Friday, February 27, 2009

The Role of the Church and its Voice in Zimbabwe Today

Bishop Sebastian Bakare :
Address to Human Rights Conference in Lulea, Sweden Nov 2008
I stand before you as someone who was very much involved in the liberation of our country of Zimbabwe from colonial rule, and we cherish the Swedish people who supported us then and still hold us on the top of your solidarity list. You have never given us up to this day although the relationship between our two nations is no longer what it was before and immediately after independence. In 1980 when we became independent we were convinced that the process to become a democratic state had already started but we have since become known as a nation that denies basic democratic principles and human rights.

For more than 20 years Zimbabwe’s main challenges have been economic and political, and especially the abuse of power by those in political leadership positions. There is a school of thought which argues that such challenges are technical and all that is needed are technical experts to fix Zimbabwe’s social and political systems. Indeed technical experts are needed and can help find solutions to salvage our nation from this chronic mismanagement of our national resources.

But a serious observer of the situation in Zimbabwe will soon find out that the social, economic and political challenges we have today are only the tip of the iceberg. We have a very deep spiritual and moral crisis in Zimbabwe which explains why our nation has become so corrupt thriving on political patronage. This has resulted in a society marred by all forms of injustice without regard for human dignity, • a society whose political system promotes lawlessness, violence, harassment, denial of food to the hungry to name but a few;• a nation with many displaced persons – now around 500,000 in number;• a political system that has total disregard for democratic principles as became obvious in the recent elections;• in short: a system that has robbed its people of their human rights.

Christians understand human rights as a God given gift. Every person has a right to live a meaningful and purposeful life including the right to food, shelter, healthcare, employment and education – all these rights are being violated in Zimbabwe. Here lies the basis of our challenge – it is both spiritual and moral.

Where the spiritual and moral fibre of society are undermined, basic human values have also ceased to exist. How else can it be explained that some of our people have been mutilated during this year’s election campaign, others were left to die? People’s homesteads and food storages were destroyed resulting in an unbearable situation for the affected families. There is indeed need to remind our people that there will be no peace in Zimbabwe until we all come to a full realisation that no political solution can be found unless it creates a system with a human face. That is why I repeat that we are faced with a spiritual and moral crisis in Zimbabwe.

What is the mission of the church in such a context? The mission of the church is to announce the good news in any given situation –good news that brings about freedom to the oppressed, food to the starving, medication to the sick, shelter to the homeless, protection to the vulnerable children and abused members of the community etc.
The human rights of the majority of people in Zimbabwe are violated thereby denying them a meaningful life. This majority lacks everything except the air they breathe while on the other hand the minority who benefit from political patronage have easy access to all the resources and material needs that make life easier.

In actual fact Zimbabwe today is a lawless state where the perpetrators of violence and even murder are never arrested or brought to book. The judicial system itself is manipulated and leaves a lot to be desired. The police are feared by the public because of their ruthlessness and brutality as we in the Anglican Diocese of Harare continue to experience whereby we are driven out from our church buildings during services and are thus denied freedom of worship as our human right. When police officers abuse the law they are supposed to protect, then you know that there is no law anymore to protect the public. This all happens with full backing from the political leadership some of whom are Anglicans but put their allegiance to their political party above their allegiance to their church and their Christian faith.

The church has the responsibility to remind those in positions of power of their duty to respect and uphold human rights of all its citizens regardless of social status, gender, religion, ethnicity or political affiliation, and where these are denied the church becomes the voice of the voiceless. However the voice of the church in Zimbabwe has not been loud enough to condemn the evil system that our people experience daily. Here I salute Archbp Pius Ncube who had the courage to speak out on behalf of the voiceless. But you all know what sacrifice he had to make. And to make it worse the church did not stand up in solidarity with him when character assassination was meted out against him. The voice of the church appears to be submerged by other noises which include violence, intimidation, arrests and other forms of harassment. The voice of the church has not been loud enough to condemn such behaviour. Some clergy who have tried to speak out against the unjust political system have been seriously warned and often silenced.
The church runs 80% of the schools in the nation. But off late children have not been going to school or teachers have refused to teach them because of poor wages paid by the government, - and again the church has remained silent where it had the right to speak out as a partner in education.

Similarly the church has traditionally had a strong commitment to health but has not condemned the total collapse of the health sector with major hospitals being closed down. Should we in the church turn a blind eye on such an appalling state of affairs? Indeed many people begin to ask: What is the role of the church? Is it to support the government regardless of bad governance and economic mismanagement? Certainly not!
The church has a prophetic ministry to offer, and this is not usually popular with those in power. The voice of the church should be heard -• Calling for justice in our dealings with one another so that all members of society have equal opportunities and access to all national resources• Calling for freedom of speech and social harmony• Calling for genuine peace in the midst of political polarisation• Being a voice that instils in all persons a desire to lead a truthful life marked by integrity rather than corruption• A voice that condemns Christians who apply double standards – one for Sunday service in church and another for the rest of the week accompanied by corrupt and unjust practises.

With these few examples we may conclude by saying that the church has not listened to God enough to pass on the message to his people.
The story of Moses in the Old Testament at the site of the burning bush is a case in point: Moses listened to God saying: I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt, I have heard them cry out because of the slave drivers, and I am concerned: Go assemble the elders of Israel and say to them that I have promised to bring you out of misery. We in the church are reminded of a God who is not indifferent to the oppressed. He sees the misery of his people who do not hear His voice. We do not seem to be sure about our calling, and so we remain silent. In our silence we bury God’s voice because it is uncomfortable. We fear to face the Pharaoh in Egypt. We have adopted survival skills. We even obey orders from a leadership we know to be working against the will of God. But God wants us to love one another, care for each other, and respect human life.

The gospel message which we are expected to proclaim with a loud voice is about justice, peace, love and truth. These themes do not appear to be heard loudly in our nation.

During the March and June elections some of our people in rural areas suffered serious atrocities, such as torture including murder. Others were made homeless and became displaced persons. The main reason for this torture and harassment being that these people did not vote for the right party. Here is a classic example of the denial of human freedom of choice. In this instance the voice condemning such atrocities came from civic organisations whose members suffered arrests, and closure of their offices – as happened to the Lawyers for Human Rights.
What the people in Zimbabwe need today are individuals who stand up and condemn what they see as unjust political system that limits people’s freedom. The 20th century history presents us with outstanding individuals who stood up for human rights: Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., Per Anger, Dietrich Boenhoeffer, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu - to name but a few. These persons stood up as individuals to condemn evil as they saw it. Today we need individuals with open eyes • to see the maimed persons in hospital with open wounds without medicine• to see the child dying of hunger on the street• to see the displaced family sleeping by the road side without shelter • to feel the pain inflicted on humanity by fellow humans.

Unless the both the church and individuals speak out with loud voices condemning an inhuman political system that disregards the principles of democracy, dictatorship will be with us for a long time to come. Elsewhere on the continent of Africa dictatorships and evil ideologies have been dismantled by churches taking a clear position. I am thinking here of the churches of South Africa, Kenya and Malawi to mention but a few.

As we discuss issues related to human rights, let us focus on each person as a child of God whose dignity is God given, a dignity not derived from any human quality, not from a particular race, age, sex or social status, let alone from the powers that be, but a human dignity that is God given and belongs to God alone.

Reconciliation requires truth, justice and forgiveness, ecumenical panel says

WCC News
The contribution and role of churches in reconciliation processes around the world were highlighted by an international ecumenical panel of experts at a public hearing held in Geneva, Switzerland, on 19 February.

Taking place in the context of the 16-20 February meeting of the World Council of Churches (WCC) executive committee, the discussion was the first in a series of WCC-sponsored contributions to the UN International Year of Reconciliation, which is being marked in 2009.

In view of the multiple and convergent crises affecting the world today, the prophetic voice of the churches is sorely needed, said Fr Miguel d'Escoto Brockman in a video message opening the presentations. D'Escoto, who is the president of the 63rd session of the UN general assembly, said that Christians need to speak out in clear prophetic language because those crises are rooted in a more fundamental moral crisis.

While truth is an obvious precondition for reconciliation, reconciliation is in turn a precondition for lasting peace, said Rev. Kjell Magne Bondevik, who chaired the panel. However Bondevik, who is the moderator of the WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, stressed the dilemma that societies often face between justice on the one hand and peace on the other.

For Rev. Dr Setri Nyomi, general secretary of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, there is no possible choice between justice and peace as the latter cannot be achieved without the former. Nyomi highlighted the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Inter-religious Council of Liberia as exemplary faith-based contributions to healing and reconciliation. Today, he said, churches face the challenge of reconciling societies fragmented as a result of a greed-driven global economic system.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican's permanent observer to the UN in Geneva, stressed the role of forgiveness - a transformative inner change of the person - in reconciliation processes. Highlighting that the word "forgiveness" is not even mentioned in the UN general assembly resolution declaring 2009 the International Year of Reconciliation, Tomasi affirmed forgiveness' critical role in reconciliation. It opens doors to possibilities that politics alone cannot reach, he said.

The concrete experience of churches involved in reconciliation processes across a religious divide in Indonesia's Moluccas islands was shared by Rev. Dr Margaretha Hendriks-Ririmasse, vice-moderator of the WCC central committee. At the beginning of the 1999-2004 conflict between Christian and Muslim populations in the region, churches did not know what to do, she said. But they reacted quickly and together with Muslim communities were able to tap into a long tradition of mutual help and cooperation.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Civic Society Communique on monitoring of Interparty Political Agreement

We, representatives of civil society organizations, meeting in Harare on the 25th February 2009:

Acknowledging the signing of the Interparty Political Agreement (IPA) on the 15th September 2008 and the effective commencement of its implementation by the participating political parties on the 30th January 2009,

Noting the continued humanitarian, social, and economic crises which the country continues to face and needs to address urgently,

Deeply concerned at the continued assault on the fundamental rights and freedoms of the people of Zimbabwe, in particular human rights defenders and legitimate political activists,

In solidarity with our colleagues and others who remain unjustly incarcerated at various prisons, remand facilities and hospitals around Zimbabwe,

Guided by our earlier commitment and collective views as espoused in the Peoples’ Charter developed through national consultative processes,
Mindful of the need for any legitimate government to pursue its mandate through inclusive, transparent, people-driven and participatory processes in order to ensure a swift return to democracy, good governance and the Rule of Law,

Further mindful of civil society’s critical role and responsibility in scrutinizing politicians and political processes, and holding them to account, in order to maintain its watchdog role and moral authority,
Noting that in the event of the political deadlock necessitating dissolution of the agreement, fresh elections should be conducted under an internationally and regionally acceptable framework and supervisory missions,

Observing that the ordinary voices and views of the people of Zimbabwe have not been heard or acknowledged in the IPA and that ownership, monitoring and enforcement of the IPA is currently the exclusive reserve of political parties, state authorities and regional and international political organs who are not accountable to the people of Zimbabwe,

Now hereby resolve to:
1. Immediately establish an independent Civil Society Monitoring Mechanism which will, through shared and agreed benchmarks, focus on monitoring and assessing the adherence to and implementation of the Interparty Political Agreement (IPA) by those bound to its provisions through the work of five (5) main Thematic Clusters, namely:
a. Economy and Development (incorporating Economic Recovery, Land, Humanitarian and Food Assistance)
b. Constitutional Reform Process
c. Political Transition and Justice (incorporating Equality, National Healing, Cohesion and Unity, Traditional Leaders, and National Youth Programme)
d. Institutional Transformation (incorporating Rule of Law, State Institutions, Legislative Agenda, the Media and National Institutions)
e. Respect for Human Rights and Operating Environment (incorporating Rule of Law, Freedom of Expression and Communication, Free Political Activity, Freedom of Assembly and Association, and Security of Persons and Prevention of Violence)

2. Ensure that progress on critical issues which have been overlooked or remain unaddressed within the ambit of the IPA is also monitored; more particularly in relation to:-
a. Reform and accountability of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe in terms of its mandate under the law
b. Economic Crimes and Impunity
c. Reform of the Education Sector
d. Reform of the Health Sector
e. Security Sector Reform
f. Judicial Reform
g. Electoral Reform
h. Local Government Reform

Produce Monthly Monitoring Reports which will be published, publicized, widely disseminated, simplified and translated, in order to allow the people of Zimbabwe to understand and discuss political processes, actions and decisions taken on their behalf and which have an impact on their lives, in order that they can demand accountability in an informed manner where they are of the opinion that their political representatives are failing to comply with the provisions they agreed to under the IPA.

4. Engage the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) and all or any other responsible authorities and guarantors of the IPA on the basis of the findings and recommendations of the Monthly Monitoring Reports.

So contribute to a new culture of transparency, scrutiny and accountability of all public processes taken on behalf of the people of Zimbabwe by the political parties who purport to govern on their behalf.
Representatives of the civil society further clarify that this process, far from being an attempt to undermine political processes and agreements, is one which it has a responsibility to undertake as part of its independent watchdog role, and one which it will not hesitate to carry out to the best of its ability in line with the affirmations set out herein.

Thus done at Harare, Zimbabwe, this 25th day of February 2009.

Bulawayo Agenda (BA)
Christian Alliance (CA)
Counseling Services Unit (CSU)
Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition (CZC)
General Agriculture and Plantation Workers Union( GAPWUZ)
Legal Resources Foundation (LRF)
Media Institute of Southern Africa – Zimbabwe Chapter (MISA-Zimbabwe)
Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ)
National Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (NANGO)
Progressive Teachers Association of Zimbabwe (PTUZ)
Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU)

Save Zimbabwe Campaign (SZC)
Voluntary Media Council of Zimbabwe (VMCZ)
Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR)
Zimbabwe Coalition on Debt and Development (Zimcodd)
Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN)
Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights)
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (ZHRF)
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
Zimbabwe National Students Union (Zinasu)
Zimbabwe Young Women’s Network for Peace Building (ZYWNP)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

7 Zimbabweans killed in SA

SEVEN Zimbabweans were killed in South Africa’s Western Cape province in a suspect arson attack on Sunday, Chronicle learnt yesterday.The seven, four men and three women, aged between 23 and 40, were living in a squatter camp in De Dooms, near Worcester. Captain Marie Louw of the South African police yesterday said people who witnessed the incident told them the fire was started on purpose, prompting police to change their inquest to a murder investigation. “All the people who were inside the shack died,” said Cpt Louw. No arrests have been made. The Zimbabwean Embassy in South Africa is investigating the incident but has dismissed reports that the attacks were xenophobic.Last year, at least 62 foreigners were killed in South Africa while thousands were driven away from their homes in a two-week frenzy of xenophobic violence targeting mostly migrants from neighbouring countries, such as Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi.The mobs blamed foreigners for stealing their jobs, women as well as fuelling crime.
There were fears that the arson attack could be related to xenophobia, but in a telephone interview with our Harare Correspondent, Ambassador Simon Khaya Moyo, said the attacks were not related to xenophobia. “The attack is very disturbing and we are currently working with relevant authorities so that we get to know the truth behind the attacks. “I have instructed our consular general in Johannesburg to follow up the matter and he might have to go to Cape Town to get to the bottom of the case,” he said.Cde Moyo said his office had received two different reports on the case.“We have heard that the issue involved a woman but this has been dismissed by people in the area. We have also received reports that a group of people were chasing a thief who ran into the shack,” he said.Cde Moyo said the chasing crowd surrounded the shack before pouring petrol on it and burning it.“These are preliminary reports but we are working closely with the police so that we get more information, which would be released in due course,” he said.Cde Moyo said indications were that the incident was not a xenophobic attack.“This is an arson attack and we do not believe that it was xenophobic. This is different from what we experienced last year and those attacks were not targeted at Zimbabweans only because Somalis, Mozambicans, Zambians and others were also victims.“We have very good relations with South Africans and this cannot be a xenophobic attack,” he said.One of the women burnt in the attack has been identified as Joyce Kamudyariwo (33) of Mufakose.

Sapa/Chronicle Reporter/ Harare Bureau.


High Court Judge Justice Tedius Karwi on Tuesday granted bail to Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) National Treasurer and Deputy Agriculture Minister-Designate, Mr Roy Leslie Bennett. The bail was immediately suspended following the invocation of Section 121 of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act (CPEA) by Mr Chris Mutangadura representing the State.

In his bail ruling, Justice Karwi ordered Bennett to deposit US$2 000 with the clerk of court at Mutare Magistrate Court and to reside at his Workington home in Harare until the matter is finalised. Reporting conditions to the Harare Central Law and Order section, surrender of Bennett’s travel documents and non-interference with State witnesses also formed part of the bail conditions. In granting bail to Bennett, Justice Karwi noted that Bennett was a suitable candidate for bail as he was unlikely to abscond having returned to Zimbabwe from South Africa on his own will. He was not likely to interfere with State witnesses as the State’s key witness Peter Hitschmann is serving a prison sentence. Furthermore, the interest of justice would be served by admitting Bennett to bail.
The invocation of section 121 of the CPEA effectively suspended the liberty of Bennett by retaining him in custody for a further seven (7) days to allow the state to file an appeal against the bail granted.

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) condemns the State’s increasingly worrying abuse of section 121 of the CPEA. This provision, which is frequently used to the prejudice of political detainees, is clearly being used to justify the denial of the rights to liberty of detainees who are suitable candidates for bail. ZLHR is concerned about the increased number of cases in which section 121 has been invoked particularly against members of the MDC and other genuine human rights defenders. Initially isolated cases where 121 was invoked started in the wake of the March 2008 elections and this invocation has become commonplace. ZLHR is particularly dismayed that in most of these cases, after the expiry of the seven (7) days, the state would not have filed an appeal. The State through its officers from the Attorney General Office continues to maliciously violate the fundamental right to liberty, and legitimize their actions under the guise of section 121 of the CPEA.

Archbishops launch Lent appeal for Zimbabwe


The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, have launched a Lent appeal for Zimbabwe on Ash Wednesday as Anglicans worldwide join in a day of prayer and fasting for the troubled country.
In a joint column in The Times, the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams and the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu spoke of how Zimbabwe was seen as a beacon of hope during the time of Apartheid in South Africa because it was able to feed itself and had kept its social cohesion and a democratic culture.They said that the "destruction of many people’s hopes" was the worst of many casualties inflicted by President Robert Mugabe and his government. The country is now suffering from outbreaks of Cholera, Aids, hunger and massive inflation.
The Archbishops said there was a danger that people would "switch off" from the problems of Zimbabwe as the people there are suffering "a slow death...[which is] only intermittently newsworthy".They added, however, that the Anglican Church had been working to "challenge the tyranny of the Government and the apathy of neighbours" and that it had gone through a "quiet revolution" by sacking discredited bishops and supporting those with integrity.This had come at a price, they said, with Anglican churches being targeted by government supporters and parishioners being beaten, harassed and arrested and given death threats.
The appeal for fasting came at the request of Anglican Primates who gathered for a key meeting in Alexandria, Egypt, at the end of January to discuss unity and other issues affecting the Anglican Communion.The funds raised from the Archbishops' appeal will go towards emergency aid for thousands of people affected by widespread food shortages and an outbreak of cholera that has killed more than 3,800 people. Addressing the Church of England General Synod in February, Dr Williams said: "We hope that this will be part of a Communion-wide project for Lent, and that every diocese represented here will play its part, responding to the urgent calls for help with medical supplies, food and clean water which come daily from Zimbabwe. Please publicise this Appeal in your dioceses and continue your prayers."Primates at the Alexandria meeting appealed to Anglicans to donate whatever they could. "If we don't intervene we will be failing God in terms of 'when I was hungry you fed me and when I was poor you cared for my needs," said the Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Rev Thabo Makgoba, at the time of the gathering. In a statement, the Primates called on Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe to step down: "There appears to be a total disregard for life, consistently demonstrated by Mr Mugabe through systematic kidnap, torture and the killing of Zimbabwean people. We therefore call upon President Robert Mugabe to respect the outcome of the elections of 2008 and to step down. We call for the implementation of the rule of law and the restoration of democratic processes."On the web: USPG has been chosen by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York to administer the appeal.
Original Times article on link below...

Why MDC may end up covered in slime

*From The East African (Kenya), 21 February****

*By Terence Ranger

Now that a Government of National Unity has been formed in Zimbabwe,commentators are harking back to the Unity agreement of 1987. This wasbetween Robert Mugabe’s Zanu PF and Joshua Nkomo’s Zimbabwe African PeoplesUnion. Unity Day has been celebrated every year to commemorate it. Butsurvivors - and revivers - of Zapu are now warning Mugabe’s new partners ofthe dangers of a Unity agreement. Their own experience was that Zapu wasswallowed up in the belly of the Zanu PF python and many people are sayingthat the same thing will happen to Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change. But while it is certainly true that the MDC cannot yetprotect its own supporters against the Central Intelligence Organisation,the police and the army, there are important differences between the two Unity agreements.Put simply, the 1987 event was a fusion of two parties into one. The 2009 event is a coalition of two parties. Some of the same dramatic transformations have happened on both occasions. After 1987, for instance,Dumiso Dabengwa - Zapu’s intelligence chief - went from being imprisoned ona charge of treason to appointment as Minister of Home Affairs. After theagreement of 2009, Tendai Biti has gone from facing a charge of treason incourt to become Minister of Finance. So far, so similar. But the recentagreement is nothing like so much of a triumph for Mugabe as 1987 when,after years of military and police pressure on his supporters, in which some 20,000 people died, Nkomo had no alternative but concede dominance to Mugabe.
A supposedly new party emerged from the Unity agreement but it was still called Zanu PF and it still used the same symbols of the clenched fistand the cockerel. Nkomo was allowed ceremonial status and ex-Zapu men were
allowed to dominate local government in western Zimbabwe, but Mugabecontrolled the central state. An amnesty was declared for all those who hadcommitted political violence.The emergence of the single party was supposed to portend the creation of a one-party state and Zanu PF totted up the percentages of its combined votersupport. "We worship the majority as Christians worship Christ," saidEddison Zvogbo.
This time round, it is very different. This is a coalition government: There is an agreed statement of principles, in which Zanu PFtries to bind the MDC to its doctrines of sovereignty and the MDC seeks torestrain Zanu PF by commitments to human rights. Nevertheless, the twoparties remain quite distinct. And both have made it clear that they lookforward to competing against each other in an election as soon as possible.
In September 2008, when the agreement was first signed, Mugabe called upon his party to revive itself so that it could achieve a smashing electoralvictory and he would never again have to suffer the "humiliation" of workingwith Tsvangirai. During the long delay between the agreement and itsimplementation, Tsvangirai called for internationally supervised electionsas an alternative to coalition.Those who worship the majority are torn between the parliamentary majoritywon by the MDC in March 2008 or the claimed presidential majority won byMugabe in the uncontested election in June. There is no amnesty this timeround, which is why police are still able to arrest a nominated MDC deputyminister - Roy Bennett - and why many in Zanu PF fear prosecution for crimesagainst humanity. When there is another election the old Zapu will contestit. If the 1987 agreement was designed to usher in a one-party state, thisagreement seems designed to usher in intense competitive multiparty"democracy." The MDC will not be swallowed up and digested by the python.

But it may emerge covered with slime. It is part of the largest and mostexpensive cabinet in Zimbabwe’s history. Now in charge of the economicministries, it may be blamed for failure to bring about recovery. So,everything will be done with an eye to electoral advantage. And the mostimportant thing of all is to seek to create conditions in which a fairelection can be held.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Zimbabwe's cholera crisis worsens as number of dead, infected climbs – UN

UN News
The mounting death toll from Zimbabwe's devastating cholera epidemic has reached almost 3,800, with more than 80,000 people infected, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) reported today.
Some 3,759 people have now died from cholera since the outbreak first hit the besieged southern African country in August last year, with all 10 of Zimbabwe's provinces having been affected by the water-borne disease, which has spilled over to neighbouring countries.
WHO noted that South Africa, which has a relatively strong health care system, has been able to limit the number of fatalities to below one per cent of people infected by the deadly disease, compared to four per cent in Zimbabwe last December and between one and two per cent in recent weeks.
A high number of cholera cases have also been reported in Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia, all countries where the disease is endemic.
There are 365 cholera treatment centres operating in Zimbabwe and WHO has set up a Cholera Command and Control Centre in the capital, Harare, with its partner agencies to provide technical support in the areas of epidemiological and laboratory surveillance, case management, social mobilization, logistics, and infection control and water sanitation in treatment centres.
WHO warned that containing the rate of infection remains a significant challenge given the country's dilapidated water and sanitation infrastructure and a weak health system.
Its priorities now include decentralizing the emergency response, particularly to areas with no active non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and strengthening social mobilization within communities to improve access to health services and earlier treatment. The agency will also focus on resource mobilization and greater involvement of partners in the field.

His Excellency, Mr Moonlighter

Mail & Guardian
Zimbabwean diplomats are resorting to moonlighting to avoid debt collectors as the lack of foreign currency caused by the country's economic crisis has left its representatives abroad unable to pay their bills. This month a diplomat based in Austria committed suicide, reportedly in a state of depression after receiving an eviction notice. She was buried in Harare after friends and relatives chipped in to pay for transporting her body home.Stories abound of diplomats who are surviving on foreign currency sent by the extended families back in Zimbabwe and on hand-outs from friends. Many are deep in debt after resorting to overdrafts for their everyday needs.
Zimbabwe has 38 diplomatic missions and three consulates across the world. The biggest missions are in New York and Geneva, because of the United Nations. Ambassadors are paid between US$11 000 and US$13 000 a month, depending on political seniority.Foreign currency applications lodged with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe by embassies abroad have not been adequately met. In February the New York mission received US$100 000 when its arrears and other monthly obligations totalled US$1-million.Sources say that Zimbabwe's diplomats and foreign affairs staff posted overseas have not been paid for the last five to seven months. This means that they have been unable to meet most of their obligations, such as paying for rented accommodation, heating, medication and school fees. Locally recruited staff are owed salary arrears of between three and five months, including bonuses.In certain countries where it is legal, spouses resorted to seeking employment to support their families. Sources said some desperate diplomats had resorted to moonlighting to survive. Another diplomat who refused to be identified said: "Under these difficulties we still have to defend our country in international forums and in countries where we have been posted."
In Sweden officers evicted from their homes after failing to pay rent because their salaries weren't paid are staying at the ambassador's residence. Sources said in Australia a senior officer was also staying at the embassy.In India, Iran and Austria landlords for the chancelleries and residences have approached their ministries of foreign affairs to lodge complaints about the failure to pay by Zimbabwean missions. A diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity said: "Because of the humanitarian situation at home we are no longer a priority."

Monday, February 23, 2009

Deliberately delaying the release of all political prisoners violates the GPA

Sokwanele Article: February 23rd, 2009
Zimbabweans must stand by all the political detainees and insist that the GPA is respected by all parties

Please send an email demanding the immediate and unconditional release of all the political detainees. Insist that the rule of law and Zimbabwe's constitution is respected. Insist that the terms of the GPA are adhered to by all parties.
Address your emails to Professor Welshman Ncube who is the current Chairperson of the Joint-Monitoring Implementation Committee (JOMIC). Ask Professor Ncube to share your concerns and feelings with the JOMIC committee (including Minister Patrick Chinamasa) and with President Motlanthe of South Africa in his capacity as the current Chair of SADC.
Send your emails to Sokwanele at [2]. We will compile all your emails into one document and forward it to Professor Ncube.
We will not include your name or your email address in the document unless you ask us to.
Please forward this newsletter to everyone you know and ask them to stand up for our fellow Zimbabweans who have been treated so cruelly, and for the future of our country.
Read Full Article on

Friday, February 20, 2009


As is now a matter of public knowledge Mr. Roy Bennett, a Deputy Minister-designate in the newly-formed inclusive government and a senior official in the Movement for Democratic Change, was taken against his will, and without just cause, from Charles Prince Airport at around 13:30hrs on Friday 13 February 2009. He was lawfully leaving the country to go and spend his birthday with his family, who now reside in South Africa as a result of the severe and relentless persecution of the Bennett family in Zimbabwe by the state over the last 10 years. He was due to return to Zimbabwe this week to be sworn into office and commence his duties in government.

Without explanation, he was placed in a white Toyota, registration number AAP 4851, and was then transferred into a silver Toyota Vigo, registration number 3595, to be driven to Mutare, accompanied by three members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP). The driver of the vehicle was the notorious Detective Inspector Eliot Muchada, who purports to act currently as the Officer-in-Charge of the Law and Order section at Harare Central police station, and who was intimately involved in the abduction cases involving Chris Dhlamini, Gandi Mudzingwa and others, as well as the recent persecution of members of the Women of Zimbabwe Arise and lawyers from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR).

Muchada was accompanied by one Chief Superintendent Nhau and another officer whose identity is still being confirmed. Muchada gave regular telephonic updates to, and received further instructions from, his superior, the Officer Commanding Law and Order Harare, Assistant Commissioner Mabunda during the course of the trip to Mutare.

Bennett is currently in his fifth day of detention in conditions which amount to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and punishment. In addition, the charges against him continue to be changed in a clear sign that the original "arrest" was not in compliance with the constitutional requirement that police may only arrest a person where there is evidence and a reasonable suspicion based on such evidence that an offence has been committed.

The charge initially was under the Immigration Act for attempting to leave the country illegally, which was denied. Police then withdrew this and a charge of treason was then suggested. Again, this was denied. The charge was then changed to contravention of section 6(1) of the Public Order and Security Act, allegedly for acts of insurgency, banditry, sabotage or terrorism through the disruption of an essential service. A warned and cautioned statement was recorded in this regard on Sunday 15 February 2009. On Monday 16 February 2009, police preferred a second charge of contravention of section 25(1) (a) of the Immigration Act, for alleged failure to report to an immigration officer at a port of exit. A second warned and cautioned statement was recorded in this regard.

Despite the paperwork being in order before 11:00hrs on Monday, Bennett remained at Mutare Central police station and was not taken to court. Lawyers were advised that the Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Superintendent Makone, who had traveled from Bindura to Mutare, had now been called to Harare. The veracity of this cannot be confirmed, particularly as Bennett’s lawyers in Harare who attempted to find Makone were told he was definitely not in Harare.

A Warrant of Further Detention was issued without notice to Bennett’s lawyers in Mutare, by Provincial Magistrate Billiard Musakwa on Monday 16 February 2009 and Bennett was returned to cells. He and his lawyers were then told on Tuesday morning that the charges had again been changed, and he was made to record a third warned and cautioned statement in relation to a charge of contravening section 10(1) of the Public Order and Security Act for allegedly possessing weaponry with the intention of using it in connection with acts of insurgency, banditry, sabotage or terrorism. Again, he denied the charge.

Bennett is currently in court before Provincial Magistrate Livingstone Chibadza. Originally, the matter was due to be heard before Billiard Musakwa, but Bennett’s lawyers sought and obtained his recusal, as the Warrant of Further Detention which he issued without the knowledge of Bennett’s lawyers will be challenged in court.

Bennett’s lawyers have placed on records complaints relating to their treatment by members of the ZRP (lawyers were threatened with guns which were cocked and pointed at them, before being forcibly removed from the police station on Friday 13 February 2009 and Saturday 14 February 2009 when they attempted to access their client) and requested that the complaints be investigated. The court will resume at 14:00hrs with Bennett’s lawyers making an application for refusal of remand on both charges (section 10 of POSA and section 25 of the Immigration Act).

This farcical behaviour on the part of the ZRP and representatives of the Attorney-General’s office clearly indicate that the arrest and detention of Roy Bennett was carried out and is being perpetuated maliciously, and in an attempt to harass, intimidate and frustrate not only Bennett, but also his lawyers and his fellow MDC members who are now part of the inclusive government. The continued attacks on legal practitioners who are merely attempting to protect their client’s rights and perform their professional duties must also once again be condemned in the strongest of terms.

It is regrettable that the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee (JOMIC) and the MDC hierarchy have not provided the public with clear information as to what they are doing to resolve the situation and what assurances (if any) have been given, so that it becomes clear who is resisting Bennett’s release from unlawful detention. If this was done, it would be easy to correctly ascribe responsibility to a specific individual or institution who remain intent on destabilizing the newly-formed government and the hopes of ordinary members of the police force, the courts and the public, who want stability and peace so that politicians and all others can focus energy on addressing the grave challenges facing the country without hindrance.

Until such time as such blame can be properly placed, it will be assumed by all right-thinking persons that the Commissioner-General of Police and the Attorney-General are responsible for the continued unlawful detention and persecution of Roy Bennett, through their overzealous foot-soldiers as previously named.

Where constitutional obligations are defied, perpetrators must be disciplined, and they must be disciplined swiftly. ZLHR thus demands that the individual named officers and superiors, as well as the responsible authorities, be called to account by the Executive - and publicly - for their dangerous actions. Punitive disciplinary measures must then be enforced, to ensure that those who seek to retain their positions and power through unlawful means are not allowed to remain in office for one more day. This is purportedly a "New Zimbabwe" – we demand action which shows this is not empty rhetoric. Whilst our fellow citizens remain detained and their rights continuously abused, none of us are free to focus on the task of rebuilding our country and restoring its dignity.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Torture and Falanga in Zimbabwe

The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum (The Forum) has today 18 February 2009 released a report - /Only Bruises on the Soles of their Feet! Torture and Falanga in //Zimbabwe/ - which is available via the following link;
The report speaks to the relationship between torture and elections in Zimbabwe. In many instances it can be argued that torture has helped ZANU PF win elections. The report also analyses the use of torture largely by the Zimbabwe Republic Police and other groups mainly associated with ZANU PF. Since its formation in 1998, the Forum has issued several reports on torture, urging an end to this vile practice. Despite this, torture continues to be practiced on a widespread scale in Zimbabwe.This report focuses on Falanga as a form of torture. Falanga as defined in this report means the systematic beating on the soles of the feet using some form of instrument, such as a baton stick, an iron bar, etc. It is a very serious and ancient form of torture, and can lead to permanent disability.The report also critiques SADC's position on the use of torture.The report calls on the regional body to insist on clear benchmarks for the restoration of democracy, the rule of law and human rights in Zimbabwe, and one of the primary benchmarks must be an end to torture, investigation of all allegations of torture, and prosecution of the alleged offenders.
Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum

WSCF & ZAO call on Swiss refineries to help stop illicit minerals trade

WSCF has joined its Zimbabwe Advocacy Office and three other NGOs to call for reassurance from Swiss refineries that they do not engage in trading illegally obtained minerals or in dealing with members of the Zimbabwean Mugabe regime.Swiss refineries have come into the spotlight following a deal exposé by Firstar International, a commodity trading and construction company, which released a story implicating the Mugabe regime in the sale of illegal gold and diamonds from the DR Congo. Swiss refineries are being called on to clarify their official position in line with international law prohibiting the purchase and resale of gold and diamonds which may have been illegally obtained.The letter addressed to the management and Boards of Directors of four Swiss refineries, which was sent on January 26, 2009, follows in full below.

CPJ Appeals to Prime Minister Tsvangirai on media freedoms in Zimbabwe

February 13, 2009

Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai
Prime Minister
Harvest House
44 Nelson Mandela
Harare, Zimbabwe

Dear Prime Minister,

The decision to form a unified government in Zimbabwe has created a welcome opportunity to address oppressive government decrees and media laws that have long stifled press freedom. Your party, the Movement for Democratic Change, has long made freedom of the press a central policy and you have repeatedly stated your aspirations to privatize the state-controlled media.

The daily newspapers in Zimbabwe were put under state control in 1982 and the ZANU-PF ruling party holds a monopoly on radio and television broadcasting. The handful of independent weeklies that still exist are stifled by high production costs as well as exorbitant customs duties on the import of newspapers that have been printed outside of the country.

Right now, a freelance journalist, Shadreck Manyere, and former veteran reporter Jestina Mukoko remain in police custody after being abducted from their homes in December. They allege that they have been tortured by police. You stated in December that you would refuse to participate in a coalition government until these individuals and more than 30 others were released.

In January, a steep hike in accreditation fees for foreign and local journalists working for foreign media outlets further curtailed independent reporting in Zimbabwe . CPJ recorded 16 cases of journalists and media workers facing harassment or arrest by the state last year for lacking accreditation under the Access to Information and Personal Privacy Act (AIPPA). These illegal arrests were carried out by the government-controlled Media and Information Commission in direct contravention of a January 2008 amendment to the AIPPA law signed by President Robert Mugabe.

The current media environment remains hostile to the independent press and will ensure partisan press coverage of any future developments made under the auspices of the new power-sharing alliance. CPJ calls on the new unity government to move swiftly to free the media from control by the ruling party.

The Government of National Unity should take immediate steps to:

Release Shadreck Manyere and Jestina Mukoko immediately.

Abolish laws that require licensing of newspapers and journalists.

Allow the banned Daily News to recommence operations. The paper was bombed twice and eventually shuttered in 2003 for alleged violations of the AIPPA law.

End jamming of foreign radio stations, including the BBC, VOA, and the exiled stations Short-Wave Radio Africa, which broadcasts from London , and Voice of Peace, in Cape Town .

Permit all local and foreign journalists who have been deported, banned, or forced into exile for security concerns to return safely and without harassment.

Repeal special taxes that apply to foreign newspapers and periodicals.

Encourage the set-up of community radio stations which are allowed to operate under current laws but none have yet been granted permission to broadcast

CPJ believes that freedom of expression is an essential part of a democratic economically thriving state. We urge you to make press freedom a priority for the new Government of National Unity.

Joel Simon
Executive Director

H.E. Machivenyika Mapuranga, Ambassador of Zimbabwe to the United States

H.E. John McGee, Ambassador of the United States to Zimbabwe

H.E. Edna Madzongwe, Speaker of the House of Senate of Zimbabwe

H. E. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma , Minister of Foreign Affairs, South Africa

Archbishop Desmond Tutu (Ret.), Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town

George Charamba, Presidential Spokesman, ZANU-PF

Nelson Chamisa, MDC Spokesperson, Department of Information & Publicity

Robert Wood, Acting Spokesperson , U.S. Department of State

Chris Mbanga, Chief of Staff, MDC

Mary Jo Wills, Office Director for Southern Africa, U.S. State Department

Tim Gerhardson, Public Affairs Officer, Harare , U.S. State Department

Khumbulani Ndlovu, Information Officer, Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions

Karen Freeman, Mission Director, USAID Zimbabwe

Dave Peterson, Africa Program Senior Director, National Endowment for Democracy

Basildon Peta, Director, Zimbabwe Media Trust

Karen B. Stewart, Acting U.S. Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor

Amnesty International

Article 19 (United Kingdom)

Artikel 19 (The Netherlands )

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression

Freedom of Expression and Democracy Unit, UNESCO

Freedom Forum

Freedom House

Human Rights Watch

Index on Censorship

International Center for Journalists

International Federation of Journalists

International PEN

International Press Institute

The Newspaper Guild

The North American Broadcasters Association

Overseas Press Club

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Zimbabwe’s Second Step in Right Direction

12 February, 2009

Zimbabweans living in New Zealand say the swearing in of Morgan Tsvangirai as Prime Minister is a significant step following 10 years of destruction.
Save Zimbabwe Campaign New Zealand (SZCNZ) says it is a second step in the right direction after last September’s agreement between ruling and opposition parties.
In his inaugural speech, Tsvangirai noted the many sad realities of a country where schools are closed, health centres are death centres, the civil service is grounded, farms are barely producing and industries operate below 25 percent. However, Tsvangirai vowed to stabilise the country and end political violence.
SZCNZ national coordinator Mandla Akhe Dube wished the new government success in translating words into action.
"This transitional Government of National Unity faces many challenges. Only time will remove doubts by those who choose to see Zimbabwe’s cup as half empty instead of half full."
The campaign called upon the international community to help build capacity in the new government.
New Zealand could lead by offering to help retrain Zimbabwe’s police force, a body synonymous with brutality and blatant disregard of human rights.
"We also urge the community of nations to help feed the five million hungry Zimbabweans between now and the 2009/10 farming season which starts in November."
Mr Dube called upon Zimbabweans at home and abroad to help their shattered country re-build. "We all have a role to play."

Mandla Akhe Dube
Tel: 03 366 9274 Ext 113
021 348 288
03 366 981 6052 (home)
More details:
Auckland: Adams Makope, 021 027 24797
Wellington: Driden Kunaka 021 046 6814 or 04 931 4570
Christchurch: Elouise Chicksen 03 343 1250

Pictures: Morgan Tsvangirai's Pre-Inaguration Church Service

Please click link below
SW Radio Africa

UN human rights chief urges new Zimbabwean government to restore rule of law, provide justice for human rights victims

12 February 2009

GENEVA – The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Thursday she hoped the establishment of Zimbabwe's new Government of National Unity would result in an immediate effort to restore the rule of law, and expressed continuing concern over the disappearance of opposition officials, the reported use of torture to extract false confessions and infringements of the independence of the judiciary. "The long drawn-out process to reach a political settlement was marked by the perpetration of serious human rights violations and caused untold damage to the rule of law in Zimbabwe," Pillay said. "All eyes will be on this new government to see if it can undo that damage." "The pattern of enforced disappearances and unlawful arrests in recent months -- for which the government has acknowledged some responsibility -- spread fear among opposition officials and their supporters as well as human rights activists and the independent media," Pillay said, adding that "in cases where the accused were later produced in court, the police often failed to respect or enforce court orders." The High Commissioner noted that in the cases of the well-known human rights activist Jestina Mukoko and journalist Shadreck Anderson Manyere, as well as those of members of the opposition, undue pressure had been put on the judiciary to keep them in custody. "This is a serious infringement on the independence of the judiciary," she said, "and it is particularly disturbing in cases where the courts had already ordered medical examinations and treatment for people who reported they had been tortured." Pillay also expressed concern over the politicization of the police and their failure to undertake credible investigations and arrests of individuals alleged to have committed serious human rights violations during the election violence in June and July. These include hundreds of cases of alleged summary executions, torture and sexual violence, including rape, the great majority of which are believed to have been carried out by supporters of Zanu-PF. "The Government of Zimbabwe has the primary responsibility to see that justice is done for these victims," Pillay said
She called upon the new government to meet its obligations under international law, including the prohibition of torture and respect for the independence of the judiciary. "It is vital that international attention is focused on preventing future violations in the country by ensuring that human rights defenders and independent media are able to carry out their work without being harmed, arrested or harassed," Pillay said. "I call for the immediate release of all those people currently still being held in unlawful custody." The High Commissioner revealed she had made repeated requests to the Government for a visit to Zimbabwe, and said she had received positive signals during recent meetings with top Government officials attending last week's African Union summit in Addis Ababa. However, she is still waiting official confirmation that such a visit can go ahead.

Human Rights Defenders Alert

12 February 2009

A Harare Magistrate on Thursday 12 February 2009 granted free bail to two project lawyers of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and eight members of the group Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA), who were arrested on Tuesday 10 February 2009.
The ten including the lawyers Ms Roselyn Hanzi and Mr Tawanda Zhuwarara were finally brought to court on Thursday 12 February 2009 after spending two nights in police detention at the notorious Harare Central Police Station.
Magistrate Gloria Takundwa granted free bail and ordered the human rights lawyers and the WOZA members to reside at their given residential addresses and not to interfere with State witnesses. The ten will return to court on 04 March 2009 for commencement of trial.
Ms Roselyn Hanzi and Mr Tawanda Zhuwarara were arrested by unidentified members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) on 10 February 2009 as they were returning to the ZLHR office situated next to the Parliament building after lunch. Regrettably, they were caught in the crossfire of further indiscriminate arrests carried out by the ZRP arising from a demonstration outside Parliament building in Harare by the Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA). With the complicity of Parliamentary staff, they were unlawfully detained in the Parliament Guard Room, until police details removed them to Harare Central police station.
In contravention of constitutional protective provisions relating to detained persons, but in the customary fashion of the ZRP, lawyers who attempted to get access to Hanzi and Zhuwarara at Harare Central were denied access by the police on the day of their arrest and only obtained access to their clients on Wednesday 11 February 2009.

UK Government Speaks on New Zimbabwe Government

The people of Zimbabwe have for too many years suffered hardship and political violence, denied the government they deserve by the misrule of Robert Mugabe. Today they have a new Prime Minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, a man who has courageously led opposition to the Mugabe regime. Morgan Tsvangirai's appointment offers the possibility of a change for the better. Mr Tsvangirai and his team have a formidable challenge in bringing legitimacy and reform to Zimbabwe's government, in improving the economy and in delivering basic services to Zimbabwe's people. They will need to be given the room to lead change, not least from ZANU (PF) and its leadership. Britain and the international community will be looking for the whole government to demonstrate, through its actions, a clear commitment to the reforms that the Zimbabwean people so deserve. We will continue to provide substantial humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe. We also stand ready to provide broader long-term help . This will depend on the new government's actions. A commitment to macroeconomic stabilisation, restoration of the rule of law, respect for human rights, the immediate release of political detainees, the repeal of repressive legislation, and a commitment to timely elections - are the foundations of international support.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Zimbabwe: Obama Cautious On Power-Sharing Deal

Marina Litvinsky
5 February 2009

Washington — As the Zimbabwean parliament approves the power-sharing deal between President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, the new administration of U.S. President Barack Obama says it will look for concrete change in the way the country is governed before deciding U.S. policy.
"The success or failure of such a government will depend on credible and inclusive power-sharing by Robert Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party," Robert Wood, acting spokesman for the White House, said on Tuesday.
"The international community must remain engaged and continue to scrutinise actions by Mr. Mugabe to ensure adherence to the letter and spirit of this agreement, including respect for human rights and the rule of law," he said.
"We urge (the Southern Africa Development Community) SADC to fulfil its obligation to guarantee that Mr. Mugabe proceeds on a new path toward reconciliation and genuine partnership with the MDC (Tsvangirai's party, the Movement for Democratic Change)."
Human rights and Africa activist groups here were somewhat more sceptical.
"I think it's a defective deal in many ways," said Briggs Bomba, director of Campaigns at Africa Action, a non-profit organisation. "It short changes people of Zimbabwe on the most basic aspirations that have defined democracy: human rights and social justice. It appears now as an opportunity for temporary relief of suffering that people are going through."
"Mugabe's game-plan is simple: squeeze the maximum gains from the agreement, put on a show of good behaviour until the sanctions are lifted and aid flows are resumed, plan for a successor, and then gradually resume the attacks on the MDC before the next series of elections," noted Jon Elliot, Africa advocacy director for Human Rights Watch (HRW).

The formation of the new government is the latest move in the nearly year-old crisis that was set off last March after the MDC's victory in the first round of national elections. Before the scheduled run-off elections in June ZANU-PF unleashed a wave of violence targeting mostly MDC supporters. Tsvangirai subsequently withdrew from the race.
Mugabe claimed victory, despite the conclusion of independent monitors from across southern Africa that the election was neither free nor fair due to ZANU-PF's campaign of intimidation and violence.
Over the following six months, SADC, led by South Africa, tried to negotiate an agreement between MDC and ZANU-PF that would lead to a coalition government, an effort which eventually culminated in the signing of a power-sharing agreement in principle on Sep. 15. The deal provided that Mugabe would retain the presidency, while Tsvangirai would serve as prime minister in a government in which the MDC would have majority in parliament.
Over the subsequent four months, however, the two parties failed to agree on the allotment of specific ministerial portfolios, with Mugabe insisting on retaining control of the army and security forces.
Meanwhile, conditions in Zimbabwe deteriorated dramatically, amid record hyper-inflation and a breakdown in the country's once-model public health system.
A cholera epidemic, which broke out in August, has spread. So far, it has killed more than 3,000 people and an additional 65,000 have been infected, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The U.N. Food Programme estimates that 7 million of the 9 million people remaining in the country will need food aid this month.
In July 2008, the administration of former President George W. Bush, along with the EU, strengthened its sanctions against Zimbabwe, though its efforts to impose sanctions through the U.N. Security Council were vetoed by China and Russia.
In mid-December, Bush, along with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicholas Sarkozy, called for Mugabe to remove himself completely.

"It is time for Robert Mugabe to go," said Bush.
Nonetheless, Mugabe defied the pressure, and last week Tsvangirai agreed to implement the Sep. 15 deal, bringing the MDC into the government. Thursday, parliament unanimously approved a constitutional amendment allowing Tsvangirai to become prime minister.
Many independent analysts here maintain that the deal is a poor one and may soon collapse.
"It's a question of when, not if, this thing will collapse," Sydney Masamvu, a senior analyst with the International Crisis Group, told the New York Times last week.
"This new agreement does not reflect the will of the Zimbabwean people and is unlikely to produce a viable political solution unless the behaviour of ZANU-PF changes dramatically," said Jennifer Windsor, executive director of New York-based Freedom House. For now, most non-governmental groups believe Obama's wait-and-see stance is the correct one.
"The West need be in no hurry to lift the targeted sanctions or throw good money at a bad agreement," said HRW's Elliot. "A full and comprehensive programme of government reform and audit are also needed before a single U.S. tax dollar is handed over for reconstruction."
"Zimbabwe's humanitarian and health crises alone will need a huge international effort throughout 2009," he added. "That should be their sole focus for now."
Some groups believe that Bush's hard line may have been counter-productive and suggest that the new administration should be more respectful of the position of other states in the region as the situation develops.
It is "critical to move away from the counter-productive 'cowboy diplomacy' we saw under Bush, which really pushed to the wall a lot of critical players within South Africa," Bomba of Africa Action told IPS. The new administration "must be informed more by a lot of behind the scenes discussions and consensus building in SADC. So don't come out shouting."

Copyright © 2009 Inter Press Service. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (


The Zimbabwe Christian Alliance welcomes with cautious optimism the finalisation of the SADC led talks which opens the way to the implementation of the Global Political Agreement and the formation of a Government of National Unity.

We realise that this is not a triumph of African solutions and principles but a reproach because it indicates that the voice of the people as stated democratically through the ballot box in March 2008 has not been recognised or respected.

It is our sincere hope and prayer, however, that God Almighty will intervene and this transitional arrangement will lead to real democracy and consequently to justice, reconciliation, peace and prosperity to our troubled land. At present the people of Zimbabwe are rather suspicious and anxious. They need confidence building measures to be put in place to indicate sincerity and the political will to transform the country.

We as representatives of the Christian constituency are anxious to see that this agreement works. The people of Zimbabwe have suffered enough. We would, therefore, like to see a number of actions by the inclusive government to prove that they hold the welfare and the interests of the people of Zimbabwe above their own political power

1. We would like to see the rule of law established in the country immediately and all political prisoners released forthwith
2. Measures be taken to reform arms of government to be apolitical in their delivery of services
3. That the NGO’s be free to distribute food and other commodities without interference from government.
4. That the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe returns to its original mandate of keeping the resources and distributing them as directed by the government instead of meddling in politics and serving partisan interests.
5. That the framework of issues of transitional justice and reconciliation be worked out together with the Church to heal the cancer at the heart of the Nation.
6. The constitutional reform process is commenced as per schedule contained in Amendment 19 and that the process will allow the people of Zimbabwe to contribute meaningfully to the constitution making process

+263 11881316

Zanu PF Caves in to MDC Demands

ZANU PF made major concessions on the allocation of provincial governors’ posts and the National Security Council when negotiators of the country’s inclusive government met in South Africa on Wednesday.
Full Article

Zimbabwe: President Robert Mugabe's Money Men

IRIN Humanitarian News Analysis
The former captain of the Rhodesian rugby side and an alleged "sanction-buster" for Ian Smith's white minority government in what is now Zimbabwe, as well as a South African-born businessman wanted in his home country for fraud, are some of the latest additions to the European Union's (EU) sanctions targeting Zimbabwe's ruling elite.
Full Article

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Churches in Zimbabwe Cautiously Welcome GNU

Bishop Levee Kadenge
The churches in Zimbabwe met yesterday and cautiously welcomed the Government of National Union. It was after the Zimbabwe Council of Church ZCC, the Evangelical fellowship of Zimbabwe EFZ, the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference ZCBC and Christian Alliance ZCA met with priminister designate Morgan Tsvangirai that the Church agreed that they should support the new government. Morgan Tsvangirai had asked the Church to meet him so that he explained what was going on.
After the meeting the Church prayed for the success of the new arrangement.It was also agreed that prayers would be conducted before and after 11 February when the PM will be swon in. Sunday 15 February was set aside as the day the Church in Zimbabwe will thank God for having taken us such far. The mood at the meeting was so positive despite the fact that delegates were not amused by the reported calls by Frank Chikane and President Montlante of South Africa for the immediate removal of sunctions. The question was asked who gave them the mandate to call for the removal of sunctions. They are on record that they are not in a position to prescribe anything for Zimbabweans. "Zimbabweans are mature, they know what they want," has been their clarion call. Instead delegates thought the priority was the release of political prisoners who should not be in custody a day longer.
Mr Tsvangirai showed confidence in the new set up. He was however aware of the challenges because of the expectations of people who had been brutalised for such a long time. The prirorities he had set out were education, health, food and revival of the economy. "I know once you finish one aspect of peoples' needs the bar of expectation is moved up," Said Tsvangirai. He thanked the church for the confidence it also had in him. He asked the Church to continually remember him and the new government in its prayers.

Right to Education Violated in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

03 February 2009


Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) expresses its concern about the sudden demand for exorbitant examination fees by the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), purportedly to enable students to write their second semester examinations. On 2 February 2009 the UZ administration published a notice to the effect that: “… each student is required to pay an examination fee of $US400.00. The examination fee must be paid strictly in cash at the Bursar’s department… no later than 12 Noon Wednesday 11th February… Students are also reminded that end of semester examinations begin on 16th February…” Clearly a failure to pay such an amount within the notice period will result in students foregoing their examinations which begin just five days after the end of the notice period.
ZLHR is aware that on 3 February 2009 UZ students undertook a demonstration in protest against the US$400 examination fee. During the demonstration some students were viciously assaulted by members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP). At least 60 students were arrested and detained at Avondale Police Station. ZLHR was able to secure the release of five (5) students on medical grounds; the remainder of the group is slowly being released by the police. The police have indicated that at least three (3) students will be kept in custody with charges to be leveled against them, although the charges have not yet been put to them.
ZLHR is disgusted by the continued use of violence by the police force against defenceless citizens, and the arbitrary arrests, detention and subsequent release of detainees without charge, meant simply to harass students and prevent them from exercising their fundamental right to assembly and expression.
ZLHR further unreservedly condemns the UZ’s demands for such foreign currency payments as a precondition for the writing of examinations, which currency and amount the majority of students will not be able to afford, more so given that they have less than two weeks to raise the amount. Many of the students attending the UZ are from middle-class, low-income and underprivileged families in Zimbabwe, which are not able to raise the US$400 examination fees being demanded by the University, let alone the US$1000–$1800 which students will be asked to pay in fees next semester. It is unfortunate that while government is allowing the UZ to charge students in foreign currency, many of the affected persons who have to raise these fees are civil servants whom the same government still wants to pay in Zimbabwe dollars. Ultimately many students will not be able to raise these amounts and will be forced to forego the present semester’s examinations and their future studies at the University. The right to education of many students, which is protected in terms of national legislation and through regional and international instruments to which the government has voluntarily bound itself, thus stands to be grossly denied them, without remedy.
ZLHR calls upon the University of Zimbabwe and the Ministry of Higher and Tertiary Education to immediately review the decision by the University to charge examination fess of US$400 and use this as a precondition for the writing of examinations. The University of Zimbabwe must allow all students who paid their tuition fees for the current second semester to write their end of semester examinations. Further, a review must be undertaken of the University’s intention to charge all tuition fees in United States dollars as a matter of urgency.
- ends -

Abductees’ Update

02 February 2009
SW Radio Africa
• At around 09:00hrs, bail application proceedings in the matter of Jestina Mukoko v. The State (Ref: HCB 88/09) and Concillia Chinanzvavana and 5 Others v. The State (Ref: HCB 94-99/09) resume in the High Court before Justice Alfas Chitakunye. Mrs. Florence Ziyambi appears for the State while Mr. Harrison Nkomo appears for Mukoko and Mr. Charles Kwaramba appear for Chinanzvavana and others.
• Ziyambi raises a point in limine (preliminary objection) that Jestina Mukoko’s bail application should not be entertained by the High Court as she has not been formally charged by the Magistrates’ Court and consequently she has not been placed on remand. She asserts that although Jestina Mukoko has appeared in the Magistrate’s Court, bail can only be entertained if she has been made aware of the charges and the evidence that the State has against her. Ziyambi therefore argues that the bail application should be struck off the roll as it is not properly before the Court.
• In response, Nkomo submits that the High Court is being asked to interpret the right to liberty of the accused person and the right to a fair trial as envisaged in the Constitution of Zimbabwe. The issue before the Court is whether a person who has not undergone formal remand proceedings can apply for bail. He further submits that Ziyambi is misinterpreting the concept of bail. He goes on to submit that a person who is arrested by the police and detained becomes aware of the charges when taken in by the police and made to sign a warned and cautioned statement.
• Nkomo accuses Ziyambi of misleading the Court by arguing that the High Court is not obliged to entertain Mukoko’s bail application before remand proceedings are concluded, particularly as Mukoko was charged upon being detained by the police and appeared on the charge in court on 24 December 2008 regardless of the fact that she had been abducted and subjected to an enforced disappearance. This was the position also asserted by the Supreme Court, when Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku had advised that a referral of constitutional issues had to be made through the Magistrates’ Court, before which Mukoko had appeared. He insists that the High Court must, as of necessity, entertain Mukoko’s bail application to enforce her constitutional rights.
• Justice Chitakunye defers ruling on the point in limine (preliminary objection) to Wednesday 4 February 2009.
• In the bail applications for Concillia Chinanzvavana and 5 others, the applicants’ lawyer, Charles Kwaramba, in response to a point in limine similar to that raised in Jestina Mukoko’s case, accuses the State prosecutors of attempting to restrict the term ”charge” to mean a formal remand in court. Kwaramba states that his clients are seeking bail pending a determination of an appeal lodged in the High Court against a decision by the Magistrates’ Court to place them on remand. He adopts Nkomo’s earlier argument for the avoidance of repetition.
• In response Ziyambi argues that the High Court should determine the meaning of bail application and should look at all the provisions relating to bail applications. She also adopts her earlier submissions made in Jestina Mukoko’s case.
• Justice Chitakunye again defers his ruling on the bail application to Wednesday 4 February 2009.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

World YWCA and FDC keep women of Zimbabwe on AU agenda

African women have committed themselves to continue to stand in solidarity with the women of Zimbabwe. World YWCA and the Foundation for Community Development (FDC) led a consultation at the 13th Pre-Summit Consultative Meeting on Gender Mainstreaming in the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia from January 27-28 to develop strong actions on the current situation in Zimbabwe.
(source: World YWCA Communications, Geneva)

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