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

Back to Index

Back to the Top
Back to Index

New Zimbabwe

IBA calls for International Criminal Court trial for Mugabe

By Terry Leonard
Last updated: 12/11/2004 00:15:20
THE International Bar Association accused Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe
of a long list of atrocities and said Friday that the International Criminal
Court should bring him to justice since African nations had failed to do so.

Mark Ellis, the IBA executive director, said there was well-documented and
staggering evidence that Mugabe's government has committed murder, torture,
rape, abduction and enslavement.

Officials at the Zimbabwe presidency and communications ministry were not
available for comment. But Mugabe has accused Britain and other Western
countries of unfair criticism of his country's record on human rights and

The attack on Mugabe's regime was contained in a six-page IBA supplement on
the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe published Friday in South
Africa's weekly Mail and Guardian and Zimbabwe's weekend Independent
newspapers. Zimbabwe's only independent daily was shut down by the
government in defiance of court orders.

Zimbabwe's descent into this unimaginable chaos is the result of the
perverse policies of its president, Ellis said in the lead article.

``His systematic oppression of an increasingly impoverished people and his
government's widespread policy of subverting the press, the rule of law and
human rights are a desperate and brutal attempt to retain political power at
all costs,'' he wrote.

Ellis said other inhumane acts by Mugabe's government include the systematic
policy of denying food aid to anyone who is not a member of his ruling
ZANU-PF party.

He said Mugabe should be held accountable by the International Criminal
Court, based in The Hague, Netherlands. Even though Zimbabwe has not
ratified the court, he said a post-Mugabe government could request an
investigation and indictment.

He said an investigation by the court would counter what he called the
``woeful response to Mugabe's crimes'' by many African nations.

Ellis also singled out the policy of the African Group at the United
Nations, led by South Africa, to block resolutions deploring Zimbabwe's
human rights record.

``Those who have been victimized by Mugabe deserve better,'' he wrote.

Richard Goldstone, a retired South African Constitutional Court Justice and
U.N. special prosecutor for Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia, said that,
unfortunately, Western criticism of state-sponsored violence and torture are
seen as an anti-African campaign.

Beatrice Mtetwa, a Zimbabwean human rights lawyer, and Kevin Laue, the
former chairman of Zimbabwean Lawyers for Human Rights, said they expect
state-sponsored violence to escalate as the country nears parliamentary
elections in March.

Laue said the independence of the press and judiciary has all but been
destroyed and the peaceful activities of the opposition party violently

``The result has been an endless stream of torture victims, destined to
become a flood as the election draws nearer,'' he wrote.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Amnesty International

Zimbabwe: NGO law is an outrageous attack on human rights
Amnesty International is outraged at the enactment yesterday (9 December
2004) of a new law in Zimbabwe which bans foreign human rights organisations
from working in the country, and could be used to close down local human
rights groups.

Kolawole Olaniyan, Director of Amnesty International's Africa Program, said:

"The law is a direct attack on human rights in Zimbabwe and should be
immediately repealed."

The Non-governmental Organisations Act (NGO Act) specifically targets
organisations that "promote and protect human rights." It also gives the
government sweeping powers to interfere with the operations of any NGO in
Zimbabwe through a government-appointed NGO Council.

Under the Act, Zimbabwean NGOs are prohibited from receiving any foreign
funding to engage in human rights work.

Kolawole Olaniyan continued:

"Preventing local NGOs from receiving foreign funding for human rights work
would effectively mean the end of many vital human rights projects, as there
is so little local funding available.

"The Act is a disaster for victims of human rights violations and human
rights defenders. It is wholly inconsistent with Zimbabwe's obligations
under international human rights law. We have grave fears that those
organizations that have done most to raise awareness of the human rights
situation in Zimbabwe will now be targeted for closure."

Amnesty International believes that the legislation will be applied
selectively, as has been the case with other repressive legislation
introduced over the last four years. The Media Information Commission,
established by the 2002 Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
(AIPPA), has already been used to severely repress independent media in

Kolawole Olaniyan continued:

"If the NGO Act is enforced across the board, tens of thousands of people
being assisted by NGO programs could suffer.

"Reputable and dedicated human rights organisations in Zimbabwe provide
vital medical and psychological care, and legal advice, to victims of human
rights violations. Most victims have nowhere else to turn in a country where
unemployment is above 70 per cent and the health service has been severely

The NGO Act replaces the Private Voluntary Organizations (PVO) Act, itself a
very repressive law introduced during the colonial period.

On 9 December 2004 the Parliament of Zimbabwe also enacted the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission Act and the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act,
both of which also contain clauses that violate internationally recognised
human rights.

Amnesty International is calling for the immediate repeal of the NGO Act.
Any legislation governing the operation of NGOs must be consistent with
Zimbabwe's human rights obligations.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

ZTA Fails tourist industry

The Zimbabwe Tourist Authority has helped in the demise of Zimbabwe's once
thriving tourist industry. With a more selfish and political agenda they
have been dancing down the wrong path. A thriving tourist industry can only
thrive when those who work with tourists can function properly. These are
the safari companies, hotels and other businesses who have dealt with
tourists over the years. Within these organisations are the experts who
could put things right and know how to do proper marketing. Well ZTA what
went wrong? The first thing you did was to get control of the tourist
industry and employ useless and incompetitent staff. Step no two is milk the
tourist companies with levies. After weakening these companies you then
start passing laws and producing lots of paperwork to stifle the tourist
companies. Over the years you have been one of the tourist industries worst
enemies. Instead of dealing with the real issues that have chased tourists
away, you in your confused state go on expensive trips over seas and waste
money in dismal marketing. Even with the negative perception that Zimbabwe
has, the ZTA could do better. First of all get rid of the expensive visa
fees. Once a tourist enters the country he has to eat, drink, sleep and do
things ie they will then spend money. High visa fees discourage people from
even looking at this country. Secondly push for a reduction in parks fees.
Tourists will only pay so much to enter a park and we are competing with
other parks in africa. Being cheaper you will undercut other parks in the
region, which often have better game and facilities anyway. Push for better
border facilities and reliable fuel supplies to encourage regional tourists
to enter. Try getting Gideon to bring the official rate in line with the
black market, so they get a good deal from the banks. Zimbabwe is expensive
at times. The list could go on - however also try to face the truth about
Zimbabwe. Until there are some major political changes, whatever you do to
try and spice up Zimbabwes image will not work. Yes ZTA the people living
outside Zimbabwe are well informed. My question to ZTA is, if we did so well
without a ZTA before, why must we have you now?

Concerned Citizen

Back to the Top
Back to Index

From The Mail & Guardian (SA), 10 December

It's war in Zimbabwe

Godwin Gandu

The new Zanu PF leadership has thrown down the gauntlet to the Zimbabwean
War Veterans' Association and warned them not to "behave like renegades or
anarchists". The assertion that they will brook no challenge to their
authority comes two days after the war veterans pledged to stand by their
suspended leader, Jabulani Sibanda, in open defiance of President Robert
Mugabe's appeal for unity at the Zanu PF congress last week. Sibanda and six
provincial chairpersons were suspended after attending a meeting in the
Tsholotsho district in the Matabeleland province to drum up support for
Speaker of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa's failed bid for one of the Zanu PF
vice-presidential berths. Zanu PF deputy secretary for the commissariat Dr
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu told the Mail and Guardian: "War veterans are products of
the military wing of the party in power. Genuine war veterans would respect
the directives of their party leadership." In equally combative mood,
Sibanda hit back: "There are people within the top echelons of the party who
would want to use the war veterans as their tools. They want to give orders
on how we should think, what we should do and what we should say and we are
saying its wrong."

A war of words has also erupted over the legal status of party structures.
Two weeks ago Mugabe told party leaders in Bulawayo that he would revamp the
War Veterans' Association, whom he accused of "running a parallel agenda".
But Sibanda is emphatic: "We are a separate entity." This is not the first
time the war veterans have publicly taken on Mugabe, who is the association's
patron. In a show of bravado in August 1997 war veterans booed Mugabe during
the Heroes Day commemoration at the national shrine. They demanded
gratuities and compensation for their participation in the liberation war.
War veterans' leader at the time, Chenjerai Hunzvi, led members in a charge
on Mugabe's state house residence, forcing him to back down and release over
Z$2 billion to their cause. The unbudgeted expenditure precipitated a
decline in the Zimbabwean currency. Analysts predict that the discontent in
the party will escalate in the run-up to the Primaries - where Zanu-PF will
elect their candidates for next year's elections - that are expected to be
held soon.

Party insiders who commented on condition of anonymity told the Mail &
Guardian that delegates whose chairpersons were suspended were not happy
with the way the nomination process for the Zanu PF top leadership was
conducted. "Provinces were bullied into voting for [Joyce] Mujuru; it was
guided democracy." University of Zimbabwe academic Brian Raftopolous said:
"It's a difficult period for the party; it was shaken by the succession
issue. Mugabe might have to inject politicians from the disgruntled
provinces, particularly Midlands and Masvingo, into his Cabinet as a policy
of appeasement." One Cabinet member who could make way in such a strategy is
Minister of Information Jonathan Moyo, who has been fingered as the chief
mover behind the Tsholotsho gathering that cost the provincial leaders their
jobs. Moyo's political future was this week still in the balance. Last week
Mugabe lashed out at his former spin doctor, describing his constituency as
representing "bad" and "evil". He has been removed from the party's Central
Committee and is no longer eligible to stand on the party ticket in his
Tsholotsho constituency.

But party insiders are still wary of Moyo: "He still has the potential to
plot against our president." They point out that even though he has taken a
knock from the fallout around the succession battle he has not shown any
remorse for hosting the controversial meeting. "All the chairpersons,
including [Justice Minister] Chinamasa, apologised, but Moyo still wants to
sound intelligent and deny any wrongdoing. "He leaked confidential Politburo
[the party's administrative organ] minutes to the Sunday News editor in a
bid to exonerate himself." Sources said Mugabe dispatched his press
secretary, George Charamba, to reprimand the editor. Moyo's fate will be
discussed by the Zanu-PF Politburo next week.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

From SW Radio Africa, 9 December


With Jonathan Moyo being sidelined, Webster Shamu is now being tipped as the
man most likely to become the next Minister of Information and Publicity.
Currently he's the Minister of Policy Implementation in the President's
Office and was once the former editor of The People's Voice, the official
mouthpiece of Zanu PF. According to one report a Zanu PF insider is alleged
to have said: "Shamu is most likely to take over the information portfolio.
Moyo is already out and some of the officials in the department of
information have already been seconded to Shamu's ministry. That guy (Moyo)
is definitely out." Would Shamu be a better Information Minister for
Zimbabwe? It doesn't look likely. In the last election this MP for Chegutu
defeated his challenger Mr. Matibe, but only after orchestrating an
extremely violent campaign. Zanu PF mobs imposed no-go areas and were
responsible for numerous assaults. Mr Matibe's wife and mother were both
accosted by gangs and threatened with death and mutilation, as were the
families of many opposition candidates. Webster Shamu is also a man who is
on the gravy train. He's making a fortune after being given a hunting
concession and there are many questions being asked about the illegal
activities involved in various hunting scams. Shamu's business partner in
this venture is Charles Davy, whose daughter Chelsy is currently dating
Britain's Prince Harry.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

From The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 December

Bullied legal system key to Mugabe's power

By Michael Pelly

Robert Mugabe has held on to power by driving judges from office, corrupting
others and subverting the entire legal system, an international committee of
barristers says. Supporters of the Zimbabwean Government have been granted
land at nominal rents and promoted above more senior colleagues, while
sensitive political cases are handled by Mugabe sympathisers. Some
magistrates and prosecutors "face not only psychological and physical
intimidation and threats of violence, but actual violence and attacks on
their family and property", the International Council of Advocates and
Barristers said. The judicial system "has become profoundly compromised over
the past four years", the council said in its report - The State of Justice
in Zimbabwe. "It has ceased to be independent and impartial. The legal
culture has been subverted for political ends There are lawyers and judges
who have been able to maintain their integrity and independence, but they
have often been under great pressure."

Even the Attorney-General, Bharat Patel - whose role is more akin to a
Director of Public Prosecutions in Australia - conceded politics was a
factor in the appointment of judges. A visit to Mr Patel's office convinced
the council he was "under immense pressure from his political masters". The
council team, which visited Harare in April, included representatives from
England and Wales, Ireland, South Africa and Glenn Martin, SC, the president
of the Queensland Bar Association. It said the interference began after the
Government published a list of 1471 white-owned farms in 1997. Two years
later, the Administrative Court declared the notices invalid and in 2000 the
Supreme Court ruled the Government had failed to follow the correct
procedures for acquisition. In the past three years four Supreme Court
judges have been replaced following withering criticism from the government.
In March 2001, the former deputy Justice Minister, Godfrey Chidyausiku, was
appointed Chief Justice - a month after accusing the then chief justice,
Anthony Gubbay, of "bias in favour of white farmers". Six months later he
was listed as the owner of 895 hectares of farmland in Mazoe. Two of the
other appointees have been given more than 1800 hectares.

The council also recorded the arrest of two judges, one of whom found the
Justice Minister guilty of contempt in his last case before retirement. Last
year, a serving High Court judge was arrested in chambers after handing down
a series of anti-Government decisions. The charges in both cases were later
withdrawn. At the lower end of the justice system, magistrates have also
been under attack. In August 2002, one was dragged out of his courtroom by
Zanu PF supporters after he granted bail to two officials from the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change. Another was stabbed. There are
now 59 vacancies for magistrates' posts and a backlog of more than 60,000
cases. The council found the judiciary was attacked "to frustrate the proper
workings of democracy and to hold on to power. It seems clear they would not
have held on to power otherwise."
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News online edition

            Protesters knock at Khaya Moyo*s gate

            Date: 11-Dec, 2004

            PRETORIA - A demonstration against human rights abuses in
Zimbabwe nearly turned nasty when angry protesters tried to pull down the
gate to the main entrance at the country's embassy here on Friday.

            Amnesty International South Africa and the World Alliance for
Citizen Participation (CIVICUS) who co-ordinated the demonstration as the
world commemorated the International Human Rights Day however managed to
restrain the protesters.

            The protesters were angered by Zimbabwean ambassador to South
Africa, Simon Khaya Moyo's failure to come and receive a petition they
wanted to hand over to him.

            Amnesty International campaigns co-ordinator, Joseph Dube said
the demo had achieved its objectives despite Moyo's failure to turn up.

            "We have sent the petition to President Mugabe himself in Harare
and we are going to continue lobbying until the situation improves in
Zimbabwe," said Dube.

            He said yesterday's demonstration was part of a wider campaign
by the civic society in the region to show their solidarity with the people
of Zimbabwe and assist in the normalisation of the situation in that

            The petition calls on Mugabe and his ruling Zanu PF to commit
themselves publicly to end the violence and human rights abuses.

            "Your Excellency, we remain committed to the struggle for human
rights for all people in Zimbabwe and urge you to make a personal and public
commitment, and to take concrete action to end violence and abuses in
Zimbabwe and bring the guilty to justice," read part of the petition.

            The petition also calls on the government to repeal repressive
laws such as the Public Order and Security Act which curtail people's basic
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Daily News online edition

      Election crucial as badge of legitimacy

      Date: 11-Dec, 2004

      THERE have been elections recently in a number of countries. The most
controversial was in the Ukraine, a former Soviet republic. The opposition
fought a relentless struggle to overturn what they believed was the
fraudulent election of a candidate of the ruling party.

      The Supreme Court, although supposedly beholden to the old regime,
backed the opposition's rejection of the election results. By last week, new
elections had been scheduled for 26 December.

      Previously, elections in another former Soviet republic, Georgia, had
ended dramatically, with the incumbent president, Edward Shevadnadze, forced
to flee the country after the opposition rejected the election results.

      Nobody called the outcome in the Ukraine or Georgia the result of
"people power", as they did in the Phillipines when the basically apolitical
Corazon Aquino came to power, after widespread demonstrations against the
old, corrupt regime of Ferdinand Marcos.

      There were elections in Namibia, where the Ovambo-dominated Swapo of
Sam Nujoma won an expected landslide victory. Things were different in
Mozambique, where the opposition Renamo, as stubborn as ever, charged the
poll was rigged in favour of the ruling party, Frelimo, the party which
brought independence in 1975.

      Ghana held parliamentary and presidential elections, won handsomely by
the ruling party and the incumbent president.

      John Kufuor had won for the first time in 2000 against the party led
by Jerry Rawlings, the two-time coup leader whose brash style was not very
popular with the people.

      Next March, all things being equal, it will be Zanu PF's turn to seek
this badge of legitimacy. This is what elections ought to symbolise,
although many critics of Zanu PF would insist that this party is
contemptuous of any Western-style brand of democracy.

      In most of these elections, ordinary citizens seemed more acutely
aware of their power than ever before. The gospel of free and fair elections
as a barometer of true democracy and the ruling party's popularity seems to
have been accepted at last as a prerequisite for democratic rule.

      In that respect, if the MDC feels that the new electoral laws,
endorsed so enthusiastically by Zanu PF, do not go far enough to guarantee a
free and fair election, then they should not take part.

      We know there has been much debate on this subject - to boycott or not
to boycott. Certainly, if the new electoral laws do not conform to the
guidelines set out by the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) - and
so far, they don't seem to - then there is no sense in the MDC believing
that participation would make any difference to the outcome.

      Zanu PF ought to be aware that a boycott by the MDC would rob the
victor of any legitimacy.

      Most analysts believe Zanu PF is past caring what the rest of the
world thinks of its actions, because the party is no longer faithful to the
principles which underpinned the struggle - to give the people their
unfettered freedom and restore their dignity as human beings.

      Zanu PF is now focused, almost insanely, on retaining power at all
costs. Such insanity can only lead to a horrendous climax.

      If the party's' leadership still retains even a modicum of interest in
the future of this country, then they will not lead us down that path.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

International Bar Association
Date:  10 December 2004
Title: IBA Publishes Newspaper Feature on Violations in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe Bans NGOs on Eve of International Human Rights Day

In an unprecedented move in the 57-year history of the International Bar Association (IBA), the IBA’s Human Rights Institute has placed an eight-page supplement in two national newspapers. The purpose of the supplement is to mark today’s International Human Rights Day, and to bring further focus to the worsening situation in Zimbabwe.  


The supplement will appear in South Africa’s Mail & Guardian and Zimbabwe’s Independent. The supplement gives a voice to some of the leading human rights defenders in Zimbabwe and includes analysis from some of the most prominent human rights figures from neighbouring South Africa, Asia, Europe and America. The content puts in stark relief the continuing and calculated stripping of universal human rights from the people of Zimbabwe


‘The enactment by the Zimbabwean regime of the Non-governmental Organisations Bill, on the eve of International Human Rights Day, shows utter contempt for human rights,’ says Mark Ellis, IBA Executive Director. ‘We are deeply concerned for the people of Zimbabwe given their Government’s resolve to deprive them of fundamental freedoms.’ 

The supplement focuses on such serious violations as systematic and organised torture, rape, slavery, and other acts of political violence. It contains disturbing images of brutality and injustice. However, most photographs were too graphic for publication.


[The supplement is a pdf of 1 meg - if you want a copy let me know - Barbara]


For further comment please contact:

Romana St Matthew - Daniel

Press Office

International Bar Association

271 Regent Street

London W1B 2AQ, United Kingdom

Tel: + 44 (0)20 7629 1206

Fax: + 44 (0)20 7409 0456

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

Sat 11 December 2004
  CHIKURUBI - Jailed mercenary leader Simon Mann yesterday told a delegation
of lawyers that visited Chikurubi Maximum Prison just outside Harare that
the infamous jail was a "waterless hell."

      Some members of a Zimbabwe Law Society (ZLS) team that toured the
country's prisons yesterday as part of activities to mark the International
Human Rights Day said the former British special trooper told of how the
small cells were frequently without water making them a hell in Zimbabwe's
sweltering summer heat.

      "Mann said there were persistent water shortages in the cells
resulting in the prisons being a hell to the inmates," said a lawyer who did
not want to be named because of an earlier undertaking by the lawyers not to
speak to the Press about the prison visit.

      Mann is incarcerated at Chikurubi for seven years after being
convicted by a Harare court of attempting to acquire weapons illegally from
state-run Zimbabwe Defence Industries.

      The weapons were allegedly to be used to topple the government of
Equatorial Guinea. But Mann and 65 of his associates say they wanted the
arms to protect mines in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

      According to the ZSL lawyers other prisoners, most of them looking
sick and poorly fed, also spoke of tough living conditions at the
penitentiary without enough food, drinking or bathing water.

      Another lawyer said: "The prisoners are crowded and they complained of
insufficient and unbalanced diet.
      Actually, the prison cells I visited are not human inhabitable. They
are a health time bomb. Most prisoners looked unhealthy probably because of
their diet and lack of access to medical treatment."

      Unconfirmed reports say about five prisoners die every day at
Chikurubi because of poor conditions and lack of food.

      The Supreme Court reserved judgment earlier this year on an
application filed by Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary general
Wellington Chibhebhe in which the trade union leader wanted the court to
declare conditions in Zimbabwe's prisons as inhabitable and a violation of
inmates' right to proper sanitation.

      Overcrowding and lack of resources have combined to turn Zimbabwe's
prisons into death traps where inmates are often released before completing
their sentences because they are too sick and are already dying. - ZimOnline
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

ANALYSIS: Mugabe schemes to win back international acceptance
Sat 11 December 2004
  HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's exhortations this week for a
violence-free election next year reflected more his burning desire to regain
international acceptance than a willingness to stage a peaceful and
democratic poll, analysts said yesterday.

      With his ruling ZANU PF party assured of victory as the opposition
looks more weakened, Mugabe's new anti-violence stance was a strategy to woo
the international community to endorse his party's victory in March 2005,
they said.

      University of Zimbabwe (UZ) political scientist Eldred Masungure said:
"The situation demands this kind of exhortation from President Mugabe. ZANU
PF is secure and confident of winning next year's polls without violence."

      He added: "In the past two major polls in 2000 and 2002 respectively,
violence served its purposes, helping ZANU PF to win the elections.

      "The other second point is that President Mugabe and ZANU PF
desperately need international respect. President Mugabe's call for a
violence-free election seems to be a strategy to gain entry into the
international community."

      Mugabe, who is accused by critics of using violence and downright
fraud to win elections, told Zimbabweans during his state of the nation
address on Thursday that his government was going to ensure that the poll
was not "marred by violence from whatever quarter."

      Political commentator and UZ mathematics lecturer Heneri Dzinotyiwei
said the call by Mugabe, the first time the ZANU PF leader has called for
peaceful elections in the last four years, could see a reduction in violence
next year.

      But Dzinotyiwei warned there was still too much tension in the country
and there could still be violence especially in urban areas where the MDC
was still much stronger.

      He said: "There might be no much violence next year till after the
polls but there are still other fundamental issues on the ground that have
not been addressed. There is still tension (that could break out into

      According to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum (ZHRF), which monitors
political violence and human rights abuses in the country, tension is rising
in Zimbabwe ahead of the critical 2005 general election.

      The ZHRF, which is a coalition of 17 of the biggest human rights and
pro-democracy civic groups in the country, blames most of the violence on
militant supporters of Mugabe and his ZANU PF party.

      Masunungure said the prevailing mood in ZANU PF was that the party
could cruise to a comfortable victory next year without the need to use
violence to coerce Zimbabweans to return it into office.

      A raft of tough laws has almost crippled the MDC. Under government
security laws, the opposition party cannot hold political meetings without
police clearance. The main opposition party is virtually banned on
Zimbabwe's sole radio and television stations, both owned and controlled by
the state.

      At the same time, the government has banned the country's largest
daily paper, the Daily News, which was sympathetic to the MDC.

      Because of the apparently feeble challenge the MDC was likely to offer
ZANU PF compared to previous elections, political violence was likely to be
greatly reduced next year, a factor Mugabe was banking would work to his
advantage in his efforts to re-engage the international community, Masungure
said. - ZimOnline
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

Protesters besiege Zimbabwe's embassy
Sat 11 December 2004
  PRETORIA - About 100 Zimbabwean and South African nationals yesterday
protested at the Zimbabwean embassy in Pretoria against human rights
violations by President Robert Mugabe and his government.

      The demonstration was part of protests at Zimbabwe's embassies in
southern Africa organised by human rights activists in the region to mark
the International Human Rights Day and to highlight growing human rights
abuses by the Harare government.

      More and bigger protests are planned at Zimbabwean embassies next
February, human rights activists told ZimOnline.

      In Pretoria, the peaceful demonstration nearly turned nasty when angry
protesters, bitter that ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo refused to come out and
receive their petition, tried to pull down the gate at the main entrance
into the embassy.

      "I am however excited at the fact that we were able to come here and
send a message to the Zimbabwean government. We were able to show solidarity
with the people of Zimbabwe. I think that was one of the achievements," said

      An official with Amnesty International's South African office, which
was co-ordinating the protests, Joseph Dube said they had sent the petition
to Mugabe by courier.

      "I am however excited at the fact that we were able to come here and
send a message to the Zimbabwean government. We were able to show solidarity
with the people Zimbabwe," Dube said.

      According to reports from Zambia, Botswana and Mozambique, there were
also protests at Harare's embassies there. - ZimOnline

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zim Online

FEATURE: Without well-wishers, we could have been dead by now, say AIDS
Sat 11 December 2004
  BULAWAYO - For Lucy Ncube, World AIDS Day commemorated here last week was
just another day.

      The 35-year-old mother of three spent the day, commemorated worldwide
on December 1, hungry and writhing in pain on the floor of her mud hut at
Trenance squatter camp about eight kilometers from Bulawayo's central
business district.

      Ncube has been bed-ridden for the past two years. Her immediate
relatives and neighbours at the camp know that she is living with HIV/AIDS
but no one says it openly.

      As has become the norm in Zimbabwe when talking about people living
with HIV/AIDS, "Lucy is just sick."

      In sub-Saharan Africa alone, 13.3 million women have been diagnosed
with HIV and 57 percent of the known HIV-infected population is female.

      However, fear and ignorance have combined to form a formidable barrier
to tackling the epidemic in the country.

      Many people delay treatment for opportunistic infections because of
fear of stigmatisation. Bureaucracy in the disbursement of funds has also
worsened the plight of those living with AIDS.

      Ncube is no longer worried about what people say.

      "All what I want is something to eat, a comfortable place to sleep and
some pills to ease my pain. I have been sick for too long to worry," she
says as she struggles to sit up.

      Ncube usually has a plate of sadza and boiled vegetables as her only
meal but sometimes things become really nasty and she goes for days without
eating anything other than a plate of watery porridge without sugar.

      Ncube is one of the many people who are living with AIDS at Trenance
squatter camp.

      Residents at the camp complain that AIDS organisations around Bulawayo
have not given enough attention to their plight.

      The organisations however maintain that it is not prudent to run
programmes at the camp because the squatters are illegal and can be moved
anytime by local authorities.

      AIDS organisations also said the funds they were allocated were only
for those who have been HIV-tested and have certificates to prove they
tested positive.

      "The funds we have at the moment are not enough to cater for everyone
who is HIV positive but we are somehow trying to reach out to them. As it
is, we have put in place a medical assistance facility for those who can
prove they are HIV positive," said a National AIDS Council official last

      He added: "We are making sure they get treated even if they don't have
the money for treatment. Again it is very difficult to assist these settlers
because they are illegally settled at the camp."

      But the squatters insist the government and civic society should help
them all the same regardless of whether they are staying at the camp legally
or illegally.

      As Dumezweni Nkala, who lives at the camp with his family, puts it:
"We are Zimbabweans like everyone else. That is why we vote. Why is it that
the issue of our legality is only arising now when we have been allowed to
vote in the past?"

      According to Nkala, it was difficult for relatives, most of whom did
not have enough money to feed their own families to look after sick
relatives at the camp because of the ever rising cots of drugs and food.

      He said: "Taking care of the terminally-ill in the filthy conditions
that prevail at the camp is difficult. Hygiene is being compromised by the
lack of running water."

      The several hundreds of families at the squatter camp depend on the
dirty Umguza river a stone's throw away from the camp for bathing and
drinking water while the small bush nearby serves as the toilet.

      Sandile Mthethwa, who has lived at Trenance for the last three years
summed up the tough test of endurance at the camp. "Life is tough here. Our
relatives are themselves struggling to feed their own families to be able to
help us. Without well-wishers, many of us could have been dead by now," she
said. - ZimOnline
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Courier Mail, Brisbane

Sponsors ditch Zimbabwe cricket
From correspondents in Harare
ZIMBABWE Cricket union has lost two of its three major sponsors and another
will shortly hold talks about their future commitments.

The Japanese automaker Nissan completed its current contract after the final
match of the England tour in Bulawayo on Sunday and is not renewing, sources

Nissan had been supplying about 70 cars at heavy discounts for use by
executives, officials, coaches and other staff.

Bata Shoe company, the biggest in Zimbabwe, withdrew all sponsorship about a
month ago. It had been supplying equipment and clothing, some of it imported
from Pakistan.

Managing director Edwin Duthie said the main reason was "because I could
hardly spend so much money on cricket while at the same time laying off

He added: "However, I did become concerned about the performance of the
present Zimbabwe team. We have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on the
national side over the years but I'm afraid there seems to be little hope of
real improvement soon. It's a matter of credibility for us."

Simon Hamilton, chief executive of Old Mutual, a leading finance house here,
said he would be having talks with Zimbabwe Cricket in the next few weeks.

"I am not able to say anything about my approach to those talks. They are
necessary because our three-year contract with Zimbabwe Cricket concludes in
February or March," he said.

He confirmed that Old Mutual had spent more than $US1 million ($1.32
million) in support of Zimbabwe cricket since 2000.

The Old Mutual sponsorship relates notably to Test matches.

Zimbabwe were suspended from Test cricket after two crushing defeats at home
to Sri Lanka in May, but are due to return to the five-day game in January
with a series away to fellow strugglers Bangladesh.

Talks are also due soon over the sponsorship of the Zimbabwe cricket
academy, the establishment and construction of which were mainly funded by a
foreign exchange bureau, CFX, which has since supported it.

Manager Kevin Butler said: "Discussions about future sponsorship are on the
table. Our contract is up for renewal soon." He was not prepared to say
whether his attitude to renewal would be negative or positive.

The England tour was not covered for South Africa and Zimbabwe TV viewers,
for the first time in years, resulting in considerable loss of income. And
losses owed to unplayed Tests against Australia and England are believed to
have exceeded $US600,000 ($794,700).

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe opposition says victim of rights abuses
      10 Dec 2004 17:01:54 GMT

      Source: Reuters

By Stella Mapenzauswa

HARARE, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's main opposition on Friday accused
President Robert Mugabe's government of failing to stop political violence
against its supporters in 2004 and said free polls could not take place in
such a climate of fear.

In a report to mark International Human Rights Day the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) chronicled what it said were human
rights abuses perpetrated against scores of its supporters and officials
since the start of the year.

"Although the figures show an improvement on previous years, the very fact
that human rights abuses continue to be perpetrated on such a large scale
emphasises the appalling decay of governance standards in Zimbabwe," MDC
spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi said in a statement.

"This decay precludes a free and fair elections from taking place."

The MDC blames the attacks on supporters of Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party,
graduates of a controversial youth national training programme, state
security agents and veterans of Zimbabwe's 1970s independence war.

In one such incident, the MDC said a 53-year old activist was killed in the
northeastern Shamva district during a door-to-door attack on opposition
supporters in January.

Three MDC women were reportedly abducted and subsequently raped on a farm in
eastern Zimbabwe by war veterans while another opposition activist was
killed on the same property.

"The report is an indictment of the activities of the current government and
underlines how political oppression in Zimbabwe remains a pervasive force,"
Nyathi said.

He said the Zimbabwean political landscape "ensures the maintenance of an
environment in which arbitrary arrest and violent attacks continue be the
government's only response to the people's growing desire for freedom."

Nyathi said seven MDC legislators, 53 party officials and hundreds of
activists had been victims of "arbitrary arrest, intimidation, beatings or

Mugabe's government denies that its supporters have carried out attacks on
opposition supporters, and in turn accuses the MDC of fuelling the political
violence which has plagued the country over the past four years.

Police also reject charges that they have taken a partisan stance in favour
of ZANU-PF when handling cases of political violence.

On Friday about 20 Zimbabwe rights lawyers held a demonstration decrying
what they said was a lack of freedom of expression in the country, and also
slammed the passing by parliament, in which ZANU-PF enjoys a wide majority,
of an NGO bill banning foreign rights groups from working in Zimbabwe.
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Cambridge News

'Homeless' woman has to leave hospital bed
Published on 10 December 2004
A FRAIL middleaged woman was in tears as she was evicted from a hospital
bed - because she claims she has nowhere else to go.

Sonia Rossouw, 53, was pushed in a wheelchair by a nurse to a waiting taxi
which had been ordered by officials at West Suffolk Hospital, Bury St
Edmunds, to take her to her sister's temporary home in Newmarket.

Mrs Rossouw, a British citizen who has lived in Zimbabwe for most of her
life, came to Britain in October for treatment to a fractured thigh bone.

She was disabled as a result of being accidentally shot in the head during
the "liberation war" in Zimbabwe in the 1970s and suffered a fall earlier
this year.

Her sister, Vikki Winter, 50, who is renting part of a cottage in
Newmarket's Bury Road, said the British High Commission in Zimbabwe had
suggested that she should get a one-way ticket to Britain for treatment and
stay here.

Now she wants to stay in this country because of the volatile situation in

But council housing officials have said they have no obligation to provide
her with accommodation and she should return to the African state.

Mrs Winter, a Zimbabwe citizen who is in Britain thanks to a settlement visa
with her British husband, said:

"Zimbabwe is not a safe place for British citizens. The Government
consistently refers to them as 'enemies of the state'.

"My sister's life was under threat."

Mrs Winter said that there was no room for her sister in the part of the
cottage where she is staying.

Mrs Rossouw was unable to get up the stairs and the only two rooms
downstairs are a small kitchen and a tiny dining area.

She said that her sister had been served with an "accelerated discharge
order" by the hospital which had ordered a taxi to take her to Newmarket.

Mrs Rossouw said: "It has been an ordeal for me. I just can't figure it out.
I'm a British citizen and they won't house me."

A spokeswoman for the hospital said that Mrs Rossouw had left hospital of
her own accord and was discharged into the care of her sister.

The spokeswoman said: "After many discussions with Mrs Rossouw, her sister
and social services we gave Mrs Rossouw a reasonable period in which to find
herself accommodation."

Sally Rode, a spokeswoman for Forest Heath District Council said: "It is not
that we don't want to help, but legally we are not allowed to.

"We understand she has a home in Zimbabwe and should return there.

"An alternative could be for her to claim asylum and/or benefits and if she
is successful she could contact us again."
Back to the Top
Back to Index

New Zimbabwe

Lucky Dube's 'nightmarish' Zimbabwe tour ends in riots

By Showbiz Editor
Last updated: 12/10/2004 22:19:33
SOUTH African reggae legend Lucky Dube's management have been talking about
their "nightmarish" tour of Zimbabwe which ended in violent scenes in
Bulawayo last weekend.

"I have never in my entire showbiz life seen anything like it," Dube's tour
manager Lenah Mochoele told New by telephone from South Africa.

Dube and his band left South Africa by bus on Thursday because they "thought
it would be fun", Mochoele said. But once they arrived at the Zimbabwe
border with South Africa, the fun evaporated.

"We arrived in Beitbridge on Thursday afternoon and then they wouldn't let
us go through with our equipment. We had travelled with our keyboards and
guitars, and then some corrupt officials told us to pay something like £6500
so they can let us go through," she said.

"The stand-off continued until about 1am the next day and we had to return
the South African side where we booked a hotel in Musina.

"We woke-up the next day and went straight to the border, and then started
the process all over again. The promoter was there and she tried to organise
for us to clear the instruments. We only crossed the border on Friday at 5pm
rushing to a 11pm show in Harare!"

Mochoele says they only arrived at the City Sports Centre in Harare at
around 0130am on Saturday, and found a disillusioned crowd. Scores of other
fans had left the venue.

"The promoter was so disorganised it wasn't funny," she said.

Dube interrupted his show to tell the crowd of their nightmarish trip.

"An officer at the border asked me why my passport had a stamp into London
and no stamp for coming out of London," Dube told the crowd of about 400
people. ". . . And imagine being sent back to South Africa because your
passport has 80 pages when the officer expects 100 and South African
officials saying it's the right passport! That's what our life is all about
and you will accept that we were born to suffer."

When they got to Bulawayo on Saturday, Mochoele said there had been no
pre-show publicity and they had to parade through the streets of Bulawayo
from the town centre to the townships.

"There was no sound and our engineers had to start the whole process, and
then there was this instrument and that instrument that were unavailable. At
11pm, the show had not started. Many people just stood outside and refused
to get in the hall. There were no curtain raisers and around midnight we
were told to start the show. So we performed two hours flat and then all
hell broke loose," said Mochoele.

Hundreds of people rioted, hurling beer cans and chairs on the stage
prompting the intervention of riot police.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Aus wants Bennett freed
10/12/2004 14:11  - (SA)

Sydney - Australia called on Friday for the release of a Zimbabwean
opposition politician jailed for manhandling a government minister, saying
the case showed President Robert Mugabe's "flagrant disregard for democratic

Foreign minister Alexander Downer said the incarceration of opposition MP
Roy Bennett, for pushing Zimbabwe's justice minister during a heated
parliamentary debate last May, was part of a persecution campaign against
the outspoken white lawmaker.

Downer said Bennett's offence should have attracted a maximum penalty
equivalent to $22 under Zimbabwean law but instead he was imprisoned for 12
months by a government-dominated parliamentary committee.

"This incident follows four years of relentless political persecution of Mr
Bennett," Downer said in a statement. "During this time, he has been
arrested, assaulted and evicted from his home.

"His wife has been held hostage, two men who worked for Mr Bennett have been
murdered by members of the security forces and two young female workers have
been raped."

Downer said Mugabe had publicly threatened Bennett and encouraged supporters
of his ruling Zanu-PF party to force him from his constituency.

"Mugabe's flagrant disregard for democratic principles and the rule of law
has brought only hardship and suffering to the people of Zimbabwe," Downer

"The Australian government demands the immediate release of Mr Bennett and
an end to all further persecution against him, his family, friends, workers
and colleagues."

Zimbabwe was suspended from the 54-nation Commonwealth in March 2002 after
Mugabe was re-elected in polls widely condemned as fraudulent.
Back to the Top
Back to Index



10 December 2004




International Human Rights Day is both a time for celebrating the progress made since the UN General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as for reflecting on the challenges that lie ahead to ensure that the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people are realised and protected.


These challenges, in the context of Zimbabwe, are immense and it is the struggle to restore peoples’ rights and freedoms and create a new beginning that defines the current crisis in Zimbabwe.


The desire for freedom, equality, dignity, social justice and self-determination guided and drove the liberation agenda in Zimbabwe, yet nearly a quarter of a century after achieving independence we are still struggling to realise our basic freedoms. The people now desire a new Zimbabwe in which our dreams will become a reality.


To mark Human Rights Day the MDC has published a report which details the human rights abuses experienced by MDC officials and supporters since 1 January 2004. The report underlines just how out of sink the Zimbabwe government is with the ideals of the African Renaissance and the collective efforts of the international community to build a universal culture of human rights.


The demands of the people of Zimbabwe, like others who live under the yoke of repression, are not unreasonable; they simply wish to see a restoration of their basic rights.


The report is an indictment of the activities of the current government and underlines how political oppression in Zimbabwe remains a pervasive force. An egregious legislative framework that deliberately curtails civil and political liberties, combined with the predatory and coercive nature of the political landscape, ensures the maintenance of an environment in which arbitrary arrest and violent attacks continue be the government’s only response to the people’s growing desire for freedom.


These instruments are becoming increasingly blunt due to pressure from the people, but, as the report illustrates, these instruments retain a cutting edge.


The report also exposes the bankruptcy of the government’s claims that the political environment in Zimbabwe is in line with what is expected under the SADC protocol on elections.


Thus far in 2004 7 MDC MPs, 53 party officials and hundreds of party activists have been the victims of arbitrary arrest, intimidation, beatings or torture. Although the figures show an improvement on previous years, the very fact that human rights abuses continue to be perpetrated on such a large scale emphasises the appalling decay of governance standards in Zimbabwe.   


At present this decay precludes a free and fair election from taking place. The people desire an election but not under the current conditions.


The government needs to take urgent steps to end political violence and punish those guilty of perpetrating human rights abuses. This would represent a significant confidence building measure and would go some way towards creating an environment in which a genuine election could take place.  



Paul Themba Nyathi

Secretary for Information and Publicity



Click here for Violence Report 2004
Back to the Top
Back to Index