POLICE ON ALERT TO CRUSH NCA PROTESTS Tues 31 August
HARARE - The Zimbabwe government is understood to have put the
police on high alert to thwart protests planned for tomorrow by the
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) against a proposed new law that will
severely restrict non-governmental organisations (NGOs) activities in the
The NCA is a coalition of churches, labour, opposition
political parties, civic and human rights bodies. The group four years
ago successfully mobilised Zimbabweans to reject a government draft
constitution which it said would have further entrenched President Robert
Mugabe's hold on power.
Police spokesman Oliver Mandipaka
confirmed that the law enforcement agency had received a letter from
NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku giving notice of the planned protest. But
he would not confirm nor deny that the police were on high alert to stop
Under the government's Public Order and Security
Act, Zimbabweans must seek police approval before holding political meetings
Government sources told ZimOnline that all
police officers who were on leave or off duty this week had been recalled and
put on standby as the law enforcement agency mobilised resources and manpower
to stop the demonstration.
"We will not allow it (protest) to go
ahead. As we speak we are recalling all the officers who are on leave and off
duty to be on stand by," said one senior police officer.
letter to the police this week, Madhuku wrote: "The demonstration is seeking
to communicate our disapproval of the NGO Bill which was gazetted on 20
"The NCA believes the Bill is a piece of madness in
which the government seeks to take away rights and freedoms bestowed upon us
by the Creator. This is the point we will make in a very peaceful
Madhuku said demonstrators will march from Harare's Africa
Unity Square to the Parliament building.
The NGO Bill, which is
expected to be signed into law when Parliament resumes in October, requires
NGOs to register with a government-appointed council. NGOs will also be
banned from receiving foreign funding and from undertaking work related to
human rights and governance issues. ZimOnline
State seeks to impound suspected mercenaries' plane Tues 31
HARARE - The government will next month seek court
approval to confiscate a Boeing 727 aircraft and equipment seized from 69
suspected mercenaries arrested at Harare International airport earlier this
The equipment which includes military boots, clothing and
cash was seized from the suspected mercenaries after their arrest in
Harare magistrate Mishrod Guvamombe has already cleared
the men of charges that they landed in Harare to pick up weapons they wanted
to use to topple Equatorial Guinea President Teodoro Obiang Nguema
Guvamombe will on September 10 sentence the men on lesser
charges of violating Zimbabwe's immigration and aviation laws. The men, most
of whom hold South African passports, have already pleaded guilty to the
Senior officials at the Attorney General (AG)'s office,
who did not want to be named, told ZimOnline that state prosecutors will ask
Guvamombe to grant the government permission to impound the plane, cash and
other goods illegally brought into country by the 69 men.
state will apply for permission to confiscate the plane, cash, clothing and
boots taken from the mercenaries. This will be done on 10 September when the
final judgment will be delivered," said one senior official at the AG's
It could not be immediately established how much cash was
seized from the suspected mercenaries.
Former British Premier,
Margaret Thatcher's son, Mark, is being held in South Africa on allegations
of having helped bankroll the aborted coup. ZimOnline
Electoral commission fails to pay monitors Tues 31 August
HARARE - The Electoral Supervisory Commission is failing to
raise more than Z$1 billion in allowances for thousands of civil servants it
hired to monitor registration of voters between May and July this
The civil servants on whom the commission relies to monitor
elections were each promised a daily allowance of $130 000 for 75 days from
May 1 to July 14.
Commission spokesman Thomas Bvuma confirmed it
still had not paid the civil servants: "Yes I can confirm that the monitors
who supervised the voter registration exercise early this year still have not
been paid but we hope to do so in the near future."
money originally allocated to the commission for use in monitoring voter
registration was used up supervising by-elections in Zengeza, Gutu North and
He said the commission had requested for
more money from the government but could not say when the government was
likely to release the funds.
The commission, which is appointed
by President Robert Mugabe and is controlled by former military men, is
tasked with ensuring that elections are free and fair.
accuse the commission of being too beholden to Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF
party to be fair. They also say the commission is seriously under-funded
thereby compromising its effectiveness.
The government has however
indicated that it will set up a new Zimbabwe Electoral Commission that it
says will be independent and will have enough resources to ensure democratic
elections in the country. ZimOnline
HARARE - Hundreds of bereaved relatives and friends failed to bury their dead
yesterday after workers at Zimbabwe's largest funeral company, Doves Crocker
Morgan, went on strike for more pay.
The bereaved, some of them
weeping, could be seen yesterday desperately pleading with officials at
Doves' Kwame Nkrumah Avenue branch to be allowed to take the bodies of their
deceased relatives to other funeral homes.
The Doves branch
normally conducts 20 burials a day compared to only five burials
Chairman of Doves' 450 workers, Simplisius Chirinda,
said: "We downed tools today after realising that management had failed to
effect the 25 percent increment awarded to us. The industrial action has
affected all Doves branches and we will only return to work after management
The funeral industry has agreed to award workers a 25
percent salary increment to cushion them against an ever rising cost of
living. Management at Doves could not be reached to establish why the company
had not awarded its workers the agreed salary raise.
funeral home has like most Zimbabwe companies been reportedly facing
financial difficulties because of the harsh operating
Churches in bid to pursuade Mugabe to drop NGO bill Mon 30
BULAWAYO - The Catholic Church in Zimbabwe plans to
meet President Robert Mugabe and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa to
persuade them to drop a proposed new law that will severely restrict
non-governmental organisations (NGOs) as well as churches from carrying out
human rights work.
Archbishop Pius Ncube told a meeting of NGOs
and other denominations last Saturday that a delegation comprising two
Catholic bishops will soon approach Mugabe and Chinamasa's offices to try and
set up the meetings.
Ncube said leaders from other churches in
Zimbabwe are also going to be invited to the proposed meetings which could be
arranged within the next two weeks.
The church leaders will also
approach other government departments that work with NGOs and churches to
oppose the bill.
Observers say the clergymen face a mammoth task in
persuading the government to drop the proposed new legislation. Yesterday,
Mugabe told mourners attending the burial of late ZANU PF politician, Eddison
Zvobgo, that his government was going to toughen its stance on NGOs. He
accused them of being used by Britain and the USA against his
The bill introduces compulsory state registration for
NGOs active in the field of human rights and governance. In addition, the
proposed new law will bar NGOs from receiving foreign funding.
From the 1970s, when churches, especially the Catholic church, supported
Mugabe and his guerilla army fighting for independence, religious groups have
continued to play an important role in human rights work. The Catholic
Church's Justice and Peace Commission is one of Zimbabwe's biggest and most
respected human rights watchdogs.
Christians Together for Justice
and Peace hosted the Bulawayo meeting. Its Secretary general Reverend Graham
Shaw told ZimOnline: "It (the NGO Bill) fails to recognise that part of our
work and mission is to respond - in practical and material terms - to human
needs. That is where the conflict is bound to arise." ZimOnline
Goods worth US$ 125.000 recovered at Botswana border
post Mon 30 August 2004
FRANCISTOWN, Botswana - Police in
Botswana have recovered stolen goods worth 500 000 pulas (about US$ 125.000)
along the Zimbabwe border.
The goods were discovered last week
hidden in bushes close to the border near Francistown. Police Assistant
Superintendent Brian Tome said they suspected illegal immigrants from
Zimbabwe might have stolen and stashed away the goods.
included computers, DVD players, refrigerators, bedroom suites, HI-FI and
television sets, and various other household appliances.
still investigating where the goods might have been stolen from. We call upon
members of the public to come forward and identify their goods as this will
assist us in our investigations", Tome said.
He said crime in
villages close to Botswana's frontier with Zimbabwe was on the increase and
police would intensify patrols along the border. ZimOnline
BRITISH soldier of fortune and former Scots Guard
officer Simon Mann, the alleged leader of a failed African coup d'état, has
been specially targeted for systematic torture by guards in Zimbabwe's
notorious Chikurubi Prison, according to two suspected mercenaries released
from the jail this weekend.
"Simon is bearing the brunt of the torture,"
said Harry Carlse on arrival at Johannesburg International Airport from
Harare, the Zimbabwe capital. "But he's strong. He's holding up as best he
Mr Carlse was one of 70 alleged mercenaries arrested in Zimbabwe on
7 March and charged with firearms and immigration offences in connection with
an alleged plot to overthrow Teodoro Obiang Nguema, the dictator president
of Equatorial Guinea, a small state with such vast newly discovered
oil reserves that it has a per capita income greater than that of Saudi
Arabia and an annual economic growth rate of 65 per cent.
and fellow South African Jacobus Horn were the only two imprisoned men to be
found not guilty of all charges as the mercenary trial reached its end in
Chikurubi last Friday. Mann faces a jail sentence of up to 15 years after he
was convicted of firearms and immigration offences. He will be sentenced in
two weeks time.
Both Mr Carlse and Mr Horn said they were stripped naked
and beaten during interrogations in Chikurubi and threatened with
electrocution if they did not answer questions.
"Chikurubi is a
terrible place," said 40-year-old Mr Carlse, who owns a Johannesburg security
company. "All prisoners there are treated in a completely inhumane way. They
beat us up with sticks for the first three weeks before we got access to our
lawyers. I slept in leg irons and handcuffs for a week and a half."
Carlse said prisoners were frequently denied water and he and 24
fellow prisoners in a collective cell had been unable to flush their toilet
for up to two weeks at a time. Food was abysmal, an unvarying diet of maize,
gruel and cabbage which had contributed to his 14 kg weight
"Guys got ill because of malnutrition, and a lot of them are going
down with malaria," said Mr Horn, who formerly worked as a bodyguard to
Nelson Mandela and the South African president, Thabo Mbeki.
details of the elaborate alleged plot to overthrow Mr Nguema trickle out, the
Scorpions, South Africa's crack anti-corruption squad, which arrested Mark
Thatcher in Cape Town last Wednesday in connection with the alleged coup,
said the key allegation against him concerned an aircraft leasing company,
Triple A Aviation, he owns in Bethlehem, a small rural town in the Free
Thatcher, son of former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher,
is under house arrest until he pays a record £165,000 bail before he
reappears in a Cape Town court in three months time.
accusation is that Thatcher, 51, put one of Triple A's twin-engine King Air
turboprop planes at the disposal of Severo Moto, the leader of an Equatorial
Guinea government-in-exile in Spain. The plane flew Mr Moto from Spain to the
West African country of Mali last March. The plan, according to the
Scorpions, was for Mann to launch his coup against Mr Nguema in the dead of
the night of 7 March in Malabo, the Equatorial Guinea capital. Thirty minutes
after Mann's men began storming the presidential palace, Mr Moto was to be
flown in from Mali aboard the King Air to be declared the new
Thatcher's arrest and Mann's conviction has caused a storm of
conjecture, much of it contradictory, in South Africa and innumerable
cartoons and satirical columns.
Today, the trial of eight South
Africans, six Armenians and five Equatorial Guineans continues in Equatorial
Guinea in a gaudy meeting hall redesigned for the occasion and guarded by
Equatorial Guinea has not asked for Thatcher's extradition and
says it will not consider doing so until it has weighed all the evidence. But
it has asked Zimbabwe to extradite Mann.
Pair tell of horror jail conditions August
By Thomas Hartleb
When they arrived at
Johannesburg International Airport at the weekend, two of the alleged 70
mercenaries detained in Zimbabwe recounted the abuse suffered at the hands of
Harry Carelse and Jacobus Horn were
released from Harare's Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison after having been
acquitted by a Zimbabwe magistrate on charges of "conspiracy to possess
However, they will present themselves to the
Scorpions today as they could be charged in South Africa under laws
preventing citizens from being involved in mercenary activities.
The two were part of a group of 70 alleged mercenaries arrested on March 7 at
Harare International Airport.
Carelse and Horn arrived with their
lawyer on a scheduled South African Airways flight from Harare.
They received a jubilant reception from friends and family and were mobbed by
reporters and photographers.
Looking tired but clean, Carelse told
reporters he had lost 14kg in Chikurubi prison under conditions he described
as "terrible" where overcrowding and disease were rife and nutrition and
access to medical care "non-existent".
He also told of how
he had been stripped naked and interrogated, beaten and forced to sleep in
handcuffs and leg irons.
"The justice system in Zim sucks," said
the security consultant from Randburg, adding that they were given no access
to legal representation during the first three weeks after their
Horn told how they had been forced, under threat of
electric shock treatment, to make statements to police.
lawyer, Alwyn Griebenow, said the two men still had criminal charges pending
in South Africa.
"We've been in contact with the Scorpions for the
past four months and there is a case we will have to answer to," he said,
adding that they would present themselves at the Scorpions' office
Asked how the remainder of the prisoners back in Harare were
feeling now that the two of them had been released, Carelse said: "They
are overjoyed that some of us are out because they see it as a sign that
they will soon be released too."
Fuel prices went up at the weekend
with private oil importers citing the massive recent price increases on the
Petrol at most filling stations is now being sold
at around $3 500 a litre, up from $3 200, and diesel now costs an average of
$3 600 a litre, from the previous $3 100 before the increase.
some outlets still had old stock which they were selling at the unchanged
price, consequently drawing long queues and conducting
Fuel retail companies set prices independently after
the Government liberalised the oil industry last year, but the difference in
pricing between them rarely amounts to more than $200 per litre.
is the first fuel price increase this year after a marginal drop at
the beginning of the year following the strengthening of the local
currency against most major currencies, particularly the United States
dollar, when the auction system was introduced.
cited the astronomical fuel price increases on the international market for
the upward review of prices of fuel and said a weakening local currency had
also contributed to the increase.
Oil prices hit 21-year highs of over
US$46 a barrel in the last two weeks, driven by production uncertainties in
Iraq and Russia, two of the world's major exporters.
The prices have
since eased back slightly, but the benefit for oil importing nations like
Zimbabwe would only be felt months from now because of forward trading of the
commodity on the international market.
The Zimbabwean dollar has weakened
in recent days, under heavy importer demand at the Reserve Bank auction
floor, contributing to the spiralling import costs of fuel retail
The Petroleum Marketers Association of Zimbabwe - whose
members import the bulk of the country's fuel needs - recently said a rise in
the price of fuel was inevitable in view of the two
Association chairman Mr Masimba Kambarami said existing prices
were no longer viable due to rising procurement costs, and an adjustment in
price was unavoidable.
He was unavailable for comment
The Minister of Energy and Power Development, Cde July Moyo,
said Government would keep watching fuel price movements to prevent
profiteering by fuel retailers.
"Yes, the price has gone up and it is
because of the rising procurement costs. The price of fuel on international
markets has gone up by between five and seven US cents, and, therefore, an
adjustment couldn't be avoided," he said.
He said Government would
crack down on oil companies found profiteering.
"We are watching and
monitoring the situation. We don't expect the companies to take advantage of
the situation and profiteer," he said.
Cde Moyo urged fuel companies to
make more use of the pipelines from Beira to Harare to reduce transport
The bulk of the fuel in Zimbabwe is brought into the country by
road, which is very expensive and increases the retail price to the
Cde Moyo and the Acting Finance and Economic Development
Minister Cde Herbert Murerwa said the fuel price increase would have a
negative effect on the economy, which is showing increasing signs of recovery
from a long recession.
This was likely to be more the case in the
country's battle against inflation, currently at 362 percent.
this will have a negative effect on the economy, and will have to be
addressed quickly," said Cde Murerwa. - New Ziana.
Reporter A SPECIAL audit on the operations of Norton Town Council over the
past six months has revealed that the local authority is losing millions of
dollars through fraud, embezzlement and mismanagement.
alleges massive fraud schemes involving some of the council workers,
officials and councillors and that this could also involve some Agricultural
Development Bank of Zimbabwe (Agribank) employees.
Scanning the council's
bank accounts, revenue collection records, payments and investments for the
period October 1 2003 to March 31 2004, the audit report unearthed astounding
mistakes and anomalies in the council operations.
"Not all deposits
made by the council were reflected on the bank statements. This was despite
the fact that the deposit slips would have been stamped by the bank teller as
deposits received," reads part of the report.
Some of the deposits not
reflected on bank statements but confirmed by the bank teller's stamp and
signature on cheque and deposit slips indicate that the council lost over
$10,3 million in just eight days.
"There were also incidents when
individuals sometimes made transfers from personal accounts to the council's
accounts or vice versa," said the audit.
Suspecting "some degree of
connivance between the council employees and the bank employees", the
auditors expressed "alarm" at the frequency and magnitude of identified
mistakes and anomalies.
The audit report added that while bank statements
show a malfunction of the council bankers' system, "however, the magnitude
and frequency of the occurrences leaves the council's administration to blame
since this depicts lack of a cash control measure".
reportedly also lost undisclosed millions through fraudulent activities,
whereby authorisation of payments were made by the recipients or payees of
the cheques and councillors usurping administrative responsibilities of
council officials by authorising payments of all
The 11-page audit report also revealed said: "In
90 percent of the payments checked, payments were made on the basis of
quotations, requisitions, photocopied or faxed invoices. This system is prone
to double payments and fraud."
The report gave 12 examples of cases
were payments worth more $28 million were made where there were no invoices,
no quotations, or any supporting documents.
The council could have
also lost more millions through its flawed fuel allocation system with
individuals being allocated cash to purchase fuel but not obliged to produce
receipts as proof that the fuel was purchased.
Acknowledging that the 10
days during which the audit team conducted its findings were not enough to
"disclose all the prejudices the council suffered", the auditors, however,
"We note with concern that the council is incurring some
expenses which are irrational considering the market value of the
PRESS RELEASE KILLING AND MAIMING OF STUDENTS IN ZIMBABWE
All-Africa Students Union, AASU, the commanding height of all students’
organizations in Africa, representing over fifty four member unions across
Africa, wishes to register its concerns over the continued attack against her
member, the Zimbabwe National Students Union.
AASU notes with great
concern that students in Zimbabwe are being denied the right to organize,
assemble and express themselves which right have been seriously eroded by the
various laws enacted by the government of Zimbabwe.
We also note that a
number of Students in Zimbabwe have been allegedly tortured, beaten or
threatened by the alleged agents of the state or those acting with the states’
tacit support. A case we actively followed through the International Union of
Students. Batanai Hadzizi, a student of University of Zimbabwe who was brutally
murdered by member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police in a room at University still
concern us. No prosecution has been made to date despite a court inquest ruling
that a student was murdered. We are still disturbed by the murder of Lameck
Chemvura by members of the Zimbabwe National Army in 2001.
are disturbed by the continued harassment and arbitrary arrests of Students
leaders and activists. We note that in the past three years, over seventy
student leaders have been suspended or expelled from Universities and colleges
for political and other reasons.
AASU notes the report of the African
Union on Human Rights violations in Zimbabwe and is informed in its policy
towards Zimbabwe by this and other reports. We believe that reports of rights
violations coming out on Zimbabwe cannot lightly be dismissed as propaganda. We
instead believe that the best way to refute such allegations is to stop the
We implore the government of Zimbawe to safeguard the very
freedoms on which our African independence is founded. We are deeply convinced
that as a continent we can never move forward if we keep our people shackled
through the same instruments on which the colonizer relied on.
regards, we call on the government of Zimbawe to give respect to the African
Union Charter on Human People’s Rights, the NEPAD charter, the SADC conventions
ECOWAS, and other regional and continental charters which define the
relationship of the state and organized society.
We salute the effort of
the new Chairman of the African Union, President Olusegun Obasanjo and we hope
that he will continue his intervention. While we call on our member Unions other
friendly organizations to be steadfast and rise in Unison against the evil been
perpetrated in Zimbawe. Our victory is certain.
Issued at the United Nations Headquarter, New York on
Thursday 26 August 2004 and signed by:
Oludare Secretary-General, AASU
27th August 2004.
Persecution of Non-governmental Organizations We the students of the West
African sub-region under the aegies of the West African Students' Union (WASU)
are seriously concerned that the proposed Non-Governmental Organisation Bill of
the government of Zimbabwe's ruling party ZANU-PF threatens the independence of
non-governmental organizations, in particular of those organizations that work
to promote and protect basic human rights. President Robert Mugabe's government
should demonstrate its commitment to assisting the Zimbabwean people by
cooperating with and supporting civil society groups, rather than seeking to
control and attack them.
The requirement that all NGOs submit
applications for registration to a government-controlled council would adversely
undermine the essential ingredients for the independence of NGOs. Such a
council could refuse such applications on broad, promidial and vague grounds, or
can delay its decision for months, effectively blocking an organization's
The board can also choose to cancel an organization's
registration on broad grounds, or impose restrictive conditions upon it.
Decisions of the board can be appealed only to the Minister of Public Service,
Labour and Social Welfare. The Minister also has the power to interfere in the
running of an organization by, among other things, suspending members of its
Executive Committee. As you are well aware, this particular power was declared
unconstitutional in 1997 by Zimbabwe's Supreme Court.
The right to
freedom of association, enshrined in Article 22 of the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights, as well as in Article 21 of the Zimbabwean
Constitution, includes the right of an association to operate effectively and
independently. The Non-Governmental Organisation Bill would severely restrict
the enjoyment of this right to association and would unduly burden and
intimidate both non-governmental organizations and human rights defenders with
heavy government control and interference in their activities and
funding. The proposed Non-Governmental Organisation Bill illustrates a
disregard for the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and Crusaders, which
recognizes that "for the purpose of promoting and protecting human rights and
fundamental freedoms, everyone has the right, individually and in association
with others, at the national and international levels: (a) to meet or
assemble peacefully; (b) to form, join and participate in non-governmental
organizations, associations or groups; (c) to communicate with
non-governmental or intergovernmental organizations." We hereby urge the
government of Zimbabwe to end its persecution of non-governmental organizations
and individual human rights defenders. The government must ensure respect for
freedom of _expression, assembly and association, as guaranteed in the
Zimbabwean Constitution and international human rights treaties to which it is a
party and signatory. The government should act in accordance with the UN
Declaration on Human Rights Defenders and ensure that individuals and
organizations working to promote human rights in Zimbabwe are able to operate
without let or hindrance or threat of retaliation. At this time of crisis in
the country, the efforts of NGOs are particularly important. The government
should demonstrate its commitment to assisting the Zimbabwean people by
cooperating with and supporting civil society groups, rather than seeking to
control and attack them.
From our regional office, we shall continue to
monitor these issues closely. Thank you for your attention to these most
Com. O'Seun A. R. ODEWALE mpin., mcsn.,
macs. Exec Sec-Gen, West African Students' Union (WASU) Civil Society
Focal Point, ECOWAS Secretariat, 60, Yakubu Gowon Crescent, Asokoro
District, PMB 401, Abuja(91001)-NGR m-NGR +234.803.452.0020; m-GH
+233.244.729.130 fax +234.9.314.3005; +234.9.523.5120
lawyer Alwyn Griebenow last night told of the trauma he endured while
representing the men in Chikurubi prison in Zimbabwe.
Speaking from his
home, Griebenow said representing the 70 men - accused of planning to
overthrow the government of Equatorial Guinea - had been the most emotionally
draining experience of his career.
"There were many days when I felt I
was fighting a brick wall and wanted to quit. But then I looked at the faces
and into the pleading eyes of the men sitting opposite me and I knew I dare
not give up - that I had to continue to fight for them to the bitter end," he
"It was very difficult, especially in the beginning when there were
so many questions, not only from the men in jail, but from their families as
well. Every one had their own needs and much of my work did not involve
legal representation, but dealing with their families'
Griebenow said one of the pilots, Herman Hamman, for example
had a cattle farm and he was basically running the farm from the prison
Griebenow said the past few days, and Friday in particular, had
been very emotional, mainly after the acquittal of Harry Carlse and Lourens
"The men are very happy for Harry and Lourens, but also very sad
and depressed because they had to return to their cells until September
He said the men were clinging to the little hope that
"There is no real optimism among them because they have learnt
the hard way that promises made there do not necessarily happen," said
"I am positive that all will end well, as I believe that all
the prayers that have gone up for the men in the past six months will bring
them home just as it did Harry and Lourens."
The spontaneous cheers as
he and the two acquitted men entered the SAA plane in Harare and the popping
of champagne corks when they were on their way to Johannesburg International
Airport, were happy moments he would always cherish, he said.
also remember how I saw the shoulders of Harry's brother Johnny, sitting a
row or two in front of me, shake uncontrollably as he wept with joy at having
his brother on the plane with him after months of almost no hope."
was, however, not plain sailing for them to board the plane.
had to be held back for us as the customs people would not let us through.
They held us at the airport from 11am till after 1pm and at one stage tried
to separate me from them by taking my passport and saying that I must go with
them to sort the matter out. They stamped my passport and said I must board
the plane. I realised something was wrong and I ran to where Harry and
Lourens were. Shortly afterwards they escorted us to the plane and only left
once the doors were closed behind us," he said.
Griebenow said accused
Louis du Preez's twin brother, who always accompanied him to Zimbabwe, was
happy for the two freed men, but upset that his brother had to stay
The case also had a huge impact on Griebenow's own family - his
wife, Ronel, eight-year-old son Alwyn, and daughter Anmarie, 11.
had to go to Zimbabwe about four times a month and the one time I had to stay
there for three weeks. It was a huge disruption, but they stuck with
me throughout the ordeal."
Griebenow will represent the two freed men
at a meeting with the Scorpions in Johannesburg today.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---- SADC
ELECTORAL REFORM/Welshman Ncube THE protocol on principles and guidelines
governing democratic elections, agreed on by Southern African Development
Community (SADC) leaders at their recent summit in Mauritius, represents a
landmark in the region's democratic transition. It offers Zimbabwe a chance
to break with the past and make a new beginning to ensure security, freedom,
liberty, prosperity and a better life for its people.
summit, Zimbabwe's opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), urged regional leaders to focus on securing consensus around a set of
standards that could have a meaningful effect on strengthening the region's
nascent democratic culture, institutions and processes.
The protocol that
was agreed on provides the SADC with a regulatory framework within which it
can achieve these democratic objectives.
The SADC consensus on
comprehensive election standards and the African Union's declaration on the
principles governing democratic elections in Africa send out an unequivocal
message to the outside world that Africa is moving in the right
This concept of a new beginning filters down to the micro
level. The people of Zimbabwe desire a new beginning so they can get jobs,
food on their tables and enjoy secure and prosperous lives by ending the
cycle of chronic poverty.
But these aspirations can be achieved only
in a stable and democratic political dispensation that protects and promotes
fundamental civil and political rights, particularly their right to choose a
government in free and fair elections. The government's signing of the
Mauritius protocol in theory lays the foundations for a new Zimbabwe. If the
government acts in the spirit of the agreement, Zimbabwe's latent democracy
However, President Robert Mugabe's signing of the protocol
was an exercise in political expediency. If his government subscribed to the
principles in the agreement Mugabe would have returned to Zimbabwe and
committed himself to comprehensive political and electoral reforms. This did
Instead, just after his return to Zimbabwe his government
signalled its contempt for democratic values by gazetting a draft
nongovernment organisation bill containing provisions that continue the
government's sustained determination to crush all organised centres of
opinion at variance with that of the Zanu (PF) government.
It is this
death of tangible evidence that the Mugabe government is prepared to enforce
the SADC guidelines that prompted the MDC's national executive to unanimously
agree to suspend the MDC's participation in all forms of elections in
We believe it is the height of hypocrisy for any leader to sign
an agreement endorsing these democratic freedoms when in his own backyard he
is simultaneously sanctioning the organic growth of a framework of
repression that has thus far spawned a violent youth militia, resulted in the
closure of three independent papers and stripped citizens of their basic
rights of freedom of speech, assembly and association.
For the people
of Zimbabwe the resultant loss of democratic space caused by this violent and
self-serving political agenda is no longer the primary source of their pain.
They have gone beyond this. This agenda provoked the scarcity of jobs and
food. Democratic concerns are now subordinate to the needs of basic survival.
This is how far Zimbabwe has sunk under Zanu (PF) rule. This is how retarded
Zimbabwe's national development has become. This is why we need a new
Mugabe's intransigence visà-vis acting in accordance with the
spirit of Mauritius and kick-starting a new beginning for Zimbabwe to
alleviate the suffering of the people makes it incumbent on other SADC
leaders to put diplomatic pressure on the Zanu (PF) government to comply
fully with the elections charter. Internal and international pressure must be
applied resolutely to be enough to bring Mugabe and his government to their
senses and restore the democratic freedoms of the people of Zimbabwe freedoms
that were secured through the heroic liberation struggle whose primary
purpose was to secure the sovereignty of the people to select and constitute
a government of their choice through regular, free and fair
The credibility of the SADC will be on the line
if Zimbabwe fails to comply in full with the agreement on elections
standards. SADC leaders must send the Zimbabwe government a clear message
that the country risks diplomatic isolation at the regional level if the
government refuses to honour the undertakings made in Mauritius.
Africa is to build on the solid foundations created by the establishment of
the African Union and the adoption of the New Partnership for
Africa's Development, the progressive leaders who were at the vanguard of
these developments and who are leading Africa's renaissance now need to take
a firmer stance against those who make a mockery of the standards on which
the African renaissance is founded. Zimbabwe should not be allowed to hold
the SADC and Africa to ransom while hiding behind violent, intolerant,
cynical and selfserving pseudo-nationalist and panAfricanist ideology born
out of nothing more than a desperation to hold on to power against the wishes
of the people.
Zimbabwe desperately needs a new beginning for an
economic recovery that can bring jobs, food security and prosperity to all.
That new beginning requires as a first step restoration of democratic
elections and general freedoms through the application of the SADC protocol
on elections as adopted in Mauritius.
Prof Ncube is MDC
secretary-general. Aug 30 2004 07:48:53:000AM Business Day 1st
S.Africa Charges 'Mercenaries' Freed by Zimbabwe Mon Aug 30,
2004 10:14 AM ET
By Peter Apps PRETORIA (Reuters) - South Africa
charged two of its nationals under anti-mercenary laws Monday, three days
after they were freed by a Zimbabwean court hearing accusations they were
plotting a coup in Equatorial Guinea, their lawyer said.
and Lourens Horn returned home at the weekend after being acquitted on a
weapons charge by a court in Zimbabwe, where the pair say they were stripped,
beaten and threatened with electric shocks in a top security
"They have been charged under the Regulation of Foreign Military
Assistance Act. They will receive a summons to appear in court, most probably
next week," lawyer Alwyn Griebenow said after meeting police in Pretoria
with Carlse and Horn.
"We have negotiated that they will not be
arrested today," he said. "Obviously we are liaising with the Scorpions and
the investigating team and we will do what is best for our clients," he said,
referring to South Africa's equivalent of the FBI.
Officials said the
two men might be able to strike a plea bargain.
Mark Thatcher, son of
former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, was arrested in Cape Town
last week, accused of financing the March coup attempt in oil-rich Equatorial
Griebenow said another 68 South Africans in the case and awaiting
sentencing in Zimbabwe, most for contravening immigration laws, would also
likely be charged on their return.
Equatorial Guinea is trying a
separate group of 19 men, mostly foreigners, it accuses of involvement in the
coup plot. The man accused of leading the group, South African Nick du Toit,
has admitted taking part and prosecutors are pressing for the death
Griebenow said Carlse and Horn could face up to 15 years in jail
But Makhosini Nkosi, spokesman for the National
Prosecuting Authority, said previous convictions under the anti-mercenary
legislation had not resulted in jail terms.
"We believe they have
contravened the Regulation of Foreign Military Assistance Act. The act
prohibits people from taking part in any military activity outside the
borders of the republic without the permission of the authorities. They had
no permission," Nkosi said.
Asked if a plea bargain was possible, he
said: "The door is open. If they would give us information that we would not
otherwise have, that would make their situation better."
A senior war veterans'leader has accused senior
Zanu PF officials and Cabinet ministers of using criminal methods to retain
their parliamentary seats ahead of next year's legislative polls. Jabulani
Sibanda, the national chairman of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War
Veterans Association (ZNLWVA) said war veterans felt betrayed and exposed in
the face of calculated terror campaigns against them by senior Zanu PF
politicians. His comments come in the wake of an orgy of violence perpetrated
against war veterans and Zanu PF supporters by a terror group led by
Anti-Corruption and Anti-Monopolies Minister and Makoni North Member of
Parliament Didymus Mutasa and Shadreck Chipanga, the Makoni East MP. Chipanga
is a former director general of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)
and also the Deputy Minister of Home Affairs. The war veterans chairman
singled out national party chairman John Nkomo whom he accused of neglecting
his responsibilities. Nkomo was unavailable for comment yesterday. His
mobile was not being answered.
Sibanda said: "We have criminals
that daily purport to be politicians. Some of these people have been hiding
for a number of years as top politicians yet in reality they are top
criminals. The party will defend itself against these kinds of people. I can
assure you that these criminals who claim to be senior politicians will be
exposed. Genuine cadres will prevail. There are some people who have acquired
positions and maintained close links with criminals to secure their
positions. It is quite stupid for somebody at that level who claims to be a
national leader to remain silent when things get bad. The national chairman
does not need to be urged to investigate the violence against Cde Kaunye and
other party supporters." A senior Zanu PF official in Manicaland on Friday
said the provincial Zanu PF executive would appeal to Nkomo to set up a
commission of inquiry to establish how Mutasa, Chipanga, the vice-chairman of
Zanu PF and other members of the District Coordinating Committee (DCC) became
involved in the violence that rocked Rusape.
But Sibanda said the
leadership positions Nkomo and others held meant they had to be responsive to
the needs and aspirations of the grassroots people. "That is irresponsibility
at its highest level," Sibanda said. "Where should we go to complain if
senior people like Mutasa, who is a member of the politburo go on to
terrorise others. These people believe the general people merely exist to
vote them into power. Leadership is responding to responsibilities. If Nkomo
fails to respond to these issues, there would be no reason for him to remain
as national chairman." Meanwhile retired Major James Kaunye, the provincial
chairman for the ZNLWVA in Manicaland and the aspiring Member of Parliament
for Makoni North on Friday vowed to instill discipline among members of his
association who allowed themselves to be used in violent terror campaigns.
Kaunye's comments follow the attack on him and his supporters in Makoni by
Mutasa. Last Sunday, Mutasa led a five-vehicle convoy of his supporters that
included Chipanga, to attack individual war veterans and Zanu PF activists
who are backing Kaunye and Nathaniel Mhiripiri ahead of the party's primary
elections set for October.
Kaunye said: "Mutasa is now a warlord in
Makoni where he terrorises people who support us. He is losing ground and I
will not rest until he is out of that constituency. I have managed to woo
support through sincere meetings and sound campaign messages. War veterans
who allow themselves to be weapons of cruelty and torture against fellow
party members will be disciplined accordingly." He said his assailants left
him for dead. Kaunye said he identified army deserter Maxwell Chidzambwa, a
war veteran, as the leader of the "hit squad" that beat him up. Kaunye said
the whole violence that erupted in Rusape, Chiendambuya, Mayo and Headlands
was clearly planned to intimidate him. "Mutasa is running scared," Kaunye
said. "He thinks my standing against him in Makoni North is a sin. Things
have really been bad for him politically where he has failed to gather enough
people for his rallies. Since I came out in the open to say I want to stand
in the poll, Mutasa has re-grouped his terror group to intimidate all those
people campaigning for me. He has launched a campaign of intimidation." He
said they held an emergency meeting with other members of the war
veterans' executive in Makoni where it was resolved that a demonstration
against Mutasa would be staged in both Makoni North and Makoni East where
Mutasa hails from. The official said Mutasa has been going about masquerading
as the incoming vice-president of the party. Yesterday, sources in Rusape
said armed riot police were on standby to quell any violent clashes between
rival Zanu PF supporters and war veterans. The sources said a demonstration
that had been scheduled in Rusape against Mutasa was postponed after
police expressed fears of bloody clashes.
Suspected coup plotters were beaten for
Two suspected mercenaries accused of plotting a coup
d'état in Equatorial Guinea claimed yesterday that they were stripped, beaten
and forced to sleep in leg-irons during six months of detention in a Zimbabwe
jail. Harry Carlse and Lourens Horn were arrested at Harare international
airport in March as they awaited an aircraft carrying 67 other South Africans
who were due to pick up arms and ammunition. The two men were freed from
the maximum-security Chikurubi prison on Friday after being acquitted on
a charge of attempting to purchase dangerous weapons. They are expected to
be questioned by South African police today. Simon Mann, the former SAS
officer who was also waiting at the airport and is alleged to have organised
the operation, was found guilty of the charge and faces up to ten years in
jail when he is sentenced on September 10. Mr Horn, 30, said that the
70 prisoners had been beaten by police for three weeks until they were
allowed to see their lawyers. "There was physical torture as well as
mental torture," he said. "They said if we refused to make a statement they
would give us electric shocks." Mr Carlse, 40, confirmed the allegations. "I
was stripped naked and beaten with a stick. I slept in leg-irons for a week
and a half," he said. The men, who were met at Johannesburg
international airport on Saturday by jubilant relatives, said that the living
conditions at the jail were dire. They claimed that prisoners survived on a
diet of porridge and cabbage, and that overcrowding and disease were rife.
"You could go without (running) water for two weeks, so you couldn't flush
the toilet," Mr Horn said. The botched coup attempt has attracted
international attention after the arrest at his home in Cape Town last week
of Sir Mark Thatcher, the 51-year-old son of the former Conservative Prime
Minister. Sir Mark, a close friend of Mr Mann, is accused of helping to fund
the operation. He is under house arrest and faces up to 15 years in jail
for contravening the Foreign Military Assistance Act, which prohibits
South African residents from acting as private soldiers abroad. However, the
new allegations of torture will cast some doubt over the information
that authorities in Zimbabwe and Equatorial Guinea have extracted from
the prisoners, linking them and others to plans to overthrow President
Concern Over New Law Extends Beyond Zimbabwe's Borders
HARARE, Aug 30 (IPS) - A proposed new law that's set to curtail
the activities of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) in Zimbabwe has
grabbed the attention of many among Southern Africa's human rights
Expected to become law before the end of the year, the NGO
bill 2004 makes it mandatory for all charities, NGOs and community-based
associations to register under a government-controlled authority. Many fear
this will allow the Zimbabwe government to deny accreditation to
organisations likely to question its human rights record.
legislation chillingly resembles a draconian law that has all but destroyed
critical journalism, resulting in the media watchdog, Reporters Without
Borders, placing Zimbabwe next only to Iraq and Cuba for its hostile media
environment in 2003.
The government has used the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) under which journalists and media
houses have to register, to deny accreditation to individuals and
organisations it is uncomfortable with. For instance, foreign journalists
have been denied registration, as have two independent newspapers.
much the same way, should the NGO bill become law, as expected; hundreds of
NGOs will have to register under a government-dominated 15-member council.
Defying the law will attract a jail sentence of up to six months.
most far-reaching clause in the proposed law is the requirement that local
NGOs engaged in ''governance'' work - the state's term for human rights
defenders and civic educators - receive no external funding. Foreign NGOs
involved in such work will not be registered at all.
''It's the kind of
bill we wouldn't expect at this time and age, especially in the context of
the overall SADC (the Southern African Development Community) and African
Union protocols,'' says Abie Ditlakhe, secretary-general of the
Botswana-based SADC NGO Council, an independent association of the region's
national NGO bodies.
In the last four years, as Zimbabwe's political
climate deteriorated, following a violent land-reform programme and disputed
parliamentary and presidential elections in 2000 and 2002, human rights and
other civic pressure groups have proliferated. Most survive on outside
To date they have been able to avoid official prying by
operating as trusts. But the majority now faces closure. The result, says
lawyer Brian Crozier, is that ''tyranny will continue unchecked by civil
society and unobserved by all except its victims.''
extended beyond Zimbabwe's borders to neighbouring states where lobbying
against the new law is taking place. But the government says the legislation
is essential for national security, to protect the southern African country
from ''foreign values'' championed by ''local puppets''.
Hassen Lorgat of
the Johannesburg-based South African Non-Governmental Organisations Council
(SANGOCO) likens the bill to South Africa's apartheid-era
He says NGOs in the SADC region are in agreement that
there's no problem with regulation in itself. But they disapprove the
proposed law ''in a context of violence and the systematic violations of
human rights, as is the case of Zimbabwe.''
Lorgat adds SANGOCO is
disseminating information about the proposed law. It' s also organising a
summit in Johannesburg late September ''to tackle issues of human rights
violations as a whole in Zimbabwe and (also) in
Zimbabwean civil society lobbied heads of state and
government gathered for a summit of the 13-member Southern Africa Development
Community (SADC) in Mauritius earlier this month.
In a statement, the
largest NGO umbrella organisation in Zimbabwe, the National Association of
Non-governmental Organisations (NANGO), said the proposed law criminalises a
sector that's providing safety nets to a lot of communities hit-hard by
social, economic and political turmoil. It warned the bill had implications
on illegal cross-border trading, economic refugees and increased prostitution
as well as the spread of HIV-AIDS.
Ditlakhe says he has received many
calls from many coalitions in different countries, enquiring about the bill
and what to do about it. The council would send a fact-finding mission to
Zimbabwe that would seek to build on the representations already done by
civil society within the country.
Analysts, many of whom have described
the law as oppressive and unconstitutional, say the proposed law is aimed at
paving the way for the ruling ZANU-PF party to steal next March's
"It's all about elections," says Brian Kagoro,
chairman of Harare-based Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, a collection of civil
society organisations. He says with the independent press all but
emasculated, the new law is meant to ensure the elections take place with no
local or international NGOs to contradict a victory for President Robert
''This will wholly prevent any outside NGO from
monitoring elections in Zimbabwe unless explicitly invited by the Zimbabwe
government,'' Lorgat says.
Violence, intimidation and coercion, mainly
through the use of food, have characterised most elections since
However, discouraged by what it has termed an uneven playing field,
the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) announced this week
it will not participate in elections until political space has been opened
up. It said although the Zimbabwe government is a signatory to the new
SADC protocol on elections, the party's executive does not believe the
government acted in good faith and consequently harbours serious doubts as to
the government's commitment to enforcing the electoral standards contained
in the protocol.
But the implications of the proposed NGO Act extend
beyond elections. For instance, ''foreign non-governmental organisations that
are providing food aid will not be able to continue doing so unless they are
charities which have no interest whatsoever in governance,'' Crozier points
Despite official claims of a bumper harvest, independent assessments
say about 2.2 million rural Zimbabweans need food aid this
Crozier says the definition of NGO makes no distinction between
non-profit and profit organisations. It is ''extremely wide and covers
associations and institutions with every conceivable type of object.'' These,
he says, range from medical and veterinary practices (unless they are
one-person) concerns, to pension funds and sports clubs.
the new law will be trade unions and churches "in respect of activities
confined to religious work". Crozier says the Jesuits, for example, will have
to register their society if they are to continue running schools and
providing education in secular subjects.
The Zimbabwe Red Cross Society
and other associations will also be exempt as will political parties, but
only "in respect of work confined to political activities".
new law is passed by the ruling party-dominated parliament in October, it
will replace the present Private Voluntary Organisation Act. Ironically, NGOs
had for long complained that the existing law is draconian, in that it gives
too much power to the Minister of Labour, Manpower Planning and Social
Welfare to interfere in their activities.
The new legislation entrenches
ministerial authority. The minister may dissolve any NGO where he sees fit as
well as rule on appeals brought by aggrieved registered NGOs.
says the law will increase the number of voices skeptical of Zimbabwe 's
recovery. ''It will not do any good to the government's image even
within Africa,'' he says. (END/2004)