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Police prevent clash between MDC factions: report

SABC

March 27, 2006, 08:15

Zimbabwean police intervened at the weekend to avert violent clashes between
factions of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Harare's
Herald newspaper reported today.

Its website said this happened at a rally in Chitungwiza yesterday. The
rally, meant to introduce Arthur Mutambara, the MDC faction leader in St
Mary's Chitungwiza, was attended by an estimated 800 people. Scores of
supporters for Morgan Tsvangirai, the party leader, gathered about 70m away,
singing loudly and dancing provocatively.

A group of nyau dancers who were also performing adjacent to the jeering
supporters worsened the situation. This irked some Mutambara supporters who
charged towards the nyau dancers and Tsvangirai followers. Only the quick
reaction by the police averted a violent clash, said the Herald.

Riot police dispersed both the nyau dancers and Tsvangirai supporters,
making it possible for Mutambara's rally to proceed unhindered. Mutambara
told supporters if the opposition party failed to remove Zanu (PF) from
power through democratic means, it would resort to demonstrations and mass
stay-aways.

"We are not afraid to use demonstrations and mass stay-aways to remove the
Government. We will not rule out using violence because this is still our
option," he said.

Mutambara referred to Tsvangirai as "my brother" saying efforts should be
made for him and his followers to join his faction. Mutambara's calls for
violence, follow similar threats by Tsvangirai who pledged to incite civil
disobedience in his quest to unseat the government. Joseph Msika, the
vice-president, had dismissed Tsvangirai's calls as empty talk meant to
cause mayhem in Zimbabwe.

Nathan Shamuyarira and Elliot Manyika, the ruling Zanu (PF) party's
secretaries for information and publicity, said the MDC's calls for violence
undermine democracy and could lead to bloodshed. - Sapa


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Zimbabwean rights body 'a smokescreen'

Business Day

Dumisani Muleya

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Harare Correspondent

THE Zimbabwean government's proposal to set up a human rights commission
soon has been dismissed by the main opposition and analysts as a
"smokescreen" to disguise President Robert Mugabe's long record of
human-rights abuses.

Factions of the divided opposition Movement for Democratic (MDC) said
yesterday the plan was calculated to fend off growing criticism of human
rights abuses against his regime.

Harare has been accused of human rights abuses by local civic society
organisations as well as the African Union, the European Union and the US.

In the 1980s at least 20000 minority Ndebele civilians were massacred by
armed forces in a political crackdown in the south-western region of the
country.

During the 2000 general election, more that 200 people were killed in
state-sponsored political violence. Most of the elections in Zimbabwe are
accompanied by violence.

Government has a long record of arresting, torturing and detaining suspects
without trial.

Political analysts also said the plan for a human rights commission, which
showed government was caving in to sustained pressure to halt abuses, was
designed to ward off mounting local and international criticism.

The proposal for a human-rights commission appears to have been taken from
the constitutional draft crafted by the ruling Zanu (PF) and MDC at
President Thabo Mbeki's urging.

Mugabe has already taken provisions from the Mbeki draft, and welded them
into the old British-designed constitution relating to the electoral
commission, anticorruption commission and a two-tier parliament.

But analyst Prof Brian Raftopoulos said the plan was a smokescreen. "This
regime has an appalling record of human-rights abuses and the commission
will only act a camouflage."

Nelson Chamisa, spokesman for the MDC faction led by Morgan Tsvangirai, said
the government's move was insincere and the plan ridiculous.

"They are the perpetrators of blatant human rights abuses, so how can they
now set up a commission to monitor themselves?

"The commission, just like all the others which are in existence, will again
be stuffed with Mugabe's cronies, and will do nothing except to cover up."


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Zimbabwe Vigil Diary - 25th March 2006



A soggy Vigil. It has been so dry in England that we haven't used our
tarpaulin for some time - long enough for some people to forget that when we
prod it with our brollies, heavy with rain, it cascades over everyone on the
periphery! Vigil Co-ordinator Dumi Tutani, from Southampton, was tireless
leading the singing and everyone was supplied with tea thanks to the
generosity of Patricia, the daughter of the venerated Jairos Jiri, who
donated three thermos jugs. Yeukai happily took on the role of tea lady,
filling the thermos jugs with boiling water from our friendly local pub,
Theodore Bullfrog, and making sure everyone had tea and coffee to order.

Two of our stalwarts, Ephraim Tapa and Julius Mutyambezi-Dewa, went to
support our sister vigil in Bristol on their first day. Ephraim welcomed
them to the "Vigil family" and spoke of the need to see ourselves as
Zimbabweans rather than cling to a tribal identity. He emphasized that the
vigils would continue until there were free and fair elections in Zimbabwe
and people could go home to rebuild the country. Julius spoke of the
importance of the Zimbabwean diaspora. He said so many Zimbabweans who had
much to offer the country had been dispersed but they were vital in
determining the future of Zimbabwe. The Bristol Vigil startled passers-by
with its vibrant spirit. Several people were dressed in traditional
attire - perhaps not suitable for an English early spring - but it attracted
some Zimbabwean passers-by. How extraordinary that so many Zimbabweans are
dispersed all over the place. Congratulations to Barbara and her team -
from all reports their first Vigil was a very successful event. The Bristol
Vigil will be held on the last Saturday of every month and the London Vigil
will continue to support them and other vigils throughout the United Kingdom
and elsewhere to give courage to the suffering back home. We might be
lonely and homesick but we are dancing and singing for a new Zimbabwe.

We were lifted by news that two of our supporters, Richard and Philipa, have
had their asylum status granted which means they can now work here until
things are right in Zimbabwe for them to return home. You may remember us
mentioning that Richard had been tagged by the Home Office - he is still
waiting for the tag to be removed.

A new role for the Vigil - it's providing material for literary efforts.
Addley, who is studying English, was asked to write a short story for her
English class. She wrote a story about the adventures of the Vigil dog
which was very well-received.

FOR THE RECORD: 50 signed the register.

FOR YOUR DIARY: Zimbabwe Forum, Upstairs at the Theodore Bullfrog pub, 28
John Adam Street, London WC2 (cross the Strand from the Zimbabwe Embassy, go
down a passageway to John Adam Street, turn right and you will see the pub).
Monday, 27th March, 7.30 pm - Yvonne Marimo, Chair of the Zimbabwe
Women's Network UK will talk about social issues affecting women of the
Zimbabwean Diaspora.
Monday, 3rd April, 7.30 pm - Peter Tatchell will talk on how to
campaign effectively to put Zimbabwe on the UK agenda.

Vigil co-ordinator

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 by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in
October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair
elections are held in Zimbabwe. http://www.zimvigil.co.uk


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Under Siege: Zimbabwe's Human Rights Activists

World Press

Raymond Majongwe
Ambrose Musiyiwa
Leicester, Britain
March 26, 2006

In December, Raymond Majongwe became the third critic of Zimbabwean
President Robert G. Mugabe's government to be placed under virtual country
arrest when security agents seized his passport.

Earlier that same month, authorities had seized the passports of two other
government critics: newspaper owner, Trevor Ncube; and Movement for
Democratic Change official, Paul Themba Nyathi.

Majongwe, who is secretary general of the Progressive Teachers' Union of
Zimbabwe (P.T.U.Z.) and a general council member of the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions (Z.C.T.U.), was returning from an International Labor
Organization workshop on H.I.V. and AIDS in Nigeria when immigration
officials at the Harare International Airport approached him and told him
they were withdrawing his passport.

He says that although no explanation was given for withdrawing the passport,
the move did not surprise him: "It did not surprise me because this regime
is determined to thwart all dissenting voices."

Majongwe has first hand experience of how the government of President Mugabe
deals with its critics.

In October 2002 he was arrested twice following a national teachers strike
launched by the P.T.U.Z. He was first arrested on Oct. 9 and charged under
Section 17 of the Public Order and Security Act (P.O.S.A.) for allegedly
disrupting classes and threatening teachers.

The Public Order and Security Act was enacted in January 2002 and it imposes
severe restrictions on civil liberties and criminalizes a wide range of
activities associated with freedom of assembly, movement, expression and
association. The Act makes it an offence punishable with imprisonment or a
fine for "any person who, acting in concert with one or more other persons,
forcibly disturbs the peace, security or order of the public or invades the
rights of other people."

The Act violates Zimbabwe's obligations under international human rights
law, including the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and
the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights.

Following his 2002 arrest, Majongwe was held in police custody for 48 hours,
during which time he was badly assaulted by police officers, sustaining
injuries to one of his eyes, both his arms and several ribs. He did not
receive medical treatment until his release on Oct. 11.

On Oct. 16 he was re-arrested for allegedly disrupting activities at Harare
schools by purportedly trying to force teachers into joining the strike. He
was taken to Harare Central police station and later transferred to
Chitungwiza police station. From there he was driven to a place outside
town, where he was blindfolded and tortured. Electric shocks were applied to
his genitals and mouth. Police officers ordered him to call off the strike,
to disband the P.T.U.Z. and not to make any statements to the press.

He was released on Oct. 21, after the court found that the state had failed
to make its case against him.

Now, three years later, and following another amendment of the country's
constitution, which provided for the withdrawal of travel documents from all
Zimbabweans who are perceived to be enemies of the state, authorities seized
Raymond Majongwe's passport.

Z.C.T.U. information officer, Mlamleli Sibanda says the amendment to the
constitution is a retributive counter-action by the government after the
entire ruling Zanu-PF leadership and government ministers were slapped with
travel sanctions by the international community.

"It is a mischievous act of flagrant disregard of the freedom of association
and movement. Rights which the government of Zimbabwe ratified under
Convention 87 [Freedom of Association and the Protection of the Right to
Organize] of the International Labor Organization," Sibanda says.

While the passports of Trevor Ncube and Paul Themba Nyathi were returned
within weeks, it would be a month before Raymond Majongwe's passport was
returned.

Arnold Tsunga, director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, in an
interview with SW Radio Africa (Jan. 18) says Majongwe's passport was
returned after a letter of demand was sent to the police. The letter stated
that the seizure was unlawful and that the police had no legal basis for
holding onto Majongwe's passport.

He describes the return of Majongwe's passport as a small victory, which has
no political significance in that the government of President Mugabe will
comply with the rule of law where there is no threat to the balance of
political mapping in the country.

Tsunga warns that once the Zimbabwean government has sorted out the
regulatory framework, which is the precondition for the amendment to work,
it will be no surprise to see it "begin to selectively target individuals,
especially human rights defenders; who are seen as an impact in terms of the
world knowing what is happening in the country and in terms of influencing
the grassroots movement."


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Zimbabwe plans $40mn in 'new' mines

Business in Africa


Posted Mon, 27 Mar 2006

Harare - A wholly state-owned Zimbabwean mining firm said it planned to
invest $40mn in joint ventures with foreign partners to open seven mines in
the southern African nation.

Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) chief executive, Dominic
Mubayiwa, said the firm had teamed up with Russian and Chinese investors to
open the mines, some of which will be chrome and copper.

He said the mines had been acquired from some multinational companies that
abandoned them in recent years. It could not be confirmed which mines the
executive was referring to and what the reasons were behind them being
abandoned.

"Almost everything is now in place and by next week we will be able to
announce the name of the new (joint venture) company," he said.

"In the nickel and copper projects, we are partnering with Norico of China
and discussions with Indian and Iranian investors are at various stages,"
Mubayiwa said.

ZMDC is taking centre stage in the mining sector of the country, after the
government announced plans this month to seize 51 percent shares in all
foreign-owned mining companies.

Most foreign-owned mining companies are contemplating pulling out of the
country in protest at the plans. -panapress


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Police Round Up Panners, Impound 40kg of Gold Ore



The Herald (Harare)

March 25, 2006
Posted to the web March 27, 2006

Harare

POLICE rounded up 85 gold panners in Mazowe on Thursday night and impo-unded
40 kilogrammes of gold ore and an assortment of mining equipment, as they
intensify their campaign against illegal mining.

The panners, who included nine women, were arrested along Mazowe River under
an operation code named "Operation Environment Friendly," which was recently
launched to curb rampant gold panning. Among the impounded mining equipment
were 20 shovels, nine steel rods, five axes, eight hammers, 12 picks, one
chisel, two wooden panning dishes, one plastic bucket, one steel tube and
two ropes.

The Officer commanding Harare Suburban Chief Superintendent Mbeko Kunene
said the panners would be vetted. First offenders, he said, would be fined
while those with previous records would be sent to court. "We will take them
to Mazowe Police Station where they will undergo a vetting process," he
said. Interviewed panners, said they sold a gramme of gold for about $2,5
million to some dealers who visit the area on a daily basis. Some of the
women arrested had children strapped on their backs.


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Govt threatens to control private hospital fees



March 27, 2006

By Andnetwork .com

AS the costs of health care continue to spiral out of the reach of
many poor people, the government is contemplating controlling private clinic
fees.

Health and Child Welfare Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa said the high
pricing system at private-run health institutions as without any basis or
logic.

"To me charging $50 million for a Caesarean is madness - there is no
other explanation for it except madness. A Caesarean is prompted by
complications, meaning it is a basic procedure that everyone should expect
with pregnancy because things do go wrong.

"To then make people pay such a huge amount for something so basic is
what I cannot accept. It does not make any sense at all and something has to
be done," he said.

For a long time, Government has let private-run health institutions
operate with a large measure of independence and autonomy. Private hospitals
and clinics, said Dr Parirenyatwa, had been an enterprise he believed should
be left to grow as they relieved the public health delivery system and
increased competition in the sector to the mutual benefit of all
stakeholders, including patients.

Until recently, private clinics offered an alternative of faster and
generally better medical attention to people with extra money to spend on
their health needs. Among people who could afford were mainly those in
employment and on medical aid.

However, of late, costs have become too high, resulting in even those
on medical cover not affording anymore, as after using their medical aid
entitlements they are incurring large shortfalls. Dr Parirenyatwa said while
Government does not expect private clinics to charge the same fees as public
health institutions, the fee levels should be reasonable and affordable.

"What they are charging is not commensurate with inflation so they
should not hide behind inflation. Admittedly, they are in business and they
should make profit, but what they charge should be reasonable. There should
be a balance." He said private clinics should not fleece the sick as they
are only an alternative to public health institutions.

"They are to ensure that the country's health care system can have
some sort of competition and that people can make a choice. If everyone is
crying, then it means no one is managing to get assistance from private
clinics and hospitals and that is where I get concerned," he said.

Source : Herald


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Heavy Sentences for Cattle Rustlers



The Herald (Harare)

March 25, 2006
Posted to the web March 27, 2006

Harare

HIGH Court judge Justice Anne-Mary Gowora yesterday slapped eight cattle
rustlers from Norton, Rusape and Nyanga with jail terms ranging between 46
months and nine years in prison for stocktheft.

Luckmore Gwanzura (26), Moses Mushayi (25), and Obediah Chikafu (24) all
from Norton were each slapped with an effective 46 months in jail on one
count of stocktheft. The court, which confirmed their conviction by the
Norton Magistrates' Court, had initially sentenced them to four and half
years in prison.

However, eight months of the sentence, was conditionally suspended. Justice
Gowora said she could not impose the mandatory nine years prescribed by the
new Stock Theft Act, because the three were convicted before the law was
amended. David Chikapu (36) from Rusape, Tawanda Mubayiwa (28) from Norton,
Sunday Nyamukaya from Nyanga, James Sumbizi, Whatmore Nemaire, both from
Rusape, were each sentenced to nine years in jail for cattle rustling.

The cattle rustlers had been referred to the High Court for sentence because
provincial magistrates have no jurisdiction to pass sentences that are over
five years. Under the new Stock Theft Act, convicted persons are liable to a
mandato ry sentence of nine years on each count, without the option of a
fine. The court can decide against imposing the mandatory sentence if there
are special circumstances. There has been rampant stock theft in the
country, a situation threatening the success of agrarian reform, as most
communal farmers rely on cattle and donkeys for drought power.


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State promises MDC leader jail

The Mercury

March 27, 2006

Zimbabwe's ruling party and government have threatened opposition
leader Morgan Tsvangirai with jail over his call for mass action to confront
Robert Mugabe's government.

In a statement, Zanu-PF spokesmen Nathan Shamuyarira and Elliot
Manyika said Tsvangirai would be dealt with mercilessly if he ever tried to
convene any form of mass protest.

Manyika equated Tsvangirai's call for mass action to a call for war
against the Mugabe government.

State Security
Minister Didymus Mutasa, who is in charge of the spy agency the
Central Intelligence Organisation, has also railed against Tsvangirai,
warning that the government would not hesitate to

jail the popular opposition leader if he called for protests.

Tsvangirai raised the stakes at the weekend when he told a well-
attended congress of a faction of his Movement for Democratic Change to
prepare for mass protests to liberate Zimbabwe from the Mugabe government. -
Mercury Foreign Service

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