HARARE - Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party will on Monday file an urgent court application seeking
to overturn a nomination court decision to bar jailed member, Roy Bennet,
from contesting next month's election.
MDC secretary general
Welshmen Ncube said nomination court officials rejected Bennet's nomination
papers to stand for the opposition party in Chimanimani
constituency arguing he could not be allowed to do so while he is still in
Bennet is the sitting Member of Parliament for Chimanimani.
He was jailed by Parliament for 15 months after he violently pushed Justice
Minister Patrick Chinamasa during debate in the House last
The law only disallows Zimbabweans convicted of a
criminal offence by a criminal court and not Parliament from standing in
parliamentary or presidential elections.
Ncube said: "They
argued that he could not contest in the election because he is in jail. We
asked them to produce the law which states that, but obviously they could
not. We have asked our legal department to file an urgent court application
on Monday to have this decision overturned."
The opposition party
has meanwhile forwarded Bennet's wife Heather as stand-in candidate until
the courts rule whether her husband should be allowed to
Another MDC candidate Zacharia Rioga was also barred from
standing in Masvingo South constituency because his father was originally
from Malawi making the aspiring opposition candidate a Malawian by descent.
The opposition party quickly fielded a reserve candidate in place of
Meanwhile, government information minister and propaganda
chief, Jonathan Moyo, led at least six rebel candidates from both the MDC
and the ruling ZANU PF party who defied orders from their parties to contest
the March 31 poll as independents.
Moyo, whose position in the
government looks more tenuous than ever before, submitted his name as an
independent candidate in his Tsholotsho rural home constituency, a move that
under ZANU PF's rules renders him automatically expelled from the
It could not be immediately established whether President
Robert Mugabe, who has repeatedly ignored calls by other senior ZANU PF
leaders, to fire Moyo will continue to retain him at the information
ministry after his rebellion against the ruling party.
spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira would only say that Moyo's issue was most
likely to be discussed at next Wednesday's meeting of the party's inner
Two other ZANU PF members were by last night
known to have rebelled against the party to stand as
In Mberengwa East constituency Godwin Shiri, who lost
the ZANU PF party ticket to State Enterprises Minister Rugare Gumbo
registered to contest the election as an independent, while in Chiredzi
North another ZANU PF official, Ottilia Maluleke is contesting on an
>From the MDC, three sitting Members of
Parliament (MP) rebelled against party orders to register as independent
candidates. These are Dunmore Makuwaza who is contesting in Mbare West
constituency, Silas Mangono in Masvingo Central constituency and Peter Nyoni
in Hwange East constituency.
By standing as independents the
three MPs automatically cease being members of the MDC under the opposition
Tendai Mswati, who was once MDC youth chairman in
St. Mary's constituency but is currently suspended from the party, also
registered to stand in that constituency as an independent.
Charles Mpofu and Stars Mathe, who at one time or another were once members
of both ZANU PF and the MDC, are also standing as independents in Pelendaba
and Pumula constituencies respectively. The two contested the 2000
parliamentary election as independents.
Zimbabwe Union of
Democrats president Margaret Dongo is standing in Harare Central
constituency as an independent, while government critic, Arnold Payne, will
also contest in Bulawayo's Makokoba constituency as an independent. -
High Court orders spy suspect's release Sat 19 February
HARARE - A High Court yesterday ordered the release of
parliamentarian and senior ruling ZANU PF party official, Philip Chiyangwa,
jailed since last December on allegations of espionage.
Ordering Chiyangwa's release, Justice Charles Hungwe said the State had
failed to produce convincing evidence that the ZANU PF chairman for
Mashonaland West province had a case to answer.
lawyer, Chris Anderson, appealed to the High Court last month after a
magistrates' court had refused to remove the legislator from remand. In the
appeal, Anderson argued that evidence led by the state lacked the essential
elements to prove that his client had committed the alleged
Chiyangwa was being accused together with four other
men of selling strategic information on economic and political developments
in the country to South African spies.
Three of the accused,
Zimbabwe's ambassador-designate to Mozambique Godfrey Dzvairo, ZANU PF
director for external affairs Itai Marchi and former Metropolitan Bank
company secretary Tendai Matambanadzo, have since been convicted at the
magistrates' court and sentenced to a total of 16 years in
ZANU PF deputy security chief Kenny Karidza, also facing the
same charges is still on trial.
Andersen told the High Court
that passing information on political and economic developments as alleged
on Chiyangwa's charge sheet could not be regarded as the same with
endangering the security of the State.
The State did not
immediately indicate yesterday whether it will be appealing against Hungwe's
ruling. It could not also be established whether Chiyangwa's lawyers managed
to serve prison officials with the High Court judgment so he could be
Chiyangwa suffered a mild stroke while he was being tortured
by state secret agents after his arrest. His brother James said yesterday:
"This is quite a relief to the whole Chiyangwa family. I hope to enjoy the
weekend with my brother." - ZimOnline
MDC scoffs at state's opening up of airwaves Sat 19
HARARE - Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party has dismissed new government regulations
allowing all political parties access to state radio and television as
cosmetic and aimed at hoodwinking the region that Harare was complying with
set guidelines for democratic elections.
In a statement
released this week, MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi also queried why the
government had pledged to open up only the airwaves while retaining the vast
state newspaper empire for its exclusive use if it was serious about
ensuring a truly free and fair poll in March
spokesman said that previous and unfulfilled promises by the government to
clean up the chaotic voters' roll and set up an independent electoral
commission were evidence that the latest promise by the government to permit
all voices on air were insincere.
He said: "All these
reforms are cosmetic, primarily aimed at tricking the region into believing
that Zimbabwe is complying with the set guidelines.
proved this with the new but ineffectual electoral legislation, the
appalling state of the voters' roll, the continued refusal and delay in
inviting SADC election observers and the militarisation of the electoral
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo has directed that all
political parties be allowed time on state radio and television which
previously only focused on President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF
But Moyo said the directives will not apply to state
newspapers. The biggest two daily papers in the country are all controlled
by the state and often used to propagate ZANU PF campaign messages. The two
biggest weekly papers are also run by the state.
protocol agreed by Southern African Development Community leaders last
August, all political parties must have access to state-owned
The protocol also requires the government to allow
independent commissions to run elections to ensure human rights and the rule
of law during elections. - ZimOnline
BUSINESSMAN and politician Phillip Chiyangwa is now a free
man. High Court judge Justice Hungwe yesterday gave back freedom to the Zanu
PF Mashonaland West chairman who has been languishing in remand prison since
December last year on allegations of snapping the Official Secrets
Act. Handing down judgment in which he blasted magistrate Peter Kumbawa who
incarcerated Chiyangwa, judge Hungwe said: "The way the magistrate handled
the matter was untorward and injudicious. The language he used was
overzealous.. "It has become a trend that a suspect is virtually tried,
charged and sentenced by the press. The magistrate carried the media's view
into the court.. the applicant is entitled to his immediate release." The
judge said that the State's case was porous as it lacked incriminating
evidence. Hungwe-sitting in a motion court-described Kumbawa as
overzealous. Soon after the judgment, Chiyagwa's family who had thronged the
High Court to hear the verdict of their beloved jumped with joy, hugging and
kissing each other. Chiyangwa's brother, James, said justice has
prevailed maintaining his brother was innocent. James said to his
brother's wife: "Your prayers have been answered" as she wept with joy,
while his sons jumped up and down. Chiyangwa went missing on December 15
2004, soon after presenting a Parliamentary portfolio committee review
report on the 2005 budget. Since then his whereabouts were shrouded in
mystery until he appeared in court on 29 January facing charges espionage
charges he vehemently denied. On his initial remand appearance, Chiyangwa,
through his lawyer Canaan Dube of Dube Manikai and Hwacha legal
practitioners, complained that he was abducted by unidentified men,
blindfolded and detained in solitary confinement with no toilet
facilities. He said he was grilled for hours, intimidated and moved from
place to place where it stunk of urine. While in custody, Chiyangwa
suffered a mild stroke, he claimed was a result of ill-treatment by his
captors. Meanwhile, Justice Hungwe dismissed a bail application by
incarcerated Finance Minister and Mazowe West legislator Chris Kuruneri
saying he could not be trusted because he held dual citizenship-Canadian and
Zimbabwean. Kuruneri's lawyer was granted leave to appeal to the Supreme
Court. On the same day, Hungwe dismissed with costs a bail application by MDC
legislator Roy Bennett who is in a rural prison in Mutoko after Parliament
found him guilty of flooring Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa.
shareholders of troubled commercial banks - Trust, Royal and Barbican - have
lost their stake in the institutions to the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group
(ZABG). The shareholders are not entitled to any stake in the banking
group. An investigation by the banks' curators revealed that shareholders in
the financial institutions had negative equity where liabilities exceeded
assets. Such a position had led to the financial institutions losing
their capital and hence the loss of the shareholding. Trust has a
negative equity of $1.309 trillion, Royal $128 billion and Barbican $16
billion. In an offer document to all depositors, former workers and creditors
to the banks, ZABG says that the curators had also recommended the selling
of the banks assets-worth $722 billion- to ZABG, while the amount owed to
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) through the Troubled Bank Fund had been
ceded to the government through the Alliance Financial Service (AFS) - which
would become the major shareholder of ZABG, through the conversion of the
debt to ordinary shares. AFS will hold 87 percent, with the balance of 13
percent in the hands of depositors. However, AFS intends to reduce its
stake to 10 percent in the shortest period possible. Trust Bank was the
flagship of Trust Holdings whose main shareholders were Trust Employees
(10.63 percent), NRZ Pension Fund (8.06 percent), Ludham Investments (7.98
percent), Zesa Staff Pension Fund (7.22 percent) and Old Mutual Life (6.74
percent). Barbican was in the hands of Zesa Staff Pension Fund (21.37
percent), Exchequer (9.41 percent), Selcam Investments (7.91 percent),
Alcaston Invest (7.31 percent) and ESC Staff Pension Fund (5.79
percent). The Zesa Staff Pension Fund appears to be the biggest loser as it
has lost a combined 29 percent in the two banks. Royal Bank was not
listed but its directors appeared to have the controlling stake. The
offer also includes a reduction of creditors and depositors to accommodate
the shareholder loss; issue of preference and ordinary shares to depositors
and some creditors and the already effected payment to depositors of amounts
up to $5 million, which totalled $43 billion. Depositors of up to $50 million
will be offered Class A 545 day preference shares, depositors of above $50
million to $100 million Class B 730 day preference shares and those above
$100 million ordinary shares. The ordinary shares have a nominal value of one
cent and are issued at $100 000 each. They will carry a vote for each
share and are not redeemable. The preference shares are also at $100 000 each
and have no voting rights and are redeemable at the issue price on due date
or convertible into ordinary shares at the option of the holder. However
Class C preference shares that will be issued to financial institutions are
not convertible and are redeemable at the issue price. Retrenchment workers
of the banks will get a one-off $5 million payment and will be further paid,
on a monthly basis, half the monthly salary for a period of three
months. The balance of the retrenchment package will be converted into shares
just like depositors where the first $45 million of the balance will be
converted into preference shares.
SENIOR lecturers at the
University of Zimbabwe's Department of Political Science this week put their
thumbs on the political pulse of the nation when they launched an intensive
parliamentary election opinion poll countrywide. The poll, expected to end on
March 9, comes against a backdrop of a hive of speculation - whetted by a
host of politically inflamed issues, among them, equal radio and television
coverage and constituency delimitation - about the victory chances of the
ruling Zanu PF and the MDC. The MDC temporarily suspended participation in
any of the country's elections protesting against what it described as a
lopsided political landscape and piecemeal electoral reforms engineered to
"remove Zimbabwe from the international agenda." Political analysts James
Kurebwa, told The Daily Mirror that the rationale of the poll was to elicit
political attitudes and predict likely voting behaviour in the forthcoming
Tibetan beauty banned from pageant in Zim February 19
2005 at 05:14PM
Dharamsala, India - Miss Tibet Tashi Yangchen has
been expelled from the Miss Tourism World beauty pageant in Zimbabwe due to
pressure from China, an official said on Saturday.
who arrived in Harare on February 13 was told by the organisers that the
Chinese embassy there had objected to her taking part in the February 26
event, according to Ngawang Samdup, spokesperson of the Miss Tibet
"It is unfortunate that politics dictates events of young
women and their aspirations," Samdup said.
According to the
Tibetan official, Taiwan is represented in the pageant as Chinese Taipei
while Hong Kong is named as a representative of China.
Tourism World has been running for 20 years with 72 countries taking party
in the 2005 event.
China occupied Tibet in 1950. The Dalai Lama
fled to India in 1959 after a failed uprising against Chinese rule and now
lives in exile in the northern hill resort of Dharamsala. - Sapa-AFP
Sat February 19, 2005 10:33 AM GMT+02:00 By Cris
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe registered candidates on Friday
for March parliamentary polls in which President Robert Mugabe's party goes
in with seats already in its pocket under electoral rules critics say are
designed in his favour.
Political analysts say although
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party is almost certain to retain power in the March 31
vote, he faces a credibility problem over elections already dismissed as a
"total farce" by some of his rivals.
Hundreds of candidates, mainly
from the ruling party and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), registered on Friday with electoral courts around Zimbabwe to compete
for 120 parliamentary seats at stake in the March polls.
Zimbabwe's parliament is made up of 150 members, but under the southern
African country's current electoral laws, 20 of the seats are reserved for
presidential appointees and 10 for traditional chiefs, drawn from ZANU-PF's
The MDC, which was formed five years ago and
remains the biggest political challenge to Mugabe's rule, won nearly half
the elected 120 seats in the last parliamentary elections in 2000, but
Mugabe boosted his numbers with the 30 reserved seats.
had threatened to boycott this year's polls, saying electoral reforms
adopted by Mugabe under pressure from the international community, including
the appointment of a nominally "independent" commission, were not enough to
guarantee a free and fair election.
Mugabe denies charges by the
MDC and many Western powers that he rigged the 2000 parliamentary polls, and
his own re-election in 2002.
analysts say while Mugabe is campaigning for a two-thirds majority in the
new parliament, growing divisions and unprecedented quarrels in ZANU-PF
ranks over his likely successor have left the party weaker.
too early in the campaign to see whether he will get that number (100),"
said Lovemore Madhuku, a political commentator and chairman of political
pressure group National Constitutional Assembly (NCA).
divisions have been highlighted by Information Minister Jonathan Moyo, who
registered to contest the elections as an independent candidate, risking
expulsion from the government and the ruling party.
controversial figure who has spearheaded Mugabe's media and public relations
campaign over the last five years, was barred from standing on a ZANU-PF
party candidate ticket after a row in the party over Mugabe's likely
successor when he retires in 2008.
Mugabe, who turns 81 next week
and has been in power since Zimbabwe's independence from Britain in 1980,
says Britain has mobilised Western support for the MDC because it wants him
out of power for seizing white-owned farms for blacks.
denies the charges.
The veteran Zimbabwean leader routinely
lambasts British Prime Minister Tony Blair at his campaign rallies, and says
his ZANU-PF party will "bury Blair and the puppet MDC" in the March vote,
which he has branded the "anti-Blair elections."
Sent: Saturday, February 19, 2005 4:45 PM Subject: Three percent pass
Dear Family and Friends, With less than six weeks to go
before parliamentary elections, the situation is heating up dramatically in
Zimbabwe. In an early Valentine's Day walk last Saturday, 500 WOZA women
carried roses and spread the message "Choose the power of love rather than
the love of power". They were obviously seen as a threat because 40 of the
women were arrested by police in Bulawayo.
Three days later and with
just six weeks to go before elections, the MDC were holding a training
session for their 120 parliamentary candidates at the Sheraton Hotel in
Harare. The police said the meeting was illegal under POSA and proceeded to
apprehend the MDC's election director Ian Makone and warn everyone else to
leave immediately or they would also be arrested.
On Thursday 200 NCA
protestors took to the streets in Harare distributing flyers and carrying
placards calling for free and fair elections. This demonstration was also
broken up by police, this time in riot gear, and the day ended with seven
people in clinics being treated for assault and fourteen others being
On Friday a three man delegation from South Africa's official
opposition party, the Democratic Alliance, came on a fact finding mission
to Zimbabwe. Like COSATU a couple of weeks ago, the DA didn't get very
far and were denied entry and turned back at Harare Airport.
think that with so much going on the Zimbabwean television would have been
full of news stories about these happenings. But day after day our news
bulletins were not about women being arrested for carrying flowers, or men
assaulted and arrested for calling for free elections, our news bulletins
were about computers. Night after night President Mugabe has been headline
news, handing out computers to remote rural schools. At one such school the
President revealed the shocking examination figures which illustrate better
than anything else the diabolical state of Zimbabwe's education system.
Speaking at a school in Shurugwi he said: "In Silobela they had a 3% pass
rate. Here there was a pass rate of 8%. In other areas it is 6%."
week the South African Foreign Minister said she was satisfied that Zimbabwe
was taking steps to ensure free and fair elections. For those of us that are
living here and seeing computers if we support Zanu PF or arrests and prison
cells if we don't, the Ministers words are insulting and nauseating. I don't
know why, but because she is a woman, I had hoped for more from Mrs Dlamini
Zuma. I wonder if she would be brave enough to face arrest for carrying a
rose, to be assaulted for asking for a free election or even to send her
child to a school here where the pass rate is just 3%. Mrs Dlamini Zuma could
have given hope and inspiration had she been brave enough to just highlight
even one of the things that happened this week in Zimbabwe. What shame on
her. Until next week, with love, cathy.Copyright cathy buckle 19th February
2005 http://africantears.netfirms.com My
books on the Zimbabwean crisis, "African Tears" and "Beyond Tears"
are available from: firstname.lastname@example.org ; www.africabookcentre.com
; in Australia and New Zealand: email@example.com
; Africa: www.kalahari.netwww.exclusivebooks.com