By Tererai Karimakwenda
17 September, 2010
In Harare on Friday hundreds of civil servants took part in a protest march,
demanding pay increases of at least double their current salaries. They said
the government could use the money from the recent sale of diamonds to fund
The protesting workers presented their demands at the public service
minister's office, where they waved placards that read "Leave our diamonds
alone, decent salaries equal decent workers".
Civil servants, especially teachers, doctors and nurses, are grossly
underpaid in Zimbabwe, earning between $150 and $250 per month. They are
currently demanding a pay rise of between $500 and $600 per month.
But the government has been making promises for years that are never
fulfilled and granting them pay increases that fall far short of what they
need in order to make a basic living.
At the protest march Friday, secretary general of the Progressive Teachers
Union of Zimbabwe, Raymond Majongwe, received great applause when he said:
"There was a diamond auction and we also want that money as workers."
The Public Services Minister Eliphas Mukonoweshuro addressed the protesters,
saying that the government was conducting ongoing talks with the civil
servants' representatives. He said that government understood their plight
and everything possible was being done to address their concerns.
But the president of the Public Servants Association, Tendai Chikowore,
contradicted this saying: "Government has delayed to review civil servants'
salaries, and negotiations have been dragging on for a long time."
Harare, September 17, 2010 -The two Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
factions are engaged in informal reunification talks following their 2005
acrimonious split, David Coltart, the legal secretary of the smaller
formation has said.
Coltart who emphasised that he was speaking in his personal capacity told
participants at a lecture series organised by the Students Solidarity Trust
(SST) that he regretted the split and the two factions' failure to form an
electoral pact ahead of the 2008 elections.
A fortnight ago Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said he was not opposed to
calls for the two factions to reunite ahead of elections expected next year.
The MDC split into two following differences over participation in
Arthur Mutambara was brought in to lead the smaller faction that also had
the late Gibson Sibanda and Welshman Ncube.
Coltart who stuck with the smaller faction and is also the Minister of
Education, Sport and Culture said strong leadership would be needed if the
two groups were to reconcile.
He said a united front was necessary to help complete Zimbabwe's transition
Earlier, Coltart had delivered a lecture on the state of Zimbabwe's
education sector, which he said had suffered irreparable damage over the
last two decades after huge strides were made during the early years of the
Coltart also spoke strongly against Zanu (PF) supporters who were allegedly
intimidating teachers and accusing them of contributing the declining pass
rate in schools.
He said provinces where violence against teachers was most pronounced had
the highest number of temporary teachers hence the increasing failure rate.
Other panelists included former education minister Fay Chung and Raymond
Majongwe, the secretary general of the militant Progressive Teachers of
Majongwe appealed to the government to protect teachers in the volatile
provinces and warned that the impending elections will reverse all the gains
made by the unity government in reviving the education sector.
September 17 2010 , 5:20:00
Thulasizwe Simelane; Harare
In an unprecedented move, the head of Zimbabwe's electoral commission has
slammed liberators who perpetrate violence against the electorate in the
run-up to the polls.
Justice Simpson Mutambanengwe says the swaying of voters through violent
means defeats the purpose of the liberation struggle that fought to bring
about democracy in that country.
In an apparent break from his predecessors, Mutambanengwe says he wants a
clause in the constitution that shields him from politicians trying to
compromise his impartiality. Zimbabwe is a nation that bears the scars of
political contestation and murmurs of an election get many jittery as they
evoke memories of the bloody 2008 campaign.
Allegations of bias and vote-rigging have eroded public confidence in the
electoral system, and the new electoral commission chairperson wants
politicians to back off from his work.
Mutambanengwe says: "Our funding provided by the state comes through the
ministry of justice. We ask ourselves is there a possibility of
interference, is there a question of our independence being compromised by
While his predecessors were slammed for allegedly being in Zanu-PF's corner,
Mutambanengwe has vowed to be his own man.
President Robert Mugabe is reported to have instructed the Finance Minister
to set aside $200 million for an election next year, but some are skeptical
that a free and fair poll can be staged.
Crisis in Zimbabwe's Jonah Gokova says that country's new electoral
commission has no resources and no funds. Gokova says the commission needs
to work on a completely new voters roll, but has no funds to do that.
In spite of civil society's reservations, the country's political leaders
are agitating for a 2011 poll, seemingly fed up with their marriage of
September 17 2010 , 11:35:00
Zimbabweans with fraudulently obtained South African identity books should
receive citizenship status, the country's Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party argued in Johannesburg today.
Zimbabweans had used these illegal IDs to receive property loans, register
for schooling, open businesses and apply for government tenders, local
secretary Ngqabutho Dube told reporters.
"Given the above, we are of the view that these Zimbabweans should be
granted South African citizen status. It would be easier to deal with the
Recently the home affairs department announced it would provide an amnesty
for Zimbabweans who had been using illegal South African ID books, and
'normalise' their status as Zimbabwean immigrants.
However, Dube said this would impose administrative difficulties because
these Zimbabweans would then need to restart their lives under new
identities. - Sapa
By Alex Bell
17 September 2010
Delegates at Thursday’s ‘Future of Zimbabwe’ summit have said that serious
doubts remain about investing in the country, until there are visible
changes on the ground.
The summit in Johannesburg looked at the investment environment in Zimbabwe,
the impact of the country’s brain drain, the future of agriculture and food
security and the ethics of investment in Zimbabwe. Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai was the keynote speaker and made an effort to encourage
investment in the country, saying there was ‘tangible’ progress in economic
While conceding the pace of progress has been slow and limited, Tsvangirai
said the past 18 months under the unity government had witnessed steps
forward in the implementation of political and economic reforms. He went on
to cite a few examples of this economic turn around, singling out the return
of health workers and availability of medicines in hospitals, teachers and
books in schools, food in supermarkets and granaries, as well as water,
fuel, stable currency and a single digit inflation.
But the summit went ahead against a backdrop of worrying developments in
Zimbabwe that are contrary to Tsvangirai’s accounts of progress and change.
On Tuesday a farm illegally seized by a ZANU PF senator was burned to the
ground, despite a bilateral investment protection agreement and a protective
court order, as part of the ongoing onslaught against Zimbabwe’s commercial
farming community. Robert Mugabe also recently insisted that the
controversial business indigenisation programme will go ahead, which will
see foreign companies in the country forced to hand over 51% of their shares
to pre-selected Zimbabweans. Alongside this the exercise to gather public
opinion on a new constitution has faltered marred by incidents of violence
At the same time, a deadline set by Southern African leaders for the unity
government to implement the two year old Global Political Agreement (GPA)
has come and gone, and there is still no sign from either the MDC or ZANU PF
that there will be any real change.
Despite all this Tsvangirai still moved to defend Robert Mugabe as his
partner in the government, saying he was “committed to change.” Tsvangirai
told a news conference after the summit on Thursday that Mugabe could rescue
his “legacy” as the country’s liberator.
“I suppose Robert Mugabe has been portrayed as a demon,” he said. “He
himself made a contribution to that caricature because I cannot defend what
he did over the last 10 years in terms of violence, in terms of
expropriation and all these other activities.”
Tsvangirai continued: “But there is also a positive contribution to our
country that he has made. Remember that he was the national liberation hero,
and so those are positive years. I suppose there is the personality conflict
between a hero and a villain, of which you have to make an assessment.
History will have to judge him.”
Zimbabwean businessman Trevor Ncube, who owns the recently launched NewsDay
paper, said the government was yet to put together policies to entice
investors into the country. Ncube was one of the speakers at Thursday’s
summit. He told SW Radio Africa on Friday that there was still doubt that
the current reforms Tsvangirai was speaking about could be sustained.
“Government has to create political stability that guarantees security for
people to go back home and for investors to funnel money into the country,”
Ncube said. “There is still understandable wariness about investing in the
country, because there are no guarantees of any sustainable change.”
John Worsley-Worswick from Justice for Agriculture (JAG) was another speaker
at Thursday’s summit, and he told SW Radio Africa that the summit appeared
to be a “propaganda exercise.”
“There is a great deal of skepticism about investing in the country, and it’s
understandable given the lack of normalcy in the country,” Worsley-Worswick
said. “But what we found alarming was the deliberate effort to paint over
By Tererai Karimakwenda
17 September, 2010
A group representing private business leaders in Zimbabwe has called on the
unity government to delay holding elections for at least five years. The
Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz), made the appeal to the three
principals in the coalition, Robert Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
and deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, saying the economy needed time
to recover and stabilize.
According to the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper Emcoz chairman David Govere
told business leaders at a Social Dialogue attended by Deputy Prime Minister
Thokozani Khupe in Bulawayo recently, that it would be retrogressive to
conduct elections next year.
Govere explained that the elections, which are currently being planned for
next year, could reverse the economic gains made since the creation of the
coalition government two years ago, saying a delay would "consolidate the
current and ongoing healing and stabilising actions which then ultimately
lead to fully democratic elections".
But economic analyst John Robertson told SW Radio Africa that he does not
believe the elections should be delayed. He said: "We need a decisive
business environment to be restored so that people can make business
decisions, make investment decisions which they are presently unable to make
because of the uncertainties." A delay would leave uncertainties in place
for another five years.
Regarding the claim by Emcoz that elections now could reverse gains made in
the last two years, Robertson said he sees a different economic situation
and there is no real recovery taking place right now. He said: "I would
contest their claim that there is a recovery in progress. The mining sector
has improved slightly but that development is even threatened by political
interference in the business sector."
The analyst added that most business activity is being conducted by people
who are importing products from South Africa and Mozambique, or just
smuggling them into Zimbabwe.
Tsvangirai and Mugabe have already expressed their desire to hold the
elections next year and Finance Minister Tendai Biti was recently told by
Mugabe to include election cost in his next budget. Biti has announced that
at least $200 million would be needed to conduct the exercise.
Robertson disagreed with these figures that have been put forward by
government, saying: "Many people are very suspicious of these claims and
feel that the government is actually trying to fund the youth militia so
that they can go around leading the intimidation campaign that ZANU PF
believes is necessary to win the next election."
Robertson strongly believes that the United Nations and the South Africa
Development Community should send forces to maintain peace in Zimbabwe
during the run-up to the elections. A peaceful and free and fair election
could then bring about a stable environment for investors.
Masvingo, September 17, 2010 - There was drama at Chevron hotel here on
Friday afternoon when Chief Mabika of Bikita ran up and down hotel corridors
banging doors, shouting at the messenger who had delivered summons to his
The summons were advising the chief to attend court to answer charges of
alleged crimes he committed during the bloody 2008 June presidential run-off
Chief Mabika is currently staying at Chevron hotel as he is participating in
the Constitutional Parliamentary Committee (COPAC) outreach programme.
Eye witnesses including staff at the hotel, told RadioVOP that business came
to halt as all eyes were on the furious chief.
"He (Chief Mabika) was running up and down, shouting at almost everyone. He
said court officials will see the kind of stuff he is made of. He was
claiming that anyone who came up with the idea of dragging him to court
shall forever regret.
"People including our clients were very worried about their security because
no one could predict the Chief's next move. He spent nearly 30 minutes
mumbling and shouting before some of his collegues persuaded him to go back
to his room," said one of the workers.
Mabika shouted at a reporter who had wanted to seek a comment from him.
"Why do you want to be involved in matters which do not concern you? Who are
you to seek my opinion, I am a Chief not those boys you are used to phone,"
said Mabika before hanging up the phone.
However, Mabika who should appear in Masvingo Magistrate Court is accused of
having sent people to take cattle from Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC-T) supporters during 2008 presidential campaigns.
It is alleged that on 10 June in 2008, Mabika sent Zvokuona Village head to
go and collect a cow from MDC-T ward one councillor Aurther Kunaka.
Kunaka mobilised other villagers in Bikita to sue Chief Mabika for the
alleged crimes he committed.
"We are not going to fold our hands and rest when our cattle and goats were
eaten. We know the culprits and Mabika is one of them hence he must go to
court," said Kunaka.
The villagers are not being represented by any law firm.
Some political analysts say the move to sue Chief Mabika was a clear
indication that the National Healing Organ has a long way to go.
By Tichaona Sibanda
17 September 2010
The South African government will next week lobby for the removal of
targeted sanctions against Robert Mugabe and his ZANU PF officials, during
the 65th session of the United Nations in New York.
This was confirmed by the International Relations and Co-operation Minister,
Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, in Cape Town on Thursday. She told journalists the
targeted sanctions were not helping Zimbabwe.
'Whenever we get an opportunity, we will be lobbying for the removal of
these restrictions against certain individuals or institutions in Zimbabwe,
because we think it's not necessarily helping in making sure Zimbabwe moves
forward,' she said.
The week long annual UN General Assembly begins next week Tuesday. Mugabe,
as he has done for the last 30 years, will lead Zimbabwe's delegation to the
President Jacob Zuma of South Africa is the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) mediator on Zimbabwe and this is not the first time the
South Africa has tried to lobby for the removal of the sanctions. On a
recent visit to the UK Zuma tried unsuccessfully to have the sanctions
Political analyst Luke Zunga told SW Radio Africa on Friday it was a
mis-call by the South Africans to try and lobby the UN, because it won't
work. He said the South Africans should remember they are the same country
that has over the years blocked all efforts to put Zimbabwe on the agenda of
'I remember their ambassador Dumisani Khumalo being fanatical in vetoeing
attempts by western countries to impose UN targeted sanctions on the Mugabe
regime, claiming the crisis in Zimbabwe was an internal matter,' Zunga said.
'Last year the South Africans even blocked a motion to allow the United
Nations to get a consensus on how to deal with the Zimbabwean crisis. If the
South Africans successfully blocked discussions on serious human rights
violations, what makes them think the UN will be amenable to listen to their
pleas on sanctions when rights violations are still widespread in Zimbabwe,'
Mugabe angrily accuses MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai of not doing enough
to have the sanctions lifted. The Prime Minister hits back by accusing
Mugabe of stalling progress on political reforms.
Both the United States government and the European Union, who imposed the
targeted sanctions, have expressed concern over the slow pace at which the
unity government is making progress, particularly in the area of reforms
that will allow free and fair elections. They have always said that when
real reforms were evident, targeted sanctions would be lifted.
Sep 17, 2010, 17:59 GMT
Harare - A deputy minister in Zimbabwe's power-sharing government grabbed a
policeman and threatened to choke him for trying to search her car, a police
spokesman confirmed Friday.
Thokozani Khupe, number two in pro-democracy Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai's party, was stopped by police last weekend in the rural midlands
as she drove at the head of an official convoy to a party rally, the
state-controlled daily Herald said.
The officer in charge of the roadblock demanded to search all the vehicles
in the convoy, but Khupe's driver said he was carrying one of the most
senior officials in the government, and should be allowed to pass without
When the officer stood his ground, the tall and powerfully-built Khupe
stepped out of her car, grabbed the policeman by his collar and pulled him
to the vehicle where she put her hands around his throat and threatened to
choke him, the Herald said.
The motorcade roared on after Khupe had taken down the officer's details. A
police spokesman, Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena, said: 'I can
confirm the incident did occur, and that we are looking into it.'
Observers say that police, under President Robert Mugabe's control, have a
penchant for harassing officials of Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic
Change, which became a partner in the inclusive government 20 months ago.
By Energy Bara
Friday, 17 September 2010 09:34
MASVINGO - Higher and Tertiary Education minister Stan Mudenge should be
arrested and prosecuted for illegally invading Chikore farm, a Masvingo
magistrate heard Wednesday.
This was said during the trial of 35 war veterans and Zanu PF supporters,
who are being charged with illegally settling on a gazetted piece of land
allegedly owned by Mudenge.
The accused persons stunned the court when they said that the minister
should be arrested since he is the one who settled illegally on the
"We do not know why you are prosecuting us," the accused persons told the
court. "Mudenge should be arrested immediately since he came and invaded the
farm in which we were allocated land by the government."
"Your worship the land belongs to us and we are surprised why we were
arrested instead of arresting the cabinet minister," the defendants said.
The group was remanded out of custody till September 20, when trial resumes.
The group also told the court that they were being harassed by members of
the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and have resorted to sleeping in
the bush, and mountains as they fear for their lives.
"Some of us are no longer sleeping in our houses as we run away from members
of the CIO who normally come at night to harass us," they said.
"Some of us have been sleeping in the bush and mountains since 2008 as we
fear that we might disappear during the night because members of the CIO
have threatened to kill us while we are asleep".
The state further alleges that the group had no right to settle on the
property since they do not have offers letters.
Mudenge, embroiled in the farm ownership wrangle since he claims ''ownership
of the property'', has been for the past fours years unsuccessfully tried to
evict the former freedom fighters.
In the meantime, the ex-combatants plead not guilty when they appeared
before Masvingo magistrate Oliver Mudzongachiso.
During the height of farm invasions, Mudenge ganged up with the war veterans
to evict Robert Buchan, a former white commercial farmer .
A few days after successfully chasing away Buchan, Mudenge changed his mind
and later sought to evict the war veterans and Zanu Pf supporters from the
Chikore farm used to produce vegetables, tomatoes , maize and wheat among
other things. In addition the farm used to produce flowers for export.
The flowers were being produced under the green house effect principle.
In May, Mudenge allegedly hired Zanu-PF youths to evict the ex-fighters from
17 September 2010
MAGISTRATE DEFERS RULING ON MASEKO’S APPLICATION
Bulawayo Magistrate Ntombizodwa Mazhandu on Friday 17 September, 2010 deferred her ruling on an application filed by lawyers representing visual artist Owen Maseko seeking a referral of his matter to the Supreme Court to determine whether or not criminalising creative arts infringes on freedom of expression and freedom of conscience to Saturday 18 September, 2010.
The Magistrate who was supposed to hand down her ruling on Friday 17 September, 2010 at 16:00 hrs said she could not do so as she had not finished drafting her ruling.
Magistrate Mazhandu will now deliver her ruling on Saturday 18 September, 2010 at 10:00 hrs at the Bulawayo Magistrates Court sitting at Tredgold building.
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In an affidavit in response to a High Court lawsuit filed by former
lawmakers who want by-elections in their former constituencies, Mugabe said
about US$38, 3 million is needed for the balloting to fill all vacant posts
Ntungamili Nkomo & Chris Gande | Washington 16 September 2010
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe says his power-sharing government has no
money to conduct by-elections to fill vacant parliamentary and senate seats.
In an affidavit filed on his behalf by Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa in
response to a High Court lawsuit filed by three former legislators who want
by-elections in their former constituencies, Mr. Mugabe says about US$38, 3
million is needed for polls to fill all the vacant posts.
There are 11 vacant seats in the House of Assembly, seven in the Senate and
50 in local councils. The by-elections will be conducted as soon as funds
are secured, President Mugabe said.
The lawsuit was brought by former Members of Parliament Abednico Bhebhe,
Norman Mpofu and Njabuliso Mguni, all fired from the MDC formation led by
Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara last year.
Attorney Matshobana Ncube, representing the trio, told VOA Studio 7 reporter
Ntungamili Nkomo that the matter will be heard in the High Court sometime
ZANU-PF meanwhile, is reported to have kicked into an electioneering mode,
flighting adverts in the state-run Herald and Chronicle newspapers attacking
In this campaign, dubbed "ZANU-PF: The unstoppable machine", the party warns
the masses not to vote for parties "living on borrowed oxygen."
The ads, flighted by ZANU-PF chairman Simon Khaya Moyo, claim emerging
parties are offside and not representing the wishes of the people.
Party spokesman Rugare Gumbo played down the notion that his party is now in
campaign mode, saying the ads were just an expression by his party to keep
in touch with its support base.
Political commentator Innocent Chofamba Sithole told VOA Studio 7 reporter
Chris Gande that ZANU-PF wants to be ahead of the MDC, hence the launch of
its campaign ahead of the other parties.
The MDChas criticized the on-going outreach saying the absence of debate and
dialogue in the public and private media will affect the outcome.
Irwin Chifera, Patience Rusere & Tatenda Gumbo | harare/Washington 16
A meeting to decide venues for upcoming constitutional outreach meetings in
Zimbabwe's capital, Harare ended in a deadlock Thursday after President
Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party representatives turned violent.
ZANU PF was demanding one outreach meeting per ward when consultations start
at the weekend as opposed to the proposed two.
Representatives from the two formations of the Movement for Democratic
Change, in attendance blasted the constitutional committee for publishing a
list of outreach venues when the provincial liaison committee had not
reached final agreement.
In Bulawayo, the National Youth Development Trust said most residents were
not aware of outreach meeting venues at the weekend meetings as the
committee leading consultations has not adequately publicize the
Trust coordinator Mmeli Dube said the lack of awareness in the city was the
biggest threat to the outreach process.
The MDC National Council has also criticized the on-going constitutional
outreach saying the absence of debate and dialogue in the public and private
media will affect the outcome.
The National Council is calling for an all-inclusive national debate on
constitutional reform, using radio and television.
Party spokesperson Nelson Chamisa told VOA Studio 7 reporter Tatenda Gumbo
that there has not been a significant amount of space dedicated to debate on
television and radio in the process of gathering people's views.
With inflation under control, food back in the shops and a power-sharing government in control, life is getting better for many in Zimbabwe. But none of this seems to have curbed the number of children being abandoned.
When I was last in Zimbabwe, 16 months ago, I was told how desperate mothers had been putting unwanted babies on garbage dumps, railway lines, in rivers and even in trees.
It has not stopped, according to Grace Mafuku who helps look after children at the Shengu Dzevena Trust Orphanage on the outskirts of the capital, Harare.
"Some are found by the river, near the bushes there, and some are left abandoned in the city centre. Some are just left by their parents, they just leave them here," she told me.
"Last week a baby was found in a pit toilet and was beaten by stones until she couldn't even cry. The mother thought she was dead and left but fortunately she was found and she's still alive."
The orphanage is run by Sister Mercy Mutyambizi, who agrees that improvements in the economy and political system have done nothing so far to ease the plight of many babies and children here.
"When we talk about baby dumping, honestly there's no better situation. it's either the same or it's worse," she says.
According to the charity, Street Child Africa, a census carried out in 2009 found that there were more than 700 children living on the streets of Harare.
Sister Mercy believes that one of the biggest problems is that although food is in the shops many Zimbabweans simply can not afford to buy it.
Bread, she says, is now more than $1 a loaf and that is a days wage for some people. But often, she says, it is as much about morality as money.
"You get pregnant and the man that made you pregnant will desert you immediately when you tell him you're pregnant," she says.
"And now, at home, your family don't want a pregnancy which is out of marriage. And because of that reason they end up dumping their babies."
HIV/Aids is a further factor. Sister Mercy says many girls left to live on the streets of Harare tell her they have to sell their bodies to survive.
"You'll see a 14-year-old girl with a baby," she says. "You'll see a 17-year-old girl saying 'this is my second baby in the street. But I don't know who the father of the child is because I've been sleeping with so many boys for the sake of getting a dollar to buy something to eat.'
"This is increasing the number of people living with Aids in Zimbabwe."
The orphanage currently has 34 children aged between two and 11-years-old. Among them is nine year-old Mary (not her real name) who was just five when she was brought here. She lived in a house "and my grandmother was dead and my grandfather was dead. My father died when I was small.
"My mother said, 'wait here, I'm coming.' She didn't come and so I came here."
I asked Mary if any of her remaining family members had been to visit her over the four years she has been at the orphanage. After a prolonged silence spent staring down at the floor she replied "no".
Looking at these children it is hard to tell that they have had such an awful start to life.
Smiles quickly fade when I ask some what they can remember about their life before coming here, but the giggles and chat soon return when such questions stop.
After a morning spent doing school work they all play excitedly together, digging holes in the mud or scaling on an old metal climbing frame.
But Sister Mercy tells me that resources are now so tight here that food is rationed and new orphans coming to their door have to be turned away.
"We are referring the people who bring them to social welfare. What happens to them after they go to social welfare we don't know.
"I worry a lot, a lot. My heart will be bleeding. I had a stroke in January and it's all about my concerns for the children."
Sister Mercy hopes that the slowly improving economy here will eventually help stem the tide of abandoned children.
But, she argues, this won't happen unless the nation's leaders play their part too, and that the only salvation for Zimbabwe's orphans is good government.
"If that doesn't change then things will continue to be worse."
Friday 17 September 2010
The latest malicious attempt by the police to arrest the MDC
Treasurer-General and deputy Agriculture minister-designate, Senator Roy
Bennett is a well-orchestrated political persecution and victimisation of
the MDC. Police officers from the Law and Order Section have for the past
two weeks been hunting for Bennett on yet to be established set of
trumped-up charges. What is more worrying is that the police officers are
refusing to state their agenda on why they want to arrest Hon. Bennett.
However, what is clear is that Senator Bennett has no case to answer and the
attempt by the police to incarcerate him is only politically motivated.
The reason why the police are not divulging the reasons why Senator Bennett
is being sought for is obviously meant to justify his arrest so that he
remains in custody under the draconian and abused Section 121 of the
Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act. The intention to arrest Senator Bennett
is a malicious plot hatched by certain rogue elements in Zanu PF including
the disgraced Attorney-General Johannes Tomana who are against his
swearing-in of Senator Bennett as deputy Agriculture minister two years
after the signing of the GPA.
It is no wonder that the persecution of Hon. Bennett has now reached
alarming and ridiculous levels and is raising a lot of unnecessary eyebrows
to the detriment to of the health of the inclusive government. The MDC
wonders why the police and the AG are keen to arrest Senator Bennett and
other MDC members at will, while ignoring known Zanu PF officials and
supporters who have been implicated in political violence, which led to the
death of over 500 MDC members in 2008.
It is known that since 2004, Zanu PF has been harassing and arresting
Senator Bennett on trumped-up and frivolous charges simply because he is
fighting for real change and for democracy in Zimbabwe. As a party we feel
that the continued attacks on Senator Bennett and other MDC supporters,
especially in the rural areas are likely to threaten the life and spirit of
the inclusive government.
The MDC feels that the continued attacks on Senator Bennett and MDC
supporters, especially in the rural areas are likely to threaten the life
and spirit of the loveless coalition called the inclusive government. The
MDC calls for an immediate stop to the continued harassment of Senator
Bennett and that he must be sworn-in as the deputy Agriculture minister so
that he gets down to work in breathing a new life to the ailing agriculture
Robert Mugabe’s former regime, since 24 August 2001, maintained a hardline
onslaught and a ceaseless attack on Roy Bennett, the MDC Treasurer-General,
for his support for real change. Marauding gangs of Zanu PF youths
besieged his home to cow him from supporting and spearheading the cause of
the ordinary Zimbabwean. The High Court on 30 occasions ruled on Bennett’s
innocence and pronounced Mugabe’s behaviour as out of step with normal
behaviour regarding civilised norms of governance.
He was jailed twice; at one point at a filthy Mutoko prison for an innocuous
scuffle with Patrick Chinamasa of Zanu PF during a parliamentary debate in
which Bennett was personally provoked as a rapist and colonial relic. He
left Zimbabwe for his safety only to find himself targeted again in a trial
the High Court dismissed as frivolous and vexatious. For more details kindly
contact Nelson Chamisa, MP, the Secretary for Information and Publicity at
the MDC Head Office in Harare on 263 4 770708, website address;
MDC Information & Publicity Department
44 Nelson Mandela Ave
Tel: 00263 4 793 250
U.S. Embassy Harare
Public Affairs Section
Media Notice: U.S. Embassy staff to continue volunteer service
Harare, September 17, 2010: U.S. Embassy diplomats and staff will continue the volunteer mission when they assist with operations at the Tichavaka Brick Project in Hatcliff tomorrow morning.
The diplomats, including Ambassador Charles Ray, will perform physical but rewarding labor carrying water; mixing cement, water, and quarry sand; operating a brick molding machine and making bricks by hand.
Media interested in covering this event should contact Sharon Hudson on 758800-1, Mobile: 0912559784
The Tichavaka Brick Project is a community based project composed of approximately ten families residing in the Hatcliff section of Harare. They were established to construct homes and erect kiosks for businesses for its members. Tichavaka is a 2010 recipient of a U.S. Ambassador Special Self-Help Grant. The USG awarded funds to this community group for the purchase of a brick molding machine and brick molders to construct homes and businesses for community members.
The volunteer mission by the Embassy started on September 11th which marks the remembrance of those who perished on 9/11. It ends on November 11, which marks Veterans Day in the U.S.
# # #
Sizani Weza (Mr.)
US Embassy – Public Affairs
Eastgate Mall, 7th Floor, Goldbridge
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1. ANGUS BUCHAN in Harare 25 September 2010
2. Ben Freeth - Protecting Communities in Zimbabwe from Violence:
3. Hand Bag Slashers on the Prowl - Mary
4. Cathy Buckle - Lonely Sentinels
1. ANGUS BUCHAN in Harare 25 September 2010
Angus Buchan is coming to Harare and will be speaking on the playing
fields at Chisipite School on 25 September at 6pm.
Angus was born in this country and as a fellow farmer - a farmer
with a bigger following than any farmer in the whole of Africa - he
has a message of hope that we all need to hear. The evening is free.
The mighty mans conference had around half a million men on Angus'
farm. This is for women too. Invite your friends. Get excited and
let's get there in numbers and hear what Angus has to say.
2. Ben Freeth - Protecting Communities in Zimbabwe from Violence:
Peace Watch has started a discussion with the above title. As farmers we
need to contribute - perhaps let's have a discussion on this
forum? So long as the issue of fear is not overcome with in all of our
hearts and in the nation as a whole, malevolent dictatorship will persist
and the future will remain bleak for the vast majority of Zimbabweans.
Let me kick off:
I think that it is important to try to learn from the past if we are
going to have any hope of countering violence in the future. It has been
our experience in the past in the rural areas, where the majority of
Zimbabweans live, that a few key people in authority in each district
will run the campaign of violence. Rural people are very isolated and
vulnerable to campaigns of violence. The main violence will be timed
just before the election - but it will be kept simmering in the interim
period too so that people continue to live under a dark cloud of fear.
The police are under strict instruction to not get involved in stopping
violence - and just a few key people in each police station make sure
that this instruction is adhered too. The ruling party militia camps
will be started up properly again very soon and the youth will be forced
to attend them and be trained in violence with a breaking down process
that instills intense fear into them. Alcohol, drugs, loot and money
will be used to enhance the fervor of the militia in carrying out the
orders from the few in command - the finding of Zimbabwe's diamonds
will be a big factor in ensuring that the militia can be well paid to
seal off rural wards from those who care about trying to expose and stop
violence, and thereby ensure that a campaign of violence can go on
When the violence starts in earnest, we know from the past that the wards
will be sealed off and people will be stopped from moving around from
ward to ward. Rural people will be called in to compulsorily attend
meetings - pungwes. We know that non attendance will result in houses
being burnt and people being beaten. We know that meetings will be more
often held at night when they will not be discovered by observers in
their hotel beds and the safety of town. In the night no pictures can be
taken either. We know that the pungwes will involve the trusted torture
method of much sleep deprivation. Many threats will be issued. Much
hate speech will be pronounced. Rural people will be forced to denounce
people within their communities for the crime of saying something or
doing something unsupportive of the ruling party. These people will be
brought forward and fear will gradually be instilled into everyone
through the night as more are brought forward and eventually dealt with
by being beaten in front of their whole community - often by
members within the community who are forced to do so. The youth militia
will be stationed around to stop anyone coming in to observe and to stop
anyone from leaving.
When it comes to voting day everyone will be forced to vote. There will
be very few opposition polling agents prepared to come forward because of
the violent example that has been made of them in the past. Either they
will be in hiding or abducted or in hospital or even in their graves as
they were by the hundred in the last election. People will be lined up
in groups. Each group will have a number and an order within it where
each individual goes into the voting booth. That way each person will
know that his number on the ballot paper will correspond to his or her
number in his or her group. They will be told again of the dire
consequences of violence for not voting for the ruling party.
By this process of all night indoctrination pungwes of fear - repeated in
each ward as often as is necessary to instill total fear and therefore
total control, violence will win. It has won every time it has been
used. How can a rural community protect itself from it? It is almost
impossible. Here are some options:
Each rural community refuses to go to the meetings en masse. But if they
refuse to go to meeting they will have selected violence committed
against them or against their property or family and realistically most
people will be too scared not to go to the meetings.
Individuals in the community get past the road blocks sealing the wards
off and manage to get to the police to report on the pungwes and violence
and threats. The problem here is that the police will do nothing as we
have seen so often in the past because although they want to help they
are also under intense fear.
Individuals in the community go to the observers and diplomats and
NGO's and report on the violence. The problem here is that none of
these people will ever go out at night and are too scared to even go to
many the rural areas in the day where there is trouble. In any case what
will the observers do besides make a report as they have done in the
past. They have no power to stop the violence.
Groups in each rural community try to single out the perpetrators of
violence and fight back by committing violence against them. The problem
here is that the police and army and militia from other areas will then
react with a heavy hand and the cycle of violence will continue much
The rural people evacuate the rural areas en masse and go to the towns or
protected villages where they are not so isolated and vulnerable. The
problem here is that the majority of the Zimbabwe population live and
derive their subsistence livelihoods from the rural areas. What do they
do with their crops and livestock? Where in the towns can they all
live? Murambatsvina effectively closed down this option.
People in rural communities form up as "peace keepers" where
they try to properly document the violence and get the press involved and
bring the perpetrators to justice through exposure and the courts. The
churches which constitute by far the largest constituency in Zimbabwe
would have to take a leading role too, with large groups of clerics and
pastors descending on hot spots of violence to plead with the police and
the perpetrators of the violence to stop it and document it for the sake
of truth and justice in the future in both the local and the
international courts. So far the churches and the church leaders have
been sadly uncoordinated and fearful themselves to get involved with any
kind of plan in stopping violence when it starts. The trouble with the
courts is that this is so long term - getting justice in the
Zimbabwe courts takes years; and if the perpetrators are agents of the
ruling Party, justice will take much longer and will be frustrated by
fearful magistrates. This is no reason not to seek justice though.
Prevailing on the leaders in the MDC who now hold office in Government to
go on an all out international campaign now to call in international
peace keepers to protect the rural people of Zimbabwe. Unfortunately,
the MDC leadership do not seem to be willing to do anything to protect
our rural people [who form the majority of the population] from
violence: the PM has not been to a rural police station to try to get
police to follow court orders or protect the people in his 2 years in
office that we know of; neither has he even been to a commercial farm to
see with his own eyes the violence that is being perpetrated on them! If
the MDC leaders do not focus on stopping violence, I fear that they will
not have a future either
Revelation says: "they overcame him by the blood of the lamb and by
the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to
shrink from death."
Ben Freeth - once from rural Chegutu.
3. Hand Bag Slashers on the Prowl - Mary
Please be warned that there are two women masquerading as shoppers and in
the process stealing from unsuspecting individuals. I was a victim on
Saturday midday at the Caves toy shop at Sam Levy's village.
I have also since found out that two similar incidents occurred at
Arundel Spar and TM Borrowdale recently.
I now suspect that they followed me from Coconut Joe where I (
misguidedly in retrospect )paid for my stuff taking money from a bunch
of $10 notes held by a rubber band that I had gotten from the bank. I
went into Caves to pick up some games for the children and as I was going
through some, there were two "girls" I would put them in late
twenties to thirty behind me making a din on which items to buy.
I felt one of them sort of bumping into my bag and I moved away slightly
thinking I was in someone's way. That was the first slash and she
failed to get the money as I had moved. They then followed me to the
till, where my stuff was about 133 and I gave the guy 130 again from the
same bunch of tens and I threw the remainder into my bag and got my
wallet to look for 5 dollars. By now the same ladies had also come to the
till and were on either side of me and pretended to be in such a great
hurry with the "slasher" literally paying for their stuff
over my shoulder (as a cover) I simply thought this was a very rude
person invading my space and waited for my change but in the meantime she
had slashed my bag the second time and pulled out the money and left her
mate to get their change. As we walked out of the shop that's when
my daughter noticed that my bag was ripped as some of my stuff was almost
What is scary to note is that they have the audacity to do so in a shop
with cameras and interestingly when we went back to Caves and they tried
to play back the camera it was off from the time I got into the shop and
up to the time I paid for the games.
I am told (though I cannot confirm) that at Arundel Spar only their back
profiles were caught on camera.
Looking at them from the little that I can remember, they did not seem
threatening at all I just brushed them off as being rather rude, and
normally you suspect men not women. They must have used a very sharp
blade as the cuts are very "clean".
Please be very careful as you go about your routine business, I just
thank God that the kids and I were not harmed as I don't want to
imagine what would have happened if I had turned around and found the
blade in my bag or worse still if any one of the kids had noticed and
raised alarm, if they can have the nerve to slash a bag over one's
shoulder at 12.30 in the afternoon am sure they are capable of worse.
4. Cathy Buckle - Lonely Sentinels
My son was 8 years old when we were forced off our Marondera farm by war
veterans and Zanu PF youths in September 2000. Richard does not remember
those very traumatic months that we lived alongside the men who had
invaded our farm. Men who were far too young to have been veterans of
war; youths who were almost always drunk, drugged, abusive and
threatening. Camped in a paddock within sight of our house, a rabble took
over our lives, claimed the farm field by field, destroyed our business,
livelihood and pension and finally chased us out of our home. For a long
time I have been very glad that Richard does not remember that
frightening, horrible time but that all changed this week when I phoned
him one morning. Richie said he couldn't talk just then because he
was on his way to help a friend who was being evicted from his farm and
had been given until 3 that afternoon to get out.
My heart was in my mouth at the thought of another family going through
the devastating anguish of being forced out of their home.
With just hours in which to pack and move a home and business of a
lifetime, I knew that this Mother and her son would need all the help
they could get. Before long, like Richard, I was rushing to help and it
took me back in time to that bad place that holds only fear and painful
memories. Just a few kilometres out of Marondera town, down a bumpy,
winding, dust road through the most magnificent Msasa woodland adorned in
glorious spring leaves, I followed my son's vehicle. We travelled
for a dozen kilometres and saw no one and nothing: no ploughed fields, no
sheep or cattle, no crops or greenhouses. A line of fence posts caught my
eye: standing in a perfectly straight line they had once been a paddock
or a boundary but the wire was all gone and the poles stood as lonely
sentinels watching over these deserted, seized farms.
Arriving at the farm of my son's friend, the hairs on the back of
my neck stood up as soon as I stepped out of my vehicle. Sitting on
stumps and broken plastic chairs under a covered carport a few metres
from the house were the land invaders. A tatty rabble they were. Half a
dozen of them, mostly youngsters and openly drinking at 11 in the
morning; one swigging from a $4 bottle of Vladinoff Vodka, others
drinking beer out of cut off plastic bottles. One was drumming and they
were singing crude versions of Chimurenga songs whose lyrics had been
changed to: They are coming to move you out. By 3 this afternoon this
will be our house. We are happy you are going. We are getting our land. I
recognized one of the men, a scruffy layabout with dreadlocks who hangs
around car parks. And these were to be our farmers, I thought with
contempt. I did not meet their eyes or respond to their begging calls for
I hugged the woman who was losing her home today but we did not talk,
there are no words. All day we worked removing curtains and pictures,
emptying drawers and cupboards, loading our vehicles with another
destroyed life. Eight years ago half this farm was given to the Zimbabwe
government but bit by bit they took more and now this bunch outside
wanted it all. Wearing broken green plastic flip flops and woolly hats
even in the 25 degree heat, they were determined they were going to have
this house, and they were going to have it today.
The Police did not come, would not come, because this, they said, was
political, not criminal. As 3pm came and went, tempers flared and the
invaders moved into the garden and then some even into the living room.
The farmer's dogs, chained under a shady tree whined and whimpered
as they couldn't protect their owners. A beautiful brown and white
cat lay on the floor in the bedroom surrounded by boxes, piles,
suitcases, coat hangers.
As the shadows lengthened and with the red setting sun in our eyes I
followed my son's vehicle away from his friends farm for the last
time. The dust was thick and choking and I felt tears burning my eyes.
How can this be? 10 years after it happened to us, it is still going on.
Nothing has changed; no attempt to stop the destruction of agriculture;
no response from the Police; no respect for Title Deeds, property rights
or even a family's private home.
Who in their right mind would dream of investing in Zimbabwe when a bunch
of arbitrary drunken thugs can get away with something like this because
it is political. Is this Zanu PF politics or Unity Government politics?
Until next time, thanks for reading, love Cathy.
All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters,
and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice for Agriculture.
Friday September 17th 2010
Scanning the various Zimbabwean news sources this week I was surprised to
see so little reaction to Morgan Tsvangirai's astonishing statement last
weekend at the MDC's eleventh anniversary celebrations. Speaking to 5000
supporters gathered in Gokwe to commemorate the occasion Morgan Tsvangirai
told the crowd that "he and Mugabe had agreed that whoever loses would make
way for the winner." 'Prevailing peace' in the country was the reason
agreed by Mugabe and Tsvangirai for this being the appropriate time to hold
an election. Just exactly what 'prevailing peace' Morgan Tsvangirai is
talking about is not clear when it is his MDC supporters who are being
harassed and arrested around the country. Is it possible that the MDC leader
has become so divorced from his own grass roots that he is unaware that the
Zanu PF machine is already gearing up for the election in the only way they
understand: through violence and intimidation?
The breathtaking naivety of Tsvangirai's words in virtually surrendering his
party's right to challenge election results - all based on a 'gentleman's
agreement' between himself and Mugabe - is beyond reason. What possible
grounds can Tsvangirai have to trust a man who has repeatedly rigged
elections and used every lying trick in the book to remain in power? Surely
this demonstrates a serious lack of judgement on the MDC leader's part?
Compare Tsvangirai's words with those of Biggie Chitoro who led the violent
farm invasions in his area. In an interview with the Daily News this week
Chitoro said, "We know the old man (Mugabe) can't share power with anybody.
That's why you see this unity government facing so many problems. He is good
at using other people especially uneducated ones in order to stay in power."
Biggie Chitoro has since publicly apologised for his past crimes and has
openly stated that the war vets were 'used' by Mugabe. How is it that
Chitoro can see the reality so clearly while Morgan Tsvangirai appears
blinded by Mugabe's charisma - or is it the 'power' and status he now enjoys
as Prime Minister?
The 30 days allowed by SADC for full implementation of the GPA expired on
Tuesday with no progress towards solving the outstanding issues. You have to
wonder how the 5000 people present reacted when Tsvangirai made his
extraordinary statement to thousands of grass roots members, many of whom
still bear the scars of Zanu PF violence from past elections.
If the MDC leader seriously believes that Mugabe is to be trusted then he
must have been disillusioned by the advertisement launched by Mugabe's party
'Zanu PF, the Unstoppable Machine' arrogantly declared the advertisement
carried in the state-controlled press. In the face of all this very obvious
electioneering by Zanu PF with its threatening and intimidatory tone, does
Morgan Tsvangirai seriously believe that he can trust the word of Robert
Mugabe to honour an agreement which has absolutely no legal validity when
Mugabe and his party cannot not even abide by the GPA?
What is so confusing, even to his own supporters, is the way Tsvangirai
appears to change his stance when addressing different audiences. Speaking
this week to an investment conference in Johannesburg he said, "We (MDC and
Zanu PF) do not share a common vision of the future. The failed policies of
the past continue to haunt us. Disdain for the rule of law and property
rights continue to undermine our image as a safe investment. There is
tangible progress," Tsvangirai added, "but madness still persists" That
madness was very evident in the words of Didymus Mutasa, Minister for
Presidential Affairs and an old dinosaur if ever there was one, who said on
Thursday, "We will never hand over power to Morgan Tsvangirai even if he
wins the election."
There you have it; Prime Minister Tsvangirai says he and Mugabe have agreed
that whoever wins will not contest the result and Mugabe's Minister for
Presidential Affairs says his party will never hand over power even if
Tsvangirai wins the election. "Making way for the winner' means just one
thing: Mugabe will never surrender power.
Yours in the (continuing) struggle PH aka Pauline Henson.
Twenty three months have now elapsed since the signing of the Zimbabwean Global Political Agreement (GPA) but there is little real progress to show for the effort, the resources and the livelihoods that have been consumed in the ongoing political stalemate in Zimbabwe.
Once again we have looked to find the origins of the chaos by analysis of the facts to hand. Over the month of August, seventy-six news articles from the internet media were captured and catalogued through the month of August. Each article is a unique record of a breach of the terms of the GPA. Categorising these articles according to the nature of breach, allows basic statistics to be drawn from them.
The results clearly show the cause of Zimbabwe's governmental malaise. This month saw the Constitutional Outreach program in full swing. Consequentially, a huge rise in the number of attempts to derail the national exercise has made this the top breach in our media monitoring exercise with 19 articles (25% of the total). A worrying trend that emerged here is the fact that, of all breaches recorded against the outreach exercise, 68.42% of them involved violence, intimidation, hate speech or abductions. (It should be noted that ZZZICOMP independent monitors have been cataloguing problematic constitution outreach issues specifically, providing far more detail than the ZIG Watch project can hope to achieve). Cases of deliberate non-cooperation with the terms or the spirit of the GPA ranked second in August, with 15 articles (19.7% of the total), while cases of violence, intimidation, hate speech and abductions came in third with 12 articles (15.8% of total).
Summarising just these three most significant categories, Zanu-PF were accountable for 96.7% of breaches of the GPA that were recorded for those three categories alone in the month of August. Overall, Zanu-PF was either responsible for, or involved in, 93.4% of all breaches recorded for the GPA for the month of August. Other significant results were cases of harassment through the courts of MDC supporters and politicians, and cases of corruption, which ranked in as joint fourth with 8 articles each (10.5% of the total, each).
Looking out across the Zimbabwean political landscape, one could be forgiven for being somewhat confused. In the clear light of day, Zanu-PF is waging an unrelenting campaign of intimidation and violence around the Constitutional Outreach exercise, against their perceived "opposition" - their GPA partners. This is being clearly documented on a daily basis through the local and international press. However, the SADC - who have underwritten the implementation of the GPA process, with the lead of South African President Jacob Zuma - are silent on such issues. Indeed, they have even failed - without any official comment - to put into force and effect the clear and unequivocal rulings of their own regional legal tribunal with respect to Zimbabwe's illegal land seizures. The international community are also worryingly silent over these issues. The ordinary Zimbabwean continues to trudge on, somehow still hoping that there is a brighter tomorrow to look forward to.
As we noted above, attempts to derail the national Constitutional Outreach exercise made it to the top spot this month, with Zanu-PF demonstrating the brazen use of violence and intimidation in Umguza in Matabeleland North. War veterans and a Zanu-PF councillor ordered all MDC supporters to vacate the area before 15 August or their homes would be burnt. This was to make sure that no MDC supporters will be able to attend the meeting of the Constitutional outreach team which is expected to start holding meetings to gather views for a new constitution in that area on that day.
However not all Constitutional outreach news has been bad. In an uncharacteristic, but laudable case of resistance during the exercise, villagers in Nyanga North constituency gave a group of axe-wielding Zanu-PF militants a shock when they stood their ground. The seven militants attempted to disrupt an outreach meeting here, not expecting any opposition. The 500-strong crowd at the meeting easily disarmed and apprehended the men, who were handed over to Nyamaropa Police Station.
In a typical and high profile case of non-cooperation with terms or the spirit of the GPA, President Robert Mugabe cast serious doubt on any hope of the inclusive government implementing the GPA when said he won't meet any further demands of the MDC until targeted sanctions are repealed. This is a complete U-turn on what Mugabe and his partners agreed to in Windhoek. The SADC Troika on Defence, Security and Politics resolved that agreed issues in the Global Political Agreement should be fully implemented within a month. The MDC remain adamant that they have no power to force the West to remove the targeted sanctions.
And, in a deliberate move to snub his GPA partners, President Robert Mugabe ignored a request to declare veteran MDC politician Gibson Sibanda a national hero, despite his imprisonment for three years in a Rhodesian prison for transporting weapons for the country's freedom fighters. Mugabe said the former trade union leader would be "accorded a state assisted funeral" - a far cry from 'national hero' status which comes with a burial at the National Heroes' Acre shrine in Harare.
The scourge of violence continued to haunt Zimbabwe, with war vets leader Jabulani Sibanda threatening Prime Minister Tsvangirai, 'Tsvangirai is just like a fly in a a bus. The fly can sit on the driver's seat but that does not make it the one in charge of the bus. He can be eliminated .. ," Sibanda ranted. Despite police claims that they had not heard the threats, video from a mobile phone showed the war vets leader accompanied by the Officer in Charge from Mashoko Police Station.
In a bizarre case showing the extent of the breakdown of law and order in the country, two state prosecutors based in Matobo in Matabeleland South fled the country after being severely tortured for their role in sending three war vets to prison for stock theft. The three war vets were convicted and given 15 year jail terms for stock theft. Mysteriously, the three were released from prison after barely three weeks, and teamed up with CIO's in Matobo to take revenge on the prosecutors. The two were picked up and severely beaten by security agents. They were taken to court facing flimsy charges, but were released on bail. They then decided to flee Zimbabwe.
Harassment through the courts of MDC politicians and their perceived supporters is still rife in Zimbabwe, as shown by the Attorney General's office new appeal against the acquittal of prominent human rights lawyer Alec Muchadehama - eight months after his discharge. In the Notice of Appeal the Attorney General argued that Magistrate Fadzai Mthombeni erred in acquitting Muchadehama. He wants Muchadehama to face a continuation of the trial.
The meaning of corruption sank to a new low in Harare this month as Officers in the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) were being investigated following reports they are demanding bribes from people applying for police clearances. One woman said she had been asked for $10 to have her papers processed the same day. An officer in the Serious Fraud Section said activities of CID at Morris Depot in Harare were being closely monitored following complaints. He also implied that some wanted criminals were being cleared of charges after giving kickbacks to corrupt detectives.
Sadly, all partners to the GPA, in a serious case of subversion of a legal process, are allowing two batches of diamonds - of contested ownership - to be sold on Wednesday. By their silence, they are either knowingly or unwittingly in contravention of a high court ruling banning their sale. A deal reached between the Mines Ministry and the Kimberley Process last month will allow Zimbabwe to sell two batches of diamonds. ACR has been fighting a legal battle over ownership of the mine site, with the group's CEO warning that international buyers will be buying stolen goods if they buy the diamonds mined by Mbada and Canadile.
In another clear attempt to subvert a legal process - this time with respect to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) tribunal, Zanu-PF hatched an elaborate plan to try and make the world believe that the SADC regional Tribunal had been suspended, with the ruling against President Robert Mugabe's violent land reform programme being held in abeyance. Zimbabwe State media rushed to announce Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa's claim that the tribunal had been suspended for six months. However, the SADC executive secretary Tomaz Salamao revealed Wednesday that the (SADC) Tribunal was not suspended. "No-one suspended the Tribunal.In the meantime, they can deal with those (cases) they have at hand (including Zanu-PF's illegal land seizures in Zimbabwe)."
Villagers foil anti-outreach militants
Zimbabwe Independent, The (ZW): 20/08/2010
Villagers this week stopped a group of axe-wielding militants from disrupting a constitution-making outreach preparatory meeting in Nyanga North constituency, according to constitutional reforms boss Douglas Mwonzora. He said seven people, armed with axes, stormed Nyadowa Business Centre, the venue of the meeting, with the intention of attacking officials and participants on Sunday. "There was violence in Nyanga where seven people armed with axes tried to stop a meeting I was addressing. The meeting had about 500 people and it was a preparation to public meetings that were starting this week," said Mwonzora. Because of the big crowd at the meeting the men were apprehended and were handed over to Nyamaropa Police Station.
Mugabe reneges on GPA implementation
SW Radio Africa (ZW): 20/08/2010
The countdown for the inclusive government to implement the GPA, as resolved at the SADC summit, began on the day the Troika tabled the report on Zimbabwe in Windhoek, Namibia. The SADC Troika on Defence, Security and Politics resolved that agreed issues in the Global Political Agreement should be fully implemented within a month. But President Robert Mugabe on Friday cast serious doubt on any hope of this happening when said he won't meet any further demands of the MDC until targeted sanctions are repealed. This is a complete u-turn to what Mugabe and his partners agreed to in Windhoek. The MDC remain adamant that they have no power to force the West to remove the targeted sanctions.
Anger, as Mugabe denies hero-status for Gibson Sibanda
President Robert Mugabe ignored a request to declare veteran Gibson Sibanda a national hero, despite the fact that Sibanda was imprisoned for three years in a Rhodesian prison for transporting weapons for the country's freedom fighters. Mugabe took just hours to consider a request for hero status on Tuesday before writing back to Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara - leader of a faction of the MDC - saying the former trade union leader would be accorded a "state assisted funeral". A state-assisted funeral means he will be buried wherever the family chooses with financial and material help from the state - which is different from 'national hero' status which comes with a burial at the National Heroes' Acre shrine in Harare.
War Vets leader threatens to squash Tsvangirai like a 'fly'
SW Radio Africa (ZW): 10/08/2010
War vets leader Jabulani Sibanda has threatened Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, comparing him to a 'fly' that could be easily killed by swatting it against a window. 'Tsvangirai is just like a fly in a kombi or a bus. The fly can sit on the driver's seat but that does not make it the one in charge of the bus. He can be eliminated .. ," Sibanda ranted. Despite police claims that they had not heard of the threats, MDC-T spokesman Nelson Chamisa said a villager used a mobile phone to record a video of Sibanda making the threats. The video showed the war vets leader was accompanied by the Officer in Charge at Mashoko Police Station.
Two state prosecutors tortured for sending war vets to jail
SW Radio Africa (ZW): 27/08/2010
Two state prosecutors based in Matobo in Matabeleland South fled the country earlier this month, after they were severely tortured for their role in sending three war vets to prison for stock theft. In July, the three war vets were convicted and given 15 year jail terms for stealing cattle belonging to the Nkomo family. Mysteriously, the three war vets were released after barely three weeks, and they teamed up with CIO's in Matobo to take revenge on Moyo and Chaita. The two public prosecutors were picked up and severely beaten by the state security agents. They were taken to court facing flimsy charges, but were released on bail. They then decided to flee Zimbabwe.
Tomana Launches Fresh Onslaught Against Muchadehama
The Attorney General (AG)'s Office has appealed against the acquittal of prominent human rights lawyer Alec Muchadehama, eight months after his discharge. In the Notice of Appeal and the Grounds of Appeal the AG argued that Magistrate Fadzai Mthombeni erred and misdirected herself in acquitting Muchadehama and Constance Gambara, the clerk of High Court Judge Justice Chinembiri Bhunu, whom he was jointly charged with at the close of the State case last December. In his application the AG wants the human rights lawyer and Justice Bhunu's clerk to be placed before the trial court for a continuation of the trial.
CID under investigation . as corruption pervades police
Zimbabwean, The (ZW): 03/08/2010
Officers in Criminal Investigations Department are being investigated after reports they are demanding bribes from people applying for police clearances. The clearances are vital for people applying for civil service jobs, bank loans, foreign visas and work permits in neighbouring countries. One woman said she had been asked for $10 to have her papers processed the same day. An officer in the Serious Fraud Section said activities of CID at Morris Depot in Harare were being closely monitored following complaints. "No-one has yet been arrested but we are investigating," said the officer. He also claimed that some wanted criminals were being cleared after giving kickbacks to the corrupt detectives.
Diamond sales set for Wednesday
SW Radio Africa (ZW): 09/08/2010
A sale of the country's previously banned diamonds is set to go ahead on Wednesday. Aa deal reached between the Mines Ministry and the Kimberley Process last month will allow Zimbabwe to sell two batches of diamonds. The Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) has a multi million dollar stockpile for sale, were mined by their partner firms, Mbada Mining and Canadile Mining, who were licensed to mine the Chiadzwa site after it was seized in 2006 from the African Consolidated Resources (ACR). ACR has been fighting a legal battle ever since over ownership of the site, with the group's CEO warning that international buyers will be buying stolen goods if they buy the diamonds mined by Mbada and Canadile.
SADC tribunal was never suspended, Executive reveals
The SADC tribunal was never suspended, contrary to Zanu-PF's announcements which were meant to deceive the world about the regional judicial body which has declared President Robert Mugabe's violent land reform programme illegal. State media rushed to announce Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa's claim that the tribunal had been suspended for six months. The Southern African Development Community (SADC) executive secretary Tomaz Salamao however revealed Wednesday that the (SADC) Tribunal was not suspended. "No-one suspended the Tribunal. What was said is that the Tribunal's role or responsibility has to be reviewed by professionals and experts to come up with clear recommendations," he said. "In the meantime, they can deal with those (cases) they have at hand."