Zimbabwe judge broke into white homestead By Peta
Thornycroft in Harare (Filed: 17/06/2003)
A High Court judge broke
into a white farmer's homestead in Zimbabwe after snatching the kitchen keys
from a bewildered maid, it emerged yesterday.
Mr Justice Ben Hlatshwayo
took over Vernon Nicolle's home at Gwina farm near Banket, 55 miles
north-west of Harare, in breach of an order issued by his own
Mr Nicolle, 59, is on holiday and will return to find that he has
lost his homestead on a farm owned by his family for more than 50
"The judge wouldn't have broken into the house if my father had
been in the country," said Mr Nicolle's son, Chris, 32. "He waited until he
President Robert Mugabe's seizure of about 90 per cent of
white-owned land has started a chaotic scramble for the spoils among the
black elite. Judges and police have joined the rush for loot.
Justice Hlatshwayo is among 12 judges who have either been allocated farms or
simply seized them. Two weeks ago, he ruled that the opposition's general
strike was illegal.
The following week, he drove on to Gwina farm in his
official Mercedes. Mr Nicolle said he grabbed the kitchen keys from a maid
and entered the homestead.
But a locked internal door prevented the
judge from reaching the bedrooms and the living area. So he persuaded a farm
worker to break down this door before moving into the house.
Justice Hlatshwayo had earlier seized a slice of Gwina farm and tried to grow
a maize crop. The wilting results of his farming efforts are described as
"miserable". He also tried to grow a winter wheat crop, but the seed arrived
too late for planting.
In January, the Nicolle family secured a High
Court order banning Mr Justice Hlatshwayo from the farm. They accuse the
judge of ignoring the rulings of his own court and are preparing to
"We are moving out simply because it is impossible to get court
orders obeyed here," said Chris Nicolle, who lives on neighbouring Koodoo
It was targeted for occupation by Wayne Bvudzijena, police
assistant commissioner and official police spokesman. He arrived on the farm
and announced that he would move into the large, thatched homestead with
or without Mr Nicolle's approval.
Under this pressure, the farmer let
Mr Bvudzijena enter. The police officer declined to respond
Mr Justice Hlatshwayo, a veteran of the war against white
rule, was promoted from legal obscurity when Mr Mugabe sought to pack the
High Court bench in 2001.
He denies that the court order issued
against him is still valid and was not available for comment
A former law lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe, Mr
Justice Hlatshwayo served on the official commission charged with drawing up
a new constitution in 1999.
Critics said this body, handpicked by Mr
Mugabe, was packed with supporters of the ruling Zanu-PF party. The
commission's proposed constitution was resoundingly defeated in a
During his two years on the bench, Harvard-educated Mr
Justice Hlatshwayo has infuriated the opposition Movement for Democratic
When the party petitioned the courts to overturn the election
result in a parliamentary seat where Zanu-PF gangs had tortured one MDC
supporter to death, the judge dismissed its application.
praised the "thorough and systematic" campaign of the Zanu-PF candidate in
Several members of the Nicolle family have already left
Zimbabwe and the remainder are preparing to.
Mugabe Panel Hears Complaints Over Farm Seizures Peta
Thornycroft Harare 16 Jun 2003, 20:28 UTC
Zimbabwe, a land audit committee appointed by President Robert Mugabe
is hearing evidence from people affected by the country's land reform
The latest high-profile personality to take possession of a farm
is High Court Judge Ben Hlatshawayo. He has been accused by the former owner,
Vernon Nicolle, of breaking and entering into his home last
Judge Hlatshwayo was appointed to the bench following the purge
of the judiciary more than two years ago.
According to Mr. Nicolle's
family and his lawyer, Judge Hlatshwayo instructed a worker to break down the
door into Mr. Nicolle's locked home.
The public face of Zimbabwe's police
force is Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena, who is in charge of press
liaison. He is also accused of illegally taking over a farm homestead last
Thursday. The takeover took place even though the owner of the farm has a
High Court ruling allowing him to remain on his farm and grow
Mr. Bvudzijena and Judge Hlatshwayo were accompanied on their
missions last Thursday by senior policemen.
Neither of the two public
officials were available for comment.
On Sunday a group of youths who
claimed to be from the ruling party invaded a farm near Harare that has been
leased by an opposition member of parliament, Roy Bennett.
came about two days after President Mugabe said Mr. Bennett was not welcome
in Zimbabwe and his possessions should be taken.
According to Mr.
Bennett, about 500 people, his workers and their families, have fled the farm
Mr. Bennett says the invaders have begun killing his cattle
and stealing food belonging to the workers.
Mr. Bennett has been
arrested several times since he was elected to parliament two years ago. He
was tortured in police cells earlier this year, and has filed charges against
government security forces.
In several other areas of the country,
leading ruling party officials, including at least one cabinet minister, are
moving armed youth onto several white owned farms, to force the owners
Since farm invasions began three years ago, 90 percent of white
commercial farmers have been forcibly evicted from their properties.
Reporter THE Government has established Eagle Youth Training Centre in
Manicaland exclusively for girls to be trained under the National Youth
The centre opened this month with an enrolment of
This was said by the Minister of Youth Development, Gender
and Employment Creation, Cde Elliot Manyika, when he addressed a leadership
conference on HIV-Aids and gender issues in Harare last week.
the establishment of the centre was an affirmative move aimed at encouraging
the girl child to undergo national service and be empowered with relevant
skills needed for self-sustenance.
"We realised that a lot of girls were
reluctant to enrol at the same institutions with their male counterparts. We
then decided to set up an institution which will cater for girls only," said
The announcement by Cde Manyika comes in the wake of plans
to establish a Women's University in Africa in Marondera.
said that although the Government had undertaken deliberate efforts to
empower women since independence, women's rights continued to be infringed
upon, often without recourse to the law or other avenues of redress because
of the unequal power relations in the private domain.
There was need for
people to desist from using culture as a vehicle to continue oppressing women
and deny them a meaningful role in the processes and programmes of national
"Although women constitute over 50 percent of the
population, women hold 14 percent of positions in politics and
decision-making," Cde Manyika said.
Despite the Government's
indigenisation drive and other economic empowerment endeavours, there was
still need to intensify efforts to economically empower women, the minister
He said it was sad to note that women were the most vulnerable
group when it comes to contracting HIV.
Cde Manyika said the
Government was concerned by the increasing cases of domestic violence, sexual
abuse of young girls and divorces.
Zimbabwe is signatory to various
declarations, conventions and protocols aimed at creating an enabling
environment for the attainment of equality between women and
These include the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms
of Discrimination Against Women, International Convention on Civil
and Political Rights and the Beijing Declaration.
Reporter A parliamentary committee has recommended that Parliament must be
involved in the selection of High Court and Supreme Court judges.
portfolio committee on Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs said in a
report presented to Parliament last week that the House should have the final
vote on judges.
"The committee recommends that Parliament, upon receiving
the names of persons due to be appointed as judges, approve of such names
with a simple majority of members present and voting in the House," said the
committee chairman, Cde Shadreck Chipanga (Zanu-PF, Makoni East), who
presented the report.
"Two thirds of the membership of the House
should be required to disapprove of any appointment."
recommended that two thirds of the House should be required for the removal
of any judge from the bench provided a tribunal set up by the President or
the Chief Justice under the Constitution recommends that such a judge be
Presently the Judicial Service Commission recommends names of
possible candidates to the President for appointment to the bench.
High Court or Supreme Court judge may be removed from office only
for inability to discharge the functions of his office, whether arising
from infirmity of body or mind or any other cause or for misbehaviour,
according to the Constitution.
The Constitution empowers the President
to appoint a tribunal to inquire into the conduct of the Chief Justice and
make recommendations on action to be taken.
In the case of any other
judge of the Supreme or High Court, the Chief Justice advises the President
that the question of removal from office of the judge concerned ought to be
investigated and the President shall appoint a tribunal to investigate the
"The committee, however, notes that most of the recommendations
as set forth on this report will require constitutional amendments and that
it is within the mandate of the House to amend the same to give effect to
the recommendations," said Cde Chipanga.
He said the committee found
that the judges in Zimbabwe were the lowest paid in southern Africa and their
salaries were not related to their status and responsibilities.
committee recommended that the judiciary be in control of its own budget to
ensure its independence.
Hangings a bid to sow fear, MDC claims June
Harare: Four convicted murderers have been hanged and the
opposition fears the executions were intended to intimidate its jailed
leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, who is facing treason charges.
government has said the opposition is trying to exploit the executions at the
Harare Central Prison for propaganda purposes.
accused of plotting to assassinate President Robert Mugabe last year and is
on trial for treason, a charge that carries the death penalty. On June 6, he
was arrested on charges of trying to overthrow Mugabe through street
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change has condemned
"It is reasonable to assume this was a
deliberate show of brute force designed to intimidate Morgan Tsvangirai and
the MDC," said MDC legal secretary David Coltart.
A lower court
has ordered that Tsvangirai be held until July 10 unless he is granted bail
by the High Court. Tsvangirai, who has emerged as the biggest challenge to
Mugabe's 23-year-old hold on power, says he is a victim of political
Justice ministry officials said two of the four
convicts executed had been sentenced to death six years ago. More than 70
people have been executed since Mugabe came to power in 1980.
Zimbabwe has kept the death penalty for murder and treason, although the
government said in the mid-1990s that it was ready to review the law.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------- ---- Amid
world pressure, Zimbabwean leader is thought to want a way out PRESIDENT
Thabo Mbeki's bold prediction that a political settlement would be reached in
Zimbabwe within a year has revived suggestions that President Robert Mugabe
plans to leave office before the end of his current term and that a
transitional government is in the offing in Zimbabwe.
Mbeki told the
final session of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa summit in Durban : "We
will have an agreement in Zimbabwe between government and the opposition
about all the challenges that face Zimbabwe."
Mbeki's prediction follows
last week's rebuke of Harare by US Secretary of State Colin Powell and United
Nations SecretaryGeneral Kofi Annan, who jointly condemned the "situation
where opposition leaders trying to express their dissent to the government
are being detained" an apparent reference to the continued incarceration of
Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on fresh treason charges and
Mugabe's brutal suppression of recent peaceful protests.
together with Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and Malawian President
Bakili Muluzi visited Zimbabwe last month to urge Mugabe to start talks with
the opposition a mission believed to have since been followed up with more
It is apparently from these latter discussions that
Mugabe has indicated more firmly his desire to leave office soon and to
resolve his country's biting political and economic crisis through
Asked for comment, Paul Themba-Nyathi, spokesman for the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said yesterday that Mbeki's
Durban statement was not "wide off the mark", adding: "I hope he (Mbeki) is
very careful about the assurances he is given by Mr Mugabe."
in Harare said Mugabe was "tired of trying to keep at bay the local and
international forces opposing him" and wanted to leave once the
MDC recognised his presidency. It was also envisaged that there would be
a transitional arrangement before a fresh presidential
"Depending on how the MDC behaves in the next few weeks and
whether they drop their court challenge to his leadership, we could see
renewed talking at the highest levels, ultimately leading to a rerun of the
presidential election to re-establish executive legitimacy. That much (the
need for a new election) is beginning to be pretty well understood here," the
There were tentative signs from Zimbabwean officials at the
WEF summit that talks were indeed taking place at low levels, despite
Tsvangirai's arrest and continuing emotive rhetoric on both sides of the
country's political divide. With Jethro Goko
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe is
believed to have told his South African counterpart Thabo Mbeki that he is
considering stepping down in the next 12 months and that he wants Speaker of
Parliament, Emmerson Mnangagwa, to take over from him, it was learnt
According to well-placed sources, Mugabe indicated
in a telephone conversation with Mbeki last Thursday that he was working out
a transitional mechanism that would allow a new leadership in Zimbabwe in the
next 12 months.
The 79-year old leader also indicated that he
wanted his protege Mnangagwa to take over as the leader of ZANU PF, which
would strongly position him to take over as President of Zimbabwe, the
The two leaders are also said to have discussed the
arrest and detention by the government of opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
“President Robert Mugabe
had a conversation with President Thabo Mbeki, to whom he indicated that he
would would work out a transitional arrangement which will come into being in
the next 12 months,” a source privy to details of the discussions between the
two presidents said yesterday.
The source added: “He (Mugabe)
also however indicated that he wanted Emmerson Mnangagwa to take
Mbeki’s spokesperson, Bheki Khumalo, could not be reached
yesterday for comment on the matter.
South African Foreign
Affairs spokesman Ronnie Mamoepa refused to speak on the issue, saying
discussions between Mbeki and Mugabe were confidential.
“Discussions between Presidents Thabo Mbeki and Mugabe are a confidential
matter and we do not divulge anything, that is the position,” Mamoepa said by
phone from Pretoria.
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo and his
permanent secretary George Charamba could not be reached for comment. They
were not reachable on their mobile phones.
The sources said
Mugabe had during his discussion with Mbeki also said that he was ready to
resume dialogue with the MDC, but he had indicated his strong displeasure at
the opposition party’s decision to challenge in court his controversial
re-election last year and its call two weeks ago for anti-government
Mugabe had however indicated he was prepared to accept a
rerun of the presidential ballot if Mnangagwa took over the leadership of the
ruling ZANU PF party, the sources said.
They said the Zimbabwean
leader had also told Mbeki that he hoped Tsvangirai’s detention would
influence the MDC to resume dialogue with ZANU PF.
on remand in prison after he was arrested two weeks ago, on the last day of
mass anti-Mugabe protests that shut down Zimbabwe for five days.
Tsvangirai and his MDC party say the protests were intended to push Mugabe to
step down or to agree to negotiations to end Zimbabwe’s
The government says the demonstrations were
an attempt to stage a coup against it. Tsvangirai is already standing trial
for treason over earlier allegations that he plotted to murder Mugabe ahead
of last year’s presidential election. He denies the charge.
sources said Mbeki’s conversation with Mugabe had spurred the South African
president to boldly predict at the World Economic Forum Africa that a
political settlement would be found in Zimbabwe within a year.
Mbeki told the final session of the summit in Durban, where
African politicians and businessmen reiterated their support for the New
Partnership for Africa’s Development, that “a resolution to the Zimbabwean
crisis through dialogue” would be found in the coming year.
secretary-general Welshman Ncube yesterday said his party was ready to resume
unconditional dialogue to resolve the issue of legitimacy.
the MDC seeks is an unconditional dialogue to address the issue of
legitimacy, which is subject to negotiation,” said Ncube.
long-time confidante of Mugabe, Mnangagwa last week told the state-owned
Herald newspaper that he had no ambition to succeed his mentor.
tough ZANU PF politician, whose name has been mentioned several times in
connection with Mugabe’s successor, has made statements in the
past distancing himself from the country’s highest office.
ZANU PF officials say Vice-President Simon Muzenda has also thrown his weight
behind Mnangagwa, reportedly indicating to a meeting of the party ’s senior
leaders that he preferred Zimbabwe’s Speaker of Parliament to take over from
Observers also pointed out that last week’s Herald article,
which chronicled Mnangagwa’s political history, could mark the beginning of
an attempt to market him for the Presidency.
Considered one of
ZANU PF’s tough men, Mnangagwa is seen by his critics as too hard and
uncompromising to become head of the nation. Mnangagwa denies the charges,
calling himself a principled man but one who is also “as soft as
Mnangagwa has also been cited by a United Nations committee
that investigated the looting of natural resources in the Democratic Republic
of the Congo during armed conflict in that country.
government has dismissed the UN report.
RULING ZANU PF
supporters have invaded a Ruwa farm leased by opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) legislator for Chimanimani Roy Bennet, it was learnt
An official at the farm told the Daily News that the
property was invaded on Sunday afternoon by about 200 war veterans and ruling
party supporters believed to be from Epworth near Harare.
Tambo, a clerk at the property, which is known as Bigtull Farm, said: “They
are still camped here. They came here at around 1 pm and they broke into the
guard room and confiscated a gun from the guard who was manning the
“They indicated to him that they wanted to kill one beast and
took away 50 kilogrammes of maize from the guard room.”
the group wanted to confiscate the storeroom keys so that they could take
more bags of maize, but the guard managed to escape with
Tambo said the war veterans spent the whole of Sunday
singing revolutionary songs and dancing inside the farm manager’s yard, but
did not assault any of the farm workers.
“We do not know what
these people are up to. They initially came on Saturday and demanded to see
Brown, the assistant farm manager, whom they advised that they would take
over the farm after the harvesting of crops,” Tambo said.
are really surprised because they announced their intention to take over the
farm later and not now. Farm workers are now living in fear and are no longer
sure of their fate,” he said.
About 150 farm workers fled the farm
and are living in the bush because of the invasion of the Ruwa property,
Tambo told the Daily News.
The Bigtull Farm clerk said the war
veterans were alleging that Bennet, who has been barred from visiting his
Charleswood Estate in Chimanimani by ruling party supporters who are
occupying it, had many properties in Zimbabwe and these must be seized
because the opposition member of Parliament opposed the government’s
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’
Association secretary-general Endy Mhlanga yesterday said he was unaware of
the invasion of Bigtull Farm, saying there had been no new farm seizures by
“I am not aware of this and as far as I know, there
are no new invasions at all. In fact, if there is any new wave of land
seizures, this is lawful. In the meantime, I will do my own investigations,”
The invasion of Bigtull Farm came only three days
after President Robert Mugabe warned of the seizure of land belonging to
farmers not loyal to his government.
Mugabe told a rally at
Nyakomba Irrigation Scheme in Nyanga last Thursday that white farmers such as
Bennet risked losing their farms because they supported the MDC, Zimbabwe’s
main opposition party.
“I do not want to hear that Bennet and De
Klerk have land because they want to force you to have a government that you
do not want that is led by Morgan Tsvangirai ( MDC leader),” Mugabe told ZANU
MDC shadow minister for lands and agriculture Renson
Gasela last week warned that fresh farm invasions would further devastate the
He said grain output would be significantly
reduced this year by the government’s controversial land reform programme,
under which the state has seized most white-owned land to resettle black
peasants and aspiring commercial farmers.
200 workers and managers of Atlanta Bricks in Harare’s high-density suburb of
Dzivaresekwa have been barred from the company’s premises for the past two
weeks by suspected ruling ZANU PF supporters who accuse them of having
participated in mass action called by the opposition Movement for Democratic
Sources within the company told the Daily News that
more than 20 people claiming to be ruling party supporters and war veterans
were camped at the Atlanta Bricks factory and were preventing workers and
management from entering the premises.
The group, led by a woman
known as Pazvakarambwa who claims to be the war veterans’ commander for the
area, have been threatening to take over the company, the sources
The sources added that Atlanta Bricks was one of the
companies that remained closed during the five-day MDC mass action at the
beginning of the month, although the closure was the result of failure to
secure fuel and cement.
Both fuel and cement are in short
“By coincidence, the MDC called the stayaway that week and
this resulted in the company being accused of heeding the MDC mass action,”
a senior official at the company said.
“We need at least 700
litres of diesel to fully operate on a day and due to the shortage of the
commodity on the market, we at times go for days without any supplies,” the
Atlanta Bricks produces at least 100 000 bricks on
a normal day.
The company official said the group of ZANU PF
supporters are preventing anyone from entering the company premises.
TWO Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) members of
Parliament and 10 Harare party supporters are suing the state for nearly $9
million over their detention in February on allegations that they held an
illegal meeting in the suburb of Mabvuku.
The 12 filed their
claims in the High Court at the end of last week and are asking for $725 000
each as compensation for “unlawful arrest and detention and degrading and
Those involved in the suit are opposition
legislators Tendai Biti, the MP for Harare East, Paul Madzore, the MDC
legislator for Glen View, and 10 MDC activists from various suburbs in
Cited as respondents in the case are Home Affairs Minister
Kembo Mohadi, Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri and a detective
assistant inspector Mapuranga of the police Law and Order Section in
The 12 opposition party members want the respondents to pay
interest from the date of the summons to the date of the payment and to pay
the costs of the lawsuit.
The 12 were accused of violating the
controversial and draconian Public Order and Security Act (POSA) by holding a
meeting at Kamunhu Shopping centre in the Harare suburb of Mabvuku on 8
February, without police permission.
Under POSA, groups wishing
to hold public meetings must first notify the police.
activists were arrested as they drove away from the venue of the
Their lawyer, Lewis Uriri of Honey and Blankenberg, said
his clients were arrested “without reasonable suspicion and just cause” and
were detained at Mabvuku Police Station.
Biti and Madzore were
later transferred and detained at Matapi Police Station in Mbare. The
legislators were moved to Harare Central Police Station, where they were
detained until they were taken to the Harare magistrates’ court on their
A prosecutor at the remand hearing admitted that
the state had no valid grounds to place the 12 men and women on
Uriri said when he indicated to a senior public prosecution
at the magistrates’ court that he intended to challenge the state’s
prerogative to place the two MPs and opposition activists on remand, the
prosecutor conceded that she would “not allow my prosecutors to argue
inarguable cases” .
“The detention of our clients Biti and
Madzore at Matapi Police Station in Mbare for offences allegedly committed in
Mabvuku goes a long way to illustrate the callousness and vindictiveness of
the members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police involved,” Uriri said in a notice
of intention to sue dated 13 February 2003.
MASVINGO – A Chinese company contracted to clear 150 000
hectares of land in Masvingo’s Nuanetsi Ranch in preparation for a winter
maize crop is yet to begin work, four months after the project should have
commenced, it was learnt this week.
The programme is supposed to
ease Zimbabwe’s severe food shortages, the result of drought and a
controversial government land reform programme that has slashed food
production by more than 50 percent in the past year.
provincial administrator Alphonse Chikurira yesterday said the government’s
giant winter maize project was yet to take off because the contractor had not
yet moved onto the site.
Chinese Water and Electrical Company won
the tender to clear the land and grow crops on behalf of the Zimbabwean
The Agriculture Ministry believes the project will
restore the country ’s status as the continent’s breadbasket, lost because of
a decline in agricultural output since the government began land seizures in
Chikurira told The Daily News: “The Chinese are still setting
up a camp. They have not yet started clearing the land. Some of the machinery
and equipment is still to arrive and no workers have been recruited for
The Chinese company was supposed to have moved
onto the site by 1 March this year.
Chikurira however said a
winter maize crop had been planted on 260 hectares of land cleared by the
Agricultural Rural Development Authority (ARDA) and the District Development
Sources within ARDA said the contract between the Zimbabwean
and Chinese governments had not been finalised and this had delayed
the implementation of the project.
Meanwhile, experts in the
agricultural industry say the Masvingo province’s winter crop production has
dropped by over 70 percent due to the chaotic land reform
According to officials from the Commercial Farmers’
Union (CFU), the production of winter crops, especially wheat, has been
drastically reduced because farmers resettled in the province under the land
reform programme have been unable to plant the crop due to lack of skills and
“A serious shortage of wheat and other winter crops is
looming as new farmers have failed to plant them,” said a CFU
“Instead of increasing production, the land reform
programme has reduced production,” the official added.
Masvingo East commercial farming area, once the main producer of wheat in the
province, resettled farmers have not planted any crops.
BUSINESS at the Harare
Magistrates’ Court almost ground to a halt yesterday, with court officials
locked in meetings with Justice Ministry permanent secretary David Mangota
over the resignation of five of Harare’s seven regional
Sources at the courts told The Daily News that five
Harare regional magistrates last week handed in their resignations because of
poor conditions of service.
The sources said Mangota spent most
of yesterday attempting to convince the magistrates to rescind their
The magistrates are said to be insisting on the
immediate review of their salaries and working conditions.
was little business at the courts yesterday because of Mangota’s meeting with
the magistrates, with only one magistrate, Garikai Churu, presiding over
initial remand cases.
A court official who spoke on condition he
was not named yesterday said Mangota had failed to persuade the magistrates
to rescind their resignations.
“Mangota met senior magistrates,
trying to talk them into not resigning,” the official said. “He failed to
change their minds.”
A magistrate who is among those who have
handed in their resignations told The Daily News: “We are demanding better
salaries and improved conditions of service. How can a police inspector with
an “O” level certificate drive a car when a magistrate is using public
The magistrate said the Ministry of Justice had been
told at yesterday ’s meeting that magistrates should also be given cars as
part of their fringe benefits. But the magistrate said Mangota was
non-committal on the issue.
Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa,
who last week promised to investigate the critical staffing levels in his
ministry, referred all questions relating to the exodus of magistrates to
Mangota refused to discuss the issue, saying he could not
talk about the resignations over the telephone.
questions and I will deal with them,’’ he said.
The resignation of
the Harare regional magistrates comes amid reports that five of Harare’s 12
provincial magistrates have also indicated that they plan to leave the courts
because of low salaries and poor conditions of service.
magistrate said: “We lodge at accused persons’ houses, ride with them on
public transport and this breeds corruption in the justice
Chief magistrate Samuel Kudya, who has not
responded to questions faxed to him two months ago about staffing levels in
his department, in April said a backlog was accumulating at a faster rate at
the courts because about 57 magisterial posts were vacant.
resignation of regional magistrates is expected to further increase the
backlog of cases, which legal experts said would severely knock the country’s
justice delivery system.
THE government seems to be
finally waking up from its delusional slumber to realise the destruction and
chaos inflicted by its ruinous policies on Zimbabwe’s food
Addressing villagers last Friday at Umguza, about 40
kilometres north-west of Bulawayo, President Robert Mugabe virtually admitted
what most Zimbabweans, with the possible exception of the mandarins at
Munhumutapa Building, have known all along.
And that is that the
government’s fast-track land reform programme was a haphazard exercise, under
which no one sat down to plan how resettled farmers would secure financial
and other resources to ensure that they put the land they were allocated to
Mugabe told the Umguza villagers that more than $7
billion raised by the government through agribonds to finance resettled
farmers ended up lining the pockets of a few rich firms.
The government somehow neglected to provide guidelines to
ensure that the money, itself not nearly enough to fund those allocated land
under the resettlement programme, reached the intended
The President told villagers: “The commercial banks
were not given guidelines, so we had a situation where companies like FSI
Agricom applied for the money raised through the sale of bonds and were given
over $4 billion out of the $7.2 billion raised . . . yet the money was
intended for resettled farmers.”
It is hoped that now that none
other than Mugabe is admitting some of the mistakes made in the course of the
land reform programme, the government will take a long hard look at this
exercise, which has proved to be so costly to the entire nation.
The handling of the agribonds is a clear example of all that is wrong with
the plunder and chaos dubbed land reform by the government.
was no attempt to plan, neither was there an appreciation of the potential
consequences of decisions made, as indeed is the case with many of the
Secondly, it should also be clear to
Zimbabwe’s leaders that whatever little resources were available were not
used to support the resettled farmers they were intended for, but were
instead gobbled up by a few well-connected individuals and groups in the
government and the private sector.
It has already become
apparent that the best farms seized under the land reform programme were
grabbed by senior government officials, their wives, relatives and friends in
the private sector. Most of them have in fact seized more than one property,
in clear violation of the government’s stated policy of “one person one
Clearly, what the government achieved through its land
reforms was dispossession of white farmers but not the empowerment of the
black villagers haphazardly allocated land.
villagers on virgin land with little or no resources cannot be called
Mugabe should not just admit that the government made
some mistakes during the land reforms. He should muster the courage to admit
that the whole fast-track land reform exercise was a moment of madness that
should never have been allowed in the first place.
move with haste to reverse the costly error by implementing just and
transparent land reforms that can be supported by all Zimbabweans and the
international community. This Mugabe must do if only for the sake of his and
Admitting to having made only one small mistake when
the whole land reform exercise was faulty and based on misconceptions, will
not put food back on the tables of long-suffering Zimbabweans.
And likewise, trying to force banks to abandon prudent lending procedures by
demanding that they dish out money to villagers who do not have title deeds,
or anything else to offer as collateral, will just not work.
ZIMBABWE Republic Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena has
surely disavowed the application of laws in Zimbabwe. Hampered by filial
loyalty to President Robert Mugabe he, like Police Commissioner Augustine
Chihuri, has completely discarded any pretence to his professional
He is just one of the numerous Mugabe parodists
who, along with their benefactor, preoccupy themselves with the intimidation
of the citizenry, ignore the continuing political violence and actually
believe that they and their leader are still of some use to this
Meanwhile, the Executive, the police, the army and others
continue to gobble up our scarce resources, under the guise of salaries yet
none of them is serving the interests of the people. Instead, they insult us
at burial ceremonies by constantly muttering something about law and order,
which they collectively destroyed for their convenience.
Zimbabweans continue to work within the confines of the law but our President
tells the world we are law-breakers. Yet Mugabe himself does not even respect
the decisions reached and passed by his own judges.
he and Bvudzijena were buzzing like bees around a threatened hive as they
sought to misinform not only Zimbabweans, but the international community,
that both the stayaway and the demonstrations were illegal since they were
aimed at removing a legitimately elected government. My, oh, my! First,
Mugabe and his government are being challenged in court as the people seek
judicial confirmation of the last presidential election.
there is nothing illegal about a political party, civic group, citizens or
any individual seeking the removal of Mugabe or any leader from the
Presidency, as long as it is done within the law. I was dismayed when the
President flashed on his charm like high beams and spoke to his favourite
audience, the South Africans, through the SABC. With his id and ego up front
as usual, he used “we” in reference to himself and said: “We want our people
to be free, express their views and feel that the country belongs to them,
that they have a stake.”
Millions of people in this beautiful
country have been reduced to being spectators to the shenanigans and antics
of this government and its uncaring leader. Even our enterprising local
thieves have been reduced to stealing stressed-out cabbages and onions at
Mbare and Renkini bus termini.
There is nothing left to steal in
Zimbabwe any more. Shamefully, even the national airline can no longer afford
to fly people to tourist centres within the country. Further to that, the
people of Zimbabwe expressed the view that they no longer want the incumbent
President, but he is still there.
It is because of him that we
are not free, that we cannot express our view through the ballot box.
Instead, we are captives in our own country. He denies us a stake in this
nation. The heart of the matter is that because of this leadership, our
beautiful Zimbabwe is now a miserable, inadequate political orphanage. It is
now a massive refugee camp for locals running away from
We have a selfish leader, no caring government, no
police to serve and protect us and our army brutalises us. Yet nothing can be
more dangerous than a people who have nothing to lose. And today
Zimbabweans have nothing to lose.
What stake do we have when
Mugabe lets his goons kidnap corpses and beat up mourners because the
deceased belonged to an opposition party? What freedom do we have when we are
denied free elections and are, up to today, forced to accept a defeated
candidate as a President?
The people of this country realise that
there is a lot of work to be done to reclaim our political imperatives and
they are willing to clean up the mess caused by Mugabe. But he and his ZANU
PF stand in the way, as people continue to suffer when they could actually be
Masola waDabudabu (Daily News 31 May, 2003) raised an
interesting spectre when he told Mugabe that Soweto beckons. Boris Yeltsin of
Russia said the same thing to the Americans when then Soviet president
Mikhail Gorbachev was receiving monumental accolades abroad and none at
Yeltsin told the Americans to give Gorbachev a job in the
United States and leave the Russians to straighten out their country. The
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation told us that the South Africans temporarily
stopped weeping around Walter Sisulu’s coffin to give an appreciative, noisy
cheer of admiration for Mugabe.
I do not believe there are any
deranged Africans who can ignore the corpse of a loved one during a funeral
just to pause so as to berate and insult people, like what happens
However, the President told the South Africans that he wanted
our people to be free 23 years on.
If he really feels more
appreciated in South Africa he may want to approach President Thabo Mbeki or
just invade and set up a small Bantustan where he can go and live with his
Green Bombers, Patrick Nyaruwata’s version of war veterans, the Chipangano
brigade, Shuvai Mahofa and her dancing women ’s league and with his erstwhile
Pan-Africanist Congress comrades.
From what I have noticed, it is
quite safe to assume that Zimbabweans really have no further use for their
President. It does not seem there is any more respectful affection for him
since he has become an obligation upon the country. Yet he drones on and on
about freedom and independence – two of the things he is denying the citizens
If perceptions are shaped by one’s history, as I
believe they are, I do not believe that our South African brothers and
sisters, so soon after snapping off their chains of bondage, can ever support
an African whose full-time occupation is to subjugate and oppress other
Africans on this continent.
South Africans are just not like
that but they can have our President if they have some use for him. As for
us, it is quite clear now that independence and sovereignty brought us all
this misery; we therefore eagerly await the day this independence and
sovereignty will end in Zimbabwe so we can start to enjoy our
Tanonoka Joseph Whande is a Zvishavane-based writer.
LOCAL banks yesterday said there had been no improvement
in the supply of bank notes, despite promises by the central bank to inject
$24 billion in cash into the market from the middle of this
Officials in the banking sector said some financial
institutions were waiting as late as 9 pm every day to collect cash directly
from Fidelity Printers, a subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of
Outgoing central bank Governor Leonard Tsumba has said
Fidelity Printers would run “three shifts” to meet the huge demand for
He said billions of dollars of $500 bills would be released
into the market in the middle of this month, but banking executives this week
said the money was only expected towards the end of this month.
“Money is only expected on the 22nd (of June),” one executive said. “Cash is
only expected to trickle in just about then.”
secretary Prince Machaya was not immediately available for comment yesterday.
He was said to be in meetings.
But a central bank official said the
“money would be churned on a phased basis”.
have been battling severe shortages of bank notes since late April and have
been unable to meet consumer demands for cash.
The shortages have
led to the development of a black market for local currency.
article by The Chronicle on 22 May 2003 has misrepresented me and told
Seeing United States Secretary of State Colin Powell was not
the reason for my going to the United States. I went there on a human
The meeting with Powell lasted 25 minutes, not two
hours, as The Chronicle reported.
It was a courtesy call,
arranged for me by some of my friends who are concerned about human rights
and peace processes globally, and the peace process in Zimbabwe in
There was no discussion about effecting a change of
government in Zimbabwe, but there was concern about the humanitarian crisis
of starvation. I affirmed that feeding programmes by the World Food
Programme, in both rural and urban areas, were still necessary in
I also urged them to feed the hungry in towns, who amount
to about three million.
I received no reward at all from Powell
as is implied. It is also not true that I preach politics from the
I preach that all of us are made in the image of God and
our government has a duty to respect us.
The Chronicle also
invented lies alleging in April that I was about to begin a new political
party. I am not a politician but a church man and a defender of human
The Busybody column of 24 May 2003 implied discussions
concerning toppling President Mugabe.
God knows this is untrue
because that topic never came up. The idea of “clandestine meetings with the
MDC members known to hate Tsvangison” is mere fabrication, in which The
All in all, I am a patriot and I love my
country. I don’t see myself inviting a foreign country to intervene in our
The epilogue of the week-long Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) demonstrations against President Robert Mugabe’s government’s
failure to haul the economy from its downturn ignited fabulously crafted
propaganda by The Herald.
The paper described the demonstrations
as a catastrophic failure because heavily armed police and soldiers forcibly
forestalled the category of action, which was supposed to have taken place.
This description of the situation that prevailed is directly opposed to the
intellectual diction of failure. Robert Schuller, the author of possibility
thinking, described failure as success on its own.
that for someone to moot an idea, develop, commit his or her time and energy
and pool resources towards a project, is on its own a success.
He further said the fact that he/she does not clutch the intended goal in
their palms does not make them a failure because the amount of effort exerted
in the first place is by far greater than that needed when this person tries
Pronouncing the demonstrations a failure or a flop is rather
absurd and devoid of substance, for so-called failure did not come about by
virtue of poor planning or lack of vision by the MDC leadership.
Rather, it was because of misdirected collective efforts by the police and
the army, who were under instructions to usurp by all possible means
the people’s peaceful expressions of their indignation against a
The outcome of the demonstrations saw Morgan
Tsvangirai giving a clear testimony of what leadership really entails, by
mobilising and guiding the people’s intentions and efforts towards a curve
that magnified their resentment of Mugabe’s government.
that what had been planned was partially executed only to be thwarted by Zanu
PF’s forces makes Tsvangirai a victor, who has proved beyond reasonable doubt
the clear distinction between who is calling the shots in this country and
who is not.
Whatever he tells the people to do they jubilantly
espouse without hesitation, but if Mugabe gives the same instructions, he
reinforces them with the police and the army, which shows how much he
realised the futility of his power and the command of that
This analysis makes Tsvangirai a very significant persona in
the eyes of Zimbabweans, as an epitome of the change they clamour
If Information Minister Jonathan Moyo and his lieutenant
Munyaradzi Huni’s indiscreet post-mortem of the demonstrations tell them they
were a flop, by comparison I would like to challenge the duo to make
another post-mortem based on the success they have scored as a party and
government, during the course of the demonstrations.
assignment they should include:
The success by industry and
Success by small and medium-scale
Profits posted by the banking sector;
National economic growth margins;
Success in the human rights
How many hearts they have won;
How much they
have improved their international image.
I would also guide the two
lads by telling them that the only success that ZANU PF scored was the favour
of bringing thugs from rural areas for the first time to get a first-hand
acquaintance with the enigmatic First Street with its beautiful women and the
fragrant ozone, and possibly their first and last chance to touch masalad
(trendy city girls).
They shoved the beautiful lasses around for
having copies of The Daily News, whose contents depict their wretched plight
of unemployment, hunger, abuse and marginalisation, which they are already
experiencing since their unpaid assignment is now over.
result they achieved is alertness, due to constant fear of the unknown which
might strike them again, after they observed people’s evident allegiance to
the MDC and its leader, Tsvangirai.
They have indeed admitted in
their confines the certitude of “Sangria’ s” power, hence their haphazard
arrest of him, because they are afraid of the rate at which he is amassing
flesh to his political muscle.
The point they are overlooking here
is that by constantly arresting him they are not weakening him in any way.
Instead, the more they confine him in the cubicle of terror, the more he gets
hardened and the more the discontentment of the masses ferments.
The only mistake made by the MDC was the definition they gave to
the demonstrations, which they termed “the final push,” for if the push does
not yield the goals associated with a final action, it creates an
optional vacuum as to what is to be done next or whether what is to be done
next is adequately convincing to the general populace.
degree, this definition freckled the facial features of
I would have called it the ultimate revolution, which
is a process where if one aspect of the actions in the process of that
revolution hits a snag, another option is thrown into the fray, without
impacting negatively against the party.
This is not a big deal
because mistakes give people fresh courage to keep trying out positive
Success is only achieved by the amount of risk to which
one exposes themselves.
Kennedy Samanyanga is a poet and a