|17 Feb 2004 17:04 GMT DJ Zimbabwe Opposition Reveals Pres Decree
© 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
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,"
Government officials didn't immediately respond to the
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
Previously, anyone detained under these regulations could
only be held for 48 hours without a bail hearing.
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
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
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.
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
Zimbabwe: Mugabe extends
detention period amid protestsStaff Reporter
President Robert Mugabe has extended for up to a month the detention period for
a range of political and economic crimes.
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
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
Sent: Wednesday, February 18, 2004 12:27 AM
Subject: ZIMBABWE: Network of
support set up for OVC
ZIMBABWE: Network of support set up for
JOHANNESBURG, 17 February (IRIN) - A community-based support network
hoping to provide material and emotional support to more than 40,000
and vulnerable children (OVC) in Zimbabwe.
The network was
initiated in November last year by the UN Children's Fund
partnership with the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society, Family AIDS
Mutare (FACT), and the Centre for Total Transformation (CTT).
year-long programme, funded by the European Community Humanitarian
assists OVC in 27 districts spread over eight provinces, said Ron
the project officer in UNICEF's child protection unit.
receiving more funding, we hope to extend the scope of the
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
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
FACT and the Red Cross Society had completed a similar study
in other areas
and were in the process of finalising their report.
WFP and its implementing partners were assisting 53,000 school children
the beginning of September last year. This year, WFP hopes to reach
primary school children across 15 districts by the end of the first
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.
acts as an incentive for children to come to school and also helps
children overcome short-term hunger, improving their concentration
the classroom," the RRU report explained.
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
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
Zimbabwean government with the provision of antiretrovirals,"
representative to Zimbabwe, Everisto Njelesani, was quoted as
He added that health personnel were already being trained in
administration of ARVs, and the drugs would be rolled out to other parts
Zimbabwe as the scheme expanded.
However, Zimbabwean AIDS activists
said there were significant challenges to
Lynde Francis, founder of The Centre, an organisation
care and counselling for people living with HIV/AIDS,
said the first
requirement, before making ARVs available, was to revive the
health sector - undermined by a lack of funding, low staff morale
exodus of skilled staff to other countries.
delivery system is in such a shambles that drugs for some
infections cannot be found," Francis said. "The need to
administer ARVs would
be reduced drastically if areas like the prevention of
transmission were given attention," she pointed out.
[implementation] committee is full of learned professors and doctors,
there are no women or people living with HIV - how can they be
about implementing the Three by Five programme if they are not
AIDS?" asked Francis, who has lived with the virus for 18 years.
Dhliwayo, coordinator of Zimbabwe Activists on HIV and AIDS,
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
about ARVs - which are extremely powerful drugs and require a
- 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,"
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.
Subject: LOOKING FOR EDGAR LANGEVELDT
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
but she didn't give a 'phone number
I AM RAQUEL LANGEVELDT AND WOULD LIKE ANY INFORMATION ON THE WHERE ABOUTS
OF MY HUSBAND EDGAR LANGEVELDT
I LAST SAW HIM ON FEB 14TH AT 12AM AFTER A PERFORMANCE DONE AT THE ARCADIA
THERE WAS HEAR SAY OF OFFICIALS BEING PRESENT I CAN NOT VARIFY.
ANY INFORMATION WOULD BE APPRECIATED
MRS RAQUEL LANGEVELDT
Zimbabwe detention law condemned
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.
With economic hardship, comes economic crimes
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.