A Democratic Alliance (DA) delegation has been denied access to
Zimbabwe at Harare International Airport. The three person delegation jetted
off on a fact finding mission from Johannesburg International this
The delegation was led by Joe Seremane, the chairperson of the
party, and was planning to stay in the country for three days in order to
investigate conditions in the run-up to elections.
Leon, the leader of the DA, says it comes as no surprise that they were
turned away. Leon says the Zimbabwean government's action is further
evidence that there are no grounds for free and fair elections in that
Cosatu turned away This is the second South Africa delegation
to be turned away at Harare International Airport. A Congress of South
African Trade Unions delegation was also turned away earlier this
They had hoped to meet with fellow trade unionists from the
Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Unions, but, after being rebuffed on a similar
visit last year, they had not even attempted to meet government
The government must insist on a postponement of
next month's parliamentary elections in Zimbabwe, and call for immediate
negotiations between the ruling Zanu-PF and the opposition MDC, the
Democratic Alliance said today.
In his weekly newsletter on the party's
website, DA leader Tony Leon said this should be done with the aim of
"restoring constitutional democracy in Zimbabwe, and holding new elections
within a reasonable time frame".
Elections are set to be held in Zimbabwe
on March 31. Leon's call for government to intervene in Zimbabwe comes on
the same day a DA delegation - comprising party chairman Joe Seremane and
Chief Whip Douglas Gibson - is set to enter that country on a "fact-finding
Leon said South Africa's Foreign Minister Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma seemed "determined to provide prefabricated approval for a
Zimbabwean election", but available facts showed the election was already
"As time runs out before the poll date of March 31,
the minister provides increasingly confident assertions that the Zimbabwean
election will indeed be free and fair, rejecting any attempts to determine
the facts on the ground, and ignoring all information that suggests
Referring to Seremane and Gibson's departure for Zimbabwe, he
said: "all democratically minded South Africans should wish them well on
their crucial visit this weekend".
The pair are scheduled to arrive
by air in the Zimbabwe capital, Harare shortly after noon today.
said it appeared the Zimbabwean government was in "fundamental breach of its
commitments to South Africa, the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) and the international community".
"Last August, the leaders of the
member nations of SADC, including South Africa and Zimbabwe, met in
Mauritius and adopted the SADC Protocol on Principles and Guidelines
Governing Democratic Elections.
"The agreement was widely hailed, and
Mauritian Prime Minister Paul Berenger used the occasion to predict that
Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections in 2005 would indeed be free and fair.
"The Mauritius Protocol requires that SADC members adhere to a set of
principles in the conduct of democratic elections.
freedom of association; equal opportunity for all parties to access the
state media; and independence of the judiciary and impartiality of the
However, it now seemed clear the Zimbabwean
government had already violated most of these principles.
youth activists have forced people to leave their homes and attend ruling
party gatherings. The Zimbabwean state media have refused to run
advertisements from the Movement for Democratic Change.
this week, Zimbabwean police raided the Sheraton Hotel in Harare to disrupt
a candidate training session held by the Movement for Democratic Change, and
to arrest MDC director of elections Ian Makone."
Leon said this was a
clear violation of the Mauritius Protocol.
"We face the grim prospect of
a repeat of the Zimbabwean presidential election of 2002, when the South
Africa Observer Mission infamously declared that the result was
'legitimate', and the ANC sent its 'warm congratulations' to Robert
Mugabe. Leon said it was too late for the Zimbabwean government to redeem its
commitments; its violations of the Mauritius Protocol were "simply too
numerous and too grave".
"But it is not too late to rescue the
situation from even further deterioration.
"The South African
government should insist on a postponement of the parliamentary elections,
and an immediate start to public negotiations between the Zanu-PF government
and the opposition MDC," he said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)
has denied telling the Southern African Development (SADC) secretariat in
Botswana to cancel the visit by a South African legal team to monitor
elections in Zimbabwe.
The daily newspaper Beeld reported SADC
spokeswoman Esther Kanaimba as saying SADC had received a letter from the
office of Jesse Duarte, director of multi-lateral affairs at the DFA, saying
the South African legal team's visit should be cancelled.
the report, DFA spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa said Foreign Minister Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma had written to SADC in her capacity as chairwoman of the SADC
directorate of politics, defence and security.
Dlamini-Zuma's letter had been a request for the secretariat to organise the
SADC observer team for the Zimbabwe elections.
He said the DFA understood
that the team "will include legal experts who will assist in ensuring that
there is synergy between the Zimbabwe electoral laws and the SADC guidelines
However, Beeld reported Kanaimba as saying the SADC
secretariat had no power to send a legal team to Zimbabwe and it was waiting
for instructions from South Africa.
"We throw the ball at them (South
Africa) and then they throw it back to us. We can do nothing without them
saying 'yes'," Beeld quoted Kanaimba as saying.
Mamoepa wrote off the
suggestion that South Africa no longer said legal experts were necessary for
the mission as "a fallacy".
SADC was still awaiting its invitation from
the Zimbabwe government, Mamoepa said.
HARARE, Feb. 18 (Xinhuanet) -- The government of
Zimbabwe has embarked on a project to counter brain drain by harnessing
academic skills and expertise of Zimbabweans both at home and
University of Zimbabwe Vice Chancellor Levi Nyagura
said on Friday the "brain gain" program aimed to utilize a wide range of
experts, some retired, to boost the skills base in the
To achieve this, universities would engage retired
professors and also use ideas and experience from an estimated 3 million
Zimbabweans in the Diaspora.
"These people will be useful
in teaching, mentoring and supervising research. We will bring in retired
professors to utilize their experience, most importantly in the professional
development of young academics," he said.
Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education is, with effect from this month,
expected to chair the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Mobilization of
Skilled Manpower in critical shortage areas in the public
Nyagura said several professors had already joined the
program while the university was still engaging more retired professors
tocontribute toward the enhancement of the education system in the
A 2003 study revealed that 62.5 percent of Zimbabweans
living outside the country would come home once the economic situation
improved, thus bringing back their skills, expertise and
For the past four years, Zimbabwe has been
experiencing massivebrain drain as skilled workers left for foreign
countries in search of better work conditions. Enditem
Zimbabwe's Political Parties Nominate Candidates for March Election
By Peta Thornycroft Harare 18 February
Special courts set up to confirm candidates in Zimbabwe's
March general election met for six hours Friday, but excluded one of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change's, MDC, most popular
A nomination court in eastern Zimbabwe refused an application
by opposition legislator Roy Bennett to run as a candidate in the general
Mr. Bennett, a former commercial farmer, has been repeatedly
detained, beaten and tortured since he was elected in 2000 and all his
possessions, including his home, have been confiscated.
Two of his
workers were killed and many more injured during sustained attacks. Mr.
Bennett was finally forced to leave his farm in eastern Zimbabwe last
During a heated debate on land in parliament last May, Mr. Bennett
lunged at justice minister Patrick Chinamasa. A committee dominated by
Zanu-PF legislators sentenced him to a year in prison for bringing
parliament into disrepute.
Mr. Bennett is serving his sentence in a
rural prison in northern Zimbabwe.
Election officials asserted Friday
that Mr. Bennett is a criminal and therefore not eligible to be a candidate
in the general election.
MDC legal spokesman David Coltart said Mr.
Bennett's exclusion was illegal. He said under elections laws, passed in
December, there is supposed to be an election court available to immediately
resolve any electoral disputes.
He said no one knew whether an electoral
court had been established.
There were no independent observers at the
nomination courts in Marondera, 60 kilometers southeast of Harare on
Most ruling Zanu-PF heavyweights, including several cabinet
ministers, had submitted their applications to run for election 24 hours
earlier and were not in court Friday.
There is confusion in
Zimbabwe's election machinery as a new authority to run the polls, the
Zimbabwe Election Commission, was established in December.
Robert Mugabe said the Commission, which is supposed to be independent of
the government, was established so that Zimbabwe's elections comply with
electoral principles he agreed to at a regional summit last
At the nomination court in Marondera, candidates' nominations
were not handled by the new Commission, but were processed by another
electoral authority, which has been running Zimbabwe's elections for the
last 25 years.
It is not yet known whether any other candidates for
either the MDC and or Zanu-PF were excluded from running for
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo has defied his party by registering to be
an independent candidate for March's elections. He had been excluded
from running in the Tsholotsho constituency as it was reserved for a woman
The decision was said to be linked to a row over
President Robert Mugabe's choice of candidate for
People cheered on the controversial minister, who
could now face the sack, as he handed in his nomination papers.
The country is due to hold parliamentary elections on 31 March.
Mr Moyo was disciplined by Zanu-PF in December and dropped
from the top policy body after campaigning against President Mugabe's choice
for vice-president, Joyce Mujuru.
Mr Moyo is the architect of
Zimbabwe's tough media laws, which have seen the expulsion of foreign
correspondents, the closure of the most popular daily paper and the threat
of prison terms for journalists who work without a state
The BBC's Themba Nkosi said Mr Moyo did
not say whether he had resigned from Zanu-PF, but under the party's
constitution he will face dismissal for running as an independent
Senior Zanu-PF officials at the nomination court were
surprised by Mr Moyo's action, our correspondent says.
Opposition supporters enjoyed the scene and even greeted him and shook his
Tsholotsho, in western Zimbabwe, is currently held by the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change, but observers say the seat could
fall to Mr Moyo who comes from the area and is popular there.
South Africa attempted to stop a Southern African Development Community
(SADC) judicial delegation, declaring the mission "unnecessary", have
resulted in confusion about the country's approach to the upcoming election
in Zimbabwe. The legal team was meant to precede and inform a broader SADC
observer mission. On Sunday President Thabo Mbeki told the SABC that
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe had assured him the team would be
welcome. "I've discussed the matter with President Mugabe, I am quite sure
that the SADC delegation can go to Zimbabwe," he said. "I think that we
should send in a SADC delegation as quickly as is possible - not to go there
and observe, but to be able to intervene to help to create the situation for
free and fair elections." But Beeld on Thursday revealed that a Foreign
Affairs director, Jessie Duarte, had written to the SADC secretariat to stop
the lawyers' mission, which was supposed to visit Zimbabwe to inspect access
to the body's electoral protocols. The letter asked that "the issue of the
legal experts' visit should not be followed up" and stated that the matter
had been discussed "at the highest level" in South Africa.
protocols agreed to by all member states last August were held up as a
benchmark to ensure free and fair elections across the region, but
especially in Zimbabwe. The delegation was meant to ensure that Zimbabwe was
keeping to its pledge that there would be independent electoral
institutions, freedom of assembly and association, and freedom of the media
in the run-up to the March 31 poll. In January the African National Congress
criticised the absence of freedom of assembly when it complained publicly
that the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was not able to hold meetings.
Secretary General Kgalema Motlanthe's statement was read as a U-turn in
South Africa's policy of quiet diplomacy towards Zimbabwe, but Duarte's
letter to the SADC secretariat has sown confusion. This week Minister of
Foreign Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said she was cautiously optimistic
about changes in Zimbabwe. Her optimism was fuelled by the fact that the
Zimbabwean government had passed a set of laws to set up independent
electoral institutions; and that MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai had said that
political violence was abating.
But, on Wednesday, police
arrested MDC elections director Ian Makone and ordered the party's 120
constituency candidates, who had gathered for a briefing, to disband or face
arrest. The attempt to forestall the legal mission may be an effort to
ensure that Zimbabwe allows in the official SADC election observer mission
to oversee the poll. While SADC protocols recommend that this observer
mission is accredited 90 days prior to the election, Zimbabwe has not, as
yet, invited the mission. "If we are not invited we will be very concerned,"
said Dlamini-Zuma this week. "We were hoping the invitation would
materialise by the end of last week. We have not been told we couldn't
come." South Africa will not send a separate team to observe the election
but will form part of the larger regional observer team, providing it is
invited. Zimbabwe also cancelled a scheduled visit in January by Mbeki,
Lesotho Prime Minister Phakalitha Mosisili and former Namibian president Sam
Nujoma, ostensibly because Mugabe was preparing for the
Meanwhile, Wisani wa ka Ngobeni reports that South
Africa's National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) may have been quietly
assisting the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to probe human
rights abuses in Zimbabwe. The Mail & Guardian has ascertained key
aspects of the ICC's probe from documents and sources. The NPA's 2003/04
annual report said that: "Requests have been received from the chief
prosecutor [of the ICC] to look into possible human rights abuses in the
Democratic Republic of Congo and Zimbabwe". The report says that former
national director of public prosecutions Bulelani Ngcuka and Luis
Moreno-Ocampo, the ICC chief prosecutor met in January 2004 to discuss the
probe. It also says Moreno-Ocampo met members of the NPA priority crimes
litigation unit, set up by the government two years ago, to ensure
compliance with the Rome Statute established by the ICC. As a signatory to
the Rome Statute, South Africa is obliged to cooperate with the ICC, which
was set up in 1998, to prosecute people accused of genocide, war crimes and
crimes against humanity (such as torture and rape) that were committed after
July 2002. The ICC this week said it has "no jurisdiction in Zimbabwe",
which has not ratified the Rome Statute.
[ This report does not necessarily reflect
the views of the United Nations]
JOHANNESBURG, 18 Feb 2005 (IRIN) -
Namibia's Emergency Management Unit (EMU) on Friday reissued an appeal to
residents living along the Zambezi river in northeastern Caprivi to evacuate
the area after reports that the water was rising.
indications show that the water level in the river is increasing extremely
fast. As of this morning (Friday) it stood at 1.87 m, compared to 2.11m on
the same day last year [when the area experienced flooding]. We expect that
by next week it will probably reach 1.9m or even 2m," EMU deputy director,
Gabriel Kangowa, told IRIN.
He said the EMU had issued a warning to
residents of flood-prone areas to move to higher ground. Last year, large
portions of eastern Caprivi were submerged in the worst floods since 1958,
reportedly affecting 50,000 people.
"This time around we have a solid
contingency plan in place, but we do hope that people will relocate
voluntarily. We understand that it is difficult for families to move their
entire households, but in this case there isn't any other option," Kangowa
He pointed out that floodwater had already entered parts of
the Kabbe constituency in eastern Caprivi, cutting the road to the local
An estimated 10,000 residents were evacuated and
relocated to five evacuation camps last year: Lusese A and B,
Schukmannsburg, Impalila and Kasika in eastern part of the region. Flood
victims remained in the camps from March until August 2004, when it was safe
to return to their villages.
This year the EMU has planned to establish
four additional camps to cope with the influx.
"Last year we were
caught a bit off-guard, but we cannot afford to take a chance this time. So
far we have already checked the ... water tanks and they are still in good
condition, and so is the water pipe we used last year. As from next week,
the EMU will start pre-positioning basic supplies in Katima Mulilo [the
regional capital]," Kangowa explained.
Forty people, including community
members, have been identified to undergo preparedness training, in case the
flood-prone region should be inundated. The group undergoing training from
the second week of March includes 12 nurses, 10 truck drivers and six boat
The Zambezi, the longest river in Southern Africa, rises in
northwestern Zambia and flows along the eastern edge of Namibia's Caprivi
Strip, from where it demarcates the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe
before continuing through Mozambique to the Indian
February 18, 2005 Posted to the web February 18,
THE exodus of experienced local government managers,
coupled with reluctance by ratepayers, especially newly-resettled farmers,
to pay rates to local authorities, is hampering service delivery by many
rural district councils.
In an interview yesterday, the president of the
Association of Zimbabwe Rural District Councils, Cde Jerry Gotora, said
farmers were prioritising other payments and in the process adversely
affecting the survival of councils.
"Most local authorities are only
getting between 40 and 45 percent of what they should be getting", he
Cde Gotora said intensive campaign should be carried out to
encourage the farmers to pay up.
Rural district councils normally use
the money for road construction, schools and clinics development, among
other essential amenities.
"The councils should say why the people should
pay and should also plan with them infrastructure to be maintained", he
Cde Gotora said most farmers have over-borrowed from financial
institutions and were struggling to reimburse the loans, leaving payment of
rates to councils on the bottom of their list of priorities.
are some roads in the farming areas that transportation of farm produce
might be a big problem this season.
In the past years, commercial
transporters have been hesitant to use the roads in communal and settlement
Mr Gotora said his association was working on modalities to ensure
that the rates and tariffs paid by farmers were uniform across the country.
At the moment amounts differ from council to council.
Cde Gotora said
despite having agreed with Government that it would take over the payment of
senior council officials, nothing had materialised so far.
RDCs had hoped that by the beginning of this year Government would have
taken over that responsibility to entice key personnel such as auditors and
engineers to remain in council employment.
Tobacco Growers Seek Early Start to Selling Season
February 18, 2005 Posted to the web February 18,
TOBACCO growers want the 2005 selling season brought
forward so that they can repay their loans before they become
The local tobacco selling normally begins at the end of
But some growers wanted the season to open much earlier, by
mid-March, before commercial bank interest charges eat into their profits or
make it impossible to meet their obligations.
However, they have been
warned that opening the tobacco selling season earlier could have a negative
impact on the value of the crop as it would clash with sales in South
American producing countries, especially Brazil.
President of the
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers* Union Mr Davison Mugabe said while he
understood their reasons for wanting to dispose of the tobacco crop early,
it also was important to remember that this could be costly to the
"There is a danger that if we open the auction floors
earlier than usual, most of the buyers would be in Brazil as the selling
season would be in full swing there.
"I think they should first
finish with the buying of the crop in Brazil and then come to Zimbabwe for
the 2005 selling season," said Mr Mugabe.
He said it was imperative that
farmers wait until the normal tobacco selling season opens to avoid
competing directly with the Brazilian crop.
Growers were urged to remain
patient as the local crop continued to attract merchants from across the
globe because of its superior blending quality - a result of the unique
climatic conditions in the country.
It was also critical that the auction
floors open at a time when almost all the farmers have completed curing
their crop. At present, only those with irrigated facilities have started
Some farmers financed the 200/05 crop using their own resources,
mostly loans from commercial banks, and interest charges have been
ballooning since last year.
Growers had to source their own finance
as delays in the disbursement of inputs under the Tobacco Input Credit
Scheme threatened to derail their plans. Tobacco for the 2005 season has
been financed through the Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board-initiated
input credit scheme, contract farming while others are self-
To date, 7 569 tobacco growers have benefited from inputs
amounting to $102 billion availed through the credit scheme meant to boost
tobacco production which has been slipping in the past four
Beneficiaries of the credit scheme are expected to produce
around 60 million kilogrammes of flue-cured tobacco while contract
production, other schemes and self-financed growers are set to produce about
40 million kilogrammes.
February 18, 2005 Posted to the web February 18,
Hatred Zenenga Harare
THERE is need for the Zimbabwe
National Water Authority to avoid regrettable actions and find a middle
ground in settling the outstanding $30 billion debt in water bills owed to
it by some new farmers.
A good number of new farmers resettled under the
land reform programme across the country owe Zinwa at least $30
Zinwa is now threatening to cut water supplies to the farmers in
a bid to recover the money.
If Zinwa takes this route, the
consequences could prove costly, not only to the farmers alone, but also to
the country as a whole.
The authority is, therefore, best advised to
consider other options.
It is my humble suggestion that the settlement of
the bills be staggered over a period of time to cushion the affected
farmers, most of whom are still to establish themselves.
be aware of the fact that the option of cutting off water supplies has some
The immediate impact would be the ceasing of
production on farms dependent on irrigation. This will affect the production
of crops such as wheat, soyabeans and vegetables.
At the national
level, the effect would also be felt with the phenomenon of shortages of
commodities such as bread and sharp price increases for other
Under the New Water Act, all water belongs to the State
and Zinwa are the custodians.
Historically, water resources
management was the responsibility of a minority who were the water right
holders under the 1976 Water Act.
But now there is vast interest in water
by the majority of Zimbabweans who have been given land, hence the need to
repeal the 1976 Act, which gave the water right holder excessive power that
could not be compromised.
Now, everyone accessing the water in dams and
rivers should pay to enable Zinwa to efficiently manage the distribution and
use of the water.
But the biggest problem is that many farmers have been
ignorant about this obligation, while at the same time Zinwa's undoing over
the issue has been its inability to educate the new farmers.
existence has been shrouded in mystery hence the ordinary new farmer's
argument has been that: Why should I pay for water, which comes naturally in
It is clear that most people, farmers included, do not
understand Zinwa's role nor the rationale behind the pricing of
The authority simply approached new farmers out of the blue. And
the farmers have been rightly asking who Zinwa was and where it was coming
As a result, the relationship is now characterised by mistrust with
new farmers viewing Zinwa as an organisation out to exploit them.
it is important for new farmers to appreciate the reforms that have taken
place in the water sector, which resulted in the formation of
Zinwa's mandate is to plan, develop and manage all the country's
water resources. The distribution and use of the water must be efficiently
managed. To do that, Zinwa must levy water users.
authority's tariffs have been a bone of contention. Zinwa has been accused
of charging prohibitive water tariffs that have the capacity to frustrate
rather than promote agrarian reform as the majority of farmers are
struggling to meet the charges. It is important for Zinwa to first consult
with the farmers before coming up with any charges.
In the end, the
charges should help promote the farmers while at the same time enabling
Zinwa to play its role in maintaining and establishing efficient systems in
areas such as irrigation and dam construction.
In addition, there must be
a transparent way of billing and revenue collection from the
We hope Zinwa will not reach a stage where it will act
irrationally and cut off farmers' water supplies.
It is my strong
belief that farmers will not refuse to pay as long as things are explained
February 18, 2005 Posted to the web February 18,
Bulawayo Bureau Harare
PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday
expressed concern at the low pass rates in rural schools throughout the
country and called for greater co-operation between teachers, parents and
Government to improve the education sector.
Addressing thousands of
pupils, parents and Zanu-PF supporters at Silobela Secondary School in
Silobela and Rusununguko High School in Shurugwi, where he donated state of
the art computers to eight schools in Midlands, President Mugabe said the
country would be literally digging graves for pupils if it allowed them to
He said this after learning that Silobela Secondary
School had a three percent pass rate in last year's Ordinary Level
examinations while Rusununguko High School recorded an eight percent pass
"This is not only a problem here. It is like this throughout the
country. Everywhere pupils are failing. It's Us, Us, Us, and Us everywhere.
And U stands for underground. They are going six feet down if we allow them
to fail like this.
"In Silobela they had a three percent pass rate.
Here there was a pass rate of eight percent. In other areas it's six
percent, 19 percent and 27 percent has been the highest so far. Our
education standards have fallen partly because of lack of resources but we
must lift them up," said President Mugabe.
He called on parents,
teachers and pupils to play their role in education.
The President urged
parents to pay their children's school fees and discuss their progress with
teachers while cases of indiscipline must be dealt with by both parents and
"Teachers should know about each pupil individually. They
should know each pupil's weakness so that they can help him or her. You must
prepare pupils for examinations. If you do this and ensure that pupils do
their homework and corrections, they will pass even if they don't have
laboratories and computers because they would have been taught properly. Is
this being done here?" he said in Silobela.
President Mugabe said he
hoped the computers would enhance the teaching process at the schools as
they can be used to source information for learning and research
He said the computers would be one of the answers to the
problem of lack of resources bedevilling schools.
In Silobela, the
President donated 10 computers and accessories to Silobela, Mateta, Zhombe
and Maboleni Secondary schools. Rusununguko, Chinembeure, Siyahokwe and
Zvemukonde secondary schools also each received 10 computers and
He promised to donate more computers to schools in the next
Turning to next month's general elections, President Mugabe warned
the electorate to be wary of the MDC which only remembers them at election
time. He said the MDC had brought suffering to Zimbabweans by calling on the
European Union led by Britain to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe in a bid to
take over power.
President Mugabe said only Zanu-PF could fulfil the
wishes of the majority as the party which led them to
The Government had come up with policies to improve
education, health, roads and agriculture, he said.
nomination court sitting today, President Mugabe said the MDC would be among
parties campaigning for votes in the run-up to the elections.
President told the people that when MDC comes to them canvassing for votes,
they should remind the party of its links with Tony Blair, who admitted in
the house of Commons that his government was working with the MDC to effect
a regime change in Zimbabwe.
President Mugabe said the MDC was the only
opposition in Africa which sought foreign assistance to remove an elected
"In other countries there are opposition parties- in Malawi,
Mozambique, Zambia and Ghana. Have you heard the opposition going to Europe
asking for assistance to remove a government or the imposition of sanctions?
Zimbabwe is the only country with people like that. Marema akadaro. Benzi
risingazivi kuti ukapisa imba hauzowani pekugara," he said.
Mugabe said the MDC wanted to bring back British colonisers who crafted laws
to suppress the black majority and sent many to prison, detention camps and
"Now they want to sell the country for the British to
come and rule us. Invite them, but they will find out that we are prepared
to defend our country with our blood. We are ready. No country wants to lose
its independence no matter how small it is. That's why we are always
criticising Blair and the MDC. This is an anti-Blair election," he
The President said the country could not afford to let the heritage
which many of its sons and daughters fought for to slip away.
lost many heroes in the war. We lost (Cde Josiah) Tongogara on the eve of
independence. What did they die for? They did not die so that the country
can be in the hands of sellouts whose ears are always on the ground to
listen to what Blair is saying," he said, in Shurugwi which is Cde
Tongogara's home area.
The President reiterated that there should be
no violence during the election period.
"We want your vote. No
fighting. Your vote is your only weapon. We ask the MDC not to do what they
did last time, kidnapping our people and killing them in the
"We want peace and not violence. Violence from any quarter must be
President Mugabe was also introduced to the ruling
party's candidates from the Midlands province for the parliamentary
The Democratic Alliance trio prohibited from entering
Zimbabwe on Friday said this action undermined the protocol of the Southern
African Development Community (SADC).
On their return to
Johannesburg International airport, chairperson Joe Seremane said Zimbabwe's
heavy-handedness comes at a time when the SADC is easing passport
requirements to promote the free movement of people between
Seremane, chief whip Douglas Gibson and researcher
Paul Boughey flew to Harare on Friday morning for a pre-election
fact-finding visit but were sent home on the same
The trio said they will appeal to Zimbabwean
authorities their ejection from the country.
journalists at the airport, Gibson said the DA's visit was different from
that of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), which was also
recently prevented entry to Zimbabwe on a similar
"Cosatu is a trade union. We are the official
opposition," said Gibson.
The DA officials said they were
insulted by their experience in Zimbabwe, but that the authorities had
treated them well.
Gibson added that their experience also
calls President Thabo Mbeki's policy on Zimbabwe into
He said the matter will be reported to the SADC
parliamentary forum, on which Seremane is a representative, and to the
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, of which Gibson is a
Seremane called the matter petty and said he had
"walked that road with apartheid".
Reacting to African
National Congress Youth League (ANCYL) criticism of the visit -- deriding
Seremane as a "coconut" -- black outside, white on the inside -- and
accusing the DA of favouring "mercenaries", Seremane said this is
"But I have no hard feelings," he said, adding that
the ANCYL is still growing up.
Gibson said his own son
has more sense than ANCYL spokesperson Zizi Kodwa, who is probably wearing a
Gucci outfit and will be a millionaire before the age of
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Unions
(ZCTU), while "dissociating itself from the policies and orientation of the
DA", condemned the party's ejection from Zimbabwe.
statement, spokesperson Mlamleli Sibanda said no citizen of the SADC with a
valid passport should be prohibited from visiting Zimbabwe.
The ZCTU recently invited Cosatu to Zimbabwe.
was also refused entry and the ZCTU had to travel to South Africa for the
meeting. -- Sapa
Media, opposition complain of harassment 18 Feb 2005 17:01:12
Source: IRIN JOHANNESBURG, 18 February (IRIN) - The arrest of an
opposition election official in Zimbabwe earlier this week ran counter to
the spirit of the Southern African Development Community's (SADC) principles
and guidelines on holding a free and fair poll, local civil society groups
The Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), a coalition of
NGOs, said the arrest of Ian Makone, the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) election coordinator, defied the SADC principles on democratic
elections agreed to in Mauritius last year.
Makone was arrested in
the capital, Harare, on Wednesday for organising "an illegal meeting", said
police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena. He was charged with violating the Public
Order and Security Act (POSA), which effectively bans any assembly without
police permission, but was released the same day.
MDC spokesman Paul
Themba Nyathi told IRIN that Makone was holding an internal briefing for his
party's candidates in a private room at a Harare hotel when he was
ZESN chairman Reginald Matchaba-Hove said the arrest was
"unnecessary" when "Zimbabweans are attempting to create a free atmosphere"
ahead of next month's legislative elections.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) also expressed concern
about the questioning of three international media correspondents by police
earlier this week.
The CPJ, quoting the journalists' lawyer Beatrice
Mtetwa, said the authorities first claimed they were investigating espionage
allegations against the journalists; then that they were looking into the
reporters' accreditation; and, finally, that they were investigating whether
a satellite phone used by one of the journalists was licensed.
three reporters were Jan Raath and Brian Latham, who both work for a number
of British and South African news organisations, and Angus Shaw of the
Associated Press (AP).
"CPJ is disturbed at this ominous development and
calls on the government to cease its harassment of independent journalists,"
said CPJ executive director Ann Cooper.
The Broadcasting Authority of
Zimbabwe announced on Wednesday that all political parties and candidates
contesting the elections next month would have equal access to state media.
The MDC had earlier complained that it was being denied access to public
Matchaba-Hove welcomed the Broadcasting Authority's
announcement but commented, "[This] should have come into effect at least 90
days - i.e. three months - before the elections, but better late than never.
We will be monitoring to check if the regulations [regarding access to state
media] are being adhered to."
Union (EU) has renewed sanctions implemented two years ago against President
Robert Mugabe's government, including a travel ban on Mugabe and other
leading officials; the freezing of their assets in Europe; and a ban on the
sale of military equipment by EU members to Zimbabwe.
Van Orden, the British Conservative Party spokesman on human rights in the
European parliament said, "with elections in Zimbabwe fast approaching,
simply renewing existing EU sanctions will not send a clear message to the
regime that it must change for the better or face the consequences."
Four reporters for foreign news media harassed
in runup to parliamentary polls
Reporters Without Borders today
protested against a manhunt for a reporter for foreign news media, Cornelius
Nduna, and a 14 February police raid on the Associated Press (AP) bureau in
Harare in which Jan Raath, Tsvangirai Mkwazhi and Angus Shaw - all stringers
for the AP and other foreign media - were threatened with arrest on spying
"The government has once again shown that it likes to treat
journalists as enemies of the state, this time just six weeks before
parliamentary elections," the press freedom organizations said. "This
paranoid behaviour in which the foreign press is routinely accused of spying
for western countries is disgraceful and unacceptable at a time when
Zimbabwe is meant to conform with the Southern Africa Development
Community's (SADC) democratic criteria."
The manhunt for Nduna, who
strings for several foreign newspapers and news agencies, was launched a
week ago by the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), Zimbabwe's secret
police. Failing to find him at his office, the CIO suspects he skipped the
country with two "very sensitive" video cassettes that could be dangerous
for the government if they fall into "enemy" hands, Nduna's lawyer, Beatrice
Mtetwa, told Reporters Without Borders.
Zduna supposedly got the
cassettes from the state-owned Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) with
the help of an employee of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holding (ZBH). Mtetwa
said they contain "sensitive" footage shot in "youth training camps" that
train militia blamed for attacks and killings of members of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) during the past three
These militia have in the past also burned many copies of
newspapers such as The Independent, The Daily News, The Financial Gazette
and The Standard and prevented them from circulating in rural
Equipment for "spying"
In the raid on the AP bureau in
Harare on the evening of 14 February, police interrogated the journalists
present for two hours and were on the point of seizing satellite
communication equipment which they said could interfere with state security
transmissions. The police accused them of "spying" and of being "hostile"
toward President Robert Mugabe's government but calmed down when their
lawyer, Mtetwa, arrived.
The police nonetheless insisted on checking the
press accreditation status of Raath and Mkwazhi, who have applied to the
government-controlled Media and Information Commission (MIC) but have not
yet received their final accreditation. Under the repressive Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act, journalists can be sentenced to
two years in prison for working without MIC accreditation, but may carry on
working if they have a receipt that shows they have applied.
leaving the police promised to come back and deal with "spies." They did
return on 15 and 16 February but found no one present at the AP bureau.
Mtetwa said her clients are now in a safe place.
HARARE - A Zimbabwean judge suspended two
years ago for alleged misconduct has appealed to the country's Supreme Court
to dissolve a tribunal of foreign judges appointed by President Robert
Mugabe to investigate him over alleged corruption charges.
last year swore in a three-man tribunal, comprising judges from Malawi,
Tanzania and Zambia, to hear the case of Justice Benjamin Paradza, accused
of trying to influence his colleagues presiding in the case of his business
Paradza's legal counsel Eric Matinenga and South African
advocate Jeremy Gauntlett told the Supreme Court the tribunal was not
properly constituted as its members were nominated by judicial authorities
in their countries and not chosen by Mugabe as required by Zimbabwe's
The lawyers said Zimbabwe's laws did not allow Mugabe to
delegate other people to select the tribunal.
"A dispute relating to
constitutional matters exists in this respect," Gauntlett said.
"fifth respondent (Mugabe) plainly failed to select the members of the
tribunal in the sense and manner required."
"If left undetermined
this gives rise to a violation of our client's rights and leaves a tribunal
which is not a court of law and which currently comprises persons not versed
in Zimbabwean law to determine the issue," he said.
arrested two years ago after he allegedly tried to influence the bail
conditions of his partner in a safari hunting business, Russell Labuschagne,
charged with murder.
He allegedly told a fellow judge involved in
Labuschagne's case that he stood to loose money if his associate, whose
passport had been held by the state as part of bail terms, was unable to
travel to Europe.
His arrest and detention in a vermon-infested cell drew