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Enough is Enough



We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!


Sokwanele comment

23 August 2004

No one is surprised when an autocratic, dictatorial or totalitarian government introduces oppressive measures to facilitate its continuing hold on power.  Thus it was expected that Rhodesian governments, illegitimate settler conquerors in the eyes of black Zimbabweans, would use a variety of laws to prevent any activity which might lead to African majority rule. The laws they utilised included the Law and Order Maintenance Act and a State of Emergency, which gave government wide powers to deal with both non-violent political protest and armed resistance.


When an apparently democratically and freely elected black government retained such laws after Independence in 1980, there was serious cause for concern. Powers exercised by the ZANU PF government under the State of Emergency saw thousands detained in the 1980s.  Thousands more were killed and tortured.  The stated justification was the threat of destabilisation by apartheid South Africa and an alleged armed uprising in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces.  The effect was to close democratic space in an independent Zimbabwe and to crush opposition and civil society voices throughout the 1980s.


At the end of 1987, the opposition ZAPU was emasculated by the Unity Agreement and two years later, at the moment when progress towards democracy began in South Africa, the State of Emergency was lifted. The Law and Order Maintenance Act remained on the books, but when government used it to suppress public demonstrations, the Supreme Court declared some sections unconstitutional.  Thus the people claimed back some democratic rights which had been denied through the 1980s. 


The end of the Emergency coincided with the introduction of an economic structural adjustment programme. As its effects made the government more unpopular and produced a broad-based opposition movement, ZANU PF resolved to clamp down again through more oppressive legislation   The aging Law and Order Maintenance Act would be repealed, but it would be replaced by its younger more muscular brother, the Public Order and Security Act.  Various drafts were circulated before it finally became law in January 2002, just before the March Presidential election.  Together with its anti-democratic cousins the Presidential Powers Act and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, POSA has been used, just as Ian Smith used LOMA and the State of Emergency, to prevent the growth of opposition and deny the democratic right of people to freely choose their government.


However, there is a great deal of ignorance of the actual provisions of POSA and their correct interpretation.  The public have been effectively intimidated, just by mentioning it, and the police, whether deliberately or through ignorance, apply it wrongly with great regularity.


POSA is an extensive piece of legislation, but the effective sections appear in Part II, Part III, and Part IV.  Part II is entitled Offences against Constitutional Government and Public Security. Most of this part is carried over from the Rhodesian law to counteract armed struggle in the 1960s and 1970s.  Section 5 makes it an offence to subvert constitutional government by setting up a group or suggesting setting up a group to overthrow the government by unconstitutional means.  The section is followed by more detailed offences relating to insurgency, banditry, sabotage or terrorism, as well as possession of weapons.  These sections, originally designed to combat armed insurrection,  have been deliberately misused in charges brought against opposition MDC members, mainly in relation to the abortive final push in June 2003.  At that time the opposition, blocked by fraudulent electoral practices from succeeding at the polls, attempted to lead mass street demonstrations. They were then accused of subverting constitutional government.  None of the charges have been followed through to convictions, because the MDC has adhered very strictly to a policy of non-violent constitutional activity, rejecting any suggestion of violent response to oppression, and the courts at least have been able to recognise this fact.


The more anti-democratic sections of Part II are those which make it an offence to cause disaffection among Police Force or Defence Force(sec 12), publish or communicate false statements prejudicial to the State (sec 15) and undermine the authority of or insult the President (sec 16).  It is not difficult to see how these sections can easily be used by the state to silence voices of legitimate criticism, which should be guaranteed under the freedom of expression section of our constitution. And indeed they have been used, section 15 especially against journalists, and sec 16 against both journalists and individuals who just happen to criticise the President within hearing of the CIO.  The potential for abuse by police when the President is a candidate for re-election is enormous.  The line between expected criticism and undermining authority is deliberately erased.


Part III creates Offences Against Public Order.  These include public violence (sec 17), throwing articles at persons, vehicles (sec 18), gatherings conducing to riot , disorder or intolerance (sec 19), and assaulting or resisting peace officer (sec 20).  Sections 17 and 19 specifically state that the offence is committed by a person acting with one or more other persons, and the emphasis is on the use of force to create a disturbance or disorder.  Two further sections add undermining of police authority and intimidation which is intended to further a political objective in Zimbabwe.  While one would not object to the criminalisation of political violence, such offences are already catered for under the common law.  What is most dangerous about this part of the law is the way in which it is deliberately misconstrued by the police and used by them to inhibit legitimate activity by the political opposition and by civil society.    Peaceful demonstrators are repeatedly arrested and charged under sec 19 with behaviour conducing to riot or disorder.  Thus section 19 in particular has been used to break up legitimate protests against government policies where no violence or threat to public order exists.  ZANU PF supporters, on the other hand, regularly commit acts of political violence, frequently incited by the authorities, while the police look on, doing nothing to stop them.  Meanwhile people who want to protest peacefully against their deteriorating standard of living are accused of behaviour conducive to riot or disturbing the peace.


Part IV, entitled Public Gatherings is most commonly used against MDC campaign meetings, but also against normal activities of civil society bodies, including trade unions.  Sections 24-31 lay down conditions for the holding of public gatherings.  Anyone who wishes to organize a public gathering must notify the police four days in advance (sec 24).  The police may then place restrictions on the gathering (sec 25) or prohibit it entirely (sec 26), if they have reasonable grounds for believing the gathering will result in public disorder, a breach of the peace, or obstruction of any thoroughfare.  These provisions are regularly misunderstood or deliberately misapplied by the police.  The organisers of a gathering are required to notify the police; the section does not state that the police must give permission.  Having been notified the police then have the power to prohibit, but only on those specified grounds.  If no prohibition is made by the responsible authority, then the law is that the gathering is not prohibited and may proceed.


The excuses given by the police for prohibiting gatherings are entirely flimsy.  They have even been known to claim that the responsible authority is not available.  Other reasons have been that ZANU PF has booked the same venue, or that the gathering is likely to provoke disorder.  Where disorder has been caused on a previous occasion by ZANU PF or by the police themselves, permission has been refused on that basis.  While appeal to the High Court against police prohibition is possible, refusal is often given at the last minute, when little time remains.  On at least one occasion, a High Court judge faced with such an appeal by WOZA denied that the matter was urgent, and refused to give a ruling before the time scheduled for a demo, thus effectively upholding the police decision without having to give any justification.


The other sections of Part IV provide for general prohibitions on all gatherings in a specific district, for civil liability of the organiser of gatherings for any damage caused, dispersal of unlawful gatherings, and the prohibition of weapons at gatherings, which by definition includes any stone.  In practice it is not surprising that ZANU PF gatherings are virtually never prohibited, while others are regularly blocked. 


The numbers required to constitute a public gathering are nowhere specified.  This has led to many people and organisations transposing the two or more persons mentioned in sections 17 and 19 to apply to public gatherings.  Furthermore, a schedule to the Act exempts a list of classes of public gathering to which section 24 does not apply.  Those exempted from the obligation to notify the police include organisers of religious, educational, sporting events, weddings, funerals, professional meetings, and others, as well as organisations not of a political nature and specifically, registered trade unions when meeting for bona fide trade union purposes.


Two points need to be made here.  One is that the public have not understood the detail of these sections of the law and consistently fear to hold any type of gathering, public or private, or rush to inform the police of every innocent workshop or training session clearly not of a public nature.  This attitude is aggravated by the fact that the definitions of Public gathering and public place in the Act are extremely wide.  But further, the police themselves go far beyond the definitions in the Act.  Thus they have raided private houses where clearly private meetings have been taking place, have broken up consultative trade union meetings, and we even find the police sitting in on ordinary leadership workshops of the opposition party.  At one point the ZCTU had to obtain a High Court order barring the police from attending their executive committee meeting.  Beyond that, of course, section 26 has been ruthlessly applied within the definitions to prevent opposition organisation and even to prevent sitting MPs and councillors from holding report-back meetings with their constituents.  The MDC has consistently been prohibited from holding consultative meetings with their leadership at provincial, district and ward levels.


In spite of this constant harassment, many civic organisations have gone ahead to hold gatherings without notifying the police, as they know they will be prohibited if they notify.  Thousands of arrests have been made and charges preferred.  But very few of those arrested have been brought to trial and virtually none have been convicted.  Often prosecutors have refused to bring charges under POSA before the courts, and have reduced them to offences under the Miscellaneous Offences Act, such as blocking a thoroughfare, where they know that charges under sec19 could not succeed.  Since many of the charges are blatantly dishonest both prosecutors and magistrates have at times declined to co-operate with the police efforts to abuse their powers.  Where charges have been preferred under sections 19 and 24, repeated remands occur, so that few cases have been brought to trial.  A recent trial of 47 women of WOZA demonstrates the point. They were initially charged under section 19 when they held a protest demanding the repeal of POSA; they were repeatedly remanded for almost a year.  When the women finally faced trial, it was shown that the facts did not fit the requirements of sec 19 as clearly no riotous behaviour or public disorder had occurred, so the charge was changed to an offence under the Miscellaneous Act. They were finally discharged on a charge of blocking a thoroughfare when police witnesses contradicted each other and the state thus failed to bring prima facie evidence


One interesting point is that POSA has no section making it an offence to participate in an unlawful gathering.  Hence charges have been wrongly brought under either section 19 or 24 against those who simply joined a peaceful demonstration.  The courts have then declined to proceed or to convict.


It is clear, furthermore, that many of the provisions of POSA are unconstitutional in terms of the Zimbabwean Declaration of Rights, denying the guaranteed rights of assembly and freedom of expression.  When anyone charged under these sections is brought to trial and placed on his or her defence, they can challenge the constitutionality of the section through an application to the Supreme Court.  However, the failure by government to bring those charged to trial means that few constitutional challenges have so far been brought.  It is in fact ZANU PF who has subverted constitutional government by their manipulative tactics.  They pass through Parliament a law which is patently unconstitutional.  Then, through their politicisation of the police and the judiciary, prevent that law being challenged in the Supreme Court.  The law remains in force and is implemented for purely political ends to keep ZANU PF in power.


More recently, another clearly unconstitutional measure was introduced, first under the Presidential Powers Act (which amounts to a temporary decree) and then as an amendment to the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act.  This measure denies a person the right to apply for bail for an initial 7 days (under the legislated amendment, yet to be gazetted into law, 2 days), and if prima facie evidence is produced, a further 21 days.  While it is targeted primarily at those who are arrested for economic crimes it also applies to those charged with offences relating to the subversion of constitutional government, in Part II of POSA.  Nothing is to stop the police from arresting opposition and civic leaders on spurious charges, and distorting or fabricating evidence, all of which has become standard police practice, and keeping them locked up without the right to apply for bail.  It in fact re-introduces detention without bail or trial, which were practised widely under the State of Emergency by both Smith and ZANU PF.


When POSA was forced through Parliament in January 2002 over protests of its unconstitutionality, many critics observed that it was designed to ensure that President Mugabe was re-elected in March of that year.  But ZANU PFs vision was focussed further in the future.  They knew, as Ian Smith knew in 1965, that a government considered illegitimate by the people after a fraudulent election would face continued vehement opposition.  POSA was one of their chosen instruments for silencing those voices.  They would use legislation more appropriate for dealing with armed opposition to break legitimate non-violent democratic activity.  Thus they would maintain a fagade of democratic normality while in fact pursuing the path of dictatorship.


POSA has indeed inhibited both political opposition and civil society from organising mass protests against government policies and the effects of economic collapse.  Normal political organising, meetings and campaigns have been obstructed.  While many brave leaders are prepared to defy what they see as an unjust law, the rest of the community is thoroughly cowed by the prospect of becoming victims of police action.  Even the threat of arrest is terrifying in light of the inhuman conditions in police cells and the risk of torture at the hands of sadistic, politicised police officers, both uniformed and non-uniformed.  Those popular leaders who defiantly continue what they consider to be justifiable activities are kept occupied and hobbled by repeated stints in cells, remands and court appearances, not to mention medical treatment for the effects of poor conditions and physical assaults in the cells.   POSA has succeeded in crippling democratic processes, but not completely defeating them. In the face of extreme brutality and provocation brave souls continue to keep the voice of democratic protest alive and refuse to be driven to violence to fight an illegitimate regime. The ZANU PF government has twisted and abused its legislative and judicial powers to keep on the statute book a law which is patently unconstitutional and undemocratic.  It claims to be democratically elected but uses this oppressive law to remain in power against the wishes of the people.



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The Star

      Run-up to Zim polls the crunch
      August 24, 2004

      By Allister Sparks

      The leaders of SADC did well to adopt a detailed election charter at
their summit in Mauritius last week. The charter sets out clear guidelines
and principles that member states must follow to ensure that their elections
are free and fair.

      It comes as a specific challenge to the government of Zimbabwe, which
is due to hold parliamentary elections next March.

      But the big question is: Having done this, will SADC members hold
Robert Mugabe's feet to the fire?

      True to form, the Zimbabwe leader has already tried to imply that his
recently enacted electoral reforms meet the charter's requirements. In fact,
they fall well short.

      The reforms deal only with technical procedures on election day
itself - translucent ballot boxes will be used to prevent them from being
stuffed with pre-marked ballot papers; mobile polling stations won't be used
to prevent vote-rigging in transit; ballots will be counted at the polling
stations and not transported to counting centres, again to prevent tampering
in transit; and voting will take place on one day only to prevent overnight

      Mugabe has also agreed to the appointment of an Electoral Commission,
but this has the fatal flaw of not being independent. He will appoint the

      The procedural reforms are important as far as they go, but they fail
to address the crucial issue of free and fair electioneering in the run up
to polling day.

      The charter makes the importance of this very clear. As the Mauritian
Prime Minister, Paul Berenger, who is now the SADC chairperson, told Mugabe
to his face at the summit: "Really free and fair elections mean not only an
independent electoral commission but also include freedom of assembly and
the absence of physical harassment by the police or another entity, freedom
of the press and access to national radio and television, and external and
credible observation of the whole electoral process."

      OK, fine, but is SADC going to send an observer mission to Zimbabwe in
the next few months to ensure that these aspects of the charter are put into
practice well ahead of the election? It's no good leaving it until the last
couple of weeks.

      And what will SADC do if Mugabe defaults on the charter? As President
Thabo Mbeki has pointed out, the charter is based on the SADC Treaty, and
any member who violates the treaty can be expelled. Would SADC members have
the guts to do that? Forgive me for being sceptical.

      More problematic still is a matter that eludes the charter altogether.
This is the likelihood that Mugabe is going to use the shortage of food in
Zimbabwe as an electoral weapon to coerce voters into supporting his Zanu
(PF) party.

      Mugabe keeps telling the United Nations World Food Programme that
Zimbabwe does not need food aid this year because it is expecting a bumper
harvest of its own.
      One does not have to be an agricultural scientist to know that this is
the sheerest nonsense.

      Maize is the staple diet of 70% of the Zimbabwe population, and no-one
is expecting any kind of harvest right now, in August, at the tail-end of
winter. Maize is a summer crop, which means that last season's crop is
already harvested while next season's is not yet in the ground. There is
nothing to expect. The Zimbabwe Government knows exactly how much maize it
has in hand for the coming year - and it knows it is not enough to meet the
country's needs.

      The last time Zimbabwe grew enough maize to feed its people was in
1997. Since then the harvest has declined steadily each year. Less is being
planted and less harvested because of Mugabe's massive disruption of the
agricultural industry.

      Last year, five out of six Zimbabweans went hungry, compared with 65%
the year before, according to a new survey by an independent research group
called Afrobarometer. This year, the crop has diminished further: the Maize
Marketing Board has bought only half as much from farmers as it did last

      The country needs at least 2-million tonnes of maize a year, of which
1,2-million tonnes is required for human consumption, 600 000 tonnes for
stockfeed and 100 000 tonnes for industrial purposes . The official figure
for this year's crop, given by the Central Statistical Office, is
1,2-million tonnes.

      The World Food Programme believes that figure has been inflated and
estimates the harvest at between 800 000 and
      1,1-million tonnes.

      Fewsenet, an agency funded by USAid, which produces early warning
estimates for all SADC countries, agrees and gives an estimate of between
800 000 and 1,2-million tonnes; while Zimconsult, in a study funded by
Germany, reckons it is between 600 000 and 800 000 tonnes.

      That means that on the most optimistic estimate the country is about
800 000 tonnes short - or two-thirds of what is required for human

      What is in the ground right now is winter wheat. That, too, is looking
to underperform seriously. The farmers, short of seed and implements,
planted thinly and late, which means a diminished harvest also runs the risk
of being spoiled by early summer rains. Agricultural economists are
predicting the smallest harvest in 15 years, a mere 50 000 tonnes instead of
the required 350 000 tonnes.

      Wheat, of course, translates into bread, which is not the staple of
the masses but of the slightly more affluent 30% of the population, most of
them in the towns and cities. It means that wheat for bread flour will have
to be imported and will rocket in price, but that is less serious than the
maize shortage, which will translate into rural starvation.

      That then becomes Mugabe's electoral weapon to elude the SADC charter.
Last year I watched members of the security forces distributing maize
supplied by the World Food Programme, and spoke to ordinary people who told
me they had to produce Zanu-PF membership cards in order to be given
rations. Members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
either went without or had to pay the police to be given any maize.

      This year there will be no World Food Programme maize, on Mugabe's
instructions, so the shortages will be more acute and the electoral
pressures consequently more intense. Today, members of Zimbabwe's harassed
media are not allowed into the rural areas to witness what I saw last year.

      Distribution and coercion through compliant chiefs and headmen will be
much easier to do and much harder to monitor.

      Vote for me or starve, will be the unspoken threat, understood by all.

      It may seem cynical beyond belief that any national leader could
contemplate such a thing, especially in a country already ravaged by Aids,
but in fact Mugabe's intentions are terribly clear.

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'Mercenary' leader pleads guilty to coup

Sunday Times (SA)

Tuesday August 24, 2004 06:44 - (SA)

By Rodrigo Angue Nguema

MALABO  - South African alleged mercenary leader Nick du Toit told a court
that he had recruited personnel and taken charge of logistics for an
attempted coup bid in Equatorial Guinea.

Du Toit's admission came on the first day of his trial in the capital of the
small central African state with 17 other alleged putschists, who have been
charged with plotting to oust President Teodoro Obiang Nguema.

"I wasn't part of the operational group because my task was logistics,
that's to say getting vehicles" to the airport, Du Toit said when he was
returned to the courtroom on his own after an adjournment.

Questioned by Attorney General Jose Olo Obono, the South African said he had
accepted the job at the request of Simon Mann, the alleged leader of 70
other suspected mercenaries arrested in Zimbabwe.

This group was allegedly due to join those in Equatorial Guinea to carry out
the coup against the man who has run the country with his family and close
aides since 1979.

The state prosecutor announced that he sought a death penalty for Du Toit
and prison terms ranging from 26 years to 86 years for the South African's

Du Toit appeared along with seven other South Africans, six Armenians and
four Equatorial Guineans, including former deputy economic planning minister
Antonio Javier Nguema Nchama, on charges ranging from "crimes against the
head of state" to treason and terrorism.

Obono read out the state's summary of the alleged coup plot, outlining the
role of each of the accused in it.

He also cited the names of exiled opposition leader Severo Moto, accused of
masterminding the coup, and British businessmen Elie Khalil, Greg Wales and
David Hurt, alleged paymasters of the would-be putschists, but did not say
what sentences they faced if found guilty.

Spain refused to extradite Moto, leading Malabo to recall its ambassador to
Madrid in July and threaten to break off diplomatic relations.

The envoy returned to his post on August 14 after a Spanish parliamentary
delegation visited Malabo.

Du Toit's lawyer, Fernando Mico, called for seven years' prison for his
client, saying: "There was no conspiracy given that no weapons were found in
their possession."

Laywer Polciano Mbomio, pleading on behalf of the six Armenian defendants,
asked for charges against them to be dropped, and called Obono's summary
"narrative fiction."

All 18 suspects are charged with "crimes against the head of state, against
the form of government... crimes which compromise peace and independence of
the state, treason, illegal possession of arms and ammunition, terrorism and
possessing explosives."

The four Equato-Guineans had not been implicated in the alleged coup plot
until the court case got under way on Monday.

Obiang announced the arrests of the alleged mercenaries in early March,
saying they had been hired by exiled opposition leader Moto to oust him.

Handcuffed and in leg-irons, the accused were brought by military vehicles
to the international conference hall in Banapa, a suburb of Malabo, which
has been transformed into a makeshift courtroom for the trial.

Around 100 people, including two of the South African suspects' wives, human
rights activists and foreign diplomats were in the public gallery for the

The South African and Armenian suspects have been held at Malabo's notorious
Black Beach prison since March.

Their arrests coincided almost to the day with that of the 70 suspected
mercenaries detained at Harare airport following a tip-off from the South
African government.

The men in Equatorial Guinea were allegedly an advance group, to be followed
by the 70 suspected soldiers of fortune, who took off from South Africa and
stopped in Zimbabwe to pick up weapons.

Family members of the men held in Equatorial Guinea say the suspects have
been tortured.

Fifteen foreign suspects were arrested on March 6 in Malabo, but one, German
Eugen Nershz, died on March 17, with the Equato-Guinean authorities saying
the cause of death was cerebral malaria.

But Amnesty International has said Nershz "died... apparently as a result of

A verdict is expected next week, a lawyer at the court said.

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The Herald

More tractors needed

ZIMBABWE needs at least 35 000 tractors of various capacities over the next
10 years to satisfy the demand for farming machinery arising from the land
reform programme, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Cde
Joseph Made, said yesterday. The minister said the successful land reform
programme had triggered greater demand for agricultural machinery. Cde Made
said this in Harare while welcoming an eight-member Egyptian delegation from
a firm that assembles farming equipment, Kader Factory for Developed
Industries. The delegation is in the country for talks with Arda officials
centred on the Egyptian company supplying tractors, irrigation equipment,
planters and other farming implements to Zimbabwe. Cde Made said there was a
shortage of tractors in the country and this was compounded by an ageing
fleet, compelling new farmers to depend on hiring, which was not sustainable
in view of the prohibitive expenses involved. The minister dispelled rumours
that Arda was sourcing farm equipment for its own benefit, saying the
parastatal was procuring the equipment on behalf of the new farmers. -
Herald Reporter.
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No rates without democracy, transparency and accountability.

Mike Davies

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Laban
Sent: 24 August, 2004 12:40 AM
To: Recipient list suppressed
Subject: How about this one?

Councillor Laban's Occasional Newsletter - 23 August 2004

A bulletin of discussions, resolutions, events and
happenings pertaining to Ward 7 (Avondale, Alex Park,
Strathaven, KG6 Barracks, etc.)

Should anyone else wish to receive this, please send a full email
address to
Should you wish to be removed from the list, please let me know.
For further information, use either this address or consult the
telephone book - there is only one Laban in Harare.


How about this one.

We have a report from the Director of Works (DOW) to the Executive
dated 17 July and laid on the table at the Executive Committee meeting of 19
July this year. It states that the DOW has done as he has been told to do,
he has some objections.

His instructions are attached; a memo from the Acting Mayor, S. Makwavarara
signed by her, to the Acting Town Clerk, dated 14 July 2004 with the subject
"Reinstatement of Dept of Works Employees". It is a short memo, only two
sentences, and they say, "I refer to our meeting with the Honourable
Cde Witness Mangwende this afternoon. Could you please ensure that the
Human Resources Director is advised accordingly on the abovementioned
subject to
enable the employees to resume duty on Monday 19 July 2004."

The Acting Town Clerk has passed the instruction down to the DOW, and he has
done as instructed and prepared his report.

The report notes that the four employees were suspended last year in August
October following an illegal job action. They went before a Council
Inquiries Committee and were found guilty, and then dismissed. The reasons
their dismissal are that during the job action, they assaulted other
and turned off the water supply to high density suburbs. In addition to
they are under police investigation at the moment (by a Superintendent of
Homicide). Also, one of the employees has been phoning Highfield Works and
Sewerage works with threats and boasting that he will be reinstated.

The DOW believes that reinstating these employees will be bad for staff

I could not find any mention of this in the Executive Committee minutes of
July, and since I had already left the Council meeting in July when these
minutes came up, I cannot report on any discussion on the matter. However
is no record of any discussion in the full Council minutes. (There is also
record of my departure from the meeting.)

What we have here is a discussion between the Governor and the Deputy Mayor,
following which; four employees are reinstated, for no given reason, and
their crimes (assault), disciplinary inquiry results, ongoing police
investigation and one's threats.

So there are four thugs taking our pay (your rates) for reasons that we can
only speculate are Mangwende's personal or Zanu PF party politics. Who, may
ask, is interfering in Council activities?

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24 August 2004


Zimbabweans followed last week's proceedings of the SADC summit in Mauritius
with a mixture of anxiety and hope.

For over two decades, and in particular during the past five years, we
fought hard for a clean political environment. We argued against the closure
of our space and called for open competition. For that reason, Mauritius
gave us our first victory. The adoption of a uniform set of standards is a
major victory for the people of Zimbabwe under the democratic leadership of
the MDC.

We have campaigned relentlessly for sanity, tolerance and political order
following the chaos that characterised our elections since 2000. Our
campaign culminated in the publication and popularisation of our RESTORE
document, whose key points are included in the Mauritius protocol.

However, the spirit of Mauritius marks the beginning of yet another
struggle: raising our standards and creating the required conditions on the
ground to recover the necessary confidence in the electoral process.

The spirit of Mauritius, if embraced by all in a patriotic and selfless
manner, could open up opportunities for a new start, a new beginning and a
new Zimbabwe. Mauritius provides a test of sincerity among Zimbabwean
politicians. Mauritius presents a challenge to democrats to help pull the
country out of isolation, to end our pariah status, to restart our economy
and to bring about a legitimate government. We are ready for that challenge.

We urge Zanu PF party to move with speed and work with us to enable Zimbabwe
to restore the fundamentals of democracy and conduct the forthcoming
Parliamentary election in accordance with the spirit of Mauritius.

The adoption of the regional electoral charter exposed previous Zimbabwean
elections as mere events which failed to adequately record the genuine voice
of the people. People were denied essential freedoms to make informed
choices, resulting in flawed outcomes.

The new rules bind the region to fairness, access to the public media and
unhindered campaigning for all. They exclude sitting regimes from the
day-to-day management and administration of elections.

The challenge confronting Zimbabwe rests on the country's ability to put in
place such confidence-building measures as quickly as possible to enable us
to conduct the next election in accordance with the new requirements.

With the right political will, we can emerge as a leader in election
management. We need to embrace and engage all our divergent minds to push
through this crucial lap.
If we are careless and selfish as politicians, we risk blowing up a golden
chance to clean-up our mess as a nation already on its knees. The SADC
principles clearly impel all of us to install a democratic infrastructure
that will change and condition political behaviour.

Unless all the repressive laws, such as the Public Order and Security Act
and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, are repealed as
a matter of urgency, we shall remain hamstrung in our effort to get a
legitimate electoral outcome.

Unless there is a courageous willingness to deliberately embrace a
democratic culture and its institutional implications; unless there is
tolerance and honesty, Zimbabwe will have lost a critical moment to redeem

We must move from the edge of the precipice. The time to act is now.
Multi-party politics must become a reality in our villages, towns and
cities. The people must feel and experience multi-party politics, in line
with the spirit of Mauritius.

Political violence, the training and deployment of militias, the partisan
politicisation of the uniformed and security forces, the harassment of the
media and the closure of independent newspapers do not belong to a
multi-party system and certainly are a clear violation of new SADC

Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF accepted and, therefore, bound themselves to these
principles. They must move urgently to make sure that the violent political
structures on the ground are replaced by the spirit and the letter of the
Mauritius protocol.

The onus is on Zanu PF to prove that hate-speech, manipulation, coercion and
violence are confined to our sad past. We are ready to play our part.

Together, we shall win.

Morgan Tsvangirai

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Hi, we are an events company planning a FREE ZIMBABWE concert on the 27th of
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3RC (Three Ring Circus c.c.)
Tel: 011 673 1583
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~A Powerful Voice for Lifesaving Action~

August 13, 2004

Contact Information: Andrea Lari
202-828-0110 or

SADC must address internal displacement in Zimbabwe at annual summit

Zimbabwe's Fast Track Land Reform Program and politically-motivated
intimidation and harassment have created an internally displaced population
of more than 150,000 former farm workers and have also caused thousands of
Zimbabweans to flee their country.

This is the conclusion of Refugees International, a Washington-based
humanitarian advocacy organization, after completing an assessment mission
to Zimbabwe focusing on the plight of displaced former farm workers in June

The Government of Zimbabwe refuses to acknowledge that their implementation
of the land redistribution program has caused forced displacement. A
considerable portion of the former farm worker population is in urgent need
of humanitarian assistance. Many have little or no access to food, shelter,
medical care, clean water, sanitation services, and education. In addition,
there are other vulnerable groups that are not necessarily displaced and
not specifically former farm workers, but who are also being denied
services and are in need of assistance. These include some new settlers,
orphan-headed households and households without an able-bodied adult.

To further compound the issue, governmental authorities have increasingly
restricted access to farming areas for humanitarian agencies and
independent analysts making it difficult for the displaced and other
vulnerable groups to access humanitarian assistance. While international
and national humanitarian agencies are willing and able to provide
assistance, national and local authorities are actively restricting access
to this vulnerable population. This has prevented both the gathering of
reliable data on the numbers of people affected by the crisis and the
delivery of the humanitarian assistance.

Refugees International urges the members of Southern Africa Development
Community to urge the Government of Zimbabwe to assist internally displaced
people and other vulnerable groups in the country, and allow international
agencies and local NGOs to respond to the needs of these populations.

For more information, please visit our website at:

Andrea Lari and Sarah Martin
Humanitarian Advocates
1705 N Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
202 828 0110

2.  From The Daily Mirror, 20 August

Nkomo strikes back!

*unscrupulous ministers to be dealt with

Nkululeko Sibanda

The minister of Special Affairs responsible for Lands, Land Reform and
Resettlement, John Nkomo, has hit out at fellow ministers and provincial
governors who are seeking to enrich themselves through the agrarian reforms
at the expense of the general public. Addressing more than 140 delegates to
the Association of Rural District Councils of Zimbabwe (ARDCZ) annual
conference in Nyanga, Nkomo on Wednesday put his foot down and vowed to
deal with unscrupulous politicians and government officials who were
working against the successful conclusion of the land reform programme. No
one would deter him from bringing sanity to the land reform programme and
ensuring that it was concluded in a transparent manner, he said, referring
to those who were seeking to derail the programme as saboteurs. Government
was putting in place stringent measures to deal with such people, he added.
He said that he was aware of tricks that were being used to conceal some of
the information from his department so that the culprits were spared when
farms wrongly acquired were repossessed. Many of the culprits have excess
land held in trust through proxies, and have attempted to beat the system
by claiming that the properties are not registered in their names.
Nkomo and officials from his department have received a lot of flak from
the public media following the issuing of withdrawal letters on some people
who had acquired farms in an improper manner or were multiple farm owners.
However, he has stood undeterred and has vowed to do all the dirty work, if
any, to ensure that sanity prevails in the programme. "I will put this
example of a public toilet where all the dirt is dumped. In this I mean
that I, to some people, resemble a public toilet that is stinking and full
of smelly waste and some people cannot afford to come closer to me. But
that will not stop me from making sure that this programme succeeds as
mandated to me by the Presidency, which entrusted me with the duty of
seeing to it that the land is amicably distributed to all those that need
it," said Nkomo. He hit out at some of his colleagues in government, whom
he said were acting in an errant manner and had failed to adhere to laid
down statutes of the programme. "Although there are some of us in the
government who have acted as per their briefs and upheld the very
fundamental principles of the land reform programme, there have been some
of us who have acted (in an errant manner) and sought to enrich themselves
at the expense of others. They have decided to ignore the existing laws of
the land because they have seen that these are corrective measures that in
the long run will affect their endeavours, and at the same time contribute
to the success of the programme," Nkomo charged.

He also accused some of the provincial governors of having contributed to
the chaos besetting the programme. "While some of our governors diligently
carried out their roles as fatherly figures in the land reform programme,
there are some of them who were a let down. We still have chaos in the
programme and I regret to say this, that some of the chaos has been a
result of the actions of some of our governors. They have been working with
some of the elements that are against this programme to derail the
programme through benefiting where they are not supposed to." Nkomo said
there was need for the stakeholders to pull energies together as the
programme was nearing completion. "We are now working on the cleansing
process of this programme and this is where maximum cooperation of the
stakeholders is needed and in the maximum of all levels. There is need for
collective responsibility that will in the long run assist us in tying all
the loose ends that are presented by the land reform programme and all
those issues that were brought to the fore by the Buka report." Nkomo
admitted that the cleansing process had not been easy, given the attitude
of some of the players in the sector, both at government and at the civic
society level.

He further said the government was putting in place mechanisms that would
ensure a systematic distribution of land that would in turn cut down on the
chaos that ripped the programme due to lack of coordination. "We, in the
ministry, are currently working out a system that will ensure that the
distribution of land is done in a more proper manner than the current
scenario where everyone is just distributing land willy-nilly. No one shall
be allowed to distribute land as and when they wish and to whoever they
wish. This is aimed at avoiding the confusion that was once the order of
the day in the past, and I would like to reiterate that we do not want to
see that situation prevail again. Saboteurs of the programme would not have
a place in this dispensation and we would once again reiterate that they
will be dealt with according to the laws of the land and also in line with
the statutes of the programme. "Illegal settlers will also be evicted from
those plots that they illegally allotted themselves to pave way for the
systematic resettlement and that is set to be done as a matter of urgency,"
Nkomo said.

3.  Agriculture and food security
THE government media continued to parrot the authorities' claims that
Zimbabwe would this year have a bumper harvest due to the success of the
government's agrarian reforms, which the official media have repeatedly
presented as receiving adequate financial and technical support. But such a
glowing picture of the agricultural sector was dampened by private media
reports on the new farmers' concerns over government's failure to meet
their input demands, poor harvest projections for the current winter wheat
crop and the confusion over government's exact policy on nationalisation of

The government media glossed over such problems besetting the agricultural
sector in an effort to portray government's fast-track land reforms as the
panacea to the country's grain deficit. Their stories were thus premised on
abstract projections calculated to inspire confidence amongst their
audiences. For example, the Chronicle (14/6) reported approvingly of the
disbursement of "more than $25 billion" to cereal growers by Agribank "in
the past two weeks" to boost winter wheat cropping but did not question the
wisdom of distributing the money about a month late considering that
"cereal production starts in late April".

Neither did it give a breakdown of how the funds were distributed among the
farmers or how many of them had benefited from the bank, which the paper
reported, had been given the mandate by government "to act as key financier
to farming activities under the land reforms".

Similarly, the paper unquestioningly reported that the parastatal
Agriculture and Rural Development Authority (ARDA) was poised to produce "a
total of 3 345 tonnes of seed maize" from 5,810 hectares. There was no
elaboration on how many tonnes of grain the country would realise from the

ZTV (15/6, 6pm, 8pm) and Power FM (14/6, 1pm) also carried similar
"feel-good" news pieces. For example, they quoted the Grain Marketing Board
(GMB) acting chief executive officer, Samuel Muvhuti, as saying that as a
result of the country's projected bumper harvest, his board would now allow
individuals to transport five bags of maize from one place to another
compared to last year's two bags. However, Muvhuti was not challenged to
explain why such restrictions should still exist if the country has
produced enough grain this season.

Rather, Radio Zimbabwe (16/6, 1pm, 8pm) allowed him to cobble up a
conspiracy theory saying the law was meant to prevent "those who want to
export our grain" from doing so and "some sectors like NGOs who want to
stock grain in secluded places without distributing it to the people".
To reinforce its positive picture of the country's agricultural sector, ZTV
(16/6, 6pm and 17/6, 8pm) announced the arrival of "40 percent" of the
heavy-duty agricultural equipment from Malaysia without explaining what the
percentage figure represented in real terms.

Not to be outdone, The Herald (15/6) relied entirely on Agriculture
Minister Joseph Made's hopefulness that nearly 20,000 hectares of land
would be cleared this year at the Nuanetsi Irrigation Project in Masvingo
despite the paper's own revelations that government had not yet even
procured the machinery to open up the area for farming.
The private media did not express such optimism.

The Financial Gazette (20/6) argued in its comment that the fact that
government was still talking about inputs for winter crops at "this late
hour should be cause for concern" and "should be blamed squarely on the
government mistakes *mismanagement and lack of forward planning". The paper
also noted that the "teething problems" plaguing land reform were neither
improving the economic welfare of most of the `beneficiaries' nor adding
value to the national economy and therefore were likely to "spawn worse
socio-economic difficulties than those experienced in the past". The paper
contended that "given the government's upside-down priorities where
resources are not being channelled where they are needed most" then
"detractors could just be vindicated if Zimbabwe once again fails to feed
itself" despite the good rains it has received.

The Sunday Mirror (20/6) quoted resettled farmers and the leadership of the
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers' Union (ZCFU) expressing their concerns over
government's "moves in buying tractors and other farming equipment,
particularly for ARDA, when (newly resettled) commercial farmers do not
have the facilities". ZCFU president Davison Mugabe told the paper that
although ARDA hired its equipment to farmers, it worked on its own farms
first before hiring out the equipment and therefore had always tilled the
farmers' lands late. Said Mugabe: "This prejudices the farmer as (s)/ he
does not achieve intended crop targets and usually loses out financially*"
Despite such revelations, which have negative underlying implications on
the country's food security, the authorities seemed unwilling to engage
food aid agencies to stave off possible starvation. Studio 7 (15/6), SW
Radio Africa (16/6) and The Daily Mirror (16/6), for example, reported that
a meeting between government and UN humanitarian affairs envoy and World
Food Programme chief James Morris had been called off after being told that
no government official would be available to meet him.

Morris was reportedly expected in the country for discussions with
government about the country's food and humanitarian assistance.

The Daily Mirror quoted permanent secretary in the Information Ministry
George Charamba saying, "there was no likelihood of another meeting being
held soon." Other unnamed sources quoted in the story revealed that
government had little interest in meeting Morris as they feel "the issue he
intends to bring up for discussion - food aid - is a dead letter."
However, not all ZANU PF members agreed with government's bumper harvest

The Standard (20/6) quoted ZANU PF Central Committee member Titus
Mukungulushi Chauke describing recent claims by President Mugabe and his
government that Zimbabwe would have surplus food as "irresponsible and
utter rubbish". According to Chauke, hundreds of thousands of people in
areas like Chiredzi, Chivi, Mwenezi and Zaka were still buying food because
they did not grow enough for their needs.

Meanwhile, the public remained confused about government's exact land
nationalisation policy after The Herald (15/6) and Power FM (15/6, 1pm)
reported Information Minister Jonathan Moyo as reversing a recent
proclamation by Lands Minister John Nkomo that government intended
nationalising all productive farmland. Moyo's announcement alleged that,
"there has not been any change of government policy or law in respect of
land tenure and ownership", adding that only "*land acquired under the
fast-track and current phase of the land reforms automatically reverts to
the State".

But The Financial Gazette viewed Moyo's statement as a major retreat by
government after a "flurry" of criticism on the constitutionality of the
land nationalization plan. Constitutional lawyer Lovemore Madhuku told the
paper that government's "latest flip-flop is a sign of confusion and
carelessness". SW Radio Africa (15/6) quoted Justice for Agriculture
official John Worsely-Worsick offering similar views.

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Land Reform in Africa - Part 2: Zimbabwe
Tendai Maphosa
24 Aug 2004

Land reform has dominated news about Zimbabwe for the past four years under
President Robert Mugabe. But land ownership has been a contentious issue
since the advent of colonialism in the late nineteenth century. At that
time, British settlers began displacing blacks who were on Zimbabwe's land.
As British colonists took over what became known as Rhodesia, blacks were
pushed into what were called native reserves. The blacks waged an armed
struggle against white rule for 16 years until independence in 1980.
The black population, overcrowded in semi-arid pockets of land, was deeply
unhappy with the pace of land reform. Sporadic farm invasions started soon
after independence. The government discouraged the invasions and assured
some four thousand white commercial farmers that they would not lose their

Professor Sam Moyo, the Executive Director of the African Institute of
Agrarian Studies, says while there were genuine grievances about the slow
pace of land reform, other forces were at play. The economy was performing
poorly and liberation war veterans were increasing pressure on the ruling
party: "We saw that in 1997 going to 1998 we were stuck in this position
where increased internal pressure within the ruling party, emergence of a
more active labor movement and social protests in the urban areas coupled
with a failure to agree with the international community a model of
ameliorating the difficulties that had arisen. With the failure to find
compromise through dialogue a certain degree of political opportunism

And lacking any serious sign from white farmers that they were willing to
share the land, the government included land seizure without compensation in
a draft constitution.

The draft constitution was rejected in a referendum, but a few weeks later,
in early 2000, former independence fighters teamed up with peasants and
embarked on country-wide farm invasions. Authorities stood by as the
invaders besieged and forced whites off their farms. Farm workers were also
targeted and some had their homes burnt down.

The government quickly created a legal framework for the invasions as the
"fast track" land program. Almost all of the white farmers were forced off
their land. They were told compensation would be paid only for improvements
to the land, not for the land itself.

Fast track has also cost 350 000 farm workers and their dependents a
livelihood. Thousands of black families were resettled under the small-scale
scheme of the program while those with the means took over some of the large
farms. A government-appointed committee found that some senior government
officials have helped themselves to more than one farm. President Mugabe has
said this is unacceptable and efforts at land reclamation are under way.

After the land invasions began, Zimbabwe then experienced two successive
droughts. Once known as the region's food basket and a net food exporter,
millions in the country now rely on imported food aid. Poor agricultural
production resulted in a drastic fall in foreign currency earnings.
Professor Moyo says while the large-scale commercial farmers focused mainly
on cash crops, black communal farmers grew the bulk of the staple maize.

This year, the government claims a bumper harvest. This is heavily disputed
by aid agencies and members of the political opposition. The opposition says
the government is trying to politicize food ahead of the March 2005

Renson Gasela the Agricultural spokesperson for the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change says if his party came to power, it would carry out a land
audit and ensure that real farmers and not speculators benefit from reform.
He said white farmers who have lost farms would be compensated with the
assistance of the international community:

"There was no need to racialize the land issue, you still could have
resettled many more people without disrupting agriculture by dividing the
farms and leaving the commercial farmer with a small potion of land that
will still be profitable for him to operate but also distributing the
balance of the land to the landless blacks."

This point of view is however not shared by John Worswick, a spokesperson
for Justice for Agriculture, a group demanding compensation for farmers who
lost their land. Mr. Worswick believes there is still a role for white
farmers in Zimbabwe but that the size of farms should not be an issue:

"I don't believe that there should be a size factor involved, in every other
economic endeavor whether it's in hotels or the transport industry one isn't
limited to the number of trucks or the number of hotels one has. I think it
has to be the ability of the farmer to productively farm that piece of land
that needs to be focused on."

Professor Moyo on the other hand agrees that once Zimbabwe's political and
economic problems are solved small intensive farming units are the way

These divergent views show that there is still some work to do before
Zimbabweans agree on how land reform should be handled in the country.
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We are carrying out research about Zimbabweans living in the United Kingdom and South Africa . We are interested in your educational and employment background and any activities in which you participate that relate to Zimbabwe and its development.

The findings from the questionnaire will be used to help understand the contributions that Zimbabweans living abroad make, or would be interested in making, to the development of Zimbabwe. Based on the level of interest, skills and resources available, it is possible that the results will enable us to develop a programme for Zimbabweans abroad who wish to contribute to the development of their country.

Completing the questionnaire will only take about 20 minutes of your time. Everyone's views and experiences are important so we would really appreciate your participation in the study.

The research is being carried out by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in partnership with the Department of Sociology at City University (London). The IOM, established in 1951, is the leading international organization in the field of migration and development. For more information on the work of IOM please visit our website at

Everything that you say is confidential and anonymous and at no point will you be individually identified. We do not ask for names or any contact information.

To complete the questionnaire, please follow the link below depending on which country you live in:

If you live in the UK, please click here.

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If you would like more information, please contact:

In the UK:

In South Africa:

Karolina Hedström (Project Assistant)
International Organization for Migration
21  Westminster Palace Gardens
Artillery Row
London SW1P 1RR
Tel: 020 7233 0001

Dr Alice Bloch (Researcher)
Department of Sociology
City University ( LONDON )
Northampton Square
London EC1V 0HB
Tel: 020 7040 8517

Joyce Mpofu (Project Assistant)
Tel: 073 173 2715

Liselott Joensson
Tel: 012 342 27 89

International Organization for Migration

Physical Address:
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Arcadia 0083, Pretoria

Mail address:
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