|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Police in Zimbabwe again shut down the offices of the country's
independent daily newspaper last night in defiance of a court order allowing
the paper to resume publishing.
The raid was made only hours after the High Court ordered the government to
let the Daily News reopen. It was closed last week on charges of "operating
Abel Mutsakani, its deputy editor, said police had promised to comply with
the High Court order, but had returned to raid the offices while staff were
preparing today's edition.
"They just came in and ordered everybody to stop working. It's chaos here
and we don't know what to do," he said.
Earlier, staff of the Daily News, who had packed the courtroom in Harare,
cheered loudly as Judge Younis Omerjee granted a court order requested by
the paper, allowing it to operate pending the outcome of an application to
register with a government commission.
The judge also ordered the police to return all computers and other
equipment seized from the offices of the Daily News and its sister paper,
the Daily News on Sunday.
Gugulethu Moyo, legal adviser for Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ),
which owns the Daily News, said last night that the latest raid was "a
travesty of justice".
The police originally moved in to shut the title after the Supreme Court,
which is packed with government supporters, ruled that ANZ had failed to
register with the government, under new media laws introduced by President
When this ruling was overturned yesterday, Sam Sipepa Nkomo, the ANZ chief
executive, said he would try to return the newspaper to the streets today.
But Mr Mugabe's government has a record of ignoring court orders it
dislikes, such as orders blocking the seizure of white farms or the
deportation of journalists.
Mr Nkomo said his company would sue the police for loss of business and for
acting vindictively and unlawfully.
Even if the newspaper can resume publishing, it could still be closed if the
media commission, headed by a ruling party ideologue Tafataona Mahoso, turns
down its application. Only one edition of the paper has appeared since it
was ordered to shut.
The government's battle with the Daily News is being waged amid evidence of
a wider attempt to silence the opposition. More than 100 pro-democracy
activists were arrested on Wednesday as they protested against the
newspaper's closure. They were freed yesterday after paying fines. Despite
concerns at the latest crackdown, Thabo Mbeki, the South African
President,rebuked white Commonwealth countries pushing for Mr Mugabe's
JAG OPEN LETTER FORUM
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to
firstname.lastname@example.org with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.
Letter 1: Re Open Letters Forum No. 145 Letter 1
John Kinnaird's sentiments in the Jag Open Letter Forum about the need for
unity amongst farmers must be applauded but it goes much further than that
Imagine where we might be today if:
1. All farmers had stood together when the madness started in February
2. The Judiciary had stood together when Justice Gubbay was forced to
3. All teachers had stood together when "war veterans" fired some of their
members if they did not belong to the ruling party.
4. All nurses and doctors had stood together when "green bombers" assaulted
some of their members if they treated MDC supporters.
5 All farmers had raised their voices in disgust when the CFU presented
ZJRI to the government and said land invasions had been "sensationalized."
6. All companies had stood together when "war veterans" raided businesses
and extorted billions of dollars.
7. All policemen had stood together when "war veterans" were recruited and
promoted above them.
8. All journalists and media companies had stood together and refused to
register with the "Media Ethics Commission".
Because we, all the people of Zimbabwe regardless of age, colour, sex or
profession, have been unable to stand together, we now have no farms, no
food, no fuel, no bank notes, no newspaper and politically skewed judicial
and security systems. The only way for us to ever to get back anything
resembling a normal way of life in Zimbabwe is to stand together. There
comes a time in our lives when acting for the common good must come before
looking after number one. United we stand, divided we fall.
cathy buckle, Marondera.
All men who take public office are very brave men!
Letter 3: Re JAG Open Letters Forum No. 145 dated 16 September
I refer to the JAG open letters Forum No 145 dated 16/9/03 and John
Kinnaird letter 'Farming Today'. Here I finally see someone who has cut
through the manure, sucked the marrow from the bone and said what has to be
said. Lets hope for more like-minded Zimbabweans as I am now seeing a few
with whom I concur.
Letter 4: Re JAG Open Letters Forum No. 145 dated 16 September
Dear Mr Kinnaird,
As a farmer myself, I should like to reply to your letter.
I agree with many of the points you raised. Yes, the farming community has
been torn apart by the current situation. However to say that all farmers
still resident on the land are selfish, greedy, influential, wealthy and
self-seeking is complete and utter rubbish.
Perhaps you would care to visit our farm and see for yourself the situation
on the ground. I have not stood by and watched while our neighbours have
been chased off their farms, I have not ploughed for war vets on our farm
or on anybody else's farm. I have tried my hardest to assist our friends
wherever we can.
We purchased our farm in 1999, it was barren land. We developed what we
could, building sheds, barns, stables, paddocks, brick staff housing. We
installed electricity, sunk boreholes and planted a large vegetable garden.
All this we did with oxen, homemade bricks and materials from the farm. We
lived in a one-roomed house, with no phone, radio or cell phone. This was
our choice as it had been our dream to have a thoroughbred stud farm and
eventually a dairy. All our money was put into this development, none was
left over for a house for ourselves.
We still have the farm, although we have had our fair share of troubles. We
have squatters, war-vets, huts, constant theft, intimidation and fires. Our
labour force have been subjected to beatings, forced rallies, forced
payments for various celebrations and continual harassment for working for
Amidst all of this, we have still tried to help neighbours whenever we can,
be it controlling fires, helping locate stolen property, stolen cattle etc.
Our staff have willingly helped on all occasions. Reprisals have come about
because of this, visits of over 50 thugs with guns, knives and sticks is a
regular occurrence. Our oxen have been commandeered as punishment, our
staff have been made to cut firewood for these war-veterans for daring to
help neighbours, and yet we still try our best.
We no longer have any immediate neighbours, but the very few farmers left
in the area are always willing to help.
I wonder in town if you were being burgled how many of your neighbours come
to your assistance, and if they do, would they still continue to do so if
the very next day they had a band of thugs turn up threatening them with
guns and knives?
I also would like to know how many people in town have actively supported
the farming community? (Many have, I am sure - but how many have also
profiteered from other people's suffering?) House prices are all quoted in
US dollars, and the feeling from agents I have spoken to is, let us lease
to a farmer as they have no choice.....Do you still buy sugar, bread, milk,
cheese, vegetables, maize,flour? Are you always aware of where these
products are coming from?
Why not boycott? Why not show solidarity with the beleaguered farming
community, instead of continually pointing fingers and saying sell-out,
your judgement time will come?
Many people I speak to in town, get a rather glazed look when I talk of
troubles on the farm - but mention that you have heard they might start
listing houses soon and watch the reaction...I have found it very
Yes, there are farmers who have done deals. What deals are you doing for
fuel? Perhaps you ride a bicycle or walk?
How do you get cash, do you queue everyday for five thousand dollars?
Remember that most people have to cope the best way they can, circumstances
dictating. I can assure you it is not always easy to take the moral high
ground when you have a gun pointing at you, your family and your staff.
Still on farm and conscience clear - is yours?
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
State to recruit specialists to boost land reform programme
The Government is recruiting 586 engineers, technicians, agricultural
specialists, chief technicians and economists to boost the land reform
The engineers and technicians would be posted to branches, districts and
provinces throughout the country under the Department of Agri-cultural
Engineering and Technical Servi-ces.
Chief technicians, agricultural specialists and economists would be posted
at a provincial level.
Officials in the Lands, Agricultural and Rural Resettle-ment Ministry told
The Herald yesterday the recruitment was necessitated by demand created by
the land reform programme.
At least 300 000 families were resettled under the Model A1, while more than
50 000 others successfully applied under the Model A2.
This means the number of farmers that need to be advised by experts has
increased throughout the country.
Technicians to be recruited would be responsible for pegging of contour
ridges, waterways and storm ridges and conducting field demonstrations on
They would also do topographical surveys for dams, weirs and farm buildings,
train farmers in maintenance of tractors and machinery, peg farm roads, test
irrigation equipment and develop it and train farmers in all aspects for
agricultural engineering for farm situations.
Engineers would be responsible for soil and water conservation, irrigation
engineering, farm power and machinery, farm structures and environmental
engineering and agricultural produce handling.
Agricultural specialists would develop and extend agricul-tural produce
handling facilities for commodities such as tobacco, mushroom and livestock
and develop post harvest technologies of grain and perishable crops.
Economists would carry out baseline studies on major proposed engineering
projects, establish costs of operating engineering equipment and undertake
cost-benefit analysis of engineering technologies and projects.
Forex shortages continue affecting fuel procurement
OIL companies are failing to import a substantial amount of fuel since the
deregulation of the industry last month because of lack of foreign cur-
The Minister of Energy and Power Development Cde Amos Midzi said yesterday
the Government would continue discussions with the companies to find a
lasting solution to their problems.
"We are meeting the oil industry and we will continue to meet them to see
how we can go around the problems they are facing," Cde Midzi said.
The oil companies on Wednesday advised motorists to be patient as efforts
were underway to ensure they were supplied with the com- modity.
Long queues that formed at some filling stations in Harare last week have
since disappeared as hopes of fresh supplies vanish.
Some oil companies briefly supplied fuel to the service stations following
the announcement of deregulation by the Government.
But the fuel they were selling had been stored at depots before deregulation
and it has since run out.
Oil industry officials yesterday said they had failed to import fuel because
of lack of foreign currency.
"Fuel supplies have been limited in the past week and motorists are asked to
maintain the patience as a lasting solution to fuel deliveries is sought by
stakeholders," the companies said in their weekly update, Fuel Facts.
"The scarcity of forex continues to have a detrimental effect on the
procurement of fuel, but the industry is confident that once that is
resolved fuel deliveries can be implemented speedily."
The companies said although efforts were being made to keep the price of
fuel affordable, market-related prices would be adopted to ensure the
viability of the industry and the sustainability of supplies.
The Government increased the pump price of fuel for the oil companies last
month as part of the deregulation of the industry to ensure viabi- lity.
But some of the companies maintained the prices should be increased further
if they were to import more fuel.
The new prices would operate under a two-tier system to cushion the
travelling public and to support farmers through making fuel available at
Under the new system that ended Noczim's monopoly in the procurement of
fuel, oil companies undertook to sell petrol at $1 170 a litre with diesel
going at $1 060 a litre.
Noczim would continue to supply the Government, parastatals and pubic
transport operators at the old price of $450 a litre for petrol and $200 a
litre for diesel.
The country started experiencing fuel shortages at the end of 1999 because
of the shortage of foreign currency.
Individuals and some companies were importing fuel and taking advantage of
the situation to sell it at prices charged on the black market.
Until the introduction of the dual pricing system, petrol was being sold at
between $1 800 and $2 500 a litre while diesel went for between $1 500 and
$2 000 a litre.
The deregulation of the industry was expected to improve the fuel supply in
Sunday Times (SA)
Zimbabwe to appeal Daily News ruling
September 19, 2003 07:23 - (SA)
HARARE - The Zimbabwe government said late yesterday it would appeal against
a High Court ruling overturning the forced closure of the country's only
independent daily newspaper, state television reported.
"We've been asked to appeal against this order," acting attorney-general,
Bharat Patel told the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC).
Earlier the High Court ruled that the Daily News - an outspoken paper
frequently accused by the government of President Robert Mugabe of being
biased in favour of the opposition - could resume publishing.
The paper was shut down by police last week after the Supreme Court,
Zimbabwe's top court, ruled it was operating illegally because it had not
registered with a government media commission.
Judge Yunis Omerjee said yesterday the paper should be allowed to resume
publishing since it had filed an application to register with the media
commission earlier this week.
He also said equipment confiscated by the police should be returned.
Patel said he hoped the appeal would be filed yesterday.
"If we can't get that achieved tonight we'll be hoping to do it first thing
Friday morning," Patel said.
Nigeria left with Mugabe hot potato
September 19, 2003
By John Battersby
President Thabo Mbeki has passed the buck to his Nigerian counterpart
to decide whether Robert Mugabe should attend the Commonwealth heads of
government summit in Nigeria.
Mbeki said in parliament yesterday it was up to Nigerian President
Olusegun Obasanjo, as the host of the summit, to decide whether Zimbabwean
President Mugabe would be invited to the December summit.
The Commonwealth secretariat in London says Zimbabwe should not be
invited following its suspension from the Commonwealth last year, while the
South African government and ruling ANC maintain there is no reason why he
should not be invited.
The Commonwealth secretariat says neither Pakistan nor Zimbabwe should
be invited, because both have been suspended from the Commonwealth.
The Australian government has
said Nigeria had agreed not to invite
Zimbabwe. However, Nigeria has indicated that while it had not sent out an
invitation to Zimbabwe, it was keeping its options open.
In response to a question as to whether he and United States President
George Bush had agreed on deadlines or target dates for elections in
Zimbabwe, Mbeki said they had agreed on the urgency of addressing the
political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe and that the primary
responsibility lay with the people of Zimbabwe.
"We continue to work with the US government (on Zimbabwe)," he said. -
Group Political Editor
PROMOTING NON VIOLENT PRINCIPLES TO ACHIEVE DEMOCRACY.
Information about illegal hunting
Information Contained in this Document:
1. Zimbabwe hunting report including support information
2. Relevant articles from newspaper about the situation in Zimbabwe.
the following information is currently being collected and will be forwarded.
· Report from Zimbabwe Wildlife Society
· Report from SPCA
· Report from the Lowveld – adjacent to Gonarezhou National Park (part of the beleaguered Transfrontier National Park – a joint project between South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.)
· A selection of zanu pf propaganda reports
· Extensive photographic evidence
The information contained below has been verified to the best of our ability under difficult and sometimes confusing circumstances.
we welcome any queries.
ZIMBABWE Hunting report
Due to the present regime’s disastrous land reform programme, poaching and illegal hunting on farms, which were seized from their rightful owners, have become rife. Only a handful of the legal property owners remain. The rest have been evicted by ruling party henchmen. There is no law and order. Poaching and uncontrolled hunting is everywhere.
One such area that has been affected with dire consequence is the Gwaai Valley Conservancy, in the west of the country. This Conservancy was established 1995/6 and was strictly controlled by the regulatory body, the Intensive Conservation Authority (ICA). This watchdog body had the full support and was accredited by numerous international conservation organizations.
In the past, at the start of each hunting season, individual members of the Conservancy had to submit their requests for hunting quotas to the ICA, who then rationalized the information to ensure the Conservancy was not “over hunted”. The applications were then passed on to the National Parks and Wildlife Management (NPWM).
The Gwaai Valley Conservancy once stood as an outstanding example of sustainable development in a wildlife area, with prolific game and huge ecotourism potential. Today, not one of the Conservancy members remains in the Gwaai. Its game has been reduced to an estimated 20% of its previous glory and the people left there are all on the verge of starvation.
Early in July 2003, all farmers in this area, which borders Hwange National Park, were evicted. The Conservancy has now fallen prey to unscrupulous hunting/safari operators from neighbouring South Africa and Botswana. Other areas affected are Bubiana Conservancy, Matetsi and West Nicholson. Few, if any, of these illegal hunters have been registered by the Zimbabwe Ministry of Environment and Tourism and do not hold accreditation with the Zimbabwe Association of Tourism and Safari Operators. In addition, these hunters are working against legislation that declares that in Zimbabwe operators should either own or hold a lease on a suitable concession of land with accompanying animal quota. Some animals also require a Conference for International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) permit, such as crocodile, leopard and cheetah.
Rates charged by the settlers are far below the going rate and not one cent generated by these illegal hunts is coming back into Zimbabwe. Evidence for this theft is that illegal operators do not adhere to the legislation that requires the foreign currency generated be deposited with the Reserve Bank with the necessary documentation.
Not only is the country losing the precious foreign currency, but in the past the legal property owners in the conservancy would also put a percentage of the money generated from hunting back into improvements, building up stock and wildlife management. This is obviously not being done by the illegal occupants.
We must act now before it is too late.
Name of Farm
Illegitimate State Beneficiary (or A2 Settler)
Lot 1 Dete Valley Farm
Ruben Makanla (ex International Red Cross Employee)
Lot 2 Dete Valley - Lanamie Ranch
Eternity Trading (Pvt)Ltd
Director – Jonathan Moyo (Zanu PF Information Minister)
Lot 3 Dete Valley
Mrs Alice Nkomo
(Zimbabwe Ambassador to Zambia)
(Chairman of ZanuPF for Matabeleland North)
Prisca Utete (ZBC manager)
Farm 31 – Railway Farm
(owner Delta Corp/Zim Sun)
(ex National Parks)
(owner Sikumi Pvt Ltd)
David Ntini Mhlanga
(Current National Parks employee –Warden for Sinematela Camp)
Curtain up Enterprises
Farm 35 – Railway Farm
(owns beer/store in Lupane)
Bernard Lodlo (Lupani District Council employee)
(The current “gardener” at this farm is actually a National Parks employee.)
Karna Block/Comwood Ranch
Karna Block West Registered as Tsankaruka Safaris
Chief Joseph Dingani
Karna Block East
(Officer in Charge Matabeleland North – Veterinary Department)
(Governor Matabeleland North)
(Governor Matabeleland North)
Unauthorized Hunting/Safari Operators,
operating in the Gwaai Conservancy.
Owners: Dawie Groenwaldt
Glen Van Rensburg
Nick Van Rensburg
Zimbabwe connection/operator - E K Safaris (Ed Kadzombe)
- Jacob Mudenda
Professional Hunters: Albert Padarizi – ex National Parks Pilot
Dawie Van Der Westhuizen (from Karoi)
American Agent: Richard Putman from Seminole, Alabama
Vehicle numbers: DDM850N
Reported to be hunting on Goodluck Farm and Chimwara Farm.
Owners: Piet Uys
Vehicle registration numbers: MWZ918GP – landcruiser p/u
FBD185N – white Toyota twincab
DPK173N – beige Landcruiser p/u
Reportedly hunting on: Goodluck
Railway Farm 37
Between the 20-30 August Out of Africa and Northern Weapons were seen hunting in the Gwaai area.
Zimbabwean farmers questioned illegal hunters on their farm. The name given to them of the South African hunters are:
Andre de Jaager Vehicle registration number: DMT498GP - Blue Landrover
R M Saunders – resides at Jacks Rand Heart – Alberton
Zimbabwe connection/operator – Elephant Eye Safaris
The above were seen in the company of three American hunters. De Jaager shot and wounded a buffalo on Sotani Ranch.
De Jaager is staying at the lodge on Chamankanu farm. He has also been seen hunting on Lugo and Skukungwa farms.
He has been arrested twice for hunting illegally on Skukungwa farm.
Relevant hunter: Mark Sparrow – based in Pietersburg.
Sparrow has been hunting on Hankana Ranch and wants to start a fishing safari business in Masuna island on the Zambezi. He has already made offers to property owners from Masuna. This desire to purchase land is not illegal, but is an indication of his presence in the area.
Zim cell number: 011 211 080
Rsa cell number: 082 477 3620
Vehicle registration number 587 150F
He is involved with the Uys brothers of Northern Weapons, Louis Trichardt.
(Father Basil owns one of Southern Africa’s largest curio export companies, based in Bulawayo)
Partner:- Joshua Nkomo’s daughter
Hunted on Railway Farm 31 which is now owned by Delta Corporation/Zim Suns and leased to hitherto unknown entity.
Professional hunters - Jed Moyo
- Gary Hopkins
- Ben Matawadzi - owner
Hunting on Antionette
Pofessional Hunter – Bagman Chauke – hunting on farm LOT 1
Jerome Sefredi – French national selling hunts to French community.
Jerome’s vehicle registration number:- 797-669F
Professional Hunter: Headman Ncube
This company is using Chamankanu Farm’s operator’s license (number 0008) without the farm owner’s permission and on their prehunts have put the name Ugere/bo (Pvt) Ltd.
National Parks signed a blank prehunt form for their activities and on another quota application the company Dream Merchant Safaris, Box 56 Dete, was used, but gave no client information and it does not state what farm the hunt was to take place on.
They also have a prehunt form for a hippo.
Enio di Palma – owner (resident in Bulawayo)
Jacob Mudenda – consultant/associate (Chairman for ZanuPF Matabeleland North)
Been hunting on Goodluck
Operating in Matetsi and Kadoma
Company:- Curtain up Enterprises
New beneficiaries of Goodluck.
They have a Dete postbox and have been hunting on Goodluck.
In June 2003 he stated to reliable sources that he is able to supply buffalo and elephant out of Sinamatella (This is within the National Park).
Elias Marfu – warden at Main camp – Malinde farm
Mark Russell – senior ranger Sinamatella – Goodluck Ranch
Headman Sibanda – previously retired from National Parks -
Albert Paradzi – pilot – previous employee of National Parks
Bagman Chouke – previous employee of National Parks
Mark Russell was recently seen driving a National Parks vehicle loaded with a full fuel drum and fuel containers from Sinamatella camp (Hwange National Park) to Goodluck farm.
In August 2003 he was seen in Bulawayo in the company of South African hunters.
Dr Zhisiiri – Officer in charge Mat North – A2 beneficiary of Karna Block East.
Hippo and reedbuck are on quota issued for this area this season.
There has never been a quota on this property for bushbuck.
This quota was issued to Game View Safaris. P O Box 400 – Bulawayo. The size of the property is incorrect on the quota form.
No lioness on quota for this property.
Bushbuck require a special permit – none were issued.
The conservancy does not allow the hunting of hippo.
3 Animals shot were not on the quota and 2 animals had already exceeded the season’s quota.
9 Buffalo, 3 Sable, 4 Impala, 1 Bushpig, 2 Zebra, 1 Leopard, 1 Elephant, 2 Kudu,
3 Bushbuck, 1 Hippo, 2 Waterbuck.
. Animals shot on Chimwara Farm – zebra, bushbuck, giraffe and impala.
Bindonvale\Carlisa (owned by a German National)
Clifford Sibanda and Mark Russell ransacked the camp and took all the teak furniture for their operation. Removed all the window and door frames. Fencing has also been stolen.
Sikumi Estate – Crocodile farm. The crocodiles went without food for 10 days, as the property owner was not allowed on to the property. The crocodiles started eating each other.
1000 crocodiles have died as they were not fed since 21 June 03.(unconfirmed)
Lion Ranch – Two tame lions went without food for 10 days, as the property owner was not allowed on to the property.
Lot 2 Dete Valley Farm - A tracking collar off a lioness (Lion research collar), was found in the homestead.
Hwange Safari Lodge Hunters are reported to be staying at this hotel, major shareholders are ZanuPF. One of the companies is Out of Africa Safaris.
24 July – 3 South African Landcruisers were seen in the area. All vehicles had removed their number plates. An occupant of one vehicle were seen bribing the official at the veterinary road block. Another was seen driving onto Goodluck Farm.
Hunting blinds have been built at a number of water points.
2 September - four Americans were seen arriving in Victoria Falls. They were collected by a South African operator and were overheard saying they wanted to shoot as much as possible.
4 September - At approximately 11h00 – a white landrover belonging to Out of Africa Safaris was seen dropping zebra meat at the PTC offices in Vic Falls. Vehicle registration FBT052N. Public vehicles are not permitted into this area.
4 September - Many of the rightful Gwaai property owners are now being threatened by the new settlers.
Hunting at waterpoints is taking place. This is unethical.
15 September 2003 – Three vehicles were seen in Bulawayo – All from Out of Africa Safaris. White Landrover defender’s – double cab’s. Two had American clients with them. Vehicle registration numbers FBG847N, FBR649N.
September 2003 – Out of Africa have been seen driving in Hwange National Park.
September 2003 – Mpandamatenga Border Post. A South African Landcruiser was seen coming through the border post into Zimbabwe. On checking the register it was noted that the driver had entered the incorrect details of the vehicle. He stated he was driving a Mercedes vehicle.
These vehicles were involved in the eviction of the farmers and their workers
765-949C – Zanu PF
777 475F – Zanu PF
779 269F – Zanu PF
781 098T – Zanu PF
779 064H – Zanu PF
Two shotguns and a rifle were stolen from Lions Den on the night of one farm eviction. The following day the police came and took all the weapons and ammunition from this property. No ZRP receipt was given. They also searched the offices.
An AK47 and two pistols were seen on War Veterans, the night of the evictions from Lions Den.
On Lions Den the staff were evicted from their homes on 21 June 2003 at 18h30 and made to stand out in the cold (our coldest and wet winter in 30 years) till 1am. They were then loaded on vehicles and dumped on the side of a road.. They were eventually found at 3am by the farmer and moved to safety and shelter.
Homesteads were ransacked and striped of fixtures and fittings. One homestead has not been touched and it is believed that Ruben Nklanga wants this home.
An example of how one of the farms in the conservancy
managed their game prior to eviction.
Buffalo 1200 Wildebeeste 60
Giraffe 3 Zebra 60
Hippo 6 Kudu 40
Impala 90 Reedbuck 6
Eland 1500 Tssessebe 8 – protected
Sable 90 Warthogs 30
Hyena 20 Elephant 150
Lion 12 – nomadic Leopard male 4 – territorial
Wilddog 8 Leopard f/male 8
Hunting quota for the year submitted to relevant authorities.
They developed 10 waterpoints, 9 seasonal dams and 2 annual dams.
To date there is no water being pumped to the waterpoints.
When the proprietor of the above farm was recently evicted, approximately 20% of game was left. Loss of game occurred through illegal hunting and poaching. Now that no water is being supplied this game will have moved.
On a neighbouring property nine buffalo were shot in a two week period. This is a small portion of the hunting season which lasts for approximately seven months.
Unauthorized Hunting/Safari Operators,
operating in Matetsi Hunting area.
Company:- Touch Africa
France Hobart – tel: 71656340
Amongst other animals shot on various hunts, he killed the tame buffalo that was hand reared on Musuma Ranch.
South African operator
Company:- De Marillac Safaris
Vehicle registgration number:- FCJ797N
American agent:- Cabelas
Company:- Inyati Safaris
Enio di Palma - owner
Jacob Mudenda – consultant/associate
This company has been seen hunting on Woodlands Estate ‘B’
They are also logging teak in the Fuller Forest.
They sub-let hunts to De Marillac Safaris.
They are based out of Jafuta Camp owned by Forestry Commission.
The animals are skinned at Mubiya Camp (Forestry) so that National Parks will not know where they are being killed.
Inyati Safaris have been caught poaching a kudu and a buffalo in Guzu Safaris area which is a photographic area. The kudu was shot at a waterhole from a vehicle.
(There is also a dispute ongoing about an elephant bull.)
France Hobart was reported as hunting, again, on Masuma Ranch early in August.
He shot one of the young giraffe that was bought from Clem Coetsee four years ago. There are no wild giraffe in eastern Matetsi. 6 giraffe were purchased for photographic purposes only. This same Professional Hunter has shot the tame buffalo that were hand reared.
Animals shot in this area since the evictions
2 Lion( one of which was wounded and only shot three days later and National Parks were not advised.)
Other activities in this area
A South African vehicle has been seen on Woodlands Estate. Vehicle registration number:- FBT052N.
A fair number of South African Hunting vehicles
have been seen in Victoria Falls and the areas they are hunting in are not known
at this stage.
The above information has been verified to the best of our ability. Information is difficult to collate, but we will do our best to answer any queries.
WE HAVE TO ACT NOW – HOW ELSE DO WE EXPLAIN TO OUR CHILDREN WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ONE OF THE LAST REMAINING WILDLIFE REFUGES ON THE PLANET?
A COUNTRY TURNED FROM BREAD BASKET TO BEGGAR?
From The Mercury (SA), 1 September
Mugabe's man claims top reserve for 'hunting'
By Gustav Thiel
Amid weekend reports that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is building a R60-million retirement mansion, it has emerged that one of his closest allies has claimed the world-renowned Hwange Wildlife Estate to be used for hunting purposes. The estate is home to the "presidential herd" of about 500 elephants, which were given special presidential protection in a decree issued by Mugabe in 1991. Johnny Rodrigues, chairperson of the Zimbabwean Conservation Task Force, said on Sunday that the governor of Matabeleland, Obert Mpofu, "has just simply taken the Hwange estate". "The land will now be a free-for-all for poachers and for him (Mpofu) to allow hunters to kill the animals," he said. The Hwange Wildlife Estate is state-owned and comprises 14 000ha of prime land. Rodrigues said he "would not be surprised if he (Mpofu) next moves to claim land in the Hwange National Park for his own purposes" because there were no fences separating the estate from the park. Hwange National Park is Zimbabwe's biggest game reserve at 14 650km2. Rodrigues added that people like Mpofu "are putting a death sentence on the future heritage of the country and the benefits that wildlife conservation would have had for the people of the country".
It has been estimated that more than $400-million (about R2,9-billion) has been lost in Zimbabwe's southern region because of rampant poaching. Bambo Kadzombe, chairperson of the Zimbabwe Wildlife Advisory Council, said: "Three thousand animals have been poached so far on commercial game farms and Zimbabwe's conservancies, mainly at Save Valley, Mahenye, Bubiyana conservancy, Bubye Valley and Chiredzi River conservancy." In 2002, more than 100 poachers had been arrested and Kadzombe said that if the poaching continued species could become extinct. Rodrigues said it was with that in mind that Mpofu should understand the "folly of allowing hunting at Hwange". He said over the past five years more than 300 of the remaining black rhino in Zimbabwe had been killed. A wildlife researcher based in Zimbabwe said the taking of the land by Mpofu could jeopardise the inclusion of Zimbabwe's Gonarezhou Park in the Limpopo Transfrontier Park, combining three national parks in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and South Africa.
for wild dogs?
Sep 03 2003 07:52:52:840PM
African wild dogs - also known as painted hunting dogs - are facing extinction again - because of poachers.
Bulawayo - They hunt in family groups over great distances, chasing mostly impala, kudu and duiker until the prey tire and can be caught.
They have earned a well-deserved reputation for being efficient, indefatigable hunters, able to disembowel their prey in a matter of minutes, before lions or hyenas get a chance to move in.
Yet, less known about them is the fact that the sick and wounded, together with the young members of the pack, are looked after, fed on regurgitated food and nursed back to health.
Painted hunting dogs - also known as Cape hunting dogs or African wild dogs - so named for their individual and elaborate skin markings, were some of the most maligned of Africa's predators.
What is known about them now is that they are very social animals living in large packs numbering up to 40. There is usually one breeding female in each pack, and she gives birth to a litter of up to 10 pups at a time that the whole pack takes turns in looking after.
The dogs used to be a common part of the African wilderness. But with the advent of the European colonisation, they were branded vermin and mercilessly persecuted, to the extent of being eradicated from national parks. Their numbers were reduced from some 500 000 to 3 000.
Now they are an endangered species.
Between 1956 and 1961 about 2 700 were killed in Zimbabwe alone for a bounty paid by the government to protect livestock. And those were just the recorded deaths.
This kind of slaughter went on throughout the continent where previously the dogs had been sighted even on the snows of Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and often wondered into the Sahara Desert.
The Zimbabwe population fell to a low of 150 in the early 1980s. The total for Africa now stands at about 3 000.
The Zimbabwe dog population, spread through three locations: Hwange and Gonarezhou national parks and the Zambezi Valley, was the largest in the world.
But that was before poachers moved in.
They have reduced the dogs' population from about 850 to 600. Tanzania has about 800 dogs, Botswana 500 and South Africa 200.
At the forefront of the species' survival in Zimbabwe is zoologist Greg Rasmussen whose Painted Dog Research Project has existed since 1989.
Operating from the south western part of the country, in and around the 14 000ha Hwange National Park, Rasmussen and his team have been quite successful in allaying ranchers' concerns about the dogs and also bringing about a high level of awareness within the population.
Monitoring with the help of radio collars and translocation has brought the dogs into areas where they had not been seen in decades.
The project has three main focus areas: identifying through research the problems facing painted hunting dogs in Zimbabwe, disseminating information regarding the problems facing this species and actively reducing known causes of mortality and preventing those that are looming.
A considerable percentage of fatalities are caused by motor vehicles as the dogs - moving in packs - frequently fall victim to road accidents, especially when they move in and out of game reserves.
Glow-in-the dark collar
Thus, apart from erecting road signs warning motorists of the dogs' crossing points along the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls highway, Rasmussen has developed a special collar for the dogs with reflective strips and a stainless steel plate. It makes it easier for motorists to see them in the dark, and also protects the dogs' windpipe should they get caught in snares.
The results of extensive tests on improved survival of dogs wearing the collars have shown that the protectively collared dogs had significantly higher survival chances than the rest.
However, given that each pack needs about 750 square kilometres in order to thrive, the dogs' future is far from secured since this exceeds what most game reserves can provide.
Some environmentalists say the only long-term solution to the problem is the creation of trans-frontier parks that will give wild dogs enough room to roam. Not only would this minimise habitat loss to humans, it would also prevent inbreeding, a phenomenon that bodes ill for the survival of the species.
The proposed Gaza-Kruger-Gonarezhou Transfrontier Park, a wildlife reserve spanning South Africa, Mozambique and Zimbabwe has been thrown in doubt due to the reported occupation of Gonarezhou game reserve by land-hungry Zimbabwean peasants.
For Rasmussen's study packs, however, the problem has been less academic.
Poaching, fuelled by Zimbabwe's chaotic land-reform programme, has led to the demise of three out of five study packs, or over 30 dogs, in the last 18 months.
Since February 2000, thousands of Zimbabwe's white farmers have been pushed off their land as the government sought to redress colonial land imbalances in an unplanned populist programme driven more by the ruling party's fear of losing power than a desire for genuine reform.
In many instances, government-supported war veterans of Zimbabwe's liberation struggle have moved in, sharing the land among themselves.
Other farms have been partitioned for new black farmers many of whom are content being absentee landlords or are still trying to find their feet.
We need an indication of who should live here and who should not, Rasmussen said of the Gwaai Conservancy, part of his study area consisting of several ranches within which game could roam, but now without careful policing.
A lot of people have moved in merely to collect wildlife.
Apparently, the wild dogs are not the only wild animals falling victims to poaching.
The Zimbabwe Wildlife Producers Association estimates that half the country's wildlife has been killed in the last two years, when the country's land programme gained steam.
Rasmussen notes that 16 members of his project's anti-poaching unit are removing 1 000 snares a month and fear that in six months they will have no jobs since the game might have been wiped out.
Now everyone has left the ranches, the poachers are having a free lunch, he says.
Most of the poaching is for selling meat and nothing else. There is absolutely no control.
He said Zimbabwe's reputation of having the best wild dog programme has suffered a major setback.
The worst poachers are South African hunters whose hellish reputation is well-known, Rasmussen said.
The South Africans destroyed their own wildlife and had to restock with animals bought in Zimbabwe. Now there is this window of opportunity in Zimbabwe.
Yet, to stem the tide, Ben Kaschula of the Commercial Farmers Union, which represents mainly white landowners, said the rule of law has to return to the farms.
If poaching were to cease, the game would recover given time. For the endangered painted wild dogs, there might be no third chance. - Sapa-IPS
NATIONAL PARKS ORDERS PROSECUTION OF CORRUPT COPS
The Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management in Chimanimani has written to Chimanimani ZRP, calling for the prosecution of police officers involved in the illegal poaching of an Eland on Charleswood estate, the farm of MDC MP Roy Bennett.
The Investigation Branch of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management based in Mutare on the 2nd of June this year wrote to Assistant Inspector Chogugudza of the Zimbabwe Republic Police calling for the prosecution of Assistant Inspector Mupfuriranwa and other police officers from Chimanimani Police Station.
The National Parks made this call after a National Parks officer witnessed a police officer with nine others being caught poaching at Charleswood Estate by security guards on the 29th of January 2003, and then Chimanimani police corruptly released the culprits and disposed the carcass of the Eland bull .
The ten people who were caught poaching by some farm workers who effected a citizen’s arrest including a police officer Assistant Inspector Chivandika, Luke Zvidzayi, Mathew, Joseph Mazuva, Luke Mutsigo, Misheck Mazango, Luke Zvinaye, Fadzayi Jiri, Elias Mushonga and Peter Fox. The farm security informed the National Parks officer Mr. Frank Ashala. When Mr. Ashala attended the scene he interviewed the culprits. The police did not attend the scene immediately due to transport problems it is reported. However when they finally arrived Assistant Inspector Chivandika had fled the scene.
When the police eventually arrived they were in the company and under the leadership of Joseph Mwale who is the Officer- in – Charge of the Central Intelligence Organisation Chimanimani. They ordered the poachers as well as the farm workers to disperse, without arresting anyone. There after four police officers, Sergeants Nasho, Hove, Assistant Inspector Mupfuriranwa and Constable Tawonezvi loaded the carcass of the Eland bull into Joseph Mwale’s vehicle and they went away. This is in contradiction of a High Court order which prohibits Mwale from entering Charleswood, an order he has repeatedly flouted.
The Eland bull, which was killed by these poachers, is worth about US$ 1500 on a commercial hunting market but the meat was never seen again. The poachers and the police officers that corruptly released the culprits are seen on Charleswood Estate on a daily basis but they are not getting arrested. Mr. Roy Bennett, The MP for Chimanimani has been on the receiving end at his farm for close to three years now, with Chimanimani police officers beating and arresting him and his farm workers willy nilly. Inspector Chogugudza once promised that he was not going to render any police assistance to Roy Bennett for as long as he owns the farm. The failure by Chimanimani Police to effect legal arrests and prosecutions of the police involved in the poaching story is seen as way of punishing Mr. Bennett because of his involvement in opposition politics.
The incidence of police abuse and corruption is just one of many that has occurred on Charleswood Estate since the Parliamentary elections of 2000. What is unusual in this case is the courage and determination of the National Parks to stand up to this corruption when it affects their area of responsibility, in marked contrast to the police and other government officials who have at best turned a blind eye to the corruption and abuses of power that occur in Chimanimani. It also corresponds with an increased militancy by the people of the Chimanimani region, who have lost all patience with an overtly politicized police force supported a regime that is destroying their livelihoods and well being.
One of the most significant indications of this political determination has been the voluntary picking by Chimanimani residents of Roy Bennett’s coffee. The daily disturbances on Charleswood Estate have severely affected the production level of the farm, and not prepared to see their MP stand unassisted, for the first time every, the poverty stricken residents of Chimanimani have been voluntarily picking coffee on Charleswood estate. This has been their contribution to support their MP in his struggle with the government and police and CIO.
WWF Harare, Zimbabwe - WWF in collaboration
with the Zimbabwean Parks and
25, Aug 2003
New commercial poaching pressures Zimbabwe's rhinos
Wildlife Management Authority and other conservation agencies, is assisting
in emergency responses to increasing rhino poaching pressures.
Since March 2002, at least sixteen black rhinos and several elephants have
been slaughtered in the Matusadona and Hwange National Parks in northern and
western Zimbabwe. The Parks and Wildlife Management Authority has responded
through enhanced patrol efforts, despite crippling shortages of manpower,
fuel and equipment. Four poachers have been killed in recent firefights, and
several have been arrested.
WWF-funded operations enabled the relocation of 22 black rhinos from areas
of high snaring risk to safer areas during 2002. Future operations are
likely to be approved by the Parks and Wildlife Management Authority. Other
supporting NGOs, in particular the Marwell Zimbabwe Trust, the Zambezi
Society and the SAVE Foundation of Australia, have helped to deal with the
new crisis of commercial rhino poaching in National Parks.
Over the past three years, at least fifteen black rhinos have died in these
ranching areas as a consequence of indiscriminate snaring, adding to the
ongoing problems of rhino snaring by subsistence poachers in conservancies.
Further problems for Zimbabwe's rhinos arose in June when South African
"sport" hunters were involved in the illegal slaughter of a black rhino in
"Prompt action is required by the South African and Zimbabwean authorities
to deal with this recent case and to clamp down on the cross-border hunting
forays by readily identifiable hunting parties," said Dr. Harrison Kojwang,
Regional Representative for WWF in Southern Africa.
WWF's rhino specialist, Raoul du Toit, adds, "Whereas impoverished
Zimbabweans may claim that they are driven to poaching in order to feed
themselves, relatively wealthy sport hunters from South Africa have no such
excuse - their unethical behaviour is driven by financial interests and by
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Zimbabwe's black rhino population
fell from about 2000 to 370, due to commercial poaching perpetrated mainly
by gangs from across the northern border. Effective conservation measures
then rebuilt the population to about 500.
Recently, Zimbabwe's deteriorating economy and land disputes have stimulated
poaching for "bushmeat", and rhinos are being caught in the wire snares.
Unemployment and inflating costs of living are driving more and more
Zimbabweans into informal occupations, including destructive activities such
as uncontrolled gold panning and poaching. The consequent harvesting of
wildlife and other natural resources is proving difficult for state
conservation agencies to regulate. While it is impossible to quantify the
overall loss of wildlife, estimates of 50 to 80 per cent of wildlife being
lost from some former commercial farms, are widely reported.
"The resolution of internal poaching by rural communities is a long-term
issue requiring the evolution of equitable and durable land reform
arrangements within various sectors of Zimbabwe's complicated wildlife
industry," warned Dr. Kojwang. "WWF stands ready to assist with technical
support in developing these arrangements, which will take a great deal of
effort and a willingness by all stakeholders to negotiate workable and
sensible solutions on an area-by-area basis."
For further information:
WWF - Southern Africa Regional Programme Office
Tel. +263 (0)4 252533
NOTE TO EDITORS:
Investigations into the shooting of a young female rhino in a conservancy in
southern Zimbabwe in June 2003 led to the identification of South African
participants in this incident. Some South African hunters are taking
advantage of the unsettled situation in Zimbabwe's rural areas to run
illegal safari hunting operations. Members of this network pay small "trophy
fees" to the occupiers of wildlife properties. They then shoot whatever
animals they can (including elephants) for meat, hides and trophies, which
they market illegally.
Harare, Zimbabwe - WWF in collaboration
with the Zimbabwean Parks and
From: CFU - Matabeleland Branch
Bulawayo – July 2003
A party of twelve South African hunters belonging to a Christian organisation were arrested in Zimbabwe on Friday last week for illegal hunting on listed properties in West Nicholson, Matabeleland South. The eight adult men and four teenagers were stopped at a police roadblock outside Beit Bridge town on their way to the close by South African border. They had in their possession a quantity of meat allegedly meant for exportation from Zimbabwe, a country that is currently riddled with one of the worst foot and mouth disease outbreaks in its history.
The teenagers were released, but seven of the eight men spent a night in police holding cells in West Nicholson, and the eighth was kept for two nights while police investigated his connection to the slaughter of a black rhino and two elephants four weeks earlier in the same area. He was released on Sunday after a lawyer was brought in from South Africa. Pressure to release the men and drop charges was laid on the investigating police officers by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Abednigo Ncube, a politician from Gwanda, and himself a beneficiary of a farm in the district. The South African High Commissioner in Harare was informed of the situation.
Police were alerted to the activities of the hunters on Chipizi Farm by a neighbouring farmer who, after hearing shots from a heavy-calibre weapon in the area, found the carcass of a freshly killed eland with only its hind legs removed. Subsequent police investigations revealed that the South Africans had been hunting on Chipizi Farm, whose owner has been evicted. The hunt took place with authority from the local Rural District Council, under the auspices of the resident settlers and so-called professional hunter, Ronnie Sparrow.
Officials from the Hunting Licence Section of the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Management in Harare confirmed that Mr Sparrow is not licensed with them as a professional hunter in this country. Nor is he a member of the Zimbabwe Association of Tour and Safari Operators (ZATSO), an organisation to which most Zimbabwean professional hunters belong.
Investigating officers in West Nicholson said that South African professional hunter Dwayne van Zyl was authorised by Mr Sparrow (as the “licensed hunter” in charge) to conduct the hunt on his behalf, against National Parks regulations. Mr van Zyl is wanted for questioning by the Zimbabwean police regarding the slaughter of a black rhino and two elephants in the Bubiyana Conservancy last month, as he is thought to have been in the area at the time of the killings.
Chipizi Farm, like its neighbour, is listed for compulsory acquisition as part of Zimbabwe’s controversial and notorious Land Acquisition exercise. The Zimbabwean government has taken over hundreds of farms illegally by fast-tracking the process, evicting bona fide owners and ordering thousands of communal people to settle on properties listed for acquisition without due regard to the law.
The Land Acquisition Act provides that owners may object to the acquisition of their properties in the Administrative Court, and the court must confirm the acquisition of the property before it is handed over for resettlement. Until such confirmation is made, the appropriate authority over the wildlife rests with the title deed holder of the land on which the animals reside.
However, throughout the country settlers and local District Councils have claimed the wildlife resources on listed properties for themselves, and are selling it off to the first unscrupulous buyer that comes along. Numerous South African hunters have been fingered in the past few months for taking advantage of the confusion over land and wildlife ownership and contributing to the uncontrolled depletion of the wildlife resources on listed properties in Zimbabwe.
Some of the carcasses of the animals shot on Chipizi Farm - an eland, two kudu, a wildebeest and fourteen impala - were taken to a butchery in the nearby town of West Nicholson for processing. The butcher, who wishes to remain anonymous, says the hunters provided their own biltong spices, and took away over 400kg of wet biltong and raw meat in two plastic crates and ten large waste-disposal bags.
Police in Beit Bridge recovered two crates of meat, but the bags were missing when the men were arrested. It is not known what actually happened to the remainder of the meat that was taken from the butchery, but it is suspected that it was taken to South Africa by Mr van Zyl who left before the weekend. South African authorities are investigating.
In a radio interview about the incident, one of the South African hunters, Mr Brummer, claimed that most of the meat from the trophy hunt was given to farm workers “and the farm owner”, while the balance was to be used in exchange for curios before leaving for the border. Asked why it was processed into biltong first, he replied that they had not realised that the meat had to be brittle-dry before it could be imported into South Africa. Signs on both sides of the South African border clearly indicate that the South African Veterinary Services have put a moratorium on the importation of animal products from Zimbabwe because of the severity and extent of the FMD outbreak in that country.
Besides antelope, the South Africans also killed a hippo and a crocodile in the Chipizi dam but did not “have time” to retrieve them. War Veterans on the farm, who are believed to have been paid R7 500 for the hunt (well below National Park values), have offered Z$1 million to anyone who will retrieve the carcass of the hippo from the dam for them.
Zimbabwe is recognised worldwide as having one of the most professional and highly-regulated hunting industries in the world, and property owners and safari operators must complete a battery of National Parks approved hunting quotas, pre-hunt and post-hunt forms before hunts can be conducted for gain and trophies exported from the country. A CITES permit is required to hunt crocodile in Zimbabwe.
Proof of payment in foreign exchange is also required, and moneys paid to operators must be deposited in a Zimbabwean bank, in forex, within 14 days of the cessation of the hunt. Foreign client hunts may only be conducted in the presence of a Zimbabwean-licensed professional hunter who is responsible for ensuring that all regulations are complied with and that animals are killed in an ethical and humane manner. Furthermore, 2% levies on daily rates are payable to the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority in forex.
It has been ascertained that the South African group complied with none of the relevant statutory instruments though they claim that their permits were in order. Police are still investigating.
From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 6 September
Lions facing starvation as Mugabe men seize famous wildlife park
Harare - Five-week-old lion cubs have become the latest victims of President Robert Mugabe's lawless land grab in Zimbabwe. Their rescuers, Brendon and Lana Snook, had only minutes to load the cubs into their car, along with their son, three dogs and a few possessions, when the president's supporters invaded a wildlife sanctuary outside Harare. The family, along with the animals, found refuge with relatives in the capital, but the fate of the cub's parents, another 34 lions and hundreds of other animals remains in the balance after the seizure of the Lion and Cheetah Park. Although not a farm and with no government notices issued for its acquisition, the 1,100-acre property was taken by a retired colonel, K Makavanga, accompanied by a group of Zanu PF militia. The Lion and Cheetah Park, established in 1968 by the Bristow family as a wildlife sanctuary for orphaned animals, is one of Zimbabwe's oldest privately owned sanctuaries. Until its seizure it was home to 46 lions, three cheetahs, small herds of elephants and giraffes, hundreds of impalas and other antelopes as well as jackals, crocodiles and numerous smaller animals. The animals are known internationally for appearing in major films and documentaries filmed in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Kenya. Their credits include Mountains of the Moon, the story of Burton and Speke's search for the source of the Nile, King Solomon's Mines, with Richard Chamberlain and Sharon Stone, and A Far Off Place, starring Reese Witherspoon. The park also encourages a wider understanding of conservation by subsidising the visits of over 3,000 schoolchildren a month.
Col Makavanga had approached the park's management with the idea of expanding its operations into surrounding farms. He claims that instead of responding to the proposal, Mr Snook, the park manager, incited the workers to attack a passing "war veteran" and other militants then came to his aid. Mr Snook denies this version of events, saying the proposal submitted by Col Makavanga was unworkable and this prompted the colonel and his supporters to invade the park. Mr Snook's version was backed up by staff members who spoke to The Telegraph. Although Col Makavanga has expressed an interest in continuing the operations of the wildlife park, its owner, Viv Bristow, 58, fears for the welfare of the animals. "Running a park of this nature is a complex and costly operation," he said from South Africa, where 10 of his lions are being filmed. You need to understand the physiological needs of a wide range of animals, you must be licensed to use dangerous drugs, and know how to prepare food and care for the animals." Thousands of wild animals on private land have been killed, poached or died of neglect since the land redistribution programme began in 2000. Mr Snook, 40, said a request to move the animals off the land had been denied by Col Makavanga. "If we cannot get them off or get food to them soon, they will begin to die," he said. "More worryingly, once the lions get hungry they will easily find a way out of their enclosures and there is a lot of human settlement adjoining the park." The animals are at present being cared for by the staff of the park despite threats of beatings and having their houses burnt down. "If these war veterans take this place, the animals will be killed or will die and we will lose our jobs," said one of the workers. "All around us are derelict farms that have been destroyed by these people and this park is more difficult to run than a farm."
Tsvangirai's co-accused, the MDC's
secretary-general Welshman Ncube and
agriculture spokesperson Renson Gasela, were in August acquitted by Judge
President Paddington Garwe in a case that has attracted international
The Zimbabwe Independent
heard this week the state wanted to change the
indictment to supplement the video and audio evidence supplied by Canadian
lobbyist Ari Ben-Menashe which has been described as grainy and inaudible.
Efforts to get
confirmation of the intended amendment from the
Attorney-General's office were unsuccessful yesterday. However, Tsvangirai's
lawyer Innocent Chagonda on Wednesday confirmed the state's filing of an
application to bring supplementary evidence.
"We are aware that the state filed a notice
in court to amend the indictment
but I cannot say much at the moment," said Chagonda.
The case should have restarted on Monday with Tsvangirai
being put to his
defence but was postponed to October 27.
sources said the manoeuvre by the state was potentially embarrassing
as it exposed the possible failure of the first indictment to secure
conviction in the treason trial using the taped evidence. The state closed
its case on June 26.
While Chagonda could not provide details of the amendment,
sources at the
Attorney-General's office yesterday said the state wanted to move the goal
posts and allege that Tsvangirai attended a meeting where the issue of a
transitional government was discussed. The state would use this to bolster
its argument that Tsvangirai's attendance at the meeting was tantamount to
wanting to eliminate Mugabe.
"Since the state has
already closed its case, in the event of the court
allowing the amendment to the indictment, it means the state would have to
retrace much of its footsteps," a legal source said. "This might also entail
re-calling Ben-Menashe and other witnesses."
A senior lawyer in Harare yesterday
said the state's action would amount to
applying double jeopardy.
"This is baffling. A case should either fall or stand on
the basis of
evidence presented when the state says it has closed its argument," the
Tsvangirai, Ncube and Gasela denied the charge when the trial opened in the
High Court in February. The three MDC leaders applied for a discharge when
the state closed its case in June saying the prosecution had failed to prove
a prima facie case against them.
The court acquitted Ncube and Gasela but ruled that Tsvangirai
had a case to
answer. The state case revolved around the secret recording by Ben-Menashe
of meetings held with the MDC leaders in Montreal and London. The
evidence-in-chief was the tape made on December 4 2001, three months ahead
of a disputed presidential election that pitted Tsvangirai against Mugabe,
and which Mugabe won.
It was made using hidden
surveillance cameras in the offices of Ben-Menashe
whom the MDC say they approached to do promotional work for them in North
the tape, which Ben-Menashe gave to the Zimbabwe authorities, Tsvangirai
is alleged to have requested the consultant's help in "eliminating" Mugabe
and organising a coup d'etat to oust his government.
MDC mayors ready for Chombo
A CLASH is looming between Local Government minister Ignatius Chombo and
newly-elected mayors of towns and cities dominated by the opposition.
Sources in Chombo's ministry revealed that the minister would be holding
meetings with the mayors to give them guidelines on how he expects them to
manage municipal affairs.
"The minister plans to hold meetings with all the
probably starting this weekend," said a source. "The intention is to provide
them with guidelines on how he expects councils to be run."
MDC Local Government spokesman Gabriel Chaibva said this week
mayors were ready to resist Chombo's attempts to interfere in council
affairs as he had done in Harare and Chegutu.
equipping our mayors on how to handle Chombo," said Chaibva. "They
(the mayors) will attend the meetings called by Chombo, but will resist his
attempts to incapacitate their council elections. It would be unfortunate if
Chombo wants to meet the mayors outside the premises of the Urban Councils
Act, and we would not accept that."
Harare mayor Elias
Mudzuri was in April suspended by Chombo on allegations
of insubordination. Chombo's interference in the running of Harare has
hampered the turnaround strategy launched by Mudzuri and the predominantly
MDC Harare City Council.
Chaibva also blames Chombo for the chaos that prevails in
council, where an MDC mayor, Francis Dhlakama, has escaped several attempts
on his life by the ruling party.
case is a clear sign of what Zanu PF intends to do in towns and
cities in order to prevent its collapse," said Chaibva.
"The MDC mayor in
Chegutu has been harassed, and actually survived attempts
on his life in order to scare him into capitulating to Zanu PF's intentions.
In last month's elections, Zanu PF prevented our candidates from reaching
the nomination courts so that the Chegutu council is controlled by their
Chaibva said the MDC would file an appeal to
the Supreme Court next week
against the ruling made by High Court judge Ben Hlatshwayo on the Chegutu
an application by 11 members of the MDC challenging the
nomination process in Chegutu where they were barred by a Zanu PF mob. Zanu
PF subsequently won the 11 wards in Chegutu unopposed.
Paradza sues for $500m
IN what could be the biggest civil suit in the country's history, High
Court Judge Benjamin Paradza is suing Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa and
government for $500 million in damages suffered when he was unlawfully
arrested on corruption charges in February.
Paradza challenged the constitutionality of his arrest in the Supreme
Court, which this week ruled that the arrest was unlawful and unnecessary.
His lawyer Jonathan Samkange yesterday confirmed his client was suing
for damages. Summons should be delivered to the respondents next week, he
"Yes, I can confirm that I am issuing summons
against all the
respondents in the constitutional case for damages because the court said
the arrest was unlawful," he said.
Supreme Court application, Paradza said his arrest was
unprocedural. He accused Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku and High Court
Judge President Paddington Garwe of allowing his arrest thereby compromising
the independence of the judiciary.
He said the two senior judges had allowed
this to happen because they
did not want to cross paths with the executive.
Samkange could not provide details on how much his
demanding in the lawsuit but the Zimbabwe Independent has it on good
authority that the amount is around $500 million.
respondents are Chinama-sa, Police Commissioner Augu-stine
Chihuri, former Attorney-General Andrew Chigovera, ma-gistrate Mishrod
Guvamombe, and senior police officer Chief Superintendent Nyathi who was the
Samkange said Nyathi was being sued in his personal
effecting the unlawful arrest.
"Supt Nyathi is
being sued in his personal capacity because he obeyed
an unlawful instruction," said Samkange.
Paradza was arrested in his
chambers on charges of attempting to
defeat the course of justice and appeared before Guvamombe who remanded him
out of custody on $20 000 bail.
He faced an alternative charge of trying to persuade
Cheda and George Chiweshe to breach a section of the Prevention of
Daily News Focus - What they said
"The practical effect of this judgement is that had we been challenging the
death penalty and not media laws, we would have had to hang first and
challenge the penalty from hell." - ANZ lawyer Gugulethu Moyo responding to
the Supreme Court's ruling that "citizens are obliged to obey the law and
"These actions are unwarranted infringements on press
freedom and they are
the latest incidents in a pattern of intimidation and violence directed
against the local media." - Adam Ereli, deputy spokesman for the US State
"The outside world will see it for
what it is - an attempt to stifle
independent scrutiny and silence democratic voices in Zimbabwe. We will
continue to support all those in Zimbabwe working for a return to a
democratically-elected and accountable government which respects human
rights and the rule of law." - British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.
"The forced closure of the Daily News is yet another clumsy
assault by the
government on free media in Zimbabwe. Clearly what bombs failed to achieve
in 2000 the state has achieved by its closure of the Daily News." -
Independent Journalists Association of Zimbabwe.
regrettable that the ambitious thrust by the Minister of Information
and Publicity to enact, by any means, unconstitutional legislation designed
to arrest expression, has now been given judicial approval by a court
entrusted with the protection of fundamental freedoms and universally
recognised human rights to ensure justice and freedom in Zimbabwe.
Repression may therefore have sadly found itself an ally against human
rights defenders, in the form of the judiciary." - Zimbabwe Lawyers for
"This is a crude attempt to silence an inconvenient voice. No
heavy-handed repression by a desperately insecure government will disguise
the trail of criminal misrule which the Daily News, together with other
independent papers, has done so much to expose." - Zimbabwe National Editors
"The closure (of the Daily News) robs the country
of one of the few
alternative voices in an increasingly restricted space where Zimbabweans can
freely express themselves." - Misa.
"It is a
major attack on the freedom of the press." -
"There is freedom of the press here, but
there is no freedom to act as an
outlaw. We registered almost all the other private newspapers which applied,
but these people chose to play to the gallery, and now want to cry foul
because the law has caught up with them." - Media and Information Commission
boss Tafataona Mahoso.
Crisis Coalition is stunned by the irregularity with which this case
has been handled, and the perverted sense of justice demonstrated by the
Supreme Court in this instance." - Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition.
Former PF-Zapu properties to be reassigned
GOVERNMENT has agreed to return properties confiscated from PF-Zapu during
the 1980s after intensive pressure from former Zipra cadres, the Zimbabwe
Independent has established.
The government in 2001 released the properties into the custody of
politicians who have been leasing them for token amounts. The new move means
that ex-Zipra cadres would have a say in the control of the properties.
Party insiders said the properties,
owned by Zapu-affiliated Nitram
Holdings, would be handed over at a closed-door meeting in Bulawayo this
weekend to a committee made up of members of the Zipra High Command during
the liberation war.
Nitram director Dumiso Dabengwa this week confirmed that all the
properties were returned by the government and said Nitram was looking at
ways of how the properties could be managed by members.
Dabengwa could not confirm however whether chefs renting the
Zapu farms had
"The properties were returned by
government a long time ago," said Dabengwa.
"However, what we need to do is to find mechanisms on how to manage the
properties now that they are in our hands."
The government seized the properties after arms caches were
discovered at Ascot and Hampton farms in 1982. The government seized other
Zapu properties on the pretext that they were hideouts for dissident
plotters against the government.
The other properties
include Nest Egg poultry farm in Hope Fountain and
Woodglen Farm along the Victoria Falls road. Also confiscated were removals
company Black Cat, Kudu Motors and Castle Arms Hotel in Richmond.
Party sources said Zanu PF
chairman John Nkomo and Dabengwa were
instrumental in securing the release of the properties that include farms,
buildings, a service station, a hotel and several business units.
War veterans national acting chairman Patrick
Nyaruwata will join Dabengwa
and Nkomo at the Bulawayo indaba.
farms and properties fell under Nitram Holdings, a company formed by
PF-Zapu using money raised from contributions from ex-Zapu cadres and
Highly placed sources in the party said the
local politburo and central
committee leadership was worried by divisions among war veterans that
culminated in the ousting of provincial chairman Jabulani Sibanda from both
the party and the war veterans association and hence their move to have the
properties returned as a way of uniting the war veterans.
The leadership in the province is backing Nkomo for
president and the move
to have the farms and property returned is aimed at pacifying former Zipra
fighters who are divided over who to back as Mugabe's successor, sources
Sibanda is backing the candidacy of party
secretary for administration
War veterans and
Zanu PF provinces are going to play an instrumental role in
the succession issue, hence the need by those jostling for the post to win
the loyalty of the two groups.
Donors want to see progress on talks
ZIMBABWE'S request for humanitarian assistance through the United Nations
Development Programme (UNDP) faces resistance from the predominantly Western
donor community due to lack of tangible political progress, the Zimbabwe
Independent has established.
A donors' conference will be held in New York at the end of this month at
which the UNDP's Harare office faces the daunting task of convincing the
donor community of political progress in Zimbabwe.
Diplomatic sources said Zimbabwe was still
viewed in the donor community as
a rogue state and was seen to be dragging its heels on political dialogue.
"Efforts towards reviving dialogue
between Zanu PF and the MDC have not
yielded anything tangible so far, despite the so-called talks about talks,"
said a diplomatic source.
Victor Angelo, the UNDP resident representative in Zimbabwe,
arranging meetings between the government and donors' representatives with
the aim of making both sides understand the other's needs as well as
"The resident representative has in
the past weeks convened several meetings
between the government and donors' representatives to consider the appeal
for humanitarian assistance as well as assess the situation," said Annika
Rosing, a UNDP official in Harare.
The meetings are understood to have culminated in the
reversal by government
of an earlier policy to have food aid only channelled through government
Zimbabwe, with the world's fastest
shrinking economy, appealed for
humanitarian assistance at the end of July. Harare has requested 600 000
tonnes of food aid, a large variety of medicines, as well as $885 billion
for revival of the agricultural sector.
It is understood the local UNDP office has urged government
to address the
land reform issue and was given an assurance by President Mugabe that he
would implement the recommendations of the Presidential Land Review
Committee. The first step, as Mugabe has already indicated, would be
recovering farms from government and Zanu PF officials who are multiple
Another diplomatic source added that food and
medical assistance could
eventually be secured from donors who are keen not to punish the most
vulnerable groups for their government's "sins". But it may not be on the
Doubts mount over govt's new bank notes
GOVERNMENT efforts to ease the biting cash crisis have hit a snag with
revelations that, despite a vigorous advertising campaign, it is not yet
ready to inject fresh bank notes into the financial system.
This comes as depositors show every sign of holding on to their cash,
anticipating a government reprieve on plans to withdraw $500 notes from
Government had expected companies and the public to offload
excess cash into
the system. But they appear to be hanging on to the little they have. Cash
remittances to the central bank have plunged despite announcements that the
$500 note would soon cease to be legal tender.
It is reliably understood that government might extend the
grace period for
individuals holding the notes to deposit them.
The cash crisis this week remained critical as depositors
surrender their cash, preferring to spend it on day-to-day needs as
inflation officially reached 426,6% but in reality nudged 600%.
An official at Intermarket Building Society's Newlands branch
situation had worsened during the last two weeks with deposits shrinking
"Deposits are at their lowest since the
cash crisis started. There is also
very little coming in from the central bank," the official said.
Banks are receiving as little as $1 million
a day from the Reserve Bank of
announced this week that it would introduce "bearer cheques" for
use as cash to ease bank-note shortages.
But analysts said it remained unclear to
business and the general public how
the new purchasing system works.
"The government has remained silent on what will happen to the
that are in circulation," the analysts said. "There is no proper framework
for the transition from the $500 notes to the rebranded ones. It is also not
clear what will happen to retail shops who receive the old notes a day
before the deadline."
Analysts said government's campaign to
encourage individuals and businesses
to surrender their cash was flawed. They said the advertisements flighted in
the media only notified the public of the introduction of new notes without
saying clearly what the fate of the old ones, which are still in
circulation, would be.
Daily News Focus - Supreme Court ruling slammed
THE ruling last week declaring Daily News operations illegal has come under
attack from local civic groups who have accused the Supreme Court of
endorsing repression in Zimbabwe. The High Court yesterday ordered that the
paper be allowed to reopen after it was closed by police on Friday.
The full bench of the Supreme Court last Thursday said "citizens are obliged
to obey the law and argue afterward" when it dismissed an application by
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) challenging registration.
The Daily News and Daily News on Sunday had refused to
register with the
Media and Information Commission on a point of principle. The papers in the
ANZ stable said clauses in the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (Aippa) requiring journalists to register were unconstitutional.
The Supreme Court said the Daily News had approached the court with "dirty
hands" as it should have first complied with the law.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and Crisis in Zimbabwe
this week strongly criticised the Supreme Court ruling and the subsequent
action of the police in closing the papers.
with grave concern that the Supreme Court ruling effectively
resulted in the biggest assault on the right of freedom of expression in the
history of our Independence," ZLHR said.
"Repression may therefore have sadly found
itself an ally against human
rights defenders, in the form of the judiciary," the lawyers said.
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition said it had been
stunned by the court's ruling.
"The Crisis Coalition is stunned by the irregularity with which this case
has been handled, and the perverted sense of justice demonstrated by the
Supreme Court in this instance," it said. "In a democracy, citizens should
be allowed to challenge the constitutionality of a law before having to
comply with it, without being accused of subverting the legal process."
The Coalition said it was unprocedural for the
police to enter a building,
detain several officials for questioning and close down a business without
producing a court order or explaining the legal foundation for their
Following the Supreme Court ruling on Thursday, police on Friday moved in to
close the ANZ offices, effectively halting publication of the two papers.
On Tuesday police seized
computers and photographic equipment from the two
publications allegedly to use as exhibits in court.
"ZLHR notes with alarm that despite being
served with an urgent court
application to prevent the removal of equipment, the police have recklessly
continued with their conduct, unconcerned as to the outcome of the court
proceedings," ZLHR said.
"In view of the
intransigence of the police, ZLHR is concerned that the case
for the interdict has not been dealt with as urgently as the circumstances
dictate," the legal grouping said on Wednesday.
"It is regrettable that this
seems to have become the modus operandi of the
courts when dealing with matters involving universally recognised human
rights and fundamental freedoms," it said.
Funding headaches for Zim’s new farmers
AGRICULTURAL production is forecast to hit a record low in the 2003/4 season
as less than 40% of land normally put under crop has been prepared for
Farming experts who carried out a survey recently said less than 200 000
hectares of land had been prepared for planting in the commercial farming
sector while an estimated 220 000 hectares was prepared by communal and
newly resettled farmers.
Under normal circumstances, crop production should take up 1,3 million
This week the government appointed a committee to transform Agribank into a
fully-fledged land bank by October 1. The new bank will be tasked with
disbursing $60 billion to farmers for this season.
This, observers said, offered no relief to agriculture, as farmers would not
be able to access loans in time for planting.
“As has become the norm with government’s input schemes, the financing will
not improve production because it is coming way too late,” said an
agro-industrialist. “Worse still, the money is coming into the system when
there is a serious shortage of fertiliser, seed and fuel.”
The survey by agricultural experts said the fall in production would be
exacerbated by the high degree of uncertainty prevailing in the agricultural
It said continued evictions of farmers has resulted in a substantial decline
in the planting of major crops such as maize and tobacco over the past three
Production in the commercial farming sector has been in decline since the
government embarked on the arbitrary land reform programme in 2000. About
400 commercial farmers remain on the land out of some 4 500 before the land
“Reductions in commercial plantings since the beginning of the land reform
programme in 2000 are: flue cured tobacco by 72%; maize 72%, cotton 95%, and
soyabeans 70% including hectarage planted by A2 farmers,” said one
“The total area of crops grown has dropped from normal levels of around 530
000 hectares to approximately 220 000 by last season. A further considerable
plunge in cropping activities is inevitable this year,” he said.
The Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) said the 2003/4 season could be the worst
year in Zimbabwe’s agricultural history as all factors are unfavourable to
With less than a month to go before the first rains are expected, the
availability of fertiliser and seed is shrouded in uncertainty. Local
manufacturers have for the past three seasons failed to meet demand due to
foreign currency shortage hampering imports of vital chemicals. Production
levels of the vital inputs have also been hampered by government’s price
Inputs expected in the market are likely to be inadequate for even half the
traditional hectarage normally put under crop.
All inputs starting from seeds, fertilisers, chemicals and draught power are
projected to be in short supply in the coming season. The government’s
District Development Fund, which normally offers tillage in communal areas,
recently said it would only be able to till about 100 000 hectares due to
lack of spare parts for most of its tractors.
The CFU said the two big fertiliser companies — Zimbabwe Fertiliser Company
and Windmill — had by August reported zero stocks as products were sold out
soon after manufacture.
In a report to the Land, Agriculture, Water Development, Rural Resources and
Resettlement Parliamentary Portfolio Committee last week, major seed and
fertiliser companies admitted they would not be able to meet demand for this
year’s farming season. The report said the companies were operating at below
Officials at the fertiliser companies confirmed that they were failing to
meet demand. Back order lists are lengthy. Meagre supplies of ammonium
nitrate from Sable Chemicals, which can only supply 11 000 tonnes per month,
are being delivered. The supply constitutes only 50% of the maximum
potential of 22 000 tonnes per month to fertiliser distributing companies.
The CFU said the problem had been worsened by lack of forex to import
anhydrous ammonia from South Africa.
“(There are) inadequate supplies of super phosphates from Zimphos because
the company is experiencing severe problems moving raw materials from Dorowa
mine to the factory in Msasa,” the CFU said.
“Fertiliser companies are suffering severe external and internal transport
constraints due to National Railways of Zimbabwe being unable to operate at
Like the rest of the economy, the parastatal’s operations are affected by
fuel shortages. Signal equipment is being stolen or vandalised. It now takes
up to three months — instead of two weeks previously — to land raw materials
from Richards Bay in South Africa.
The CFU said even supplies of fertiliser for the winter cereal crops were
inadequate because of these factors.
“Government ordered 57 000 tonnes of compound fertilisers and 40 000 tonnes
of ammonium nitrate for its winter crop inputs supply programme. The
industry only supplied 18 000 tonnes in total,” the CFU said.
Another critical shortage would be that of maize seed. Production of maize
seed has been slashed by over 70% over the past three years. The quality of
the seed could also have been compromised as new players struggle to meet
stringent standards of maize seed production.
“Under normal circumstances around 700 hectares would be put under maize
seed each season,” experts said.
“Last season an estimated 200 hectares of maize seed was planted and between
10 000 and 15 000 tonnes of seed are expected to be delivered to the seed
Zimbabwe requires between 35 000 and 45 000 tonnes of maize seed each year.
The demand is likely to increase in the coming season as government has
urged resettled farmers to plant the staple crop. Two weeks ago government
announced a new producer price for maize from $130 000 per tonne to $300
The CFU said maize production by commercial farmers has fallen from 810 000
tonnes in 2000 to an estimated 80 000 in 2003. The fall of production this
season has seriously affected maize seed production and a shortage of seed
will limit production next year.
“Wheat production has fallen from 280 000 tonnes in 2001 to 115 000 tonnes
in 2002. Production in 2003 will be limited by shortage of water in dams and
river systems, and lack of infrastructure such as irrigation equipment.
Marketing of wheat, which is controlled, will also not encourage the few
farmers who have irrigation facilities to grow wheat,” the CFU said.
The Agricultural Chemicals Industry Association said the industry estimates
that the country should import a further 100 tonnes of Methyl Bromide which
is the primary ingredient in the manufacture of most pesticides.
Tractors and machinery sections have also fallen victim to the shortage of
forex as spares are very difficult to procure.
Production is also expected to fall as a result of serious reduction of land
“About 90% of current irrigation business is being conducted with A2 farmers
but because of shortage of skilled personnel, the capacity of the irrigation
companies to undertake large development projects is very limited,” said the
“New farmers are not achieving expected production levels due to lack of
knowledge, skills, inputs and finance, implying that they cannot match
production levels that previous commercial farmers were at,” the CFU said.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union (ZFU) spokesman Phil Chingwaru said his organisation
was happy with preparations for the coming season.
“Small-scale and communal farmers who contribute 75% of the grain consumed
in the country have actually increased their areas for planting,” Chingwaru
But he admitted that the shortage of inputs would seriously hamper
production in these sectors.
“The major worry is not preparation but unavailability of inputs. Seeds are
unavailable and fertiliser prices are too high. Such factors might force
farmers to resort to planting untreated seeds and that might affect output.”
No going back on press freedom
NO one should be in any doubt that the assault by the state on the country’s
only independent daily paper this week is a political move designed to
suppress freedom of expression in Zimbabwe.
There have been some misleading claims by officials that the police acted in
terms of the law. Let’s be clear about this. The police acted in terms of a
political agenda set by the Office of the President. The law in this case is
a poorly drafted Act which is not only in conflict with Section 20 of the
constitution but violates a number of international conventions to which
Zimbabwe is a party.
The legal umbrella group, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, points out that
the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa) is “a
repressive piece of legislation that was enacted primarily to undermine the
right to freedom of expression and stifle the exchange of ideas and
information by the people of Zimbabwe”.
Aippa, together with the Public Order and Security Act, the Broadcasting
Services Act, the Miscellaneous Offences Act, and the Labour Relations Act,
form what the legal group calls “an axis of repression”.
The Supreme Court is tasked with the protection of freedoms laid down in the
constitution’s Bill of Rights. Since threats from war veterans and ministers
forced a number of judges to resign or retire in recent years, it is open to
question whether the present bench is fulfilling that mandate.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights notes that the Supreme Court ruling
against Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe, publishers of the Daily News and
the Daily News on Sunday, effectively resulted in “the biggest assault on
the right of freedom of expression in the history of our Independence”. It
describes as regrettable the conclusion that unconstitutional legislation
designed to deny free expression has now been given judicial approval by a
court entrusted with the protection of fundamental freedoms and universally
recognised human rights.
“Repression may therefore have sadly found itself an ally against human
rights defenders in the form of the judiciary,” ZLHR says.
That remains to be seen. The Supreme Court has left the door open for ANZ to
approach the court again once it has registered. But in the meantime, how
does it cope without its equipment and with staff barred from entering their
offices? Indeed, as a legal columnist asks in this issue, how can what is
known as a “clean hands” application succeed when the means to make that
application is removed?
Must citizens first comply with a law, even if that law violates their
fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution, before challenging it in
court? An unpopular regime that obtained its mandate by coercion is thereby
able to circumvent constitutional freedoms by wielding its parliamentary
majority in disregard of laid-down rights in cases where the judiciary is
painfully slow to rule and, in any case, is in awe of the executive.
That makes both a mockery of the law and the constitution. Aippa was
introduced into parliament with no public mandate. There was no public
demand for a media commission or for licensing of the press. The only
pressure for that came from the president and his minions who were
embarrassed by exposure of their misrule and double standards.
The media commission has all-too-predictably proved itself partisan,
focusing its attentions solely upon the private media while ignoring
blatantly unethical behaviour by the state media. It is widely seen as an
instrument of a minister who has a score to settle with the independent
press following his humiliation in the referendum campaign and subsequent
Whatever the constitutional implications, the assault on the Daily News is
part of a wider assault on the freedoms of Zimbabweans who are proving
resistant to the warnings and threats of a regime in terminal decline. It
now hopes to proceed on the basis of public ignorance. It seriously believes
that by denying people access to news and feeding them a diet of deceit
through its own media, it can recover their electoral support.
It’s not going to happen. Zanu PF has lost public confidence because of its
failure to govern wisely, not because of a plot by its “enemies”. It cannot
command respect or loyalty. It certainly cannot hide the news. News has a
habit of finding its own way out.
The free flow of information is fundamental both to democratic choice and
good governance. Where bomb attacks have failed to silence an outspoken
critic, the government no doubt calculates this clumsy move will succeed. We
doubt it. Zimbabweans have tasted press freedom. There can be no going back.
Parallel market must survive or economy will not
GOVERNMENT continues to rail against the parallel market in foreign
exchange. It contends that it is the existence of that market that causes
Zimbabwe’s insufficiency of critically needed foreign currencies, and that
the rates of exchange prevailing in that market are the main stimulus of
inflation. Because it is so opposed to the parallel market, the pressures
upon the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) have steadily intensified, demanding
that it ensure that the parallel market cease to exist. The result has been
a witchhunt by the Reserve Bank, targeted directly at the banking sector and
resulting in the imposition of fines of hundreds of million dollars upon
numerous banks, and the suspension of the foreign exchange trading licence
of one bank.
If RBZ succeeds in its endeavours to destroy the parallel market,
concurrently with government continuing its dogmatic stance against
realistic devaluation of the official rate of the Zimbabwe dollar, the
result will be economically catastrophic. Because of the govern-ment’s
foolhardy, steadfast resistance to the overdue and critically necessary
devaluation, the destruction of the parallel market can only sound the
death-knell for most exporters, be they in the mining industry (other than
gold mining which depends upon an RBZ support price, also inadequate), in
horticulture, manufacturing, tourism, the services sector, or otherwise.
Since Zimbabwe last devalued its currency on February 27 to an
insufficient extent, being to a mid-rate of $824:US$1, exporters have
experienced — in common with all other sectors of the economy — a huge
increase in operating costs. During the period from that devaluation to the
end of July, the consumer price index (CPI) rose from 4 182,3 to 9 560,9,
which represents a rise in the rate of inflation of 128,6%. Allowing for
further inflation in August, 2003, total inflation since the last
devaluation must exceed 150%, and it is continuing to rise.
All that has maintained is a degree of viability for exporters,
however limited, has been the existence of the parallel market for, after
mandatorily surrendering one-half of all foreign currency earnings to the
Reserve Bank at an official buy rate of $800:US$1, the exporter has been
able to dispose of any of the remaining foreign currency earnings not
required by him to fund imports and other foreign currency commitments, by
sale in the parallel market, recently at a rate of around $5 500:US$1 (as
distinct from the banks’ resale rate of about $6 300: US$1). Thus, the
exporter attained a blend rate of approximately $3 150: US$1, which enabled
him to continue operations notwithstanding the rampant inflation impacting
upon his enterprise.
The destruction of the parallel market will also bring to the edge of
liquidation almost all businesses that rely upon imports, be they raw
materials, plant and machinery spares or otherwise. If all foreign exchange
earned by Zimbabwe flows into the hands of RBZ, then — as recurrently
evidenced in the past — government will direct prioritisation usage to
purposes such as importation of food, energy, petroleum products, needs of
parastatals and of government itself, with the private sector being accorded
the lowest priority and therefore not only receiving an insufficiency of the
foreign exchange which is its life-blood, but that insufficiency invariably
being belatedly forthcoming.
This disastrous state of affairs must exacerbate the scarcity of
foreign exchange, for as exporter enterprises progressively sustain
increasing losses, their operations will contract and will ultimately fail,
with the result that the extent of foreign exchange inflows will become ever
less. A narrow path of self-perpetuating destruction of foreign exchange
generation, and of the economy as a whole, will be that travelled by
Zimbabwe. Government spokesmen repeatedly suggest that those who foreshadow
the dismal decrease in foreign exchange availability are misguided or do so
for evil self-intents.
They claim that if the parallel market did not exist, Zimbabwe would
have more than enough foreign currency. That is spurious in the extreme, for
it has long been an accepted, fundamental rule that “the sum of the parts
can only be equal to the whole”. Thus, if the total foreign currency within
the official market and within the parallel marked does not suffice to meet
Zimbabwe’s needs, then the consolidation of the foreign exchange within the
official market by the amalgamation of the parallel market into the official
market cannot increase the total sum available.
Moreover, because shortages always stimulate black markets, be those
shortages of fuel, of foodstuffs, of other commodities or of money, the
endeavours of the authorities to bring about an end to the parallel market
will inevitably increase activity within the black market. There is always
someone who will flout the law and offer foreign exchange within the black
market, driven by the attraction of profits or by the need to sell in such
market in order to survive. Similarly, there will always be some who, in
disregard for law, will purchase foreign exchange within the black market,
be they driven by desperate need, fulfilment of which is a prerequisite for
survival, or driven by such a loss of confidence in Zimbabwe that they wish
to externalise assets, albeit unlawfully.
That black market exists, and continues to operate notwithstanding
vigorous recent attempts on the part of the Zimbabwe Republic Police to
contain it. As the availability of foreign exchange increasingly becomes
more and more limited, so the prices for foreign exchange within the black
market (and presently still within the parallel market) continue to rise,
and thereby Zimbabwean inflation continues to soar, although admittedly
there are also other causes of that inflation, including fiscal profligacy,
mismanagement and abuse, corruption, declining productivity, and competition
for commodities in short supply.
Thus, the RBZ onslaught upon the banking sector, including the
placement of investigators from the National Economic Conduct Inspectorate
(NECI) and from the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) in most banks,
the recurrent imposition of draconian fines, withdrawal of licences, and the
like, is not resolving Zimbabwe’s foreign exchange problems but is worsening
them, whilst concurrently they must cause even greater shrinkage in foreign
exchange inflows, and markedly higher inflation, business failures and
overall economic demise.
The parallel market can be brought to an end without all these dire
consequences if government and the Reserve Bank would realise that increased
regulation and control are not the answer. For the parallel market to cease
to exist and that cessation not have grievously negative repercussions, the
first necessary step is to devalue the Zimbabwe dollar realistically, and to
do so as frequently as is necessary to maintain purchasing power parity with
Zimbabwe’s principal trading partners. It is fruitless to do as heretofore,
of an inadequate devaluation as occurred on February 27, together with
undertakings (which will not be fulfilled) that regular further devaluation
will be pursued. On the basis of the last such assurance, Zimbabwe should
have again devalued its currency at end of May, and yet again at the end of
August. Neither of those devaluations have occurred, proving the shallowness
of assurances, undertakings and commitments of the government.
Concurrently with that first step, Zimbabwe needs to facilitate and
motivate increased export performance and foreign exchange earnings. Export
incentives should be meaningful and not only tax-based, for the present
incentives have a minimal real benefit for most potential exporters. An
incentive which is grossly inadequate ceases to be an incentive! Similarly,
the long talked-about and considered, but not implemented, relaxation of
requirements for registration as an Export Processing Zone licensed investor
must be energetically pursued by government.
It must recognise the very considerable economic benefit which would
be forthcoming if existing enterprises, not currently engaged in substantial
export of production, could be motivated to export by gaining such licence
and the attendant benefits and incentives. In like manner, the export
threshold for EPZ operations should be lowered from 80% of production to,
say, 50%, with a staggered scale of incentives and benefits founded upon
actual exports achieved.
And government needs to repair its relations with the international
community, and restore an internationally acceptable political and economic
environment so as to regain the support of that community and motivate
foreign direct investment.
Huni finally lands in the real Zim
Muckraker was intrigued by an opinion piece carried in the Herald last
Friday purporting to be written by Charles Rukuni. It was all about
President Mugabe being “vindicated” in his land reform programme because
Britain had failed to honour its post-Independence undertakings.
The evidence for this assertion was a letter written by former International
Development minister Clare Short to Zimbabwe’s Agriculture minister Kumbirai
Kangai in 1997 and “made public by the British newspaper the Guardian two
weeks ago”. In it she said Britain would only support an open and
transparent land reform programme. She did not accept that Britain had any
special responsibility to meet the cost of land purchase in Zimbabwe.
Why does Rukuni think this letter “reveals” anything we didn’t already know?
It has been widely published including in the Herald. President Mugabe and
his ministers have been complaining about it at every opportunity for six
years. The most recent example was when SABC reporter Phil Molefe
interviewed Mugabe and, having been handed a copy of the letter, helpfully
offered the president an opportunity to once again denounce its contents.
Rukuni then went on to quote British academic and regular Guardian writer
George Monbiot at length in his surprisingly unoriginal attempt to justify
Mugabe’s depredations. For instance, this is Rukuni’s take on the 1998
Donors’ Conference on Land Reform.
“Despite the British government’s abdication, President Mugabe was prepared
to go along with the British plan to wait for an International Land Reform
Donors’ Conference scheduled for September 1998. But the British government
trivialised the conference by refusing to send its senior officials…The
conference was a total flop.”
And why was it a “total flop”? Because it only raised US$2 million and not
the US$2 billion hoped for. There was no mention of the £44 million provided
by the British government for land reform prior to 1998 or who benefited.
Anyway, we are agreed with Rukuni in his conclusion.
“President Mugabe then decided to go ahead with the land reform without
international donors and the West and this has led to the country’s economic
We should get Rukuni and other Herald contributors to comment on what they
think about billions of dollars being spent on Mugabe’s Borrowdale Brooke
mansion when there is no infrastructure in place to support resettled
Neighbours of the Mugabes, by the way, have been complaining about cuts in
their water supplies. It must be galling to have no water for weeks at a
time when the First Couple’s dams are filling up. Any attempt to suggest a
connection would of course be entirely mischievous!
If you were wondering why there has been a low turnout at some agricultural
shows across the country, the Herald’s Moses Magadza has supplied an
explanation. It is because the police band was not present.
“It is a measure of how popular the ZRP band has become with the people of
Zimbabwe,” he told us last Saturday, “that agricultural shows for instance
record very low turnouts if word goes round that these elegantly dressed,
highly trained and extremely competent musicians are not on the
When the band passes, Magadza tells us, conversations in offices are
abruptly terminated as people shoot off their chairs “as though propelled by
Heads are thrust out of windows “to savour the band’s irresistible music
with unconcealed admiration”.
How do we explain Cde Magadza’s unconcealed admiration? Here’s a clue.
“The band provided accompaniment on the popular (sic) Hondo yeMinda songs.”
Just in case you still don’t understand what this unalloyed puff piece is
all about, it soon becomes clear.
“Due to immense public demand,” the band, “with the assistance of the
Department of Information and Publicity”, is set to release a 28-track
double compact disk called Tsemuramakomo.
In addition to songs such as Mbuya Nehanda, Magamba, and Jongwe, Professor
Jonathan Moyo’s composition Go Warriors also features.
“There are plans to make it available to the public,” Magadza breathlessly
assures the professor’s many fans. We can imagine the queues forming already
outside Munhumutapa Building!
Having rubbished the BSAP band as amateurs by comparison, Magadza proceeds
to tell us that last year the ZRP band “won the hearts of many” when at
short notice they played the Ethiopian national anthem in front of President
Mugabe, the Ethiopian premier Meles Zenawi and members of his entourage at
In case you remain unimpressed by all this guff or think, like many, that
the band sounds tinny and out of tune, you can blame the London-based Royal
School of Music to which the ZRP’s own School of Music is affiliated.
Opponents of arbitrary arrest, torture, and politicisation of the force may
also want to do to this link what Interpol recently did to Augustine
Nathaniel Manheru has been waxing indignant about the recently published
report on the depredations of government’s National Youth Service militia.
“It is a hellfire depiction and vision of Zimbabwe,” he says, “unless of
course you live in this country…”
In which case, you would have first-hand evidence that it’s all true. Did
the Green Bombers not set up roadblocks and illegally harass motorists? Did
they not act with impunity in unleashing violence against political
opponents? Is Manheru in all seriousness denying what everybody in this
country knows to be true?
He is particularly indignant that the report “misquotes” the president,
Munyaradzi Huni and Lovemore Mataire.
Now there’s an interesting trio! Should this presidential writer give things
away quite so freely?
“Manheru gives you the nexus of evil lies,” he confides.
It would seem he just did!
The South African media, he complains, all wrote the same story about the
youth militia — “the slant, the detail, the style, the words, the
prominence, the length, were not similar but the same”.
How do we explain this, Manheru asks? “Did these hacks come from the same
womb … were they brewed from the same pot, trained in the same school?”
No, they all just read the same report. And it tells us how Zimbabwe is now
universally perceived as a rogue state.
Manheru and other apologists for Mugabe’s misrule are responsible for that.
His remarks that “ANZ is an unlawful outfit ha ha ha” will be widely quoted
as the triumphant boasting of the spokesman for a criminal regime.
What for instance has happened to the individuals who blew up the Daily News
’ printing press in 2001? Where are they now and how, in this virtual police
state, have they been able to roam free for so long? Answers please Cde
Man — ha ha ha — heru.
Meanwhile, Manheru’s acolyte
Munyaradzi — ha ha ha — Huni (not to be
confused with Ma — ha ha ha — hoso) has been making some rather revealing
“Life has become unbearable,” he admits. “There is no cash in the banks, no
fuel at the filling stations. Prices of commodities are going up on a daily
basis…It’s so frustrating.”
Welcome to the real world Cde Huni. But of course it’s not the government’s
“When things are so tough, the tendency is to put all the blame on the
government and at times one’s anger can make him or her believe that ‘it’s
this government that’s causing it all’.”
But that’s not fair, Huni declares. “The government is doing all it can to
revive the economy, but it is being let down by the opposition MDC that is
not playing its part in calling for the lifting of sanctions…”
So it’s all the MDC’s fault you see. If only President Mugabe and Grace were
given access to Harrods the nation’s problems would be a thing of the past.
Others responsible for the government’s plight are civil servants who are
sabotaging the economy by failing to implement government policies, and “of
course government is being let down by some corrupt officials in its midst”.
What makes all this more painful, a clearly pained Huni whines on, is that
“some” business people who are sabotaging the economy are “those who have
benefited a lot from the government’s indigenisation policy”.
Surely not! But don’t worry. Every cloud has a silver lining. The government
is “slowly getting it right in the fuel sector”, 300 000 people have been
resettled (that figure again!) on the farms, and “once agriculture works,
there will be a lot of products to sell in the shops and once this happens
the prices of basic commodities will go down”.
That’s not the end of the good news. “Once agriculture works the foreign
currency crisis will be solved because there will be a lot of products to
So there you have it. No need for the MDC to dig government out of this hole
is there? “Once” agriculture comes right, then all these problems will be
solved — just in time for the 2005 election.
Next week: Munyaradzi Huni on flying pigs.
Mourners at the funeral of the late Robert Marere at Heroes Acre last Friday
were shocked by what his brother had to say in his graveside eulogy. In
front of the president, ministers and armed service chiefs the younger
Marere blurted out the following: “Today we mourn one of the country’s
national heroes that we are laying to rest here at Heroes Acre, Robert
Was this a slip of the tongue? We don’t know. But everybody laughed
including the president. We’re glad he saw the funny side of it. But Marere
Jnr might consider it wise to lie low for a while.
Duty to be paid in foreign currency
RILED by dwindling foreign currency inflows, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe
(RBZ) will now force importers of luxury goods to pay duty in hard currency.
RBZ officials who requested anonymity said the move was aimed at increasing
foreign currency in its empty coffers as well as discouraging Zimbabweans
from importing items considered "luxuries", some of which can be sourced
By yesterday the RBZ had not responded to
questions sent to it two weeks ago
on the issue but insiders said the move could be implemented as soon as next
"A meeting was held by
senior RBZ officials at which this was discussed and
generally agreed upon as a good and effective way of improving our foreign
currency levels," an official said. "Besides, it was generally agreed that
individuals importing luxury items would not cry foul because they have
access to foreign currency stashed in their offshore accounts."
The official said luxury items
to be taxed in foreign currency included
motor vehicles, home appliances, spare parts and clothing.
Chairman of the parliamentary Portfolio
Committee on Finance and Mutoko
North MP David Chapfika has come out strongly on the foreign currency issue
and its abuse, saying there are "too many Mercedes Benz vehicles" in
Zimbabwe yet there is no foreign currency for essential commodities in
Imported Mercedes Benz, BMW, and
Lexus models including their 4X4 versions
can be seen racing down Samora Machel Avenue - the street housing the RBZ
headquarters. Imported wide-screen television sets have also become a must
in the lounges of designer mansions.
Despite this flashy lifestyle by the well-off, Zimbabwe
experience difficulties with its balance of payments.
The current account deficit for this year is forecast to be
while a capital account deficit of about US$300 million is predicted, up
from about US$200 million last year. As a result of the weak balance of
payments position, gross foreign exchange reserves are expected to average
about one month of imports while usable reserves are expected to cover only
a few days of imports.
The country's total external
payment arrears are estimated at US$1,6 billion
as at June 30 from a position of US$1,3 billion at December 31 2002.
Government arrears account for 67% (US$1,07 billion), while parastatals and
private sector arrears represent 31% (US$0,5 billion) and 2% (US$0,03
New monetary policy expected soon
GOVERNMENT is expected to announce a new monetary policy any time now, which
analysts say is likely to have a far-reaching impact on the economy.
The monetary policy is expected to deal with the much-awaited devaluation of
the Zimbabwe dollar and a slashing of interest rates.
Economists say the monetary policy is unlikely to have a
on Zimbabwe's ailing economy. Sources in the Ministry of Finance and
Economic Development said the new policy would see the announcement of the
that we are likely to have devaluation. However, the
devaluation will not be in the same mould as the one that happened in
February under the National Economic Recovery Programme (Nerp)," said a
ministry official. "We might actually see a devaluation of between 100% and
said although slashing interest rates was anticipated it was
likely that government would remain silent on the issue.
Analysts said the policy
should deal with the galloping inflation, the
official exchange rate that is lagging far behind the parallel market rate,
as well as the interest rates.
"The new policy, if there is any, should make it clear to the
authorities that we need balance of payment support to stabilise our foreign
exchange rate," said a Zimbabwe Economics Society official.
"It needs to be clear that in a country where exports are
declining and low
investor confidence there is need for the Bretton Woods Institutions. The
go-it-alone attitude will not get us anywhere. There is also need to address
the investor confidence which is at its lowest."
Under Nerp, cobbled together in February, government
promised to review the
exchange rate quarterly.
Analyst now say
the programme has been overtaken by events due to
government's bureaucratic decision-making.
Some analysts are however, sceptical that the new
policy will spur the
"There is probably nothing new
that Herbert Murerwa will tell us," an
analyst from a stock broking firm said.
"It might be more rhetoric yielding no results. We even doubt
policy will be tabled."
Made wants more land
MYSTERY surrounds latest moves by the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and
Rural Resettlement Joseph Made to continue compulsorily acquiring land
despite a Land Audit Committee having presented its report to President
Robert Mugabe marking the completion of the programme.
The committee, headed by former Secretary to cabinet and President Mugabe,
Charles Utete, last week handed in its findings which are being kept under
lock and key.
Wednesday published a list of 71 farms to be compulsorily acquired
in terms of Subsection (1) of Section 5 of the Land Acquisition Act (Chapter
This section allows President Mugabe to acquire
compulsorily any piece of
land he desires for government's resettlement programme.
In an advertisement for the acquisitions flighted in the
Herald Made said
any owner or occupier or any other person who had an interest and right in
the said land and who wished to object to the compulsory acquisition could
lodge his objections with his ministry in writing before October 17.
Analysts said this made a mockery of the
whole land deal and its
transparency because individuals who did not appear on the Utete list could
now snap up land that was being advertised by Made.
The minister was said to be in constant meetings when a comment
from him on the issue.
Several prominent individuals
and high profile companies are to have their
land taken up by government in the latest move, largely seen as the last
phase of the controversial fast track land resettlement programme.
Farms to be snapped up by Made in
the latest swoop include those belonging
to the Oppenheimer Ranches (Pvt) Ltd, a cash rich family with diversified
investments in South Africa, the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe.
Made also intends to take away land belonging to Leibigs Zimbabwe Ltd, a
Matabeleland-based company that supplies beef to the financially beleaguered
Cold Storage Company, Willdale Ltd in respect of land situated in Harare, as
well as the Trustees for Time Being of Banket Sports Club for its lucrative
piece of land in Lomagundi.
Another high profile piece of land to be taken over is
(Pvt) Ltd for its Sunnyside Farm.
government says the agriculture sector has continued to be
adversely affected by the recurrence of drought, fuel problems, high input
costs, shortages of foreign currency and agricultural inputs.
It said this had resulted
in a marked decline in most of the major sub
is expected to recover by 2,3% this year, largely due to some
improvement in the maize crop," government said in a document.
An own goal
IT must be clear to everyone now that the government has lost the battle for
hearts and minds. The latest attack on the Daily News is proof of that.
This is a regime so insecure that it feels the urgent need to silence
alternative voices; to prevent the public from getting the news they are
The closure of the Daily News last weekend and
the subsequent seizure of its
equipment by police follows electoral setbacks suffered by Zanu PF two weeks
earlier. Those local government elections showed that despite mounting
repression the Zimbabwean populace will not be cowed. Zanu PF lost in nearly
all major centres.
here may be instructive. In mid-2000, in a bid to counter
the swing against Zanu PF that the defeat of its constitutional proposals
represented, Information minister Chen Chimutengwende was replaced by
Professor Jonathan Moyo who had been the chief spokesman of the failed
constitutional commission. The chairman of that commission is now chief
Moyo's brief was to reverse the growing sentiment
in the country that Zanu
PF was an exhausted volcano. It may have succeeded 20 years earlier, as the
party of liberation, in capturing the popular imagination but it was clear
to all, including Moyo if his newspaper articles were anything to go by,
that it had betrayed its mandate and failed the nation. A post-liberation
aristocracy had translated political power into national ownership.
Corruption had become endemic, the economy was ineptly managed, and the
ruling party itself was unable to offer anything but fossilised mantras.
The 2000 referendum defeat was a wake-up call to
the country's sclerotic
elite. The near-defeat of the ruling party in the subsequent general
election simply intensified their alarm.
reaction was two-fold. Mugabe appointed what his friends in the media
liked to call "technocrats", individuals with management experience who
would project a dynamic government profile. At the same time the regime was
planning a brutal assault on the commercial farming community as a
punishment for having supported the new opposition MDC in its "No" campaign
and the general election. This was not dissimilar to the campaign it had
conducted against "dissidents" in Matabeleland in the 1980s.
Indeed, some of the same people were involved.
a background of state-sponsored violence and lawlessness the
"technocrats" made little progress. First Nkosana Moyo and then Simba Makoni
found it impossible to produce results so long as President Mugabe regarded
economic reform as part of the global plot against him. Apart from the
rather insignificant July Moyo, that left Jonathan Moyo and Joseph Made, the
latter increasingly sounding like an empty echo of the former, and certainly
no technocrat if competence was the criterion!
Moyo in turn echoed
Mugabe's bitter denunciations of Zanu PF's critics. And
by crafting the misnamed Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
he fulfilled his sponsor's long-standing desire to crack down on the
independent media while imposing conformity on the so-called public media.
But despite a
number of arrests, the independent press refused to be
muzzled. It continued to expose the regime's trail of criminal misrule,
laying bare the hypocrisy of a president and party that had pauperised the
country while claiming to be empowering its people.
Despite what could be seen as a more compliant
judiciary, the state failed
at every turn to silence the free media. Until last weekend that is. The
Supreme Court ruling that ANZ's refusal to register with the Media and
Information Commission, which represents nobody but the minister himself,
had placed it on the wrong side of the law led to the events of this week
where the police seized the company's equipment.
This vindictive move is a short-term triumph for the
reactionary gang around
Mugabe. But, like all their other repressive measures, it will simply
complicate life for them. For they cannot close down what people think.
Did ministers really believe the public would be
prepared to go back to
relying on the dissembling Herald and Sunday Mail for their news? Once
people have experienced a free press they will never want to be hoodwinked
again by papers attempting to cover the government's dirty footprints.
The Daily News, together with other independent papers
such as ours, has
done much to expand the frontiers of freedom in Zimbabwe over recent years.
If the government thinks it can take us back to an era of managed news by
self-interested politicians, then it is even more delusional than we
Moyo has conspicuously failed in his bid to crush dissent or to create
public approval for government's self-serving notions of sovereignty and
independence. The assault on the Daily News will embarrass Zanu PF's friends
in the region and oblige them to step up pressure for Aippa's repeal. It is
in every sense an own goal. As Nigeria's decision to bar Mugabe from the
Commonwealth summit in December shows, the regime has never been so
discredited nor so isolated.
Meanwhile, there will
be more challenges to Aippa quite apart from the ANZ
case. The Independent Journalists Association of Zimbabwe (Ijaz) and the
Foreign Correspondents Association are currently awaiting rulings in cases
they have brought against the poorly drafted Act. A section of it has
already been struck down. The Zimbabwe Independent and Standard are awaiting
the outcome of the current challenges before launching their own
All of us here
at the Zimbabwe Independent express our solidarity with ANZ
staff in this time of trial. Nqobile Nyathi has proved an immensely brave
editor. She and her staff at the Daily News and those at the Daily News on
Sunday have our full support. I have no doubt they - like the people of this
country - will emerge victorious in the end in this struggle with tyranny.
In the long run of history, the censor has always lost.
Travellers' cheques not recognised as cash
ALTHOUGH the Reserve Bank says that Zimbabwe travellers' cheques are as good
as cash, they are not recognised as such by commercial banks and building
For example, I want to move a sum of money from my current account at
Barclays to a savings account at Cabs so that I can immediately use the Cabs
purchase-point machines in supermarkets to buy my groceries, having neither
cash nor sufficient cheques to do this.
I thought that the simplest and quickest way to move "cash"
into the Cabs
account would be to draw travellers' cheques from my current account and pay
them straight into the Cabs account. That way, since they are "as good as
cash", I would have immediate access to that money.
Not so. Cabs regard travellers' cheques as cheques, not as
cash, and want
three weeks to clear them. And Barclays also tell me that if I were to pay a
travellers' cheque into my current account, they too require a
cheque-clearance period. What are they clearing?
I cannot buy a
travellers' cheque from my commercial bank unless I have
cleared funds available. Payment against a travellers' cheque is not subject
to there being funds in my account at the time that it is "cleared". The
travellers' cheque has already been paid for.
All that is necessary for a travellers'
cheque to be cleared is for it to be
verified that the two signatures on it are from the same (any) person (not
that it is the signature of an account-holder whose sample signature is kept
on file at the bank) and that the cheque itself is not forged.
These should be able to be done by
the teller in the same way that tellers
are able to verify the legitimacy of any bank notes that they accept for
By wishing to "clear"
the travellers' cheques, Cabs and other commercial
banks are implying that they could subsequently choose to decline them.
So what could happen is that, after a couple of weeks, Cabs could return my
travellers' cheques to me having declined them.
I would then presumably have to pay them back
into my account at Barclays,
who would again require their clearance period, and who could, presumably,
also decline them. Where would that leave me and my "cash"? And if Cabs and
Barclays think that this scenario is impossible, why do they need the
So what is happening to the
money paid for travellers' cheques while they
are waiting for "clearance"? Cabs and commercial banks are evidently able to
use my cash for their own purposes for several weeks while they do not allow
me to use it.
They are the only ones benefiting from the use of Zimbabwe
cheques. It certainly isn't their customers.
And where is the Reserve Bank while this farce is being enacted?
'We didn't know. We had no idea'
IT is said that following the liberation of Nazi Germany at the end of the
Second World War, when ordinary German citizens were confronted with the
evidence of the atrocities committed in the concentration camps, many simply
refused to believe that their former leaders were capable of such appalling
acts of inhumanity.
Many again claimed that they knew nothing of these
things, implying that if
they had they might have done something to challenge or confront the
The same happened in South Africa
when finally the grotesque system of
apartheid was dismantled and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission started
to unearth some of the appalling human rights abuses of that era. The
response of many who had not suffered personally - indeed who had prospered
under apartheid - was a rather disingenuous: "We didn't know.
We had no idea."
For those who
would prefer not to acknowledge the terrible reality of life
under the present Zanu PF regime, a professed ignorance is often the first
line of defence. And this escapist response is facilitated by the regime's
own propaganda machine which deliberately sows confusion along with
It is for precisely this reason that the
Zimbabwe Independent's report on
the National Youth Service Training programme on September 5 is so timely.
The report is to be welcomed and its authors congratulated on exposing a
pernicious evil that masquerades behind a mask of respectability.
Though there have been other reports from
human rights groups and
journalists touching on the youth militias, this is the first detailed,
factual and independent report of their training and activities. And now
that this report is in the public domain, there can be no possible
justification for the lame excuse "I didn't know" - whether coming from a
Zimbabwean or the international community.
arm of Zanu PF has done its utmost to project the National
Youth Service Training programme as a respectable scheme that imparts useful
skills and healthy community values to the youth of the nation. The report
makes clear that this is far removed from the truth.
In reality, it is a
paramilitary training scheme intended to provide those
in power with a useful pool of brain-washed hooligans, brutalised by
violence, and ready to do whatever dastardly acts their masters require of
them - the final objective of course being to keep their masters in power
Hence the politically-motivated torture, rape and murder by the militias
which is carefully documented in the report.
In a passionate appeal which
accompanies the report some of the region's
leading clerics and church groups make the point that the youth militia
programme has introduced into the body politic of this country a virulent
cancer which leaves only death and destruction in its wake.
"The moral, spiritual and physical
well-being of a whole generation of
Zimbabweans is being sacrificed for the short-term political advantage of
those in power, with incalculable long-term effects upon the very fabric of
the nation," they say. Then they ask pertinently: "How … will it ever be
possible to reintegrate these young people into the communities they have
entirely with the authors of the appeal that the terrible danger
posed by this potent evil must be faced with the utmost urgency. Moreover,
because it is such a blatant evil surely we can expect the church to act as
one in this instance, condemning the programme in its entirety and demanding
its immediate cessation.
Over the past four years of continuing crisis
there have been some issues on
which Christians have not agreed entirely. There has been room for
legitimate differences of opinion and for different strategies to counter
the growing evil. But surely on this issue all must be in agreement, indeed
all men and women of goodwill who have a care for the nation's youth and the
The words of an old hymn come to mind:
"Once to every man and nation
Comes the moment to decide,
In the strife of truth with falsehood,
For the good or evil side …"
The hymn continues:
"Then it is
the brave man chooses,
While the coward stands aside,
multitude make virtue
Of the faith they had denied."
surely the responsibility of every Christian to read the report on
militias, and the duty of every church leader to facilitate that process. It
should be a matter of urgent debate in church councils across the land.
And then I suggest, again as a matter of extreme urgency, a national
petition in support of the church leaders' appeal.
petition would call for an immediate halt to this Satanic programme, and
for urgent steps to be taken to rid ourselves of the cancer and bring
healing to the nation. It could be organised through the churches but should
be open to Christian and non-Christian alike to show their support.
Economic illusionists and delusional leaders
LAST week I attended a meeting organised by Zimcodd (Zimbabwe Coalition on
Debt and Development). The topic for discussion was "The Economy in
Transition: Which Way For Zimbabwe?"
According to the organisers' advertisement, the issues to be tackled were:
the cash crisis, recent fuel hikes and liberalisation of the fuel sector,
the national debt burden, the crippled economy and prospects for recovery,
and the land and the economy.
The speakers were David Chapfika, Tendai Biti, Shakespeare
Maya and Samuel
If I had any illusions that a serious
analysis and relevant solutions would
be forthcoming, I was soon confronted with reality. The first speaker was
David Chapfika, the Zanu PF MP who is apparently the chairman of some
parliamentary finance committee.
can remember little of his contribution other than his mentioning
something he saw on CNN that morning, and that the banks were to blame for
the cash crisis - something about them all dealing on the black market for
foreign currency and there being many thieves operating in the Zimbabwean
Needless to say his admission that he watched
CNN and that he knew who the
thieves were brought the house down in howls of laughter. Nothing the
honourable MP said suggested that any solution to Zimbabwe's economic crisis
would come from Zanu PF or the parliamentary finance committee of which he
Next came Tendai Biti,
MDC's shadow Minister of Finance. He, correctly, drew
attention to the fundamental political nature of all the various Zimbabwean
We were then subjected to the irrelevant Shakespeare Maya -
of that well-known Zimbabwean phenomenon: the publicity-seeking leader of a
political party that exists only in his own head. At least such meetings
give him an audience far larger than he would otherwise be able to attract
as leader of NAGG.
Finally we were
entertained by the ubiquitous Stan Udenge, economic
consultant extraordinaire. He waffled on about how many organisations he
does consultancy work for, and also found time to restate his opposition to
devaluation - suggesting that we need to "throw away the text books".
Surely even Udenge must be aware that the reality in Zimbabwe
is that there
has been a de facto devaluation. Does he know anyone who can source foreign
currency at the official rate other than the chefs and their buddies?
One wonders if Udenge and other delusional "economic
consultants" so beloved
of ZTV have ever read the text books that he urges us to "throw away".
Apart from a few trite and superficial remarks about
the cash crisis,
nothing of the subject matters supposedly under discussion was dealt with.
On the basis of this meeting there is little cause for optimism that any
member of government or any of the self-proclaimed economic consultants or
delusional leaders of minuscule political parties can offer anything
positive towards resolving our ever deepening financial and economic crises.
By Alex Tawanda Magaisa
AS Americans commemorated the tragic events of September 11, Zimbabwe
silently witnessed a major assault on human rights. On the same day the
Supreme Court dismissed ANZ's (publishers of the Daily News) application
challenging the constitutionality of certain sections of the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (Aippa).
The application was dismissed on the basis of the "Clean Hands" doctrine in
that the company had failed to comply with the Act that requires all
newspaper companies to be registered by the Media and Information Commission
That decision is
remarkable because it represents a major setback to the
protection and enjoyment of human rights in Zimbabwe.
With all due respect to the
Supreme Court, it may have erred in its reliance
on the controversial "Clean Hands" doctrine in a matter involving
fundamental constitutional rights. We must question the suitability of
applying this equity-based doctrine and advance the argument that the
doctrine is inapplicable as a bar to constitutional remedies.
According to Black's Law Dictionary (2000) a
party cannot seek equitable
relief or assert an equitable defence if that party has violated an
equitable principle such as good faith. It bars relief to persons who are
guilty of misconduct in the matter for which they seek relief. It is a
positive defence that is available where the complaint by the claimant is
Equity refers to a select set of remedies
and associated proce-dures and
normally these equitable doctrines and procedures are distinguished from
"legal" ones. Equitable relief is generally available when a legal remedy is
insufficient or inadequate. The distinction between law and equity arose in
England where there were separate courts of law and of equity. These rights
and procedures were created to provide fairness, unhampered by the narrow
confines of the old common law or technical requirements of the law.
However, in modern days separate
courts of equity have largely been
abolished and the same courts that may award a legal remedy have the power
to prescribe an equitable one. It is notable also that it is quite a
controversial doctrine, particularly in the sphere of public law where the
formulation is that the responsibility of the state is not engaged when the
complainant has acted in breach of the law of the state. As an equitable
rule extended to the domain of law, it is necessary to be cautious when
applying it, particularly in cases where fundamental legal rights are
The matter before the Supreme Court was not a matter of equity but one where
fundamental constitutional rights were involved and the court ought to have
taken caution in applying this doctrine. Quite surprisingly, it was a
unanimous decision, meaning that no single member of the bench saw anything
amiss in the blanket application of this doctrine and its implications in
relation to the enjoyment of constitutional rights.
The decision has the implication of
undermining the supremacy of the
constitution by relegating constitutional rights below the dictates of
parliamentary legislation. It makes a mockery of the constitution and
subjects citizens to the whims of the ruling party with a parliamentary
majority. The constitution is the fundamental law of the country with which
all legislation must comply. If legislation contravenes the constitution
citizens are entitled to approach the Supreme Court to strike out the
offensive sections. This is what ANZ did but the court accepted the state's
argument that, since the ANZ had not complied with the registration
requirements of the law they were challenging, they had "dirty hands" and
the court could not assist them.
The implication is
that citizens must first comply with a law even if that
law violates their fundamental rights guaranteed by the constitution before
challenging it in court. The ruling party can, at any time, exercise its
parliamentary majority to infringe people's rights knowing full well that
they will be forced to comply as they cannot approach the court unless they
have done so lest they be tainted with dirt for refusing to obey the law. It
raises the question of whether it is the constitution or an oppressive piece
of legislation that they ought to obey. It makes a mockery of constitutional
guarantees of protection and enjoyment of human rights to expect citizens to
comply with infringing laws first before challenging them.
There may indeed be
situations where giving away the rights in compliance
with legislation will effectively close the door to the challenges against
the law. For example, where a piece of legislation deprives one of his
entire property, if that person so complies, he will be left with no
resources to make a constitutional challenge. It does not make sense that
when faced with laws that violate their freedoms citizens should sit back
and accept the violation and then complain afterwards.
The constitution specifically gives
citizens the right to approach the court
to challenge the legislation and without the help of the court the citizens
will be left at the mercy of the party with a parliamentary majority. In a
situation where the ruling party does not have the necessary majority to
change the constitution, it can always draw up parliamentary legislation
that deprives people of their rights, thus circumventing the constitutional
amendment process. They can do so especially where they seek to effect
certain measures that can have lasting effects knowing full well that by the
time the people challenge the constitutionality of the law they will have
complied in order to satisfy the "Clean Hands" doctrine to get access to the
court. By then, the state will have achieved, through parliamentary
legislation, what it may not do through the constitutional amendment
procedure. The rule that forces compliance before approaching the court
primarily serves the interests of the state and not the rights of
Further and in any event, persons
who challenge the constitutionality of
legislation normally do so when they have been arrested for violating that
law. For example, a person may be arrested under the Public Order and
Security Act for positive action that is deemed to violate the law. If that
person were to challenge the constitutionality of the section of Posa in the
Supreme Court, will the court seek to determine whether he has "clean hands"
before allowing him audience? For indeed, in terms of its reasoning in the
ANZ case, a party that has failed to comply with the law lacks clean hands.
It may be argued
that in the ANZ case, the violation was clear and accepted,
so the analogy does not apply. However, using their line of reasoning,
assuming that the constitutional challenge is made after accused has been
found guilty by a trial court, does it mean that the Supreme Court will not
give him audience simply because by reason of his guilt he has "unclean
hands"? Even an accused who has confessed to committing an offence is still
entitled to constitutional protection by the courts when he alleges that his
constitutional rights have been violated.
Prisoners who have committed offences against the state are still entitled
to that protection despite having so-called "unclean hands" for disobeying
the laws of the state. Clearly the constitution allows challenges against
legislation at any point and to use the "Clean Hands" doctrine to bar
constitutional challenges would seem to close the door to legitimate
complaints that citizens may have against oppressive legislation.
The decision of the Supreme Court
seems to be "lose your rights first and
then complain later". Ideally the court must ensure that rights of citizens
are adequately protected by promoting their uninterrupted enjoyment. If a
party has an opportunity to ask the court's assistance to maintain the
enjoyment of rights before a piece of legislation is used to violate them,
the court must take positive steps to ensure adequate guarantees are in
place. If there is a chance to stop the erosion of rights, the court must
actively curtail such erosion. The constitution becomes a worthless piece of
paper if the rights that it guarantees can only be enjoyed subject to
The ANZ was perfectly entitled to challenge a law that
had the effect of
interrupting its enjoyment of constitutionally guaranteed rights. With
respect, it does not make sense to force a party to comply with legislation
that deprives it of the very rights that it seeks to protect. Quite
reasonably, the ANZ took pre-emptive action to safeguard the enjoyment of
its rights and it disclosed this to the court. Its conduct was neither
dishonest nor improper.
Prior to the legislation, the ANZ was operating within the laws of the
country and when Aippa was enacted it changed the legal landscape by
interrupting ANZ's rights. Surely ANZ was entitled to challenge this
interruption of its rights.
At the time
of challenging the law it was operating legally and as its
application was in terms of the constitutional requirements, its lack of
registration did not necessarily make it illegal. Assuming that on the
merits the sections of Aippa were found to be unconstitutional, what would
be the positive result for ANZ, other than for future purposes, when by
complying with the legislation it will have already lost rights for which it
Furthermore, although the court stated that the door is
not yet closed to
ANZ's challenge, when its reasoning is taken to its logical conclusion ANZ
already has "unclean hands" because it has already violated the law. There
is no guarantee that MIC will grant ANZ the licence to operate.
Indeed, it may say that ANZ has unclean hands although if it does so, it
would be misapplying the doctrine of "Clean Hands".
But even if they are deemed clean, they would have lost the
rights for which
they sought protection. "Clean Hands", it would appear, is a judicial
mechanism to force citizens to comply with laws even if they doubt their
constitutionality. Instead of protecting citizens against infringement of
their rights, the court appears to be actively participating in the
enforcement of oppressive legislation. Assuming that ANZ's application at
the MIC fails, will their attempt to register cleanse their dirty hands? It
is difficult to see how the Supreme Court will allow the ANZ to submit its
application unless it reconsiders the usefulness of its "Clean Hands"
This case is not about the arrogance of the Daily
News and its publishers
but about protecting the rights of citizens to approach the Supreme Court
for constitutional protection regardless of the state of their hands.
Indeed, the guilty also deserve constitutional protection. The "Clean Hands"
doctrine is a useful principle in equity and some aspects of the common law
but its extension to the realm of constitutional law is worrying and
controversial. The area of fundamental rights is one that the courts must
safeguard to ensure that people enjoy their freedoms. In applying the
doctrine, the Supreme Court has taken a conservative approach to human
rights jurisprudence. Instead of actively safeguarding rights and the
constitution, the court is paying allegiance to parliamentary legislation no
matter how much it infringes on citizens' rights.
When a party takes pre-emptive action to safeguard its
freedoms, the court
must actively facilitate that enjoyment. Its foremost duty is to uphold the
constitution. The court's decision has had the effect of not only denying
the ANZ its rights by forcing it to submit to the law that it is
challenging, but with the closure of the Daily News, it has deprived the
majority of the population their freedom to access information and choice.
Widely interpreted, the "Clean Hands" doctrine will have far-reaching
consequences on the protection and enjoyment of fundamental constitutional
rights in Zimbabwe. Its effect is that before approaching the courts,
citizens will be required to lose their rights by compliance to oppressive
laws rendering the enjoyment of rights a nullity. The court ought to have
been more careful before applying a traditional doctrine of equity in a
matter that involves fundamental constitutional liberties. Not only for ANZ
but also for those that purport to champion the rights of citizens, this
decision should be a major cause for concern.
Magaisa is lecturer in law at the University of Nottingham, UK.