ZISPA PRESS RELEASE 3 June 2004 Monitoring of e-mails
Internet Service Providers Association) is the official independent body that
represents all registered ISPs in Zimbabwe. ZISPA can confirm that its
members have received a proposed amendment to the existing franchise
agreements between TelOne and the ISPs. The current agreements cover the
provision of Internet bandwidth by TelOne, the state-owned telecommunications
company, to ISPs.
This proposed amendment is currently subject to
discussion and negotiation between the ISPs and TelOne over its
ZISPA wishes to confirm that there is no monitoring of any sort
of any e-mails by any of its members at the moment and that none of its
members have signed the proposed contract amendment.
committed to providing e-mail and Internet users with regular updates on this
matter and will update the website with new developments.
Zimbabwe opposition blames govt for blocked emails
Zimbabwe's main opposition accused president Robert Mugabe's
government today of blocking its electronic mail to subscribers to suffocate
dissenting voices. A local Internet service provider (ISP) notified
subscribers on the opposition Movement for Democratic Change's (MDC)
electronic mailing list that an e-mail from the party had been blocked
because "it contains sensitive content".
Officials at the company were
not reachable for comment. Several similar alerts have been sent out to MDC
mail subscribers in the past two weeks. "The blocking of emails from the MDC
is yet another ploy by the regime to deny people access to as wide a variety
of views as possible," an MDC spokesperson said.
He said today's
e-mail was an invitation to local media to a news conference where the leader
of a smaller party announced he was joining the main opposition. He said the
MDC was seeking legal advice over the blocked mail.
Standard newspaper reported last weekend that the government wanted to force
all Internet service providers to sign a contract compelling them to block
"politically sensitive, objectionable, unauthorised or obscene" e-mails.
Government officials have not commented on the report.
freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders denounced the reported move as a
threat to freedom of expression in a statement today. "It is necessary to
fight such things as racial hatred and child pornography on the Internet, but
it is very important this does not reduce the right of Internet users to
express themselves openly," said the watchdog, which ranks Zimbabwe at 141
out of 166 countries on its press freedom index.
The MDC accuses Mugabe's
government of enacting harsh security and media laws to muzzle critics as the
country grapples with an economic crisis widely blamed on state
The government says the media laws instil professionalism
in private media it accuses of spreading Western propaganda against its
seizure of white-owned farms for landless blacks.
Earlier this year,
the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional sections of new post legislation
which allowed Mugabe to order the monitoring of electronic mail and telephone
conversations. - Reuters
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's rebels have abandoned their bitter
struggle with the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU).
"My clients want to
move on," the players' lawyer, Chris Venturas, told Reuters on
"They talked about it and decided it is time to disband and fly
north. I think there is a very remote chance that they will play for Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe have been forced to pick a second-string team since
April 2 when 15 white players made themselves unavailable over what they see
as racially driven selection policies.
Their stand was sparked by
Heath Streak's removal from the captaincy after he questioned the composition
of the selection panel.
The inexperienced Zimbabwe team has since lost 10
consecutive matches to Sri Lanka and Australia and the dispute also led to
last month's test series with Australia being called off over concerns about
Zimbabwe's test playing status.
The ZCU fired the players for the
stand they took, and the rebels asked the International Cricket Council (ICC)
on May 20 to form a dispute resolution committee to
Venturas said his clients had yet to receive a response from
"We gave the ICC seven days to get back to us and we haven't
heard anything," Venturas said.
"We have to assume that nothing is
happening, or even if it is it's too late for my clients. They want to move
A statement signed by 13 of the rebels and
released on Friday said they took their action "in solidarity with our
national captain, Heath Streak, who was unlawfully dismissed, as well as in
protest at the unfair and discriminatory employment practices perpetrated
against us by individuals of the ZCU".
The rebels alleged that ZCU
officials committed transgressions, including interfering with the selection
process and making threats to try to ensure teams included more black
"It was our hope that meaningful dialogue and negotiation would
address our problems with the ZCU," the statement said.
"Long hours in
meetings with them were spent trying to achieve our goal to safeguard the
future of Zimbabwe cricket.
"For the record, our actions have never been
racially or politically motivated. In fact, through our years of service and
dedication we feel we have been an example of a successful and multi-racial
"Despite some perceptions, we have proven time and time again
that Zimbabweans of all colours can work together and achieve excellence as
shown in our last two World Cups."
The statement was signed by Streak,
Grant Flower, Stuart Carlisle, Craig Wishart, Trevor Gripper, Andy Blignaut,
Gary Brent, Travis Friend, Sean Ervine, Ray Price, Barney Rodgers, Neil
Ferreria and Richard Simms.
Several rebels have made arrangements to play
elsewhere, while an unofficial tour by them as a team has also been
Pace bowler Streak will play for Warwickshire, while Blignaut has
been signed by Tasmania and fellow all rounder Ervine has moved to Perth and
will also play for Hampshire.
Batsmen Gripper and Flower will play
club cricket in England.
the white commercial farmer who allegedly shot and killed a resettled black
farmer and injured another one over a farm boundary dispute in Odzi two weeks
ago, has been remanded in a private hospital to next week by a Mutare
Spero-Landos (45) was allegedly injured after some
newly-resettled farmers tried to disarm him when he allegedly shot and killed
Mike Mufambi in the chest on May 24 this year.
The farmer is being
charged with murder and attempted murder.
He appeared in court on May 26
and was not asked to plead by a Mutare magistrate, who remanded him on his
hospital bed under heavy security guard to June 9.
The State alleges
that Spero-Landos allegedly had a misunderstanding with Mufambi, Tichaona
Mafuruse and another resettled farmer over boundaries at Riverside
The four quarrelled and Spero-Landos opened fire, killing Mufambi
instantly, it is alleged. He also shot and seriously injured Mafuruse on the
shoulder, the charge reads.
Mafuruse has since been discharged from
Mutare General Hospital where he had been admitted.
newly-resettled farmers who witnessed the shooting tried to disarm him and
Spero-Landos was allegedly injured in the process.
The Government last
year subdivided Spero-Landos Riverside Farm and resettled new
The white farmer retained part of the farm for his own use and
he was supposed to co-exist with the resettled farmers.
allegedly wanted to keep the whole property to himself resulting in endless
clashes with his resettled neighbours.
Hydro's farm occupied in Zimbabwe Carin Pettersson
Activists have allegedly occupied a production
farm in Zimbabwe which is partly owned by Norwegian company
Sable Chemicals production farm Sebakwe, where the Norwegian Hydro
company Yara owns about 20 percent, has been occupied by activists since the
middle of May.
Sable Chemicals is Zimbabwe's only producer of
fertilizers. The pumping station at the company's factory is affected by the
occupation, and the activists are threatening to stop all the production of
chemical fertilizers at the company, reported the website Norwatch, a
Norwegian watchdog organization.
«If the water supply is removed
permanently, it will produce great problems and it will have serious
consequences, not only for Sable, but also for farmers and companies which
are dependent on the supply from the company,» said a Zimbabwean journalist
to the website.
Yara stated that the company is not classifying the
situation as a high priority issue.
«Due to the current situation in
Zimbabwe, this is not a high priority for us, and as it appears from articles
from the African press, this is a greater problem for the industry's clients
than for Sable Chemicals,» said Ingegerd Rafn, spokesperson for Yara, to
Archbishop Njongonkulu Ndungane yesterday said President
Thabo Mbeki should upgrade his involvement in the talks between Zimbabwe's
ruling Zanu PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change to that of
facilitator. With pressure on Mbeki to follow through on his promises last
year that there would be a peaceful solution to Zimbabwe's political crisis
by this year, Ndungane said SA's president had a window of opportunity in
which to make a difference ahead of Zimbabwe's elections next year. Despite
his earlier commitment , Mbeki has not addressed the issue during the World
Economic Forum (WEF) in Maputo, Mozambique. Mbeki should take a more
prominent role in facilitating the discussions because the election was
imminent, Ndungane said. Speaking at the forum, Ndungane said he had spoken
to both Zanu PF leader President Robert Mugabe and MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai about this issue, and he said both had agreed that negotiation was
the only solution to the current impasse. He also said that these discussions
should result in a set of agreed benchmarks that could be used to assess
whether Zimbabwe's election next year would indeed be free and fair. These
benchmarks, he said, should include a free press and a proper
election-monitoring body to oversee the process. The credibility of next
year's election would be a key concern, given the condemnation from various
election-monitoring groups after 2002's presidential election, he said.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) deputy director for Africa, Siddharth
Tiwari, said during discussions yesterday that he saw Zimbabwe's progress as
being linked to political dialogue. Ndungane said Zimbabwe's problems
included the racially loaded land issue, human rights concerns and the
country's political process.
Robert Mugabe's cupboard is bursting
with "been-there-done-that" T-shirts. He's done pretty much everything by
now. He's done the courts. He's done the media. He's done sport. He's even
done Archbishop Desmond Tutu. So it was only a matter of time before the
champion of "your-vote-is-my-vote" democracy realised that he didn't have a
"been there. Done [in] the arts!" T-shirt. (This is probably one time when
it's a good thing for the arts to occupy the nether-nether land of the
political agenda.) Raisedon Baya won the National Arts Merit Award for
scriptwriting in Zimbabwe last year. His play, Super Patriots and Morons, had
been touring our northern neighbour and international venues for more than a
year. Set in a fictitious African country, the piece deals with some of the
major contemporary issues facing Zimbabweans. But after it was performed at
the Harare International Festival of the Arts a couple of months ago, the
censorship board decided that the play could be interpreted as a comment on
Zimbabwe and, accordingly, the board banned all further performances as these
would "disturb the peace" in the country.
One can only wonder when
it will ban all future performances by Mugabe since, clearly his
record-breaking, one-man impersonation of a dictator with a pessimistic Afro,
appears to be the greatest threat to peace in Zimbabwe. But such is the
nature of fascist politics. Ban the symptom. Ignore the cause. (The
censorship board might also have taken umbrage at the title of the play,
Super Patriots and Morons, which could have been a direct reference to it.)
We have a lot to be grateful for down south. For one, we don't have a
censorship board any longer. Ours has been dumped in the dustbin of history
along with the total onslaught, compulsory conscription and bald politicians
with hats. Here, we only have the National Arts Council, which tells
award-winning playwrights to rewrite their scripts to be more politically
correct before they can be considered for funding. And we only have
minister-appointed chairpersons of publicly funded entities who may be super
or morons, but who might consider it their patriotic duty to protect the
political status quo against any challenge, real or imagined.
here, we don't ban plays after they have been performed at a national arts
festival; we just don't give them money - or give them money so late - so
that they can't perform at the festival in the first place. Baya's play had
been touring for more than a year before the censorship board saw it
and decided to ban it. If it had banned it 12 months earlier, who knows?
Peace could have broken out in Zimbabwe a lot sooner. But this is the problem
with officials. They get appointed to be in charge of a particular area, but
they simply never get to see the plays or see the exhibitions or read the
books for which they are responsible. The same, I'm pleased to report, cannot
be said of our National Arts Council. It will meet for three days in
mid-June to consider applications for funding, and applicants for funding for
the festival will know whether they have National Arts Council support on
June 15. A fortnight later, the full board will again meet for three days
in Grahamstown. It will have all its expenses paid to meet at the festival,
and perhaps even take in a few shows. Moral of the story? If you want
to participate in the National Arts Festival and need funding from the
National Arts Council to do so, it would be better for you to serve on the
National Arts Council than to apply to it. The National Arts Council board is
off to Grahamstown. The artists can (still) go to hell.
EDITORIAL June 4, 2004 Posted to the web June 4,
EVERYONE agrees that Zimbabwe's health system faces an
unbearable financial crisis due to the escalating prices of medical equipment
and drugs as well as the cost of labour to care for
Yesterday we carried a story that Harare Central Hospital is
detaining 28 mothers and their newly-born babies. They will only be allowed
to leave hospital after the millions they owe the institution in maternity
fees are paid.
Some mothers in the post-natal wards said that they
were ordered to remain in the maternity wing by hospital officials as they
had no money to settle their hospital bills. These women are supposed to be
enjoying motherhood and celebrating their successful deliveries.
alas, they cannot do this until they pay their bills, which run
True, people have an obligation to pay for services
rendered. Others may argue that their husbands should have planned and saved
enough money when they knew that their wives were expecting.
circumstances do change. Most of the women are simply, not by
choice, referred to the hospital by clinics when they face
We feel what Harare Central Hospital is doing is immoral.
The hospital should follow the rules of natural justice by not forcing people
to incur extra costs while in hospital detention. They are not solving
We would like to believe that hospitals are not permitted to
detain babies or their mothers who fail to immediately pay for services but
have a duty to verify the identities of such patients and then follow them up
for their indebtedness later.
It is certainly an offence to hold
someone against their will. It is kidnapping, an offence that is so serious
that whoever is responsible for the detention of babies or their mothers can
be convicted of.
Police are the only authority with the power to detain
people while hospitals have limited powers to hold people but for medical
reasons only - not for debts.
What happened to the debt collectors who
used to collect money from patients on behalf of the hospital? If they are
failing, that means there is something wrong in their operation. They should
overhaul and tighten their debt collection methods.
We are not
suggesting that people should get free treatment at hospitals. We are aware
of the escalating costs of medicine and skills by the day.
The idea of a
national medical aid scheme should be pursued vigorously to accommodate those
not on medical aid. The idea has been floated several times, of the National
Social Security Authority running a basic health insurance scheme similar to
that of its very basic pension scheme.
Although this might not solve some
pitals' financial problems, it will at least remove a large block of
non-paying patients from the list.
The financial problem is not beyond
solution. It is one of those problems where careful juggling with money would
produce good results.
The problem is how to source the money, which is
why we are suggesting expanding the insured population.