May 25th, 2007
16 miners & 4 police reported dead after fight over diamonds
We received reports that 16 illegal diamond miners, 4 police officers and a horse died during a fight that occurred last week in the Chiadzwa district of Manicaland. Our Mutare contact Brendon Dhliwayo said the deaths have not been publicised and others have occurred since. The situation in this area where diamonds were discovered last year is tense because government is trying to contain illegal miners who are desperate villagers with no income. With unemployment over 80% in Zimbabwe , many people are surviving by selling products on the black market.
Mawere takes property rights case to the UK Supreme Court
Zimbabwean business mogul Mutumwa Mawere is on a war path with the Mugabe regime. Currently in the process of fighting for his companies in South African courts, Mawere on Wednesday took another action by filing an application in the Supreme Court of England and Wales . He says his companies were taken by force by the Zimbabwean government with no compensation, and using draconian measures that were put in place through a presidential decree.
Amnesty says plight of Murambatsvina victims worsening
In its 2007 annual report on Zimbabwe , the human rights watchdog Amnesty International said the situation of thousands of people whose homes were destroyed continued to worsen without an effective solution being planned by the authorities. Of concern to the group is the fact that Mugabeâ€™s regime continues to obstruct humanitarian efforts by the United Nations and other NGOs.
Cotton industry faces collapse
The state controlled Herald newspaper reported on Thursday that the countryâ€™s once-thriving cotton industry faces collapse and the situation is so serious there could be no cotton next year. The paper said the reason for the crisis is the prevalence of side-marketing, which sees cotton growers selling their crops to unregistered dealers instead of those they were contracted to produce for.
Trainee Green bombers starving in youth camps
Recruits at the notorious Border Gezi youth camps live in substandard barracks, get very little food and may be at risk of sexual abuse, according to a report released on Thursday.
May 24th, 2007
Â Lance Guma hosts another press review analysing the weekâ€™s top stories. This week political analyst Tichatonga Mwanawevhu and journalist Brilliant Pongo join him. Stories looked at include the setting up of police roadblocks to seize maize from producers unhappy at the GMB price and the police crackdown on lawyers in the country.
May 24th, 2007
Â In The Balance this week visits Matabeleland North province for a chat with the former governor of the province Welshman Mabhena. The area has seen an increase in the number of farms being taken by top military and police officials. As a veteran of the liberation struggle Mabhena said this is not what they fought for. He believes people should be able to run to the police for assistance, not be victimized by them. Hear more about life in Mat North In the Balance this week.
May 24th, 2007
Dear Family and Friends,
The last time I had occasion to call the fire brigade was in March 2002. It was just a couple of weeks before the Presidential elections and a house a few doors away was petrol bombed. Windows exploded, the roof collapsed and a raging inferno turned night into day. The fire brigade didn’t answer their phone so I dialled the police. They said they couldn’t help as they didn’t have a vehicle and were unable to alert the fire brigade as the police telephone was not able to make outgoing calls.
May 24th, 2007
Police refuse to vacate invaded farm despite High Court order
We reported last week that the eviction of white farmers had intensified and become militarized, with police and army officials increasingly becoming the beneficiaries of this illegal campaign. The Zimbabwe Republic Police took over a farm in Matabeleland North province two months ago and have refused to leave despite a High Court order to vacate.
International rights group says Zimbabwe must be prosecuted at International Criminal Court
The international Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions announced on Wednesday that Operation Murambatsvina was a crime against humanity and they want the United Nations Security Council to take the case to the International Criminal Court. Between May and July 2005 more than 700 000 people were left homeless after the authorities embarked on the so called slum clearance exercise, described by the UN as a disastrous venture.
Gold output lowest in 90 years
Gold production in the country has plunged to its lowest since 1916, the Chamber of Mines announced on Tuesday. Jack Murehwa, head of the chamber, said Zimbabwe was also the only mineral-producing country in the world that failed to benefit from high global metal and minerals prices.
Hunger faces soldiers as army runs out of money
Parliamentarians were this week alarmed at the news that soldiers could starve if the government fails to come up with a financial rescue plan before the end of June. The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, Trust Maphosa, on Tuesday told a Parliamentary Portfolio Committee that they were allocated Z$32 billion to spend on rations for the whole year, but it has been exhausted.
Journalist summoned by police as media harassment continues
Continuing the harassment of journalists working in Zimbabwe, the police last week summoned photographer Boldwill Hungwe from The Standard newspaper to turn himself in. But knowing the recent violent treatment of his colleagues by the police Hungwe did not go to Harare Central station. He informed the officer who contacted him that he was consulting with a lawyer.
May 24th, 2007
Tony is an ex uniformed forces personnel from Zimbabwe, who says he fully understands how the ZANU PF machinery works. He also wades into the debate about why Thabo Mbeki is seemingly sitting on the fence as far as mediation in the Zimbabwe governance crisis is involved.
Mandisa speaks to Makombe, a nurse who is struggling to survive on the meagre salary that they receive in government hospitals. To add to their woes there are no medicines or equipment available in the hospitals, nurses are overworked and yet most of them are having to freelance at private hospitals to make ends meet.
May 23rd, 2007
Â Police set up roadblocks to intercept maize
Police have put roadblocks on all major roads to seize maize which they say is destined for the black market. GMB officials and the police are manning the roadblocks jointly. Maize producers are unhappy with the low prices offered by the GMB but government has responded by forcing their hand and blocking them from selling to private buyers offering better prices.
Army General Chiwenga & top brass implicated in sugar scam
It has been reported that senior army officials, including the commander of the Defence Forces, have been looting tonnes of sugar for personal gain. Junior soldiers at King George VI Barracks in Harare checked a truck and found 3 tonnes of sugar. General Constantine Chiwenga ordered the soldiers to let it pass.
Mawere takes fight for companies to the SA High Court
Zimbabwean business mogul Mutumwa Mawere, who had his business empire seized by the government in 2004, has taken the case to the South African High Court. The SA based businessman has been on a campaign to expose how his business empire was destroyed and is being sold off by the Zimbabwean government.
ZPF thugs issue threatening letter to church goers in Mash East
In April youth militia were dispatched to harass church officials who read out the critical Pastoral letter issued by the Catholic Bishops. The letter said those in authority are bad examples for Zimbabwe â€™s youth because they are corrupt, greedy and immoral. The Catholic Bishops also criticised government for sponsoring violence against its opponents.
Missing student leader found safe but still in hiding
The outgoing president of the University of Zimbabwe students union, Tineyi Mukwewa, who was reported missing for several days, has been found safe but still in hiding. Washington Katema a coordinator with the Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) told Newsreel Mukwewa was detained in a secret part of the university security control room.
May 23rd, 2007
On Hot Seat programme Violet speaks with political commentator Brian Kagoro, NCA coordinator Tapera Kapuya and Ralph Black the MDC representative in North America. The discussion centres on the controversial targeted sanctions issue, the restrictions imposed on members of the Mugabe regime by western countries. The Zimbabwe government blames the crisis in the country on the sanctions while the West says they are targeted sanctions against individuals and will only be removed if the rule of law is restored in Zimbabwe. But the regime is now saying the sanctions must be removed as a pre-condition before talks can begin. Should they be removed for the sake of negotiations? The debate also looks at the US Zimbabwe Democracy and Recovery Act in which the IMF and the World Bank are treating Zimbabwe as a pariah state. Could this be interpreted as sanctions? Be sure not to miss this Hot Seat debate.
Violet Gonda: My guests on the programme Hot Seat this week are Brian Kagoro , a political commentator, Tapera Kapuya, coordinator of the National Constitutional Assembly and Ralph Black, the deputy representative of the MDC in North America .
The discussion centres on the controversial targeted sanctions issue, the restrictions imposed on members of the Mugabe regime by western countries. The Zimbabwe government blames the crisis in the country on the sanctions while the West says they are targeted sanctions against individuals and will only be removed if the rule of law is restored in Zimbabwe . But the regime is now saying the sanctions must be removed as a pre-condition before talks can begin.
We received quite a few responses from last weekâ€™s debate with Moeletsi Mbeki during which Brian Kagoro said the issue of sanctions should be reconsidered as a way of getting the stakeholders to the negotiating table. So I will start with Brian. What is your understanding of the restrictions imposed by the West.
Brian Kagoro: There are two separate types. The ones that were imposed under the Cotonou Arrangement by the EU. Those are purely travel bans and they affect individuals that are named in the EU list â€“ that list has grown as large as 96. They were indiscriminately applied to all senior ranking ZANU PF members. Then under ZIDERA, in fact Lovemore Madhuku, myself and Tawanda Hondora did an analysis of ZIDERA â€¦
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