The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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The Times

            Zimbabwe clubs' revolt sends game into chaos

            From Jan Raath in Harare and Christopher Martin-Jenkins

            ZIMBABWE'S national cricket authority, badly bruised from the
troubled tour by England, faced a new crisis yesterday as its most important
constituent declared itself in revolt. The Mashonaland Cricket Association
(MCA), by far the biggest of the country's provincial cricket bodies, has
said that it plans to mount a putsch to dissolve the recently rebranded
Zimbabwe Cricket (ZC) and to vote out Peter Chingoka, the chairman, and his
            It called an immediate halt to all matches convened by ZC,
indefinitely postponing all games in the national league and other sponsored
competitions. It effectively closes down all first-class cricket in the
country while the dispute continues.

            This latest affray may be the final blow to ZC's hopes of having
its Test status returned next month. It is largely over the decision to
change the Zimbabwe Cricket Union's logo and its name to ZC, a public
relations consultancy package that MCA officials said cost Zim$800 million

            Heath Streak, the former Zimbabwe captain, said in Johannesburg
that ZC was "spending money on things like new logos and consultancy fees
for directors when it is desperately needed at the game's grass roots". If
the shut-down goes ahead, he said, "I don't see how the ICC can stand by and
allow Test cricket to continue".

            Cyprian Mandenge, a member of the MCA board, said yesterday that
19 out of 20 clubs in the province backed the revolt. Tavengwa Mukhlani, the
association's chairman, resigned last week over the affair, following Kish
Gokal, the general manager of the national academy, who stepped down over
what he believes is "interference" with the academy. Mandenge said that the
other three provincial associations, Matabeleland, Midlands and Manicaland,
were also "angry", but he did not know what action they planned.

            Only six days ago, the England team left Zimbabwe after handing
out a four-match drubbing of their inexperienced opponents that left severe
doubts about Zimbabwe's future status in the ICC. Big financial losses are
also looming for ZC after the team's television ratings plummeted.

            The political overtones of playing in Zimbabwe also carry far
more weight now with the ECB and the ICC after Jonathan Moyo, President
Robert Mugabe's Information Minister, barred 13 British journalists from
entering the country and was then forced to rescind his orders.

            The MCA said yesterday that it was "unable to countenance the
large sums of money" spent on the change at a time when ZC was withholding
payments to its provincial associations, claiming "declining income".
Mandenge charged that the rebranding had been carried out without the
associations being told and that it violated the national union's

            The MCA is demanding a general meeting of ZC by December 22
where the top issue will be "the loss of confidence in the board to lead
cricket in Zimbabwe". The association will move a vote of no confidence in
Chingoka and his board members, the suspension of the new name and logo and
for new elections to be held later. In the meantime, the MCA will
"dissociate itself from the day-to-day running of ZC and any competitions
operated under its auspices".

            Takashinga, the first blacks-only cricket club in the country
and now Zimbabwe's biggest, is also holding an extraordinary meeting on
Saturday to which Chingoka and Ozias Bvute, the acting managing director of
ZC, have been invited. The invitation card says allegations of "extortion"
of their players by ZC will be discussed.

            The only dissenting club are Universals, the base of Max
Ebrahim, the national selector seen as a catalyst in the dispute that led to
the boycott by Streak and his "rebels".

            Streak is demanding that Ebrahim be dismissed before he accepts
ZC's invitation to return to the national team.
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Observers must wait for invitations - Mugabe
          December 09 2004 at 05:01PM

      Harare - Election observers will be allowed into Zimbabwe next year
"strictly on invitation", Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said on

      Giving his yearly state of the nation address to the country's
parliament in Harare, the 80-year-old leader said: "We will hold our sixth
parliamentary elections on a date yet to be set to seek a renewed mandate,
depending on how well we performed.

      "Outside observers will be allowed strictly on the basis of
invitation," Mugabe said, saying Zimbabwe had implemented electoral reforms
"with principals we developed along SADC (Southern African Development
Community) guidelines".

      Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change has vowed to
boycott the elections - which are expected to be held in March 2005 -
claiming human rights abuses and harsh public order laws make it impossible
for polls to be free or fair.

      Meanwhile, Mugabe said Zimbabwe's economy was improving, partly due to
increased foreign currency inflows.

      "Our economy has performed well under illegal sanctions," said the
Zimbabwean president, referring to a travel ban imposed by some Western
countries on senior members of his Zanu-PF party.

      Still, Mugabe said, developing nations continued to support Zimbabwe,
despite negative publicity.

      "We are grateful for the support we receive from the international
community. We seek no enmity for any quarter, only friendship provided there
is recognition of our sovereign rights and our right to determine our own
destiny," said Mugabe. - Sapa
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Business Report

      Better 2005 tobacco crop predicted
      December 10, 2004

      Harare - Zimbabwe's tobacco crop should recover a bit next year after
four seasons of dramatic decline.

      The Zimbabwe Tobacco Association (ZTA) this week predicted that the
crop now in the ground, although planted late, would bring in between 80
million and 90 million kilograms, with an expected return of about $160
million (R940 million), about a third more than this year.

      This year financing of the crop was, for the first time, undertaken by
tobacco companies and loans given by the Reserve Bank to the state's Agri

      The first recovery in the decimated farming sector was done without
reference to or support from what industry insiders say is the "lame duck"
department of agriculture.

      The season before President Robert Mugabe sent his supporters to
invade white-owned commercial land ahead of the June 2000 general elections,
tobacco earned $420 million. The figure dropped to $120 million in the 2004

      At tobacco's height, about 1 500 large-scale growers and about 5 000
small farmers produced the crop.

      According to the ZTA, there are now 300 large commercial growers left,
who will produce the bulk of the higher-priced leaf, and 25 000 small
farmers entering the tobacco sector for the first or second time.

      Industry insiders, who did not want to be quoted, said late planting
of the crop increased the risk of disease, which could reduce the projected
yield by about 20 percent. But that would still be a bigger crop than last

      ZTA chief executive Rodney Ambrose said the bigger crop "signalled the
road to recovery", although much could still go wrong, such as weather and
curing capacity.

      "The small growers have borrowed considerable sums of money for
inputs, and if they don't get good returns we hope the government will again
provide support while they establish themselves and learn the tricks of the
trade from the commercial farmers still on the ground, who help them a lot."

      Among the multinationals that have helped finance about half of this
season's crop are Universal, Stancom and British American Tobacco.

      The new tobacco farmers have not had to fund infrastructure, such as
curing facilities, as these high-capital investments were given to them free
via the government's confiscation of white-owned commercial farms. -
Independent Foreign Service

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Zim Online

Fri 10 December 2004
  BULAWAYO - Southern African civic and human rights groups will commemorate
the International Human Rights Day today by protesting against human rights
violations in Zimbabwe at Harare's embassies in the region.

      In a statement released yesterday, the South African-based CIVICUS:
World Alliance for Citizens Participation said the protests which are
expected to take place in various regional capitals between 11am and 1pm,
will be used to highlight repression and the erosion of civic liberties in

      But protests are unlikely in Harare where the police must authorise
public demonstrations before they can take place.

      A raft of tough press and security laws enacted by President Robert
Mugabe and his government in the last four years have eroded most civic
liberties taken for granted in most countries.

      For example, journalists in Zimbabwe can be jailed for two years for
practising without obtaining a licence from the government.

      And a new law now before Parliament will see journalists jailed for 20
years for publishing false information while under the security laws,
Zimbabweans need police permission to gather in groups of three or more to
discuss politics.

      Another draft law before Parliament will bar non-governmental
organisations from carrying out voter education while civic groups wishing
to carry out human rights or governance-related work will be prohibited from
receiving foreign funding. - ZimOnline
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The Herald

Airzim workers on go-slow

By Martin Kadzere and Respect Bangu
WORKERS at Air Zimbabwe have embarked on a job action following the
suspension of the 10 percent discount travel facility granted to the
parastatal's serving staff and pensioners.

The workers, who are currently on a go-slow, have threatened to go on a
full-fledged strike, claiming they were being punished for the sins of top
management and other board members whom they have accused of abusing the

It is suspected that the parastatal could have been prejudiced out of more
than $10 billion between January last year and October this year as it
emerged the employees took advantage of the facility to organise shopping
and holiday trips for their relatives to different destinations around the

Minister of Transport and Communications Mr Chris Mushohwe slapped the ban
last week to facilitate investigations into the alleged scam.

Captain Oscar Madombwe, the airline's acting managing director, could not be
reached for comment while legal and corporate affairs officer Ms Grace
Phumbidzayi was said to be out of office.

However, a senior official at the parastatal confirmed the latest

She said a labour dispute had rocked the airline after workers decided to
protest against the temporary embargo.

She said Air Zimbabwe staff were entitled to discounted air travel in
accordance with the International Aviation Travel Authority (IATA), of which
the airline was a member.

"The minister was just emotional. He should have made thorough
investigations before accusing the workers of abusing the scheme.

"The 10 percent facility actually improves the revenue inflows to the
company since the staff will only utilise unfilled space," said the company
official, who declined to be named.

She added that Air Zimbabwe did not pay the 90 percent balance, saying it
was a motivational tool for the airline workers. She said no extra costs
were incurred in administering the facility.

"The minister should have sought clarification from Air Zimbabwe on how the
system operates and the problem could have been discussed and solved
amicably, but now the workers have felt betrayed," she added.

The latest sudden turn of events was likely to cripple the turnaround
process at the national airline initiated by Minister Mushohwe, which had
already started showing positive results.

Disgruntled workers who spoke to Business Herald said they would embark on a
full job stoppage if the matter was not resolved.

"The running of the facility lies in the hands of management and we as
workers do not know anything about this so-called abuse.

"These people are the ones who are accountable for this alleged abuse and
the suspension should only be imposed on them," said one worker who
requested anonymity for fear of victimisation.

When contacted for comment, Minister Mushohwe professed ignorance of the
work stoppage threats.

"If the workers have been angered by the temporary embargo, they should have
appealed to the ministry to justify their case.

"The purpose of the temporary embargo is meant to clean up the dirty
activities which prejudiced the operations of Air Zimbabwe," said the

The minister added that they have since engaged auditors to carry out
investigations on the alleged abuse of the facility.

He reminded the airline workers that the 10 percent discount facility was
not a right but a privilege, adding that according to IATA it was also
permissible to impose a temporary ban.

All Air Zimbabwe workers are entitled to the 10 percent discount facility.
If the worker is married, his or her spouse and children have the right to
use the facility. The scheme is also open to parents and siblings under the
age 18 if the worker is not married.

"But at times we were surprised to see some of the board members and top
managers bringing people who were five years younger than them, but claimed
to be their children," said another disgruntled airline official.
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The unjust imprisonment of Roy Bennett is continuing to attract
international and regional media attention, highlighting the appalling
Human Rights record of the ZANU PF government. And as long as Roy remains
in prison the coverage will continue.

He is still being held in Mutoko Prison, and continues to be forced to work
outdoors without a hat, suffering from sunburn and from skin infections
caused by the lice.

Yet his spirit remains strong and the support from his friends, Zimbabweans
of all races and backgrounds, and thousands of people worldwide, has made
this ordeal that much more bearable for Roy, Heather and the family.

We were disappointed to read the statement made by the Speaker of the
Parliament of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, in his affidavit to the High
Court in response to Roy's appeal against his sentence.

In this affidavit, filed on November 17th 2004, Mnangagwa, calls Roy a
"common criminal" and goes further to say that "there are occasions when,
as in common criminal cases, the provisions of the Bill of Rights are
excepted, and these are one of them and its all lawful".

This is a shocking statement coming from a person who, as Speaker, is meant
to have presided over events impartially but is clearly advocating for
Roy's continued incarceration. Even more worrying is Mnangagwa's belief
that "common criminals" have no rights. This illustrates a complete
misunderstanding of Zimbabwean law and basic human rights standards,
wherein all people should be treated equally and have recourse to
protection by the law. To call Roy a "common criminal" is a gross
distortion of the facts as they were presented to parliament. This is yet
more proof of the political persecution experienced by Roy and other MDC

There is still no word yet on the judgement regarding Roy's appeal that was
heard over a month ago in the High Court. What possible explanation can
there be for such a delay in a case that took only two hours to hear?

Justice delayed is justice denied!

Have you visited the Free Roy Bennett Website yet at If not, please do so today. And don't forget the
petition. Please make sure you have signed it either on paper (at JAG
Offices) or on the website.

And thank you all for your continued support.

Best wishes

Free Roy Bennett


JAG Hotlines:
(091) 261 862 If you are in trouble or need advice,
(011) 205 374
(011) 863 354 please don't hesitate to contact us - we're here to help!
263 4 799 410 Office Lines
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1. FROM Compensation Consortium Newsletter, November 2004

In this issue:
· Compensation
· Your POA
· Still time
· Letters
· Down the Line with Martin Redfern


It's been a busy November for Valcon following government's publication of
779 farm titles on 29 October when owners or representatives were asked to
contact the Ministry of Lands about being paid compensation. To date the
compensation offers to our clients have been in the region of 10% to 15% of
their true value.

If you would like us to represent you, please sign a power of attorney, as
the Ministry will not talk to us without it.  Even if your property is not
currently listed for compensation you may wish to let us have a power of
attorney to cover future listings.

Please don't think that the power of attorney will be used by Valcon to
accept or reject compensation offers at this stage. Valcon will not make
any decisions without referring back to clients at all stages of the
process. If the owner does accept, he will have to sign an agreement and
hand over his title deeds.  If you do accept, please do not hand over your
title deeds until you are paid.

Our Address: Valcon, Box 4272, Harare; drop off at First floor, Lindsay
House, Eastlea Shopping Centre, Samora Machel Avenue East, Harare; fax:
(04) 746695. Any further information or advice, email us at:, phone (04) 746695.  Please note that Linda and Janet try
to work mornings only.  If you have ordered a Certificate of Registration
these are however available for collection at the reception desk of Redfern
Mullet in the afternoon as well.


In view of developments in compensation and the rush to get registered we
are extending the period to allow property owners to register on our
database.  Please note that the registration fee is now $250,000 and
verification is $500,000 for those without a previous formal valuation.


Redfern Rapped Dear Valcon, Your newsletter is valuable however I would
wish to point that comments regarding travel or people of the UK are not
inspirational. Wherever one goes problems, likes and dislikes are similar.
For us who have chosen this avenue we make the most of the opportunities on
offer and believe me they are there - one just has to get out and do it.
(Name supplied)

Afraid there is no censoring Martin. See his article this month following a
visit to the UK.

It's Only Conjecture Dear Valcon, While my old friend Martin Redfern does
his best to inject a little humour we would be interested if you could
confront the central issue i.e. have any farmers been satisfactorily
compensated by the Zimbabwean government; are any likely to be; under what
circumstances do Valcon visualise a fund being set up and do you visualise
it as being remittable out of Zimbabwe; do Zimbabwean's still resident here
stand a better chance than those of us who were forced to leave the
country? I know this calls for conjecture but you and your colleagues must
have better information than the rest of us. (Name supplied).

Allan Higgins replies: Thank you for your email. With regard to your

The government is offering 10%-15% of what the farms should be worth and a
few farmers are accepting due to financial constraints. We are not sure
when farmers will be paid. The Ministry of Lands have indicated within 60
days of signing an agreement. No one really knows how the funding will come
but we have designed the database to cater for all scenarios. I do not
believe Zimbabwean residents have a better chance of being paid - it would
be unreasonable and unfair considering what has taken place. As you say all
this is all conjecture. There are many theories but no definite facts on
the compensation issue. One thing is for certain: nobody is going to rush
in with a cheque book. Agricafrica and the recently formed Coalition will
have to convince the outside world that the Zimbabwean farmers should be
paid fair compensation for their losses.

DOWN THE LINE with Martin Redfern

The December deadline by which time farmers should have registered with
Valcon has produced results in that there has been a flurry of
registrations from around the country, with plenty yet to be processed.
(This deadline has now been extended. Please read earlier story: GET ON THE
DATABASE). Those of you who are undecided as to the worth of the exercise
or who just haven't got around to it yet, please think hard and do it
anyway.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained and it is worthwhile and a very
fundamental part of the exercise to gain meaningful compensation for actual
loss suffered.

"Meaningful" as opposed to the 10-15% of value so far being offered by
government; "meaningful" of what the farm property could reasonably be
expected to be worth in normal circumstances. Perhaps the odd farmer will
be persuaded to accept the current totally inadequate offers, if only to
draw a line under the whole sorry saga, and let him get on with his life,
but our feeling is that few will accept. The verification exercise is going
ahead according to plan, and involves checking on the ground that the
details of improvements, arable land etc. are correctly described.

The cost to Valcon clients of having their farm details verified is now
$500 000.00 per verification and this increase reflects both inflation and
the cost of the exercise.  Similarly the registration fee has also risen to
$250 000 from 1 December, 2004.

Finally, what you don't want to do is spend three weeks in the U.K. in
November especially if it involves trying to persuade a 90-year-old mama
that she really should go into a nursing home (which I eventually managed).
Weather foul, people by and large narrow-minded and parochial and cowed by
the nanny state, "ban-it" culture. The following bans were implemented or
proposed while I was there: Fox hunting, smacking your child, smoking in
public, advertising junk food and alcohol, rowdy behaviour after a night in
the pub. But that said the agriculture is a sight to behold after the last
few years in Zim; the only land that is not tilled and planted is tidy,
well fenced or hedged grazing or set-aside whereby the farmer is paid to
set aside a percentage of his land which must lie fallow for a season, in
terms of EU regulations and to deter over-production, if you can believe
it. So unlike the wise and sensible agricultural policies of our own dear

I travelled over 1000 miles to and from daughter in Cornwall to mother in
Lincolnshire and saw plenty of agriculture to delight the eye, and also met
farmers who shook despairing heads when Zim farming was mentioned; and the
fox hunting ban? The general response was "they have got to catch us first"
and in respect of the potty proposal by a dim-witted Chief Constable to put
CCTV cameras around the countryside to deter killing the poor little fox by
hounds?  "We'll shoot them out". Excellent - a good old-fashioned bit of
civil disobedience by the good guys.


JAG Hotlines:
(091) 261 862 If you are in trouble or need advice,
(011) 205 374
(011) 863 354 please don't hesitate to contact us - we're here to help!
263 4 799 410 Office Lines

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ZimRef (CA), Zimbabwe Under Siege: A Canadian Civil Society


In late May and early June 2004, representatives from the Zimbabwe
Reference Group (ZimRef), a coalition of Canadian civil society
organisations, went to South Africa and Zimbabwe with two objectives in
mind: · To demonstrate solidarity and strengthen support for Zimbabwean and
South African civil society groups in the context of the current crisis in
Zimbabwe; and · To learn how Canadian civil society can effectively
influence policy makers in Canada, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

The main findings of the mission can be summarized as follows:

A. Zimbabweans are experiencing a widespread human right crisis. The
police, military, prosecution and judiciary ? the traditional pillars of
the rule of law ? have increasingly become partisan instruments of the
state.  The Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) reflect a legislated
crackdown on public demonstrations, independent media and most forms of
civil interaction.

B. Most recently, the Zimbabwean government has proposed an NGO Bill that
will give them the authority to ban foreign funding to NGOs.  The
government's motivation to fast track this Bill into law before the March
2005 parliamentary elections demonstrates its clear resolve to neutralise
or shut down the operations of selective local and international NGOs.

C. The Church currently constitutes one of the last democratic spaces in
Zimbabwe.  However, through a mix of severe intimidation and patronage
tactics, it is evident that President Mugabe actively seeks to neutralise
church voices critical of him.

D. On the labour front, the last four years have been exceptionally
difficult, with increased government intolerance for dissent, legislated
attacks on worker's rights, a violent crackdown on labour activities, and
routine harassment and intimidation of labour leaders.

E. In spite of the relatively good rains and harvest in 2004, the World
Food Programme (WFP) estimates that 2.4 million Zimbabweans are in need of
emergency food aid.  Despite this, the government has expelled the WFP from
operating in Zimbabwe, threatening millions of Zimbabweans with starvation
and leaving the government in full control of the country's available
grain.  In the lead up to the March 2005 parliamentary election, all
indications are that the politicisation of food distribution by the
government will intensify.

F. HIV/AIDS statistics are horrific.  2.3 million Zimbabweans are presently
infected with HIV/AIDS.  4,500 people die on a weekly basis, compared to
3,850 a year ago.  The total number of orphans has topped the one million
mark.  Life expectancy has been reduced to 35 years, from 58 in 1995.  The
continuing cycle of HIV/AIDS and poverty places particular burden on women
and children as social and family norms give way and coping strategies
become more desperate.

G. The crisis in Zimbabwe has resulted in an estimated 3 million people
(25-30% of the population) leaving the country over the past 4 years - with
the overwhelming majority leaving for South Africa, Botswana and England.
The plight of Zimbabweans in South Africa is grim.  In a climate of
xenophobia, many refugees are victims of harassment, extortion, and police
brutality.  The vast majority are unable to gain formal asylum seeker or
refugee status.

H. The March 2005 parliamentary election campaign has started and the
necessary elements for a "free and fair" pre-election period are clearly
not in place. Short of an immediate halt in the continued crackdown on the
media, the judiciary and the opposition during this pre-election period, it
is a foregone conclusion that the electoral environment will be worse than
in the 2000 parliamentary and 2002 presidential elections, which were both
deemed not free and fair by the international community.

I. At the Summit of Heads of State and Government, held in Mauritius in
August 2004, SADC adopted the Principles and Guidelines Governing
Democratic Elections.  Zimbabwe's election processes and electoral climate
must be assessed against those new Principles and Guidelines.

J. The delegation was deeply dismayed to see that there is little safe
space left in Zimbabwe in which individuals or groups can freely and
peacefully disagree or express an alternate vision about politics, social
concerns or any other issue.  Popular targets of the government are the
media, lawyers, the judiciary, the labour movement and churches.
Zimbabweans and civil society are under siege.


1. Continue to Press for an End to Unjust Laws and Practices To provide
civil society with a sense of security, it is vitally important that
pressure be maintained on the Zimbabwean government to repeal repressive
laws and halt practices such as torture. The protection of Zimbabwean civil
society must be a priority of external governments and multilateral bodies.

2. Increased Pressure to Annul NGO Bill International pressure must be
brought to bear on the Zimbabwe government to desist from enacting the NGO
Bill.  The situation needs to be closely monitored to ensure that the
government of Zimbabwe stops the attacks on human rights defenders and
freedom of expression advocates.

3.  Increased Financial Support to Civil Society Zimbabwean civil society
is under siege and is therefore in need of significant financial and
technical support. The delegation strongly urges the Canadian government to
substantially increase the level of funding available to support civil
society organisations in Zimbabwe.

4.  Increased International Solidarity Canadian civil society groups need
to continue to support Zimbabwean civil society through campaigning and
lobbying, as well as by assisting with training and resource needs.  It is
especially important to increase solidarity between Canadian and Zimbabwean
churches, unions, parliamentarians, human rights and media organisations
and legal associations.

5.  International Monitoring There must be greater monitoring of government
repression of civil society activities within Zimbabwe. The delegation
urges the Canadian government to increase its monitoring efforts by adding
further personnel to the embassy if necessary.  Canada should continue to
work closely with a wide range of other embassies, including those from
other African nations, to encourage participation in these monitoring

6.  Refugees and Migrants The South African government must conduct an
immediate, comprehensive, and independent review of its response to
Zimbabwean asylum-seekers and ensure that its practices conform to its
international human rights obligations. The international community must
work closely with the South African government to address the refugee

7.  Diplomacy Canada must convey a clear sense of urgency for action
towards a resolution to the crisis in Zimbabwe.  The Canadian Prime
Minister should appoint a Special Envoy for Zimbabwe, who could speak out
about human rights issues and play a role in seeking a resolution to the
current crisis.  Canada should also develop a comprehensive Africa-wide
strategy for Zimbabwe, working within and taking advantage of the influence
Canada has within the Southern African Development Community and the NEPAD
Secretariat, and at the African Union and the Commonwealth.  Canada should
actively support regional efforts to ensure respect of international law,
of SADC Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections and of the
African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.
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Enough is Enough



We have a fundamental right to freedom of expression!


“Mauritius Watch”


The Zimbabwean Elections:

(Monitoring SADC Protocol Violations)


Issue 7.   6 December 2004


On August 17 2004, SADC leaders meeting in Mauritius adopted the SADC Protocol – Principles and Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections.  Zimbabwe, as a member of SADC, also signed the Protocol and committed itself to implementing its standards.


“Mauritius Watch” provides a regular, objective and non-partisan assessment of Zimbabwe’s compliance with the Protocol.  In the run-up to the 2005 Parliamentary Elections we note any significant failures to adhere to the SADC standards.





SADC standards breached




According to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum (ZHRF), tension and political violence continue rising in Zimbabwe ahead of the crucial general election scheduled for March next year.


The ZHRF is a coalition of 17 of the biggest human rights and pro-democracy non-governmental organizations in Zimbabwe.  It regularly monitors human rights violations and politically motivated violence in the country.


In a report released last week highlighting political violence and human rights abuses in the month of September, the forum said the victimization of mostly supporters of the main opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) peaked in the middle of the month during the MDC’s fifth anniversary celebrations.


The forum also noted the increasing and unlawful use of excessive force by the police against perceived political opponents of the government.


In September alone the forum recorded six cases of torture suffered by opposition supporters, bringing the total number of torture cases recorded since January 2004 to 165.  There were also six cases of politically motivated kidnappings and 141 cases of unlawful arrests of citizens by the police during the month.


Under the new Non-Government Organizations (NGO) Act, the ZHRF, along with other NGOs concerned with human rights abuses and electoral issues, faces almost certain closure.


Note:  In a report released in July 2004, Redress, a British-based lobby group, refers to documented examples compiled by local human rights groups of nearly 9 000 human rights violations committed in Zimbabwe from 2001 to 2003.  It covers incidents such as torture, abduction and murder, and notes that the scale of abuse increases in the run-up to elections.  (Suggest we add this).


(See the report on Zim Online –


2.1.3        Political tolerance


4.1.2        Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections


7.4        (Government to)    safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens, including the freedom of movement, assembly, association, expression and campaigning…











(Excerpts from an opinion piece published in the South African newspaper, Business Day, on 29 November 2004):


“A recently published story about Shadreck Chipanga, a former member of Zimbabwe’s notorious secret service and current deputy home affairs minister, who was seen presiding over the disemboweling of an opposition supporter during the country’s 2000 elections, makes disturbing reading.


“A high court judge deemed Chipanga’s actions bad enough to warrant cancellation of the election result that saw the ZANU PF thug assume a parliamentary seat by a tiny margin over the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).  President Robert Mugabe not only ignored the ruling but elevated his man to the cabinet.  That this individual was then appointed a senior election observer of the recent Namibian elections by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Parliamentary Forum highlights a patent lack of concern for integrity in election processes, both in Zimbabwe and elsewhere in the region.


“With the Zimbabwean elections just around the corner, it looks like ‘business as usual’ in that benighted land.  … Far from moving away from biased and manipulative election laws, the ruling party has rammed through election legislation that is even more one-sided and unacceptable than that already on the statute books …


“There was much fanfare about the SADC election code for member countries approved in August at a heads of state summit. Mugabe signed up to it, promised to implement it, then went home and ignored it.  Even worse, he devised new measures that flagrantly violated it …”


(For the full transcript see Business Day –



2.1.1              Full participation of citizens in the political process

2.1.2              Political tolerance




4.1.1            Constitutional and legal guarantees of freedom and rights of citizens

4.1.2            Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections




7.4.                Safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens 

Take all necessary measures and precautions to prevent the perpetration of fraud, rigging or any other illegal practices throughout the whole electoral process …




In presenting his 2005 Budget to Parliament last week, the Acting Minister of Finance revealed that a massive allocation of funds and resources was to be made to Zimbabwe’s notorious spy agency, the Central Intelligence Organization (CIO). As the 2005 general elections approach, the CIO is to have its 2004 budget (Z$62 billion) increased more than six-fold, to Z$395.8 billion.


The CIO’s 2004 budget was overspent by more than 60 per cent - without recourse to Parliament for approval.


A separate equipment procurement account for special services is also set to increase from Z$10 billion to Z$ 61.3 billion in 2005.  The Mugabe regime has refused to disclose what sort of equipment the CIO is due to receive.  The whole budget allocation for the spy service falls directly under the President’s office and is not subject to Parliamentary scrutiny.


Human rights groups have consistently accused Mugabe of using the CIO to crush the voices of dissent in a bid to hold onto power.


The much feared spy agency stands accused of systematically masterminding the harassment and torture of opposition MDC supporters in the run up to elections.


(See the report in Zim Online –

4.1.2.      Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections


7.4.            (Government to) safeguard the human and civil liberties of all citizens including the freedom of movement, assembly, association, expression and campaigning … during the electoral process …


       (Government to) take all necessary measures and precautions to prevent the perpetration of fraud, rigging or any other illegal practices throughout the whole electoral process




African institutions, and above all South Africa, need to apply pressure to make Zimbabwe’s forthcoming general elections fair and free.  This is the view of the International Crisis Group (ICG), an influential think-tank.  In its latest report entitled, “Zimbabwe: Another Election Chance”,  released simultaneously in Pretoria and Brussels on 30th November, the ICG says that the election scheduled for March 2005 is a “small opening for returning to genuine politics as a means of resolving the country’s deep crisis”.


“The chance that the elections … can be a genuine turning point is small, but it is there - if African leaders push the ZANU PF regime to live up to its commitments,” says Suliman Baldo, Director of Crisis Group’s Africa Programme.  “The regime wants a C-minus election – fairly clean on election day but deeply flawed by months of non-democratic practices that determine the results in advance.  African monitoring teams need to be in the country by 1 January and then press hard for the creation of a level playing field,” he says.


The ICG report notes that ZANU PF continues to use repression and to manipulate food aid unscrupulously for partisan purposes.


Further on, the report says that the steps taken by Mugabe purportedly to achieve compliance with the SADC electoral standards are “seriously flawed”.


“Repressive laws need to be repealed, and a genuinely independent electoral commission operating at least two months before the election day or the elections should be postponed – they do not need to be held before September – to allow those essential steps to be taken,”


Among its specific recommendations the ICG calls on ZANU PF to implement the SADC principles and guidelines on democratic elections “in letter and spirit” by 1 January 2005, including the repeal of repressive legislation, restoring the rule of law and political freedoms, disbanding the youth militias, ceasing the manipulating of food aid for political purposes and desisting from the use of hate speech in public and in the press.


The group calls on the South African government to press the Zimbabwean government to repeal repressive laws and to adhere to SADC standards.  SADC is urged to set specific timelines for the incorporation of these standards into national law and to send a team by 1 January 2005 to work with ZANU PF and the MDC on implementation of the protocol’s principles and guidelines, in letter and spirit, and then to monitor the elections.


(See the ICG Report on - )

4.1.2        Conducive environment for free, fair and peaceful elections


7.3                (Government to) establish impartial, all-inclusive, competent and accountable national electoral bodies …


7.4                (Government to) take all necessary measures and precautions to prevent the perpetration of fraud, rigging or any other illegal practices throughout the whole electoral process ….


7.10            (Government to) … issue invitation to SADC 90 days before the voting day in order to allow an adequate preparation for the deployment of the electoral observation mission









On the basis of these and numerous other daily breaches of the SADC Protocol on Democratic Elections, it can be seen that the Mugabe regime has yet to show any serious intent to change its ways or to begin to prepare for anything resembling fair and free elections.  In fact the reforms they are proposing will result in a situation even worse than that which prevailed during the Parliamentary Elections of 2000 and Presidential Election of 2002,  both of which were heavily criticized by observer missions from the international community.


And the March 2005 Parliamentary Elections are now a matter of weeks away …..



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