The people of Village 2 and 3 in Hoyuyu Extension, Mutoko, would like to take this opportunity to express their great thanks to the Macheke/Virginia farming community and their Association for saving more than 33 people from death.
Our special thanks goes to Mr. Arthur Baisley of B&K Estates (Brackenhill Farm) who single handed transported all the people to Macheke where other farmers chipped in and in no time at all the affected people were carried to Marondera General Hospital. We thank the farmers for their great understanding, their patience and their help during our problem.
We would also like to extend our sincere thanks to the Health Staff at Virginia Clinic and Marondera General Hospital who showed great professionalism in averting the disaster which had fallen upon us. Unfortunately, we lost David Maguma. He is survived by a wife and eight children of school going age. He was put to rest on the 20th of January 2001. May his soul rest in peace.
We also appreciate the effort made by the Mrewa Health Staff and Mutoko Health Staff who arrived late at Virginia Clinic and at our village respectively. All the affected people had already been taken to Marondera by the farming community.
We also thank the Marondera Z.R.P. for their effort, providing transport to the deceased. Our special thanks goes to Mr. Dispol Minor of Z.R.P. Marondera who worked tirelessly the entire night to save life, persuading the Vapostori sect to receive medication. However, we argue the Macheke Z.R.P. to emulate their counterparts in Marondera and Mutoko to save life when people are in danger. The Macheke Z.R.P. were the first to be informed and see the poisoned people at Nyagadzi farm but could not help. Fortunately, Mr Charehwa, a worker at B&K Estates farm immediately informed his boss, Mr. A. Baisley of our situation. Mr. A. Baisley responded hastily and positively.
Last but not least, we would like to thank Mr. Oscar Nicholson of Montpellier Estates who constructed and linked our road to Macheke – Dumaira road for no cent. It is important to not that the road made our place accessible. The Marondera Z.R.P., Health Staff and Mr. A. Baisley easily reached our place without problems.
To all these, we wish to extend our sincerest thanks. You saved our lives.
May God bless you all
Village 2 and 3
(Secretary: Lazarus. M. Makumbe)"
From CNN, 1 February
Zimbabwe detains refugees on security fears
Harare - Zimbabwean authorities have detained 30 refugees from Africa's Great Lakes region over fears some of them could be on a mission to assassinate President Robert Mugabe, the private Daily News reported on Thursday. Government officials were unavailable for immediate comment on the report by the newspaper, whose printing press was wrecked in a weekend bomb blast. The Daily News said the refugees from the central African region were being interrogated at Harare Central police station by state security agents who suspect that some of them could be rebels from the Congo conflict sent to assassinate senior Zimbabwe officials.
"According to some of the refugees, the move was meant to protect President Mugabe from elements opposed to Kabila, who might sneak into the country under the guise of seeking asylum," it said. The paper quoted Zimbabwe's Chief Immigration Officer Elasto Mugwadi as saying the refugees were being deported because they had renounced their refugee status. Mugwadi was also unavailable for comment on Thursday. Mugabe deployed 11,000 troops - over one-fourth of the Zimbabwe army - to prop up Kabila against a Ugandan- and Rwandan-backed rebellion that broke out in August 1998. Namibia and Angola are also supporting the Congolese government. Kabila was shot dead by one of his bodyguards earlier this month. His son Joseph was sworn in as his successor on Friday. The Daily News has been critical of Mugabe's government, in power since 1980, and blamed Sunday's bombing of its printing press on government supporters.From Media Institute of Southern Africa, 1 February
Bombed Newspaper Starting Back Up
Windhoek - Zimpapers Newspapers (1980) Limited, publishers of "The Herald" and "The Sunday Mail", has come to the rescue of "The Daily News". The company will be printing the newspaper three days a week. Sovereign Press, printers of the "Zimbabwe Independent", will be printing the newspaper for the other three days of the week in which the newspaper appears. Zimpapers is printing editions of the paper on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
"The Daily News" edition of Thursday 31 January 2001 was the first to be printed by Zimpapers. George Capon, Zimpapers' acting chief executive officer, said Zimpapers was using a press at the group's commercial printing division, National Printing and Packaging (Natprint), to print "The Daily News". Capon said that the printing of "The Daily News" by Natprint was simply a business arrangement. Sufficient spare capacity has been found between Zimpapers and Sovereign Press and "The Daily News" has not missed a single edition, with only the first newspaper published after the bomb blast on its printing press having been reduced in size.
From The Zimbabwe Independent, 2 February
Four months maize supply left
Zimbabwe has only four months' food supply left and there is need to immediately begin importing maize if starvation is to be averted, Renson Gasela, the MDC shadow minister for agriculture, warned yesterday. However, the Grain Marketing Board insists the country has enough maize stocks to last till the next harvest. Gasela said as of yesterday the GMB had 470 000 metric tonnes left. Monthly consumption of maize in Zimbabwe is 115 000 tonnes, hence only four months of maize supplies are left.
Of the stocks currently held by the GMB 40% is of poor quality not fit for human consumption, Gasela said. He lambasted the government for not doing enough to address the looming crisis and lying that the country had enough maize. Gasela also accused the government of exporting maize to the Congo. The imminent maize shortage is also linked to the delay by the GMB in paying farmers for delivered crops. "Because of the delay by the GMB to buy the maize, about 40% of that maize would be poor quality, suitable only for stock feed, said Gasela.
GMB board chairman Canaan Dube however disputed that they were holding 40% of poor quality maize. "Allegations that some of the maize in the GMB reserve stocks is not fit for human consumption are unfounded. Undergrade maize only constitutes a paltry 1% of the total maize in the GMB stocks," said Dube in reply to questions from the Independent. "Presently the board has over 600 000 metric tonnes of maize in stock. If the current off-take figures are anything to go by, the current maize stock will take us through to the next harvest," said Dube.
However, Gasela said when the strategic grain reserves were included in the stocks left, the country would still need to import 1 million metric tonnes this year. "Whichever way we look at it, there will be a maize stock-out by May 2001. We cannot as a country rely on the farm retentions as those figures are not known. The crop on the ground offers no solace," said Gasela. "A minimum of 200 000 metric tonnes must land in the country within the next two months if disaster is to be averted," said Gasela. He said the nation could not rely on the crop to be harvested because that could be affected by lack of agricultural inputs, delayed tillage and planning caused by delayed payments by the GMB, the confused fast-track land resettlement programme and poor rains.
This year's maize harvest is expected to be 40% down on last year, according to Gasela. Small millers in Harare are being asked to buy maize in Norton while big millers have to go to outlying areas. The whole of Matabeleland region is said to be without maize. Gasela said the country would face a 150 000 million metric tonnes deficit of wheat and cooking oil. He said Zimbabwe would need to import the shortfall if bread shortages were to be averted. According to Gasela, Zimbabwe consumes about 40 000 metric tonnes of wheat every month. "There will be a shortage of vegetable oil and we need to import 10 000 tonnes. This quantity is needed to bridge the gap between now and the new crop which is delivered in March and April," said Gasela. Gasela said the MDC was already mobilising donors in anticipation of a major catastrophe.
From The Zimbabwe Independent, 2 February
CIO targets MDC MPs
THE Zanu PF government has launched a fresh offensive to infiltrate the MDC to render the opposition's structures dysfunctional before the 2002 presidential election, the Zimbabwe Independent heard this week. Intelligence sources said an arm of the CIO responsible for destabilising opposition political parties was implementing the new initiative. The intelligence unit, believed to be housed at Hardwicke House in Harare's Samora Machel Avenue, is said to have played a leading role in the demise of Margaret Dongo's Zimbabwe Union of Democrats in 1999.
The Independent reported then that the operation dubbed "Operation Mazana" was believed to have resulted in a serious split in the party, which saw the late Kempton Makamure forming his own party, Transparency Front. The main targets in the MDC are the young MPs, some of whom have been approached by a woman only identified as Edith - believed to be an employee of the Ministry of Lands and Agriculture. Edith's mandate, sources said, was to lure the MPs to parties where "hostesses" would be provided on the house. The sources said these late night get-togethers were arranged at a hotel on Samora Machel. Parties had also been held in outlying areas, some as far as Karoi in Mashonaland West.
The sources said five MDC MPs attended one of the parties in Harare recently. "The idea is to extract information on the party's policy from the MPs, some of whom have been found to be quite malleable under the influence (of alcohol)," the source said. "The hostesses are trained to extract information from men and they rarely fail as they select their targets carefully." There were also attempts, sources said, to silence some of the more vocal opposition MPs by offering them financial rewards in exchange for assisting the establishment.
MDC president Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday confirmed the ploy to infiltrate his party but could not say if some of his MPs had been compromised. "I have heard about the plot and I have told members to be on their guard," he said. He said the efforts to infiltrate the party were aimed at achieving two results. Firstly, Zanu PF wanted to "eliminate" some MDC MPs so that the two parties could fight more by-elections before the 2005 parliamentary election. Tsvangirai said the second method being employed was to entice individual MPs by using "nefarious" means like women and money. He said he had heard about the exploits of "Edith" but he could not say what the party was doing to guard against her blandishments.
From The Financial Gazette, 1 February
Makoni Dashes To Washington To Seek Aid
Harare - Finance Minister Simba Makoni is in Washington this week to seek direct talks with World Bank president James Wolfenson and IMF managing director Horst Kohler in a desperate attempt to win back crucial aid suspended by the two bodies two years ago. It was not clear when exactly this week Makoni would meet the IMF and World Bank bosses because the projected meetings are emergency requests by Makoni and not pre-arranged or scheduled, Harare-based diplomats said.
The diplomats ruled out immediate help from the Bretton Woods bodies for crisis-hit Zimbabwe because of several unresolved issues, chiefly the breakdown of the rule of law and the government's land reforms already judged illegal by the courts. "There is absolutely no chance that Makoni will talk Wolfenson and Kohler into releasing financial aid to Zimbabwe," one diplomat said of Makoni's latest effort to try to unlock billions of dollars of financial aid from the two multilateral institutions. "Even getting the two to agree to a shadow reform programme for the country would be a tough battle under these circumstances."
Under a shadow reform plan, Zimbabwe would implement economic reforms with set targets and under the supervision of the IMF but with no financial aid. A successful implementation of such a plan usually leads the IMF to automatically release financial aid. According to another diplomat, the best that Makoni can hope to achieve through his trip is "just to make sure that it is clear at the highest levels of both the IMF and the World Bank what the problem in Zimbabwe is and what needs to be done about it". But Finance Ministry sources in Harare said Makoni also wanted to take advantage of the meetings to bring to President Robert Mugabe s attention the conditions coming directly from Kohler and Wolfenson which the government must meet if Zimbabwe is to win back international support. Makoni, a technocrat recruited from the private sector, is widely seen as having the charm that could win back the aid and extricate Zimbabwe from its worst crisis that has been dramatised by record high interest and inflation rates, debilitating shortages of fuel and power and surging joblessness.
But the minister, who last week told the World Economic Forum in Davos that he is pinning hopes of an economic recovery on peace being achieved in the DRC, appears not to have achieved much as Zimbabwe's crisis continues to worsen on a daily basis. And the search for lasting peace continues to be fruitless in the chaotic DRC, where the government has deployed more troops since the assassination two weeks ago of President Laurent Kabila. Zimbabwe already has about 11 000 troops there costing it at least US$1 million a month resources which both the IMF and the World Bank have said the government can ill-afford. The deployment of more troops also means that Makoni's 2001 budget target of cutting defence spending by a third will fail.
The envoys representing key Western countries in Harare said Kohler and Wolfenson would not accede to Makoni's pleas for help primarily because of the government's perceived lack of resolve to restore the rule of law in the country. The diplomats said this week's bombing of the printing press of a local daily newspaper had only complicated Makoni's homework. Several weeks of threats and violent demonstrations and assaults by war veterans and government supporters against the media culminated in the bombing by unidentified people of the Daily News printing machines. While this happens, hordes of other government supporters continue to defy court rulings to move off private commercial farms which they have forcibly taken since last February. The diplomats said the government's fast-track land reform programme, unfolding simultaneously with the seizure of farms, would also stand in the way of a renewal of IMF/World Bank aid to Zimbabwe.
From The Independent (UK), 2 February
Kabila in US talks amid outcry over million war deaths
A flurry of diplomatic activity over the war in the DRC yesterday saw the country's new President, Joseph Kabila, meeting US officials in Washington. But observers stressed they could not yet tell whether he intended to break with his assassinated father's intransigent stance and work towards peace. As the world's youngest president, aged 29, held talks with the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, in the run-up to a meeting today in New York with UN diplomats, the DRC government still had not sent a clear signal that peace was truly on its agenda.
The former Zaire, one of the world's richest sources of minerals, has been embroiled in a war involving six other countries since August 1998 when the late president Laurent Kabila turned against Rwanda and Uganda, the countries that had brought him to power a year before. They now back rebels occupying the eastern half of the country, who are ranged against DRC forces backed by Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia. The war has claimed 1.7 million lives, according to Human Rights Watch. "The Bush administration should be sending a straightforward message to Kabila and Kagame [Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda] that abuses of civilians must stop now," said Peter Takirambudde of Human Rights Watch.
America was understood to be trying to arrange an informal meeting in Washington yesterday between Mr Kagame and Mr Kabila. Rwanda says its troops in eastern DRC act as a buffer against attacks from Hutu militias who were responsible for the 1994 genocide. While Mr Kabila said in his inaugural speech two weeks ago that he wanted peace, he stopped short of declaring that the 5,500-strong UN observer force known as Monuc was free to deploy in the DRC. His father had agreed to the deployment in 1999, then made it practically impossible. Diplomats in New York will be looking for deployment guarantees today. The most likely peace broker is the former colonial power, Belgium.
From The Financial Gazette, 1 February
Europe isolates Zimbabwe
Several EU governments, as well as key international aid donors and development partners this week began moves to completely isolate the Zimbabwe government because of its disregard of court rulings and refusal to uphold the rule of law. Comments earlier this week by President Robert Mugabe and his two deputies Simon Muzenda and Joseph Msika that they would never allow the opposition MDC to rule the country, even if it won elections, and the bombing of a local newspaper had all combined to push the foreign governments to cease all development co-operation with Harare, diplomatic sources told the Financial Gazette. Instead, the EU governments were now refocusing their aid on bolstering civic societies, human rights and political opposition groups as a way of promoting a wider search for democracy and human rights development in Zimbabwe, they said.
Sweden, an influential member of the donor community and the current head of the powerful 15-nation EU, took the lead last week by resolving to slash by 45 percent the more than $700 million it has been giving the government annually. The money thus saved, about $400 million, will now be channelled to Zimbabwean civic groups. Some of the funds will also go to aid HIV/AIDS control programmes. "The government has resolved to cut back on bilateral development co-operation with the government of Zimbabwe," the Press Secretary in the Swedish Foreign Affairs Ministry, Pekka Johansson, wrote in a circular to Swedish diplomats dated January 25 2001. "The decision will involve a 45 percent cutback in donor assistance for the period 1999-2001 and the virtual cessation of all development co-operation with the government of Zimbabwe," Johansson wrote.
In a telephone interview from his Stockholm base this week, Johansson told this newspaper that other EU countries were actively considering taking similar action. "We know that we are one of the first countries to take this measure of stopping aid to the Zimbabwe government, but we know that other countries are actively discussing this," he said. "And we know that they will have to consider what Sweden has done as the EU president and as an influential member of the donor community," he added. Senior Harare-based Western diplomats were adamant that not only would other Nordic countries follow the Swedes but the rest of Europe as well.
Zimbabwe 's foreign affairs and information ministers Stan Mudenge and Jonathan Moyo could not be reached for immediate comment. Officials said they were out of their offices attending a Harare meeting of the ruling ZANU PF party 's Politburo which went on until late yesterday. Foreign affairs ministry permanent secretary Willard Chiwewe and the head of information in that ministry, Godfrey Magwenzi, were also said to be attending meetings.
Johansson said Sweden, one of Mugabe and ZANU PF's staunchest backers, had taken the step because it was now finding it difficult to support the development of democracy and human rights in a situation where the government continuously disregarded court decisions and left political violence to go unchecked. On his government's views about Sunday 's bombing of the printing press of the Daily News and statements by Mugabe and Muzenda that they will not tolerate an MDC poll victory, Johansson said: "When we take decisions about development co-operation, we take a holistic approach. We consider these things." Both Johansson and Sweden's ambassador to Zimbabwe Lennart Hjelmark insisted that although Sweden had cut aid to Zimbabwe, it would still maintain dialogue with Harare.
Germany's ambassador to Zimbabwe Fritz-Hermann Flimm said the statements by Mugabe, Muzenda and Msika went against the very foundations of democracy. Mugabe and Muzenda told a victory celebration for ZANU PF legislator Philip Chiyangwa at the weekend that the MDC was a stooge for white imperialists, vowing that ZANU PF would never allow the opposition party to rule the country. At another political gathering, Msika threatened "another revolution" should Zimbabweans elect the MDC, the country 's biggest opposition party which nearly toppled ZANU PF in a landmark poll in June, into power.
Flimm said: "The statements (by Mugabe, Muzenda and Msika) do not correspond to the idea of democracy. Democracy means the people deciding who they want to rule them. All politicians say they will win but democracy means one should be also prepared to lose." He said democracy could also not work where the rule of law and court judgments were being flouted by the government. The diplomat said Germany, which had already sharply scaled back its aid to Zimbabwe because of Harare 's policies, had only a few weeks ago further downgraded Zimbabwe to the lowest level ever among its development partners. "Zimbabwe belonged to the intensive partnership level but it was relocated a couple of months ago to the potential partner level," Flimm noted. The "intensive partner" is the special class to which all of Zimbabwe's neighbours belong with the exception of Botswana, now considered a less needy country. The second tier is that of "other partners", with the lowest tier being that of potential partners. Zimbabwe had joined countries such as the DRC, Sudan, Iran, Togo and Syria in that class, according to Flimm.
Germany, which has pumped $20 billion worth of aid to Zimbabwe in the past 20 years, would now channel its support to civic and human rights groups, trade unions and the opposition to strengthen the search for democracy, Flimm said. Co-operation with the government would only resume if Harare restores the rule of law, he said. One way of a possible resumption of aid would be for the government to accept proposals of UN diplomat Mark Malloch Brown on land reforms. "One way of restoring the rule of law and attracting donor support for land reforms would be to accept Malloch Brown 's proposals which are in fact the proposals of UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, South African and Nigerian presidents Thabo Mbeki and Oluseguni Obasanjo," Fillm said.
Johansson said only the restoration of the rule of law and a full acceptance of democracy could reclaim for Harare the support of donors and development partners. Mugabe 's fast-track land reform programme, ruled illegal by Zimbabwe's highest court and decried by agricultural experts as disruptive and a recipe for disaster, has alienated the government from the international community. The government has also persistently ignored calls by many of its erstwhile friends and supporters to refrain from illegal and brutal tactics against political opponents. Although the World Bank and the IMF and trade blocs such as the EU have been withholding aid to Zimbabwe since 1999 in protest over its land policies, some of the governments had maintained some bilateral aid to Harare.From Pan African News Agency, 31 January
Zimbabwe Faces Constitutional Crisis After Court Ruling
Harare - Zimbabwe appears to be headed for a constitutional crisis Wednesday after the Supreme Court quashed a presidential decree banning electoral petitions which legal experts said was an encroachment by the judiciary on the powers of parliament which had yet to debate the edict. The court struck down President Robert Mugabe's decree made last year to prevent the opposition MDC from contesting parliamentary election results in 37 constituencies, as unconstitutional, citing the provision in the supreme law of the right to a court hearing. "The applicants' right of access to the High Court is being curtailed contrary to the protection of the law as accorded in Section 18(9) of the constitution," the Supreme Court said in its judgement. The MDC, the main opposition in the country, has petitioned the courts to nullify last June's parliamentary election results in 37 constituencies where it lost to the ruling party, citing various irregularities. But Mugabe, saying regional and international observers had certified the poll as free and fair, accused the opposition party of trying to cause electoral confusion and paralysis by mounting the legal challenges to the election results.
Legal experts said the Supreme Court ruling, which opens the floodgate for the MDC to proceed to file the election petitions, pre-empted parliament's consideration of the presidential decree, which could lead to a constitutional crisis. "The Supreme Court ruling may have created a very serious constitutional crisis. The Presidential powers, in terms of the Electoral Act, remain intact. Parliament may also deal with the issue as it deems fit," said Terence Hussein, a legal expert. He said the court seemed to have taken advantage of a provision in the constitution giving every person the right to seek legal redress "even where it is alleged that the Declaration of Rights is likely to be contravened." The government, which has repeatedly accused the judiciary, particularly the Supreme Court, of biased judgement, held back comment on the ruling, saying it was studying it before deciding its next move.
From The Financial Gazette, 1 February
No constitutional crisis: lawyers
Zimbabwean legal experts yesterday brushed off threats of a constitutional crisis following Tuesday's Supreme Court ruling nullifying a decree by President Robert Mugabe which purportedly banned court challenges to some June election results but said the judgment is likely to worsen the strained ties between the executive and the judiciary.
Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay and the full bench of the Supreme Court nullified the decree invoked by Mugabe last year banning the hearing by the courts of petitions filed by the opposition MDC on the poll results. The MDC wants to challenge the results of 37 constituencies won by the ruling ZANU PF party in the June general election on the grounds that the poll in those areas was marked by gross intimidation of voters by ZANU PF members. The party wants a re-run of balloting in an election in which at least 31 people, most of them MDC followers, were killed in the violence that engulfed Zimbabwe in the period leading to the ballot.
Solomon Nkiwane, a University of Zimbabwe (UZ) political analyst, said ZANU PF and the government were likely to review Tuesday 's ruling on "political perceptions". "The pattern has been established which shows that the authorities will argue that way," he said. "If you go by what has happened in the past, there are chances that the authorities will argue that this is one example of another judgment where the judges have gone beyond what they are supposed to do." Zimbabwean judges, including the chief justice, have been lambasted in the past by Mugabe and ZANU PF officials for passing judgments against the state on issues such as those involving land reform. Nkiwane said the government 's previous treatment of Supreme and High Court judgments made against it showed that it was likely to ignore Tuesday's ruling anyway.
Constitutional law expert and UZ lecturer Lovemore Madhuku said were ZANU PF to be stubborn, Mugabe could come up with another statutory instrument to delay the hearing of the High Court cases until after next year 's crucial presidential election. Mugabe is facing a stiff challenge from MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and analysts say the High Court hearings of the 37 cases might greatly influence the presidential ballot. "What I suspect is that ZANU PF will come up with another funny statutory instrument under Section 158 of the Electoral Act just to buy time for the presidential election," Madhuku said.
He described government lawyer Terence Hussein 's assertion this week that Tuesday's ruling was likely to create a constitutional crisis as a "nonsensical legal view". "There is no crisis. The mistake Hussein is making is to equate a statutory instrument to a Bill," Madhuku said. "What is clear to me is that ZANU PF would not want any of the (High Court) challenges to be heard before the presidential election." Hussein attacked the Supreme Court ruling as likely to create a constitutional crisis because Mugabe could ostensibly still use his powers retained under the Electoral Act to make another statutory instrument and further delay the High Court hearings.
Many experts contacted by the Financial Gazette however agreed that the battle was far from over for the MDC because the government and ZANU PF could resort to other legal tricks to delay the hearings until after the presidential election. Bulawayo lawyer and MDC legislator David Coltart described Hussein's threat of a looming constitutional crisis as "nonsense" and said Section 158 of the Electoral Act did not give Mugabe unlimited powers, contrary to what ZANU PF believed. The act bound the President to intervene only when his actions would be "for the proper and efficient conduct of an election", observed Coltart, a leading lawyer. "There is no constitutional crisis and a constitutional crisis will only be created if the President and ZANU PF fail to comply with the Supreme Court judgment and fail to comply with the dictates of the constitution and the Electoral Act," he said.
Coltart said ZANU PF had limited legal tactics to employ left to stop the MDC cases from being heard by the High Court. "But of course given their history, they may try to employ extra legal tactics which are basically unlawful to delay or subvert the process," he said.
Hussein this week told the Financial Gazette that the constitutional crisis he spoke of included not only the possibility of the President invoking another statutory instrument, but that any results from the High Court were likely to be appealed by whoever lost. "I don't think there is going to be any gracious loser on any of these cases. Whoever loses will take the case up to the Supreme Court," said Hussein, who is also representing ZANU PF in 10 of the pending cases. Hussein said ZANU PF and Mugabe had only been concerned about the financial and economic effect of the High Court cases on the economy when the President made the statutory instrument to stop the legal proceedings. He said the 37 cases would cost the country a lot of money and were likely to "bog down" operations of the higher courts for quite some time because at least three judges would have to be solely dedicated to the cases. ZANU PF, said Hussein, was however confident that it would win all of the contested cases should they finally come to court. "We are raring to go and we are very confident we will win all these cases," he said.
Nkiwane said Hussein 's argument that the Supreme Court should have taken into consideration whether the ruling it gave was to the public 's interest because of the current state of the economy had no legal merit. "If you steal money and then the court makes a judgment that you are guilty you cannot use the argument that the court should have taken consideration that you are poor," Nkiwane said. "If the government was aware that it would cost them money, then they probably would not have got themselves into this mess anyway. It becomes a chicken and egg situation."
From The Cape Argus (SA), 31 January
Kabila gives ground on sticky peace points
Kinshasa - The new president of the DRC appears to have given ground on one of the key obstacles in the peace process during talks with South African President Thabo Mbeki on Tuesday night. President Joseph Kabila, son of assassinated leader Laurent Kabila, is understood to have suggested that former Botswana president Sir Ketumile Masire, appointed by the OAU, should be helped by a co-facilitator, preferably French-speaking. Laurent Kabila had accused Sir Ketumile of showing partiality.
Revealing the new suggestion, Foreign Minister Leonard She Okitundu acknowledged all parties would have to agree to a co-facilitator. Mbeki's attitude appears to be that it is up to the belligerents to agree on a co-facilitator if they want one. Mbeki spent about an hour with Kabila at Kinshasa's airport on the way home from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. He appeared cheerful as they emerged from the meeting, but the DRC president was sombre. At Davos, Mbeki had called for an urgent international summit on the war. He had stopped over first in Accra to meet new Ghanaian President John Kufuor, who was sworn into office on January 7, said an aide.
Kabila raised high hopes in an address to the nation after taking the oath of office on Friday, by announcing that he would seek to resuscitate the key Lusaka Accord, signed in mid-1999, but never put into effect. Its failure was blamed by many on the intransigence of Laurent Kabila, who wanted it revised. He put up obstacles to the deployment of 500 United Nations observers protected by 5 000 peacekeeping troops, although an advance contingent of 220 men is here. But his son said he hoped that "the UN Security Council will honour its commitments by deploying its forces speedily" and pledged to co-operate with the force. Joseph Kabila is due to fly to Washington for a congressional prayer breakfast on Thursday and hold talks with Secretary of State Colin Powell. He will also visit New York to see UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.
From The Star (SA), 31 January
Kabila meets Chirac, then heads for US
Paris - DRC President Joseph Kabila on Wednesday met with French President Jacques Chirac at the start of a three-country diplomatic tour to push for peace in his country. Kabila, at 29 the world's youngest head of state, described his half-hour meeting with Chirac as "fairly fruitful and useful for the Democratic Republic" before going into further talks with Chirac's adviser on African affairs, Michel Dupuch, and other officials.
Kabila has launched a diplomatic mission to try to end the war ravaging his country. It will also take him to the US and Belgium, the former colonial power in the DRC. Since being sworn in to succeed his assassinated father Laurent on Friday, Kabila has signalled a desire to relaunch the peace process in the DRC, stalled since the signing of a 1999 ceasefire accord that was never implemented. Kabila has drawn international praise for his inaugural address on Friday in which he pledged to revive the moribund Lusaka peace accord, signed in the Zambian capital in mid-1999 but never put into effect. He also reached out to the EU, the US and the UN, in sharp contrast to his father's often stormy international relations.
A UN Security Council spokesperson said on Wednesday that a meeting with the foreign ministers of the six African countries involved in the DRC war had been tentatively scheduled for February 21 and 22. Kabila was due on Thursday in Washington, where he is to meet with US Secretary of State Colin Powell, before travelling to New York for talks with UN chief Kofi Annan. He is expected in Brussels on Saturday for talks with Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt and Foreign Minister Louis Michel.
MARONDERA COUNTRY CLUB INCIDENT
APPROXIMATELY 15:15 HRS FRIDAY 26 JANUARY 2001
BETWEEN MYSELF DR GEORGE D S TURNER AND AT LEAST 10 ‘WARVETS’
Having driven in to the Marondera Country Club as is my habit and being issued with a club pass at the gate, I attempted to park my vehicle near the children’s playground.
At this juncture I was surrounded by about a dozen shabbily dressed individuals mainly men some holding bottles of beer but also at least three females one wielding an axe. Their ages seemed to range from the early to late twenties.
One man of about 20 years wearing blue police combat uniform, ammunition webbing and holding an AK 47 rifle was also present but remained quietly aloof.
The situation was confused with my person being prodded and multiple often repeated statements being made to the effect that:
They were War Vets
The Club was now theirs
That I was involved in the death of President Kabila
They were going to damage my vehicle/myself
I was a racist
I was a Kaffir
I had stolen their land
My beard should be burnt
I set dogs on people – I recognised one of the females with whom I had a dispute concerning my dogs in December: Joyce NYAKUTSVENDA of 98 Lendy Park Rd ID 48 00108J 48
Get out of the car (Refused)
Give me a cigarette (Refused)
Make a report to the Police.
Wait for the Police to arrive
One young female repeatedly said she was Mugabe and suggested I have sadza with her and something else of a seemingly sensual nature.
On my rear passenger door being opened without my consent by one individual, I stepped out of my vehicle in order to give a good account of myself as per physical confrontation. This induced a temporary withdrawal. I announced that I was fed up and was leaving, returned to the vehicle, reversed and drove out despite protest by those present only to be stopped at the gate.
A man in his 30’s at the gate asked what I did. I said I was a doctor. He asked if I knew any other doctors. I replied in the affirmative saying that Dr Sidney Sekeramayi knew me well. The others now rejoined us. There was some more prodding of my person. They took my name and vehicle number. Then I was allowed to proceed as one individual squirted beer over the back of the vehicle.
I reported to the Marondera Charge Office which was empty apart from two Constables on duty. I informed them that I had been unlawfully detained. They inquired as to whether I had been injured to which I replied in the negative. Apart from agreeing that it was not a good situation, they seemingly were determined to avoid involvement or initiate documentation. Having achieved little, I left the Police Station at about 17:45 hrs.
QUESTIONS ARISING FROM THE INCIDENT CONCERNING:
A/ THE RIGHTS OF AN INDIVIDUAL:
The following illegalities had occurred:
1/ Unlawful interference in a person going about his normal business
2/ Unlawful detention of an individual against his will
3/ Deliberate and continued physical threats to and provocation of an individual
4/ Attempts at invading an individual’s privacy and property
5/ Making false allegations against an individual
6/ Doing all the above on property normally accessible to the Public
That the individual was an elderly man in his 50’s compounds the above.
B/ RIGHT OF PROTEST
This is allowed within reason. My understanding is that these individuals began their protest the previous day. Their continued presence combined with belligerent obstructionism now amounts to both unwarranted trespass but also interference with the business of a well established enterprise, the Marondera Country Club. Further, this hooliganism interfered with my own right of protest.
C/ MISREPRESENTATION OF FACTS
The very youthfulness of most present negates their being considered as War Veterans.
Seeming usurpation of police powers can also be considered unwarranted.
D/ DERELICTION OF DUTY BY THE POLICE
This is evident in the following:
A/ Assuming the individual holding the AK 47 to be a police officer, his non-interference in not only the public harassment/threat to an individual but his allowing individuals to usurp police powers is noteworthy.
B/ The lackadaisical response by uniformed officers within a recognised Charge Office to a legal complaint by a member of the public in the absence of other distracting factors is also noteworthy.
E/ OVERALL IMPRESSION
Marondera Country Club with its amenities performs an important function in this town. This not only in regard to local members but also it being a venue to entertain guests, business or otherwise. Its needless disruption by a few destructive individuals will do little to boost the town’s image. Indeed, a great deal will have to be done to restore confidence to previous levels.
I am cognisant of the background tensions in the country. However I can but only feel that the Zimbabwe Republic Police can but only apologise to both myself and the Marondera Country Club for allowing a situation to become out of hand. An assurance that the individuals involved will be investigated and charged if necessary would also be appreciated.
DR G D S TURNER
Zimbabwe court overturns govt election challenge ban
Harare - The Zimbabwe Supreme Court declared null and void on Tuesday a decree banning challenges to last year's parliamentary election, which President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party won by a slim margin. The ruling was a victory for the main opposition MDC, which will now be able to press ahead with its legal challenge to ZANU-PF's win.
In the decision, Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay said that Mugabe's Electoral Act of 2000 infringed on candidates' right to seek legal recourse when election results were disputed. "It is declared that ... Notice 2000 SI 318 of 2000 is null and void," Gubbay said. "(The applicants) have a civil right to challenge the result of an election which is claimed to have been tainted by corrupt and illegal practices. It is the existence of such civil rights that the applicants are seeking to have determined by the High Court," he added.
The MDC had asked the Supreme Court to overturn Mugabe's December decree that courts could not nullify the results of the June 2000 polls "even if corrupt or illegal practices were committed." The decree had effectively invalidated the MDC's legal challenge in 39 of the 62 seats won by ZANU-PF on the grounds that the ruling party - in power since independence from Britain in 1980 - cheated and ran a violent campaign to ensure victory in the face of an unprecedented opposition challenge. The government said the MDC was being used by external forces to destabilize the country by challenging ZANU-PF's election victory in some seats.
The Supreme Court decision opens the way for the High Court, which had postponed hearing the MDC appeals pending the Supreme Court ruling, to proceed with the case. The hearings are expected to run until May. The MDC, led by former trade union leader Morgan Tsvangirai, won an unprecedented 57 of the 120 parliamentary seats, while a smaller opposition party took one seat in the stiffest election since Mugabe came to power when Zimbabwe became independent from Britain in 1980. The government said court-ordered recounts in three of the 39 constituencies challenged by the MDC - which saw ZANU-PF candidates emerge with even bigger majorities than at the first count -- had proved the MDC was pursuing a "frivolous and vexatious" case.
From The Guardian (UK), 31 January
Editor of Zimbabwe's newspaper won't give up under fire
We're not giving up - Bill Saidi, the deputy editor of Zimbabwe's Daily News says bombs won't stop them from getting the paper out
On Sunday morning, as I prepared for work, Anne Musonza the editor-in-chief's secretary, called me on my mobile and told me the news that "they" had bombed our printing press a few hours earlier. "We can't print anything." "They", if you ask me in the heat of that moment, were the war veterans, a rag-tag group of won't-works who claim to have fought in the liberation war in the 70s. Most are too young to have fought in the war, which ended 20 years ago. They are led by a doctor trained in Poland, Chenjerai Hunzvi, who never held a rifle during the war itself. He had twice led noisy demonstrations at the our editorial offices in downtown Harare the previous week.
Then, at a press conference, he had announced that the war veterans were "banning" the newspaper - by which we thought he meant they would not allow the paper to be circulated in areas which they controlled. They had already burnt copies of the paper after we had carried the results of a survey in which the majority of the people interviewed in Harare had said they hoped Laurent Kabila's death would result in the withdrawal of the 12,000 Zimbabwean soldiers from Congo. The war veterans, led by Hunzvi, managed to impute that the Daily News had cooked up the survey - as the government had done when we carried out a survey before the election in June last year which showed that President Mugabe's Zanu PF had lost popularity and would not win all the 120 seats being contested. In the event, they won only 62 and most of those in the rural areas.
But on the Monday after the explosion which ripped through the small refurbished Goss printing press, I was walking from my house in Chitungwiza, 40km from Harare, when I met a 10-year-old boy with two loaves of bread. The price of bread had recently gone up again. For a while I saw very few people with bread on my daily walk to the bus stop. At times I would see someone with just half a loaf. The prices hit families hard but they adjusted to it, and the boy's parents must have made savings here and there to be able to buy two loaves a day. Perhaps the pater familias was no longer using the bus to go to Harare. Perhaps he had repaired his old bicycle and was now cycling to work - a saving of 60 Zimbabwe dollars a day.
"So you are leaving the country then?" he said to me without greeting. He looked down in the dumps. I said I was not sure what he meant. "I know they have bombed your printing press. You must leave the country. Last year, they bombed your offices. This year they've bombed your printing press. Next year they'll bomb you. Go, like everybody else - either to America, the UK, anywhere. As I will, when I grow up." Yes, there is an exodus. Ever since Robert Mugabe unleashed the war veterans on the MDC and the white commercial farmers, there has been so much violence against any group opposing the government that many people feel trapped.
The Daily News editorial offices are located on the fifth floor of Trustee House. Last year a bomb exploded in a art gallery on the ground floor, directly below the office of the editor-in-chief, Geoff Nyarota. To this day there have been no arrests. A swarm of police and army bomb disposal experts were at the bombed-out site of the printing press on Sunday. They were poking at this, peering at that, with a diligence that Chief Inspector Morse would have admired. Many of us were not impressed. This was a political crime and the police had recently become so political we suspect they take their orders only from the politicians never mind the evidence.
Augustin Shihuri, the police commissioner, himself a war veteran, had declared publicly that he was a Zanu PF member and wanted every officer to be a party member. Others could wait until their party came to power, he said. The previous week the Daily News had been bombarded by both the war veterans, hired to frighten the daylights out of the voters during an election, and Jonathan Moyo, minister of state for information and publicity in Mugabe's office, whose assignment seems to be to put the fear of God into every journalist in the country. He as much as said our days were numbered - we had become a national security risk he said, among other amazing accusations. We were linked to the MDC, to the commercial farmers and to the British and the Americans. We had to go.
The Daily News managed to publish a 12-page issue on Monday, instead of its usual 82 pages - and has published more pages since then, with the generous help of another independent publishing house in Harare. Of the bombing, the government said it was to be regretted. The war veterans said they had played no part in it at all. Meanwhile, there were many sympathetic telephone calls to our offices. We should soldier on, they said; they needed us and if we needed help from them, all we had to do was to spell it out. What about a public fund for the purchase of a new printing press? We said we would consider all suggestions seriously. I won't be going anywhere for a long time. We might even persuade the 10-year-old to stay on in the country - assuming Mugabe and the war veterans don't blow up the country before he turns 19.
From Gay.com News, 30 January
Zimbabwe's former President released from prison
Harare - Former President Canaan Banana, jailed for sodomy, was freed four months early after receiving time off for good behavior, prison authorities said Tuesday. Banana, 64, was released Monday from a prison hospital outside Harare where he was being treated for high blood pressure. The Methodist minister and professor of theology served as ceremonial president of Zimbabwe after independence in 1980 until 1987, when that post was abolished and then-Prime Minister Robert Mugabe became executive president.
Banana was convicted in 1999 on 11 counts of sodomy and abusing his power to rape, assault and carry out "unnatural acts" with men, most of whom were on his presidential staff. Homosexual acts are illegal in Zimbabwe. One of Banana's police bodyguards, Jefta Dube, who said the former president repeatedly forced him to have sex, was on trial for killing a fellow policeman who called him "Banana's wife." After his conviction, Banana was ordered to pay Dube $5,000 in damages. The trial court said Dube committed the killing while suffering from stress-related illness caused by repeated homosexual assaults by Banana. Dube served three years in prison for the killing. Banana's trial rocked the government and Mugabe, who harshly condemned homosexuals as "lower than pigs and dogs."
From BBC News, 30 January
Traditional healer sues Hitler Hunzvi
Harare - Chenjerai Hitler Hunzvi, leader of Zimbabwe's war veterans, is being sued by a traditional healer who claims that he has not paid her fees. Sarudzai Isaya told a court that Chenjerai Hunzvi had asked her to give him charms, so that President Mugabe "could love him" and appoint him a cabinet minister. The 36 year-old traditional healer, or ng'anga, also claims to have used her mystical powers to help Mr Hunzvi obtain bail 2 years ago, when he was in prison on charges of fraud. Isaya went to court claiming that Hunzvi never paid her $6,000 fee they had agreed.
The war veterans' leader denies ever requesting any services from the ng'anga and says she's trying to extort money from him. However, he did admit that she had once sprinkled water at his house and performed a ceremony which he says he did not understand. Mr Hunzvi has complained to the Zimbabwe National Traditional Healers' Association about Ms Isaya, which has expelled her for charging exorbitant fees.
Last year, there was widespread speculation that Mr Hunzvi would be named Minister for War Veterans but despite playing a crucial role in Zanu-PF's election victory, he was not appointed to cabinet. Isaya claims that Hunzvi gave her a grinding mill as part of the fee, but Mr Hunzvi says that he only gave it to her for safe-keeping. According to local newspaper reports, he told the court that when he asked for his grinding mill back, she threatened to send hares, fish and baboons to bewitch him. Mr Hunzvi even issued a challenge to the ng'anga, saying that if she was the one who had got him released from prison, she should send him back.
Hitler Hunzvi is a man who is rarely out of the news. Last year, he spearheaded the violent invasion of white-owned farms in support of President Mugabe's policy of land reform. Elected to Parliament last year, he is currently waiting for judgement to be given on charges that he defrauded a state fund of the equivalent of US$40,000. Last week, he led demonstrations against The Daily News which was bombed over the week-end. With judgement still to be handed down in his fraud case, Mr Hunzvi's jail challenge to Ms Isaya seems to be the statement of a man supremely confident of his innocence. Unless he no longer believes in her powers, after he was left out of government.
From the International Herald Tribune, 30 January
Congo Lesson: Africa's Colonial Borders Are Dissolving
Since news first leaked from Kinshasa's Marble Palace this month that Laurent Kabila, president of the DRC, had been assassinated, Western politicians have been wringing their hands over possible fragmentation of one of Africa's largest countries. With Mr Kabila, the man who overturned Mobutu Sese Seko, gone, the nation could shatter, observers warn, radiating instability across the region.
Such anxiety misses the point. Congo stopped meeting the criteria of a nation-state well before the war that led to its current occupation by foreign armies - three backing the government and three supporting homegrown rebels in the south and east. The ceremonial rigmarole of a state funeral and a swearing in of young Joseph Kabila cannot mask the fact that this tense succession period will decide only who wins the right to distribute Congo's mineral resources, not who gets to rule in any traditional sense.
The bleak reality of government by commercial concession can be traced back to Congo's roots in the late 19th century, when the explorer Henry Stanley toured the region, contracts in hand and the area's wealth of rubber, ivory and timber uppermost in his mind. Sent by Belgium's King Leopold to sign up as many tribal chiefs as possible to cede power and rights to resources, he traced a territory dictated more by the activities of Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza, who was conducting a rival exercise on France's behalf, than by geographical or ethnic logic.
If most colonial regimes have ultimately been self serving, few could match the ruthlessness with which Leopold appropriated Congo's riches or the paucity of what he delivered in return. Against this history, Marshal Mobutu's great talent was to imbue his people with a strong sense of nationhood. His "authenticity" campaign of the early 1970s asserted a return to precolonial African values by such means as encouraging the abandonment of Christian names and forbidding the wearing of neckties. Buffoonish as it sometimes seemed, it engendered a sense of identity that survives to this day.
In his book about the boxing match between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in Kinshasa in 1974, Norman Mailer noted what struck him as the arrogance of the Zaireans he met. They were supremely confident in the belief that their country produced Africa's best music, art and fashion. Beyond all his corrupt dealings, the greatest confidence trick of Marshal Mobutu was to perpetuate, in the minds of both his own public and foreign allies, the myth that he presided over a legitimate nation-state, long after its foundations had been eroded by economic mismanagement.
By the 1990s, telephone and road links between the country's cities were falling apart, formal taxes were no longer collected, civil servants were left unpaid and the basic services that any government should deliver in return for its citizens' allegiance - health, education, social security, postal deliveries and the rule of law - were nearly nonexistent. Left to live by their wits, residents developed parallel networks of interdependence and revenue generation, ranging from the "tax" demanded at the police roadblock to the "little present" made to a hungry official.
Donors and humanitarian organizations played along with the intellectual fiction that was Zaire. It was easier to do so, for how can any administration justify lending to or working beside a government that, in a nation of tens of millions, only truly represents a few hundred well-heeled people? A turning point came in 1993 when a Mobutu government issued a new currency. Rightly convinced that it represented a financial scam by the political elite, two of the country's provinces, East and West Kasai, decided not to recognize the new notes, and kept using the now illegal old ones. It was the equivalent, as a Kinshasa diplomat remarked at the time, of a couple of American states deciding to use Monopoly money instead of dollars.
The president, although widely regarded at home and abroad as a kind of malevolent demigod pulling the strings behind every political development, did nothing. He could not. Zaire was already a collection of regional fiefs in which "the Leopard," as he was called, served as a convenient bogeyman for the governors and local security chiefs who held real power. The ease of the Kabila-led rebel takeover of Kinshasa in 1997 exposed the fantasies of Zaire's integrity and Marshal Mobutu's power.
Laurent Kabila's years in office made explicit what had been a 25-year process of national unraveling. His botched attempts to move the administration to his home province of Katanga, bypassing an established capital city of 5 million people, highlighted the superficiality of his commitment to the nation-state. More crucially, he made a mockery of national independence by cynically bartering control of Congo's copper, diamond and oil sectors for military support from Zimbabwe, Angola and Namibia.
The two African power blocs involved in Congo's conflict - Angola, Zimbabwe and Namibia backing Mr Kabila, and Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi supporting rebel groups - are increasingly weary of the war. But returning Congo and its resources to its 45 million inhabitants is unlikely to rank high in the minds of the belligerents in any peace process. Paul Kagame will be concerned with crushing Hutu militias challenging his power in Rwanda. Eduardo dos Santos will be looking mainly to squeeze the UNITA rebels in Angola. Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe, with his power sapped by a deteriorating economy and mounting domestic opposition to the war, will be hoping to emerge with pride intact.
The restoration of territorial integrity for Congo, the Brussels-based International Crisis Group noted in a recent report, "is in no one's interest other than the Congolese's." Millions of rural inhabitants in Congo's south and east are left in limbo. While receiving nothing from Kinshasa, they know that they cannot look to their foreign guests for new schools, roads or hospitals. If outside troops withdraw, the gap will not be filled by Kinshasa. The local warlords and local militias will simply tighten their grip.
No Western government likes to admit that Africa's awkward colonial borders are finally dissolving. They want presidents to apply pressure on, ministers to influence, trends to develop - hence that fevered speculation among African and Western diplomats about "who controls Joseph Kabila." The unpalatable truth is that no matter who plays that role of kingmaker, the question has long ceased to be relevant for most of Congo's inhabitants.
The writer, author of the forthcoming "In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz: Living on the Brink of Disaster in the Congo," contributed this comment to The New York Times. [There seems to be a bit missing here...??? But cannot find the item on their website. Barbara]