ZimOnline
Florentina Tsongarero (not her real name) is a
Zimbabwean national from Bulawayo. She is just over 50 years old, has eight
children, her husband is dead and she earns between R540 and R1 500 a
She is a domestic worker who, like most migrant workers,
sends money home. Her desperation to put food on the table for her kids in
her home town has driven her south to find employment.
Tsongarero is working illegally in South Africa. She doesn't have a work
permit and every day when she goes to her little room in Fourways, she spends
up to R20 on taxis and buses to and from the leafy suburbs where she is
employed by Johannesburg's middle classes.
prevents her from opening a bank account, from unemployment benefits and from
all the labour legislation the state claims to have put in place to assist
workers. She is, therefore, at the complete mercy of her employers and the
She has been in the city for a year. She goes about
her business with a hearty sense of humour, an unmistakeable humility and a
consistency that are mostly written about in books.
having to merely stay alive in the Zola Budd taxis that scream along our
highways and byways, Tsongarero has a constant fear . At least once a
month, she finds herself travelling in a taxi that is stopped by the metro
All passengers are ordered to disembark and relevant papers
are asked for. On every occasion that she's been stopped, she's had to fork
out between R20 and R100 to the officer who simply threatens to take her
to Lindelani repatriation camp for the monthly exodus of foreign
Tsongarero is part of the growing group of people on the
subcontinent who are constantly on the move to find work. Apart from having
carried the burden of the mining industry, particularly gold mining, migrants
continue to be victims of the whims of corrupt officials.
Instead of trying to make her stay legal, and show the kind of generosity of
spirit that Zimbabweans gave former Azanian People's Liberation Army and MK
soldiers in the anti-apartheid struggle, our cops degenerate into thuggish
behaviour, giving limited passage to vulnerable people for a sliver of
But then again, the police are only following the example
of their political bosses who cannot keep their fingers out of the tills when
flying around the country.
Britain dragged into coup plot as rumours swirl over London
Thatcher's business partner turns state witness as diplomatic row
builds over alleged west African putsch
Antony Barnett, Martin Bright
and Patrick Smith Sunday August 29, 2004 The Observer
One of Sir
Mark Thatcher's key business partners has turned 'state witness' and is
alleged to have given dramatic new evidence to South African
police investigating Thatcher's role in the alleged coup to overthrow the
President of Equatorial Guinea. The revelation comes as speculation mounts
over what British and US officials knew about the alleged plot and when.
Insiders claim that officials in both countries were aware of a planned
attempt to topple the leader of the oil-rich west African state, although
both governments have denied this claim.
Thatcher's business partner,
former crack mercenary pilot Crause Steyl, is believed to have handed over
details of Thatcher's investment in an aviation firm that had contracts with
Simon Mann, the old Etonian and former SAS officer in jail in
The former Prime Minister's son was arrested in Cape Town last
week over accusations that he helped finance the alleged coup that aimed to
overthrow President Obiang and replace him with the exiled Opposition leader
The Observer, which first revealed details of Thatcher's
alleged involvement in the coup last month, has been told by South African
sources that Steyl accompanied Moto to the Canary Islands on the eve of the
day the alleged putsch was to happen.
They were flown from Madrid to
the islands in a South African-registered King Air 200 by a stunt pilot and
landed in the morning of 7 March. The plane is then reported to have flown on
to the Malian capital of Bamako where Moto awaited news from the mercenary
leaders. The next day, the Boeing 727 carrying Mann and his crew of more than
60 mercenaries was impounded in Harare and those on board
Steyl's evidence could be highly damaging to Thatcher, who
faces 15 years in jail after being charged last week with helping to finance
the mercenary plot to topple the President. The government of Equatorial
Guinea is requesting an interview with Thatcher in South Africa and is hoping
to having him extradited to face trial there. Thatcher's defence team in
Cape Town - which insists he is innocent of all charges - believes Steyl is
emerging as central to the prosecution and say they have been told to stay
away from him. The lawyers suspect that Steyl has given the South African
police a detailed affidavit containing several statements. Steyl was
unavailable for comment.
The Observer has obtained details of the
contract signed by Steyl and Mann on 16 January to provide aircraft and
aviation services. Steyl is alleged to have persuaded Thatcher to invest
$250,000 (£139, 586) in a joint venture between a company called Triple A and
Mann's Guernsey firm Logo Ltd to provide aircraft and aviation
Thatcher's friends insist the investment was a 'peripheral one'
in a flying doctor service and that the initials Triple A stand for Air
Ambulance Africa. Similar cover stories have been used in mercenary
operations, South African intelligence sources say, but Thatcher's friends
say that his relationship with Steyl may be 'exaggerated and
Mann's associates say he relied increasingly on Steyl's
experience in running air operations as plans for the coup plot played out
this year. The two first met when Mann established Executive Outcomes in
South Africa in the early Nineties and won a contract to run military
operations in support of the Angolan government's operations against Unita
Steyl worked on several other private military operations such as
the Executive Outcomes contract in Sierra Leone. It was Steyl and another
former mercenary who arranged the leasing from US Dodson Aviation of the
Boeing 727-100 which was seized in Zimbabwe with 70 former South African
soldiers on board last 7 March. Steyl's brother Neil was piloting it, and has
been held in Harare since March.
One of Steyl's associates suggested
that it was concern for his brother's fate that prompted Crause Steyl to
start co-operating with the Zimbabwean and South African
As further details emerge of the extraordinary coup plot,
speculation is mounting over the role played by western intelligence agencies
in the alleged plot to oust Obiang. An individual intimately involved in
the alleged coup has claimed that British officials were aware of the plot
to replace Obiang with Moto.
South African sources claim the rumours
of the coup were circulating among diplomatic circles in Pretoria ear lier
this year - although the Foreign Office denies any 'prior
The allegation that British officials knew about the
potential illegal coup comes amid claims from British and Spanish
intelligence agencies that French spies helped to scupper the plot.
is also claimed that the US and Spanish security services were involved in
the plot to replace the dictator of the tiny West African state, which has
vast oil reserves.
Although it is not suggested that British intelligence
was complicit in any coup plot, the claim that some officials might have had
advance knowledge of the attempted putsch has prompted opposition politicians
to demand a statement from the Foreign Secretary, Jack Straw. Menzies
Campbell, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, last night called
on the government to come clean about its knowledge of the
Last night the Foreign Office categorically denied that it
had any 'prior knowledge of the alleged plot'.
The Observer has learnt
that in February this year there was a meeting at the London headquarters of
the Royal Institute of International Affairs on the future of Equatorial
Guinea. It is known that there was at least one government official present
as well as representatives of the oil industry. According to sources present,
there were active discussions about rumours of coup plots there.
is accused of being the mercenary leader hired by mysterious business and
political figures involved in an old-fashioned battle to control the
oil reserves. Up for grabs was a huge multi-million pound bounty of cash plus
a share of lucrative oil concessions.
Many in the intelligence
community are asking whether a hidden hand was played by Western powers. Some
suggest American, Spanish and British interests offered their backing to
exiled Moto. On the other side were the French, who believed a successful
coup would have cemented US domination in the country, where US oil giant
Exxon Mobil already enjoys the most important drilling concessions. British
intelligence sources have suggested that the French learned of the plot and
helped to sabotage it.
Spanish intelligence sources have made similar
claims. Former Spanish Prime Minister José María Aznar was a close ally of
the exiled Moto, who lived in Madrid.
Mann, who was found guilty on
Friday in a Zimbabwean court of attempting to buy arms for the botched coup,
confessed to Spanish involvement in plot.
The Spanish government has
denied this claim. But it has emerged that earlier this year two Spanish
warships left the Nato naval base based near Cádiz. One of the frigates had
on board 500 elite troops and the soldiers are reported to have been told
they were heading for Equatorial Guinea.
Nick du Toit, one of Mann's
alleged accomplices arrested in Equatorial Guinea, told the country's court
last week: 'The Spanish government would recognise the Moto government and it
had the blessing of some American higher-up politicians.' Moto has dismissed
the coup plot as 'complete fiction'.
It was Du Toit who named Thatcher
in a statement last week that led to his arrest. Thatcher's alleged
involvement first emerged when The Observer obtained details of two letters
written by Mann from prison referring to the former Prime Minister's son as
SA police 'as cruel as Mugabe's militia' Basildon
Peta September 05 2004 at 08:02PM
Young Memory Moyo
witnessed the horror of her village being burnt and destroyed by President
Robert Mugabe's notorious youth militias.
She witnessed her young
friends being raped and tortured by the youths known as Green Bombers. She
decided to flee Zimbabwe after fighting off several attempts to rape her. She
says she never expected a life of milk and honey on coming to
After home affairs authorities issued her with an
Asylum Seeker's Temporary Permit which allows her to stay and work in South
Africa, she had hoped the income earned from plaiting women's hair would
allow her the basics of survival.
But now the 19-year-old Moyo
says her life in Johannesburg has become "hell on earth" thanks to the South
Africa Police Service (SAPS).
"We (Zimbabwean refugees) seem to
have become a lucrative industry for the SA police," said an angry Moyo
shortly after her recent release from the Lindela refugee holding centre near
"They (SA police) are just as cruel as Mugabe's
notorious militia. They arrest us and demand bribes or sexual favours in
exchange for not being deported."
Moyo has been arrested several
times even though she holds the temporary asylum permit, the most recent
arrest was following yet another police swoop on illegal immigrants in and
She claims police officers tore up her permit and
loaded her into the back of a police truck bound for Lindela, where arrested
immigrants are held pending deportation.
She was told she could
avoid deportation if she had sex with each of the four police officers and
paid a R400 bribe.
"I refused both options and they offloaded me at
Lindela and urged my deportation. They did not even mention that they had
torn up my temporary refugee permit and I was not an illegal
She was held for four days and her deportation papers
were ready when a sympathetic immigration official finally listened to her
story. Her name was checked against the department's computer files which
confirmed that she had been granted the temporary asylum permit. She was
Several Zimbabwean political refugees who have been
returned to Zimbabwe have allegedly disappeared after being accused of
Despite the risks Moyo says she has decided to go
public with her story to expose "the sadistic" ways of the South African
police with desperate young Zimbabwean girls.
She says many of
her friends who have fled to Johannesburg have become "unofficial wives" of
policemen here. She claims they are arrested, driven to dark areas where they
are forced to have sex with several officers at a time to avoid
While some have legitimate refugee permits, many
others don't and the wait to get them is often a long one.
police don't differentiate between who holds an official permit and who does
not. They harass everyone," says Moyo. "While it is their legitimate duty to
fish out and deport illegal immigrants, it's high time they were stopped from
abusing their powers and victimising hapless girls and women.
"They (the police) say it's them who have the power to decide who should live
in South Africa and who should not and don't care about Home Affairs
permits," says Moyo.
"In the end, it's either you pay them or
submit to sex or both. This has become a nightmare world for us," says
Another victim, Valentine Mpofu says she offered the police
her cellphone in exchange for her freedom when they arrested her over a
week ago. She did not have the bribery money and also resisted
"They refused the cellphone saying it would give them more
work in trying to find a buyer. So they took me to Lindela for deportation,"
"They had also asked me if I was a virgin or not,
saying they preferred to sleep with refugees who were virgins. I told them I
wasn't and resisted their advances. Luckily I was not raped."
Lindela, Mpofu, 21, was also lucky to find a sympathetic immigration official
who checked her name against official records and found her to be a
legitimate refugee. She gave her a permit to go back to Rosettenville or
Pretoria to replace the temporary asylum seeker's permit destroyed by the
It's not always easy to find sympathetic immigration
officials at Lindela says Mayibongwi Nkosi, 22, another
"Most (immigration officials) don't listen to the cries
of refugees and will simply process papers and deport you," says
Nkosi says the refugees deported back to Zimbabwe are
accused of betraying Mugabe while in South Africa. They are taken to militia
torture camps where many are raped and some are killed.
we are here, it's difficult to maintain regular contact with home because we
don't have resources. So our families think we are safe here," she
Nkosi said the third time she was arrested, she was one among
20 other people. By the time they reached Lindela, only nine remained; the
others had paid bribes to the officers and were dropped along the
The Zimbabwean interviewees claimed a lot of abuses also took
place on the train transporting deportees to the Zimbabwe border. They said
women and girls are sexually abused in one of the coaches in the train
reserved for staff.
The situation was even worse for Zimbabwean
men who were accused of being "thieves who are killing South African
policemen and committing robberies."
Apart from paying bribes,
the men often endure heavy beatings and abuse.
Zimbabwean male refugees who did not want to be named said the police often
told them that Zimbabwe was not at war and that they should go
"We tell them that what's happening in Zimbabwe amounts to
war. They hardly listen," said one of the men. He said he saw no point in
SA authorities issuing temporary asylum permits if the police trashed
Only 12 Zimbabweans have reportedly been given full asylum
despite hundreds of thousands of applications. An estimated three
million Zimbabweans are now living either legally or illegally in South
What all these refugees now want is for President Thabo
Mbeki to institute an inquiry into the abuse of refugees and temporary asylum
seekers by SA authorities including probing the "inhospitable and
horrible" conditions at Lindela where they say inmates are fed at most one or
no meals per day.
They say they did not flee to South Africa out
of choice but because of political hardships which South Africans should
understand. They said the behaviour of SA authorities flies in the face of
international conventions for refugees.
Lungelo Dlamini, the
spokesperson for the SAPS in Gauteng, said the police had dealt with cases of
alleged corruption involving the police and immigrants but emphasised that
there was little the SAPS could do unless the victims came forward to report
their grievances and backed them with evidence.
He said if they
were afraid to report to the police stations in person but felt they had
compelling evidence, the victims could write letters to the Commissioner of
Police detailing their cases or to station commanders at various police
stations and these would receive due attention.
"We do have
complaints of police corruption and we deal with them from time to time.
Although the complaints are of a general nature, we have indeed received
corruption complaints relating to police and illegal immigrants," said
He said the SAPS would prosecute officers caught
soliciting bribes or abusing immigrants if the allegations were backed with
Dlamini also encouraged refugees to report any forms of
abuse to their respective embassies in Pretoria, an option that seems totally
out for Zimbabwean political refugees here. - Independent Foreign Service
Agencies Last updated: 09/06/2004 04:00:24 ZIMBABWE'S three foreign banks
are wallowing in unprecedented profits. The three multinationals made nearly
US$100 million (R650 million) in after-tax profits in the six months to June,
an overall increase of nearly 2 000 percent on the previous comparable
The profits, described as "excessive" by some analysts, arose
because banks paid depositors almost zero interest and threw these cheap
funds into the money market, which was yielding as much as 320
Cumulatively, the banks, South Africa's Stanbic and British
banks Standard Chartered and Barclays, reported an after-tax historical cost
profit of Z$501.4 billion (R624 million) in the six months to June, compared
with Z$24.961 billion in the same period last year.
Chartered's Zimbabwe profit of Z$190 billion was triple that of retail
banking in the rest of Africa and up by 1 908 percent on a year
Stanbic Bank's after-tax profits soared by 2 055 percent to Z$114.9
billion, which was about a half of what it made out of the rest of its
Barclays Bank reveals that it made Z$196.5 billion
out of Zimbabwe or a third of what it made in the rest of its African and
Middle East operations.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe decided that last
year's cheap borrowing was one reason for inflation, which peaked in January
at 622 percent year on year.
Over the past three years, banks paid
interest of zero to 10 percent while rates on the market were around 30 to 50
To discourage speculative borrowing, the central bank governor
Gideon Gono introduced financial bills, short-term paper with interest rates
of 320 percent. Analysts say the financial bills, intended as a
deflationary measure, are going to prove the reverse.
still has to pay interest that is accumulating. More than Z$1.3 trillion
matured on one day in June.
Analysts say last year's high interest rates
pushed several "indigenous" banks into financial difficulties. Several
quality indigenous banks were infected by depositors' fears, which led to a
flight to the "safety" of the multinationals.
As the central bank
tightened liquidity and borrowing became more expensive, rewards to
depositors remained static. Minimum lending rates are still around 200
percent while deposits get 10 percent at most.
economist Jonathan Waters this week rapped "excessive" bank
"Banks had swathes of cheap cash this year, which they either
lent out at 200 to 300 percent or put into financial bills.
essence, they stole their depositors' funds as they paid them next
to nothing, and then lent it out at massive margins to the productive
sector, who they squeezed in order to make these excessive
The staggering riches of multinational banks will not cheer
their foreign shareholders as analysts say Zimbabwe cannot afford to allow
them to remit profits. Business Report