Thursday, 24 January, 2002, 17:39 GMT
Zimbabwe political violence
President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party is
Two new reports from human rights groups say there has been
a sharp increase in political violence in Zimbabwe.
The reports, one by a coalition of non-governmental organisations called the
Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum and the other by a group of Danish doctors, say the
government is overwhelmingly responsible.
It comes as the government again fails to to push through a controversial
media bill, after ruling party MPs in parliament were critical of the bill's
Zanu-PF has a majority in
The bill, which critics say is part of President Mugabe's drive to silence
opposition to his bid for re-election in March, is now tabled to be discussed in
parliament next Tuesday.
Under the controversial proposals, foreign journalists would not be allowed
to be based in Zimbabwe.
All local media organisations would have to apply for annual government
licences or face two years in prison.
And reports deemed to cause alarm and despondency would be forbidden.
The bill is one of several pieces of legislation which analysts say are key
to Mr Mugabe's campaign to win the 9-10 March presidential elections, when he is
likely to face a strong challenge from the opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
of the Movement for Democratic Change.
The forum says there was a sharp rise in violence in the first half of
Violence is affecting all levels of
It reports four deaths, 68 cases of torture and 22 kidnappings during that
It says much of the violence was carried out by youths from the ruling
Zanu-PF party, who have put up roadblocks across the country, demanding that
people buy party memberships cards.
The Danish Physicians for Human Rights says politically motivated violence in
Zimbabwe is widespread and increasing on a daily basis.
It says the government was responsible for all the cases it studied and the
violence was carried out in a way that clearly indicated planning and strategy.
Both reports link the violence to the March presidential elections.
Zimbabwe's state-controlled media acknowledges the increase in violence, but
says the opposition MDC is also responsible.
It says a Zanu-PF supporter was murdered on Sunday in Masvingo province,
south of Harare.
And it accuses the opposition of setting up a number of safe-houses in the
capital, from which it conducts raids on Zanu supporters.
Zimbabwe Seeks Reporters, Delays Media Bill Again
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's parliament delayed debate of a
media bill again on Thursday amid a government search for
correspondents and rising international criticism of President
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said debate on the
bill, which critics
say will muzzle the media ahead of presidential elections
on March 9-10, was
postponed until Tuesday after he clashed with another
senior member of the
ruling ZANU-PF party.
The proposed bill has been
sharply criticized by Western states and media
groups for seeking to
undermine press freedom in the country, which is
undergoing its biggest
political and economic crisis since independence from
In the latest move state-owned Herald daily newspaper reported
government is scouring the country for several foreign journalists
entered Zimbabwe as tourists in defiance of a current de facto ban
The Herald said it had established that
reporters from Britain's Guardian
and Telegraph newspapers, South Africa's
Sunday Times and a few other
journalists were staying in hotels or at "safe
houses" owned by the main
opposition party Movement for Democratic Change
"Our net is closing in on them and we should be able to account
for all of
them by the end of the day," a government official
The government's initial media bill sought to bar foreigners from
correspondents in Zimbabwe. But the revised version will now allow
with permanent residence to work in Zimbabwe. Journalists who are
citizens or permanent residents will be restricted.
The new draft
of the bill also allows foreign media to operate a
representative office in
Zimbabwe without a certificate of registration, but
only with the approval of
the information minister.
the media bill Mugabe's government is under intense international
for its handling of Zimbabwe's political and economic crisis and
The international community has been alarmed by government
political opponents and state-sanctioned seizures of
white-owned farms by
so-called war veterans over the last couple of years,
which have led to
violence, deaths and the rapid deterioration of the
Britain said on Wednesday it would press for Zimbabwe's
expulsion from the
Commonwealth over Mugabe's "flagrant attacks on democratic
appalling atrocities" against the MDC as well as the campaign
British Prime Minister Tony Blair called Mugabe "a
disgrace to his own
country" and said his behavior had badly affected the
reputation of the
whole of southern Africa.
Zimbabwe said Britain had
scant support for its attempts to suspend Zimbabwe
from the Commonwealth and
accused London of seeking to engineer an
opposition victory in the
Chinamasa was blasted over the bill by Eddison Zvobgoa, a
member of parliament's Legal Committee set up to review
constitutionality of the proposed media bill.
Zvobgoa said his
committee had not been given time to properly review the
speculation that a rift in the ruling party could appear over
The government temporarily withdrew the media bill last week
amendments after parliament's legal committee called it
copy of the amended bill made available to journalists on
only minor changes.
From the Editor's Memo
There has been the usual official
vitriol of late over transmissions by SW
Radio Africa which is a licensed
broadcaster based in London. The Department
of Information has attempt- ed to
represent the station as a
British-sponsored propaganda tool when in fact it
is a voice of calm and
accuracy which provides a welcome antidote to the
vicious lies propagated by
The new station has very quickly built
up a large audience in Zimbabwe where
people crave accurate news.
Africa produced a nice little feature on the station last weekend.
interviewed the station's founder Gerry Jackson who pointed out that
a court order allowing them to broadcast in Zimbabwe, they had been
by the government. At least they can now transmit in relative
without being invaded by armed police.
The Johannesburg Sunday
Times also produced a full-page feature by Justice
Malala on SW Radio Africa
headed "A voice of independence - A group of
Zimbabwean journalists have
rattled their government by broadcasting from
Jonathan Moyo's remarks about its transmissions having "all
the trappings of
genocide broadcasts in Rwanda", but then pointed out that
heavyweights like Eddison Zvobgo and Patrick Chinamasa had agreed to
Malala set the scene: "After a lengthy and robust interview
presenters Violet Gondo and Tererai Karimakwenda move on to an
with former Anglican archbishop Desmond Tutu and then to an
the Zimbabwean economy. The interviews are long and in depth,
Zimbabweans have been visiting the
station's live webcasts in droves. So far
170 000 hits have been
"The emergence of a station like SW Radio Africa," said
the spirit of Zimbabweans in London and elsewhere, that
their courage will
not flag and that they will continue to fight for the
small things in life -
like the right to choose what station they listen
That spirit, he said, was reflected by a comment written next to
on a list of Zimbabwean cabinet ministers on the wall at the SW
"Ha!" it says.
"And every day, when they start broadcasting,
that is exactly what the
station seems to say to the architect of Zimbabwe's
draconian media laws and
other government ministers."
is shared by all those who care about professional
broadcasting. SW Radio
Africa should be broadcasting here. Its right to do
so was upheld by the
Supreme Court. Instead, ministers running scared of
pluralism blocked it by
abuse of the Presidential Powers Act. The subsequent
Act which effectively overturned the court ruling is a
measure aimed at
stifling media diversity.
Zimbabweans have been deprived of the right to
choose what station they
listen to. They have been deprived of the right to
hear a diversity of
views. They have been prevented by President Mugabe's
exercising the freedoms accorded to them by the
The government has drawn some comfort from the recent Sadc
called on Western governments to "desist" from authorising
their territories which incite "propaganda against the
government of the
Republic of Zimbabwe".
What about the propaganda and
incitement Zimbabweans have to put up with
every day from their government
broadcaster? I couldn't help but feel Sadc
leaders fear they could be next.
But so long as they adhere to good
governance they have nothing to fear - a
message we sent to the ministerial
team that visited Harare last month. A
diversity of voices is fundamental to
democracy and a number of countries in
Africa have no problem with that.
Commenting on the Sadc communiqué, Moyo
denounced what he called "gratuitous
personal insults" aimed at Zimbabwe's
leadership by South African media
commentators. But in the same breath he
called them "Uncle Toms" and "House
That sounds pretty much
like "personal insults" to me. The minister's
remarks betray the fiction
about the "apartheid press" the Department of
Information has been
assiduously cultivating. It is difficult now to find a
black columnist in
South Africa who is prepared to say anything good about
Mugabe or his regime.
The editorial piece on Sadc by the Sunday Times'
Mondli Makhanya last weekend
shows just how disillusioned many senior South
African journalists have
Tracing their dismal performance since the Victoria Falls
April 2000, Makhanya said: "It is clear that most southern
have absolutely no interest in entrenching democracy in their
the region." And he provided a good remedy.
rely on Sadc to provide leadership the region's people should
cross-border civil society coalitions to push for the democratisation
Southern Africa and entrenchment of a culture of good governance,
"That is the clamour Mugabe and other despots will listen to,
not the polite
coaxing of their peers."
I know Mondli. And he is no
Uncle Tom. Moyo should avoid making enemies of
every single journalist in
South Africa. He has enough enemies at home to
Zanu PF supporters turn on each
PF supporters in Bindura have turned against each other following the
brutal murder of Movement for Democratic Change member Trymore Midzi.
was killed last month by suspected Zanu PF thugs.
In an orgy of violence
soon after the death, Zanu PF youths attacked the
premises of fellow
supporters including three senior party officials who
they suspected of
sympathising with the MDC.
A shop belonging to Bindura's deputy mayor
Batsirai Kanosvamhira, and the
homes of prominent Zanu PF councillors, Mrs
Zarira and a Mr Kanos, were
extensively damaged after they went to pay their
condolences to the Midzi
Zanu PF youths descended on the
mourners and in the ensuing melee, the
bereaved left behind a book where all
contributors to the funeral were
The three Zanu PF officials
were among the listed mourners who had assisted
the family financially,
prompting the current purge.
Bindura residents who spoke to the Zimbabwe
Independent said the wave of
violence had shifted from MDC supporters to
ruling party members believed to
be opposition sympathisers.
long-time Bindura resident, was forced to relocate to Harare after
Kanos recently appeared on national television blaming MDC
attacking his house when in fact it was his own party
According to a senior Bindura magistrates' court official, the
turned a blind eye to ruling party hooligans but were quick to
suspected opposition offenders.
In a number of cases, he said,
the courts have had to withdraw charges
against MDC supporters after the
police failed to bring any evidence against
MDC members in court over public violence
10:27:27 AM (GMT +2)
TWO MDC supporters in
Harare appeared in court on Tuesday on public violence
and assault charges.
Sam Mujiri, who was said to be on the run since 6
January, appeared before
Harare magistrate, Shelton Jura on a public
court remanded him in custody to 5 February and advised him to apply for
at the High Court. Prosecutor Alvis Chimwaradze said Mujiri, 30, of
at Mbare Hostels, was among a mob of MDC supporters who went around
randomly stoning and hurling petrol bombs at the homes of Zanu
In the pandemonium, the mob allegedly destroyed other
furniture and window panes at 13 houses. The group
proceeded to Stodart Hall
and stoned Zanu PF offices at the
Matthew Hwengu, 18, of Dzivaresekwa Extension, Harare, appeared
same court, charged with kidnapping or assault with intent to
He was remanded to 5 February on $3 000
The State’s case is that Hwengu and five other youths who were
identified in the court records, allegedly beat up a Zanu PF supporter
was sitting with friends outside the Employment Exchange in Mbuya
Street, Harare, on Monday.
They allegedly demanded to know why
the man was wearing a T-shirt bearing
the portrait of Nigerian President
When the frightened man failed to give a
“satisfactory” explanation, Hwengu
and his colleagues allegedly dragged him
to the MDC provincial office where
they allegedly punched and kicked
The man managed to escape and went to report the incident to the
His abductors allegedly drove away in a Nissan truck.
Political expediency clouds RBZ
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is caught between political allegiance
economic rationale in its up-coming monetary policy for this year with
analysts saying that prospects are dim. This week central bank
Leonard Tsumba failed to give indications on the country's monetary
It appears all economic instruments have been over-
taken by both political
and military instruments. Politicians have visited
the length and breadth of
the county distributing unbudgeted money to people,
implications for money supply growth.
apparently in a quandary whether to have a two-pronged monetary
to and after the presidential election.
Doubts over this year's policy
have been further worsened by the
deterioration of government's image
resulting in failure to attract the
much-needed offshore investment to
improve forex inflows.
The failure to come up with a monetary policy for
2002 has been further
worsened by lack of autonomy at the Tsumba-led bank.
The governor is caught
between his allegiance to the ruling party, which he
has served so well in
the past, and the need for sound fiscal policy. The
failed to give clear answers to the Zimbabwe
Independent when quizzed about
the country's monetary policy.
asked if the bank was going to have two monetary policies pre-
post-election Tsumba lectured the Independent on the bank's objectives
monetary policy without dealing with the issues.
On what the bank
had done to control rampant inflation, he said this was due
to public sector
expenditures without explaining what the bank had done to
"Money supply growth remained high for much of last year against
background of significant economic contraction. The surge in money
has been reflected in increases in both the narrow and
components," said Tsumba.
"On a sectoral basis, annual
growth in the money supply can be explained by
domestic credit expansion,
largely driven by public sector expenditures,
which continue to be financed
from inflationary bank sources."
He said the RBZ's monetary policy stance
was designed to curtail excessive
credit creation and thus control money
supply growth and inflation.
On the exchange rate policy he said the
current exchange rate policy
announced by Finance minister Simba Makoni in
August required that the
exchange rate be adjusted in line with inflation
Zimbabwe and other major trading partners.
policy decision flies in the face of the country's high inflation which
currently 112,1% with the average for the country's major trading
He said the bank would continue to pursue prudent policy
to counter inflationary surges in the economy.
Complementary to this, the
surge in inflation also called for concerted
efforts by all stakeholders in
order to break the spiral. Every policy
decision at the central bank has got
Ministry of Finance blessing but the RBZ
has failed to dissuade the
government from resorting to domestic borrowing
which is mainly financed by
the central bank.
On interest rates
policy, he said the bank would continue to be consistent
with the objectives
of its monetary policy stance, which most analysts
believe will not
"The RBZ is simply waiting for a complete knockdown; if Zanu PF
policies cannot survive, change is necessary," said one
"If MDC wins it will turn to the world and apply for aid from
donors whilst Zanu PF cannot."
Pan Africanist Congress Stands By Mugabe
Mail & Guardian
January 25, 2002
Posted to the web January 24,
The general secretary of the Pan Africanist
Congress, Thamika Plaatjie, has
reiterated his party's support for Robert
Mugabe, and attacked the media and
"right-wing liberals" for exaggerating the
Zimbabwean president's woes.
The PAC's support for Zimbabwe's ruling
party has been unwavering since
early last year when Ka Plaatjie told news
agency Reuters that if land in
South Africa was not distributed as speedily
as necessary, it would spark a
revolt "that will make what is happening in
Zimbabwe look like a Sunday
picnic". The rand plunged.
said this week: "We think there is a lot of hypocrisy,
especially in the
media, which has a deliberate desire to distort,
misrepresent and misinform
the public about the situation in Zimbabwe.
"The liberal media fails to
understand that Britain's refusal to provide
funds for land reform is the
cause of this problem".
Ka Plaatjie acknowledges that Mugabe has
invariably invited criticism from
the media, but the criticism is "from
right-wing liberals, like [Democratic
Alliance leader] Tony Leon, who are
protecting Anglo American interests and
colonial gains in
Mugabe and Ka Plaatjie this week found themselves another ally
National Congress national executive member and KwaZulu-Natal
Dumisani Makhaye. In the Herald, a Zimbabwe government-controlled
sheet, he wrote: "The West wants to impose a president on the
Zimbabwe. It is in this context that the reluctance of Zanu-PF to
monitors from Western powers must be located and assessed.
West has a policy of building strong opposition parties to
governments of former national liberation movements in Southern
the last elections in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Namibia, some
monitors were openly campaigning for opposition parties of Afonso
Morgan Tsvangirai and Ben Ulenga respectively.
report of the recent fact-finding team from the European Union
which differed fundamentally from the report of the team of the
African Development Community], is a reflection of this problem.
Immediate sanctions unlikely as EU weighs Zimbabwe options
BRUSSELS, Jan 25 (AFP) - Four options on Zimbabwe will be on
the table when
EU foreign ministers gather in Brussels on Monday, but the
them -- immediate sanctions -- is unlikely to be adopted, or at
Though the European Union wants to keep pressure on
President Robert Mugabe,
diplomats say it does not want to "play into his
hands" in the run-up to the
March 9-10 presidential elections.
ministers will have in mind is what's going to happen on the ground"
six weeks still to go before voting day, said a European diplomat
condition of anonymity.
The EU is especially keen to promptly get
election observers into Zimbabwe,
and for foreign and Zimbabwean jouralists
to be able to cover the election
Diplomats say four options will be studied Monday behind
closed doors at the
EU Council of Ministers:
-- Immediate sanctions,
including "smart sanctions" such as a European
travel ban and freeze on
assets that would specifically target Mugabe, his
-- A declaration of sanctions in principle, but with
implementation set back
to a later date.
-- A formal threat of
-- The resumption of consultations with Mugabe's government
January 11 in Brussels, when Foreign Minister Stan Mugende met
Spanish EU presidency.
During that meeting, the EU insisted
on "invitation and accreditation of
international observers, including from
the EU, at least six weeks before
the elections," and on "full access to
national and international media."
Barring a sharp turn for the worse
this weekend, officials doubt that the
foreign ministers will embrace the
strong option of immediate sanctions --
at least not yet.
the view that an immediate application of sanctions will play
hands, leading to more (pre-election) intimidation and more
arrests of the
opposition," the diplomat said.
Holding short of immediate sanctions
would also buy time for the EU to watch
developments, since its foreign
ministers have another formal meeting on
February 18 -- less than three weeks
before voting starts.
"Sanctions will always be a possibility, but we
want to work out the
options," another European diplomat said.
is also a foreign ministers' retreat on February 8-9 in Caceres,
Spain, but only to discuss broad policy questions, with no concrete
to be taken.
Britain has pushed hard for its EU partners to strike a
common position on
Zimbabwe, in parallel with its efforts to have Harare
suspended from the
Commonwealth over Mugabe's political style.
Minister Tony Blair on Wednesday branded the actions of Zimbabwe's
state a "disgrace," adding that Britain was working to ensure its
colony holds democratic elections.
But within the EU, France is
understood to be cautious -- not out of any
sympathy for Mugabe, but because
of the broader question in principle of
whether sanctions really make an
effective foreign policy tool.
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, who
is Mugabe's chief rival in the
polls, has told British diplomats that he is
confident he can win, and that
he is not in favor of early sanctions, the
Financial Times reported.
The unspoken wish in Brussels is that
Zimbabweans will vote Mugabe out of
office, just as Yugoslavs rejected their
president Slobodan Milosevic during
elections in September 2000.
the Serbian strongman, his family and entourage were already targets of
sanctions at the time. He now is behind bars in The Hague, awaiting trial
war crimes before the UN war crimes tribunal.