Issues not black and white for Gray June 18 2003 By Nabila
When the anti-Robert Mugabe
protesters line up outside the Zimbabwean embassy in London for their weekly
rally this Saturday, they might be shocked by the presence of an unexpected
Malcolm Gray, outgoing president of the International Cricket
Council and driving force behind its controversial decision to make cricket
teams, including England and Australia, fulfil their schedule in Zimbabwe
during this year's World Cup, might just decide he has something to
"I might go and say, 'Listen! I'm this bloke and I agree with
everything you say!' " Gray told The Age.
The 63-year-old, whose
three-year reign as ICC president ends in London this week, has always
maintained he held a personal view on whether cricket teams, or indeed any
sporting side, should go to a country ruled by a tyrannical despot.
president of cricket's governing body, he maintained it was not up
to sporting teams to make political statements and that playing matches
in Harare and Bulawayo did not necessarily translate to an endorsement of
the Mugabe regime.
When England refused - after weeks of agonising
deliberations from both players and officials - to play its match against
Zimbabwe in Harare in the World Cup, the ICC took the four crucial points and
awarded them to Zimbabwe.
In the face of extreme pressure, including
hundreds of letters from Zimbabwean residents to Gray and newspapers around
the world, he held firm in his belief that he did not have the mandate to
make a political judgement and that matters of the state were far beyond the
jurisdiction of a sporting body anyway.
But in a recent interview with
The Age, Gray revealed his true feelings on the matter, telling of his
attendance at an anti-Mugabe rally in the months before the World
"About 12 months or so ago, I was in London and it was a Saturday .
. . each Saturday, the anti-Mugabe people hold a rally outside the Zimbabwean
embassy so I went along to that," he said. "I didn't say who I was or
anything," he added.
Gray's eyes well with tears even now when he
thinks of the turmoil Mugabe's government has caused for many
"I would get these letters, hundreds of them. Some were
terrific, well written, cogent, good letters. Others were almost hate mail.
You know, 'you weak so and so.' There's a couple of them where they'd write
about what was happening to their mother. They would make you weep - some of
them did make me weep."
But Gray claims the ultimate decision to make
teams play in Zimbabwe during the World Cup was not difficult to
"I suppose what some people were arguing was that by going there
you are helping the regime. I argued differently . . . I think that by going
there, the whole furore focused huge international attention on the issue,
which Zimbabwe wouldn't have got," he said.
While not regretting the
decision he made, Gray remains disappointed with the British and the
Australian governments, which cautioned the teams against going to Zimbabwe
but left the final decision up to the respective national bodies.
believe that our stance was absolutely, completely and utterly correct and
not only for that time, but for every time in any sport when politics are
involved, not politics of the sport but national politics, it's up to the
governments to be decisive about it.
"But politicians are clever and hide
behind the sports administrators - that's what the British Government
The Zimbabwe issue, coupled with the New Zealand team's refusal to
play in Kenya because of security concerns, had the potential to widen
further the growing split in world cricket between the East - namely the
subcontinental teams - and the West - traditionally England, Australia and
New Zealand - when India willingly went to Harare and Sri Lanka to
But it was the ICC's firm stance and eventual punishment of
England and New Zealand that averted a full-scale disaster.
believes the East-West divide is caused in part by deep-rooted
beliefs stemming from historical conflicts.
"It is human nature for
people to flock together and grow a colour mentality . . . One thing I've
learned in this job is just how racist people are. I didn't realise everybody
was as racist as they are," he said.
While Gray is reluctant to
acknowledge a split as such, he cannot see the problem going away any time
soon, either. But, he hopes that in the end, people will put aside their
small-minded squabbles for the good of the game.
"It's constantly brought
up that there may be a split. I believe the real threat of it is not as high
as people think . . . ultimately, common sense will prevail that if there is
a split, they're just going to ruin the sport, which ultimately will ruin
their own patch, their own power, their own finances."
governance of cricket is being highlighted by Gray as the major challenge for
the sport in coming years.
He believes cricket has been ill-equipped
historically to deal with modern-day challenges, with administrators unable
to handle the amounts of money the sport can generate.
"One of the big
dangers for cricket is that the sport doesn't necessarily have the ability to
handle big amounts of money and I would say that of the Australian Cricket
Board," he said.
"I am more convinced than ever that the most significant
issue still confronting international cricket is its own
"I think there is a slow realisation that the governance has
got to get better. Some people resist that change and resist it passionately
usually because it's taking some of their power or their ego satisfaction
away. But I think we're slowly getting there."
Gray pinpoints the
achievements of the anti-corruption unit as the highlight of his tenure, but
warns that cricket needs to remain vigilant if the disease that brought the
sport to its knees is to be kept away.
A former boss of the ACB, Gray
leaves the game largely satisfied with his work and has vowed not to return
to cricket because "there's nothing worse than boring old men hanging around
making constant reference to the good old days".
This weekend, when
his work is done at the ICC headquarters at Lord's, he will fly back home to
Melbourne, his family and real estate business.
But first, he has a
long-standing Saturday morning date.
Four men have
been hanged at the prison complex where Morgan Tsvangirai, the Zimbabwean
Opposition leader, is awaiting trial on treason charges, prompting
allegations that President Mugabe was seeking to intimidate his political
rival. Mr Tsvangarai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) described the
hangings as "a brutal show of force". Campaigners in the country for the
abolition of the death penalty condemned the sudden execution of the four,
which took place without any warning to their families. Mr Tsvangirai, who
was detained on June 6 on fresh charges of treason, is awaiting the ruling of
Judge Susan Mavangira on his application to be released on bail. She is
expected to hand it down later this week. The new charges arise from the
MDC’s campaign of public protests, which took place earlier this month, to
demand an end to Mr Mugabe’s 23-year rule. Mr Tsvangirai and two other MDC
leaders had been free on bail during their ongoing trial on previous
allegations of committing treason by plotting the assassination of Mr Mugabe,
79. David Coltart, the shadow Justice Minister, linked the timing of the
executions to Mr Mugabe’s statement to a rally on Friday that he was "glad
Tsvangirai is in state house (prison) now". Two of those executed, Stephen
Chidhumo and Elias Chauke, were among a group of four who escaped from
Chikurubi maximum security prison, on the outskirts of Harare, six years ago,
while serving sentences for robbery. One of them, shot dead before recapture,
snatched a rifle and killed a warder. The fourth escaper broke his leg and
died of his injuries in his prison cell. Judge (now Chief Justice) Godfrey
Chidyausiku sentenced Chidhumo and Chauke to death saying "it did not matter
who fired the fatal shot". No details were released of the crimes for which
William Mukurugunye and John Nyamazana were also hanged on Friday. Both were
alleged to be murderers.
From The Daily Telegraph (UK), 17
Zimbabwe judge broke into white homestead
Harare - 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 court. 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 years. "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 was gone."
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. Mr 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.
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. Mr 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 leave. "We are moving out
simply because it is impossible to get court orders obeyed here," said Chris
Nicolle, who lives on neighbouring Koodoo farm. 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 yesterday.
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
yesterday. 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 referendum. During his two years
on the bench, Harvard-educated Mr Justice Hlatshwayo has infuriated the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change. 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. Instead, he praised the "thorough and systematic" campaign of
the Zanu-PF candidate in Mberengwa East. Several members of the Nicolle
family have already left Zimbabwe and the remainder are preparing to.
Something long expected happened last week - and it
was not the Mugabe regime arresting opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai on
more treason charges, and parading him before a sniggering mob of
paramilitary guards in prison clothes, manacled and leg-ironed. It was the
front page of Saturday’s state-owned Herald newspaper. When it became clear
Mugabe would spare no effort to prevent a new national leadership being
selected through free elections, we knew sooner or later we would get omens
of change in the form of attempts in the state media to create a new national
messiah. The Herald’ s giant photograph of Parliamentary Speaker Emmerson
Mnangagwa - filling half the front page of a broadsheet newspaper - does not
necessarily signify that Mugabe is about to hand over to him, or has approved
Mnangagwa as his heir. It showed that the Mnangagwa faction feels bold enough
to stage this promotion for its presidential candidate. Other factions will
have been gravely discomfited. Information Minister Jonathan Moyo must have
had his devious hand in it. If anything were to "happen" to Moyo, it would
show the Mnangagwa faction has overplayed its hand, or lured Moyo into a
The courageous Dr. John Makumbe of the University of Zimbabwe
long ago discerned the ground rules Mugabe set up for the pattern of fiefdoms
by which he first subdued and then went on to bankrupt Zimbabwe.
Mugabe's lieutenants were encouraged (in the name of encouraging
indigenous entrepreneurship) to develop business empires, staffed by their
relatives and henchmen, in what were designated to be "their" areas. While
they kept these areas loyal to Mugabe they were spared all manner of
irritations such as loan repayments, income tax, licence and planning
inspectors. As their business empires grew, they and their extended families
thus became hostages to Mugabe through their ever-lengthening records of
shady dealings. If they stepped outside their designated fiefdoms by, say,
convening rallies in other parts of the country, the party machine would
ensure no one turned up. The significant point is that the Mnangagwa faction
now feel it can aim for a national constituency, although in the June 2000
parliamentary elections Mnangagwa lost his Kwekwe parliamentary seat to a
candidate for Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change. The personality
cult of Mnangagwa is focussed, predictably, on an imaginative attempt to
present him as a hero, second only to Mugabe, in the fight to overthrow white
rule in former Rhodesia. It also aims to rid him of the image he acquired as
head of the Central Intelligence Organisation during the 1982-1987
Matabeleland atrocities when up to 20 000 people died, according to human
rights lawyers and Roman Catholic churchmen. If Zimbabwe had a satirical
equivalent of Private Eye in Britain it would surely produce a spoof version
of the Herald report headed, "Meet your friendly neighbourhood human rights
Mnangagwa told the Herald, "People think I'm a hard person
but those close to me know I'm as soft as wool." We are told that Mnangagwa
strongly opposed the death penalty. Yet, when he was justice minister he
forestalled attempts to outlaw executions, and dozens of hangings took place,
13 of them in secret because the Pope was about to make an ill-advised visit
to Zimbabwe. The Herald eulogy made no mention of Mnangagwa’s responsibility
for the exponential growth of the CIO, its culture of impunity, and its
vendettas. These included the long detention of customs officers John Austin
and Kenneth Harper who got too close to members of the elite smuggling drugs
and stolen cars. "I've seen a lot of death in my life. I don't want to kill.
War is not nice," said Mnangagwa. The Herald glossed over Mnangagwa’s
youthful flirtation with Joshua Nkomo's Zapu and skated round his Zambian
roots, which led the Rhodesian authorities to deport him after serving his
sentence for sabotaging a rail line in 1964 (there was no heroic jailbreak,
as sometimes claimed). Mnangagwa, described as from the royal family
of Mapanzure chiefs, protested, "I have no aspirations to (the) presidency
at all … My only wish is to continue serving the country. I'm above
average intelligence (but) how do you aspire for a position where there is
no vacancy?" Mugabe may find this dangerously ambiguous statement
reassuring. Or he may remember how the late Malawian dictator Hastings Banda
crushed his finance minister, Aleke Banda, once speculation started that
Aleke might be the next "life president." Either way, The Herald article will
be kept on file by those who, like George Orwell's hero Winston Smith in
1984, want to see how a propaganda machine rewrites history and constantly
re-invents the Big Brother figure.
The Mnangagwa faction is trying
to create a self-fulfilling prophesy. Business elements previously linked to
the reformist element in Zanu PF are in the meanwhile raising voices, in
private, against Tsvangirai. Desperate for relief from current financial
strains they are urging Tsvangirai to offer concessions and find someone he
can work with - if not Mnangagwa, then someone else acceptable to Mugabe.
They have leaked reports of secret talks between Zanu PF and Tsvangirai's MDC
involving the churches - when all the churches have done is solicit
uncompromising views from both sides. What the outside world needs to note is
that just when Tsvangirai looks at his most vulnerable, in a prison cell,
with a second hanging offence against him, the Zanu PF monolith is trembling
and cracking. There may be a long process of subterranean strain as invisible
pressures build up. Or there may be a sudden landslide. But, as they say in
earthquake zones, The Big One is coming.
Harare - Goods worth millions of dollars were destroyed on
Tuesday when a train carrying diesel fuel and building materials derailed and
caught fire at Colleen Bawn, near Gwanda, 400km southwest of Zimbabwe's
capital Harare, state radio reported.
The Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation said the driver of the goods train was injured but was extricated
from the wreckage by rescuers. There were no reports of other
The ZBC said the accident occurred early on Tuesday morning
at the same spot on the privately-operated Bulawayo Beitbridge Railway where
a derailment occurred in April. An investigation is under way. - Sapa-DPA
Harassment and attempted seizure at Excelsior
Sunday the 16th of June
Yesterday at 3:30pm, a dark coloured
Pajero, with 9 uniformed Border Gezi youth inside came to Excelsior Farm,
which is leased and farmed by Roy Bennett MP.
They were armed with
steel bars and whips, and threatened and harassed the farm manager, Mr Brown
Laston, asking the whereabouts of `Bennett' and demanding his cell phone
number. Their spokesperson, who called himself Gorilla, told Mr Laston, that
they had `taken' the farm, it now belonged to them, and that Bennett must
finish up his farming operations and move off.
They left two cell phone
numbers, Gorilla gave his number as 011422838. Bayisa gave his number
023289315. When Gorilla obtained Mr Bennett's cell phone number they called
him, saying `we have taken your farm, come and pay your workers', before he
hung up on them.
This follows actions on Friday where 4 people arrived at
Excelsior farm in Ruwa in a dark Blue Mercedes-Benz sedan, licence plate
number 622 928V. They spoke to the guard at the gate, and asked who owned the
farm. When they were informed that the manager was not present, they claimed,
"We own this farm, we will be coming back to take it, to move in" before
The leader of this first group was one Felix Shame
Mangozho of 4 Montiose Rd Mt Pleasant, Ph 301335.
These actions are
obviously in pursuance of Mugabe's statement on Thursday that Bennett's farm
must be taken, and given to more `loyal' citizens. Mugabe's statements are
openly in contempt of court orders These orders against the police, the army
and the CIO to prevent them interfering with the operation of Roy Bennett's
Charleswood Estates in Chimanimani.
Transcript of Mugabe speech at
Nyakomba Irrigation Scheme in Nyanga as broadcast on ZTV 8 pm Newshour,
Robert Mugabe: Our country deserves to be an important country.
To all of you citizens of Manicaland. It was liberated by the blood of your
children, it was liberated by the power of your children, it was liberated by
your wish. Protected villages were in abundance in this country, and all of
you are aware of that. During the minority white rule, the ordinary African
was subjected to a lot of harassment, and you are all aware of that. Because
of that, you, the same people who suffered under colonialism, can not
feed, can not house or can not shelter the MDC because they want to destroy
the gains of our armed struggle, for which your sons and daughters
You can see that the thinking in the MDC is childish, it is
childish. Enough is Enough. I don't know if they really believe that we would
sit back and ignore the Court ruling declaring the stayaway is illegal,
the mass action is illegal, that we should just sit on our laurels, because
it was Tsvangarai and his British. We know that the British are behind
this. This guy called Mr Donnelly, if he continues doing it, we will kick him
out of this country. So we knew about it. So we said no, this will
never happen. If they try it again, they will see how far we will go with
them. So we hope they have learnt their lesson. If they haven't, they will
learn it the harder way. Harder than it has been so far.
Bennetts and the De Klerk, are not deserving cases in regards to allocation
of land, because they are destabilizing out society, they are for illegality;
they are supporting a party in its program of pursuing an illegal course to
power. All those who are working in this illegal way, in this manner of
destabilizing our society, do not deserve a portion of our land at all. If
they have it, if they have that land, that land will be taken from them and
be given to more loyal citizens, so I don't want to hear that there is a
Bennett, that there is a de Klerk who continues to destabilize our well
being, they must go from here.
Those who closed their businesses during
the stayaway, fine. We want them to be given sanctions. They closed their
businesses in solidarity with the MDC. Those ones, we will revoke their
operating licenses, so that they will not repeat such a thing. After we have
done that, if it is a factory, if it is a grocers shop, we will give these to
the workers. The government will help them to run these
On Sunday the 15th of
June in the afternoon, a group of CIO officers in a black Pajero lead a group
of 150 Border Gezi Zanu-Pf youth to occupy Excelsior farm in Ruwa on the
command of Robert Mugabe. Excelsior farm is currently leased by Roy Bennett
The farm labourers who work on Excelsior farm have fled at the
approach of the youth, in fear of a repeat of the violent and extreme beating
they received in March by Zanu-PF operatives again led by CIO
The CIO operatives were armed with handguns and an AK47, with
which they threatened to kill anyone who worked for Bennett. They were
driving a black new model Pajero with tinted windows.
The youth have
almost completely looted the farm. They have killed one of Mr Bennett's
cattle, three of his sheep, looted everything from the workshop including
2000 litres of diesel, and have stolen 53 bags of maize. Trucks have been
coming and going from the farm with stolen goods all yesterday and today.
There are also reports that they have stolen farm machinery.
broken in to the farm manager's house, and have stolen $183,000 in cash and
looted all his possessions.
Many of the youth are armed weapons,
including at least four guns, including a shotgun stolen from the gun safe on
Mr Bennett immediately informed Epworth police station, who
stated that they were unable to act as it was `political'. Finally the Asst
Inspector Mupazaraio, accompanied MR Bennett's security Manager, Sgt Dube to
the farm. When they arrived late last night, they were refused entry by
the youth. When they returned again this morning, they were refused entry
by youth armed with guns, lead by Zanu-PF activist and commander for the
area who goes for the name of `Baiyso'. Baiyso stated that `We are operating
on President Mugabe's orders that Bennett must have nothing, so we are
taking everything' You police have no jurisdiction because we are
under Presidential orders.
For more information or an interview with
Mr Bennett, please call the office of Roy Bennett on 04748240 or
Russ Feingold, one of Zimbabwe's great crusaders in the United States Senate,
made the following statement on Monday, June 9, 2003:
today I draw my colleagues' attention to the situation in Zimbabwe, where
courageous citizens continue to protest the political repression and economic
collapse that have plunged their country into crisis.
President Mugabe has made a series of decisions intended to tighten his grip
on power regardless of the cost to the country, trampling on the independence
of the judiciary, harassing the independent media, manipulating the political
process, intimidating opposition supporters, destroying the economy, and
exacerbating a food crisis. A very real and legitimate issue the need for
meaningful land reform was for a time employed as a fig leaf for the regime.
But it has long been clear that this government is not interested in justice,
only in power.
Last week's general strike has been the latest
manifestation of public dissatisfaction. Reports from the region indicate
that security forces are violently suppressing efforts to demonstrate in the
streets, using rubber clubs, rifle butts, water cannons, tear gas, and live
ammunition to disperse crowds, according to the Associated Press. Some 300
people have been arrested, including opposition parliamentarians. At this
difficult time, it is important that the people of Zimbabwe know that the
world is watching, and that like the Zimbabweans demanding change, the
international community has not lost hope for the country.
I was proud
to work with the distinguished Majority Leader, Senator Frist, on the
Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act, a bill which was passed into
law in the last Congress. This legislation makes it clear that when the rule
of law is restored in Zimbabwe, and when the civil and political rights of
citizens are respected, the United States will come forward to help the
country recover, rebuild. We will continue to fight the AIDS pandemic that
is taking such a terrible toll on Zimbabwean society. I look forward to the
day when we can follow through on that commitment, Mr. President, and help
Zimbabwe to realize its tremendous potential as an engine of growth and model
of participatory democracy in the region. Time after time, news reports
confirm that Zimbabwe is full of patriots -- citizens who refuse to allow
their country to be hijacked by a self-serving cabal, independent journalists
who risk torture when they seek to report the truth rather than the ruling
party line, parents who want their children to grow up in a Zimbabwe free
from repression and corruption. These people deserve our support and our
Zimbabwe's annual inflation rises to 300% June 17, 2003
Harare - Zimbabwe's runaway annual inflation rate
climbed nearly 31 percent to just above 300 percent last month, the state-run
Herald newspaper reported Tuesday.
The rise, which puts the
annual inflation rate at 300.1 percent, was due to steep price increases of
foodstuffs, consumer durables and services.
With inflation at 300
percent in May, the objective of Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa to bring
the annual rate back down to below 100 percent appears to be out of
Murerwa made the pledge to stem runaway inflation when he
presented the budget for 2003 at the end of last year .
Zimbabwe's rampant inflation is a reflection of the deep-seated economic
crisis that is battering the country. Food, fuel and foreign currency are in
short supply here, and some 70 percent of the working population is
Three-quarters of Zimbabweans live below the poverty
line, and nearly half the population of some 11.6 million are at risk from
famine, sparked by a drought and by chaotic land reforms introduced by
President Robert Mugabe's government. - Sapa-AFP
Zimbabweans, angered by South
Africa's continued silence on the "unreasonable" imprisonment of opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai by President Robert Mugabe's regime are planning
action on the border to prevent goods from entering Zimbabwe.
"Silence amounts to approval," said Lovemore Madhuku, a spokesman
for Zimbabwe's largest civic group, the National Constitutional
"There is no other reasonable inference from South
Africa's actions other than that its government fully supports efforts by the
Mugabe regime to wipe out the MDC."
Madhuku said there was no
way President Thabo Mbeki could play the role of an honest broker in the
Zimbabwe crisis if he kept silent on blatant human rights violations in
Zimbabwe as shown by Tsvangirai's arrest.
Chairman of the
anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International, (Zimbabwe Chapter), John
Makumbe, said South Africa's "deafening" silence over the manner in which
President Mugabe was "dehumanising" Tsvangirai
South Africa had kept silent on most gross
human rights violations in Zimbabwe, and one would have thought Tsvangirai's
unjustified incarceration would have provided the Mbeki government with the
chance to set the record straight, Makumbe said.
Citizens Abroad President Jay Jay Sibanda said his group was now planning to
travel to Musina and forcibly shut the Zimbabwe/South
"Since President Mbeki has ignored all calls to
use his leverage on Mugabe, we will go and forcibly shut the border for him
so that no South African goods enter Zimbabwe ... There are many of us
(Zimbabweans) here and we are appealing for help to hire buses and travel to
Zimbabwe opposition chief back on trial for
HARARE, June 17 — Zimbabwean opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai was returned for trial for treason on Tuesday, hauled from a
prison cell where he is waiting to hear whether he will be bailed on a
second, separate set of treason charges.
arrested on June 6 following a five-day protest by his Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), the greatest threat to President Robert Mugabe's
23-year rule, and charged with treason for trying to overthrow the
president. The new charges triggered a week's adjournment in the MDC
leader's original trial for allegedly plotting to assassinate Mugabe.
Tsvangirai and two other party officials accused in the first trial could
face the death penalty if convicted. The state's case against the
three hinges on a videotaped meeting in Montreal between Canadian-based
political consultant Ari Ben-Menashe and Tsvangirai, who allegedly discussed
Mugabe's ''elimination.'' Ben-Menashe, challenged as an unreliable
witness by the defence, has admitted he videotaped the meeting solely to get
evidence for the government but denied entrapping Tsvangirai or that he was
paid for it. On Tuesday defence lawyer George Bizo quizzed state
witness Happyton Bonyongwe, head of Zimbabwe's national spy agency, over why
a contract the government later signed with Ben-Menashe did not mention
$200,000 he had been paid in advance. Bonyongwe denied the contract
was deliberately misleading, saying the $200,000 was the sum total of a
number of smaller amounts detailed separately in the agreement, and denied
defence allegations that the government still owed Ben-Menashe
$400,000. The defence team says the video was doctored to discredit
the MDC, the most potent challenge to Mugabe's power since he led the country
to independence from Britain in 1980.
Wankie Colliery has finally received the US$5,3
million from the African Export-Import Bank after the Government provided the
necessary guarantee and will use the cash to buy spares.
US$543 000 has been provided by the Government through the Ministry of Mines
and Mining Development as efforts to rescue the coal
Wankie has been running at half capacity because
of a lack of spares.
The Minister of Mines and Mining Development, Mr
Edward Chindori-Chininga, confirming the arrival of the funds through Jewel
Bank said production should now rise.
Wankie Colliery Mine managing
director Mr Kudzai Bwerinofa last week said only 18 percent of the 55
heavy-duty vehicles were operational.
The rest have broken down due to
unavailability of foreign currency to buy the necessary spare
Equipment grounded includes coal hauliers, dump trucks, rope
shovels, bulldozers, graders, wheeldozers and cranes.
failed to supply demand threatening the survival of fertiliser manufacturers,
cement producers and tobacco farmers.
In recent weeks, cement producers
were forced to suspend operations owing to the coal shortage while some
tobacco farmers have failed to cure their crop on time.
listed on the Johannesburg and London Stock Exchanges, the benchmark of trade
activities in Africa and Europe respectively, the company has continued to
make serious losses.
Last year, Wankie made a loss of $5,6
There have been allegations of mismanagement levelled against
The Government, which has a 40 percent stake in the
mine, asked the entire board to resign but the board refused to go, asserting
that the mines ministry had no power to remove board members.
Chindori-Chininga refused to discuss the matter last week. The Government was
still studying the situation at the colliery.
A task force drawn from the
Ministries of Industry and International Trade, of Transport and
Communications, of Finance and Economic Development and of Mines and Mining
Development is expected to meet later this week to start work on ending the
ZIMBABWE: Concern over government's strike ban IRINnews Africa, Tue 17
The labour ministry can change the list to include
workers previously not on it
JOHANNESBURG, - Zimbabwe's Congress
of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has expressed concern over the government's decision
to ban strikes in essential services and its ability to redefine what an
essential service is.
Collen Gwiyo, acting secretary-general of the
ZCTU, called the new legislation "draconian" and said removing the right to
strike presupposed that the existing mechanism to resolve disputes was
"But it is not," said Gwiyo. "The government wants to
curtail any freedom of movement and expression."
In March the
Labour Relations Amendment Act came into law. It does not contain a
definition of what an essential service is, leaving it to the discretion of
the labour minister to decide what profession can be listed.
Explaining the new legislation, National Constitional Assembly head Lovemore
Maduku said that while banning strikes in essential services, like nursing
and fire brigades, was not uncommon internationally, the fact that the list
of essential services was allowed to be changed at short notice
He said this meant that if a sector not included
on the list warned that it was about to strike, the current legislation
allowed the minister to issue a last-minute declaration, changing the list to
include that sector and ban the strike.
"So in the Zimbabwe
context, the service may not necessarily be essential, but it is what the
minister considers essential," Maduku told IRIN. He added that the previous
law set out what an essential service was, whereas the current one leaves it
up to the minister.
The current list includes employees of the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation, the Zimbabwe National Railways and the
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Company, he said. However, the list no longer
automatically includes all civil servants, with teachers absent from the list
Maduku, a constitutional lawyer, said an important
point in the legislation was that the strike ban did not cover stayaways -
regarded as political actions.
"A strike is limited to a dispute
between an employee and an employer over wages or working conditions. A
stayaway is not illegal in terms of labour legislation. This is covered under
the Public Order and Security Act, which makes it compulsory to seek police
clearance," he said.
Earlier this month the opposition launched the
latest in a series of anti-government stayaways, reportedly bringing most
business to a halt for a week.
A last-minute court order banned
the stayaway, and MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was arrested and charged for
treason for his role in
Herald Reporters THE oil
industry has set up a scheme to enable local companies with foreign currency
import fuel through players in the sector to alleviate the impact of fuel
shortages on businesses.
Under the deal, the companies would first have
to obtain import licences before approaching individual oil companies for
The minimum amount of fuel that can be imported under the
scheme is 25 000 litres.
"Companies with foreign currency accounts can
now import fuel in US dollars through one scheme where they will be issued
with coupons, which can then be exchanged for fuel," said the oil companies
in a statement yesterday.
The oil companies would procure the fuel, clear
it at the border, transport and store it on behalf of the
The Deputy Minister of Energy and Power Development, Cde
Reuben Marumahoko, said the scheme was part of the deregulation of the fuel
"That is their own arrangement and there is nothing wrong with
the facility. Noczim will be ordering fuel mostly for the strategic
"The fuel industry has been deregulated and what it means is
that we are allowing the oil industry to bring its own fuel," said Cde
The deregulation of the fuel industry was part of the
arrangements for the country’s economic revival under the National Economic
Revival Programme launched by the Government this year.
spokesman Mr Stanley Njenga said the scheme was introduced to help businesses
that wanted to import their own fuel.
"The businesses are given import
licences and they come to oil companies because they do not know how to
import. We charge them for transport and storage," Mr Njenga said.
he acknowledged that the facility was being abused by some who resold the
fuel on the parallel market.
He said stringent measures should be put in
place to ensure the imported fuel was not directed to the unofficial
Government recently directed that only senior officials in the
Ministry of Industry and International Trade approve licences for importing
fuel following a discovery that many businessmen were working with
junior officials and abusing the system.
There had been numerous
allegations that junior officers were offering licences randomly to
undeserving recipients in return for favours.
The scheme by the oil
industry comes at a time some service stations in Harare are said to be
selling fuel at prices above those stipulated by the Government.
commodity is being sold at prices between $1 000 and $2 000 a litre, instead
of the stipulated $450 a litre for petrol and $200 a litre
Cde Marumahoko said though he was not aware of such a
practice, those selling the fuel at prices above those prescribed should stop
"I am not aware that they are doing it. We expect those
selling the commodity to comply with the gazetted prices," he said.
Beitbridge Border Post, Government was now allowing tankers carrying fuel to
be cleared under special delivery orders.
The facility was put in place
after several new players joined the fuel industry following Noczim’s failure
to import adequate supplies.
"All vehicles carrying fuel are cleared
under that facility which means clearance papers are handed to Customs well
after those cars have left the border post," said a shipping agent at the
In the past all haulage vehicles, including those ferrying fuel,
had to queue at the border post and would only leave after being
Shipping agents said there had been an increase in the number of
companies importing fuel, with some companies importing up to 175 000 litres
of both petrol and diesel daily.
Although the volume of haulage trucks
coming through the border had generally gone down owing to the scarcity of
foreign currency, activity in the fuel sector showed a marked increase with
at least five out of every 15 truck arrivals being fuel tankers destined for
either Zimbabwe or Zambia.
Farmers, individuals and other companies with
offshore accounts had of late started importing fuel after the shortage
threatened to ground various industries.
But some of the imported fuel
has of late found itself on the parallel market.
The fuel parallel
market is thriving all the way from Harare to Beitbridge and youths wait for
trucks along the main road to buy the commodity for resale at unbelievable
prices of up to $60 000 for 20 litres of either petrol or diesel.
Government had also relaxed fuel importing conditions for individuals under
the Open General Import Licence now allowed to bring up to 200 litres a day
duty-free. Those not eligible for the monthly rebate could bring only up to
100 litres a day.
All fuel has to be carried on the vehicles of the
importers and in safe containers.
The fuel supply situation remains
critical in most parts of the country with motorists now going for weeks
without receiving either diesel or petrol.
Cars and trucks are now
gathering dust in petrol queues at garages in and around Harare, as the
precious commodity is no longer available on the open market.
of minibuses and commuter omnibuses stretching for long distances snake
around designated garages as fuel supplies remain critical leading to public
But the Government was pursuing a number of
initiatives to resolve the fuel crisis, including resuming imports from
Libyan minister of African Unity Dr Ali Tarki was in Zimbabwe
recently to discuss ways of reviving fuel supplies to the
Last year Libya renewed a US$360 million fuel deal with Zimbabwe
to cover the importation of fuel for another year.
Under the deal,
Libyan companies were to invest in Zimbabwe or import commodities such as
sugar, beef and other agricultural products in exchange for fuel.
deal collapsed when Zimbabwe was unable to supply the goods owing largely to
the drought that hit the country last season.
The Government hopes that
the Libyan deal, the liberalisation of the oil industry and allowing
individuals and companies to import fuel would help ease fuel shortages as
the country battles to find a lasting solution to the fuel
Zimbabwe has since 1999 suffered erratic fuel supplies due to the
foreign currency squeeze.
Noczim requires more than US$40 million a
month to import 67 million litres of fuel, but the oil company had its credit
lines cut over mounting debts.
Reporter The legitimacy of President Mugabe as the Head of State is not
negotiable, Zanu-PF said yesterday.
Party deputy secretary for
information and publicity Professor Jonathan Moyo said media reports that the
MDC was seeking unconditional dialogue with Zanu-PF to address what it says
are issues of legitimacy were a waste of time because no one would listen to
Zanu-PF was reacting to a story in yesterday’s Daily News, which
quoted MDC secretary-general Professor Welsh-man Ncube saying his party was
ready to resume dialogue with the ruling party to "resolve the issue of
"What is particularly preposterous about the reports is that
Ncube, who is facing treason charges before the High Court of Zimbabwe, is
said to have had the temerity to assert that the issue of legitimacy is
subject to negotiation," said Prof Moyo.
"The time has come for
British media mouthpieces and puppets that are being used by Rhodesian Selous
Scouts running the MDC to get it in their thick heads that President Mugabe’s
legitimacy as Head of State is not subject to any negotiation.
that the President’s legitimacy is subject to negotiation is tantamount to
putting a totally unacceptable precondition to any talks and the povo that
makes up Zanu-PF will not accept that nor will law-abiding Zimbabweans at
large," he said.
MDC says it does not recognise Presi-dent Mugabe’s
victory in last year’s presidential election and is challenging the results
in the High Court, seeking a re-run of the poll.
President Mugabe has
said Zanu-PF is prepared to resume dialogue with the MDC but the opposition
party should recognise him as the legitimate Head of State following his
victory in the presidential election declared as a free expression of the
will of Zimbabweans by several observers.
"This is because everyone with
any modicum of sense knows that legitimacy is first a product of the will of
the people as a matter of democratic practice done in accordance with the
laws and constitution of the land.
"When there is doubt or question about
this democratic and constitutional position, the forum for that is the High
Court of Zimbabwe and not the streets or any negotiation," said Prof
He said those who wanted to negotiate the legitimacy of the
President happened to be the same people who threaten illegal street marches,
defy High Court orders and plot coups because they are lawless hooligans who
are no better than terrorists.
"So Zanu-PF will not negotiate with
anyone, let alone Welshman Ncube and his sellout MDC, the legitimacy of
"The issue of legitimacy is not negotiable and will
thus not be negotiated because it was decided by the people as an expression
of their sovereignty in terms of our laws and constitution.
MDC sellouts do not know or understand this, then they have a big problem,"
said Prof Moyo.