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

17 Feb 2004 17:04 GMT DJ Zimbabwe Opposition Reveals Pres Decree Over Detentions
Copyright © 2004, Dow Jones Newswires

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP)--Zimbabwe's opposition leaders said Tuesday that the government has issued a decree allowing for the detention of suspects without bail, for up to four weeks for political and economic offenses.

The presidential decree was issued Friday, and revealed by opposition leaders Tuesday. They accused the government of imposing an "undeclared state of emergency."

The decree is officially aimed at fighting corruption, money laundering and other economic offenses, said David Coltart, a lawyer and opposition parliamentarian.

Hidden in the document, however, are two references indicating the regulations also apply to offenses committed under the Public Order and Security Act - referred to only by a relevant clause number, 10 - he said.

"These regulations are nothing less than a Trojan horse, which effectively usher in provisions that give the regime state of emergency powers without declaring a state of emergency," Coltart said.

Government officials didn't immediately respond to the accusations.

Under Zimbabwe's sweeping security laws, political crimes include the mere threat of a strike or protest, "civil disobedience" and attempts to "subvert or coerce" the government through defiance of any legislation.

Previously, anyone detained under these regulations could only be held for 48 hours without a bail hearing.

President Robert Mugabe's order gives police the power to detain suspects for seven days without evidence of a crime, and a further 21 days after showing enough proof to justify court proceedings.

Zimbabwe is suffering its worst political and economic crisis since independence from Britain in 1980, with violent state repression and acute shortages of food, gasoline, hard currency and other essentials.

Mugabe, who has lead the country since independence, retained state of emergency laws he inherited from the former white-minority regime until 1991.

The government's original draft for the security laws passed in 2001 sought to reinstate 30-day detention without bail, but the clause was deleted after protests by parliamentarians.

Welshman Ncube, secretary-general of the Opposition Movement for Democratic Change, accused authorities Tuesday of trying to restore the provision ahead of next year's parliamentary elections without consulting lawmakers.

"It is clear the ruling party is determined to prevent political opponents from operating normally and intimidate people from engaging in mass action," Ncube said.

The decree's first victim, however, was a ruling party member.

James Makamba, a prominent businessman, was arrested Feb. 7 for alleged illegal currency deals. The Harare High Court Monday refused him bail under the decree. His next court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 27.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe: Mugabe extends detention period amid protests

Staff Reporter
HARARE, 18 February 2004

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has extended for up to a month the detention period for a range of political and economic crimes.

HARARE: Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa says the presidential detention decree is aimed at helping police save time and frequent court appearances in connection with a growing number of economic crimes.

Much less publicized in the state-controlled media is the fact that the decree affects the much feared Section 5 of Zimbabwe's Security laws, under which hundreds of mostly opposition supporters, officials and activists have been arrested on charges of subverting a constitutional government.

Until now, Section 5 political detainees could apply for bail and be freed within 48 hours after arrest. Under the new decree, they can be jailed for up to a month, without being charged and without a bail hearing.

Human rights lawyers and academics have condemned the presidential decree as an infringement of basic human rights.

One of Zimbabwe's most outspoken human rights lawyers, Lovemore Madhuku, said the new law is unconstitutional because it was not adopted by parliament. Madhuku, who has been jailed frequently during the past three years, alleges he has been regularly beaten and tortured in police custody.

He says the decree opens the door for abuse by police and opponents of the ruling ZANU-PF party.

Movement for Democratic Change member of parliament, and its secretary for justice, David Coltart, says the decree gives the Zimbabwe government powers equivalent to those in place during a state of emergency, without having to declare one.

He said several opposition MDC members are currently in police custody in the second city Bulawayo, charged under Section 5. He said the new law will be used "preventatively or punitively, to detain those who promote peaceful and non-violent civil disobedience."

"Given the Zimbabwe government's reputation for torturing its opponents in police custody," he said, the new decree will be used to physically abuse those perceived as enemies of the ruling ZANU-PF more effectively, and to deny them timely medical treatment.

(Voice of America News)

Back to the Top
Back to Index

Sent: Wednesday, February 18, 2004 12:27 AM
Subject: ZIMBABWE: Network of support set up for OVC

ZIMBABWE: Network of support set up for OVC

JOHANNESBURG, 17 February (IRIN) - A community-based support network is
hoping to provide material and emotional support to more than 40,000 orphans
and vulnerable children (OVC) in Zimbabwe.

The network was initiated in November last year by the UN Children's Fund
(UNICEF), in partnership with the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society, Family AIDS
Caring Trust Mutare (FACT), and the Centre for Total Transformation (CTT).

The year-long programme, funded by the European Community Humanitarian
Office, assists OVC in 27 districts spread over eight provinces, said Ron
Pouwels, the project officer in UNICEF's child protection unit.

"Subject to receiving more funding, we hope to extend the scope of the
programme to include more OVC - 40,000 is a small figure compared to the
total 760,000 OVC estimated to be living in Zimbabwe," he said.

The network currently provides psychosocial support to the community as well
as the children. "We try to strengthen the community, and raise awareness to
prevent the abuse of children," said Pouwels.

In the short term, the network had been able to assist some of the OVC with
their school fees, which had increased by up to 400 percent in the past two

According to the latest report from the UN Relief and Recovery Unit (RRU),
the programme considers key humanitarian issues such as water and
sanitation, health, food and nutrition. "Constant monitoring and evaluation
to assess the impact of intervention will enable organsiations to draw
lessons for better implementation of related projects in other areas," the
report noted.

CTT had already conducted a baseline survey on the wellbeing of the OVC in
the Chiweshe district of Mashonaland Central province. According to the
findings, 41 percent of the children interviewed were employed, about 25
percent were drinking unsafe water and 35 percent did not have access to
proper toilet facilities.

FACT and the Red Cross Society had completed a similar study in other areas
and were in the process of finalising their report.

The WFP and its implementing partners were assisting 53,000 school children
at the beginning of September last year. This year, WFP hopes to reach
400,000 primary school children across 15 districts by the end of the first
term in April, said the RRU report.

UNICEF, in collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP), were running a
school feeding programme in some of the districts, targeting the most
vulnerable primary school children at satellite schools in the commercial
farming areas. The programme provided the children in beneficiary schools
with a daily supplementary ration.

"The food acts as an incentive for children to come to school and also helps
the children overcome short-term hunger, improving their concentration
whilst in the classroom," the RRU report explained.

Back to the Top
Back to Index

ZIMBABWE: Free ARVs available from next month

HARARE, 17 February (IRIN) - Government hospitals in Zimbabwe's two major
urban centres, Harare and Bulawayo, will start providing free antiretroviral
(ARV) drugs next month, in partnership with UNAIDS, the World Health
Organisation (WHO) and the local health ministry.

The programme, unveiled last week, is part of WHO's "Three by Five" vision
of providing three million people globally with access to ARVs by 2005.

"The Three by Five programme is part of our efforts in assisting the
Zimbabwean government with the provision of antiretrovirals," WHO country
representative to Zimbabwe, Everisto Njelesani, was quoted as saying.

He added that health personnel were already being trained in the
administration of ARVs, and the drugs would be rolled out to other parts of
Zimbabwe as the scheme expanded.

However, Zimbabwean AIDS activists said there were significant challenges to
implementing the programme.

Lynde Francis, founder of The Centre, an organisation providing treatment,
care and counselling for people living with HIV/AIDS, said the first
requirement, before making ARVs available, was to revive the collapsing
health sector - undermined by a lack of funding, low staff morale and the
exodus of skilled staff to other countries.

"Our health delivery system is in such a shambles that drugs for some
opportunistic infections cannot be found," Francis said. "The need to
administer ARVs would be reduced drastically if areas like the prevention of
mother-to-child transmission were given attention," she pointed out.

"The [implementation] committee is full of learned professors and doctors,
but there are no women or people living with HIV - how can they be
passionate about implementing the Three by Five programme if they are not
affected by AIDS?" asked Francis, who has lived with the virus for 18 years.

Believe Dhliwayo, coordinator of Zimbabwe Activists on HIV and AIDS,
questioned the urban focus of the programme.

"Providing treatment to urbanites first, ahead of rural dwellers, raises
issues of human rights," charged Dhliwayo. "The people in rural areas, where
there are vulnerable orphans being looked after by grandparents, should be
given first priority."

He noted that there was an urgent need to educate both patients and health
care workers about ARVs - which are extremely powerful drugs and require a
strict regimen - before they were administered.

"The implementation of the Three by Five initiative should be accompanied by
an information blitz, because there is a lot of vital information that
patients and health providers should have. Treatment literature on issues
like adherance and nutrition should be a priority before everything else,"
said Dhliwayo.

An estimated 24.6 percent of Zimbabweans are HIV-positive, but very few are
able to afford the ARV medication that could extend their lives.

Back to the Top
Back to Index


Edgar Langeveldt, comedian and government satirist has gone missing.  The below is a letter from his wife.
Please forward this to anyone who you think might know something or his location.  If you have any information at all, please send it to this address.  Maybe you could put out an appeal on the radio?  His wife's E-Mail address is  but she didn't give a 'phone number
Back to the Top
Back to Index

Zimbabwe detention law condemned
People queuing outside a bank, which has no cash
With economic hardship, comes economic crimes
The opposition and human rights lawyers in Zimbabwe have criticised a new law which allows suspects to be held for up to four weeks without bail.

The new regulations specifically target those accused of economic crimes - such as corruption, money laundering or illegal foreign exchange dealing.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said the measures would mean investigating officers spent less time in court.

But the opposition MDC says they flout a constitutional right to liberty.

The Movement for Democratic Change argues that the new regulations, in removing all discretion from the courts, ends a guarantee that suspects will have access to the due process of the law.


The new regulations have already claimed one victim - James Makamba, a wealthy businessman and senior figure in the ruling Zanu-PF party.

He is accused of illegal foreign exchange dealings.

But the MDC says the fact that it is a ruling party member who is the first to be held under the new laws is a smokescreen designed to show the government is serious about tackling corruption.

Back to the Top
Back to Index