Thursday, December 17, 2009

Zimbabwe's Mugabe Accuses West of Double Standard on Climate, Human Rights

President Mugabe accused the West of holding to a double standard under which it failed to move with dispatch to address global warming while taking the developing world to task over alleged human rights abuses

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Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Wednesday chided the West from the podium of the United Nations summit on climate change in Copenhagen for what he charged was a double standard under which it fell short on addressing global warming while taking developing countries to task over human rights.

Mr. Mugabe told the climate change summit: "When these capitalist gods of carbon burp and belch their dangerous emissions, it's we, the lesser mortals of the developing sphere who gasp and sink and eventually die."

He complained that polluters are not pursued by Western governments with the same zeal they show in castigating abusers of human rights.

"Why," asked Mr. Mugabe, "is the guilty North not showing the same fundamentalist spirit it exhibits in our developing countries on human rights matters on this more menacing threat of climate change?"

He appeared to single out the United States in his remarks, demanding, "When a country spits on the Kyoto Protocol by seeking to shrink from its diktats, or by simply refusing to accede to it, is it not violating the global rule of law?" The United States has declined to sign the Kyoto Protocol.

He said the developing world would be called upon to clean up the mess left by the industrialized West, therefore deserved ample climate-related funding.

"We who bear the burden of healing the gasping earth must draw the most from the global purse for remedial action," Mr. Mugabe declared.

The Zimbabwean president's arrival in Copenhagen caused a stir among critics who said he should not have been admitted to the country let alone the climate summit given his record on human rights and general issues of governance. He has drawn such fire on numerous occasions at U.N. conferences, particularly the annual gathering on food security in Rome where skeptics have contrasted his country's dire situation after a decade of land reform with his rhetoric.

Denmark and the 26 other European Union states have barred Mr. Mugabe and many other ZANU-PF officials and supporters from travel within the economic and political bloc – but such sanctions do not apply to U.N. gatherings.

President Mugabe’s delegation of 70, meanwhile, came under fire at home given the cost incurred by such a large entourage. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai canceled his plans to attend the summit with a smaller group citing massive official travel costs since the unity government's formation in February.

Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmessen was called upon to explain Mr. Mugabe’s presence to human rights activists and responded that “nobody can be in doubt about my attitude toward Mugabe and Zimbabwe,” but defended the diplomatic decision to admit Mr. Mugabe to his country.

Geneva-based human rights lawyer Marlon Zakeyo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Blessing Zulu that Mr. Mugabe can attend such meetings under diplomatic rules regarding U.N. meetings - but must be reminded of his excesses.

Sources in Harare said meanwhile that Mr. Mugabe, Mr. Tsvangirai and the third unity government principal, Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara, have told their negotiators to address all remaining contentious issues on the table in the latest round of talks and submit a final report to them before Monday.

The three principals issued the instruction after meeting on Monday to discuss a preliminary report submitted by their negotiators on progress to date.

A statement from President Mugabe’s office published in the state-run Herald newspaper said the principals agreed on some of the recommendations from the negotiators for Mr. Mugabe's ZANU-PF party and the two formations of the Movement for Democratic Change, but disagreed on others.

Minister of State Gorden Moyo, attached to Mr. Tsvangirai's office, told VOA Studio 7 reporter Ntungamili Nkomo that the principals want to achieve closure on the so-called outstanding issues before Christmas.

Elsewhere, Harare correspondent Irwin Chifera reported that Parliament's select committee on constitutional reform said public consultations on redrafting of the basic document, postponed several times, will finally begin next month.

Studio 7 for Zimbabwe

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

SA urged to arrest Zim rights violators

By Alex Bell
15 December 2009

A High Court appeal in South Africa could force the state to prosecute known Zimbabwean rights violators who travel to the country, after the South African government’s vehicle for criminal prosecution refused to do so, earlier this year.

The appeal was brought forward by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre and the Zimbabwe Exiles forum in the Gauteng High Court on Tuesday, following a decision by the South African National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) not to prosecute 18 known Zimbabwean human rights violators.

The Litigation Centre had last year submitted a dossier to the NPA with evidence that the 18, who regularly travel to South Africa, were responsible for numerous human rights violations in Zimbabwe. The dossier also included a written legal opinion reminding the NPA about South Africa’s obligations to arrest rights abusers on their territory, according to the statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) which South Africa is a signatory to.

The ICC legislation gives South African authorities the power to investigate and prosecute acts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, no matter where those acts have been committed. This applies even if the perpetrators are not South African nationals.

The dossier by the Litigation Centre was submitted two weeks before the start of 2008 presidential elections got underway in Zimbabwe, the results of which would eventually lead to the horrific campaign of violence and rape meted out against supporters of the opposition MDC. Litigation Centre head Nicole Fritz explained to SW Radio Africa on Tuesday that after more than a year of correspondence with the NPA following the submission, the Litigation Centre in June this year finally received a letter from the then acting NPA director, Mokotedi Mpshe. He stated that he had been advised that the police did not intend investigating the matter.

Fritz explained that the case is the first of its kind for the country, and is aimed at preventing South Africa from becoming a safe-haven for those who commit crimes against humanity. She said the case will be a real test for the government’s commitment, not only to the ICC, but also to its own constitution, which is so stringent on human rights.

“South Africa has been a vocal supporter of the ambitious legislation of the ICC, because it falls in line with their own constitution,” Fritz explained. “So this is a real test for the government and their commitment to the protection of human rights.”

The case has been set down for March next year, and if successful means known perpetrators of rights abuses in Zimbabwe will not be allowed to travel to South Africa. The list of names held by the Litigation Centre has not yet been made public, but it is likely to be a high level contingent of ZANU PF loyalists, who were responsible for the 2008 election violence.

SW Radio Africa news - The Independent Voice of Zimbabwe

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

UN launches new appeal as farmers lament failed agricultural season

By Alex Bell
07 December 2009

The United Nations has launched a multi million dollar appeal to help Zimbabwe bolster health, education, sanitation and food security, with officials explaining that an alarming number of people are still set to face hunger next year.

The UN assistant Secretary General for humanitarian affairs and deputy humanitarian coordinator, Catherine Bragg, said on Monday in Harare that social conditions in the country had improved since the formation of the unity government in February. Bragg was speaking during the launch of a US$378 million emergency aid appeal for Zimbabwe under which more than 70 aid agencies have said they would need at least that much to meet Zimbabwe’s humanitarian needs in 2010.

“I want to note that Zimbabwe is experiencing a gradual shift from humanitarian crisis to recovery following political changes that positively affected socio-economic conditions,” she said.

Bragg on Monday said priority would be given to rehabilitation of water facilities in urban and rural areas, where an estimated six million people have no access to basic water, sanitation and hygiene services. Bragg also stated that more than 1.9 million people are likely to remain food-insecure in the first three months of 2010, while about 650,000 communal farmers would require agricultural inputs.
The UN appeal is half as large as in 2009 when the UN asked for US$718 million. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has explained that the reduction in the appeal is partly as a result of ‘improved’ agriculture and other economic improvements in the country. The group however noted that humanitarian assistance was still critical as millions of Zimbabweans still remain vulnerable from the erosion of basic services and livelihoods.

Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) President Deon Theron on Monday explained the UN’s outlook is surprisingly positive, considering the country is facing yet another failed agricultural season. The commercial farming community remains in chaos as a result of the renewed land grab campaign, which has seen more than 80 productive farms forcibly seized by mainly ZANU PF loyalists in this year alone. Farmers and their workers have been prevented from continuing their farming activities, despite the country still facing critically low food production levels. Theron explained that it was unlikely that there would be enough food produced to feed even a small percentage of the country next year.

Meanwhile Theron’s elderly mother, who was sentenced to jail unless she vacated her dairy farm by Tuesday, has been granted a temporary reprieve by the courts.
79 year old Hester Theron, was sentenced last month under the Gazetted Land (Consequential Provisions) Act, for refusing to leave her dairy farm, which has been her home since the late fifties. She was sentenced to three months behind bars, suspended for five years on condition that she vacates the property by this week Tuesday. But Theron has successfully launched an appeal against the sentence, and High Court Judge, Justice Joseph Musakwa, last week said she should not be evicted from her farm until her application has been heard.

SW Radio Africa news - The Independent Voice of Zimbabwe

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

UN halves Zim humanitarian appeal

Monday, 30 November 2009 06:38
food_aidHARARE –The United Nations has halved the humanitarian appeal for Zimbabwe in 2010 from the US$718 million sought this year but cautioned against continued “structural problems” faced by the southern African country still recovering from a decade of political strife and economic meltdown.

(Pictured: School children take home food received from a relief agency)

Zimbabwe's appeal is half as large in dollar terms as in 2009 when the UN asked for US$718 million “because a generally good harvest has reduced the number of severely food-insecure Zimbabweans”.
According to the UN Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), early recovery (ER) support would be a key priority for the 2010 Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) for Zimbabwe as aid agencies seek to consolidate recent humanitarian achievements and to ensure that results are maintained.
“Direct restoration of basic social services, infrastructure and livelihood opportunities will not be able to get off the ground without support for the CAP’s ER strategy,” the UN arm said.
The UN agency said priority would be given to rehabilitation of water facilities in urban and rural areas where an estimated six million people have no access to basic water, sanitation and hygiene services.
Attention would also shift towards provision of livelihood support to vulnerable groups – including female and child-headed households, people with disabilities, internally displaced persons and people living with HIV/AIDS – to reduce their dependency on humanitarian assistance.
“Without transitional recovery activities in place, populations risk becoming increasingly dependent on emergency aid, losing self-reliance and the capacity to manage their own development in the future,” the UN agency said yesterday during the launch of the humanitarian appeal.
It said more than 1.9 million people in Zimbabwe are likely to remain food-insecure in 2010 while about 650 000 communal farmers would require agricultural inputs.
Without these inputs, there will be little chance of reducing reliance on outside food assistance.
Zimbabwe is experiencing a gradual shift from humanitarian crisis to recovery following political changes that positively affected socio-economic conditions.
Following the economic downturn and political polarization that culminated in the protracted elections of 2008, an Inclusive Government was formed in February 2009.
This development led to greater cooperation between the international humanitarian community and the Zimbabwean authorities, improvement in the country’s socio-economic and humanitarian situation, and improved humanitarian access to vulnerable populations.
The world body warned that while the improvement of general conditions in Zimbabwe has improved following the formation of the coalition government in February, the donor community was still approaching the country’s humanitarian situation with “cautious optimism”.
“It should not distract from Zimbabwe’s structural problems,” the agency cautioned.
An estimated six million vulnerable people would continue to feel the impact of the erosion of basic services and livelihoods over the past years.
Cholera re-emerged in October, raising fears of the resurgence of last year’s outbreak that affected 55 out of the country’s 62 districts, with 98 531 cases and 4 282 deaths recorded.
Despite improvements in food security, the country still faces a substantial national cereal deficit and an estimated 1.9 million people will need food assistance at the peak of the 2010 hunger season from January to March.
The country has the fourth-highest crude mortality rate in Africa.
Child malnutrition is a significant challenge to child survival and development.
More than a third of children under the age of five are chronically malnourished while seven percent suffer from acute malnutrition.
The HIV/AIDS prevalence rate is one of the highest in the world, despite a recent drop to 13.7 percent.
Some 1.2 million people live with the virus and 343 600 adults plus 35 200 children under age 15 urgently need anti-retroviral treatment.
The education sector is characterised by severe shortages of essential supplies, high staff turnover and sporadic teachers’ strikes.
This particularly affects Zimbabwe’s 1.6 million orphaned and vulnerable children, including more than 100 000 child-headed households.
“The need to support ‘humanitarian plus’ or early recovery programmes is highlighted by the deterioration in existing infrastructure and loss of employment opportunities,” OCHA said.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

"Each hour is critical," warns UN Special Rapporteur on Torture after being denied entry to Zimbabwe

JOHANNESBURG (29 October 2009) - The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, remains very concerned about serious and credible allegations of torture, ill-treatment and inhuman prison conditions in Zimbabwe, twenty-four hours after being denied access to the country, contrary to its invitation of 1 October.

"I deeply regret that the Government has deprived me of the possibility to objectively assess the situation of torture and ill-treatment through gathering on the spot evidence from all available sources, including governmental and non-governmental sources, victims and witnesses, as well as visits to various places of detention," said the UN expert. "Each hour is critical."

Mr. Nowak was invited by the Minister of Justice of Zimbabwe, Mr. Chinamasa, to conduct a fact-finding mission to the country from 28 October to 4 November 2009. While in transit in Johannesburg on 27 October, he was informed that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Mumbengegwi, had decided on 26 October to postpone the mission.

Waiting in Johannesburg, the Special Rapporteur was informed by letter dated 27 October, that the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, wished to meet him in his office in Harare on 29 October at 10:00 a.m. He was also informed that he would be picked up at Harare Airport by an official of the Protocol Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Consequently, the Special Rapporteur flew to Harare in the evening of 28 October 2009, to meet the Prime Minister and to discuss with different members of the Government how best to conduct the mission under the changed circumstances.

Upon arrival at Harare Airport at 9:20 p.m. on 28 October, the Special Rapporteur and his team were not met by a Protocol Officer, but by the Head of Airport Immigration, Mr. Nabika. Although the Special Rapporteur and his assistants had valid visas, Mr. Nowak was told that his entry was not cleared by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and that, in the absence of such clearance, he would have to fly back to Johannesburg the next morning. He spent the night at the airport and was sent back on the first flight to Johannesburg on 29 October at 7:20 a.m. All efforts by the United Nations, the Prime Minister, his Secretary, and both Co-Ministers of Home Affairs to facilitate Mr. Nowak's entry proved unsuccessful. A high level delegation sent by the Prime Minister to go to the airport was even denied access and told that the Special Rapporteur was no longer held at the airport.

The Special Rapporteur strongly protests against such treatment by the various authorities of the Government of Zimbabwe. He urges the Government to fully investigate this incident and to clarify who bears responsibility for the denial of his access to the country. He will report about these experiences to the Human Rights Council.

Manfred Nowak, appointed Special Rapporteur on 1 December 2004 by the UN Commission on Human Rights, is independent from any government and serves in his individual capacity. He has previously served as member of the Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances, the UN expert on missing persons in the former Yugoslavia, the UN expert on legal questions on enforced disappearances, and as a judge at the Human Rights Chamber for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Nowak is Professor of Constitutional Law and Human Rights at the University of Vienna, and Director of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Organizations lament the refusal of Zimbabwe to receive the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture

Organizations lament the refusal of Zimbabwe to receive the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture


Conectas, in partnership with 24 organizations from 15 countries, sent a letter to the government of Zimbabwe lamenting its last-minute refusal to receive the UN Special Rapporteur on torture, Manfred Nowak.

The Rapporteur had received an official invitation to carry out a visit from October 28th to November 4th, 2009 in order to investigate the torture practices in the country. In his lay-over in South Africa, the Rapporteur was informed that he could no longer enter Zimbabwe.

In addition, the letter demonstrates a continued concern with the human rights situation in general in Zimbabwe, including with respect to the country’s widespread violence and the arbitrary imprisonment of political leaders and human rights defenders.

The organizations called upon the government of Zimbabwe to put an end to these violations and to cooperate more strongly with the UN instruments.

This initiative is part of the campaign “Friends of Zimbabwe” – learn more about this campaign.

Click here to read the full letter.

Conectas Human Rights -

Friday, October 9, 2009

In Geneva, President Mugabe of Zimbabwe Takes Aim at Western Broadcasters

08 October 2009

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, controversially participating in communications forum in Switzerland this week, accused unnamed Western broadcasters "bent on effecting regime change in Harare" of violating the country's sovereignty with their programs.

Mr. Mugabe’s participation in the International Telecommunications Union in Geneva was itself a matter of dispute: some said he should not have been invited even though the ITU is a U.N. agency. Switzerland like the European Union has banned travel by Mr. Mugabe and other top officials of his ZANU-PF party and associates, but he was admitted for the conference.

Similar protests were lodged in 2008 when Mr. Mugabe traveled to Rome despite European travel restrictions to address a United Nations conference on food security; critics said food shortages were widespread in Zimbabwe as a result of Mr. Mugabe's land policies.

Addressing the gathering, President Mugabe said Zimbabwe is “dismayed at the continued violation of her airwaves by certain Western countries whose radio broadcasting systems are bent on effecting regime change in Harare,” but did not single out any broadcasters.

VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe broadcasts news to the country seven evenings a week. The government has acknowledged jamming the program on its 909 AM frequency.

On a lighter note, Mr. Mugabe acknowledged the presence of Nelson Chamisa, minister of Information Communications Technology and spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, praising his enthusiasm.

Geneva-based human rights lawyer Marlon Zakeyo of the World Student Christian Federation told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that he found President Mugabe’s comments on international broadcasters very worrisome.

To listen to interviews in English or Shona click on links below

Friday, October 2, 2009

New Beginning for Zimbabwean Churches and International Partners

Geneva, 29 September 2009

Leaders from some of Zimbabwe's largest church organisations, representatives of international ecumenical organisations and church-related advocacy networks have held a two day meeting in Geneva to reflect on the human rights and humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe one year after the signing of the controversial Global Political Agreement( GPA)by the country's three major political parties. Hosted by the Zimbabwe Advocacy Office (ZAO), the meeting was called by the Ecumenical Zimbabwe Network (EZN), an informal network which brings together Northern-based Protestant, Catholic, Evangelical and Zimbabwean Diaspora advocacy groups committed to advocacy, prayer and solidarity action in support of churches and people in Zimbabwe.

In addition to a detailed analysis of the successes and failures in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement, the meeting focused on the healing and reconciliation process, impact of serious military-perpetrated human rights abuses associated with the mining of diamonds in Marange district in eastern Zimbabwe , feedback report on the 29th Ordinary Summit of Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) leaders held on September 7 and 8, in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo and the debate over 'sanctions '/targeted measures and international re-engagement with the Government of Zimbabwe.

The meeting noted that despite stabilisation of the humanitarian situation, sustainable peace in Zimbabwe remains threatened by a continuing undercurrent of anarchy. Of the major pillars of the Global Political Agreement only two have been semi-fulfilled, namely, unconditional access to humanitarian aid and commitment to macro-economic stabilisation. There has been no satisfactory progress in relation to crucial areas such as restoration of the rule of law, commitment to democratic process – freedom of assembly, speech – as evidenced by resurgent targeted arrests, persecution and harassment of opposition politicians and civil society activists - and clear lack of commitment to constitutional reform and timely, free and fair elections.

The Convenor of the Christian Alliance of Zimbabwe, Rev Dr Levee Kadenge, told the meeting that churches in Zimbabwe must not wait for politicians to lead the process of national healing and reconciliation as many of them were directly involved in inciting and perpetrating the violence that rocked Zimbabwe in 2007 and 2008. In fact many Zimbabwean families, particularly in rural communities have already begun local initiatives where perpetrators are asking for forgiveness from their victims and their families. There is an urgent need for Zimbabwean churches to seek reconciliation amongst themselves before leading the nation in this process.

Rev Dr Solomon Zwana, the newly appointed General Secretary of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches also addressed the meeting emphasizing that the ZCC is going through a transformational process and is committed to work together with other church groups and regain its role as a force for non-partisan social change. Dr Zwana thanked international partners who remained supportive of the ZCC throughout its difficulties and underscored the continued need for international advocacy for Zimbabwe.

The General Secretary of the World Student Christian Federation and Representatives of the General Secretaries of the World Council of Churches, the All Africa Conference of Churches and the Lutheran World Federation shared their organisations' long-standing commitment to supporting the churches and people of Zimbabwe in their quest for unity and common action. The WCC and AACC also thanked the organisers for helping to create a 'safe space' where church leaders from the recovering nation can come and speak openly to one another and their international partners. They pledged to join the roundtable meeting of the Zimbabwe Council of Churches in October 2009.

At the close of the meeting, members of the Ecumenical Zimbabwe Network resolved to consolidate their working relationships with churches in Zimbabwe and ensuring that the EZN becomes more inclusive and open space for other church organisations which were not represented in the Geneva meeting. The focus of the network's advocacy actions in the coming year will be focused on the conflict diamond campaign, implementation of the Global Political Agreement, enforcement of EU targeted measures and the African Union, SADC and UN.

The next meeting of the Ecumenical Zimbabwe Network will be held in Geneva from January 21-22, 2010.



Marlon Zakeyo

Coordinator, Zimbabwe Advocacy Office

+41 78 614 9190


Barbara Müller


Ecumenical Zimbabwe Network

+41 79 601 7417

Monday, September 28, 2009

Swiss Food Giant Linked to Deals with Mugabe Family

By Sebastien Berger, Southern Africa Correspondent
Published: 7:30AM BST 27 Sep 2009

The Swiss food giant buys up to a million litres a year from Gushungo Dairy Estate, controlled by Mrs Mugabe since, according to other dairymen, the previous white owner was forced by a campaign of violence to sell his property to the authorities for a knock-down price.

Under the European Union and American targeted sanctions against members of Mr Mugabe's network, it is illegal to transfer money or make transactions respectively with Mrs Mugabe.

Related Articles

Switzerland has its own set of sanctions, similar to the EU measures, which also target Mrs Mugabe and which prohibit providing funds to her or putting them 'directly or indirectly', at her disposition. Nestlé denies that it has broken Swiss law.

A Nestlé spokesman confirmed that at the end of last year, after eight of its 16 suppliers in Zimbabwe went out of business, Nestlé Zimbabwe - its subsidiary in the country - started buying milk on the open market, some of it from Gushungo Dairy Estate.

At first it bought it through a third party, but has been buying it directly since February, he said. "Nestlé does not provide any support, financial or otherwise, to the Gushungo Dairy Estate or to any political party in Zimbabwe," he said. "Nestlé is a truly global company which operates in almost all countries in the world, and therefore its products are found in widely diverse political settings."

The spokesman said Nestlé had "absolutely not" broken Swiss law.

"The legislation is internal to Switzerland," he said. "In any case, Nestlé Zimbabwe and any commercial transactions it engages in within Zimbabwe are subjet to Zimbabwean law."

Georgette Gagnon, the Africa director of Human Rights Watch, called for international investigation. "The set of sanctions that exist now are very important and must be maintained in the face of the continuing dire human rights situation in Zimbabwe.

"If these reports of this company buying things in violation of sanctions are true then obviously the Swiss government and the EU need to take action on this. They need to close this breach of sanctions."

If the evidence was "clear and unequivocal", she added, a consumer boycott was "one tool to let companies know that consumers are very concerned about their behaviour and won't tolerate it".

Amy Barry, spokesman for the anti-corruption NGO Global Witness, said: "Nestlé should ensure that it is not either directly or indirectly propping up illegitimate or brutal regimes.

"If it's true it's gravely serious and we would think it's something the European Commission and the Swiss would want to look into."

Sunday, September 27, 2009

How Amanpour and CNN lost to Mugabe- By Rashweat Mukundu

Mugabe stuck to his well known script, Amanpour and CNN fumbled all over. Thus after the highly expected interview of Mugabe by senior CNN Journalist, Christiane Amanpour, on Thursday 24 September, it came out, in my view, to a victory for Mugabe, if we take it as a contest. Amanpour failed to rise above the familiar frames of the western media’s analysis of Zimbabwe, dictatorship, hunger, land, and white farmers. These are part of the issues, but more of symptoms of a deeper problem which we hoped CNN would probe. We expected Amanpour to bring these issues to the interview but in a way that makes it impossible for Mugabe to waive them away so simply. We expected more facts, events and names. And they are many that Mugabe cannot run away from.

Yes, the Zimbabwe crisis is also about land among many other things, but this is more a symptom of a deficiency in democracy that Mugabe demonstrated very early in his rule. It is this failure to understand history and looking at Zimbabwe in compartments that has been the failure of the western media for so long and indeed the Achilles heel of Amanpour when she met Mugabe. Amanpour stated clearly that her Rhodesian journalists’ friends really enjoyed the first ten years of Mugabe’s rule. In those ten years Mugabe presided over the massacre of thousands of Ndebele’s who happened to support an opposition party and belong to an ethnic group other than his. It is therefore wrong for CNN to say Zimbabwe’s crisis is a year 2000 phenomenon and only so because Mugabe started grabbing farms from white farmers. Amanpour thus sunk into a familiar tune that Mugabe was well prepared for, giving a full lecture of history which Amanpour was, again, unprepared for. Statistics is there all over the internet on how Mugabe’s government abused donor funds and some resettled farmers sank more into poverty. Mugabe’s views were never seriously challenged.

In any case lets us talk of the crisis in Zimbabwe since 2000. The most affected and those who have suffered the most are the majority of poor Zimbabweans. If there are a people that Mugabe has failed the most and dehumanised the most it is his fellow black Zimbabweans. Any questioning and framing of the Zimbabwe crisis should, as a consequence, start from this stand point. Mugabe should have been asked about the many MDC supporters who were murdered, again their names are there, about Jestina Mukoko and others who were kidnapped in December 2008. Those who did this are still free, and Zimbabwe courts have been clear that this was wrong. Hundreds of cases of MDC supporters who lost their lives are recorded and should have been brought to Mugabe by CNN. Their killers are walking scot free and many are known by name. This should have been brought to Mugabe. The Daily News was bombed 3 times, 60 000 copies of the Zimbabwean newspapers were burnt in 2008, four newspaper were shut by decree and remain closed while Mugabe’s government is launching one daily paper after another, while denying others that space. These are double standards that should have been brought to Mugabe as undermining the unity government. There were many scenes of violence that were captured by the media in the 2008’s controversial June Presidential by-election that Amanpour should have pinned Mugabe on.

Mugabe is a dictator yes, but one who has created a very sophisticated dictatorship that is not only about power grabbing but distorts and deploys historical narratives for its benefit. It’s a dictatorship that sinisterly divides society along race, ethnicity and ideology. If the western media intends to report Zimbabwe they should not engage Mugabe in a turf of contested history but talk of the practicalities and realities of life in Zimbabwe, that story Mugabe cannot dismiss that easily. It is for this reason that the western media has to change its frames of analysing Zimbabwe and Mugabe, and see the majority of victims of Mugabe’s government not only a statistics but the real victims of this crisis. The violence on ordinary Zimbabweans is not a land issue, but has always existed well before 2000. A proper analysis needs to go beyond land reform, to look at what Mugabe has done to his own people, the cases of corruption that should have been brought out, the collapse of Kondozi farm, a classical case of the phoney arguments by Mugabe that land reform is about equality and prosperity, the diamonds fiasco in Manicaland.

A well respected journalist like Amanpour was expected to go deeper, bring out examples, the horror and scenes that Mugabe cannot deny. She should have avoided narratives of history that are not in dispute but give it to Mugabe in black and white from the perspectives of the majority of Zimbabweans. The interview turned to be a successful Public Relations exercise and godsend for Mugabe. This is because we have heard it all before and Mugabe reinforced his message at a world stage. But the real story of Zimbabwe’s majority rarely finds space and it is one that Mugabe cannot deny nor justify by whatever means or explanation. He can easily explain the land reform on the basis of history, but he cannot explain the kidnapping of Mukoko, the bombing of the Daily News among other many things. The international media will become relevant when it sees the Zimbabwe crisis from this holistic perspective. As for Amanpour we hope she can be better prepared next time.//End//


Rashweat Mukundu

Programmes Manager

Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) Regional Secretariat

Private Bag 13386

21 Johann Albrecht Street


Tel: +264 61 232975

Mobile: + 264 81 367 5362

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

UN Expert on Human Rights and Extreme Poverty to visit Zambia

GENEVA -- The United Nations Independent Expert on human rights and extreme poverty, Magdalena Sepúlveda, will visit Zambia from 20 to 28 August 2009 at the invitation of the Government.

"I want to collect first-hand information on the situation of people living in extreme poverty," said Ms Sepúlveda. "Zambia has been implementing a variety of social protection programmes which are essential for any State wishing to reduce the incidence of extreme poverty, and I want to analyse them from a human rights perspective"

Ms Sepúlveda is the first UN human rights expert to visit Zambia. "Visits like this one are important because UN experts can raise the attention of the international community on what causes human rights violations", said Ms Sepúlveda. "Everything, from the global economic crisis to droughts and rains, can have an impact on the life of people living in poverty and on how they enjoy their rights."

The Independent Expert will hold meetings with senior Government officials including the Vice President, the Minister of Justice and representatives from the Ministry of Community Development & Social Services. She will also meet UN representatives, the donor community and non governmental organizations.

During her mission, Ms Sepúlveda will visit communities living in extreme poverty in Lusaka, Chipata, Katete and Chirundu.

Based on the information collected during the visit, the Expert will prepare a report and make recommendations on strengthening social protection programmes using a human rights perspective. This report will be presented at the UN Human Rights Council in 2010.

Magdalena Sepúlveda is the Independent Expert on the question of human rights and extreme poverty since May 2008. She is a Chilean lawyer currently working as Research Director at the International Council on Human Rights Policy in Geneva.

A press conference will be held on Friday 28 August 2009 at 11.30 at the U.N. House in Lusaka.


Press Release

UN receives less than half of promised Zimbabwe aid

HARARE — Donors have so far promised less than half of the 718 million dollars (509 million euros) in aid needed to stave off hunger and disease in Zimbabwe, the United Nations said Wednesday.

"Although Zimbabwe is not facing armed conflict, humanitarian threats such as food shortages and the outbreak of diseases such as cholera pose a significant challenge," UN humanitarian coordinator in Zimbabwe, Augustino Zacarias said.

"Sadly, only 44 percent of Zimbabwe's appeal of 718 million had been raised by the end of July."

The United Nations says that six million people have little or no access to safe water and sanitation, which helped spark a devastating cholera epidemic that infected nearly 99,000 people and killed 4,288 over the last year.

An estimated 2.8 million Zimbabweans need food aid, while 1.5 million children require support to access education. The nation's problems are worsened by the high incidence of HIV, which infects 15.6 percent of adults.

Zimbabwe has suffered chronic food shortages since President Robert Mugabe began chaotic land reforms nine years ago, but the crisis worsened dramatically in August last year as a nationwide cholera outbreak erupted.

Zacarias said improved cooperation between Harare and UN agencies has resulted in better access to the neediest people and improved coordination.

Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai joined his long-time rival Mugabe to form a unity government in February, but has struggled to win donor support to revive an economy shattered by nearly a decade of hyperinflation.

Western countries have so far proved reluctant to give aid directly to the government, demanding that Mugabe undertake more reforms to respect human rights and media freedoms, while curbing politically motivated attacks.

Copyright © 2009 AFP. All rights reserved

Monday, August 24, 2009

Zim diamonds will not be banned despite human rights abuses

By Alex Bell
21 August 2009

Zimbabwe will not face suspension from the international diamond regulatory body, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS), despite the ongoing human rights abuses at the Chiadzwa diamond fields.

The regulatory body’s chairman, Namibian Mines Minister Bernhard Esau, told a press conference in Harare on Wednesday that calls by the group’s members to suspend Zimbabwe over human rights abuses will not be taken seriously. Esau, who is in Zimbabwe until Saturday to conduct yet another review of the country’s complicity with international diamond trade standards, told journalists that there had been recommendations made about ‘voluntary suspension’, but no consensus had been reached on the matter.

“Yes there are members of the Kimberly process trying to convince other members to suspend Zimbabwe but we will not entertain such (calls),” said Esau.

A recent KPCS delegation that was in Zimbabwe to investigate widespread reports of abuse and even killings in Chiadzwa, recommended in an unpublished, but leaked interim report, that the country be suspended. The team that was headed by Liberian deputy mines minister Kpandel Faiya issued the apparently damning report at the end of its visit calling for a temporary ban on trade in diamonds from Zimbabwe, until effective security and internal control measures and resources were in place. The delegation also urged the government to demilitarise the diamond fields, a call that has been wholly ignored.

Zimbabwe Mines Minister Obert Mpofu instead told Wednesday’s press conference that the government is ensuring total compliance with the recommendations made by the Kimberly team in its interim report.

In an apparent effort to convince the KPCS to issue a fresh report, absolving the country of any wrongdoings, the regulatory body’s head was given a tour of the still militarized diamond fields on Thursday. Esau and his team also visited the home of Newman Chiadzwa, whose homestead was reportedly destroyed by soldiers who ransacked his home some few weeks ago. Newman, who was reportedly a key witness to last month’s KPCS team about abuse at the diamond fields, has been in hiding because of increased harassment by police and the military. He has since been arrested on charges of diamond smuggling.

Deputy Mines Minister Murisi Zwizwai, who has previously denied any killings took place in Chiadzwa, told ZimOnline news service on Thursday that the Mines Ministry has showed the KPCS delegation Newman’s home and confiscated property “to clear the air in respect of his harassment.”

MDC petitions AG’s office over murders

By Violet Gonda
August 21 2009

The MDC says hundreds of its supporters were killed in recent years, with at least 500 supporters murdered by Zanu PF and State security agents last year alone. The culprits or perpetrators of violence have never been brought to justice. The party accuses the State of applying the law selectively and only targeting the MDC. Additionally many thousands have been badly tortured, hundreds of thousands have been internally displaced, and there is ongoing harassment and arrest of numerous MDC legislators.

On Thursday the party wrote a letter to the Attorney-General’s office, asking him to urgently deal with the murder cases. They said there is nothing to suggest there have been any investigations, even though most of the cases have been reported to the police. The MDC says under the country’s laws the Attorney General has the power to order the Police Commissioner-General to investigate and report to the AG’s office on any matter which relates to suspected criminal offence.

The MDC Security Director, Chris Dhlamini, is himself a victim of ZANU PF sponsored brutality, and he said: “Reports in some cases were made to the local ZRP stations but the report references were not given to the informants. The police have not gone back to the informants or relatives to inform them of the levels of achievements in their efforts to deal with the said matters in accordance to the law.”

It is reported that many of the deceased were buried without having undergone post mortem examinations to determine the cause of their deaths.
Dhlamini said: “No death certificates are in place in cases where post mortem examinations were not carried out, a matter which has created problems for the relatives of some of the deceased, especially where the deceased left behind children with no birth certificates and in some cases debts.”

The Director of Security copied the letter to SADC, JOMIC, the Public Protector and the Ministers of National Healing and Reconciliation.
Analysts believe a full investigation into these matters is the only way to shape the form and content of the national healing and reconciliation process, which the government and the MDC are supposedly participating in.

Political commentator Glen Mpani said the inclusive government has ‘enabled and legitimised the perpetrators of some of these heinous crimes’. But he added that if a process was to take place to hold those responsible accountable, it may just scuttle the global political agreement. However he pointed out that it is important to record cases of violations, regardless of the fact that there is a lot of scepticism on how justice can be discharged in the current political context.

SW Radio Africa

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Catholic journal warns of possible more draconian Zimbabwe laws

Harare, 18 August (ENI)--A Roman Catholic journal has warned that a new constitution proposed for Zimbabwe could be worse than the current one if politicians lead the process to craft the document and civil society is left out.

"The working premise is that the constitution should be of the people, written by the people and for the people, and without the participation of the people at all levels and with the control of the government, we risk having a more draconian constitution than ever before," the Catholic Church News said in an editorial in its August-September issue.

"The people should not only be involved on the constitution-making process but they should own both the process and the outcome. The government should not waste resources purporting to consult the people on the constitution they want and later manipulate the people's views and opinions," The journal stated

Zimbabwe's new power-sharing government launched a campaign in July to gather contributions for a new constitution that aim to pave the way for new elections in 2011. But some civil society groups which have assembled under the umbrella of the National Constitutional Assembly have refused to be part of the process led by the government.

"Some civil society organizations and churches have objected to a process led by politicians because it will be premised on protecting the interests of those who rule while alienating the interests of those who matter, the constituents," the Catholic publication noted.

The current constitution has been tinkered with several times at the behest of veteran President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party which won elections from 1980 until it lost the parliamentary vote in an election in 2008 and Mugabe lost the first round of the presidential poll. He won the run-off election after his opponent withdrew, citing widespread intimidation.

The Students Christian Movement of Zimbabwe in the meantime has criticised the country's attorney-general over what they view as a biased handling of cases involving members of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change party. "To date more than eight MDC legislators have either been convicted or are facing trial for various unfounded and fabricated allegations being peddled by Zanu-PF machinists," the students' statement said.

"If the so-called attorney-general is so eager to play his duty why then was he silent and is still silent on Zanu-PF perpetrators of violence in the run-up to last year's June 27 presidential run-off," the students group said. "There were a number of cases of people who were hurt, killed, displaced and some raped and yet to date nothing has been done to effect the arrest of the perpetrators who are mostly Zanu-PF."

The statement followed a series of arrests of lawmakers and office bearers from Tsvangirai's MDC party, which is part of a government of national unity with Mugabe's party. Those arrested include the deputy minister for youth Thamsanqa Mahlangu who was detained after being accused of stealing a mobile phone belonging to a leader of a war veterans' association renowned for backing Mugabe's policies. [510 words]

Ecumenical News International

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Thursday, August 13, 2009


12 August 2009
Johannesburg, South Africa

The Zimbabwe Blood Diamonds Campaign (ZBDC) today added its voice to the
call for Zimbabwe's suspension from the Kimberley Process Certification
Scheme (KPCS).

Last month, the KPCS in a report produced after an on-site visit to Zimbabwe
recommended a six-month suspension of Zimbabwe from the sale of rough
diamonds until security, control and accountability systems are put in place
by the Zimbabwean government. On 9 August, Finance Minister Tendai Biti admitted that control processes were not effective when he observed that the looting of diamonds in Chiadzwa
was "an embarrassment and a mess". However, Zimbabwe's Mines Minister Obert Mpofu has opposed a ban, arguing that Zimbabwe's economy, which needs a resuscitation package of about US$8.3 billion, will be adversely affected.

ZBDC co-coordinator and human rights lawyer Gabriel Shumba dismisses this
fear as unfounded, since no evidence has been produced so show how the
"Marange" diamonds have contributed to the national fiscus. The call is not for a permanent embargo, but a limited one that seeks to among other things the demilitarization of the diamond fields, an end to human rights violations and the immediate halting of the illegal trade.

Commenting on the KPCS report, Mr Shumba observed: "ZBDC is relieved that
its lobbying and advocacy efforts with the KPCS have paid off. In particular
we are encouraged by the fact that the KPCS was able to confirm that rampant
human rights violations are taking place in Chiadzwa."

"We can confirm that over 300 people have died and hundreds of others have
been maimed by government security forces that are in the area allegedly to
stem illegal mining, but are in fact illegally extracting the diamonds
themselves," he said.

"Women have been raped, and children maimed. There is very little doubt that
Chiadzwa diamonds are tainted with the blood of Zimbabweans. ZBDC has
incontestable proof of these violations," he confirmed.

Although President Robert Mugabe denied army atrocities in Chiadzwa
yesterday, the allegations by the ZBDC were echoed by Wilfred Mhanda, a
liberation war hero with the Zimbabwe Liberators' Platform.

On Defence Forces Day yesterday, Mr Mhanda* accused the army of spearheading
the campaign of violence in Chiadzwa, Marange.


Submitted by / for further information:

Gabriel Shumba

Co-coordinator Zimbabwe Blood Diamonds Campaign

Human Rights Lawyer

Cell: +27 72 639 3795 or

Tel: +27 12 639 3795. (012) 322 6969

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Alert: Documentary on Prison Conditions in Zimbabwe on Swiss TV

Dear Friends,
Tonight, Wednesday. 12 August, at 20.50hrs Swiss-German TV station, SF1, will be airing a documentary on the plight of prisoners in Zimbabwe since the interventions of local and international humanitarian organisations.
To watch online see the link below

Zimbabwe Advocacy Office

Thursday, August 6, 2009

ZimHealth_Important announcement for your diary

ENGLISH VERSION (version française ci-dessous)

Dear Friends,

As you may know, Zimbabwe is trying to recover from a serious humanitarian crisis. One of the major aspects of this crisis has been the collapse of the public health care delivery system. This continues to have severe health consequences on ordinary Zimbabweans.

The Zimbabwe Network for Health (ZimHealth) seeks to raise funds to procure and distribute medicines, diagnostics, vaccines and other commodities, in an effort to contribute to the rehabilitation of the health facilities in Zimbabwe.

Over the past six months, ZimHealth has already sent out material to Mbare Polyclinic in Harare, which caters primarily for low income urban and rural women and children. A recent generous donation from the City of Geneva will allow us to send a further consignment. But there are many other Hospitals and Clinics that urgently need material help in order to continue providing the medical services that are so desperately needed by the population of Zimbabwe.

ZimHeath intends to hold a fundraising social event and a presentation of its activities on

Saturday 3rd October, in the afternoon and evening, in Geneva.

The venue and details will be communicated at the beginning of September. Please book this date for this very important event, and feel free to transmit it too all persons who might feel concerned.

Further details at:

If you are unable to attend, any contributions would be very welcome. Our bank details:

Account Name: ZimHealth ( Zimbabwe Network for Health )
Account No 295834.40E (Please note full stop between 4 and 4)
Bank: UBS SA, Geneva-O.M.S 0279/86
IBAN: CH900027927929583440E



Chers amis,

Comme vous le savez peut-être déjà, le Zimbabwe tente de se remettre d'une crise humanitaire grave. Un des aspects majeurs de cette crise a été l'effondrement du système de santé publique. L'impact sur la santé des zimbabwéens ordinaires a été et continue d'être très grave.

ZimHealth (réseau zimbabwéen pour l'accès à la santé) cherche à récolter des fonds servant à procurer des médicaments, vaccins et autres matériels afin de contribuer à la reconstruction des infrastructures médicales du Zimbabwe.

Ces six derniers mois, ZimHealth a pu envoyer un premier lot de matériel à la Polyclinique de Mbare à Harare, qui dessert surtout des femmes et enfants aux revenus modestes de la zone urbaine. Un récent don généreux de la Ville de Genève permettra un envoi supplémentaire. Mais il y existe bien d'autres Hôpitaux et Cliniques qui nécessitent un soutien matériel urgent afin de continuer à fournir les services médicaux dont la population zimbabwéenne a tant besoin.

ZimHealth compte tenir une collecte de fonds ainsi qu'une présentation de ses activités le

samedi 3 octobre, durant l'après-midi et la soirée, à Genève

Le lieu et les détails suivront au début du mois de Septembre. Entre-temps, nous vous encourageons de bien vouloir réserver cette date importante et de transmettre ce message à toute personne qui pourrait se sentir concerné.

D'autres détails sur nos activités sont disponibles sur note site Internet:

Si vous ne pouvez pas venir, toute contribution serait la bienvenue! Les détails de notre compte sont:

Titulaire du comte: ZimHealth ( Zimbabwe Network for Health )
Numéro de compte: 295834.40E (Notez le point entre le 4 et le 4)
Banque: UBS SA, Genève-O.M.S 0279/86
IBAN: CH900027927929583440E

Zimbabwe's glimmer of hope for press freedom

Some Zimbabwean journalists say 2003 was the most repressive year for independent journalists. Others claim it was 2008. But no one is yet claiming it was 2009 after a recent series of positive developments for the country's media.

Last week, the government lifted a ban on the BBC and CNN, a big improvement over last year--when BBC reporters were forced to sneak into Zimbabwe to report on the runoff elections, and two media workers contracted by CNN were thrown in jail for more than a week.

"Journalists continue to be followed, detained and abducted; phones and e-mail messages are intercepted; the output of news from government reminds one of Radio Moscow during the Soviet era," Geoff Hill, exiled Zimbabwean journalist and author of What Happens after Mugabe?, told CPJ. "Nevertheless, compared with a year ago, things are better."

On August 1, Finance Minister Tendai Biti scrapped the punitive "luxury import tax" that had severely crippled The Zimbabwean and The Zimbabwean on Sunday, which were being shipped into Zimbabwe via South Africa. Exiled Editor Wilf Mbanga wrote that the 70 percent luxury import tax forced them to pay over R3 million rand (US$379,747) for the "luxury" of giving Zimbabwe access to information outside state propaganda. Mbanga told CPJ that the recent press freedom developments are "glimmers of hope at the end of very long, dark tunnel."

In 2003, the government's accreditation law, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, helped shutter the popular independent Daily News. On September 11 of that year, Zimbabwe's Supreme Court declared the Daily News was violating the act's provisions and was required to register with the former Media and Information Commission (MIC). The paper's publishing license was revoked and the paper's prominent editor and former CPJ award winner, Geoffrey Nyarota, was forced to flee the country.

Nyarota continued his trade with the online Zimbabwe Times in exile; hoping to return one day. Although far from certain, there is a chance that day may come. On Friday, the government notified lawyers for The Daily News that their application for a license to publish had been approved after years of legal wrangling.

But the champagne should remain corked for now. "We have now gained eligibility of the license but not the license itself," Nyarota told CPJ. The paper's license will only be reinstated once a new media monitoring body is set up. The MIC was abolished in January 2008. Interviews to create the new monitoring body, the Zimbabwe Media Commission, took place this week but hit a snag amid reports that they were biased toward ruling-party supporters.

Zimbabwean journalists, encouraged by small improvements in the media environment, are taking this moment to fight back against past injustices.

Police snatched up freelance journalist Andrison Manyere and former journalist Jestina Mukoko last December on spurious banditry charges. Both were detained and beaten in custody for more than 90 days, they said. "I think if people commit crimes, which I did not, they should not be treated the way I was treated," said Mukoko during one of her court sessions. Mukoko launched a Supreme Court challenge in June claiming an infringement of her constitutional rights to liberty, full protection of the law, and freedom from torture. Manyere filed a lawsuit against the state for damages in July.

They are not the only ones. Four independent journalists won a landmark legal case against the government over the legality of the MIC in June. The commission had previously banned the journalists from attending a regional economic summit for not being accredited by the commission. The journalists, through their lawyer, Selby Hwacha, successfully argued that the MIC was abolished in January and had no power to block them. The journalists, however, were still barred entry by security at the summit.

Cautious optimism captures the mood for most journalists reporting on Zimbabwe, both local and in exile. Freelance journalist Columbus Mavhunga put it this way: "When you see a leopard kneeling down you have to remain cautious. It must be just resting to come with vengeance. It must be feeling cornered and is planning new tactics."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Zimbabwe Inclusive Government Watch : Issue 7

The waves of democratic turmoil washed over from June to July with scores of breaches of the GPA being recorded, the majority of which fell into the following categories:
  • wanton politically motivated violence, or violence driven by politicians,
  • harassment, and deprivation of freedom, of individuals through contrived arrests on spurious charges,
  • widespread corruption involving senior public and uniformed figures,
  • the deprivation of the right to Freedom of Expression, and the abuse thereof,
  • violent, unconstitutional, invasions and seizures of property and farms, and
  • deliberate attempts to derail the Constitution-making process.

The month began with a group of journalists returning to court in an effort to make former High Court rulings ‘legally binding’ – calling attention to ZANU PF breaches of GPA articles covering both the rule of law and freedom of expression. The journalists had been barred from covering the COMESA summit on the grounds that they were not accredited by the Media and Information Commission (MIC). This was despite a High Court ruling in June that made it clear that the MIC was defunct, and that journalists were not required to register with it.


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Zimbabwean NGOs Concerned Over Mugabe Threats

By Alex Bell
29 July 2009

Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have voiced serious concern over comments made this week by Robert Mugabe about the ‘advisability’ of having NGOs operating in the country.

Speaking at the Global 2009 Dialogue conference in Uganda, Mugabe said the government might have to reconsider whether such organisations are desirable, saying they act as a kind of shadow government.

“We have now a phenomenon of NGOs, or shall I call them phenomena for they really are a type of government in the background of a formal government?” Mugabe said.

“I don’t know whether this creature is for the better or for the worse, but in our country we have seen a situation where they have exceeded, really, their terms of reference and perhaps we might have to reconsider the advisability of having NGOs,” he told the gathering.

NGOs have been constantly harassed and threatened by the Mugabe led government for several years and were last year banned from operating in the country. The ZANU PF government at the time accused NGOs of backing the MDC during the turbulent election period, and by ordering the ban, Mugabe was able to use the limited food available in the country as a political weapon. But with millions of people dependent on food aid, the government effectively ushered in a severe hunger crisis that has still not been eradicated months after NGOs were cleared to continue with their efforts.

NGOs were also earlier this month blamed for the disruption at the All Stakeholder Constitutional Conference, a disruption that was in fact caused by ZANU PF thugs and their party legislators. Fambai Ngirande from the National Association of NGOs (NANGO) said on Wednesday that such accusations were baseless and empty, arguing that, “a constitutional reform process is something we as NGOs have been advocating for, for many years.”

He said Mugabe’s threats against the NGOs are ‘unfair’ and ‘unfortunate,’ as such organisations have been ‘picking up the pieces for the government because it has failed its people.’

Western governments, meanwhile, have only pledged humanitarian aid funnelled through NGOs, instead of developmental aid to the government, in response to the unity formation’s plea for financial assistance. The donor countries have reiterated that real change must be evident in Zimbabwe before developmental aid will be made available to the government, which Ngirande explained is the core reason why Mugabe has issued the threats against NGOs.

SW Radio Africa

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Zimbabwe Human Rights Activist Mukoko Honored By Weimar, Germany

13 July 2009

Interview With Harrison Nkomo - Download (MP3) Download
Interview With Harrison Nkomo - Listen (MP3) audio clip

The City Of Weimar, Germany, has awarded its 2009 Human Rights Award to Jestina Mukoko, director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, which monitors rights violations, inviting her to the city to receive the award on December 10, International Human Rights day.

Mukoko has been in the headlines since Dec. 3, 2008, when she was abducted from her home in Norton, northwest of Harare, and released weeks later only to be charged by authorities with plotting to overthrow the former government of President Robert Mugabe.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Government of National Unity Continues to Crack as SADC Silence Prevails

By Alex Bell
22 July 2009

Cracks of disunity in the coalition government have continued to appear more than five months after the unity formation came into being, and there is still no word from the South African Development Community (SADC) on intervening.

Serious human rights violations, including assaults and arrests, as well as what appears to be a deliberate plot to whittle down the MDC majority in Parliament, are said to be creating serious and understandable discord in the unity formation. Yet another MDC legislator was jailed this week on spurious charges, while two MDC MPs were unlawfully suspended from parliament. At the same time, the fight over the reformation of the constitution has now sparked fears of a resurgence of violence, after it emerged that ZANU PF had deployed youth militia and war veterans to lead a campaign for support of the Kariba Draft, favoured by Mugabe. Youth militia in schools have already seen teachers flee their posts out of fear of renewed persecution, after what happened during last year’s political violence.

So while the government leaders have slowly come to agreement on a few issues - most recently an agreement to convene the National Security Council - critical reforms are clearly still a long way off.

The MDC earlier this year sent a letter to SADC to intervene on the outstanding issues of the Global Political Agreement (GPA), a role SADC, as guarantors of the deal, is meant to fulfil. The MDC also presented a document detailing more than 700 incidents of breaches of the GPA by Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF, but to date there has been no move by SADC to address the issues.

A summit that was mooted to begin at the end of this month is now widely believed to have been set down for September. It is understood that despite the plea for intervention from the MDC, the regional body is waiting for its first report from the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC), which is expected in mid-August, more than six months after the government was formed. JOMIC, a tripartite group of high-level party members, is supposed to ensure that the unity government adheres to the GPA in full.

JOMIC is comprised of four members of the Mutambara MDC (Professor Welshman Ncube, Frank Chamunorwa, Edward Mkhosi and Priscilla Misihairambi-Mushonga), four members of the Tsvangirai MDC (Elton Mangoma, Elias Mudzuri, Tabita Khumalo and Innocent Changonda) and four members from ZANU PF (Nicholas Goche, Patrick Chinamasa, Emmerson Mnangagwa and Oppah Muchinguri.)

MDC national spokesperson Nelson Chamisa on Wednesday explained there has been no response from SADC and there is an urgent need for the regional body to intervene. He also said there was frustration and anger within the party over what he called the ‘non-existence’ of JOMIC, saying the group had done nothing to ensure the implementation of the GPA.

“JOMIC is toothless, comatose even, and they have let people down,” Chamisa said. “If they report back to SADC it will only be about JOMIC’s death and disfunctionality.”

SW Radio Africa