|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Magistrate Court Hearings and Legal advice
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights have done a good job of providing legal assistance to appellants in the courts these last few days. However, this initiative will be difficult for them to sustain given the large number of court rooms being used simultaneously to hear all of the appeals.
Should you find yourself at the courts without legal representation, the ZLHR have provided the following advice to guide you (this information is included as an attachment entitled info.rtf):
Advice from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights on removal from the voters roll.
We have provided a number of draft statements for you to use in your hearing, if you wish.
There are 4 different forms depending on whether:
a) you were born in Zimbabwe or
b) you were a permanent resident before you became a Zimbabwe citizen.
1) whether you agree to have your case referred to the High Court; or
2) whether you want to have it resolved at the Magistrates Court.
These latter 2 options are .
1) Referral of your case to the High Court. Our lawyers advise this course of action, since the prospects of success are much higher. But, please be aware that ZLHR cannot guarantee to provide legal representation for you in the High Court and you may need to instruct your own lawyer. However, your matter may not, in fact, reach the High Court, because numerous test cases and class actions are already before the courts and the outcome of these may result in your case being unnecessary.
2) If you do not want to run the risk of having to pay for a lawyer or representing yourself in the High Court, you may want to choose the second option where your case is heard by the magistrate.
In each of these scenarios, we have attempted to include all the relevant points of law to which the magistrate should apply his mind.
Feel free to use one of these forms or not, as you choose.
We ask your co-operation, however, in submitting to us the details of the outcome of your hearing at the magistrates court – ie, whether the magistrate agreed to postpone your hearing, or whether he agreed to refer it to the High Court, or whether he made a ruling in the matter and what that was.
If you send back this information, we can track the decisions being made at these hearings and also try to provide further legal advice and possibly assistance for the first few matters which come before the High Court.
We cannot speak to each and every one of you and give individual advice – we would simply be swamped! Please therefore simply state the relevant information (eg name, case number, contact phone and date of hearing) and send this to us via fax on Harare 251468, or by mail to P O Box CY 1393 Causeway. If you have email, please submit this information to email@example.com.
We very much regret that we cannot reply to you individually, but hope you that you will be able to assist yourself by use of these forms and any subsequent advice we will be circulating.
Copies of the forms will be sent out on the email and will also be made available at the magistrates court at 8:30 each day that the hearings are scheduled – provided we can find volunteers to do this. Additionally, copies can be collected from the law firms of Kantor & Immerman and Gollop & Blank in Harare. More collection places will be notified in due course.
Choose the correct form
1. Born in Zimbabwe and choose to refer your appeal to the High Court
- use attachment citHC.rtf
2. Born in Zimbabwe and choose to settle your appeal in the Magistrate's
- use attachment citMC.rtf
3. Permanent resident before you became a Zimbabwe citizen and choose to
refer your appeal to the High Court
- use attachment resHC.rtf
4. Permanent resident before you became a Zimbabwe citizen and choose to
settle your appeal in the Magistrate's Court
- use attachment resMC.rtf
If you cannot read attachments, email firstname.lastname@example.org requesting the form/s you wish to have sent to you in the body of the email.
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) need:
a. Lawyers to assist with this exercise
b. Volunteers to help with handing out the forms described above and attached to this email, at the various magistrates courts around the country. This particularly applies to Harare this week. People who are prepared to be collection points for these forms are also invited to call.
Please call Harare (04) 251468 and leave the following information on the answer phone/fax
Do your best to attend your court hearing
Please do your best to see this process through this stage. It would be a great pity to lose your vote when you have every right to retain it.
Remember that these updates are available on the internet at: http://www.kubatana.net/html/archive/arch_index.asp?sector=ELEC
A fact sheet for the Citizenship Lobby Group can be viewed at:
The FAO said that harvests fell by up to 25% last year and said the situation was particularly acute in Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
What we are experiencing is real human disaster
Malawi's Catholic priests
This comes as Malawi's Catholic priests urge the government to declare a national emergency because of the lack of food.
The FAO blamed the weather and reduced planting for most of the shortfall. It said Zimbabwe had harvested less than half its usual amount because of disruption caused by land seizures.
Emergency food aid would be needed from the middle of April until the next crop was harvested, said the UN agency.
"WFP (World Food Programme) has started distributions of food aid but more pledges are required to avoid interruptions in the emergency operations," it said.
A statement from Malawi's Catholic priests shared the dire outlook of the FAO.
"What we are experiencing is real human disaster, a famine - it is killing many people especially in the rural areas," they said.
One priest reported that his parish officiated at least seven funeral rites in one day for people who had died of hunger.
The priests also appealed to the government to subsidise the price of imported maize but the authorities say this would be too expensive.
Shops in many parts of Zimbabwe have reportedly run out of maize.
|US considers travel sanctions against Zimbabwe|
The United States is moving towards imposing travel sanctions against Zimbabwe.
State Department spokesman Richard Boucher says the sanctions would focus on the individuals responsible for or who benefit from "policies that undermine Zimbabwe's democratic institutions".
Mr Boucher said financial sanctions were also being contemplated.
A decision on whether to impose those sanctions depends on the conduct of the presidential elections in March, he said.
President Robert Mugabe, who has led Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, is seeking another term in the election.
The EU, angered by Zimbabwe's refusal to let its observers freely monitor the elections, imposed sanctions on Monday and ordered its observer team home.
Mr Boucher said the US and the EU are concerned about the same issues: continuing political violence, human rights abuses, media restrictions, and government efforts to prevent a free and fair presidential election.
By Lewis Machipisa in Zimbabwe
''By imposing sanctions on this country, they show that some people outside also recognise that we are in a very bad situation and if this is not curbed then we are going to have continual collapse of this country,'' said Charles Mhlanga, who supports the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
His colleague Shakespeare Sibanda agreed.
''In this country there is no rule of law and Mugabe must be sanctioned," he said.
But sidewalk vendor Bornwell Mbwewe was more cautious in his response.
''My fear is that if the ruling party wins the elections then the sanctions may be extended to cover the whole country," he said.
"If that happens, it will affect us the poor people and not the ministers because they have money and can still live well.
"But president Mugabe cannot blame anyone for the sanctions. His government has brought the sanctions upon themselves by treating people like prisoners with no rights. Mugabe should take the blame.''
Across Harare, an opposition stronghold, the reaction to the targeted sanctions was overwhelmingly positive.
Let it be known throughout the whole world that Zimbabwe and its leader will become another Saddam Hussein who has had country hit by sanctions for a long time, but they have failed to destroy him
War veterans' leader
''I support the sanctions because Mugabe and his close allies are mismanaging our resources while educated Zimbabweans can't get jobs," one middle-aged man said.
"I have 'A' levels but I cannot get a job while the ministers families live abroad. They too should be made to suffer. Maybe they will realise that they are not fit to rule this country."
Another said he supported the sanctions ''simply because they are going to affect individuals and not affect us all. I support them just because it's the only way to fix Mugabe.''
But the Zimbabwe government has dismissed the sanctions as predictable and vowed not to be shaken by them.
''We will never allow in our country a situation where our sovereignty rights are hijacked under the guise of election observation," Professor Jonathan Moyo, Zimbabwe's information minister, told the state-run daily, The Herald.
"We are happy that the world is larger than Europe and that we in Africa would like to be judged by Africans who share the same values with us."
The sanctions were also brushed off by Zimbabwe war veterans leader Joseph Chinotimba. ''The British know very well that we can survive without their help. We have survived sanctions before and we were already under sanctions anyway so the sanctions don't even worry us,'' Mr Chinotimba said.
What we need is a good life and better education, and if sanctions against Mugabe can bring that, we support them.
''Let it be known throughout the whole world that Zimbabwe and its leader will become another Saddam Hussein who has had country hit by sanctions for a long time, but they have failed to destroy him. We have our African friends and they will help us. The British are liars bent on wanting to re-colonise us. But we are saying as war veterans, we will not be intimidated."
He said the sanctions actually strengthened the veterans' determination to take more land.
''It's only that we are a democratic people otherwise we would have cancelled the elections because of the sanctions by Britain. But we are unlike them so we will defeat their puppet Morgan Tsvangirai, who is a sell-out,'' he added.
But Phainos Jasi from the sprawling Mabvuku township felt the sanctions should have been imposed ''a long time ago''.
''I accept that sanctions have a negative impact on a country," he said. "But if we have a negative impact in order to produce positive results, I think it's better than having negative effects uncurtailed.
''By imposing sanctions we are looking beyond the present into the future. As soon as sanctions are seen to be having results, they should be discontinued."
A colleague of his concurred.
''I am supporting the sanctions because most of the ministers' children are studying abroad while ours are suffering in the rural areas and our education system has deteriorated," he said.
"What we need is a good life and better education, and if sanctions against Mugabe can bring that, we support them.''