5th June 2003
HARASSMENT OF LAWYERS AS CIVIC
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
continues to monitor the human rights aspects in respect of the ongoing civic
action and has received disturbing reports of harassment of lawyers at police
stations throughout the country. This is a very serious issue and is of grave
concern to ZLHR.
ZLHR received a report that certain lawyers have been
subjected to abuse and in instances manhandled by the police merely for
attempting to represent their detained clients. Two Gweru lawyers, Reginald
Chidawanyika and Dumisani Kufaruwenga, filed a complaint that on 2 June 2003 the
police at Gweru Central police station subjected them to harassment when they
attended the station to represent their detained clients. Amongst other things
they were allegedly manhandled by one D/Sgt Masango who is reported to have
grabbed the lawyers by the arms and "pulled [them] out of the charge office".
D/Sgt Masango further allegedly grabbed Mr Chidawanyika by the waist to push him
out of the charge office where he had gone to try and locate his detained
clients. D/Sgt Masango also "physically manhandled [Mr Kufaruwenga] by the
jersey and pushed his back against the wall. This harassment of the lawyers took
place in front of their "clients numbering about eleven" and members of the
police force manning the charge office. Relatives of the detainees and other
members of the public also witnessed this public humiliation of lawyers by the
police. When the lawyers tried to raise a complaint with Detective Woman
Assistant Inspector Mapinge they advise that "she immediately went into a
barrage in unprintable words" accusing the lawyers of not being human beings and
that the treatment to which D/Sgt Masango had subjected the lawyers is what they
The police ultimately refused to let the lawyers
have access to their clients and forced the detainees to pay admission of guilt
fines under the Miscellaneous Offences Act to secure their release from custody.
This was contrary to the lawyers' advice that their clients had no reason to pay
any fines. The other case of concern that came to our attention through the
press is that of the Bulawayo lawyer Kossam Ncube who is reported in The Daily
News of 5 June 2003 (p7) to have been threatened with arrest merely for trying
to ascertain the whereabouts of his clients at Western Commonage Police
ZLHR draws the attention of the police to the
following instruments that clearly spell out the government's obligations and
responsibilities towards ensuring that lawyers operate in an enabling
1. United Nations Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers
(1990), Principle 17 that states;
"where the security of lawyers is
threatened as a result of discharging their function they shall be adequately
safeguarded by the authorities"
2. The Constitution of Zimbabwe, Section 79B
"In the exercise of judicial authority a member of the
judiciary shall not be subject the direction or control of any person or
ZLHR are also mindful of the report of the
Special Rapporteur on the independence of the judges and lawyers Dato' Param
Cumaraswammy submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Commission dated 10
January 2003 which has a recommendation as follows;
" With regard to
Zimbabwe, the Special Rapporteur once again urges the Commission to consider and
address appropriately its concerns about the deterioration in that country,
inter alia with regard to the independence of the judiciary and its impact on
the rule of law."
Finally ZLHR draws attention of the police and
government to the recommendation of the African NGOs forum at the recently ended
African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights 33rd Session in Niger which reads
in part that;
"The participants of the NGO Forum urge the
African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights Što recommend that the
government of Zimbabwe;
take all necessary measures to ensure protection of
lawyers, public prosecutors, magistrates and judges and to respect the
independence of the judiciaryŠ"
ZLHR is therefore gravely concerned at the
continuation of threats, harassment and intimidation of lawyers particularly
those handling human rights related cases, and calls upon the police to comply
with its obligations and responsibilities to ensure that adequate protection is
offered to members of the legal fraternity in the exercise of their judicial
functions. In particular all reports of threats, intimidation and harassment of
the lawyers must be promptly investigated and perpetrators prosecuted. We also
once again call on the Minister of Justice, Legal & Parliamentary Affairs to
publicly support the independence of the Judiciary and other legal officers and
ensure that a swift end is brought to the harassment and intimidation of legal
practitioners attempting to effect their professional duties.
GENERAL CONCERNS OF LAWYERS
ON ARRESTS AND DETENTIONS SO FAR.
Zimbabwe Lawyers For Human
Rights has been monitoring the human rights issues arising out of the ongoing
peoples expression and based on its observations on the general arrests that
have taken place so far, releases this statement;
there are credible reports that a significant
number of the arrests and detentions are arbitrary.
- the army, CIO and PISI are arresting people and handing
them over to the law and order section for investigations. The law enforcement
agents have therefore fallen into the error of arresting first and investigating
later in contravention of constitutional and other legislative safeguards
preventing such action.
- the police are not fully cooperating with the lawyers with the normal excuse
by the officers in charge of the police stations where people are detained being
that they are merely providing accommodation to the detainees at the requests of
the law and order section of the police force. Lawyers are not allowed access to
clients in the absence of permission from the law and order section of the
police force. This violates or compromises the rights of accused persons to have
unimpeded access to their lawyers.
- the police in most cases are over detaining accused persons. Most of the
detainees are detained in excess of the 48-hour period. The fact of arresting
before investigating is compounding this problem.
- The detainees are not being allowed in the majority of cases access to their
families; neither are they being provided with food or medical treatment.
- the detainees are being detained in extremely squalid conditions where there
is generally poor sanitation, ventilation and hygiene. More specifically the
cells are over crowded, in instances with 40 inmates in a cell designed to
accommodate 6 inmates; some sewers are blocked and urine, water and other human
waste finds itself into the cells like at Goromonzi police station which
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights visited to do a spot random check; there
usually are no adequate blankets in the cells. In short the conditions are
degrading and inhuman which violates the Constitution of Zimbabwe and other
international instruments that the government has signed and ratified like the
African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights, and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
- there have been credible reports of torture, assault, violence and general
intimidation of the people by the state machinery so far.
- the police in many cases have opposed bail when it is not justifiable to
adopt such a position.
ZLHR therefore calls upon
the police to comply with the legal requirement of having a reasonable suspicion
that an offence has been committed before arresting anyone. The police must
allow accused persons unimpeded access to their lawyers as well as access to
members of their family. The police have a responsibility to feed detainees,
provide medical treatment where it is required, and to ensure that any detained
person is not subjected to inhuman and/or degrading treatment. Further ZLHR
reminds the police that torture is seen as a serious offence and human rights
violation in international law and might open up violators to international
prosecution. Over-detention must also be stopped forthwith. Detention must only
be used as a last resort where it is absolutely essential to do so in the
interest of the law. Even though the police may be seeing themselves as going
through a challenging period in the history of their profession, they must
remain professional, objective and impartial in the discharge of their
responsibilities. Anything less is not acceptable.
This is becoming a really interesting place. The only country in the
where your largest note - $500 - can't buy you a beer, which is
A roll of 1-ply toilet paper costs $1000. There
are approximately 72
sections on the average roll, so it is cheaper to take
your $1000, change
it into $10's, wipe your arse on 72 of them and get $280
I wonder if this great theorem of mine will go down
in history along with
Pythagoras. In 100 years, will they call it Fletcher's
Fiscal Arse- Wipe
Finding ? Who knows?
I am actually enjoying this now, as we are all
spectators at the absolute
melt-down. The whole of ZANU- PF included. Their
no longer works and events will surely bury
Mugabe says he's ready for a fight, won't retire
JOHANNESBURG, June 8 — Declaring his readiness for a fight,
President Robert Mugabe dismissed protests against his 23-year
contrived by the United States and Britain and said he had no plans
In an interview for broadcast on Sunday, the embattled
leader, whose government last week faced down its most serious
protests yet with tear gas and riot police, said it would be
retire a year after his controversial 2002 election.
''I don't want to retire in a situation where people are disunited
certain of our objectives have not been achieved,'' Mugabe told
Africa's public broadcaster SABC, in an interview that followed a
line of questioning and skirted reports of state violence against
''It would be nonsensical for me, a year after my election,
resign,'' said Mugabe. He qualified his recent suggestion that the
ZANU-PF party should openly discuss his succession by saying that such
should be dropped if it led to divisions.
He added that
pressure to quit from the United States and former
colonial power Britain
would only harden his resolve. ''As long as there is
that fight, I am for a
fight... And I can still punch,'' Mugabe said.
The United States and
Britain have led Western condemnation of
Mugabe's government, saying his
election was fraudulent and that he has
driven the country's once bountiful
economy into its current state of
disrepair, characterised by 269-percent
inflation, high unemployment, and
shortages of food and fuel.
rare step, the International Monetary Fund suspended Zimbabwe's
last week as punishment for wrong economic policies and
outstanding debts to
OPPOSITION ''HAS FAILED''
Mugabe accuses Western
leaders, particularly Britain's Tony Blair, of
colluding with the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was arrested on Friday and
treason in connection with what the opposition party dubbed a
of anti-government demonstrations last week.
planned five-day protest faltered in the face of an army and
crackdown, backed by pro-government youth militias. But much of
''The final push has failed totally if it was meant to be a
all... On the contrary it has been a push in reverse. So who has
who?'' Mugabe said in the interview, recorded on June 4.
''It was just some drama staged for the G8, but a drama in which the
characters have failed to impress anybody,'' he added, referring to a
of the Group of Eight industrialised nations, which coincided with
days of the protests in Zimbabwe.
Mugabe said his ruling ZANU-PF party
would be willing to talk to the
MDC, on condition that they dropped a legal
challenge to his election, which
along with a controversial land seizure
programme has been the main focus of
Western countries' complaints.
''Dialogue yes, but you dialogue about what, with people who don't
you as legitimate?'' Mugabe said.
Referring to land ownership as the
overriding concern of ordinary
Zimbabweans, Mugabe said his country's
economic woes were surmountable.
''As long as we have our land and as
long as we are simple in our
needs, we will survive,'' Mugabe said.
Zimbabwe will not attend Commonwealth summit
2003 at 06:39PM
Johannesburg - Zimbabwe will not participate in
the official Commonwealth
Science Council meetings to be held in Johannesburg
in the next few days,
the office of South African Science and Technology
Minister Ben Ngubane said
It denied media reports that
Ngubane, using his position as chairperson of
the council, had specifically
asked Olivia Nyembezi, the Zimbabwean minister
of state for science and
technology development in the president's office to
office of the minister wishes to emphasise that at no time was any
from the Southern African Development Community or elsewhere
singled out to attend the high-level forum," said ministerial
Zimbabwe is not allowed to attend Commonwealth council
its suspension last year.
He said the decision to
invite ministers, including that of Zimbabwe, was
taken after extensive
consultations between the ministry, the science and
and the Commonwealth Secretariat.
"The response from the Commonwealth
Secretariat throughout on the issue of
participation in the high-level forum
has been that this event is not part
of the official Commonwealth Science
Council meeting and that South Africa
has the latitude to decide on the level
of participation in the forum.
"This would explain why Angola, a
non-member of the Commonwealth, is also
attending this event," Aphane
The programme, which starts on Monday, involves three types of
is a high-level forum on science and technology expenses
Commonwealth, SADC science ministers and South African
Another is a ministerial meeting where Commonwealth and
SADC ministers will
share perspectives on science and technology in the
context of development.
The official Commonwealth Science Council
meetings will start on Tuesday
afternoon, and will not include
"South Africa since its accession to the Commonwealth has
the mandates and decisions of the Commonwealth," Aphane
"The high-level forum is not in violation of any of these decisions
mandates, and South Africa will ensure that the official
Science Council proceedings will take place within the strict
bounds of its
remit." - Sapa
Zimbabwe opposition threatens protest over arrest
HARARE, June 8 — Zimbabwe's main opposition on Sunday
threatened to renew
mass protests against President Robert Mugabe's
government unless police
release the party's leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, being
held on treason
Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), is in
police custody after his arrest late on
Friday, which came after the
opposition led a week of protests against
The MDC says the 79-year-old Mugabe cheated his
way to re-election at
2002 polls and blames him for crippling the economy of
Zimbabwe, which has
269-percent inflation and over 70-percent
''If our president is not released immediately, the
regime must brace itself for a long winter of intense but
action,'' MDC vice-president Gibson Sibanda told journalists,
Tsvangirai was due to appear in court on
Monday over state
allegations that he tried to incite MDC supporters to
government. State television said police were still looking for
Secretary General Welshman Ncube in connection with the same
Tsvangirai is also due to appear in the High Court on Monday
trial on separate, earlier treason charges alleging he plotted to
Mugabe in 2001.
On Sunday, Sibanda said Tsvangirai remained in
high spirits ''despite
the harassment and attempts to humiliate
Tsvangirai has launched a legal challenge to Mugabe's victory
polls, which both the opposition and several Western countries have
His arrest on Friday coincided with news
that the International
Monetary Fund had suspended Zimbabwe's voting rights,
a rare measure the
fund said stemmed from the country's failure to tackle its
Tsvangirai's lawyers said he denied the
Security forces cracked down hard on the
demonstrations last week and
the protests faltered towards their scheduled
end in the face of tear gas,
alleged beatings and gangs of pro-government
youths roving the streets.
Sibanda said more than 200 MDC activists
remained in police custody
following arrests during the week.
''Mass action is not illegal. It is a basic universal right. We will
to exercise that right at a time of our own choosing,'' he said.
Saturday, Mugabe accused former colonial power Britain and the
of instigating an illegal protest drive to topple his
government and hinted
he would retaliate.
He argues the economy has been sabotaged by his
in retaliation for his seizure of white-owned farms for
'Mugabe wants to provoke a bloodbath'
June 08 2003 at
Harare - Zimbabwe's opposition party said on Sunday that
the government had
arrested its leader in an attempt to provoke a bloody
backlash that would
give it an excuse to crush the party.
Tsvangirai's arrest was an attempt to provoke the Movement for
Change into premature action so that there could be bloodshed,
a pretext to ban and crush the party," MDC vice president
Gibson Sibanda told
reporters in Harare.
"We maintain that our leader is innocent," Sibanda
Tsvangirai was due in court on Monday after being arrested on
charged with treason for calling on Zimbabweans to demonstrate to
anger toward the government of President Robert
'We maintain that our leader is innocent'
arrest came on the last day of a week of mass anti-government
organised by the MDC.
"To the regime we have one message - release
immediately. If our president is not released
immediately the dying regime
must brace itself for a long winter of intense
but peaceful mass action," he
The MDC blames Mugabe's
government for chronic economic hardships and
widespread shortages affecting
most people in the former British colony.
It has refused to accept the
results of the March 2002 presidential
election, in which Tsvangirai
unsuccessfully ran against Mugabe, and has
challenged them in
Both the United States and the European Union condemned
and told the government to stop its violence towards
Mugabe countered on Saturday that American and British
Zimbabwe's opposition was "illegal" and warned that his
government would not
tolerate it for much longer.
already facing another treason charge over an alleged plot to
Posted on Sun, Jun. 08, 2003
Zimbabwe falling into total
BY LAURIE GOERING
BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe - Runaway inflation soon may be brought under
beleaguered Zimbabwe, but not quite in the way President Robert
With industry largely shuttered, commercial farms unplanted
once-rich country's economy collapsing under Mugabe's economic
Zimbabwe has run out of money even to print more
Buying watermark paper and ink requires foreign currency,
Zimbabwe's coffers are empty. The country can no longer afford to
gasoline, coal to fire its utilities or most other basic needs.
300 percent inflation has raised prices so high - 2,560 Zimbabwe
a gallon of milk, or $46 at the official exchange rate - that
must tote sacks of cash to the grocery store and the banks are
The country's opposition party, the
Movement for Democratic Change,
called last week for a nationwide work strike
and street marches as a "final
push" to shove the now-detested 79-year-old
president from power. But the
strike fizzled after the first few days and the
marches failed to draw
crowds, largely because of heavy police and military
A growing number of
Zimbabweans think that the failing economy itself,
rather than protests and
legal challenges, will be what ultimately brings
Mugabe down, and that such a
collapse could come within six months if the
longtime president is unable to
secure more outside economic aid.
With gasoline prices skyrocketing
to $180 a gallon at the official
rate and black-market supplies unreliable,
many urban Zimbabwean workers pay
nearly half of their monthly salary on bus
fare to get to work.
That means "soon we won't even have to call
stay-aways," said David
Coltart, one of the protest organizers and an
opposition parliament member
from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second-largest city.
"People simply won't be able
to get to work anymore. Economics will determine
it rather than political
Over the last six months,
Zimbabwe's struggling economy has plunged
into a free fall.
Unemployment is over 70 percent. Forced by the government to sell
products below the cost of production, factories have closed their
been shuttered by rolling power outages.
White-owned farms, seized
for redistribution to black owners, lie
largely fallow due to lack of cash
for seeds and fertilizer. Fuel is so
scarce that the Zimbabwe Seed Trade
Association warned recently that
"farmers may be forced to choose between
harvesting crops (now in the field)
and planting (new) crops. They are
obviously unable to do both."
Libya, which over the last year has
supplied gasoline to Zimbabwe in
exchange for farms and political support,
has closed the fuel tap. Only
buses and public transport vans line up at the
rare open gas stations;
private drivers must motor to neighboring Botswana or
South Africa to fill
In Bulawayo lines instead form
at the banks as frustrated depositors
try to make withdrawals in cash the
banks don't have.
Cargill Cotton, a private company, recently began
issuing its own
currency, urging in a newspaper ad that the "bearer's checks"
it was handing
employees "should be treated as cash."
country can't function anymore. Everything has collapsed. The
can't operate," said Thokozani Khupe, a Movement for Democratic
parliament member from Makokoba.
That collapse, however, hasn't
brought Zimbabweans to the streets.
Since the country's rigged 2002
presidential elections, any meeting of more
than two people in Zimbabwe has
been banned, and protesters have been
sprayed with tear gas, beaten,
kidnapped and, in some cases, killed.
During the recent labor
strike, police and soldiers rounded up
merchants at their homes and forced
them to open shop doors under threat of
arrest and the withdrawal of business
licenses. More than 300 political
opposition leaders also were arrested,
jailed and, in some cases, tortured,
MDC officials say. In Bulawayo, military
helicopters swept over the city and
truckloads of soldiers trolled city
Youths like Vusi Ndlovu, 21, who might elsewhere form the
street marches, say they have seen what happens to friends and
stand up to Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since the nation's
"I'm scared," said Ndlovu, who works at a
factory and who went to work last week rather than
lose his job. In
Zimbabwe, police "hit you instead of using water (cannons)
like in other
"We want change, but how it will come
no one knows," he said.
Archbishop Pius Ncube, a longtime Bulawayo
attributes Mugabe's success in clinging to power to a
failure by Zimbabwe's
neighbors to speak out against the regime's brutality
and its violations of
"They believe as
African leaders we should stand in solidarity against
the Western world,"
Ncube said. "Each time we (in Zimbabwe) try to take
steps (to pressure
Mugabe), African leaders get together and vote in favor
of Mugabe. It's a
big, big problem."
Just as serious, he said, is the lack of an
opposition figure capable
of inspiring Zimbabweans to risk their lives for
political change. Morgan
Tsvangirai, president of the MDC, has been
repeatedly arrested and charged
with treason, inciting a coup and other
crimes under the country's Draconian
security laws. Tsvangirai was arrested
and charged with treason again Friday
because of "the many statements he has
been making calling for the violent
removal of the president," police
spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena said.
But Ncube believes the former
union leader, favored in the stolen 2002
elections, has failed to lead
Zimbabweans into the streets.
"We need someone like Gandhi to stand
up for his rights even if he is
shot," Ncube said. "People have to be
courageous. Up to now they have been
say they believe their best bet of forcing Mugabe's
resignation - and new
elections in three months, under constitutional
rules - is to arrange a
barrage of small street protests across the country
that will quickly
disperse when police and soldiers are trucked in. Such
pressure, they hope,
will help deplete the government's limited resources of
fuel and cash and
eventually drive Mugabe toward economic, if not
Drawing crowds to the streets, however,
won't be easy. Calls for a
major protest march Friday in Bulawayo fizzled
when no one showed up and MDC
leaders, fearful of being arrested and beaten,
failed to take to the streets
themselves in the face of a heavy police
That doesn't mean Mugabe can hold on to power through
alone, however, opposition leaders said.
may have been deterred now, but it hasn't taken away their
anger, and the
economic problems remain," Coltart said.
"The situation is
unsustainable," he insisted, "and the process of
EU slams Zim government
07/06/2003 13:14 -
Athens - The European Union has accused Zimbabwe's government
intimidating political opponents after the arrest of opposition
"The EU is deeply concerned by the arrest of
Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai, the
leader of MDC (Movement for Democratic Change),"
the EU's Greek presidency
said in a statement released late on
The arrest and subsequent charge for treason shows that President
Mugabe's government is "increasing its repressive and intimidating
against the opposition," the text added.
The EU had earlier
urged Mugabe's government to abstain from violence in
dealing with mass
protests this week which saw hundreds arrested and beaten.
bloc called itself a "friend of Zimbabwe," and urged Harare to
"policy of national dialogue and respect for human rights".
It said it
would support efforts to that effect, whether they came from
political parties or from regional powers.
Earlier this week regional
powerhouse South Africa urged Zimbabwe's
conflicting parties to relaunch
talks amid renewed violence, but local media
countered that Pretoria lacked
the leadership to take decisive action.
Tsvangirai's arrest on Friday was
also condemned by the United States.
The opposition leader, 51, was
detained at his home and taken to a police
station in central Harare on the
last day of mass anti-government protests,
an official for his MDC party
The MDC had set Friday as "D-Day" and called for people to "rise up
millions" in marches in cities around the country. But scores of
party supporters and state security agents in the streets
demonstrations from getting off the ground.
The party blames
the government for chronic economic hardships and
affecting most Zimbabweans. Around 80 percent of the
country's 11.6 million
people live in poverty, and inflation is officially
at 269 percent. -
Secret Zim talks in Jhb
08/06/2003 12:49 -
Johannesburg - The government and opposition in crisis-wracked
involved in secret talks aimed at starting negotiations on a
government, the Sunday Times newspaper reported here on
President Thabo Mbeki and his Nigerian counterpart Olusegun
facilitating the behind-the-scenes dialogue, the
newspaper said without citing any specific
Members of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union Patriotic
(Zanu-PF) and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
meeting on a weekly basis in an attempt to start negotiations on
transitional government that would include the opposition and possibly
to new elections.
The Sunday paper said it could confirm that the
last meeting took place last
week, but that the MDC-organised,
anti-government demonstrations in Zimbabwe
prevented the parties from meeting
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai was on Friday arrested and
charged with treason
after he called for Zimbabweans to demonstrate to show
their anger against
Tsvangirai was due in court on
Monday after a hearing scheduled for Saturday
was postponed for technical
The planned marches were forcefully suppressed by
The MDC blames the government of Robert Mugabe for chronic
hardships and widespread shortages affecting most
It has refused to accept the results of the March 2002
election, in which Tsvangirai unsuccessfully ran against Mugabe,
challenged them in court.
The court challenge is said to have put
a damper on the possibility of
negotiations between the MDC and
Mbeki, Obasanjo and Malawian President Bakili Muluzi, visited
earlier this month in a bid to persuade the two parties to resume
South Africa has come under fierce criticism for refusing to speak
against Mugabe's increasingly authoritarian style. But Mbeki has
he would continue to try and assist Zimbabweans to find a
solution to their problems.
"More than ever before, we are
convinced that a solution of the current
changes facing Zimbabwe lies in
dialogue between Zanu-PF and the MDC,"
foreign ministry spokesperson Ronnie
Mamoepa said on Tuesday.
"Acting in the best interests of the country, we
will continue our actions,
as part of regional efforts, to assist the people
of Zimbabwe in this