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Beatrice Mtetwa’s incarceration poses challenges for murder trial

By Violet Gonda
22 March 2013

High Court Judge Justice Joseph Musakwa on Friday postponed Beatrice Mtetwa’s
bail hearing to Monday, in a development that risks creating a logistical
nightmare for her, as the lead counsel in the murder trial of the Glen View
29, which reopens also on Monday.

The human rights lawyer was on Wednesday denied bail by Harare magistrate
Marehwanazvo Gofa and remanded in custody to April 3rd, resulting in her
legal team filing an urgent application in the High Court for her release.

Justice Musakwa said the postponement is to give the State time to file
responses to Mtetwa’s bail application, after the State indicated the
transcript of the record of proceedings was brought to the High Court late.

But Mtetwa’s lawyer, Harrison Nkomo, told SW Radio Africa the State is not
treating this matter with the seriousness and urgency it requires as this
deals with the issue of individual liberties.

Nkomo said Mtetwa has indicated that she is ready to argue the matter for
her Glen View clients, some of whom have been in remand prison for almost
two years.

He said: “I saw her, she was in high spirits. It’s a matter of working out
the logistics – bring her court regalia, she changes from her prison garb
into the court regalia and she gets into court and argues the matter. Once
that is done she goes back into her prison garb and back to Chikurubi

“I know of no law that bars her from coming to court to represent the
accused persons. Remember these accused persons chose her as their lawyer of
choice and I think people should respect their rights.”

Nkomo said there are several options regarding the pending trail of the
MDC-T activists from Glen View, who are accused of murdering a police
officer in 2011. He said Mtetwa’s defence team could make an application for
the matter to be postponed on the grounds that she cannot appear in court
because she is incarcerated.

Mtwetwa’s other clients, four staffers from the Prime Ministers’ office,
have also been in custody since Sunday. The MDC-T officials are being held
at Harare Remand Prison and are being accused of impersonating police
officers with the aim of gathering sensitive information about senior
government and State officials.

One of the two caretakers from the PM’s offices, who was arrested and
released on Thursday, was also rearrested Friday, facing the same charges.

Mtetwa is charged with obstruction of justice with police claiming that she
“insulted” officers during their search of the premises of the staffers from
the Prime Minister’s office on Sunday. She is being held at Chikurubi
Maximum Security Prison.

Some human rights activists staged a lunch time picket at the Rotten Row
Magistrates Court on Friday, demanding the release of Mtetwa.

In Kwekwe, activist and Director of the Zimbabwe Organization for Youth in
Politics, Nkosilathi Emmanuel Moyo, is said to have walked into Kwekwe
police station and demanded to be arrested in solidarity with Mtetwa. The
police refused.

Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalists has issued a strongly worded
message to Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, expressing concern about
Mtetwa’s arrest and her subsequent detention by police in defiance of an
initial order issued by High Court judge Justice Charles Hungwe.

“We believe this invalidates the criminal proceedings instituted against her
on Wednesday and constitutes an affront to the constitution and legal system
of your country,” the CPJ said in the statement.

Mtetwa is a former president of the Law Society of Zimbabwe and her
contributions to the promotion of justice in the country include the defense
of journalists. Mtetwa is the only non-journalist to be honored with CPJ’s
International Press Freedom Award.

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Senator Coltart speaks out on the continued detention of Mtetwa


by Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum

If this is true it is another shocking indictment against those responsible
within the ZRP, the Attorney General's office and the Judiciary itself. It
seems as if those responsible for the ongoing incarceration of Beatrice
Mtetwa either have no idea how appalling conditions are in our prisons and
police cells or simply do not care about people being locked away in squalid
conditions for a weekend.

That one of our most distinguished lawyers should be treated in this way is
a serious indictment on our nation as a whole. Have we as Zimbabweans sunk
so low that we are prepared to treat one of our finest citizens in this way?
Those responsible for this gross injustice need to have a time of serious

Whilst no-one, including any distinguished lawyer, is above the law the fact
is that the law and legal system have been been seriously abused this week.
There are certain basic principles such as that one is deemed innocent until
proven guilty, that the right of liberty is fundamental, that bail should be
granted wherever possible and that the gravity of the offence must have a
bearing on the granting of bail, which have been totally disregarded this

How can it be that a Zanu PF operative accused of assault was recently
released on bail and Oscar Pistorius, accused of murdering a woman, was
released on bail in neighbouring South Africa and yet a senior and
distinguished legal practitioner with impeccable integrity is denied bail in
Zimbabwe? Whilst South Arica is obviously not Zimbabwe we share Roman Dutch
law principles and our criminal justice system is very similar - and yet
when it comes to the detention of certain people in Zimbabwe all basic
principles of law and justice are disregarded in a manner reminiscent of the
worst practices under apartheid.

Until all officers of the High Court of Zimbabwe understand that
incarceration of suspects should be the last resort, not the first resort,
in the administration of justice these shocking miscarriages of justice will
continue. Sadly these acts also perpetuate the notion that Zimbabwe is a
nation where the rule of law simply doesn't exist.

This is indeed a very sad day for Zimbabwe. Those of our colleagues within
the inclusive Government who are responsible for this or who have not cared
enough to do anything about it should hang their heads in shame, for it is
an indictment against the GPA and the entire Government.

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Anti-corruption chief arrested in probe backlash

By Alex Bell
22 March 2013

The head of the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) has reportedly
been arrested, in the ongoing fallout that has followed attempts to
investigate government parastatals.

According to the NewsDay newspaper, ZACC chief executive officer,
Ngonidzashe Gumbo, was arrested on Tuesday over alleged corruption within
the anti-graft body. The newspaper also reported that ZACC official Edwin
Mubataripi, and the group’s finance manager Gibson Mangwiro, were called for
questioning by police on Wednesday and released.

The commission’s general manager for investigations, Sukai Tongogara, has
also reportedly handed herself over to police for questioning, after being
in hiding since last week. According to the Daily News, she presented
herself to the police on Thursday.

By the end of Friday it was not yet clear if the ZACC officials were still
being held. SW Radio Africa was unable to contact the ZACC spokesperson,
commissioner Goodwill Shana, to explain more.

The body has come under fire in the wake of attempts to search the offices
of the Zimbabwe Mining and Development Corporation (ZMDC) and the National
Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board (NIEEB), amid reports of
serious corruption within both groups.

The ZACC investigation into the two groups was signed off by a High Court
Judge last Monday, but both parastatals then filed an urgent interdict to
stop the probe. This interdict was granted, but the pressure has continued
to build on the ZACC, which has also been accused of corruption.

ZACC spokesperson Shana told journalists in Harare on Wednesday that his
organisation was operating above board and attempts to discredit the group
had no basis. He said commissioners were ‘regrouping’ to decide what to do
next, explaining that they were still intending to pursue their

Alouis Munyaradzi Chaumba, the Regional Coordinator of the Anti Corruption
Trust of Southern Africa (ACT-Southern Africa) said the accusations that the
ZACC are now facing are an attempt to divert attention away from the real

“This is a ploy to divert the attention away from the corruption within the
parastatals. It is very disturbing and very saddening,” Chaumba told SW
Radio Africa.

He meanwhile reiterated that the commission is a “toothless bulldog” with no
authority to make real strides towards solving the corruption problem in
Zimbabwe. He said a total reform of how such commissions are formed and
managed was necessary, to give the body the authority to make a difference.

“In this instance you have party officials, mainly in ZANU PF, using their
positions in the party to abuse the authority of the police for selfish
gains. But it is a lack of political will and a lack of independence that
are the stumbling blocks in any effort of any commission to fulfil its
mandate,” Chaumba said.

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Corruption at centre of Zim arrests

22 MAR 2013 00:00 - INYASHA CHIVARA

Damning documents could have led to the arrest of top allies of Zimbabwe
President Robert Mugabe.

Investigations by Zimbabwe's Anti-Corruption Commission into corrupt
government ministers linked to indigenisation deals and other cases of graft
are at the centre of the arrests that shook Zimbabwe's fragile unity
government this week, the Mail & Guardian can reveal.

Following a peaceful referendum last Saturday, there was shock in political
circles when the police arrested prominent human rights lawyer Beatrice
Mtetwa for allegedly obstructing the course of justice and four Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) officials for impersonating the police. It has
emerged that three of the four MDC officials are former state prosecutors.

Government officials are so rattled by the investigations that they have
roped in intelligence, police and army officials – who Zanu-PF sources say
are running a "parallel government" – to halt the probe.

Investigators at the commission this week said dockets that could have led
to the arrest of seven top allies of President Robert Mugabe and senior
officials in the attorney general's office are linked to the arrests.

Officials arrested
The investigators said the four MDC officials had been arrested because they
were helping the investigating team to compile the dockets. Two
investigators told the M&G that fears are running high at the commission's
Harare headquarters after the arrests. Investigators said they were advised
by police that investigating ministers and police chiefs is "tantamount to
plotting a coup".

The investigators said they are not sure how their dockets were leaked to
the police and the people under investigation. They said the police are
anxious to know who is behind the probes and who had supplied them with
information. The investigators told the M&G they were probing:

Attorney general Johannes Tomana for criminal abuse of office after he
allegedly halted investigations into the abuse of constituency development
funds (See "Commission told to delay funds probe until after election", Page
4). It was the commission's view that calling off the probe was highly
The purchase of numerous suburban properties by Local Government Minister
Ignatious Chombo under hazy circumstances. The investigators were
considering whether the minister abused his position to influence the Harare
city council to award him several properties in the city.
Transport Minister Nicholas Goche for allegedly giving work to Motify
Investments, a company involved in road construction in Matebeleland
province, which did not go out for tender. The investigators were
considering allegations that Motify was paid before it began the project.
The investigators say Motify is a company created from Twalumba, which was
lambasted by a parliamentary committee last year for a shoddy road
construction job in Mashonaland central.
Police commissioner General Augustine Chihuri for selectively applying the
law and targeting political opponents. The docket allegedly contains a list
of correspondence that implicates him.
Tension heightened
Police spokesperson Charity Charamba could not be reached for comment.
Contacted for comment Goche said: "Why are you asking me those things? Get
away." He then hung up.

Chombo's phone went unanswered.

Tomana's secretary who identified herself as Miss Chavhunduka promised to
come back with a comment but had not done so at the time of going to print.

Investigators said that tension had heightened after the commission sought a
court order last week to search the offices of Minister of Mines Obert
Mpofu, Indigenisation Minister Saviour Kasukuwere and Goodwills
Masimirembwa, who chairs the state-owned Zimbabwe Mining Development
Corporation. The allegations, they said, were that the three received
kickbacks through consultancy company Brainworks Capital. Brainworks was
appointed as consultants in various multimillion-dollar empowerment deals
that did not go out to tender and allegedly raked in $34-million in fees.

A registrar of the high court, Elijah Makomo, was fired this week for
allegedly facilitating the signing of a search warrant that led to 20
investigators storming three government premises in search of crucial
documents that could have implicated those involved in the kickback scandal.
The investigators were subsequently asked by police to leave "government

"We really don't know how that information leaked," the investigators said.
"It was never our intention to immediately arrest them. But we were acting
on credible information – documents that had been supplied by credible

Last Thursday morning, acting on state intelligence information, Chihuri
ordered the officer commanding Harare province, assistant commissioner
Clement Munoyirarwa, to organise a crack team to raid the homes of the
former prosecutors and the MDC officials who allegedly supplied information
that helped the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission to prepare its dockets.
In a predawn raid on Sunday morning, six heavily armed teams –each made up
of two heavily armed members of the police support unit, two detectives and
a superintendent – searched the homes of Thabani Mpofu, Felix Matsinde,
Mehluli Tshuma, Warship Dumba and Anna Muzvidziwa, who were allegedly
supplying information to the commission.

Leader of the MDC Morgan Tsvangirai said he expected the police to behave as
they had: "When change is about to happen, such behaviour becomes normal. In
2000, when the people rejected Constitution proposals in a referendum, what
happened two weeks after? Land invasions and violence ensued."

Who is in charge of Zim?
Sources within Zanu-PF's politburo and government have told the Mail &
Guardian that the army and the police are now a power centre and are
seemingly running the affairs of the party and the government.

Human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa's release was ordered by the court, but
her lawyers – Selby Hwacha, Thabani Mpofu and Harrison Nkomo – said that
every police officer who was shown the high court order refused to obey the
order, saying that they were "seeking advice from above". "The police were
noncommittal," Nkomo said.

Mtetwa was arrested at Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) official Thabani
Mpofu's house (not advocate Mpofu), where she argued with the police who
were searching his home.

A member of the politburo who asked not to be named said that the police's
refusal to release Mtetwa after a high court ordered her release upset
Vice-President Joice Mujuru because such actions don't augur well for the
party or the government, as any unjust actions of the police tend to blemish
the party leader and, ultimately, the government. But the Harare
Magistrate's Court on Wednesday denied Mtetwa bail effectively ignoring the
high court order. She was remanded until April 3.

Sources close to MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai said that when the court order
for Mtetwa's release was defied early on Monday morning, it prompted him to
seek a meeting with Mujuru and the police commissioner, General Augustine

Mujuru was the acting president because President Robert Mugabe was
attending the inaugural mass of Pope Francis in Rome.

Those privy to the deliberations said Mujuru was "genuinely shocked" by the
police's behaviour, but said she needed clearance from Mugabe to act. Mujuru
reportedly also said she understood her limitations to deal with the "forces
behind the arrests and felt too weak to act". Chihuri did not attend the

Sources have also told the M&G that key government decisions that have a
bearing on state security and conduct in dealing with political opponents
are being co-ordinated by the army and police, with little or no input from
Mugabe. This week they said the main fear within the group of hardliners was
that Mugabe was too weak to protect their interests, and was giving too much
space to the opposition ahead of the polls.

"Certain decisions are being made without his knowledge. The arrests of
civic group leaders, and even having court orders being defied, are
political decisions being made by a power centre outside the framework of
Mugabe's sphere of control," the source said.

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Zimbabwe commission told to delay funds probe until after election

22 MAR 2013 00:00 - INYASHA CHIVARA

Those implicated allegedly sought an audience with the attorney general to
postpone the probe.

Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission  investigators allege that there is
political pressure on them to halt their investigations into the abuse of
constituency development funds (CDF) by ministers and prominent legislators
until after the elections.

Two commission investigators told the Mail & Guardian there was political
pressure from those implicated, who had allegedly sought an audience with
the attorney general to postpone the probe. The investigators said they had
been advised by their superiors that investigation must cease until after
the elections.

They said all the MPs subject to their investigation were contesting
forthcoming parliamentary elections.

"Just when we were about to request arrest warrants, we got a directive to
halt all investigations and arrests," an official said.

Gross abuse of funds
Another investigator said that the investigation had revealed gross abuse of
funds across the political divide. "There are very few clean people, within
all parties."

Commission officials allege that attorney general Johannes Tomana wrote a
letter in March last year to the ministry of constitutional and
parliamentary affairs to halt investigations until a complete audit was done
in all constituencies.

In a letter dated March 5 2012, Tomana advised the accounting officer at the
ministry of constitutional affairs that there was a need to "fairly deal
with results of the ongoing CDF audit which has given rise to investigations
and arrests currently being handled by [the] commission". Constitutional
Affairs Minister Eric Matinenga said that he was shocked by Tomana's letter.

"You don't wait to prosecute a thief that has stolen in the supermarket
pending other investigations," he said. "I don't get it. Some are saying I'm
doing this to victimise other MPs because I'm leaving government. I don't
understand how the element of victimisation comes in. The issue relates to
the abuse of funds, which had nothing to do with me," he said.

Intending to leave the government
Matinenga has indicated his intention to leave government when his term ends
to rejoin the Bar at Advocates' chambers in Harare.

Investigators said the abuse of funds they uncovered related to legislators
• Produced fake receipts of development that was not carried out;
• Gave invoices of developmental work done by non-governmental
organisations, but presented these to investigators as projects funded
through the CDF;
• Deposited CDF funds into their personal accounts;
• Funded personal projects using CDF funds;
• Connived with constituency­members to abuse the funds; and
• Did not co-operate with commission investigators or did not live up to
their promises to provide proof of documentation for work done.

Since the funds were introduced in 2010, four legislators have been arrested
in connection with abuse.

Three belong to the Movement for Democratic Change party linked to Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and only one is aligned to President Robert
Mugabe's Zanu-PF party. They are: Albert Mhlanga (MDC-T), Marvellous Khumalo
(MDC-T), Cleopas Machacha (MDC-T) and Franco Ndambakuwa (Zanu-PF).
Ndambakuwa's charges were withdrawn, but the MDC cases are still pending.

Investigators said they believed their probe was halted to protect
legislators who risked losing their seats if they were exposed.

The commission's dockets, seen by the M&G, name ministers in both Zanu-PF
and the MDC. The names are known to the M&G but cannot be revealed for legal

The funds were introduced to allow legislators to bypass bureaucratic red
tape by giving them quick access to money for local projects.

In his 2009/10 national budget speech, Finance Minister Tendai Biti said the
funds were meant to fund "the construction of boreholes, the repair of
schools and clinics, the purchase of electrical generators and building of
market stalls", among other projects identified by local communities.

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Zuma’s team denies being thrown out of JOMIC meeting

By Tichaona Sibanda
22 March 2013

South African President Jacob Zuma’s facilitation team on Friday refuted Zim
state media reports that they were thrown out of a Jomic meeting after ‘gate
crashing’ the gathering.

A report in the Herald said Zuma’s team gate crashed the meeting Wednesday
on the pretext that the members wanted to introduce three officials seconded
to work with Jomic by the SADC Troika.

Lindiwe Zulu, spokesperson for the team, told SW Radio Africa the report was
irresponsible and malicious.

‘We would like to put the record straight. We were not chucked out of the
meeting…we were requested to allow the parties to have discussion on a
matter that they needed to clarify amongst themselves.

‘This is not the first time, nor is it the last time, the parties may ask us
to give them space to have a discussion in trying to take issues forward,’
Zulu said.

She continued: ‘So we allowed them that space, they discussed and when they
finished, we went back into the meeting and we continued with the meeting.’

Zulu, who was in Zimbabwe observing the referendum but was speaking to us
from South Africa, said they had been invited to attend the meeting,
contrary to reports that they had not.

‘It was very important for us to attend the meeting because they had just
come out of a referendum and therefore from the facilitation team’s point of
view we needed to hear from them on their experiences on the referendum,’
she said.

Zulu said the next step now was to work on the development of a roadmap
leading to general elections, expected between June and October this year.

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EU to lift most of the targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe

By Violet Gonda
22 March 2013

The European Union is set to lift sanctions on all but a few members of ZANU
PF, as a reward for conducting a ‘peaceful’ constitutional referendum. This
comes a month after they lifted a travel ban and asset freeze on 27 other
people on the targeted sanctions list.

Reports say about 10 individuals from the banned list of 91, including
Mugabe and security chiefs, will remain on the list.

Geoffrey Van Orden, a British member of the European Parliament, confirmed
that they will be adjusting the restrictive measures on Zimbabwe and that
the provisions on this would be taken within the next few days.

He said: “The referendum was certainly judged by SADC as being peaceful and
credible and it was conducted reasonably well. As a result the EU proposal
will show a serious reduction in the restrictive measures and in return for
that we want reassurance that everything is going to go well for the

The developments come at a time when the MDC formations and rights groups
say there is an increased crackdown on NGOs and rights defenders.

The MEP told SW Radio Africa: “We understand fully that the elections are
the most important event but the motive behind this move to de-list some
people is to show a sign of encouragement.

“My understanding is that even if some people are delisted they can be
quickly put back on the list if there is any indication that things are not
going properly in preparation for the elections.”

Van Orden, who has previously campaigned for the restrictions to remain,
said if it was up to him he would have the EU wait a bit longer, but he said
he understands the desire to indicate “not just to people in Zimbabwe but
also to South Africa and other SADC countries, good intentions, that if they
do move in the right direction they will be rewarded for this.”

He stressed that if there are “any suggestions of violence or the
manipulation of the electoral procedures in the run up to elections,” then
the EU will re-impose the restrictive measures.

ZANU PF has consistently said the targeted sanctions were illegally imposed
and that they were a response to the violent seizure of white commercial

The EU imposed the sanctions following the 2002 disputed presidential

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Crackdown on opposition ends period of goodwill

22 MAR 2013 00:00 - JASON MOYO

Harassment of the opposition and other activists in Zimbabwe puts Zanu-PF's
commitment to the Constitution in doubt.

The excitement in the queue defied the gloom cast by the Harare suburb
Mbare's notoriously rundown flats, as voters lined up to make their mark for
a new Constitution.

And as each voter emerged from the tent, walking back down the queue, there
would be the odd high-five, a cheer and pinky fingers raised proudly to show
the voting ink.

At one of the polling stations at Nenyere flats voters queued past the base
of the local Zanu-PF militia, known as Chipangano, a fenced compound
consisting of two shacks, with party slogans painted on the iron sheeting
and a makeshift flag fluttering from a wire. Outside the shack, two youths
watched the line move.

The turnout of 3.3-million voters – the largest ever in a Zimbabwean poll –
was higher than anticipated. The excitement was a big change from the last
time people voted, in the 2008 runoff, when many cast their ballot only out
of fear.

But days later, the euphoria of finally getting a new Constitution is
already threatened by anxiety as the run-up to the election begins. While
both Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) campaigned for a
"yes" vote for the Constitution, Zanu-PF appears to be in a hurry to end the
honeymoon. Police have already boldly ignored a court order, which critics
see as Zanu-PF sending a quick reminder that not even a new Constitution
will automatically bring change.

As the votes were being counted on Sunday police arrested four members of
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's staff and detained human rights lawyer
Beatrice Mtetwa, keeping her in custody despite a court order for her
release. The four are accused of impersonating the police and possessing
material for criminal use.

According to civil rights lawyer Tawanda Zhuwarara, the law the four are
being charged under is "so wide, it criminalises actors who get paid for
portraying police officers".

The Law Society of South Africa said the arrests threaten Zimbabwe's move
towards reform.

"The steps that the Zimbabwean government is taking to advance its stature
in the world will be compromised by actions which undermine the rule of law
further," the society said.

The weekend arrests were a continuation of weeks of harassment of activists.
These actions include the questioning of Jestina Mukoko, whose Zimbabwe
Peace Project compiles data on violence. Police have also seized hundreds of
imported radio receivers they claim will be used to broadcast "hate speech"
during elections.

Police spokesperson Charity Charamba said the actions were necessary to curb
"the negative influence and subversive activities" of non-governmental

But Tsvangirai said they were a sign that Zanu-PF was preparing once again
to intimidate voters.

"These are signs of a police force that has become an appendage of a
political party, which is now showing signs of panic and fear in light of
the imminent prospects of losing the forthcoming election," he told

He said he had hoped the new Constitution would convince his opponents to
adopt "a new culture of constitutionalism and respect for the rule of law",
but cautioned, "let us not despair, because in any transformation,
especially towards the end, there are always going to be events deliberately
designed to stifle change and distract us from the key goal."

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Crackdown on Zimbabwe's civil society

22 MAR 2013 00:00 - RAY NDLOVU

The MDC has written to the Southern African Development Community (SADC),
urging it to call for a summit on police intimidation.

Alarms are being raised among Zimbabwe's civil society groups as a wave of
police crackdowns continue unabated while the country edges closer to
holding polls this year.

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai has written to the  SADC, urging it to call for a summit on
police intimidation.

The police have been on the warpath against non-governmental organisations
(NGOs), conducting raids, random searches, seizing documents and banning
shortwave radios. The radios, police say, advocate for regime change.
Several stations, including Voice of America, Radio Netherlands and Studio
7, broadcast into Zimbabwe through shortwave radios.

In an interview with the Mail & Guardian this week, Zenzele Ndebele,
director of Radio Dialogue, a Bulawayo-based community radio station that
has been lobbying for a radio licence for the past 10 years, criticised the
police for creating laws. "The police are not law-makers, but are only law
enforcement agents. There is no law that has been broken when people listen
to shortwave broadcasts, but this is all an indication of the state's
intention to tighten the airwaves ahead of the polls."

Earlier this month, Ndebele was arrested and had 180 shortwave radios seized
by the police. "The case is still yet to be heard in court, we are still
waiting for a court appearance, but all indications show that police may
eventually drop the case."

Political observers indicate that the police are part of Zanu-PF's election
strategy to harass NGOs and independent media, which are seen as supporting
the MDC.

After a senior police officers' conference in November last year, the top
brass released a statement, noting "with concern the negative influence and
subversive activities" of NGOs and civil society organisations.

The conference resolved to "effectively utilise the intelligence units in
monitoring the activities of organisations, maintain records of all
organisations operating in their areas, engage the leaders of these
organisations in respect to their activities and take appropriate action
against organisations that are found to be operating outside of the law".

The growing climate of intimidation is seen as an indication by observers
that the next election will be a high-stakes political contest.

Tiseke Kasambala, the Africa advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, this
week called on the police to end the intimidation.

"The systematic police campaign against civil society organisations appears
designed to disrupt civil society operations and stop them from monitoring
the human rights environment ahead of the elections … The government of
Zimbabwe should respect and protect space for unfettered civil society

Timeline of raids and arrests
January 14: Police raid offices of Zimbabwe Human Rights.

February 14: Police in Harare and Bulawayo arrest 190 members of Women of
Zimbabwe Arise participating in annual Valentine's Day "love" protests.

February 15: Police detain George Makoni, an employee of the Centre for
Community Development, and a local pastor for organising a church meeting in

February 19: Police raid the offices of Zimbabwe Election Support in Harare
and Masvingo.

March 1: Police raid radio station Radio Dialogue's Ingwe studios.

March 8: Zimbabwe Peace Project director Jestina Mukoko is charged for
operating an unregistered non-governmental organisation.

March 8: The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission says civic society organisations
under investigation will be barred from monitoring the constitutional
referendum and elections.

March 17: A day after voting closes, police arrest human rights lawyer
Beatrice Mtetwa and four Movement for Democratic Change officials in Harare.

March 21: Police arrest two cleaners – Spiwe Vera and Elizabeth Banda – at
Tsvangirai's Avondale office.

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Election timing: MDCs unite against Zanu PF

21/03/2013 00:00:00
     by Staff Reporter

MDC leader Welshman Ncube said Thursday that if general elections are to be
“done properly”, then the earliest they can be held is the end of August –
contradicting Zanu PF’s latest push for June polls.

In a further sign of clashes to come in the ruling coalition, MDC-T
secretary general Tendai Biti warned that his party would boycott a June
election, saying Zanu PF was aiming to “harvest fear” from the violence-hit
2008 presidential runoff.

President Robert Mugabe sparked the latest row over the timing of elections
on Tuesday after telling the state-run Herald newspaper that the life of the
current parliament runs out on March 29 this month, which draws the next
election date closer.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, travelling with the President in Rome,
appeared to correct his boss on Wednesday by stating that the life of the
current parliament will in fact end on June 29.

But Chinamasa also insisted that Mugabe could dissolve parliament earlier
than that date, as soon as the new constitution is signed into law.

Chinamasa said: “As the Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, I am not
entertaining the holding of the elections after June 29 unless circumstances
beyond my control happen.

“We have a deadline to meet (June 29) and we have to abide by what the law
says. The simple fact is that we are not overflowing into July or any day
further than the expiry of the constitutional term of the Parliament.”

But Ncube said Zanu PF was trying to stampede the country into a sham
election. While Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s MDC-T party says it would
be ready for a July election, Ncube says that too could be too early.

Ncube told SW Radio Africa’s Hot Seat programme on Thursday night that
Chinamasa and Mugabe were arguing “nonsensical positions”.

The MDC leader explained: “Robert Mugabe was sworn in as president on June
29, 2008. The constitution says the life of parliament starts to run from
that date when the president was sworn in. Therefore the life of this
parliament is five years, which starts from June 29, 2008, to June 29, 2013.

“The constitution goes further to say if parliament is not dissolved sooner
than June 29, it shall automatically stand dissolved on June 29, 2013. It
goes further in black and white to say then an election must be held no
later than 90 days from the date of dissolution of parliament.

“If you calculate the 90 days from June 29 it takes you up to September 27.
It is equally clear that an election must be held no later than September

But Ncube says the pathway to elections is also littered with other
challenges which must be taken into consideration. A new draft constitution
just approved in a referendum must be passed by parliament and signed by
Mugabe into law.

This will be followed by amendments to various pieces of legislation to
bring them in line with the new constitution, including the Electoral Act
which will govern the conduct of those elections.

“The constitution must now be gazetted; wait for 30 days and once the 30-day
period has expired, parliament must then debate and pass it. It then goes to
the President for assent,” Ncube told SW Radio’s Violet Gonda.

“Once that is done, a large chunk of the constitution will come into effect
immediately it is gazetted, other parts will come in whenever a new
President is sworn in. What is relevant to elections is that for a minimum
of 30 days after new constitution comes in, ZEC is obliged to do voter
registration outreach so that those who want to register can register.

“After that, the President can then begin the process of proclaiming an
election. The Electoral Act requires that the period from the proclamation
to the nomination court is 14 days, it further provides that the period from
proclamation to election is 58 days, which is why if you factor in 30 days
for publishing constitution, the 30 days for voter registration and the 58
days to an election you’re looking at a minimum period of four months.

“I have not factored the things that still have to be done negotiating
amendments to the Electoral Act to be consistent with the new
constitution... you are looking at a minimum period of four months before
you can actually have an election date which is why some of us keep saying
it is not possible, if you are going to do it properly, to have an election
earlier than the last part of August or for that matter earlier than

Zanu PF, which wanted elections held last year before running into
resistance from regional leaders, appears set on a June election.

But the MDC-T’s Biti says his party will resist this with all its might.
He told New “Zanu PF is trying to harvest fear. They planted
fear and murdered our people in June 2008, they are trying to reap that,
harvest that in June 2013. We will not be part of a June election.”

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Exiles plan worldwide demo at Zim Embassies


by The Zimbabwean

The 21st Free Zimbabwe Global Protest Movement are taking to the streets
tomorrow (Saturday 23) to send a clear message to Robert Mugabe and Zanu
(PF) that our movement toward democracy is irreversible, and to ask the SADC
to also give the assurance that they will not allow a reversal of the
road-map to free and fair elections.

“While Zimbabweans were voting for a new constitution as part of putting the
past behind us and moving to a democratic dispensation, dark forces were
abducting Prime Minister Tsvangirai's officers, attacking MDC-T youths,
arresting a human rights lawyer, and acting as if we were back in Ian
Smith's days,” says the group in a statement released today. The statement

Within hours of an overwhelming vote for a new constitution with an enhanced
Bill of Rights, police arrested Prime Minister Tsvangirai’s senior legal
advisor and three of his staff after searching his home without a search

We understand that the MDC-T officers were preparing a dossier on
allegations of corruption involving Zanu (PF) ministers, but the regime has
decided to put a stop to their investigation by charging them with
impersonating the police.

We are taking our protest to African leaders and SADC, and expressing our
disappointment that while this was going on in Zimbabwe a representative of
the Chairperson of the SADC Organ Troika on Peace and Security, Tazanian
Foreign Minister, Bernard Membe, was in Zimbabwe but said nothing to
President Mugabe.

We are asking African leaders to show their responsibility by finishing what
they started in 2008 when they refused to recognise Robert Mugabe's violent
election. He is now threatening another violent election, and has locked up
a human rights lawyer for demanding a police search warrant, but SADC is
just quite.

Zimbabweans are taking our protest to Tanzanian Embassies so that hey can
deliver the message to President Jakaya Kikwete, and to South African
Embassies so that they can deliver our message to the SADC Facilitator,
President Jacob Zuma.

The message is that we want free and fair elections based on the reform of
the security services and the media, both of which are supposed to work in a
neutral manner, not to campaign for Zanu (PF).

Prominent human rights lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa was arrested when she asked to
see the police search warrant and she was kept in a police cell in defiance
of a ruling by the High Court - in effect a High Court Judge was overruled
by a Magistrate.

The incident comes after a steady increase in high-handed behaviour by the
police including the harassment of officials of the Anti-Corruption
Commission investigating other Zanu PF ministers in this obviously corrupt

The government has not implemented any of the recommendations of the SADC to
resolve the current crisis, but instead police are abusing their powers,
leading Human Rights Watch to say the Zimbabwean government cannot expect to
create a rights-respecting environment ahead of elections in the context of
oppression, harassment and intimidation of civil society activists.

We are urging Mr Kikwete and Mr Zuma to insist that the police in Zimbabwe
act within the law and respect the spirit of the Global Political Agreement
and put a stop to violence against innocent citizens which has erupted in
Zimbabwe ahead of elections.

Unlawful arrests of human rights defenders, NGO officers, journalists and
opposition party members are on the increase soon after a successful
referendum that will usher in a new constitution with human rights

The road-map to free and fair elections that we have travelled for the past
four years is now under severe threat from a regime that refuses to allow a
democratic election to take place.

We uge all Zimbabwean citizens to stand up and denounce with one voice the
loss of limb, lives and personal freedoms. Join us on Saturday, March 23rd
as we demonstrate outside Zimbabwean Embassies worldwide to bring awareness
to the world of the grave situation in our country.

In London the itinerary for Saturday. We suggest those participating get a
day pass for tube and bus.

2 pm – set up Vigil, outside the Zimbabwean Embassy 429, The Strand (tube to
Trafalgar Square or Charing Cross)

2.45 – 3 pm – move to Tanzanian High Commission, 3 Stratford Place, London
W1C 1AS. (Bus route 6 from Charing Cross to Bond Street (approx 30
minutes) – Bond Street is 2 minutes from Tanzanian High Commission, or
Bakerloo underground from Charing Cross to Oxford Circus (15 minutes) then a
10 minute walk or Buses from Trafalgar Square to Oxford Circus – 12, 3, 88.)

3.30 pm – deliver letter to Tanzania HC

4.30 pm – deliver letter to South African High Commission, Trafalgar Square

5 pm – back to Vigil to deliver letter to the Zimbabwe Embassy

Our Slogans:




Not Backwards







Are Not





SADC Observers

What Did You See

In Zimbabwe

We Will

Not Be


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15th Free Zimbabwe Global Protest - stop police harassment of civil society and opposition members

Please come and join us on Saturday 23rd March 2013 for the 15th round of the Free Zimbabwe Global Campaign. The campaign has seen monthly protests by the Zimbabwean diaspora round the world since the beginning of last year.


We will be delivering a letter to the Tanzania High Commission to pass on to President Kikwete, Chairperson of the SADC Security Troika.


The letter condemns illegal police harassment of civil society and opposition members and calls on SADC to insist that Zimbabwean police act within the law and respect the spirit of the Global Political Agreement.


Copies of the letter will also be delivered to the South African High Commission and the Zimbabwe Embassy.


Timetable for the day

2 pm – set up Vigil

2.45 – 3 pm – move to Tanzania High Commission, 3 Stratford Place, London W1C 1AS.

3.30 pm – deliver letter to Tanzania HC

4.30 pm – deliver letter to South African High Commission, Trafalgar Square

5 pm – back to Vigil to deliver letter to the Zimbabwe Embassy



Bus route 6 from Charing Cross to Bond Street (approx 30 minutes) – Bond Street is 2 minutes from Tanzanian HC

Bakerloo underground from Charing Cross to Oxford Circus (15 minutes) then a 10 minute walk

Buses from Trafalgar Square to Oxford Circus – 12, 3, 88.


We recommend that those already travelling in London get a day pass for tube and bus.


Zimbabwe Vigil Co-ordinators

The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.

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MDC-T MP asks for permission to hold meeting in police camp

By Tichaona Sibanda
22 March 2013

An MDC-T MP this week audaciously applied to have a constituency feedback
meeting in a police camp, but was as expected denied permission.

Settlement Chikwinya, the MP for Mbizo in KweKwe, lodged his application
with the police on Monday, with the intention of briefing spouses of police
officers and their relatives on the outcome of the referendum.

He received a reply on Tuesday with a firm ‘No’ but said he will not relent
in his efforts to cover the width and breath of his constituency to meet the
people who voted him into parliament.

The MP told SW Radio Africa on Friday that his decision to embark on this
‘mission impossible’ was based on the fact that ZANU PF has free access to
police camps and military barracks.

‘Every week we know ZANU PF is having meetings in police camps and military
barracks, with spouses of serving officers. They’re being constantly
reminded that if they don’t vote ZANU PF, their husbands or wives’ jobs will
on the line.

The MP said he will not challenge the decision by the police to block him
having access to some of his constituents but would rather concentrate on
other ways of getting his word to restricted areas.

‘First of all I don’t want to compromise their safety and secondly Iwouldn’t
worry myself that much because I know we enjoy a lot of support from police
and army camps, if one is to study electoral figures from past elections.

‘My decision to seek that meeting was based on the principal that all MP’s
should have equal opportunities to address feedback meetings with members of
their constituency. I know MP’s from ZANU PF are allowed access in some of
these security zones that fall under their areas,’ he said.

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Workers’ union resolves differences after split by ZANU PF

By Nomalanga Moyo
22 March 2013

Talks are at an advanced stage to unite two rival factions of the Commercial
Workers’ Union of Zimbabwe (CWUZ) that have been running parallel structures
since 2005.

Leaders from the two factions met in Bulawayo Friday to finalise unity talks
and are set to announce the re-union at a general meeting planned for
24-26th April.

The Bulawayo meeting was held at the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU)
western region offices, and follows one held in Harare recently.

Divisions within CWUZ surfaced after the death of secretary general Shangwa
Chifamba, with Lucia Matibenga being seconded by the workers to take up the
vacant post.

The choice of Matibenga, already a powerful member of the then opposition
Movement for Democratic Change party which emerged from the ZCTU, did not go
down well with some union employees.

According to CWUZ official Barbara Tanyanyiwa, who is leading the talks, the
split was engineered by central intelligence operative Lovemore Mushonga,
ZANU PF activist John Chifamba, and serial MDC flip-flopper Joubert
Mudzumwe, who is also linked to ZANU PF.

Tanyanyiwa said the idea of uniting was first discussed last year, but the
presence of Mudzumwe and Chifamba was a hindrance. The two have since left
the rival union faction, paving the way for progress.

“Secondly, the ZCTU was pushing the two groups to unite since only one
faction can be affiliated to the mother body. This means that workers in the
unaffiliated camp have been missing out on ZCTU programmes, and we want to
end that.

“The infighting was also affecting negotiations with employers as we were
failing to speak with one voice. We then decided this could not go on and
took the decision to put the workers first,” Tanyanyiwa said.

Both Mudzumwe and Chifamba were fired by the union for embezzling what is
now feared to be more than $219,000 from union coffers.

Initial reports had put the figure at $41,000 but Tanyanyiwa said a recent
audit revealed that more was missing from union accounts.

“After their criminal case has been concluded, the CWUZ will be pursuing the
two to recover the workers’ money through the civil courts,” Tanyanyiwa

If the latest allegations against Mudzumwe are true, this will be the
biggest fraud case involving union funds since the formation of the CWUZ.

Bulawayo-based journalist Lionel Saungweme, who attended the two factions’
meeting, said the departure of Mudzumwe, Chifamba and the late Mushonga
heralded a new chapter for the workers’ union.

Saungweme said Mudzumwe has demonstrated his penchant for factionalism
through his association with first the united MDC, then the Welshman
Ncube-led MDC, before finally joining Arthur Mutambara’s faction.

“The CWUZ is the largest ZCTU affiliate in the country and it would make
sense for ZANU PF to use the likes of Mudzumwe to weaken workers’ unions
which are seen as opposition party strongholds,” Saungweme added.

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Mugabe, CIO exposed


by Bulawayo 24

Zanu-PF Hurungwe East MP Sarah Mahoka yesterday told the court that
President Robert Mugabe, his party Zanu-PF and the Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) were one and the same thing.

The legislator, who on Tuesday said she was a Grade Two school dropout, also
said aspiring Zanu-PF candidates had to send their election candidature
papers to the CIO for vetting.

Mahoka made the startling revelation while giving evidence in the on-going
trial of businessman-cum-politician Temba Mliswa and nine others facing
political violence charges.

She had been asked by defence lawyer Mike Mutsvairo how she came to know of
Mliswa and Patrick Mabonga's interest in contesting the Hurungwe West
constituency on a Zanu-PF ticket.

"I saw Mliswa and Mabonga's papers at the President's Office which had
called for aspiring candidates to submit their papers. That is also where I
submitted my own papers. This is not a figment of my imagination. It
actually happened," Mahoka said.

The defence lawyer further quizzed the legislator whether she appreciated
the role of the CIO in the selection of Zanu-PF candidates.

"What were the papers doing at the President's Office? Since you went to
school up to Grade Two, let me educate you. Essentially, the role of that
office is to ensure national security. And is calling for Zanu-PF
nominations part of national security?" Mutsvairo asked.

A visibly irritated Mahoka said one could not draw a line between President
Mugabe, Zanu-PF and CIO.

She also claimed she still had the text message in her mobile phone from the
CIO calling for Zanu-PF candidates to submit papers to its offices.

The Zanu-PF lawmaker denied harbouring a sinister agenda against Mliswa.

Allegations against Mliswa and his co-accused are that they waylaid and
attacked Mahoka and her entourage on February 22 this year at Zimonja
business centre, Zvipani in Hurungwe West.

Chinhoyi magistrate Sam Chituma heard that the suspects used bricks, fists
and booted feet to assault the MP and her driver before deflating tyres of
her vehicle.

Mahoka claims she sustained a broken leg and lost $1 223, an iPhone valued
at $800, a digital camera, a Zanu-PF beret and identity documents.

But the suspects have since denied the charge, with Mliswa claiming Mahoka
was raising the allegations to damage his political reputation and prop up
her preferred candidate Dorcas Bere ahead of harmonised elections likely to
be held later this year.

However, Mahoka said she did not know Bere.

The trial continues today.

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British Fire Fighters Rescue Bulawayo Fire Brigade

Nothando Sibanda

BULAWAYO — The Bulawayo Fire and Ambulance Department has had its disaster
preparedness state greatly enhanced by its partnership with Operation
Florian volunteer firefighters, who are in the country for the third time in
as many years, providing equipment and capacity building.

The council has stopped relying on a water tender donated by Queen Elizabeth
in 1991 to having 13 newly refurbished vehicles as a result of this

The City of Bulawayo’s Fire and Emergency Rescue Services Department has
been failing to service the city after the closure of two of its stations,
leaving only two functional.

This has led to loss of lives and property in the city and surrounding areas
as the city is the backbone of Matabeleland’s emergency disaster response

All this, though is set to be a thing of the past with the assistance of
Operation Florian, a humanitarian charity organisation from the United
Kingdom whose skills transfer and donation of nine fire fighting vehicles in
the past two years and an additional four tenders this week has enabled the
council to reopen the Nkulumane and Northend Fire Stations.

Bulawayo City Council Fire and Ambulance Services chief fire officer,
Richard Petersen, said the city has fully recovered from its near collapse
state to being the best equipped and trained fire and ambulance department
in the country following the three-year partnership with Operation Florian.

The chairperson of Operation Florian, Michael Doherty, explained that his
humanitarian charity organisation assists fire and rescue services
throughout the world who are in need of assistance and that much of their
work concentrates on disaster re-building work.

Operation Florian team leader, Tom Brescoe, said he has already seen the
Bulawayo Fire Brigade team in action three times since Thursday and is
impressed with the improvements.

Resident Daniel Bhebhe, who has lost property in a fire, said the closure of
Nkulumane  and Northend Fire Stations, leaving the whole city being covered
by only two had compromised the department’s response times to disaster
areas and the reopening of these two stations this week is evidence that
the partnership is bearing fruit.

Other local authorizes and companies that have been invited by the BCC to be
trained by Operation Florian include Victoria Falls, Hwange Colliery and
Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority.

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No money to deport foreign ex-convicts

22/03/2013 00:00:00
     by Deutsche Welle

HUNDREDS of foreign prisoners who have served their sentences remain stuck
in the country’s camped prisons because the government says it is unable to
pay for their tickets home, it has emerged.

Those who find themselves stranded at facilities such as the Harare Central
Remand Prison, include Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) nationals arrested
last year after they fled their war-torn country seeking refuge.

A group of Nigerians also they were arrested while moving through the
country on their way to search for employment in neighbouring South Africa.
Their main crime: not having appropriate identification papers.

Rabo, a 23-year-old Nigerian, said he wanted to settle in Zimbabwe but was
arrested last year and in July was made to pay a hefty fine.

"I have already paid the $200 which they charged me," he told DW. "They have
refused to give me access to speak to my parents in Nigeria. They have
refused me even to make calls locally. If they do not want me why are they
keeping me here?"

The government does not have the resources to pay for the ex-convicts to fly
home and as a result they remain in custody on immigration warrants,
Zimbabwe prison service head Paradzai Zimhondi told reporters.

Even after completing their sentences, many released prisoners have reported
having to wait months or even years in custody as the government will not
allow them to stay in Zimbabwe but can't afford to send them home.

Stuck in limbo

Cousin Zilala, from Amnesty International, called the situation a violation
of human rights.
"There is no excuse for a government to say they have no money to deport
people back to their country after serving their sentence," he told DW. "The
prisoners have no access to their families, their families do not even know
where there are."

Emanuel Simon of Tanzania has been in prison since July 2012 after he was
arrested while returning to his country without proper documents.

"Immigration said I should have money because the government does not have
money to deport foreigners, and they are saying that the price for the air
ticket is $880 from here to Tanzania," he said, adding that ex-prisoners are
not supposed to travel overland since there are no guarantees they actually
leave the country.

"We are doing nothing here," he told DW. "Even the Zimbabwean prisoners are
saying 'these guys are finishing our food for nothing.'"

Co-Home Affairs Minister, Theresa Makone, said she was not aware of the
situation in the Harare facility.

"It is patently wrong and unfair," Makone told DW. "It is an abuse of
people's freedoms."

Makone added that her ministry would look into the situation of foreign
prisoners who have served their sentences.

"It is very sad that we charge someone that we cannot then send back to
their countries," she said.

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Air Zimbabwe plans daily SA flights

22/03/2013 00:00:00
     by Business Day

AIR Zimbabwe is set to reintroduce daily flights to Johannesburg in the next
two weeks as the national carrier works towards a return to full schedule in
preparation for the upcoming United Nations (UN) World Tourism Organisation
summit in August.

However, with confidence in the national airline at a record low, saddled by
a $180m debt, salary disputes, inconsistent flight service and an aged
aircraft fleet, Tourism and Hospitality Minister Walter Mzembi has mooted
approaching South African Airways (SAA) to be the official carrier for the
UN summit.

Zimbabwe is jointly hosting the summit with Zambia at the Victoria Falls
Mzembi said recently SAA was a "natural choice" as it controlled the largest
single chunk of Zimbabwe’s airline industry, with almost 30% of market

Air Zimbabwe flies only four times a week into South Africa from Harare, in
contrast to the daily flights offered by SAA and British Airways.

On Wednesday, Air Zimbabwe chairman Ozias Bvute said maintenance checks were
being done on the airline’s two leased Airbus A320-200 aircraft and the
Chinese-manufactured MA60 aircraft.

The MA60 would be used to service the domestic Harare-Bulawayo route daily.
At present it is served only four times a week.
"We hope the process will be completed in the next two weeks, and once the
check is complete, we will take the opportunity to fly from Harare to
Johannesburg and Bulawayo on a daily basis.

"The Airbus has newer technology, it has more fuel efficiency and it will
help boost our efficiency as a national carrier," said Bvute.

Since last year, Air Zimbabwe, has been under increasing pressure from the
government to make a return to the skies to compete with the increasing
number of foreign airlines that continue to make a beeline into the country.

Egypt Air is the latest, indicating that it will resume flights to Zimbabwe
on June 1.

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Feisty Mtetwa holds tightly to her smile
22 MAR 2013 00:00 - JASON MOYO
Arrested for 'defeating and obstructing' justice, Beatrice Mtetwa remains indomitably defiant.

Beatrice Mtetwa seemed to be enjoying herself – dressed in a grey tracksuit, with only her socks on, and standing in the back of a police truck as it left Rhodesville police station on Monday.

Arriving at the court, with a plastic bag in one hand, containing her personal belongings, she stood in the vehicle and joked with friends, and her captors.

The celebrated human rights lawyer, who was arrested on Sunday for allegedly preventing police from searching the home of a client, was showing just the kind of defiance that has endeared her to many, and has made her a frequent target of Zimbabwe's security forces.

An urgent high court application for her release was granted by Justice Charles Hungwe at 2am on Sunday, and was presented at the police station 30 minutes later. The police refused to release her.

The official line is that she is being charged with "defeating and obstructing" the course of justice.

Her ordeal outraged many, but her response to all of it showed how used to it she is. If anything, she seems to thrive on controversy.

Rebellious streak
Mtetwa, who was born in Swaziland but moved to Zimbabwe in 1983, has built her career on defending human rights campaigners, journalists and non-governmental organisations.

In a 2008 interview with Marie Claire she traced her rebellious streak back to her childhood; her father was polygamous and she felt there was "injustice in the way

things were done" in her family.

"I was always questioning my father's authority – and [was] always getting into trouble," she told the magazine.

She was busiest after the 2000 parliamentary election, when she led challenges against the results in close to 40 constituencies.

Mtetwa is a friend of independent journalists, having rescued dozens of them – local and foreign – from arrest. The story is often told of how she saved foreign journalist Andrew Meldrum, a correspondent for the Guardian and the Economist at that time, from deportation in 2003, arriving at the airport just minutes before his aircraft took off to serve immigration staff with a court order stopping the deportation.

In 2007 she was grabbed from a protest march against the intimidation of lawyers. She was beaten and dumped at the side of a road. When she lifted her skirts to allow a ­photographer to capture the injuries she had suffered, she attracted ridicule from her opponents.

'Well-marketed brutality'
In an article earlier this month  Herald columnist Nathaniel Manheru – widely believed to be President Robert Mugabe's spokesperson George Charamba – arguing that anti-Mugabe activists use ­misfortune to draw attention to themselves, mocked Mtetwa for having "bared her inner portions to display Zanu-PF's well-marketed brutality".

Mtetwa has always known how to play the media to draw attention to rights abuses. She once told the Committee to Protect Journalists in Zimbabwe: "I always make sure that if, for instance, I'm called in the middle of the night to a scene that is potentially dangerous, I make sure that there are as many media practitioners as possible, particularly to record what will happen there."

Despite her international clout, which will only grow with each arrest, she has remained grounded. Reacting to news that the committee had chosen her to receive the International Press Freedom Award, she said: "I didn't do anything other than my job."

She has won the respect and adoration of many of her colleagues. "She has stood by many of us, it's time we stand by her," said Tawanda Zhuwarara, a member of the legal team that fought to free her this week.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, of which Mtetwa is a board member, said this week: "For every Beatrice Mtetwa that these state agents and institutions put behind bars and attempt to embarrass, humiliate and punish without ­lawful cause, there are 10 other human rights lawyers waiting to take up the mantle."

On Wednesday afternoon Mtetwa was denied bail and was remanded until April 3.


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In my view Beatrice Mtetwa should be Zimbabwe s next president

By Clifford Chitupa Mashiri, 22nd March 2013.

I am going to be personal this time. I am appalled by the vindictive
treatment Mrs Beatrice Mtetwa is receiving from the Zanu-pf justice system.

It is an injustice to deny someone bail and incarcerate them in disregard of
a high court ruling, let alone the same Roman Dutch law used in South Africa
where  a murder suspect is out on bail.

Everything done so far – including parading an arrested Mrs Mtetwa  at the
back of an open truck being driven through the streets of Harare,  charging
her for a trivial offence as alleged, denying her bail until April point to
a sinister and well calculated campaign meant to break her spirit.

Contrary to claims that there have been reforms enough to justify going for
polls, the regime is defiantly showing the whole world that it is spoiling
for a fight ahead of elections. Zanu-pf is punishing the learned lawyer for
her principled stand on human rights.

I am saddened that even those she defended in various court cases have not
bothered to lend her morale support, probably fearing ZRP retribution, but
at least Morgan Tsvangirai should prove what  power  he has in the so-called
power-sharing government by drawing the line on rights abuses.

Today it is Mrs Mtetwa tomorrow it could be a top level MDC-T official if
not Tsvangirai himself being subjected to the same ZRP injustices.

The male-dominated Zimbabwean polity excluding Mr Coltart who has spoken
out, should be ashamed of itself for ill-treating a woman who resembles
everyone’s caring mother apart from her being an award winning advocate.

What the ZRP is doing is deplorable and must stop forthwith. Every
Zimbabwean should not wait for the promised bill of rights to come into
force for them to be presumed innocent until proven guilty in a properly
constituted court of law.

Mr Chihuri, ZRP boss, please do us a favour. Show respect for women as they
are the ones who brought us to this world.

In my view, Mrs Mtetwa should stand for presidential elections whenever and
I am sure, all voters with brains will vote her into power after what we
have seen so far. Arguably, only then would the current leadership vacuum in
Zimbabwe come to an end. I said I was going to be personal.

Clifford Chgitupa Mashiri, Political Analyst, London,

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Zimbabwe: South Africa’s contunued shame

The recent statement by Keith Khoza, spokesperson for the African National
Congress, that the party continues to support Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF is
shameful and perplexing. It comes against the background of ZANU-PF’S active
support of Julius Malema, and numerous derogatory comments aimed by ZANUPF
at President Jacob Zuma, Vice President Cyril Ramaphosa, Lindiwe Zulu and
other ANC luminaries.

But Khoza’s statement should be seen in the context of a ten-year background
collusion initiated by former President Thabo Mbeki. Indeed, in 2008 I
personally reminded President Mbeki during a meeting with MDC President
Morgan Tsvangirai that, as a mediator who had sided blatantly with ZANU-PF,
had the blood of Zimbabwean citizens on his hands.

Mbeki’s complicity continues to haunt Zuma's Presidency. The office of the
presidency continues to refuse to make public the findings of a government
report on Zimbabwe’s disputed 2002 elections. The report was compiled by two
of South Africa’s most respected judges, appointed by Mbeki. Everyone knows
their findings will shame South Africa. The scale and savagery unleashed
innocent citizens of Zimbabwe by ZANU-PF over twenty years constitutes
tribalism and racism that have, in turn, effectively resulted in ethnic

For the African National congress—the party of Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo,
Beyers Naude and so many other superb role models—to embrace Robert
Mugabe’s ZANU-PF is utterly contradictory. Is Khoza speaking for the ANC as
whole? We would like to know.

Khoza suggests that ZANU-PF deserves ANC support since it is ‘Experienced in
Government’. It is simply incredible that the ANC should indicate official
for for a political party headed by an 89 year-old who has held absolute
for over thirty years.

Aside from massive human rights abuses, every economic indicator in Zimbabwe
shows Khoza’s claim to be absurd. ZANU-PF has reduced the country from a
bread basket to a basket case in ten short years. As a spin-doctor, Khoza
also deal with the uncomfortable truth that ANC structures themselves coined
the term ‘Zanufication’. This popular figure of speech is widely used in
Africa, and encapsulates everything incompetent, authoritarian and corrupt.
While South Africans deservedly celebrate Human Rights Day, the reality in
Zimbabwe is different.

As I write this, my brave friend, the internationally
respected human rights lawyer, Beatrice Mtetwa, languishes in a filthy
cell merely for daring to represent her clients. Photographs in the media of
wonderful, resilient woman, shows her dragged to court in the back of a
vehicle. Such images should insult every person’s sense of dignity. Can one
imagine the outrage if George Bizos was dragged to court in a similar

These abuses come as a new Zimbabwean constitution is being trumpeted as the
solution for the nation’s ills. The previous constitution, flawed though it
was, had
a strong Bill of Rights that in, practical terms, meant nothing. The new
piece of
paper will not solve Zimbabwe’s problems.

We Zimbabweans demand that which the people of South Africa, Zambia,
Namibia, Malawi, Botswana, Mozambique, now take for granted: free and fair

ZIMBABWEANS WANT CHANGE. We need hope, jobs and much needed
investment in every sector of the economy. The people simply cannot eat
Liberation rhetoric. Wherever I go in the world, young Zimbabweans clamour
More than anything else they look to political leadership that they can
trust. They
wish to be served by a party that genuinely has their interests at heart.
must be allowed to choose who they want. South Africa should play its part
as a
neutral mediator and quit meddling in our domestic politics.

Roy Bennett
Treasurer General
Movement For Democratic Change

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A sick judiciary begets a sick nation


by Tawanda Majoni

Over the years, whenever civil society, human rights defenders and political
parties have called for key reforms in Zimbabwe, hardly anything was said
about sterilising the judiciary. I wonder why.

Yes, calls for security sector, media and electoral reform all make sense,
but one thing our reform lobbyists seem to have missed is that, even if all
these changes were to fall straight from heaven, they would come to nought
if the judiciary is left as it is today.

Judicial reform, by the way, does not simply mean removing partisan judges
from the bench. This would be too ad hoc. Reform is supposed to be
systematic. It has to address the form and structure of an institution, not
just temporary features like who is currently on the bench.

Yes, there have been concerns about biased judges since the turn of the
century. The reader will remember the uproar that accompanied the removal of
white justices from the High and Supreme Courts when the issue of land
redistribution took centre stage from 2000.

Zanu (PF) could not trust them when it came to presiding over land disputes
that arose from the untidy, hurried and knee-jerk fast track land
re-allocation programme. They had to be replaced with black judges with a
proven track record of toeing the party line. This remains the situation

But, the composition of the bench and magistrates courts is not what sorely
worries me here. It is the judicial systems themselves. For example: This
newspaper recently published a story relating to a botched diamond deal
involving Anjin, BancABC and a Belgian mogul, Ali Mackie, that is now at the
Supreme Court.

This case, by the way, has been placed in the furthest corner of the dark
room at the highest court in the land, where judges have to squint through
the cloud of mystery surrounding the matter. The media has been gagged from
reporting on the matter.

Once a case has been placed in a dark vault like this one, all is left to
speculation, and it is every person’s guess why the courts decided to shroud
certain proceedings. What I can say with great certainty is that someone is
trying to hide something somewhere for some reason.

Also, still fresh in the news is how the courts barred the Anti-Corruption
Commission from searching the offices of several top government officials,
among them Saviour Kasukuwere and Obert Mpofu, the Indigenisation and Mines
ministers respectively, who are clearly among the richest individuals in

The courts also barred ZACC from searching the offices of the Zimbabwe
Mining Development Company that owns half the pie in every diamond mine etc
and the National Indigenisation and Economic Empowerment Board.

The ministers, NIEEB and ZMDC are rumoured to be involved in high level
corruption, just as there are rumours about the Anjin-Mackie deal being a
dirty affair also involving prominent politicians.

I hope Mpofu and Kasukuwere will not be fingered as part of the diamond game
as well, as that would scare the wits out of me. In the past, of course, we
have had people like Emmerson Mnangagwa applying to have the media’s lips
sealed in cases like shady gold dealings in Kwekwe.

Of course, it is legally in order for an individual or institution to apply
to black-out the public from accessing information on a particular on-going
case and it is within the jurisdiction of the courts to grant such an order
in favour of the applicant.

But this is where my quarrel with the system resides. We should remove this
kind of provision from the judicial process as it is clear that it is being
abused. I am certainly not comfortable with the fact that the courts black
out the public or investigating agencies mostly where high profile people
are concerned.

At that rate, Zimbabwe, currently ranked one of the most corrupt countries
in the world, will be in the sewers before we know it, courtesy of a
manipulated and sick judiciary. A sick judiciary begets a sick nation. - For
feedback, please write to

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Where is the justice, where is the fairness?

21/03/2013 00:00:00

  by Senator Obert Gutu

I  AM a die-hard fan of one of reggae music’s legends, Gregory Isaacs. From
the album Night Nurse, I will quote some of the lyrics from the hit song
‘Hot Stepper’.

“I thought it would be better/Now I’m a branded hot stepper

If I am guilty, Lord God/Then I will pay

Now I’m a victim/By the words men say

And now I’m wanted/There’s a price on my head

So I, so I/Said I’m a wanted

But Jah won’t let the wicked capture I, no way”

Zimbabweans are independent, but we are not free. We have sovereignty but
our hands are still in chains. We fought against an oppressive system of
colonialism but we replaced it with a more vicious system of one man rule; a
dictatorship. We are not free. We are still in bondage.

We have allowed the dictatorship to hold us to ransom. We have been
brutalised, vandalised and trashed. Our lives have been cheapened. Our very
existence as human beings has been degraded. We have suffered and we
continue to suffer. Some of us have decided to escape this misery by
settling in the Diaspora. But is the Diaspora the solution? Surely, should
we resign our fate to the dictatorship? Should we meekly surrender and be
driven like a lamb to the slaughter? Is this the rationale for having waged
a bitter and protracted armed struggle against racist, colonial oppression?
Are we now free? Are we happy? Where is the humanity?

There is something fundamentally wrong with a revolution that cannibalises
its own. There is no morality in a revolution that has long lost its way; a
revolution that has gone awry. When thugs, looters and kleptocrats hijack an
otherwise just cause; everything that can go wrong will go wrong.

When leaders overstay in positions of power and authority, you will
experience unprecedented economic and socio-political decay. When old age
stubbornly refuses to give way to new blood, you will be stuck in a
conundrum of despair and hopelessness. Which way Zimbabwe? Which way our
beloved motherland?

This is not about Zanu PF. This is not about party politics. This is about
nationalism. This is about Zimbabwe. Some of us are immensely proud that we
have never supported Zanu PF in our entire lives. As young boys, we were
die-hard Zapu stalwarts. For in Joshua Nkomo, we saw a colossal political
giant; a humanist, a philanthropist; in short, a very good man. May his
departed soul rest in eternal peace.

We refused to be swayed by hostile and cheap propaganda. We are smart enough
to distinguish true and legitimate revolutionaries from latter day political
turncoats and scavengers. We are old enough to know these charlatans. They
are men and women with no shame. They have absolutely no shame. Some of them
have never won any election in their entire lives and they are already in
the sunset of their miserable political lives!

They will participate, again, in the forthcoming harmonised elections; but
again they will be thrashed in the ballot box. These men are hopeless
losers. But they have no conscience; no pride, no humanity. The system has
used them like political condoms. Now that they no longer have anything new
to offer, they will be discarded and forgotten. These are little men with no
integrity. They have no honour. Indeed, they have no dignity.

An oppressor is an oppressor; whether he is black or white. A system that
contaminates an otherwise professional police force to become a ruthless
appendage of a political party that has seen better days is a bad system. It
will not be sanitised by some tired pseudo-revolutionary political rhetoric.
The people of Zimbabwe have had enough of this gerontocracy.

From 1980, the people have been fed on a consistent diet of lies and deceit.
In the process, the majority of the people have been pauperised. A
staggering 90% rate of unemployment. From being a net food exporter just
less than 15 years ago to being a basket case and a net food importer! This
is Zanu PF for you! Vintage Zanu PF! A history of unprecedented corruption
and thievery. The more you steal, the more you get promoted.

We are not advocating for anarchy. No. We are not arguing that criminals
should not be arrested and prosecuted. All we are crying out for is justice
and fairness. We are extremely worried when known rapists and murderers
continue to roam the streets freely. We know that Talent Mabika and his
colleague were brutally murdered at Murambinda in the year 2000. We know
their murderers, one of whom has actually been consistently promoted in the
state security service. But these thugs and murderers have never been
prosecuted, let alone taken in by the Police for interrogation.

Over the years, the Zimbabwe Republic Police has degenerated into a renegade
police force that operates more like an armed militia of a political
organisation. They have since lost all pretence towards professionalism. It
is a mockery of justice when a senior policeman publicly campaigns for a
political grouping that is destined to suffer a humiliating defeat in the
impending make or break harmonised elections; or for any other political
party for that matter.

We call upon these disgraced men to urgently resign from the police force so
we can effectively deal with them in the political melting pot. They cannot
have it both ways. Certainly, they cannot and should never be allowed to
have their cake and eat it. One of these shameless policemen is openly
campaigning for a Parliamentary seat somewhere in Buhera but he still has
the audacity to masquerade as the ZRP deputy national spokesperson. Surely,
the gods must be crazy!

We are not cowards. We don’t fear these hopeless and evil little men. We
will continue to stand up to them. We believe in the justness of our cause.
We are not sell-outs; never have been and never will be. We love Zimbabwe so
dearly that’s why we decided to dabble in active politics. We will continue
to call a spade a spade. If you are a chicken, we will call you a chicken;
and not a lion! The politics of brutality and thuggery will never break our
spirits. Our cause is just and more importantly, God is on our side.

We are not going to participate in a bloodbath that is packaged as an
election. We know that these thugs have decided to go for broke. It is clear
that they are heading for a humiliating electoral defeat and so they have
decided to throw all caution to the wind. They will intimidate, arrest,
detain, rape, maim and even kill. We know their modus operandi very well.
Over the years, they have learnt nothing and they have also forgotten
nothing. They should never, ever be trusted. They are dangerous. Extremely

But then Zimbabwe is not a sole preserve of these shameless and brutal
thugs. Zimbabwe belongs to all of us. We all fought for this country. No-one
is more special than the other. The situation on the ground is most
disturbing. Young Christpower Miasiri was brutally murdered and to this
date, not a single soul has been taken in for questioning by the police
besides the numerous leads that were given to them.

The Glen View 29 are being dragged through a costly criminal trial when it
is abundantly clear that they have no case to answer. Five of the accused
persons remain incarcerated when it is clear that they should be admitted to
bail. They are not a flight risk. They don’t deserve to remain locked up. It
is a fundamental principle of criminal law that in a bail application, the
court should always lean in favour of the liberty of the subject unless the
interests of the State dictate otherwise. Where are we heading to as nation?
Is this the rule of law or this is the rule by law?

My generation and indeed, the generations to come after us, should refuse to
be intimidated. We should never give in to these desperate tactics of a
dying dictatorship. We should refuse to be treated as sub-human beings in
the country of our birth. We should resolutely continue to wage our peaceful
and democratic resistance to this tyranny. The tyrants are cornered. But
like a wounded buffalo, they are at their most lethal. The tell tale signs
of a very violent election campaign are there for everyone to see. But as I
have already stated, we should refuse to take part in a bloodbath that is
disguised as an election. These tyrants have lost all credibility
nationally, regionally and internationally. They are losers; hopeless

Going forward, we should strenuously insist that the electoral playing field
be evened up if we are to participate in these make or break elections. We
should demand equal and unfettered access to the state-controlled print and
electronic media. The security sector should be re-aligned so that they know
that they are servants of the people and not tools of Zanu PF. There is
absolutely no need to rush to hold an election in this kind of an
environment. At this rate, the outcome of the election will be hotly
contested. Holding an election under these conditions will be tantamount to
an exercise in futility.

Nothing lasts forever. The dictatorship has seen better days. They are
enjoying their last supper. But the time for reckoning is nigh.

Obert Gutu is the Senator for Chisipite in Harare and the MDC Harare
provincial spokesperson. He is also the Deputy Minister of Justice & Legal

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No guarantee of fair poll

Sapa-AP, AFP | 22 March, 2013 00:59

The constitution approved by Zimbabweans at the weekend does not guarantee
that fresh elections will be free and fair.

The new supreme law protects against all forms of violence and torture and
guarantees freedom of expression, but observers say there is little in it
that directly affects the way elections are run.

"The constitution does very little to affect electoral conditions," said
Zimbabwean legal and political analyst Derek Matyszak.

"If people are thinking the new constitution is going to create conditions
for free and fair elections they are going to be very disappointed."

Yesterday, Zimbabwean police arrested two more members of Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai's office staff, raising the number detained to six in what
the Movement for Democratic Change says is a campaign of intimidation ahead
of elections.

Tsvangirai considered the attacks on his staff as "an affront to democracy
and the rule of law", said his party.

Four MDC officials were arrested on Sunday, along with rights lawyer
Beatrice Mtetwa who was trying to represent them during police searches of
their offices and homes. A former MDC councillor was also detained.

A court has denied all of them bail. Defence attorneys were trying yesterday
to lodge an urgent bail appeal at the Harare High Court.

The MDC said two janitors at Tsvangirai's media and communications unit were
driven to the central Harare police station yesterday.

The four top party officials in jail are charged with impersonating police
officers because they were gathering information on the state's failure to
prosecute cases of high-level corruption.

Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa held out the prospect of elections being
held by the end of June.

"As the minister of justice I am not entertaining the holding of elections
after June 29 unless circumstances happen beyond my control," Chinamasa told
the Herald newspaper.

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A chance for Pope Francis to be the saviour of Zimbabwe

March 21 2013 at 08:39

John Scott

If anybody can do anything to restrain Robert Mugabe, it is Pope Francis.

That is why we should welcome the unofficial entry of Africa’s greatest
human rights abuser into Italy this week, to attend the new pope’s
inauguration. Mugabe is banned from all member countries of the European
Union including Italy, but you can’t visit the Vatican, where even tyrants
are welcome, without treading on Italian soil.

For this reason old Muggers never misses an opportunity to attend a papal
function. It’s his back-door into a tiny portion of Europe.

He was in Italy for Pope John Paul’s funeral in 2005, and again for his
beatification in 2011. He is a Catholic and went to a Jesuit mission school,
but fortunately no one holds the church accountable for his behaviour.

He ensconced himself in a hotel on the Via Veneta and no doubt wandered down
the Spanish Steps, stopping at the Trevia Fountain where he could have
thrown in a few old hundred trillion Zim-dollar notes, making a special
wish. Perhaps it was to live to 100, thus giving himself 11 more years to
finish off Zimbabwe completely.

He might even have got as far as the Colosseum, and pondered the freedom
enjoyed by like-minded rulers such as Nero to throw political opponents to
the lions. You can’t do that in Zimbabwe. Well, not yet, anyway.

Beating them up, imprisoning them and rigging votes will have to do for the
time being.

He was accompanied by his bodyguards and his wife Grace, who once again had
the opportunity to shop until she dropped. Harare stores have so little in
the way of decent fashion these days.

It’s all the fault of those British imperialists who handed over power 33
years ago.

Everyone at home must pin their hopes on the president being granted a
private audience with Pope Francis. Maybe the pontiff could share something
of his own concern for the poor with a ruler who a few years ago bundled
thousands of destitute people out of their informal homes which he then

Maybe he could also inculcate in Mugabe a sense of his own humility. Even if
he couldn’t persuade him to vacate his mansion and travel by bus, he might
at least suggest he give up those motorcades that force other traffic off
the streets and send pedestrians leaping into roadside ditches.

The president and the pope have one thing in common. They are both opposed
to gay marriage. Mugabe goes a little further.

He is opposed to gays, period. In fact he hates them and has made
homosexuality a crime. Perhaps they should avoid a discussion on whether
paedophilia is a crime or just a disease.

Apart from the pope, Mugabe likes to meet other celebrities on these
occasions, to prove he is still a world figure himself. At John Paul’s
funeral he stunned everyone by shaking hands with Prince Charles. It was
just to show no hard feelings. The Brits weren’t all bad. And they did leave
him with a love of cricket and the habit of conducting conferences over a
nice cup of tea.

But that was before Charles’s mother, the queen, stripped him of an honorary
knighthood, and it’s unlikely he shook any British hands this time.

Pope Francis does have the power to confer on him a papal knighthood. Maybe
the promise of one would be the only way to make him behave himself when he
returned home.

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Out of the country when his police force go 'over the top'

March 22, 2013, 1:48 pm

    It could be my imagination but Robert Mugabe always seems to be out of
the country when his police force goes ‘over the top.’ It’s as if he is
disclaiming all responsibility for whatever is going on in Zimbabwe. He can
claim it was nothing to do with him, he was out of the country on ‘state
business’ at the time. Reporting on Mugabe’s presence in Rome for the
inauguration of the new Pope, the media made much of the fact that Mugabe is
a practising Catholic – as if that automatically exonerated him from
complicity in the brutality that is an ongoing feature of his regime.

Mugabe was in Rome in 2005 for the funeral of Pope John Paul and again for
John Paul’s beatification in 2011 and now in 2013 for the inauguration of
the Francis 1st.  Reports indicate that Mugabe flew out of Zimbabwe the day
after he had voted in the Referendum for a new constitution which could keep
him in power for the next ten years by which time he will be 99 years old.
Having voted, Mugabe launched into his usual anti-western tirade: Why should
we let them in to observe our elections when they are the ones who impose
sanctions on us, Mugabe demanded. Sanctions however did not prevent him from
flying off to Rome; the Vatican being a ‘sanction free’ state. No difficulty
there! Neither did Robert Mugabe and his wife experience the difficulties
that so many voters had when they went to vote. Cathy Buckle’s account of
her voting experience made the case for all the people who tried to do their
civic duty. Born and bred in Zimbabwe but still ‘alien’ they were told -
because their parents were born abroad.

    On the eve of the Referendum the ever-present violence against the
opposition escalated with 7 MDC members attacked in the presence of a BBC
team who were caught up in the incident, 4 MDC supporters from Kwekwe
briefly arrested and an MDC activist from Headlands abducted at gunpoint
from his home in Harare. With Robert Mugabe out of the country all hell
broke loose as the police went on the rampage against a legally constituted
opposition. The abducted MDC man from Headlands was in fact in custody at
Nyazura Police Station, charged with the murder of the twelve year old boy
who died in a petrol bomb attack. Then, on Sunday, the day after the
Referendum, 15 plain clothes police officers clothes raided the offices of
the Prime Minister’s chief legal advisor, Thabani Mpofu and arrested him on
charges of “impersonating the police” because he was “compiling dossiers of
unspecified crimes.” Enter Beatrice Mtetwa, lawyer and fearless champion of
human rights who demanded the police produce their search warrant. They had
one they said but they would not show it to her until after they had
conducted their search! The police alleged that Mtetwa spoke disrespectfully
to them when she was demanding to see a warrant and they arrested her along
with the 4 other MDC officials. It could only happen in Zimbabwe! In
arresting Beatrice Mtetwa and the 4 other MDC officials the Zimbabwean
police have shown how desperate they are to conceal their own misdeeds. With
Mtetwa and her colleagues denied bail, no doubt the police now feel free to
do just what they like. As we saw this week, they already ignore High Court
orders so it’s doubtful whether they will take any notice of future orders
but Mtetwa’s name is not unknown. She is an internationally respected human
rights lawyer and the world is watching while the Zimbabwean police
demonstrate, once again, how little the rule of law means to them.

Yours in the (continuing) struggle, Pauline Henson

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Zimbabweans Must Stand Up to Impunity - ZACC should be given be given enough support to fight corruption

Via TI Z Press Release: Transparency International Zimbabwe (TI Z) the leading global organization in the fight against corruption is deeply concerned by the recent happenings as chronicled in the media reports in which the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) officers are reportedly being victimized for trying to expose alleged corrupt deals at various government departments and agencies.

While there is merit in the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) investigating alleged corruption within the anti-corruption body, the ZRP should deal with the individuals implicated and not seek to discredit the legitimacy of the body. The ZRP should not interfere with ZACC’s mandate of fighting corruption as recommended in the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and articulated in section 108 A of the Constitution of Zimbabwe. Likewise, the ZRP continues to carry out its constitutional mandate despite numerous allegations of corruption within the police force. Corrupt individuals must be weeded out of all state institutions but the institutions must be afforded an opportunity to exercise their mandate to the legitimate expectation of the society they serve. This requires that they be unfettered in the execution of their duties. As such, the ZRP is encouraged to deal with implicated individuals and not to interfere with the ZACC’s mandate as an institution in state machinery of law enforcement for the elimination of corruption in the country.

The ZRP has, in the past, been accused of bias especially in instances where investigations involve high ranking government officials. The police should not selectively investigate issues that involve among other people, prominent individuals in society. Such actions show high levels of impartiality and impunity on few public officials. The police force should be guided by principles of professionalism; they must be independent and impartial in the discharge of duties so that their actions are not misinterpreted for protecting a few individuals in society.

TI Z once again raises concern over the politicization of the fight against corruption. Perceptions that there are political agenda’s or expediency being served by current events as detailed in the press cannot be overruled. Unfortunately these events discredit and bring to question not just the legitimacy of the ZACC but also the Police as arresting officers, the courts as the issuers of the search and arrest warrants. Together these institutions represent the state’s law enforcement mandate. This mandate appears to be subverted to other more dominant interests that have nothing to do with upholding the rule of law and fighting impunity. The legitimacy of law enforcement agencies can only be re-established when the impunity of public officials and political leaders cannot be protected for political expediency. Whether some officers of ZACC are guilty of corruption is not the test for its capacity or legitimacy to interrogate the three implicated Ministers. These are two divorced issues that should be treated as such. One does not undercut the other. If this was the criteria it would also discredit the Police’s legitimacy and capacity to investigate the ZACC because its own officers and office have similarly been leveled with allegations of corruption on many occasions.

It is the position of TI Z that more attention must be paid by the current Coalition government and future government on guaranteeing the independence of these institutions and releasing them from political subservience so that they are not used as pawns for political vendettas. No reforms to the ZACC, Police or Judiciary are possible within the ambit of heavy–handed political directives muddying the issues. The legitimate expectation of Zimbabwean citizens is that those agencies mandated with enforcing and upholding the rule of law should execute their duties with the full support and cooperation of the Executive and Parliament.

In this instance if the allegations leveled against the three Ministers have a legitimate source they must be investigated and if found to be true the law must take its course. Similarly with regards to the allegations made against ZACC. Saying “No to Impunity” implies that there are no “sacred cows” in carrying out investigations; the probe should go beyond one’s political or social status. Punitive action should be taken against perpetrators of corruption not as a political end but to guarantee the freedoms and entitlements of all Zimbabweans. The Executive and Parliament owe it to the people of Zimbabwe to enforce and oversee transparent and accountable rules of Government which also entail respecting Institutions created by Constitutional Decree such as the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission. The Commission like all institutions in Zimbabwe need transparent support not to be bought off or silence, or intimidated to protect various interests.

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