JAG SITREP 25th SEPTEMBER 2002
Yesterday afternoon a
number of business owners and citizens were
arrested. Six men were arrested,
including Amos Makasa (Roy Bennett's
farm foreman), Rocky Stone (a Farm
manager), Steve Housden and Wally
Johnson (Co-managers of Mwenji Lodge), and
Doug Thunderuit and Shane Kidd
(involved in the timber industry). A seventh
man, Alan Radford, was not
arrested, but was harassed and intimidated, and
had his passport taken
away from him. Radford is a British
The main agitator behind this process was Joseph Mwale, a CIO
backed by the Chimanimani ZRP. Mwale is said to have severely
all the arrested people, and claimed that he was not concerned
court order, regardless of what it said. The arrested men were taken
the police station, where they were held without any charge
proffered. They were released this morning after intervention on the
of both the South African and the British High Commissions.
majority of the farming population of Chimanimani has left the
percieving the harassment to be direct persecution, and many
and most farming concerns are consequently sitting idle, with much
rotting unpicked on the trees.
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MDC Press Statements
1. Inhuman Treatment of Justice Blackie Deplored, 17
2. Mugabe's invitation to Abuja Commonwelath Troika
surprising, 17 Sept.
3. Harare MDC Youth Assembly in support of
Mudzuri, 16 Sept, 2002
17 September 2002
Treatment of Blackie deplored
The arrest of former High Court Judge, Justice
Blackie, for allegedly
improperly handling a criminal case came as no
surprise in the context of
Zimbabwe's ongoing political crisis underpinned by
a complete erosion of the
rule of law and its substitution with the misrule
and abuse of law by an
illegitimate regime which has steadfastly refused to
return to legality. We
are of the firm view that Justice Blackie is being
persecuted for daring to
uphold the rule of law against some Zanu PF zealots
who have placed
themselves above the law which they hold in contempt except
when it is being
abused against the real and imagined opponents of Zanu
That Justice Blackie is being persecuted for handling the Patrick
case cannot be doubted. The message to everyone, including the
judges is crystal clear: he who dares stand up against Zanu PF
beware, big brother is watching and you shall be dealt with
vindictive approach by the regime is meant to scare other
judges from an
impartial application of the law, particularly against Zanu
functionaries as well as in favour of the perceived opponents of Zanu PF
its illegitimate government.
That Justice Blackie was denied his
constitutional rights including the
elementary one of access to his lawyers
and held without access to his
medication and food in one of the filthiest
police holding cells in the
country, namely Matapi Police Station, just goes
to show how brutal and evil
this regime has become. The regime should be
ashamed that it has turned the
once revered police force into a surrogate
force that is now being used to
subjugate innocent people instead of
upholding the rule of law. The force
denied Justice Blackie medication and
food during the first 24 hours of his
detention in the filthy cells at Matapi
Police Station. Such inhuman
treatment of suspects, irrespective of the
nature of their alleged crime,
should be deplored in the strongest possible
terms by all decent and human
Zimbabweans who should not sit by while their
country is turned into a
personal Zanu PF estate.
Mugabe's invitation to Abuja
Commonwealth Troika surprising.
The invitation of Zimbabwe's illegitimate
President, Robert Mugabe by the
Commonwealth troika to the Abuja meeting
which is scheduled for early next
week is fundamentally wrong and is unlikely
to contribute to the reduction
of the crisis in our country. While we have no
doubt that the meeting has
been necessitated by the Commonwealth's desire to
find a permanent and
lasting solution to the Zimbabwean crisis, the
invitation of Mr Robert
Mugabe to the meeting to hear the endless Zanu Pf
lies on the situation in
Zimbabwe without extending the same invitation to
the opposition and to
civil society is extremely worrying.
in Zimbabwe can not be resolved without the engagement of all
parties or at
the very least hearing them out. We trust that the
Commonwealth troika has
not been hoodwinked by Mugabe's deceitful
machinations which were on display
at both the World Summit on Sustainable
Development held in South Africa and
the 57th Session of the United Nations
General Assembly held in New York last
It is our considered view that any serious attempt to address the
crisis must take on board all the actors including the opposition
society. While we do not doubt that Mugabe is the central problem
country's crisis and that consequently he has to be part of the
do not believe that there can be an understanding of the extent
crisis as well as the finding of the solution without the involvement
It is not too late for the troika to invite the
opposition and civil society
to the Abuja meeting.
MDC Secretary General
16 September, 2002
Harare Youth Assembly stands by Mudzuri.
On Tuesday last week His Honour
Harare Mayor, Elias Mudzuri was summoned to
a kangaroo court by the
illegitimate regime's Minister of local Government,
Public Works and National
Housing Ignatious Chombo. Chombo's delegation
which met the mayor included
Nicholas Goche, Chief Fortune Charumbira, Kembo
Mohadi and Kenneth
Mutiwekuziva. Other senior Zanu PF officials who had been
invited to attend
the meeting but failed to turn up included among others,
the army commander
Constantine Chiwenga and the Minister of Defence Sydney
are not surprised by the deliberate inclusion in Chombo's delegation of
dubious characters known to have had underhand influence in the
and torture of our members. Chombo's team further exposes the
handiwork of a
psychopathic schemer determined to instill fear into the mind
of the Mayor in
order force him to comply with the illegitimate
MDC has long established that Chombo is driven by
sinister motives and is
determined to create a mine field on the mayor's way
in order to pin him
down on some trumped up charges of
The MDC Harare Youth Provincial Assembly wishes
to express its solidarity
with the Harare Mayor for the sterling job he is
doing for our city. We
further wish to call upon Harare residents and all
progressive forces to
resist Chombo's blatant abuse of authority by
interfering in the affairs of
the city. We believe that all issues that
affect the residents should first
be taken to the residents for their
Chombo's arm-twisting and politicization of civic matters in
order to gain
political mileage for the discredited Zanu PF party will be
illegitimate Minister is advised to think again before
embarking on futile
adventures of this nature.
Province Youth Chairperson
The world condemned White Apartheid in South Africa.
were organized against South African gold, products
and stocks. But Robert
Mugabe is black and the world is silent. Where is the
United Nations? Where
is the indictment of Mugabe before the new
International Criminal Court?
Where are the peace keeping missions? Where is
the outcry for economic
sanctions. Where are the boycotts?
Cleansing" in Zimbabwe: UN Sees No Evil
By Tom DeWeese (September 25,
[CAPITALISMMAGAZINE.COM] Only the United Nations, we're told, has
and the moral authority to be the keepers of justice in the world.
they say, actions speak louder than words. The UN's bureaucrats
spend a huge
amount of time wringing their hands over the United States' lack
cooperation with their schemes for global governance. They insist
global governance through the UN is vital to assure the complete well
of citizens in every nation.
Consider, though, the on-going
tragedy in Zimbabwe. For several years that
nation's president, Robert
Mugabe, has been systematically "cleansing" white
people from its society.
Mugabe issued orders that white people would no
longer be allowed to own
farms in the nation. Now his stormtroopers are
arresting any whites who have
defied his eviction notices on more than 5,000
farms. In fact, the soldiers
are even arresting those white farmers who won
court orders staying their
evictions. The evictions also threaten more than
230,000 black workers (and
their families) who live on the farms.
Mugabe says the evictions are
justified to correct the "skewed remains of
colonialism" that left about
4,500 whites owning one third of the nation's
farms while the remainder were
owned by 7 million blacks. The often-violent
seizures have contributed to
more than two years of political chaos, pushing
the country to the brink of
economic ruin and food shortages that threaten
The world condemned White Apartheid in South Africa.
were organized against South African gold, products
and stocks. But Robert
Mugabe is black and the world is silent. Where is the
United Nations? Where
is the indictment of Mugabe before the new
International Criminal Court?
Where are the peace keeping missions? Where is
the outcry for economic
sanctions. Where are the boycotts?
are white capitalists. The brand of "justice" the UN preaches
doesn't apply to them. Talk to any UN official and you will find
able to contain themselves from condemning the United States as
international outlaw state, but it is the United States that is taking
lead in trying to end the terrorism of Mugabe's rule while the United
hears no evil, sees no evil, and says nothing.
Watch and learn, America.
Zimbabwe justice is much closer to the UN's own
brand than that practiced in
the United States. The UN and its apologists
will disagree, of course, but
actions speak louder than words.
--Tom DeWeese is the publisher/editor of
The DeWeese Report and president of
the American Policy Center: www.americanpolicy.com.
Wednesday, 25 September, 2002, 18:23 GMT
Zimbabwe's MDC plans open defiance
Morgan Tsvangirai: "They can arrest
Zimbabwe's main opposition party is to defy security laws
and hold rallies and meetings without police clearance, its leader Morgan
Tsvangirai has announced.
The proposed action - ignoring strict public order and security laws
introduced before March's controversial presidential elections - will open the
way for the arrest of members of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
If anyone thinks we are not doing enough, just wait
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
But Mr Tsvangirai said action had to be taken against what he called the
"illegal regime" of President Robert Mugabe, the man who beat him to lead
The MDC also announced it was starting a court challenge to stop local
elections set for this weekend, saying hundreds of its candidates were being
prevented from standing in the polls.
Mr Tsvangirai stopped short of calling for the sort of strikes and mass
action against the government that he used in 1998 as Zimbabwe's main labour
But he said: "If anyone thinks we are not doing enough, just wait."
Public meetings of more than three people in Zimbabwe now require police
clearance, which has often been denied.
The legal action to stop local elections follows a
various civic, labour and opposition groups have been banned and security forces
could take action against those flouting the law.
Mr Tsvangirai said: "They can arrest us... defiance is a very important step
to show that people will not be subjected to unjust laws."
He added: "Despair engulfs this country."
Zimbabwe has been plunged into an economic and humanitarian crisis.
Six million people - half of the country's population - face food shortages
with white farmers being evicted and black farm workers being left without homes
The MDC is claiming that 699 of its candidates out of more than 1,400 wards
have either been barred from registering or severely intimidated from standing
in this weekend's poll.
Mr Tsvangirai said the MDC had challenged the conditions of nominating
candidates, which had seen a significant number of their candidates disqualified
on technical grounds.
He also said they had challenged the elections because of acts of violence
against some of their candidates following their nomination.
The ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) denies
MDC claims of pre-electoral violence, accusing the party of crying foul to
garner international sympathy ahead of an election it fears losing.
Zimbabwe High Court Acts in Land Reform Case
25 Sep 2002 14:45 UTC
Zimbabwe's High Court
has ordered the army chief and his wife to produce
bank statements that could
show profits from the sale of produce from two
farms they allegedly took over
illegally. The case is part of the ongoing
story of Zimbabwe's land reform
General Constantine Chiwenga, commander of the Zimbabwe National
his wife Joscylin, are accused of taking over two high-tech flower
vegetable farms and illegally exporting the produce.
owner of the farms, Roger Staunton, lodged a detailed affidavit
supporting documentation, claiming he was violently forced off
The High Court on Monday provisionally barred the
Chiwengas from selling any
more of Mr. Staunton's vegetables and flowers, and
ordered them to pay Mr.
Staunton for what has already been
Charges have also been filed against the main exporter in Zimbabwe,
shipped roses allegedly stolen from Mr. Staunton to
This is the first court case involving Zimbabwe's once
exports. Zimbabwe's flower industry is only 16 years old,
but was worth at
least $5 billion a year before seizures of white-owned land
But flower farming is complex, and flowers on
many seized farms have died.
Industry sources say a few flower farms, which
have been taken over by
members of the security forces and the elite, are
still operating, and the
new owners want to export their crops.
Chiwenga case could determine whether they may do so. If the court says
farms were seized illegally, there may be no market for their
Importers in Amsterdam say they will not buy what amount to stolen
ZIMBABWE: MDC asks High Court to postpose local elections
25 September (IRIN) - Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
has asked the Harare High Court to postpone this weekend's local elections on
the grounds that the government has not complied with the Electoral
"They still haven't supplied us with the voter's role [an MDC
request after the March Presidential election], the Electoral Supervisory
Commission [ESC] is improperly constituted and there is no impartial presiding
officer," David Coltart, MDC legal affairs director, told IRIN on
This Saturday and Sunday candidates will contest elections for
rural district councils and a by-election in Hurungwe, in the north of the
Coltart said the party would lodge a separate application to the
High Court alleging that many MDC candidates were prevented from registering
through "intimidation and spurious bureaucratic obstacles".
He said about
690 candidates had registered to stand for the elections, but about another 700
MDC candidates had been turned away.
Thomas Bvuma, a spokesman for the
ESC said the commission had, so far, not received any official complaints of
intimidation, and that the process of nominating candidates had now
He told IRIN that election observers would be drawn from various
civic organisations with monitors coming from the ESC. There would be no
Government-linked political violence has marred
elections in Zimbabwe since the emergence of the MDC. In March, Zimbabwe was
suspended from the Commonwealth over the presidential poll which was deemed as
not free and unfair.
The European Union and the United States have
imposed a travel ban and a freeze on assets of ministers in protest over the
government's human rights violations.
Meanwhile, MDC shadow agriculture
minister Renson Gasela has denied that an unsuccessful attempt to import 102 mt
(2,000 bags) of maize for drought-relief was a pre-election political
The maize was stopped at the South African border on Sunday as it
did not have the necessary import permit. Only the Department of Agriculture and
the government-controlled Grain Marketing Board can issue permits for maize
Gasela said the MDC's Feed Zimbabwe Trust (FZT) had planned to
hand the maize over to a church group for distribution as its contribution to
The party would not apply for a permit, he said,
as it believed the government should relax import restrictions during the
current food crisis which threatens 6.7 million people.
"The GMB has
failed to make enough food available in the country and the FZT and any other
people should be allowed to play a part in bringing food to starving people,"
"The government has been asked by the World Food Programme
and the UN Development Programme to relax regulations on food imports and let
the private sector play a part," he added.
But, according to Regis
Chikowra of the Department of Information, "one of the reasons [for import and
export permits] is to safeguard the interests of the consumer in terms of
genetically modified grain and in terms of scarce commodities - that they are
not spirited out of the country when they are needed here."
border official told IRIN: "We control imports irrespective of the importer.
When we receive their permit, we will smilingly release their
However, even if the maize did cross the border, the MDC would
face another obstacle - only seven NGOs which are registered with the government
can distribute food aid.
I am sure you all know the council elections
are on this week end.
Please find out where your polling station is,
there as usual, has been some changes.
The polling stations for HIPPO VALLEY are
The polling stations for MKWASINE are at:
Please vote and see that your workers have
transport to the polling stations. Even though we know that the opposition will
cheat to win, we must still try to do our best.
With the exception of the ZANU candidates being
allowed to distribute Maize meal and MDC [although we tried] not allowed the same
privilege, their has been very little serious intimidation.
A lot of people have worked very hard to get our
MDC candidates through the nomination court, so deserve a good try at this
Good luck and all the best,
Mugabe mouthpiece thanks Mbeki for 'victory'
September 25 2002 at 08:35AM
Harare - The Zimbabwean government
has greeted with triumph news that a
Commonwealth troika had decided to spare
it from further sanctions, calling
the decision a victory over
The official Herald newspaper on Tuesday said the two
African members of the
troika, Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and
Thabo Mbeki of South
Africa "did Africa proud" by out-voting Australia's
Prime Minister John
The troika met in Abuja, Nigeria on
Monday, six months after it partially
suspended Zimbabwe from the
Commonwealth over flawed elections that returned
President Robert Mugabe to
Howard backed full and immediate suspension of Zimbabwe, while
Mbeki wanted to continue to monitor the southern African country
'Unrepentant and unreforming'
three agreed that nothing had been done yet to address Commonwealth
that Mugabe had been re-elected undemocratically.
secretary-general Don McKinnon, along with Howard and Prime
Blair of Zimbabwe's former colonial power Britain, said the
intends to keep up the pressure.
Speaking on BBC radio, McKinnon said the
Commonwealth had given Mugabe a
12-month period that expires on March 19 next
year, to come into line before
full suspension from the organisation is
"We are still remaining engaged," he said. "The Commonwealth
is not just
walking away from this. We are doing our best to remain engaged
and try to
Blair and Howard agreed Tuesday after meeting
in London to keep up pressure,
with the British leader reiterating his
concern at the deteriorating
situation in Zimbabwe, a Foreign Office
'We have been given a long rope
the Herald, which closely reflects government thinking, claimed
agenda was "not to discuss the situation in Zimbabwe but to
punishment to a country that had dared challenge
Zimbabwe has accused white Commonwealth countries
of trying to undermine a
controversial land reform programme.
government-backed scheme is aimed at redressing colonial imbalances in
ownership by the compulsory acquisition of white-owned farms, which
redistributed to landless blacks.
Aid agencies warn that the
programme, which has resettled some 300 000 black
families and aims to
resettle many more, will aggravate a famine that
threatens over half the
country's 12 million people, because the new
landowners are not trained
Zimbabwe's main political opposition criticised the
troika for being too
lenient on Mugabe.
Welshman Ncube, the
secretary-general of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) said the
Commonwealth had missed "an opportunity to take firm action."
Obasanjo and Mbeki had given their assent to an "unrepentant and
Mugabe and given him "another six months to destroy
"Right now it (the government) is doing everything to
processes in Zimbabwe," he charged.
Commonwealth suspended Zimbabwe from its political councils after
observer mission to the March presidential polls produced a report
the election did not reflect the will of voters.
government rejected that report, which it described as flawed
and accused the troika of acting unilaterally when it
Masipula Sithole, a political science lecturer at the
Zimbabwe, said the reprieve had not totally let Zimbabwe off
If there was no improvement in the next six months, the country
the ultimate censure - sanctions and full suspension from the
body - he
"I believe we have been given a long rope," Sithole
said. He described as
"premature" the glee in government circles over being
"We know what is coming," he said. "If we
don't improve within the next six
months, we're doomed."
Zimbabwe's Foreign Affairs Minister Stan Mudenge welcomed the
decision, and invited the troika to come and assess the situation in
"Particularly we want Prime Minister Howard to come to
said. "He can come and see what he wants to see, he can
discuss what he
wants to discuss." - Sapa-AFP
Editorial: Africa fails the test of Mugabe
THE failure of the leaders of Australia, Nigeria and South Africa to
on how to deal with President Robert Mugabe is a setback for
Commonwealth, the people of Zimbabwe and for Africa in general. John
was correct in arguing for Zimbabwe's full suspension from the
Since the 54-nation body's ultimatum in March, Mr Mugabe has
attempts at engagement and has failed to address concerns his
March was rigged and Zimbabwe's opposition is persecuted. Mr
boycott of Monday's meeting of the Commonwealth's "troika" in Abuja
the latest expression of his contempt for world opinion. By
another six more months to monitor Zimbabwe's progress, Nigerian
Olusegun Obasanjo and South African President Thabo Mbeki have, in
extended Mr Mugabe's licence to pursue his dictatorial, racist
The refusal of Mr Howard's African
counterparts to endorse his tough line
has once again exposed the
Commonwealth's impotence. Its central
principles - the promotion of
democracy, judicial independence and good
governance - will lose their
meaning if not backed up by action. Although
largely symbolic, Zimbabwe's
partial suspension in March represented the
first time the Commonwealth had
acted against one of its members over
electoral violations. It also served to
isolate the Zimbabwean President
from his African allies. Now even these
limited achievements have been
undermined by the willingness of Mr Obasanjo
and Mr Mbeki to give Mr Mugabe
the benefit of the doubt.
know better. To ignore the problem of Zimbabwe is to ignore the
main cause of
endemic poverty in Africa - corrupt, despotic leaders and
whose misguided policies have caused millions to live in
misery. Yet not a
single African leader at this month's Earth Summit on
in Johannesburg was prepared to acknowledge this
fact or to criticise Mr
Mugabe's tyrannical rule. Instead, delegates
applauded Mr Mugabe's address to
the summit in which he blamed British Prime
Minister Tony Blair for
Zimbabwe's problems while denying his starving
people access to genetically
There is no doubt colonialism has left a mixed legacy in
positive effects of infrastructure development have often been
inequalities in land ownership. But rather than implement an
program, Mr Mugabe has used colonialism as a scapegoat to
justify his brutal
methods for seizing land from white farmers. As a
consequence almost a
million black farm labourers are unemployed, GDP has
fallen for the past
three years and around half the population - or 6 million
people - are now
at risk of starvation.
The rousing reception in
Johannesburg and his success in splitting the
Commonwealth's troika are
likely to embolden Mr Mugabe further. Rather than
leading by example, Nigeria
and South Africa have only highlighted their own
failings. Mr Obasanjo has
restored some personal liberties after years of
repressive military rule, but
has failed to tackle corruption and cronyism.
Opposition legislators have
begun moves to impeach him for abusing his
authority. Even though South
Africa has more HIV-positive people than
anywhere in the world - almost 11
per cent of the population - Mr Mbeki
clings to the absurd belief that AIDS
is somehow caused by poverty and has
resisted prescribing antiretroviral
drugs to HIV-positive women giving
birth. With friends like these, no wonder
Mr Mugabe thinks he can get away
with murder. Pity the rest of Africa will be
poorer as a result.
Howard slams Zimbabwe meeting
Prime Minister John Howard has described his weekend meeting with the
Commonwealth troika on Zimbabwe as a profoundly disappointing experience.
Mr Howard could not convince his fellow Commonwealth leaders - South
African president Thabo Mbeki and Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo - to suspend
Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth for President Robert Mugabe's repeated abuses of
"(It) was for me a profoundly disappointing meeting," Mr Howard said after
a meeting with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw in London.
"The unwillingness of South Africa and Nigeria to support what I regarded
as an entirely appropriate response to Zimbabwe's indifference to the
Marlborough House statement ... was a disappointment.
"We'll continue to try to engage Zimbabwe but the reality is there was a
rorted election earlier this year, that was the finding not of Australia and
Britain but a Commonwealth observer group led by a former Nigerian
Mr Howard, Mr Mbeki and Mr Obasanjo were appointed to
deal with the Zimbabwe issue following a meeting of Commonwealth leaders.
Mr Straw said he and British Prime Minister Tony Blair were deeply grateful
to Mr Howard for his work in making sure that the abuses of the Mugabe regime
were brought to world attention.
"Prime Minister Howard's trip to Abuja will rank in history as one well
beyond the call of duty," Mr Straw said.
"The Commonwealth is able to see that the current leader of the
Commonwealth is taking a firm stand on this and I'm as disappointed as Prime
Minister Howard has been in the response by the presidents of Nigeria and South
"The greatest sadness is that the greatest harm from Zimbabwe, aside from
that caused to Zimbabweans, is to Africans and to Africa."
Mail and Guardian
Australia calls for full suspension of
25 September 2002
Australian Prime Minister John Howard told BBC radio on Wednesday
Zimbabwe should be fully suspended from the
Currently Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's regime is
suspended from the
councils of the Commonwealth, one step short of full
Howard, South African President Thabo Mbeki and Nigerian
Obasanjo are the members of a troika monitoring the
situation in Zimbabwe.
The two African members of the troika disagree with
Howard told the BBC: "I was arguing with the troika we should
immediately to fully suspend Zimbabwe from the Commonwealth because of
failure of Zimbabwe to show any sensitivity at all to Commonwealth
"I'm concerned, if we just remain mute and indifferent, that
governance, which is a central Commonwealth value, will just go by
board," he added.
Howard said he had spoken to British Prime
Minister Tony Blair on Tuesday
but did not reveal details of the
Mugabe's land reform policies, carried out through violent
dispossession of white farmers without compensation, has
criticism in the west. - Sapa-DPA
(On behalf of Justice for Agriculture Zimbabwe
The no show by President Robert Mugabe in Abuja, Nigeria is proof of
intransigence and demonstrates his Governments contempt for
As to the inability of the meeting to come to a decision
on how to proceed,
Justice For Agriculture would like to remind our African
Obasango and Mbeki about the spirit of New Partnership
Development (NEPAD). In President Mbeki' s words, "The idea
behind NEPAD was
to move away from the donor-recipient relationship with the
to a new partnership based on mutual respect, responsibility
Over six million Zimbabweans are currently in
dire need of food assistance;
the rightful owners of farms have been
prevented from farming. The critical
planting season is upon us and, many of
the new settlers lack the promised
resources to grow food on the commercial
scale necessary to offset the
hunger. Despite the attempts of the World Food
Programme staff to ease the
suffering, the humanitarian disaster is gaining
It is against this background of suffering that the 'troika'
their way home, abandoning their set task and sentencing
another six months of uncertainty and famine through their
failure to bring
President Mugabe to book This failure to censure the ZANU PF
a tacit support of its dubious policies in the eyes of the
world, and can
only deepen the despair in the hearts of suffering
We would like to echo the sentiments of our Minister of
Foreign Affairs, Dr.
Stan Mudenge, in inviting Prime Minister Howard and any
other heads of state
to visit Zimbabwe to establish the reality of the
situation, and would like
to invite them to visit not only Harare but the
rural and farming areas of
the country where the harsh reality of an
unmitigated humanitarian disaster
is most evident.
For more information, please contact Jenni Williams
Johannesburg South Africa
Mobile +26311213886 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
or Johannesburg fax
+2711 482 3576 (till 30 September 2002)
Zimbabwe office Mobile (+263) 91
or Fax (+2639) 63978 or (+2634) 703829
Office email email@example.com
Anger over visa for Zimbabwe minister
Castle in Brussels
26 September 2002
Zimbabwe's Trade Minister has been
granted a visa to attend talks in
Brussels, prompting a political row and
claims that Harare is making "a
mockery" of the European Union's travel ban
on top officials.
Samuel Mumbengegwi arrived in Belgium this week and
will be allowed to stay
in the country until a series of meetings between the
EU and developing
nations ends tomorrow. Belgium says it had little
alternative to granting a
visa, which was given only after consultations with
legal experts. But the
decision has provoked bitter criticism from MEPs and
Zimbabwe's élite has already taken
advantage of a loophole in the EU's
travel ban to attend UN-sponsored or
international meetings in Italy and
France. However critics argue that, by
travelling to the EU's headquarters
in Brussels, the minister is exposing the
sanctions to particular ridicule.
Mr Mumbengegwi and his officials had
been invited to talks between the EU
and the African, Caribbean and Pacific
(ACP) states, which began on Monday.
The minister is thought to have been in
Brussels since the beginning of the
week, staying in a luxury
Belgium says it granted the visa on the advice of the European
legal service which ruled that the Cotonou agreement between the EU
developing nations gives the minister exemption from sanctions imposed
the 15 member states. Because Cotonou is a formal treaty it is deemed
have higher legal status than the EU agreement to impose the visa
But one theory is that the EU was concerned that, if it barred
other African nations would boycott the talks.
Kinnock, Labour's development spokeswoman in the European Parliament
co-president of the EU/ACP Joint Assembly, said granting the visa
makes a mockery of the strong stand which Europe claims to have
the Mugabe regime".
She said: "When President Mugabe has broken all the
rules, it would be a
travesty to allow his minister to come. You may be able
to get agreement on
imposing sanctions, but when it comes to implementing
them some nations are
In a statement, the Zimbabwean opposition
Movement for Democratic Change
described the decision to admit the Trade
Minister as an "alarming
loop-hole" in the law. It added: "Travel bans must
be comprehensive. Mugabe
and his cohorts must be made conscious of their
international isolation and
made aware that their policies are viewed as
morally repugnant by large
sections of the international
The European Commission stressed that Mr Mumbengegwi will not
meetings with any officials during his stay in Brussels.
February EU foreign ministers imposed a European travel ban on
Mugabe and 19 of his top-ranking associates - a list which was
July to a further 52 close associates.
ZIMBABWE: Crisis has regional impact
JOHANNESBURG, 25 September (IRIN) -
Developments in Zimbabwe have been identified as a threat to democracy and the
rule of law and as a key reason for the flight of capital from the regional
In a hard-hitting statement, the Special Rapporteur on the
Independence of Judges and Lawyers of the United Nations Commission on Human
Rights, Dat'o Param Cumaraswamy, expressed "outrage over the further
deterioration of the rule of law in Zimbabwe".
While Reuters reported
that South African Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni, stressed the link between
the seizure of land owned by white farmers in Zimbabwe and the impact on foreign
direct investment in the regional economic powerhouse.
"Part of the
rand's weakness is a political economy problem. It's not an economic-technical
problem, it's a political economic problem arising in part from regional
perceptions about Zimbabwe," Mboweni said.
"The City of London is a very
important financial centre in the world. So you then touch the farmers in
Zimbabwe in a manner that obviously is not right - the land reform problem is
correct, the demand for land reform is correct, but the manner in which it is
happening, I don't think is correct.
"So then the whole thing explodes
because they [investors] look and say: So that happened in Zimbabwe, it took 20
years, it might happen in South Africa [for example].
"So what happens?
Some of them take their money and go," Reuters quoted him as
Meanwhile, Cumaraswamy said in his statement that "the latest
arrest, detention and charges laid against retired High Court Judge [Fergus]
Blackie for alleged corruption and obstruction of justice ... [was] yet another
clear systematic attack on the basic fabric of democracy - i.e. the rule of law
There was reasonable cause to believe that the actions
against Justice Blackie were "an act of vendetta by the government" over the
earlier conviction for contempt of court and a sentence to jail time and a fine
imposed on the Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa, by Justice Blackie in
The conviction and sentence were subsequently set aside by a
Supreme Court judge.
Cumaraswamy once again called on the international
community "to continue its pressures and double its efforts to get the
government of Zimbabwe to comply with its obligations under the constitution and
international law. The prevailing lawlessness in the government is not only a
menace to the people of Zimbabwe but if allowed unabated could threaten peace,
democracy and the rule of law in the African region", Cumaraswamy
He noted further that on no less than five previous occasions he
had publicly expressed his grave concerns over the deterioration of the rule of
law in Zimbabwe. "The government obviously is impervious to international
concerns and outrage," he added.
Meanwhile, in its latest report, the
Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum said it had received testimonies of political
violence against teachers in eight of the country's 10 provinces. The
authorities have often accused teachers of supporting the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC).
Bulawayo and Harare provinces had no reports
of violence against teachers. However, the incidents recorded in the report did
not in any way reflect the actual violence perpetrated against teachers as
information collected was by no means exhaustive, the Human Rights Forum
"The period under study saw the reported closure of 30 schools
throughout the country. Most of the reported closures were due to teachers
fleeing violence perpetrated against them and their subsequent refusal to go
back until their safety was guaranteed.
"Apart from school closures,
teachers were also chased away from their places of employment by either 'war
veterans' or [ruling party] ZANU-PF supporters. The perpetrators would either go
to the school where the individual taught and then physically remove them from
their places of employment, or just order the transfer of teachers that they
suspected to be MDC supporters," the report said.
Teachers were also
threatened with either job loss or personal injury if it was established that
they supported the MDC. This had occurred "at the highest level ... by the
minister of foreign affairs, Stan Mudenge, but it was also done by 'war
veterans' in Chimanimani, Bikita West, Masvingo Central, Mberengwa West and Zaka
The report also highlights two cases of pregnant teachers who were
assaulted for being connected to the opposition MDC.
"One of the
teachers lost her baby shortly after giving birth. The victim claims that her
medical records show that the death of her child was due to the repeated
assaults she suffered at the hands of war veterans and state agents," the Human
Rights Forum said.
Tel: +27 11 880-4633
+27 11 447-5472
Comment from ZWNEWS, 25
By Michael Hartnack
With the early hours arrest of a recently retired white judge,
his 27-hour incarceration in filthy police cells, his appearance shivering in
court, and an outlandish allegation of an affair with a white woman he had
acquitted, Zimbabwe has taken a giant step nearer total destruction of
confidence in the courts, prosecutors and police. It is impossible to escape the
conclusion that Judge Fergus Blackie, 65, was the latest victim of a cynical and
sinister smear, combined with terror. Before leaving the bench, the last act by
Blackie - the seventh judge forced from office by Robert Mugabe’s regime in the
past two years - was to order the arrest of Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
for repeated contempt of court orders. Chinamasa evaded the warrant until he had
it overturned by pro-Mugabe judges. After three nights in freezing cells,
Blackie was on September 16 remanded on Z$10 000 bail on charges of obstructing
the course of justice or alternatively breaching the Prevention of Corruption
Act. The charges supposedly arise from an appeal by Tara White, a 40-year-old
financial controller, which had been heard jointly by Blackie and
recently-appointed Judge Rita Makarau. Before leaving in May, Blackie gave his
judgment, upholding the appeal, to a typist with instructions that it should be
passed on to Makarau. It is alleged this was not done, and the judgment was
handed down by the duty judge without Makarau's consent - possibly due to a
filing error. The typist has made an affidavit to this effect. Nevertheless,
Makarau and High Court Judge President Paddington Garwe sent a complaint to
Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku. The Chief Justice informed the police.
White had been sentenced in a magistrate's court to an
effective 12 months' imprisonment on allegations of stealing Z$500 000 set aside
by her employers, a group of travel and car hire companies, to pay taxes. She
pleaded not guilty and produced a receipt for the cash from the tax department.
No witness was called from the department to support prosecution claims that the
money was never paid. A prominent Zanu PF lawyer, Jonathan Samkange, who had
acquired an interest in the companies, made general allegations against White,
which, said Blackie, were clearly inadmissible. On this ground alone she was
entitled to acquittal, he ruled. Samkange was reportedly furious. White, who has
young children, was arrested like Blackie on September 13, and released on Z$5
000 bail on September 17. Her remand application form (but not Blackie's, most
significantly) contains the bald and brief words that she was suspected of
having "a sexual relationship" with Blackie. The state-controlled Herald falsely
reported that this claim was made in open court at White’s remand hearing. It
was not; it was in the police docket, which also contained a statement by White
that she has never met Blackie, she was not even in court when her appeal was
argued, and she only knows that he looks like from newspaper photographs. The
Herald ignored this, and instead carried a "cartoon" purporting to show the
judge and White in bed together.
Blackie, a devout Catholic and prominent human rights jurist,
has clashed with Mugabe's ministers before. A 1995 Bulawayo case in which he
presided speaks volumes about justice in Zimbabwe. Itai Maguza, manager of a
subsidiary of the parastatal Industrial Development Corporation, pleaded guilty
to a massive fraud, but Blackie refused to accept a statement of facts agreed by
the defence and prosecution which glossed over the alleged implication of the
then Minister of Commerce, Christopher Ushewokunze, and others. They had ample
opportunity to rebut Maguza's evidence when Blackie sought and received further,
clear testimony of their guilt. "I was afraid. There was a minister involved.
There was the person who could hire me or fire me, who had control of my life,
so to speak. That is why I did it," Maguza said. Blackie gave Maguza permission
to appeal against a 3-year jail sentence, saying the fraud was the idea of the
accused man’s superiors who ``acted with extreme cynicism and greed."
Ushewokunze was killed in a drunken car accident (his third in 24 hours) some
months later, and declared a "National Hero". Maguza's appeal and jail term, and
the prosecutions of the other fraudsters, appear to have been forgotten while
the judge’s role has not been forgiven. The African Union last week said
corruption cost Africa U$148 billion a year. Now we see how, and why.
South Africa's Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson said Blackie's
arrest appeared calculated to intimidate the judiciary. However, the South
African government’s appearence of complicity in human rights outrages increased
when its police representatives recently supported the election of Zimbabwean
Commissioner Augustine Chihuri as chairman of the Southern African Regional
Police Chiefs' Co-Operation Organisation. After this triumph, Chihuri's long
overdue retirement was postponed a further 12 months by Mugabe. And Zimbabweans
are left wondering who will be the next person to disappear - and then be
accused of raping little children, or some other foul-mouthed obscenity.