Bulawayo - A South African tourist was shot dead by three unidentified gunmen
at Hillside Dams, a family resort in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe police confirmed on
Inspector Langa Ndlovu, of the Zimbabwe Republic Police in
Bulawayo confirmed the killing but said that no suspects had been
The dead man, who was touring the country in the company
of his girlfriend, her father and her two young sisters, was identified as
Conan Thomas, a sound and lighting student at Allenby College in the Boksburg
area of Gauteng.
Leon Bezuidenhout, the father of Thomas's
girlfriend, said the gang of three assailants caught up with them as they
were sight-seeing around the Upper Hillside Dam.
"As they drew
level with us, one of the guys pulled out a pistol and shot Thomas without
saying anything. We were ordered to lie down as the gunmen took off our
shoes, wallets containing cash in various denominations and jewellery in the
form of diamond rings. They then fled into the bush.
mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on Thomas but he died as we watched," said
The tourists had arrived in Bulawayo a day before and
were supposed to have left on the day disaster struck.
stayed on because Thomas had insisted on seeing the Hillside Dams since this
was his first time in Zimbabwe. We did not know that we were going to watch
him die like that. The girls are so traumatised,"
Although the motive of the attack has not
been established, the assailants took wallets containing cash in various
denominations, credit cards, cheque books and diamond
The motive of the attack has not been
established Thomas's body is still at a private funeral parlour in
Bulawayo. It will be flown to South Africa as soon as funeral arrangements
Bezuidenhout said Thomas's death was the second blow
to the family in two months, following the death of a brother who was struck
by lightning in Johannesburg two months ago.
Zimbabwe's tourist destination has deteriorated badly since February 2000
when armed Zanu-PF supporters and veterans and of the 1970s liberation war
invaded commercial farms and killed commercial farmers, an act that
kick-started ongoing violence.
It has since spread to the
countryside and tourist resorts. Early this year, an Australian tourist was
stabbed to death in the northern resort of Victoria Falls.
Zimbabwe government, which has been accused of promoting violence with
impunity, has consistently denied that there is lawlessness in the country. -
Curse of Zimbabwe hits southern Africa Mugabe's
regime is damaging the tourist trade in neighbouring countries, says Joanne
Watson 21 June 2003
As the obnoxious regime of President Robert
Mugabe continues to abuse human rights, few tourists are travelling to
Zimbabwe. Unlike Burma, there is no concerted tourism boycott of the country
- rather, a collective sense of moral outrage at what Mugabe is doing to his
country and people is keeping travellers away. But the stance many have
adopted is severely affecting other southern African
Victoria Falls, for many an essential component of any trip to
southern Africa, is virtually deserted. Less obvious perhaps are the
consequences for the tourist trade of Zimbabwe's neighbours, as the town is
also a conduit for those wishing to cross the border into Botswana or
The airport on Zimbabwe's side of the Falls airport is able to
handle large aircraft; the nearest airfields in the other countries cannot.
Many of those on my plane (which was about one-third full, with most
passengers being American and French) were ultimately destined for countries
other than Zimbabwe.
Even if you want to get out of Zimbabwe as fast
as possible you still have to buy a visa, costing US$55 (£35) for a single
entry (which allows day trips over the border) or $77 (£50) for a
double-entry visa if you stay over in another country and intend to return
the way you came. That's in addition to the $30 (£19) fee to get
The US dollar is king in Zimbabwe; all trip prices are quoted in
dollars and then translated back into Zim dollars at the absurd official
rate. The parallel rate varies, but it is around six or seven times higher -
or, should you want to risk getting either mugged or arrested, even greater
via the youthful local moneychangers in the town centre.
our trip was to see the game in Botswana's Chobe national park and to see the
Victoria Falls from the Zambian side. In visiting both, it was immediately
evident how they are being affected by the dearth
Botswana, which has targeted an upmarket clientele, now
finds its swish lodges on the border equally deserted. At $200 (£130) a night
they used to do good business; now many people aren't prepared to travel
through Zimbabwe to get there. The large boats that once cruised up and down
the river are moored, redundant, on the banks. During a morning game-drive we
saw just three other vehicles. An attempt to change some $50 bills into
smaller denominations failed, as the hotel cashier said that they hadn't had
any business generating dollars to make the currency available.
similar story in Zambia. The nearest town to the falls is Livingstone, about
seven miles from the border. Whereas hotel prices on the Zimbabwean side have
fallen in a desperate attempt to generate business, those on the Zambian side
have, bizarrely, multiplied. One hotel that quoted $120 (£75) a night last
year is now asking $340 (£215), but there are few takers. Even the
bungee-jumping operators on the grand old iron bridge over the Zambezi are
trying in vain to drum up business.
A salutary lesson came in the
deserted curio market. While we haggled over the price of a wooden hippo,
another young stall-holder asked us for our used plastic water-bottles. They
were wanted, he said, to put paraffin in as bottles were in short supply. So,
too, is hope.
Analysts Believe Mugabe Will Call Early Elections Peta
Thornycroft Harare 23 Jun 2003, 15:46 UTC
Robert Mugabe, has instructed civil servants to begin preparing for a general
election. Mr. Mugabe's call comes two years before parliamentary elections
Mr. Mugabe is on the campaign trail, even though the next
major elections are not until 2005. He is on a tour of the country, and on
Sunday he announced that departments that control elections should
immediately begin preparing voters' rolls and making other arrangements for
To some political analysts, Mr. Mugabe's announcement seems to
be part of a plan for his honorable exit from power.
In an interview
Monday, political analyst Brian Kagoro, a long-time human rights activist,
said he expected Mr. Mugabe to remove himself gradually from the political
In the scenario outlined by Mr. Kagoro, the long-time
president of Zimbabwe would reform the constitution by abolishing the post of
executive president - the position he now holds - and would bring back the
post of prime minister. He would then appoint one of his closest aides as
prime minister, and finish his six-year term as president in a purely
According to Mr. Kagoro, by removing himself from
power, Mr. Mugabe would satisfy the wishes of regional leaders, who have come
to consider him a liability. And once Mr. Mugabe is no longer leading
Zimbabwe, said Mr. Kagoro, the international community would be able to lift
sanctions against leaders in the ruling ZANU-PF party, and begin restoring
aid and financial support for bankrupt Zimbabwe. Most foreign agencies have
suspended aid to Zimbabwe in response to Mr. Mugabe's autocratic
For the last two Saturdays, the state-controlled Herald
newspaper has run long biographies and interviews with two men who are
considered Mr. Mugabe's preferred candidates for the job of prime
One is the speaker of the parliament, Emmerson Mnangagwa, and
the other is a former home affairs minister, John Nkomo, who is now a
minister in the president's office.
Other political analysts do not go
into the detail that Mr. Kagoro does in predicting Mr. Mugabe's political
maneuvers, but most believe he will call early parliamentary elections,
hoping to win a two-thirds majority.
Such a majority would allow him and
his ruling ZANU-PF party to change the constitution, without needing any
support from opposition members of parliament.
For Mr. Kagoro and
virtually all other analysts in Zimbabwe, Mr. Mugabe's main aim is to ensure
that his ruling ZANU-PF retains hold on all the major institutions of power,
and does it in such a way as to satisfy African leaders in the
Jail conditions are a "scandal yet to explode"
JOHANNESBURG, - The
resignation this month of 10 senior magistrates citing low pay is the latest
blow to hit Zimbabwe's struggling justice system.
parliamentary report into Zimbabwe's prisons in June found that inmates
awaiting trail can spend up to four years in jail as a result of court
backlogs, due to staff shortages.
A statement last week by Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) expressed the group's concern. The ZLHR said
understaffing and low morale at the magistrate's courts had led to
"disturbing incidences of delay in the remanding of accused persons as well
as the delivery of judgments in general".
The ZLHR also noted
delays in the passing of judgements in cases deemed "political". It urged law
enforcement agents and the courts to be mindful of the constitutional rights
of accused persons that they be tried "within a reasonable
The parliamentary report stressed that Zimbabwe's prisons
were seriously overcrowded. Slightly more than 25,000 men and women are
serving prison terms or are on remand. The prisons, however, have only the
capacity for 16,000. Under the congested conditions, diseases such as
diarrhoea, scabies and HIV/AIDS-related illnesses were rife.
country's food crisis, which affects around half of all Zimbabweans,
represents an additional problem for inmates and was highlighted at the
weekend by the country's most high-profile prisoner, opposition leader Morgan
Freed on bail on Friday after two weeks in detention on
treason charges, Tsvangirai told the BBC that jail conditions were a "scandal
yet to explode". He shared an overcrowded cell with 75 other people who "have
very little food and their health condition is deteriorating".
"It is well known we have food shortages in Zimbabwe. It is only logical that
prisoners feel the effects," Zimbabwe Prisons Service (ZPS) spokesman, Frank
Meki, said at the begining of the year.
Women's organisations say
the plight of female prisoners can be particularly bad. The separation of
male and female prisoners is the furthest the law goes in recognising
differences between the sexes, consultant Jill Makarati told IRIN. She said,
for example, the law was silent on the provision and disposal of sanitary
supplies for menstruating women, or facilities for breastfeeding
ZPS was allocated Zim $15 billion (US $19 million) for its
42 prisons in this year's national budget. But according to Meki, funds have
all but run out halfway into the budget year, and ZPS has been forced to
apply for supplemtary financing to meet its obligations.
measures like granting amnesty to prisoners seemed to have done little to
avert the problem of overcrowding. A total of 5,500 prisoners were released
in January this year in an amnesty granted by President Robert Mugabe. But
the number of inmates is climbing back to its original level.
Zimbabwe has a community service programme under which offenders can be
sentenced to do community work at public institutions like hospitals
and schools while living at home. That option was not being properly
utilised, according to High Court Judge President Paddington
He recently told a meeting of judicial officers that most
prisoners in Zimbabwe's jails had committed petty crimes and should be
considered for community service rather than prison terms.
Minister of Justice Patrick Chinamasa said the government planned
to construct seven more prisons to deal with the problem of congestion.
"Our prisons are overcrowded, making it difficult to maintain acceptable
health standards. There is, therefore, a need to increase the number of
prisons, as it is the only way we can ease congestions," he was quoted as
Critics, however, have argued that building more jails
would not solve the underlying problem. This included a serious shortage of
magistrates, prosecutors and legal officers at the Attorney General's office,
which had brought the functions of the courts to a near halt.
Overall the magistrate's courts have a backlog of 60,000 cases. By mid-March
this year, the backlog of criminal cases in the capital, Harare, alone stood
at 3,200, while pending civil cases were at 12,000. By April, the same courts
had vacancies for 59 magisterial posts.
A former magistrate, who
declined to be named, alleged that the high staff turnover was due to the
justice ministry undervaluing the contributions of magistrates.
"Our colleagues in private practice charge at least Zim $200,000 [US $256]
for a one-day bail application at the High Court - that is slightly above the
monthly salary of a senior magistrate," the former magistrate
The ZLHR statement said that while it appreciated
"the constraints under which the members of the judiciary and the magistrates
are operating", a deliberate effort "has to be made by the judiciary to hand
down judgements efficiently, fairly and with reasonable
- Zimbabwe's main opposition party, Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), on
Monday launched an appeal for help in raising the steep bail set last week
for the release of its leader Morgan Tsvangirai, charged
"The president of the MDC was granted bail of Z$10m on
Friday. Given the limited ressources that the party is operating on it has
become necessary for the party to appeal to all Zimbabweans to assist...to
pay this amount," said an ad published in the independent Daily
Tsvangirai was arrest on June 6, the last day of week-long
anti-government protests organised by his party, and charged with treason for
allegedly inciting Zimbabweans to violently oust the government of President
Four days later a magistrates court charged him with
treason - the second such charge brought against the MDC leader - and he was
ordered to be held in custody for one month.
Treason is punishable by
death in Zimbabwe.
Tsvangirai's lawyers were given leave to apply for
bail, but that hearing dragged on and Tsvangirai had spent 14 nights in
prison before a High Court judge set his very stringent bail conditions and
he was released on Friday.
In addition to the Z$10m bail, the court
ordered Tsvangirai not to make "any statement that advocates the removal of
the government or the state president by violence" and to lodge title deeds
for property worth Z$100m with the court.
"We remain firmly of the
view that Mr Tsvangirai is innocent," the ad said.
"He is being
persecuted for fighting for justice and peace in Zimbabwe. He is being
persecuted for fighting for the people of Zimbabwe to have enough food. We
also believe that the state seeks to kill the MDC through excessive bail
payouts and legal fees."
The MDC blames Mugabe's regime for exacerbating
Zimbabwe's economic and social woes through misgovernance, and had called on
Zimbabweans to protest against the government by not going to work and by
holding "peaceful marches for democracy."
About 70% of Zimbabwe's
workforce is unemployed, annual inflation exceeded 300% last month, and
nearly half the country's 11.6 million people are threatened by famine caused
by a drought and chaotic land reforms.
The work stoppages called for by
the MDC were generally well followed in the southern African country's
cities, but attempts to hold marches were put down, often forcibly, by
security forces and pro-Mugabe militia groups.
Tsvangirai faces another
charge of treason, along with two key members of his party, for allegedly
plotting to eliminate Mugabe ahead of the 2001 presidential poll, which
The three deny the charges. A treason trial involving the
three has been underway since February.
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party yesterdays said several
of its supporters in Nkayi communal lands in Matabeleland South province have
fled their homes after being attacked by suspected ruling ZANU PF party
MDC Member of Parliament for Nkayi Abednico Bhebhe said many of
the villagers had fled to Bulawayo where they have sought sanctuary
with relatives and friends.
Ncube, who claimed that some of the
vehicles that have been used to ferry the youths to their victims' homes
appeared to have been painted in Zimbabwe Republic Police colours, accused
the law enforcement agency of turning a blind eye to the marauding
He said, "Vehicles (painted like) police vehicles are being used
to ferry the youths who carrying out the attacks."
Police at Nkayi
however dismissed the allegations that police vehicles had been used to
transport the marauding youths. "Why should the police involve themselves in
politics? We don't have such a report," an officer at Nkayi Police Station
Some of the villagers who escaped the youths told this newspaper of
how their relatives and loved ones were severely tortured by the militia men
and of how they themselves were lucky to escape to the safety of
MDC secretary for Nkayi district Aleck Nkiwane recounted how he
fled to Bulawayo after being tipped off that the suspected ZANU PF militias
were looking for him. But the opposition official said the pro-government
mob kidnapped his wife whom they are now holding as ransom until
Nkiwane surrenders himself to them.
Nkiwane said: "I heard that there
was a meeting where it was discussed that they wanted me so I fled. But I
have heard they are holding my wife to force me to surrender
Another MDC official Vita Masuku, who contested last year's
rural council election on behalf of the opposition party but lost, said she
fled at the middle of the night after being informed that the suspected ZANU
PF militias were planning to raid her home in Nkayi.
Masuku, who said
several villagers from her area had been severely injured during torture
sessions by the militias, said, "They are taking people to their base near
Ngwalande Clinic where they torture them. Some of my neighbours are actually
living in the bush for fear of the youths."
Political violence and human
rights abuses have escalated across Zimbabwe with the Zimbabwe Human Rights
Forum (ZHRF) this week reporting that five people, four of them supporters of
MDC, had been killed because of political violence since January this
The ZHRF, which brings together nine of the biggest human and civic
rights groups in Zimbabwe, said in a report released this week that state
security agents had allegedly taken the leading role in human rights
Most of the mainly opposition supporters victimised for their
political beliefs had reported that their attackers were people dressed in
ZRP or Zimbabwe National Arm uniform, the ZHRF said in the report.
EUROPEAN Union (EU) head of delegation in Harare Francesica
Mosca this week said the powerful bloc backed efforts to find a solution to
Zimbabwe's worsening political and economic crisis through
Mosca, who said the group was constantly reviewing the Zimbabwe
crisis, told The Daily News: "The EU, faithful to the principle of dialogue,
urges both the government and the opposition to opt for this highly
One of Zimbabwe's biggest trading and development
partners, the EU last year cut all non-humanitarian aid to the country and
imposed punitive targeted sanctions against Zimbabwe's leaders after
disagreeing on land reforms, human rights, the rule of law and
Mosca said a travel and financial ban slapped by the EU on
President Robert Mugabe, his wife Grace and officials of his government was
under constant review by the European body.
The EU's top diplomat in
Harare said: "The sanctions are kept under constant review and are renewable
every six months."
Several development and trade meetings between the EU
and the regional Southern African Development Community have been aborted
because the European body would not participate in such meetings if Zimbabwe
was also included while the African countries argued they did not want to
ostracise Zimbabwe out of issues affecting the region.
Zimbabwean government officials have exploited United Nations gatherings to
to visit EU territory.
Mosca refused to speak on the effectiveness of the
EU sanctions in bringing Mugabe and his government to change their
Once a showcase economy for Africa, Zimbabwe is
crumbling because international investors and capital have fled political
violence and human rights abuses in the country.
HARARE, June 23 (Xinhuanet) --
An outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease has hit Chivi and Gutu districts in
Zimbabwe's Masvingo province, forcing the Department of Veterinary Services
to suspend the movement of livestock.
The outbreak that comes
at a time when new farmers are still moving their cattle from their old homes
has severely affected Chivi where farmers were allocated land outside the
Chivi has no farms and all new farmers were resettled
in Mwenezi, Zaka, Masvingo and Chiredzi districts.
animal health inspector in Masvingo Ben Tigere confirmed the outbreak on
Monday, saying a critical shortage of vaccines was hampering efforts to
control the disease.
"We suspended the movement of livestock in
the two districts after an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease that was first
reported at the beginning of this month," he said.
the current shortage of fuel was aggravating the situation because it was
hindering the movement of animal health inspectors.
about 850,000 head of cattle and the outbreak of the disease could affect the
country's beef export. Enditem