Fri Sep 15, 2006 11:32 AM GMT
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate accelerated to 1,204.6
percent in August compared to 993.6 percent in the year to July, a new
record, official data showed on Friday.
The figures are normally released earlier in the month, but officials said
on Monday the August publication was delayed as statisticians had failed to
get money for price surveys due to problems stemming from the introduction
of new banknotes.
President Robert Mugabe has singled out Zimbabwe's inflation, the highest in
the world, as the biggest stumbling block to recovery from an 8-year-old
economic recession critics blame on government mismanagement.
From Zim Online (SA), 15 September
Harare - Cash-strapped Air Zimbabwe was forced to fork out US$2 million to
charter a foreign aircraft to service its international routes after
President Robert Mugabe last Tuesday seized the national airline's single
working long-haul plane to ferry him to Cuba, Zim Online has learnt. Senior
Air Zimbabwe officials, who did not want to be named for fear of
victimisation, said the chartered aircraft, a Boeing 767-300, belongs to
EuroAtlantic Airways, a charter airline based in Portugal. "The Portuguese
plane will service all our international routes, the London-Harare, Beijing,
Singapore and Dubai routes until September 18, when the President returns
home," said one official. Another official in the bookings department at Air
Zimbabwe's head office just outside Harare said the plane being used by
Mugabe will fly to London without the Zimbabwean leader and his entourage -
they are banned from Britain - to pick up passengers and then fly to Egypt.
Mugabe, who will travel from Cuba to Egypt, will board the Air Zimbabwe
plane from Cairo for the flight back to Harare.
But Air Zimbabwe spokesman David Mwenga denied Mugabe had taken the national
airline's only long-haul jet or that the airline was using a chartered
aircraft to ply its international routes. "No, it's not true," was all
Mwenga would say. The Air Zimbabwe spokesman would not disclose more
information as to whether Mugabe used scheduled flights to travel to Cuba,
something the Zimbabwean leader rarely does. This is not the first time
Mugabe has commandeered Air Zimbabwe planes to take him on his many trips
outside the country. He often does that and at one time in 2004 took one of
the heavily indebted national airline's wide-bodied jets for a vacation with
his family and a small party of aides in Asia. Mugabe's abrupt commandeering
of planes, mismanagement and corruption have combined to bring Air Zimbabwe
to a state of near collapse. The airline which was one of the largest in
Africa now has only one long-haul jet and several small Chinese-made
short-haul jets used on domestic routes. In just one of several cases where
passengers have found themselves stuck because Air Zimbabwe has no planes,
40 passengers spent several days stranded in Harare because the airline
could not accommodate them on its London-bound aircraft.
Saturday 16 September 2006
HARARE - Politically motivated violence and human rights abuses are on
the increase in Zimbabwe, with for example 68 cases of illegal use of
torture recorded last July compared to only one case the previous month,
according to the Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum (ZHRF).
The ZHRF, a grouping of more than 17 of the country's main human
rights and pro-democracy non-governmental organisations (NGOs), monitors
political violence in Zimbabwe and publishes regular reports on the human
rights situation in the troubled southern African country.
In its latest report dated July 2006 and released this week, the ZHRF
blamed most cases of politically motivated torture and assault on state
security agents and called on the government to ensure its agents upheld
international and local laws forbidding torture and inhuman treatment of
It said: "The Forum deplores the use of assault and torture by the
police during arrests and detention. The Forum further urges the responsible
authorities to abide by the prohibitions of torture as espoused in the
United Nations convention against torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman
and degrading treatment and punishment."
Ironically, the Forum's call on the government to end torture of
pponents comes amid reports that about 15 labour leaders arrested by the
police for organising worker protests last Wednesday were all in critical
condition after they were severely assaulted and tortured by the police.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and some opposition
Movement for Democratic Change party leaders were still in police custody by
late Friday afternoon and where they were being denied medical attention.
Only ZCTU secretary general Wellington Chibebe, who is suspected to
have suffered a fracture on the skull during the assaults, had been allowed
to go to hospital because of his severe injuries.
The ZHRF report cites several examples of police and army brutality
against opponents of President Robert Mugabe's government.
In one such case on July 9, 2006, the youth chairman of the MDC in
Chitungwiza town was abducted by eight men suspected to be Zimbabwe army
soldiers who took him to an army camp along the highway from Chitungwiza to
Harare and where they severely assaulted and tortured him, the report says.
The report also cited the arrest and subsequent assault of 128
activists of the National Constitutional Assembly for holding demonstrations
in Harare demanding a new and democratic constitution in Zimbabwe.
Another 18 activists of the Combined Harare Residents Association were
also arrested in July for protesting against deteriorating conditions in the
capital. Two journalists, Ndamu Sandu and Godwin Mangudya, who were covering
the residents protest were also arrested, the ZHRF report says.
All those arrested were released after spending the night at Harare
Central Police station but not before paying admission of guilt fines of
The Forum condemned the brutal assault of Trudy Stevenson, a
legislator of the Arthur Mutambara-wing of the fractured MDC. Stevenson, who
sustained a broken arm and other serious injuries to the head, was allegedly
assaulted by youths belonging to the other faction of the opposition party
led by Morgan Tsvangirai.
Both Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi and Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa were not immediately available to respond to the ZHRF report.
However, the government has in the past denied that security forces
target its political opponents for abuse and torture. - ZimOnline
By Carole Gombakomba
15 September 2006
Amnesty International is urging the international community and the public
to send protest letters to the Harare government objecting to the detention
and treatment of union leaders, opposition members and others. The human
rights organisation says Harare has violated the United Nations Declaration
on Human Rights.
Amnesty says it is also seriously concerned with what it calls the "illegal"
detention of more than 100 members of the activist group Women of Zimbabwe
arise who were arrested Monday for protesting rising water fees in Harare,
Police released the last of the WOZA activists early Friday after their
Amnesty International Africa campaigner Simeon Mawanza told reporter Carole
Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the force of world public
opinion can help hold the Harare government accountable for its actions.
By David Coltart, MP
Last updated: 09/16/2006 02:53:36
THE MDC (AM faction) expresses its deep concern and outrage regarding the
pre-emptive arrests of ZCTU members and our colleagues in the MDC (MT
faction), the alleged denial of access to them by lawyers and alleged
assaults of them by state operatives this week.
Notwithstanding the provisions of POSA, the Zimbabwean Constitution is quite
clear regarding the right that Zimbabweans have to demonstrate peaceably.
The provisions of POSA used by the Zanu PF regime to arrest people
exercising this fundamental constitutional right are fascist laws no
different to those used by the white minority regime in terms of LOMA. They
were bad laws then and are no different now. LOMA did not prevent the
legitimate demands of the people from being realised and in the same way
POSA will not succeed ultimately in denying the people their rights. The
sooner the regime realises that these laws will not solve the Zimbabwean
crisis the better. The regime is advised to repeal POSA and then sit down
with all Zimbabweans to negotiate a solution to the calamitous situation
afflicting our nation.
We are especially concerned about reports that state agents have denied
access by lawyers to those detained and that several of those detained have
been severely assaulted. These two breaches of rights usually go hand in
hand - when lawyers can't get in to see their clients law enforcement
agencies the world over feel they have licence to torture. That is the very
reason why the United States Supreme Court recently, and very correctly,
ruled that the denial of access to lawyers in Guantanamo Bay offended the
American Constitution. Sadly this practice is routine in Zimbabwe and has
been for decades. It must stop immediately and those responsible for both
the denial of access and torture must be identified, rooted out of whatever
state agency they belong to and prosecuted.
A specific call is made on the Attorney General to investigate these reports
of denial of access and torture. It is the Attorney General's responsibility
to ensure that Zimbabwe's Constitution is obeyed by all, especially by state
agents and the police in particular. We expect that he will call for an
urgent investigation into these allegations and that he will vigorously
prosecute those responsible for these outrages if the allegations are found
to be correct.
In any democratic country if subordinates are found guilty of serious human
rights allegations the Minister under whom they fall take responsibility and
resign. This is not the first time that the police, CIO and youth brigade in
Zimbabwe have been accused of torture - there have been persistent reports
(many backed by irrefutable medical evidence) over the last few years of
these agencies being engaged in acts of torture.
Article 2 of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or
degrading Treatment or Punishment states:
"Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial
or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its
It is clear to all reasonable people that the Zanu PF regime has failed to
comply with this basic international obligation. In particular the Minister
of Home Affairs, Minister Kembo Mohadi, has failed to prevent torture being
used by the police. He is deeply aware of the issue because it has been
raised on several occasions with him in Parliament. He should also be
acutely empathetic because he himself suffered torture at the hands of this
regime in the 1980s. In all the circumstances we call upon him to resign.
Finally we are cognisant that this regime has in the past simply denied that
torture has been used and so is likely to do so again. With this in mind the
Zanu PF regime is reminded that "torture is an international crime over
which international law and the parties to the Torture Convention have given
universal jurisdiction to all courts wherever the torture occurs". We are
keeping records of those responsible for these heinous acts and will use all
the means at our disposal to bring the culprits to book.
Martin Luther King once said "Where evil men would seek to perpetuate an
unjust status quo, good men must seek to bring into being a real order of
That is precisely what we are doing and as sure as day follows night a real
order of justice will be brought to Zimbabwe.
David Coltart MP is the Shadow Minister of Justice for the MDC faction led
by Arthur Mutambara
By Violet Gonda
15 September 2006
"It's really terrible and really brutal" were the words used by Dr
Reginald Matchaba Hove of the Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights to describe
the severe injuries and the torture of the arrested officials on Thursday
evening. After two days in police custody the victims' lawyer Alec
Muchadehama successfully applied to the High Court for an order to give them
access to a medical doctor. 15 brutalised members of the Zimbabwe Congress
of Trade Unions, including the top leadership were escorted in handcuffs
from Matapi Police Station to Parirenyatwa Hospital for urgent medical
treatment. Matchaba Hove said he rushed to the hospital after he received
several calls from concerned relatives of the victims. He confirmed that
even though all 15 showed signs of serious injuries and had difficulty
walking they arrived in handcuffs. The doctor said what was even more
concerning was the fact that they were whisked back to Harare Central early
Friday morning despite their injuries.
The victims, including ZCTU President Lovemore Matombo and Secretary
General Wellington Chibhebhe told the medical team that when they were
arrested on Wednesday, "they were taken two at a time into a cell and beaten
by five policemen in uniform, who beat them for at least an hour if not
more." When tired the police officers are said to have taken rests or taken
turns to torture the labour officials.
The arrests happened in Harare on Wednesday as people gathered for a
mass demonstration against low salaries, high taxes and workers' lack of
access to anti-retroviral HIV/AIDS drugs.Describing the injuries Dr Matchaba
Hove said; "Chibhebhe himself had obvious lacerations on the top of his head
and his shirt was full of blood. His hands were obviously swollen and the
left hand - it was very clear that he had an obvious fracture. They all had
severe bruises to the limbs, backs, buttocks and they said to us they had
been thoroughly beaten the very day they had been picked." He said Lovemore
Matombo's hands and his back are swollen. Lucia Matibenga, the ZCTU First
Vice President, was bleeding from the ears. Matchaba Hove named some of the
others injured; Moses Ngondo and Rwopedza Chigwagwa had fractures of the
forearm, Tererai Todini a broken finger and Nqobizita Khumalo a fractured
Despite the serious condition of the activists the police took them
back in custody. The doctor said; "I left hospital around half past three in
the morning and we had been assured that they would be kept overnight until
they seen by a specialist. I am advised though that early this morning
(Friday) after 6am , all of them, except Mr Chibhebhe who was admitted, were
taken back to Central." He said the police insisted on taking them back to
Harare Central Police Station where their case was processed for court.
Meanwhile the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights issued
a statement saying they unreservedly condemn the assault and torture and
prolonged detention of the activists. The doctors also condemned the initial
refusal by the police to release the injured from Matapi Police Station to a
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
International Federation of Journalists (Brussels)
September 15, 2006
Posted to the web September 15, 2006
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the
beating and detention of a TV cameraman by police officers in Zimbabwe.
On Wednesday, 13 September, Mike Saburi, a cameraman with Reuters
Television, was assaulted by police officers and jailed after he filmed the
police beating people involved in a banned trade union march in the capital
city of Harare.
"We strongly condemn this brutal assault on Mike Saburi and we call for his
immediate and unconditional release," said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the
IFJ Africa Office. "Even though the government had forbidden this
demonstration, it was still a newsworthy event. Banning media coverage and
trampling on press freedom will not solve any of the problems in Zimbabwe."
Saburi was filming the police beating people when he was assaulted and
arrested along with some others, said Foster Dongozi, General Secretary of
the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ).
"According to his lawyer, who is the only person authorised to have access
to the arrested, Mike is accused of having gone beyond his journalistic work
while filming the march," Dongozi told the IFJ.
According to an SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe report, during the assault Saburi
tried to show police his accreditation card but they kept beating him and
then put him in a police vehicle.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) has called for demonstrations
in urban centres to protest against poor wages and high taxes and to demand
that workers have access to anti-retroviral drugs to combat rampant
HIV/AIDS. The main ZCTU leaders have been arrested.
The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries.
Saturday 16 September 2006
HARARE - Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union (ZCTU) secretary general
Wellington Chibebe was in a serious condition in a government hospital after
being brutally assaulted by the police, while a Harare court last night
freed 31 other unionists and opposition officials from police custody on
Z$20 000 bail each.
Chibebe's application for bail will be heard separately, while the
other trade union and opposition officials were ordered to return to court
on October 3, to answer to charges of organising illegal protests.
Under the government's tough security laws, Zimbabweans must first
seek permission from the police before holding political meetings or
demonstrations in public.
The ZCTU and some opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party officials were arrested by the police in Harare on Wednesday as they
prepared to lead lunchtime protests by workers against worsening economic
hardships. The protests fizzled out after the arrests.
They were severely assaulted by the police who kept them locked up in
cells, denying them medical attention. The trade unionists and MDC officials
suffered various injuries including broken arms, legs and ribs.
But the worst injured was Chibebe who suffered two fractures on the
left arm, bruises all over his body and deep cuts to the head.
Harare lawyer Alec Muchadehama, acting for the unionists and
opposition officials, said he had raised the assault of his clients by the
police before the court.
"We complained to the court about the severe assault of our clients
while in police custody. Some of them can barely walk or sit," Muchadehama
told ZimOnline, adding that the court had put the brutal assaults on record.
Earlier in the day, leader of the main wing of the splintered MDC
Morgan Tsvangirai, prominent human rights lawyer Lovemore Madhuku and close
relatives were barred by security agents from seeing Chibebe at the
state-run Parirenyatwa hospital where he is admitted.
Zimbabwe security forces mounted a massive operation last Wednesday,
arresting dozens of labour and opposition leaders to thwart worker protests
called by the ZCTU, the largest umbrella union for the country's workers.
The ZCTU had called the protests to force the government and business
to accept linking wages and salaries to the poverty datum line (breadline),
which at Z$96 000 per month is many times above the average take home pay of
the ordinary worker.
The union, that has vowed to intensify job strikes until the
government and business acceded to its demands, says workers earning below
the breadline should be exempted from paying tax and also wants the
government to ensure ready availability of anti-retroviral drugs to combat a
burgeoning HIV/AIDS pandemic killing at least 3 000 Zimbabweans every
week. - ZimOnline
[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
HARARE, 15 Sep 2006 (IRIN) - Soldiers are being deployed to seize Zimbabwe's
grain harvest from farmers, in what appears to be a tacit acknowledgement
that the government's projected 1.8 million tonne crop will not be met.
The troop deployment follows Operation Maguta, in which soldiers supervised
agricultural production on farms and, in some cases, forced farmers to
produce maize ahead of other crops such as onions and tomatoes.
The state-controlled Grain Marketing Board (GMB), the sole agency authorised
to sell and buy maize, warned farmers in a recent statement that "there will
be a massive grain collection exercise in conjunction with members of the
Zimbabwe Defence Forces. This is being done in order for GMB to fulfill its
strategic commitment of ensuring food security."
In response to an opposition party member's question in parliament,
agriculture minister Joseph Made conceded that despite good rains the
country faced food distribution problems. "Indeed, we have been having a
problem of supplying grain to the millers - we have been balancing the
distribution between what we have already collected and what we have
Independent agricultural analysts predicted a maize harvest of 700,000
tonnes, while GMB depots have only received 300,000 tonnes so far, leaving a
shortfall of over million tonnes in the country's annual cereal requirement
of about 1.9 million tonnes.
The decision to use troops to collect maize from the farmers came after many
resorted to selling their harvest to middlemen offering prices above the
Z$31,000 (US$124) a tonne being paid by the grain board. Selling grain to
anyone other than the board is illegal, but farmers said they had no option.
"We delivered our maize grain to the GMB in June, but up to now we still
have not been paid," said Robert Marufu, who farms in Mazowe, near the
capital, Harare, in Mashonaland Central Province. "I have started selling
some maize which I retained to middlemen, who are buying at Z$100,000
(US$400) a tonne compared to the Z$31,000 (US$124) GMB is offering."
Marufu told IRIN he was concerned that with the new planting season a few
weeks away, and the GMB's failure to pay him for his maize, he would be
unable to buy farming inputs for the coming season.
Local state-controlled media have been awash with reports that senior
government officials, including President Robert Mugabe, have received
billions of dollars for their agricultural produce, while small-scale
farmers remain unpaid.
Simon Pazvakavambwa, permanent secretary in the agriculture ministry,
refused to say why soldiers were being deployed to oversee grain collection,
but said farmers who wished to retain some of their crop were entitled to do
"There is a process that has to be followed, and any farmer who wants to
keep part of his grain can always apply," he said.
But farmers in remote rural areas are often unaware of the procedures, and
it is expected that many will just surrender their crop and not keep any for
their own needs.
September 15 2006 at 03:07PM
Harare - Prominent business tycoon John Bredenkamp has been stripped
of his Zimbabwean passport because he also held South African citizenship,
it was reported Friday.
Bredenkamp, 66, was arrested in Harare and detained by police for four
days in July for breaching strict local citizenship laws by holding both
Zimbabwean and South African passports. Dual citizenship is not permitted in
A magistrate hearing the wealthy businessman's case in Harare on
Thursday said he could not convict Bredenkamp of any offence because of a
legal loophole, the state-controlled Herald newspaper said.
Bredenkamp's lawyer had argued that the businessman only used his
South African passport for travel outside Zimbabwe, and not to enter and
leave the country.
Magistrate Tapiwa Godzi agreed that Zimbabwe's citizenship act did not
give the courts jurisdiction to act on cases committed outside Zimbabwe's
borders, the Herald said.
Godzi said Zimbabwe's lawmakers should urgently address the loophole.
Zimbabwe's Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede had asked that
Bredenkamp's passport be withdrawn because by using the South African travel
document, he had ceased to be a Zimbabwean citizen.
That request had been granted and Bredenkamp would not have his
passport returned to him, the Herald said.
Born in South Africa in 1940, Bredenkamp moved to the then white-
ruled Rhodesia as a child. The former Rhodesian rugby captain has
significant farming and business interests in Zimbabwe.
He is also reputed to have close links to Emmerson Mnangagwa, the man
once tipped to be President Robert Mugabe's successor. - Sapa-dpa