Monday, December 6, 2010

First certify pre-poll conditions …. ZESN tells SADC

Saturday, 04 December 2010 13:41

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s largest independent election monitoring group says the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and other organisations should deploy advance teams to certify if the present political conditions in the country are conducive for the holding of free and fair polls next year. The Zimbabwe Electoral Support Network (ZESN) said advance monitoringteams should be deployed “now to assess the political environment” and should remain in the country at least a month after the polls toensure there are no post-election skirmishes as happened two years ago.The polls should only go ahead after the advance parties have certified the climate conducive for the unfettered participation of all stakeholders.
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Friday, November 26, 2010

Swiss Church Group criticizes certification of Zimbabwean diamonds

Bread for All criticizes the certification of Zimbabwean diamonds

Lausanne, 25 November 2010 Press Communiqué

Numerous human rights violations are being committed in Zimbabwe’s diamond mines by state security forces. Bread for All (Switzerland) is calling on the Government of Switzerland, as a member of the Kimberley Process, to demand the exclusion of Zimbabwean diamonds from the Kimberly Process (KP) which certifies diamonds for international trade. The Swiss Government must also call on the Kimberley Process to broaden the definition of blood diamonds to include diamonds originating from areas where human rights violations are committed by government forces.

Zimbabwe is one of the world’s biggest producers of rough diamonds. Marange district, eastern Zimbabwe, experienced a diamond rush in 2006 with the invasion of more than 30 000 illegal miners. The Geneva-based Zimbabwe Advocacy Office, a partner of Bread for All, reports that several human rights violations have been committed in Zimbabwe’s diamond mines by state security forces.

In October 2008, the Government of Zimbabwe deployed its army in order to control the region. During the military operation more that 200 miners and villagers were killed according to a Human Rights Watch report.[1] Since the military’s installation around the diamond fields, human rights are being committed frequently, notably, forced labour, child labour, torture, beatings and abductions. In addition, soldiers are reportedly forcing miners to work for them and smuggle diamonds.

Certification despite human rights violations

Zimbabwe is a member of the Kimberley Process, an organization that brings together governments, businesses, and civil society with the goal of regulating international trade in diamonds in order to combat “blood diamonds”, that is to say diamonds that serve to finance wars of rebel groups against governments. In November 2009, the KP suspended sale of Marange diamonds. In July 2010, after two missions of enquiry, the KP adjudged that Zimbabwe had met “the minimum criteria of the certification process for selling its uncut diamonds”, since diamond sales do not finance rebel groups. Zimbabwe was therefore authorized to hold a first diamond auction to international buyers in August 2010. Rapaport, a leading diamond brokerage company based in the US, immediately announced that it would not purchase Marange diamonds due to their connection with serious human rights violations.

Strict certification criteria is necessary

Currently the production of diamonds is not going towards national development as the diamond trade is being controlled by an army under the heel of President Mugabe. This situation is all the more alarming in that Zimbabwe suffers from widespread hunger and a severe economic crisis.

Bread for All therefore makes the following recommendations:

To the Government of Switzerland:

As a member of the Kimberley Process, Switzerland should request that Zimbabwean diamonds be excluded from KP Certification Scheme.
The Swiss Government should ask the KP to include in its criteria for ‘blood diamonds’, the human rights violations committed by the government forces (not only by the rebel groups).

To the Diamond Sector:

Refuse transactions on Zimbabwean diamonds, as long as the human rights situation does not improve.

To Swiss Consumers:
Make enquiries with jewelers on origin of the diamonds and refuse to buy those originating from Zimbabwe.

For more information:
Yvan Maillard Ardenti
Programme Officer, Finance and Corruption
Phone: 031 380 65 73 or 079 267 0109

[1] Human Rights Watch, ‘Deliberate Chaos, Ongoing Human Rights Abuses in the Marange Diamond Fields of Zimbabwe’, New York, June 2010

Thursday, November 25, 2010

SADC: Urgently Deploy GPA Monitors to Zimbabwe

Gaborone, 23 November 2010

On November 22, 2010, a delegation from the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition held a positive and progressive meeting with the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Secretariat Executive Secretary, Dr. Tomaz A. Salomao in Gaborone, Botswana. The meeting focused on SADC’s role in efforts to find a lasting solution to Zimbabwe’s political conflict and clarify the sub-regional position on elections and the lifespan of the coalition government as the guarantors of the Global Political Agreement between. We acknowledge and appreciate this valuable engagement with Dr. Salomao and his team and look forward to continued engagement.
We wish to reiterate our call to action for SADC to urgently:
1. Deploy SADC monitors to Zimbabwe to comprehensively assess and ensure the full implementation of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) for restoration of political stability, peace and human security paving the way for Zimbabwe to hold credible elections;

2. Ensure that the SADC Monitors particularly focus on pushing the political parties in Zimbabwe to create a conducive environment for the holding of democratic elections that are free from violence and intimidation and where the people of Zimbabwe can genuinely and freely express their will;

3. Indicate categorically that elections will only be held after SADC and the African Union - as guarantors of the GPA – make an independent assessment of conditions on the ground and certify that the environment is conducive and that necessary institutional and legislative reforms have taken place to allow for an election that meets SADC standards on the conduct of democratic elections. This includes ensuring that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) is fully capable (technically and financially) of managing and delivering a convincing election which will lead to a peaceful transfer of power; that there is a clean and updated voters’ roll whose compilation should be the responsibility of ZEC and not the partisan Registrar-General; that Zimbabweans in the Diaspora have a right to vote; and that soldiers return to the barracks and play no part in electoral affairs;

4. Provide for SADC, AU and UN election monitors to be deployed to Zimbabwe at least six months before any election is held and to maintain such monitors for at least another three months after the conclusion of elections in order to prevent violence and intimidation and;

5. Push the political principals in Zimbabwe to genuinely commit to finding a lasting solution to the political conflict thereby creating fertile conditions for economic and social development. Without a solid foundation of political stability and peace, any improvements in the economy will not be sustainable;

6. That all the parties should agree on regional and international observers that should be invited to monitor the elections. The minister of Foreign affairs should only invite foreign observers that have been agreed to by all the parties represented in the coalition government.
The Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition works to promote democracy, socio-economic development, peace and security in Zimbabwe and across southern Africa.

For more information please contact:
Crisis In Zimbabwe Coalition Regional Coordinator:

Monday, October 18, 2010

EU banks blacklist Zimbabwe over sanctions

18/10/2010 00:00:00
by Business Reporter

TWO major European banks -- Antwerp Diamond Bank (ADB) and ABN Amro -- have refused to conduct any diamond transactions with Zimbabwe, reports said Monday.

The banks' decision became public at the second day of the Mines to Market international diamond industry conference in Mumbai, India, which Zimbabwe's Mines Minister Obert Mpofu attended.

Both banks said that their decision was prompted by concern for their reputations in light of ongoing controversy surrounding alleged human rights abuses in Zimbabwe's diamond fields.

Controversially, they also cited European Union sanctions on the country which the EU has been desperate to project as not financially prejudicial to Zimbabwe’s economy but “targeted” at President Robert Mugabe and over 100 his senior officials accused of human rights abuses.

An international embargo on Zimbabwe diamonds is in place, although in September the Kimberley Process allowed the country to export two small parcels of diamonds provided it allowed full access to diamond mining sites by its monitors.

ADB Executive Committee Chairman Pierre de Bosscher stated that Zimbabwe's "ethical standards must improve" and that his institution would not deal with the country so long as it remained under European sanctions.

De Bosscher stressed that his bank would also avoid indirect diamond transactions, stressing that such a course of action hurt the transparency of the diamond industry.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Tsvangirai: 'Zimbabwe's conflict will end with credible election'

Johannesburg, South Africa (CNN) -- Zimbabwe's long-standing political conflict will not be resolved unless a fair election takes place, says Morgan Tsvangirai, the country's prime minister.

Speaking to CNN's Robyn Curnow from Johannesburg, Tsvangirai said: "The country will not move forward unless you have a credible and a legitimate election, so we have to get that mandate."

Read More:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Zimbabwe back to the polls next year

Sep 19, 2010 12:00 AM | By ZOLI MANGENA

Zimbabwe's cabinet this week unanimously agreed that fresh elections would be held next year amid opposition from a wide cross-section of Zimbabweans.

This came as South African President Jacob Zuma met Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai to discuss the issue of elections.

Insiders said Zuma and Tsvangirai discussed how to ensure free and fair elections to avoid a disputed outcome.

Zuma, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) mediator in Zimbabwe, and his colleagues in the region view elections as the only way out for Zimbabwe, which has been locked in a political stalemate for a decade.

Informed government insiders said the cabinet on Tuesday resolved that elections would be held next year after finance minister Tendai Biti presented his budget principles and guidelines to the cabinet.

"The issue of elections arose in the context of Biti making a presentation on the budget. He raised the issue and informed cabinet that the political principals had directed him to budget $200-million for elections, and cabinet had approved it," said a minister.

"So, as a result, it is now formal policy that elections will be coming next year. We will start with the referendum on the draft constitution, which will cost$100-million and then follow with national elections, which will also need $100-million."

The Sunday Times could not get comment from the government because Mugabe's cabinet has resolved to arrest ministers who leak confidential information.

Said a minister: "Cabinet approved the elections, but some of us don't want them. It's not necessary at the moment to subject the country and the people to a process which we all know will bring back political tensions and confrontation.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Breaking news from Women and Men of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA)

WOZA and MOZA commemorate International Peace Day with street protest in Harare
20 September 2010

AT noon today, 600 members of Women and Men of Zimbabwe marched to
Parliament in Harare to mark International Peace Day. It is believed
60 members are under arrest at Harare Central Police Station. 25
members were arrested and taken to Harare Central Police Station. 35
more handed themselves in in solidarity after marching from Parliament
to Harare Central. The total arrested is believed to be 60.

The aim of the peaceful protest was to highlight community safety
issues and police behavior in communities. When the peaceful group
arrived at Parliament, they handed over a list of demands for members
of the Zimbabwe Republic Police, the Police Commissioner and the
co-Ministers of Home Affairs to police officers stationed outside
Parliament. The full list of demands can also be found on our website.

Two members addressed the peaceful group outside Parliament explaining
that tomorrow (21st September) is International Peace Day and using
the example of the violence at COPAC consultations over the weekend to
illustrate how Zimbabweans have little experience of peace. They
called on the Zimbabwe Republic Police to allow Zimbabweans to be able
to give their views of what they want in a new Constitution without
violence and called on police to arrest those that threatened others
or used violence.

Bystanders were overheard supporting the protestors – commenting on
the violence shown by police officers in recent weeks and how police
officers should be ashamed of themselves for not being the ones to
keep the peace.

WOZA members have been worried about the performance and
professionalism of our police officers for some time. As a result,
WOZA has observed their behavior in select communities in Bulawayo and
Harare for four months.

WOZA members observed police officers beating suspects in public;
harassing vendors and taking their goods for their own use, without
any receipting; demanding and accepting bribes, both in public and at
police stations; drinking in uniform in public, sometimes stopping to
drink while escorting suspects who will be under arrest and making
people under arrest ‘run’ in front of their motor bikes and/or horses
to the police station. In Bulawayo, many police officers refuse to
respond to citizens’ complaints if they speak in the Ndebele language,
insisting they speak in Shona.

75% of people whose rights were violated during arrest reported
damages, injuries and or loss of property. These incidents are common
when one is arrested by the plain-clothed and municipal police.

A more detailed account of our findings can be found on our website at but the investigations done during the four
months is just a small part of what is happening and are a reflection
of a poor relationship between police and the community. It is clear
that police officers routinely violate human rights and do not follow
proper protocols of arrest and detention. In this regard, they are not
following the Zimbabwe Police Act, the ZRP Service Charter and ZRP
Service Standards as well as regional and international standards and

Please phone Harare Central Police Station on +263 4 777777 to demand
that the WOZA activists be released immediately.

20th September 2010

For more information, please call Jenni Williams on +263 912 898 110 /
+263 11 213 885, Magodonga Mahlangu on +263 912 362 or Annie Sibanda
on +27 79 188 1560. Email or visit You can also follow us on Twitter at or find us on Facebook.

Diamonds sharpen Zimbabwe power struggle

Zimbabwe’s generals are accumulating a secret slush fund from diamond sales, a campaign group claims. Diplomats fear the vast mines put the army in a powerful position to dictate the terms of succession after the death of Robert Mugabe.

The warning comes days after Zimbabwe’s pro-democracy prime minister, Morgan Tsvangirai, appealed to lower ranked army and police not to participate in any coup against the constitutional order when Mr Mugabe, 86, finally dies.

The military’s control over the vast Marange fields — the source of a quarter of the world’s diamonds — has become an important factor in the future of Zimbabwe.

Read More

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Zim to probe rights abuses

Tuesday 14 September 2010

HARARE – Zimbabwe’s unity government has agreed to probe human rights abuses committed after December 2008, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa said on Monday, effectively ruling out investigating gross abuses committed since independence or before.

Chinamasa said the government would soon table in Parliament a Bill that will empower the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission to probe human rights abuses committed after enactment of Constitution of Zimbabwe Amendment Number 19.

The amendment that paved the way for the creation of President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s coalition government last year was enacted in December 2008

Chinamasa said: “This commission will not investigate the alleged violations which occurred before the enactment of the amendment number 19 unless the violations have continued after the enactment but anything that happened before they will not have power to investigate."

The Justice Minister said the commission will investigate “ everybody, every individual, corporates and institutions no one is going to be above scrutiny.”

Chinamasa said the commission will visit and inspect prisons, places of detention, refugee camps and related facilities “to ascertain the conditions under which inmates are kept there, and to make recommendations regarding those conditions to the minister responsible for administering the law.”

But it is the coalition Cabinet’s decision not to probe rights violations prior to December 2008 that will infuriate many Zimbabweans including many of Tsvangirai’s supporters in his MDC party and in civil society.

MDC members, including Tsvangirai himself, have borne the brunt of organised political violence from security forces and Mugabe’s supporters since 2000 with several hundreds killed while many more have been uprooted from their homes by war veterans and youth militia loyal to the veteran leader.

But the violence climaxed in the run-up to a presidential run-off election in June 2008 when Mugabe sought to reverse his first ever electoral defeat by Tsvangirai in the first round of the poll.

Known senior security officers led ZANU-PF loyalists on a campaign that left 200 opposition supporters dead and even shocked other neutral African leaders.

And while human rights groups and Western governments began focusing serious attention on rights abuses by Mugabe only in the last 10 years after he began seizing white-owned farms, the Zimbabwean leader is accused of trampling upon the rights of opponents with his Gukurahundi military campaign launched barely three years after taking over power at independence from Britain in 1980.

Gukurahundi was launched ostensibly to crackdown on armed dissidents in the Matabeleland and Midlands provinces dominated by the Ndebeles who were the main backers of the then opposition PF-ZAPU party.

Analysts say the real purpose of the onslaught by the army’s North Korean-trained 5th Brigade was to demolish PF-ZAPU’s support base.

At least 20 000 innocent civilians were reportedly killed, some of them by having their stomachs prised open by soldiers while others were rounded up into huts and set on fire.

A government commission probed the atrocities but the results of the probe have never been made public.

Zimbabwe’s rights commission was sworn into office last year and is chaired by Reginald Austin, a law professor and former head of the legal affairs division of the Commonwealth.

The commission consists of the chairperson and eight other commissioners, but the constitution is silent on the position of the deputy.

The Bill seeks to provide for the position of deputy chairperson which shall be occupied by a person of the opposite sex to the chairperson, Chinamasa said.

The rights commission is part of several commissions formed by Zimbabwe’s power-sharing government as part of a raft of reforms meant to reshape and democratise the country’s politics.

The other commissions include the Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC), Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) and the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission. – ZimOnline.

Monday, September 6, 2010

'Stop using students as political tools,' says Zimbabwe student

By Munyaradzi Makoni
Windhoek, 26 August (ENI)--Young people should not be used as tools for political violence in Southern Africa, says Innocent Kasiyano, coordinator of the Student Christian Movement of Zimbabwe.

"It is a sad trend that youths are used as tools of political violence, and agents to instil fear in communities. That must be stopped," Kasiyano told ENInews.

The SCM official was speaking during the Sixth People's Summit, organized by the Solidarity People's Network, and held from 15 to 16 August at the Catholic Cathedral Hall in Windhoek, the capital of Namibia.

In Zimbabwe, the youth wing of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party, which is in a government of national unity with the Movement for Democratic Change, has faced accusations of having been used to foment fear among those who oppose Zanu-PF, which held power from independence in 1980 until February 2009.

"The participation of youths should not only be limited to lower government structures," said Kasiyano, noting that there is a need to sensitise other youths in the region about their social and economic rights. He said the involvement of young people in decisions of the 14-member Southern African Development Community would help develop new leaders. Kasiyano coordinates 36 SCM branches across Zimbabwe, with about 200 members in each branch.

Holding the Peoples Summit - a gathering of faith groups, civic organisations and trade union members - alongside the 30th SADC heads of States, also meeting in Windhoek, gave the students an opportunity to lobby on a number of issues, said Kasiyano.

"We want the leaders to allow youths bodies to monitor general elections in the region at least two to three months before the actual voting, to prevent violence," he said. He also suggested SADC countries should spend more on young people to fight poverty.

Kasiyano said young people must be part of the national healing process in Zimbabwe. This is also a recommendation of the Global Political Agreement that brought together Zanu-PF and two opposition parties after a period of serious political violence following elections that Mugabe's party lost.

"Young people were used in the violence; they must be fully involved in the national healing process," said Kasiyano, who is a Roman Catholic. He added that national healing is not enough, and called for a justice, truth and reconciliation commission, such as South Africa had after the end of apartheid.

"As part of civil society, we are not a government in waiting but we are there to fight for the voice of the marginalised to be heard," said Kasiyano.

SCM Zimbabwe groups students from 27 tertiary institutions and high schools, and focuses on conflict transformation, peace building initiatives, and leadership training. It has sometimes been strongly critical of what it views as excesses committed by Mugabe and his followers. [474 words]
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More corruption ahead for diamond industry

By Alex Bell
03 September 2010

Corruption in the already tainted diamond industry is set to deepen, as known ZANU PF aligned businesses are set to venture into diamond processing.

The Affirmative Action Group (AAG) has announced that it has ten members lined up to venture into diamond cutting and polishing, at a multi million dollar diamond plant under construction in Harare. The Zimbabwe Diamond and Technology Centre is set to be fully operational in the next six months, and will be the central hub for Zimbabwe’s diamonds to be cut and polished.

The Centre is being constructed by Canadile Mining, one of the government approved firms illegally mining in Chiadzwa. Once fully completed, the US$20 million centre will have, among other things, banks, a diamond processing college and even insurance firms.On the surface, the Centre has the chance to create massive employment opportunities and lead the way in indeginisation and economic empowerment. But critics are warning that the involvement of the AAG will merely see more corruption take root in the diamond sector.

Commentator Professor John Makumbe told SW Radio Africa on Friday that the public must be concerned that AAG members are being funneled into diamond processing, under the guise of empowerment and indiginisation. Makumbe warned that the AAG is “a well known group of mainly ZANU PF aligned business people,” who have been “looting the economy for several years.”

“It is likely that these groups are flooding into the (Diamond Technology) Centre to have unbridled access to diamonds,” Makumbe said. “The state is unlikely then to benefit significantly from these diamonds until proper legislation is put in place to stop this kind of corruption.”

Zimbabwe is pegged as becoming the number one diamond producer in the world, with a Belgian expert this week saying that the Chiadzwa alluvial fields could produce up to 40 million carats of diamonds a year.
International diamond consultant Fillipe van Laere said, on the sidelines of a ceremony to mark the establishment of the Diamond Technology Centre, that Zimbabwe will be “propelled to the number one spot as the world's most important diamond producer in the next two or three years.”

But there is growing scepticism that any profits from diamonds sales will benefit the state in any significant way, as currently no legislation exists on how diamond profits will be handled. Over the past year US$30 million dollars worth of diamonds were sold illegally, despite a ban on international trade over rampant human rights abuses in Chiadzwa.

Those profits were never seen by the Treasury. Finance Minister Tendai Biti has proposed a Diamond Law, to be debated in parliament, that will try and end corruption in the sector and ensure that diamond proceeds benefit the country. Biti has said that the diamond profits will rescue the shattered economy if they are steered into the State coffers. But there is no policy in place on how this will happen.
SW Radio Africa news

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Zimbabwe in top 10 list of food-insecure states


Zimbabwe has been ranked as one of the top 10 countries at “extreme risk” of facing food shortages as a result of extreme weather patterns, high rates of poverty and failing infrastructure, a survey has shown.

According to the Food Security Risk Index 2010, released by international risk analysis and rating firm, Maplecroft, countries in sub-Saharan Africa were found to be particularly vulnerable to food insecurity.

The survey uses 12 criteria developed in collaboration with the World Food Programme (WFP) to calculate the ranking.

The criteria used include: the nutritional and health status of populations, cereal production and imports, GDP per capita, natural disasters, conflict, and the effectiveness of government.

Afghanistan is rated as least secure in food supplies, while among African nations, the Democratic Republic of Congo (2), Burundi (3), Eritrea (4), Sudan (5), Ethiopia (6), Angola (7), Liberia (8), Chad (9) and Zimbabwe (10) are also considered as “extreme risk” cases.

A total of 163 countries were surveyed.

In all, African nations make up 36 of the 50 nations most at risk in the index.

“Russian brakes on exports, plus a reduction in Canada’s harvest by almost a quarter due to flooding in June, are provoking fluctuations in the commodity markets. This will further affect the food security of the most vulnerable countries,” said Fiona Place, environmental analyst at Maplecroft.

Recent figures by the Food and Agriculture Organisation indicate that nearly 1,7 million Zimbabweans would require food assistance in the 2010/11 season despite the recent recovery of the country’s troubled agriculture sector.

Professor Alyson Warhurst, CEO of Maplecroft, said:
“Food security is a critical geopolitical issue and an important factor for investors concerned with sovereign risk, food and agricultural business with respect to supply chain integrity and foreign direct investments.”

Warhurst said climate change was having a profound effect on global food security.

Zimbabwe, once the region’s breadbasket, is now a net importer of food from countries that it used to export to as a result of the chaotic land reform masterminded by President Robert Mugabe’s government.

The Food Security Risk Index is one component of Maplecroft’s resource security series of indices, which also encompass water security, energy security and a combined index for overall resource security.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

UN: 1,7-million Zimbabweans need food aid

HARARE, ZIMBABWE Aug 10 2010 13:35

Nearly 1,7-million Zimbabweans will require food assistance in the 2010/11 season despite the recent recovery of the country's troubled agriculture sector, United Nations agencies said in a report on Tuesday.

Agriculture plumbed new depths in 2008 when farmers produced 500 000 tonnes of the staple maize against national requirements of two million tonnes, but production has since picked up in the past two years to 1,35-million tonnes.

International aid targeting provisions of free seed and fertilisers for farmers in the once famine-threatened country, better use of land, and the end of hyperinflation have led to the improvement in harvests.

"Despite the improved availability of food, up to 1,68-million people will need food assistance because prices remain comparatively high for families with low incomes and little or no access to US dollars or South African rand," co-author Jan Delbaere of the UN World Food Programme said in the report.

Zimbabwe discarded the use of its worthless dollar last year after inflation reached 500-billion percent, but few US dollars or rands circulate in rural areas.

The UN report said general poverty and food insecurity had contributed to increased prevalence of chronic malnutrition in young children.

Once a regional bread basket, Zimbabwe has failed to feed itself since 2000 following President Robert Mugabe's seizure of white-owned commercial farms for black resettlement, leading to sharp falls in production. -- Reuters

Source: Mail & Guardian Online
Web Address:

Monday, August 9, 2010

Civil society demands action from SADC leaders

By Alex Bell
06 August 2010

Civil society on Friday demanded that leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) take action to prevent state-sponsored violence during the next elections in Zimbabwe.
The call by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition comes ahead of the SADC Summit in Namibia from August 15 – 17, where Zimbabwe’s current political stalemate is set to be debated. The situation fell off the agenda at last month’s African Union (AU) summit in Uganda, despite the stalemate that has blocked any real change in the country.

All the signs are in place for a presidential election to be called next year and ZANU PF has already started electioneering, amid efforts to gather public opinion on a new constitution. But concern is already being expressed that there are no systems in place to prevent a repeat of the 2008 election violence that left hundreds dead and tens of thousands displaced.

The Crisis Coalition is now calling upon SADC and AU leaders, as guarantors of Zimbabwe’s Global Political Agreement (GPA), to put concrete plans in place to prevent such violence. This includes ensuring that Zimbabwe fully complies with SADC Principles and Guidelines regarding elections, as well as recognising the right of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora to vote. The Coalition also wants SADC and AU leaders to “facilitate technical support to the newly appointed Zimbabwe Electoral Commission by more experienced regional electoral bodies, such as the South African Electoral Commission.”
Additionally the Coalition wants Zimbabwe barred from taking up a position in the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security for the duration of the on-going mediation process in Zimbabwe “to preserve the independence of the Organ.”
“Even in Zimbabwe, a player for one side cannot pull on a referee jersey,” the Crisis Coalition said in a statement.

A team from SADC is expected in Zimbabwe in the next two weeks, to review the progress of the unity government. Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai said over the weekend that the SADC team was expected to consider the ongoing violations of the Global Political Agreement by ZANU PF. It’s also believed he will raise the issue of ZANU PF’s propaganda jingles being played by the state broadcaster, as another critical outstanding issue.

South African President Jacob Zuma, who is the regional bloc’s official mediator in the Zimbabwe political crisis, is expected to brief the summit on the problems bedeviling the unity government. Zuma’s envoy, Mac Maharaj, returned to Zimbabwe this week, reportedly with the aim of “resolving some longstanding and new contentious issues,” in the fragile coalition.

Maharaj was set to meet with negotiators from ZANU PF and both formations of the MDC, although once again no details of these meetings have been made available to the media. The envoy is likely to produce a report that will indicate the next course of action. One of the likely scenarios is that President Zuma will visit Zimbabwe before the SADC summit, to try and encourage more progress.

Meanwhile the SADC Lawyers Association has urged regional heads of state to condemn Zimbabwe's snubbing of a ruling, ordering it to compensate farmers who had their land taken from them during Robert Mugabe’s violent land invasion programme.

"Continued silence on the actions of the Zimbabwean authorities will only help to play in the hands of sceptics who doubt the ability of the regional leaders to deal effectively with the government of Zimbabwe and its leaders," a statement read on Friday.

The group said that when the leaders gather at the forthcoming SADC summit they should take a principled stand on the matter, by condemning the Zimbabwe government. The SADC Tribunal in 2008 ruled that the land grab exercise was unlawful and ordered that the government to protect farmers and their rights to their land. But the government has ignored the order, as well as warnings that it is in contempt of court by doing so.

The association said that a warning to Zimbabwe would be in the interest of regional cohesion and integrity.

SW Radio Africa news - The Independent Voice of Zimbabwe

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Call For More Donor Funds For Zimbabwe

Harare, August 02, 2010 - The United Nations through its Consolidated Appeal Process (CAP) will this week ask donors to increase their support to Zimbabwe from the projected US 478 million dollars to half a billion dollars this year, Radio VOP can reveal.
The initial UN Consolidated appeal for Zimbabwe was pegged at US 100 million dollars in November last year. However, the appeal was further increased to US 478 million dollars in July after the UN said the humanitarian situation was fragile.

"Revised requirements thus amount to US$1 478,399,290. This is an increase of some $100 million (or 20%) over the original requirements," the UN said in July.

"The humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe is still fragile due to the prevailing degradation of infrastructure in the basic sectors of health, water and sanitation, and food security. The country also faces continuing underlying economic and political challenges. As a result, Zimbabwe remains at a crossroads."

Zimbabwe, which has been facing a myriad of problems, which include hyper-inflation, massive food shortages over the years has stabilised after the formation of the unity government by President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

Zimbabwe has experienced improvements in the health sector, with hospitals and clinics re-opening last year while the use of multiple currencies stabilised the economy and stemmed inflation.

The CAP was launched by the UN in 1992 in an effort to provide a co-ordinated approach by aid organisations to monitor their activities together.

"It is a tool used by aid organisations to plan, implement and monitor their activities together. Working together in the world's crisis regions, they produce appeals, which they present to the international community and donors," the UN said at the formation of the CAP.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Zim: A second liberation?

If you are in the 30-plus age bracket, chances are, you will not see Zimbabwe rise again in your lifetime.

Now before you accuse me of being an unfeeling pessimist, I am not by any means suggesting that Zimbabwe will never recover. I am merely asserting that a return to the former glory days is unlikely to be breathtakingly swift.

All indications are the journey to recovery will be painstakingly slow.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Protect Jewelry Industry from the Taint of Blood Diamonds

English translation of an op-ed published in the Swiss daily Le Temps on March 18, 2010

Friday, March 5, 2010

International Rights Groups Protest Rise in Persecution of Zimbabwe Unionists

In a strongly-worded letter to President Robert Mugabe, the Southern Africa Trade Union Coordination Council urged him to instruct his supporters, the police and security services to refrain from targeting trade union leaders.

In a strongly-worded letter to President Robert Mugabe, the Botswana-based Southern Africa Trade Union Coordination Council urged him to instruct his supporters and the Zimbabwean police and security services to refrain from targeting trade union leaders and any other Zimbabwean citizens.

The letter signed by Coordination Council Executive Secretary Austin Muneku condemned the continued arrest and harassment of trade unionists saying this was not acceptable in any country. Gertrude Hambira, the general secretary of the General Agricultural and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe recently fled to South Africa following questioning by senior security chiefs, surveillance by security agents and searches of her home and office. Her union published a report on land reform alleging abuse of farm workers.

“We appeal to you His Excellency to create an environment in Zimbabwe that allows trade unions to operate without interference, threats and intimidation by state security agents,” the letter stated in part.

Muneku reminded President Mugabe that the arrest and intimidation of union officials and civic activists violated a number of international and regional conventions that Zimbabwe has endorsed.

The Geneva-based World Student Christian Federation also called on Harare to uphold the rule of law, saying the current session of the United Nations Human Rights Council should take note of the upsurge in political intimidation in the country.

World Student Christian Federation spokesman Marlon Zakeyo told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that it is now time for Zimbabwe to reform under the inclusive government in place since February 2009.

He said that a year after the formation of the coalition government, the international community continues to look to the Zimbabwe leadership to demonstrate its commitment to genuine and irreversible reforms.

blankStudio 7 for Zimbabwe

Civil society warns of worsening rights abuse

By Alex Bell
04 March 2010

Civil society organisations have warned of worsening human rights abuse at the hands of state security agents, explaining that in the last three months there has been an escalation in the number of threats, intimidation and harassment against its members.

The warning was made during a press conference in Harare on Wednesday, convened by the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) and the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association (ZimRights). ZimRights director, Okay Machisa told the conference how he and other members of the ZimRights board last week received a series of threatening text messages and phone calls, warning them against conducting constitutional outreach programmes.

Machisa received a threatening email two weeks ago from a person claiming to be Dzapasi Mumunda. The message said, “You enjoy flying in and out of the country demonizing your country, why don’t you go and stay there? They monitor, soon you will all stay out.” In the email, he was also warned that people in his office have been tasked with ‘bringing him down’ and he should be careful, especially at home.

The threats have not been against ZimRights only. Trade unionist and Secretary General of the General Agriculture and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ), Gertrude Hambira was forced into hiding last week due to fears for her safety. The entire union leadership went underground after increased threats and harassment by officials from the Joint Operations Command (JOC), and a number of police raids on the union’s offices in Harare. The raids have been in response to the release of a shock report and documentary last year, exposing the violent abuse of workers on farms seized by the Robert Mugabe regime.

Meanwhile in Bindura, some facilitators belonging to the Civic Education Trust (Civnet), Taurai Chigunwe, Tinashe Madzimbamuto and Faustino Mukakati, were arrested last week for allegedly holding a public meeting. Last month a ZANU PF councillor for Nhekiwa ward in Uzumba, together with a group of some ZANU PF youths, disrupted an outreach meeting convened by the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, claiming that it had not been sanctioned by their political party. The councilor and the youths also intimidated, harassed and threatened the Coalition’s youth committee members Tichaona Masiyambiri and Oscar Dhliwayo and an intern, Edwin Sithole, who had organised the outreach programme.

ZimRights and the ZLHR also explained in a joint statement that police in Mutare on Tuesday arrested and detained three Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) employees, who were attending the labour union’s Regional Women’s Advisory Council’s civil and legal training in the eastern border city for five hours.

“Security agents should strictly observe the principles of the Rule of Law and should adhere to the laws and regulations governing their operations,” the two groups said in a statement. “ZLHR and ZimRights calls upon the responsible authorities, including the Ministry of Defence, to penalise these elements without fear or favour.”

Human rights group Amnesty International has also expressed its concerns about worsening human rights abuses, despite the formation of the unity government more than a year ago. Amnesty’s Zimbabwe researcher, Simeon Mawanza, told SW Radio Africa that there was concern that the government has not made any meaningful reforms to rectify human rights abuse.

“By delaying reform, the situation in Zimbabwe remains fragile as perpetrators continue to escape justice and are instead effectively given the all clear to continue violating human rights,” Mawanza said.

SW Radio Africa news - The Independent Voice of Zimbabwe

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

US Government Extends Sanctions on Zimbabwe

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

Notice of Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Zimbabwe

- - - - - - -

On March 6, 2003, by Executive Order 13288, the President declared a national emergency and blocked the property of persons undermining democratic processes or institutions in Zimbabwe, pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701-1706). He took this action to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States constituted by the actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Zimbabwe and other persons to undermine Zimbabwe's democratic processes or institutions. These actions and policies have contributed to the deliberate breakdown in the rule of law in Zimbabwe, to politically motivated violence and intimidation in that country, and to political and economic instability in the southern African region.

On November 22, 2005, the President issued Executive Order 13391 to take additional steps with respect to the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13288 by ordering the blocking of the property of additional persons undermining democratic processes or institutions in Zimbabwe.

On July 25, 2008, the President issued Executive Order 13469, which expanded the scope of the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13288 and ordered the blocking of the property of additional persons undermining democratic processes or institutions in Zimbabwe.

Because the actions and policies of these persons continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the foreign policy of the United States, the national emergency declared on March 6, 2003, and the measures adopted on that date, on November 22, 2005, and on July 25, 2008, to deal with that emergency, must continue in effect beyond March 6, 2010. Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency with respect to the actions and policies of certain members of the Government of Zimbabwe and other persons to undermine Zimbabwe's democratic processes or institutions.

This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.


February 26, 2010.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The polarised lives of Zimbabwe's rich and poor

Thursday marks the first anniversary of Zimbabwe's so-called "inclusive government".

Morgan Tsvangirai and Robert Mugabe

It is a year since Zimbabwe's former political rivals struck a deal

It has been a year since President Robert Mugabe swore in his former political rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, as Prime Minister and the two agreed to a series of conditions enshrined in the Global Political Agreement and to work on a new constitution which would pave the way to free and fair elections.

So what has been achieved?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Zimbabwe: Abuse of Human Rights Continues Under Unity Government



10 February 2010

Amnesty International on Wednesday called on Zimbabwe's President Mugabe and Prime Minister Tsvangirai to fulfil their promise to reform state institutions, in a bid to end human rights violations that have continued in the country since the formation of the unity government one year ago.

Torture, harassment and politically motivated prosecutions of human rights defenders and perceived opponents have persisted, while villagers in parts of Zimbabwe have suffered ceaseless intimidation by supporters of former ruling party ZANU-PF.

"The Attorney General's office, police and army have been left to freely violate human rights in pursuit of a political agenda," said Erwin van der Borght, director of Amnesty International's Africa programme.

"By delaying reform, the situation in Zimbabwe remains fragile as perpetrators continue to escape justice and are instead effectively given the all clear to continue violating human rights."

Amnesty International called on the unity government to end on-going harassment of human rights defenders. Several peaceful protests organized by civic movement Women of Zimbabwe Arise (WOZA) were violently broken up by police in 2009.

Seventeen human rights and political activists who were abducted by state security agents in 2008 continue to face charges that are widely believed to be trumped up. One of them, Jestina Mukoko, director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, had her prosecution permanently stayed by the Supreme Court in September 2009 because of overwhelming evidence that she had been tortured.

"The government must end the incessant harassment of human rights activists and take steps to seriously protect rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly," said Erwin van der Borght.

The Zimbabwean army and intelligence services, as well as the Attorney General's office, have remained under ZANU-PF control, following an agreement brokered by the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) in 2008. The police are co-chaired by ZANU-PF and MDC-T ministers.

"The onus is on President Mugabe and ZANU-PF to ensure that key institutions under their control are reformed to end the culture of impunity that still threatens stability in the country," said Erwin van der Borght.

Amnesty International's call for reform comes amid reports that villagers in parts of Zimbabwe are being threatened with violence by army backed supporters of ZANU-PF, in an attempt to force them to endorse the heavily criticized Kariba draft constitution.

The Kariba draft constitution, agreed by unity government parties in September 2007, has been strongly criticized by some civil society organizations as an attempt by the parties to impose a constitution without consultation.

Villagers in Mutoko, Muzarabani and MT Darwin are reportedly being warned that they will face beatings unless they support the ZANU-PF position. Similar threats were made and materialized in the run-up to the June 2008 presidential elections.

"These are early warning signs that the situation could deteriorate if no urgent measures are taken to stop state security agents from carrying out violent political campaigns," said Erwin van der Borght.

"Past involvement on their part has resulted in gross human rights violations, including deaths and torture of perceived opponents."

The government has so far failed to investigate gross human rights violations allegedly carried out by security forces during the run-up to the second round of the 2008 presidential elections, which left at least 200 people dead, over 9,000 injured and tens of thousands displaced.

"The unity government must investigate past and present allegations of human rights violations by state security agents, including torture and ill treatment of detainees," said Erwin van der Borght.

Gross human rights violations have also been taking place within the army.

At least two soldiers were tortured to death in October 2009 while being interrogated by intelligence and military police officials in Harare. Another soldier was reported to have committed suicide while in solitary confinement and several others are still receiving medical treatment for injuries caused by torture.

The victims had been arrested along with at least 95 others, on suspicion of breaking into an armoury at Pomona barracks and stealing 21 guns.

"Zimbabwean state bodies are riddled with human rights abusers that in many cases carry out violations with impunity," said Erwin van der Borght.

"Without genuine reform of institutions this abuse is very likely to persist."

OHCHR and AU Commission strengthen cooperation for human rights in Africa

The UN Human Rights office and the African Union Commission confirmed their longstanding cooperation to promote and protect human rights in Africa by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The agreement, signed during the 14th African Union Summit, provides for technical assistance, training, capacity building and mutual cooperation in the field of human rights.

The African Union 14th Summit concluded on 2 February..- African UnionUN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay and the Chairman of the African Union Commission Jean Ping signed the MOU in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia which hosts the African Union Commission (AUC), OHCHR’s presence in East Africa as well as the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), regional arm the United Nations.

During the signing ceremony, Pillay reminded attendees that the partnership between the AU and OHCHR was guided by a general framework for cooperation set by resolutions of the General Assembly, decisions of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union and ECA, as well as treaties and other legal instruments signed between the then Organisation of African Unity and the UN.

For several years, the UN Human Rights office has been working hand-in-hand with the AUC and the African Union’s human rights bodies. In Addis Ababa, OHCHR and the AU co-chair the Human Rights, Justice and Reconciliation Sub-cluster which considers key policy and thematic human rights issues on the continent. The Office also assists each year with technical expertise and support to the sessions of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The new agreement represents “a firmer, clearer and more specific framework for a better and more focused cooperation between our two organizations in the field of human rights”, said the High Commissioner. She also said she was confident that within the context of the UN-AU Ten Year Capacity-Building Programme, the MOU will be pivotal in strengthening the work of human rights actors on the continent.

Strengthened institutional cooperation on a range of human rights issues, as envisaged by the new MOU, should benefit human rights protection and promotion in Africa. High Commissioner Pillay reiterated her Office’s commitment to further assist the AUC including through the joint development of a comprehensive human rights strategy for Africa.

“Prompt adaptability together with robust and decisive action and inspired leadership are key to the effective implementation of human rights and in reaching out to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged”, she added.

8 February 2010

Friday, February 5, 2010

Zimbabwe stalemate persists

JASON MOYO - Feb 05 2010 06:00

One year of Zimbabwe's unity government and the parties are still nowhere near unified. Jason Moyo reports

Just one week before its first anniversary and Zimbabwe's unity government is on the rocks again. Zanu-PF has refused to agree to any further reforms until the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) calls for an end to sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle, which prompted the MDC to challenge the president to end the partnership and call for an election.

Zanu-PF's position has been hardening steadily since its December congress, when a more radical wing of the party gained a foothold and began pushing for a harder stance against reform. The chorus of criticism rose after Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, who is the leader of the MDC, told media in Davos, Switzerland, this week that only "some" of the sanctions must be lifted.

Tsvangirai has resisted pressure from Mugabe, campaigning instead only for the removal of sanctions on state enterprises, some of which his ministers control. The MDC also wants an end to an embargo on lending from the International Monetary Fund and other Western institutions, but lenders say Zimbabwe can access fresh credit only once it clears its debt of close to US$6-billion.

United States legislation enacted in 2001 bans financial support to Zimbabwe, but hopes have been raised after Washington's ambassador in Harare indicated a possible softening of his country's stance.

Zanu-PF is not too concerned about the removal of Western restrictions on the economy. Mugabe and his inner circle are said to be more worried about the personal measures that have kept them away from Western capitals and seen some of their children thrown out of foreign universities.

Comments by British Foreign Secretary David Miliband that his country would "be guided" by the MDC in deciding on sanctions have been fodder for Zanu-PF, which has always accused Tsvangirai of calling for the embargo in the first place.

This week Tsvangirai sought to play down the tension, saying he would continue in government with Mugabe. "I have taken a decision that we can work together, despite this acrimony, for the good of the country," he said.

But there was a tougher reaction from his secretary general, Tendai Biti, the minister of finance, who challenged Mugabe to withdraw his party from the coalition and call fresh elections.

"Zanu-PF cannot … continue to be normative members of this government when they are working against it at every turn," Biti said. "Either they are in or they are out. If they are out, then bring on the election."

Thursday, February 4, 2010

22 WOZA members arrested in Bulawayo for discussing constitution

2nd February 2010

22 WOZA members arrested in Bulawayo for discussing constitution

At 11 am today, 22 women in a private home were arrested in Pumula, a
suburb of Bulawayo. They are currently being held at Pumula Police
Station. Most of the arrested are members of WOZA who were discussing
the constitutional reform process. As lawyers were unable to respond,
WOZA National Coordinator, Jenni Williams called the Officer in Charge
at Pumula, Assistant Inspector Chimani, and asked him why the members
had been arrested. He professed no knowledge of the situation.

The meeting was a private meeting of members exempt under all public
order laws. Please call Inspector Chimani on + 263 9 422907 or 422898
and ask him to stop harassing WOZA members. Also advise him that there
is an ongoing constitutional reform process countrywide and that they
should participate and allow others to participate freely.

2nd February 2010

For more information, please call Jenni Williams on +263 912 898 110 /
+263 11 213 885 or Magodonga Mahlangu on +263 912 362 668.
Alternatively, email or visit

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


The process to rewrite Zimbabwe's constitution has formally begun today. The measure was included in the political accord undersigned in the political accord allowing for the formation of the national unity government made up by three parties last year. Today, the MP's called to preside 17 thematic commissions entrusted with redrafting the Constitution have started their related training. Tomorrow, the vice-presidents and 560 members of the various commissions will be nominated. In conformance with the political accord, the constituent commissions will be made up 30% by MP's and 70% by civil society representatives. The constituents' nominations and training will have to conclude on January 10 to give way to the actual discussions to draft the new text. After the end of the discussions, there will be three months time to present a Constitution plan before the Constituent Assembly, which will have to approve it before submitting to a parliamentary vote. At the end of this process, the new Charter will be presented to the people of Zimbabwe who will express their opinion in a referendum. The approval of a new constitution is the necessary condition toward the organization of new general political elections. [AB]