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Tuesday, 6 February, 2001, 11:36 GMT
Zimbabwean police detain opposition politicians

Police in Zimbabwe have detained at least two opposition politicians on
charges of incitement to violence.

The deputy leader of the Movement for Democratic Change Gibson Sibanda and
the party's youth leader Nelson Chamisa are expected to appear in court
later today to face charges relating to remarks they are alleged to have
made at rallies on Sunday.

A MDC spokesman said both men deny the charges and say their reported
remarks have been taken out of context. State media reported that they
encouraged opposition supporters to attack followers of the ruling party,
but the spokesman said Mr Sibanda told the rally that it was not unlawful to
act in self defence.

The two men are being charged under the Law and Order Maintenance Act which
was used by the former white minority government to suppress opposition to
its regime.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service
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From the Daily Telegraph

Zimbabwe opposition MP beaten by soldiers
By David Blair in Harare

A ZIMBABWEAN opposition MP was assaulted by at least 50 soldiers armed with
whips, chains and clubs who raided his home early yesterday.
Job Sikhala, 28, of the Movement for Democratic Change, was taken to
hospital suffering from severe bruising and concussion. His pregnant wife,
his sister and housemaid were also severely beaten.

Hours later, Nelson Chamisa, leader of the MDC youth wing, was arrested and
detained in Harare central police station.

The latest incidents have intensified fears that President Robert Mugabe's
embattled government has abandoned all restraint and embarked on a new wave
of repression.

During the past eight days, a bomb has destroyed the printing press used by
Zimbabwe's largest independent newspaper, the Chief Justice has been hounded
into resignation and two peaceful demonstrations have been banned by police.

Mr Sikhala is the MP for St Mary's, 15 miles south of Harare. The
constituency covers an MDC stronghold in a town plagued by mass

The government has long suspected him of fomenting rebellion among his
poverty-stricken constituents and he is facing criminal charges of
incitement to violence.
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Daily News Appeal Funds
There are now two funds to which donations for The Daily News can be sent :
In Zimbabwe
The Media Institute of Southern Africa (Zimbabwe Chapter) has set up a Daily News Appeal Fund. The fund will be managed by an independent firm of auditors. The appeal comes as a result of the bombing of The Daily News printing press factory on 28 of January between 1.30am and 1.45am causing extensive damage to the Z$100 million printing press and the building. No arrests have so far been made.  MISA - Zimbabwe works to foster free, independent and diverse media throughout Zimbabwe.
Account details:  Standard Chartered Bank Ltd, Africa Unity Square Branch, MISA DAILY NEWS FUND, Account Number 0100206942100
Outside Zimbabwe
c/o The Sunday Times Foreign Desk, 1 Pennington Street, London, E1 9XW, telephone 020 7782 5700, email

From The Financial Times (UK), 6 February

Zimbabwe to put price controls across economy

Harare - Zimbabwe is gearing up for the imposition of price controls "on all commodities, goods and services, produced wholly or substantially" within the country. Price and wage restraint is part of a social contract the government hopes will be adopted by labour unions and employers. It is part of a new populist strategy it hopes will enable President Robert Mugabe to win the next presidential election, scheduled for April next year. Some aspects of the plan are already in place and others are taking shape.

Interest rates have been so set that the yield on money market instruments is at least 45 percentage points below the inflation rate of 55 per cent. Bank lending rates are also hugely negative and the government is trying to finance its growing domestic debt by issuing five-year government loan stock at an interest rate of about 25 per cent - or less than half the inflation rate. The plan includes doubling minimum pay for urban employees to about Z$6,300 (£78) a month, while imposing price controls on basic items. These include the staple food, maize meal, cooking oil, bread, flour, milk, meat and paraffin. Bus fares, rents and water charges are also listed for a form of "price restraint".

Despite these populist measures, the trade unions have rejected the contract, while employers make little secret of their opposition to a plan they say cannot work. The government's part of the bargain is to cut inflation to 40 per cent within the time-frame of the accord, to cut the budget deficit from 23 per cent of gross domestic product last year to 3 per cent by 2003, and to "continually introduce tax incentives - especially for exports - and boost disposable incomes". The government also promises to continue to manage the exchange rate and "maintain purchasing power parity with our trading partners". This promise was first made last August, since when the exchange rate has been pegged to the US dollar, becoming increasingly overvalued by the week.

Political analysts describe the contract as part of the government's wider plan to win another term in office for the 77-year-old president. Since few in business believe the social contract can work, there is speculation that Mr Mugabe may call a snap presidential election to try and exploit the wage award and price freeze, before the plan unravels. Almost all economic forecasters expect the pace of economic decline to accelerate as the year wears on, but the government insists that the economy will bottom out this year and start to recover before the 2002 poll.

From The Star (SA), 4 February

Soldiers beat me with chains, says Zim MP

Harare - Opposition politician Job Sikhala said 50 Zimbabwean soldiers arrived at his home early on Monday and beat him and his family with chains after trying to question him about next year's presidential campaign. Three armoured cars drove over the fence around his home about 4am, Sikhala said from the hospital where he was receiving treatment for his wounds. The soldiers broke down the doors and said they had orders to kill him if he did not answer their questions, he said. He was told: "We have orders to extract this information from you, or kill you."

The soldiers asked him about the presidential strategies of MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, and asked if the MDC had sent youths to Finland to receive military training, said Sikhala. "I told them frankly, I was not the presidential candidate. If you want to know about the campaign, you can ask Morgan Tsvangirai," he said. "Then they started to beat me with chains and gun butts, and they were very serious," said Sikhala. As the soldiers chased him through the house, Sikhala said they slipped on the floor and he managed to escape by jumping over his neighbour's fence and hiding in a bathroom. The soldiers also beat Sikhala's wife, who is three months pregnant, his sister, and their housekeeper, he said. Government officials could not be reached for comment.

Police had accused Sikhala of inciting violence during the January 13-14 parliamentary by-election in the remote district of Bikita-West, but his case was remanded until March 28. The MDC became Zimbabwe's first significant opposition party in June, when it won nearly half the contested seats in legislative elections, but the poll was marred by widespread political violence in which at least 34 people died and thousands more were beaten. The MDC has challenged the results of the June elections in 40 constituencies, where they say electoral fraud, violence and intimidation of voters compromised the returns.

From The Star (SA), 5 February

Criticising Zim could put SA at risk

The South African government has refused to condemn Zimbabwe for the recent bombing of a printing press belonging to the independent Harare newspaper, the Daily News, because this might disturb valuable trade links. Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad said on Monday that upsetting the Zimbabwean government could threaten stability in South Africa. "Zimbabwe is fundamental to our security and is one of our biggest trading partners," Pahad said. While it was "easy to sit in Europe and condemn Zimbabwe", condemnation of the bombing could lead to Zimbabweans marching over the border "in their millions". "They are already marching over in their thousands," Pahad said, adding that while most countries had withdrawn aid from President Robert Mugabe's regime, it was "a life and death matter" for South Africa.

He said South Africa was emerging as a major player in trying to co-ordinate peace and development efforts on the continent. Pahad said South Africa had honoured a UN request by agreeing to deploy a South African National Defence Force technical support team to the DRC. Pahad said an announcement was expected "very soon" by the mediator in the DRC war, Zambian President Frederick Chiluba, on the date and venue of a summit between the main participants in the peace effort. He added that proposals for the restructuring of SADC had been accepted by the ministers of the various countries and they would be tabled for discussion at the community's council meeting in Johannesburg later this month.

"There has also been an agreement on a SADC security organ to deal with peace development. The heads of state have agreed on its structures and on how it will work, and it will be endorsed at the summit. It will give us the political and security structures to look at problems in the region collectively," Pahad explained. The deputy minister said there was a determination among African countries to end the DRC war and other conflicts on the continent. The UN, the World Bank, the EU and the IMF had all agreed that "the continent with the greatest potential" should not be allowed to get poorer. "We must begin to utilise Africa, South Africa's biggest export market for manufactured goods. Many people think that Africa is a burden, but it's not. It's our oxygen," he said.

From The Daily News, 5 February

Angry Congolese nationals besiege Zimbabwe House

Congolese nationals resident in London last Wednesday besieged Zimbabwe House, in which the Zimbabwe High Commission is located, demanding that Zimbabwe pull its 12 000 soldiers out of the DRC. The Daily News understands the demonstrators denounced President Mugabe's involvement in the DRC war. The Zimbabwean High Commissioner, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, confirmed the demonstration saying: "It was a very small group."

The demonstration lasted for about 30 minutes with the police reinforcements being called in to prevent the protesters from breaking into Zimbabwe House. "Out of Congo," "Mugabe is a killer" and a "Congolese solution to Congo" were some of the slogans chanted by the group that brought traffic in that part of central London to a halt. An on-looker told The Daily News: "They then tried to break into Zimbabwe House and police reinforcements were quickly brought in to stop them. The Congolese I have spoken to here believe strongly that Zimbabwe had a hand in the death of Kabila. "The demonstrators said it was time all foreign countries involved in the DRC, especially, Zimbabwe, moved out so that a Congolese solution could be found."

From Associated Press, 5 February

11 reportedly killed in Congo ambush

Nairobi - Hutu militiamen backing Congo's President Joseph Kabila ambushed a bus in rebel-controlled eastern Congo last week, killing 11 passengers, a rebel-run radio station reported Monday. Nine men and two women died in the attack on a minivan bus Friday on a road heading south from the Congolese-Rwandan border town of Bukavu. Five survivors were treated for injuries, Radio Bukavu, monitored in Nairobi, reported. Congolese rebel officials could not be reached immediately for comment.

Since fleeing Rwanda in 1994, where they took part in the genocide of more than 500,000 Rwandans, Hutu militia have laid ambushes and attacked civilians in eastern Congo, leaving scores of people dead. The Rwandan army backs the Congolese rebels who took up arms against Congo's late President Laurent Kabila in August 1998. Rwanda demands that Congo rein in Hutu militiamen using eastern Congo as a launching pad for cross-border raids into Rwanda. The vast forests and mountains of eastern Congo have become bases for several militia groups fighting the Congolese rebels and their Rwandan backers.

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Chinamasa vows to overhaul judiciary

2/6/01 7:54:01 AM (GMT +2)

Daily News Correspondent in Bulawayo

Patrick Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
has described the judiciary as an “unguided missile” running parallel to the
wishes of the people.

He said the government would not rest until there was a complete overhaul of
the judiciary. He said the judiciary should be politically correct.
Said Chinamasa: “Judges should represent our interests because if they don’
t, we will criticise them. They are part of the three arms of government and
if they behave like unguided missiles, I wish to emphatically state that we
will push them out.”
Chinamasa was speaking on the first day of a seminar hosted by the
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association under the theme “Parliamentary
Practice and Procedure, The role of a Member of Parliament”.
He said: “The judiciary is composed of people who were part of the racist
regime and personally, I am not happy. There is serious need for reforms in
the country’s judiciary to put it in line with the people’s views. We have
effected reforms in Parliament and I think they should be effected in the
His comments come amid heavy pressure being exerted by government on the
judiciary after the Supreme Court granted orders to white commercial farmers
stopping the government seizure of farms under its fast-track resettlement
The intensity of the hostility was marked by the forced resignation of Chief
Justice Anthony Gubbay last week.
Emmerson Mnangagwa, the Speaker of Parliament who opened the seminar, called
on Parliament to make the judiciary impartial and “pro-active where there
are gaps in our law brought about by our colonial legacy”.
Said Mnangagwa: “We should guard against the judiciary developing into an
omnipotent entity devoid of any accountability. The doctrine of separation
of powers should not be regarded as compartmentalised. The three arms of the
State should work in harmony and not in competition in order to develop the
national character.”
He implored the MPs to combat mismanagement and corruption in government.
“Of course,” he said, “if legislators are to be effective watchdogs and thus
combat mismanagement, and impropriety in government, they must themselves be
above reproach. While some legislators are keen to call the government to
task, they are curiously reluctant to put their own houses in order.”

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Chihuri's confession on political loyalty sets tongues wagging

2/6/01 8:20:31 AM (GMT +2)

By Nyasha Nyakunu, Features Editor

Until his revelation that he is a dyed-in-the-wool Zanu PF supporter, Police
Commissioner Augustine Chihuri was like a gazelle blinded by the headlights
of an oncoming vehicle - unsure which direction to take.

Trapped in the glare of the headlights, in the wake of mounting accusations
of unprofessionalism, there was only one way out confession.

Instead of earning him a reprieve from an increasingly sceptical nation, his
confession has seen him darting back into the headlights he had sought to
escape from.

Ensnared in the powerful beam of scrutiny, Chihuri has civic society,
pressure groups and Zimbabweans in general demanding to see the back of him.
Only then will they dim the lights and spare him the public glare.

Credited with turning around the police force when he was appointed
commissioner, Chihuri appears to have since fallen victim to the whims of
the politicians who invited him to enjoy the spoils of power.

His confession could not have come at a worse time when questions were being
asked as to why investigations have not been conducted into the murder and
brutal attacks of members of the opposition in the run-up to last year's
parliamentary election.

Five white commercial farmers were murdered in cold blood and a number of
journalists assaulted. More than 30 people were killed for allegedly
sympathising with the MDC.

No one has been arrested in connection with the murders.

The Daily News was not spared the anti-opposition purge when its offices
where bombed during the election period.

And as the violence, spearheaded by Chenjerai Hunzvi, leader of a faction of
the war veterans, escalates ahead of the presidential election in 2002, the
newspaper's printing press was bombed on 28 January this year.

The violence erupted under the guise of a revolution to claim back ancestral
land owned by white commercial farmers following the rejection of the draft
constitution in February last year.

The draft contained a clause empowering President Mugabe's government to
forcibly acquire commercial farms without compensation.

Wielding axes, spears and knobkerries, mobs of ex-freedom fighters and
landless peasants descended on the white-owned farmland. Chihuri looked the
other way, ignoring court orders to evict the invaders from the farms.

The police commissioner was apparently taking his cue from Mugabe who says
the land question is a political landmine which cannot be resolved in the
courts, let alone by the police.

It is against that background that Chihuri made his not-so-startling

"Many people say I am Zanu PF. Today, I would like to make it public that I
support Zanu PF because it is the ruling party. If any other party comes to
power, I will resign and let those who support it take over," said Chihuri
at a belated Christmas party hosted for the police support unit in January.

Earlier, the police chief had vowed to crush the MDC if they went ahead with
a mass action to force Mugabe's resignation before 2002.

"The police will be out in full force during this period to deal with this
sickness of society in a ruthless manner. The right measure of force shall
be used if the so-called mass action goes ahead," said Chihuri despite the
MDC's cancellation of the planned protest.

The commissioner's open sympathy for Zanu PF is not unique to him as it has
occurred elsewhere in Africa where those appointed to head the national
security institutions are beholden to the largess of an individual.

Parallels can be drawn between Chihuri and the then Inspector-General of the
Nigerian police, Sunday Adewusi, as former President Shehu Shagari
desperately fought to secure a second term as head of state.

Adewusi, according to internationally acclaimed novelist and writer, Wole
Soyinka, inaugurated a scorched earth policy in order to ensure his master's
second tenure as Nigeria's president.

The inspector-general reportedly became so partisan it seemed he did not
recognise himself as a public servant paid with taxpayers' money.

"These men are trained to kill," Adewusi would boast of some of the members
of the Nigerian police force. "Those who want to make trouble for this
government will have to face them. I guarantee such dissidents the bloodiest
experience of their lives."

Adewusi's language is chillingly similar to that of Chihuri at a time when
Mugabe is determined to win the presidential election for a record fifth
term in what will be an uninterrupted 22-year reign.

Given that Chihuri's apparent aberration comes at a time when Zimbabwe is on
the verge of the total collapse of the rule of law, this raises questions as
to whether the police boss is out to outdo Adewusi.

Or, is he just another political animal who has fallen victim to the
unconscionable thirst for power typical of many an African leader,
particularly those dubbed as the founding fathers who have the dubious
distinctions of awarding themselves life terms in office?

Conversely, is the 46-year-old police commissioner, as a Zimbabwean citizen,
not entitled to support a party of his choice notwithstanding his long
association with Zanu PF as a former freedom fighter?

Chihuri joined the liberation struggle when he completed his secondary
education in 1972. Following military training in Tanzania, he held various
command positions in Zanla, the military wing of the then Zanu liberation
movement led first by the then jailed Ndabaningi Sithole, the exiled Herbert
Chitepo and lastly by Mugabe.

At independence, he joined the police as a patrol officer rising to the rank
of deputy commissioner in 1989 and subsequently became substantive police
commissioner in 1993.

Caught in that invidious position, observers note that Chihuri can only
trudge in the direction in which the sword of State points him.

Others feel that he should abide by his oath of office, failure of which he
should resign.

The Police Act is silent on the question of political affiliation where it
concerns the appointment of a police commissioner. The commissioner is free
to be a member of any political party as enshrined in the Constitution which
accords an individual freedom of speech, association and assembly.

"It is, however, imperative that the commissioner should be seen to be a
servant of the public," says Professor Solomon Nkiwane of the University of
Zimbabwe's political science department.

"If the commissioner is identified as being a member of a particular party,
the people will not have faith in his execution of duties. The public out
there will continue to suspect that dockets have not been opened because he
is a member of a particular political party."

A human rights lawyer, who asked not to be identified, says Chihuri has the
right to belong to a party of his choice.

"Therefore, it is not reprehensible per se that the police commissioner is a
member of Zanu PF.

"However, it is reprehensible if he is allowing party bias to guide him in
the execution of his duties . . . such allegations have been made and are
naturally a matter of public concern."

In the United States it is no big deal for civil servants to be members of
political parties unlike in England where there is a general rule that
public servants should not have political affiliations.

The Harare-based lawyer was, however, uncomfortable with Chihuri's assertion
that he would only resign if Zanu PF loses power.

"It makes one wonder about his neutrality and this is an undesirable

Nkiwane says the Police Act in conjunction with the Constitution, should be
revisited and tightened to ensure the appointment of a non-partisan police

Under the present set-up, Chihuri can only be removed by the President who
in turn is not answerable to Parliament when it comes to deciding whether to
fire him or not.

Given that legal bind, one can only conclude that Zimbabwe is stuck with
Chihuri at a time when Mugabe probably needs him most as the countdown to
the 2002 presidential poll begins.

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