"There is nothing in the GPA that has not been done by ZANU PF, nothing at all. We have fulfilled everything that the GPA wanted us to fulfill": Robert Mugabe, 24 October 2009
October has been a month characterised by violence, lawlessness, corruption and the complete abuse of power for partisan and personal objectives. Despite Robert Mugabe’s outrageous claim to the contrary, Sokwanele has logged an incredible 3850 breaches of the GPA by Zanu PF since the start of the ZIG Watch project, making this party responsible for 88.8% of all breaches logged up until the end of October.
October began in the wake of a international public campaign demanding that Nestle stop buying milk from Gushungo Dairy Estate which is owned by Grace Mugabe. Recognising the public’s disgust, Nestle quickly capitulated and in so doing exposed itself to ruthless elements that serve to protect and defend the Zanu PF elite business interests. Nestle bank accounts were frozen by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe who also ordered a forensic audit into its dealings. (The Reserve Bank Governor, Gideon Gono, is staunchly loyal to the Mugabe’s and Zanu PF.) Zanu PF Youths cryptically threatened to “lose it” if the company did not resume buying milk from Gushengo, and the so-called Affirmative Action Group – loyal to the Zanu PF party – threatened to take over Nestle Zimbabwe if the company did not resume its purchases. Actions like these arguably have a far more damaging impact on any prospects for investment in the country than the targeted sanctions Zanu PF is so anxious to have removed.
October will be remembered as the month the MDC-T party disengaged from the Zanu PF party in the power-sharing government, a decision brought about by the vindictive and partisan handling of the Roy Bennett case. In mid-October Roy Bennett’s bail conditions were rendered void when Mutare Provincial Magistrate Lucy Mungwari sent him back to jail pending trial in the High Court. This was despite the fact the State’s papers were not in order, and that they had not furnished the defence with the indictment papers they were required to do so by law. The Attorney General had it in his gift to show leniency and allow bail conditions to remain, but chose not to.
The MDC-T disengagement seemed to remove the last vestiges of Zanu PF restraint brought about by the GPA, and the month of October spiralled into Zanu PF sponsored lawlessness. Reports have emerged this month of hundreds of opposition supporting rural villagers being denied food unless they denounce the MDC parties; Zanu PF militants have been moving around the Mudzi area forcibly recruiting youths to join the ‘green bomber’ militia – Zanu PF MP Newten Kachepa is reportedly playing a lead role in the recruitment. And two Zimbabwe Election Support Network officials were arrested in Hwange’s Dete area, for allegedly conducting a public outreach workshop without police clearance.
Partisan corruption was prevalent in the education sector in October. MDC-T supporting students who were awarded scholarships to study at Fort Hare, in South Africa, have had their funding withdrawn because of their political beliefs. The Presidential Scholarship programme, using taxpayers money, is meant to help disadvantaged students but is widely believed to favour students aligned to the Zanu PF party. The Basic Education Assistance Module (BEAM) another government fund established to help children from poorer backgrounds has also been contaminated by Zanu PF partisanship. Selection forms for the BEAM programme were being distributed by the Zanu PF local ward chairperson, David Mpala, and MDC supporting parents were having difficulty accessing the forms. The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) has reported that teachers in rural schools are being intimidated and forced to pay money to the Zanu PF leadership in their areas – they have been told that this is to go towards funding Zanu PF members who want to attend the party’s December conference.
But it is the upsurge in violence that is the most alarming. The PTUZ reported that youth militia loyal to Zanu PF have once again gone on a rampage against rural school teachers. In Chiweshe, fifty homes of known MDC supporters were burned down by the youth militia, the residents were forced to leave their homes and have sought refuge in neighbouring areas. A losing MDC candidate during last year’s elections was severely assaulted with logs, sticks and stones by youth militia in the Makoni South area. He was left for dead.
Abductions, unlawful arrests and torture have taken place again, a frightening reminder of the State-sanctioned abductions last year. Suspected armed CIO agents tried to abduct Edith Mashayire, the MDC-T’s security administrator, in broad daylight. She fought off her attackers but Pascal Gwezere, the MDC-T Transport Manager was less fortunate: he was abducted outside his home by military intelligence officers, Central Intelligence Organisation operatives, detectives from Law and Order, Police Internal Security Intelligence (PISI) and 15 police officers who were in anti-riot gear. Gwezere was tortured and later denied medical treatment despite clear signs of injuries.
Atrocities in the farming area continue unabated. There is no rule of law. The rural areas are subjected to Zanu PF loyalists, including the political elite, shamelessly scrabbling to grab what they can in an orgy of greed, using whatever means possible. Brigadier General Mujaji has stolen maize from Charles Lock’s farm in Karoi. There was nothing subtle about his theft: the Brigadier used an estimated seven 30 tonne trucks to transport crops he did not own and played no part in growing. Mujaji is also accused of deploying soldiers under his command to forcibly displace workers from their homes: three women were raped and property was looted.
Jacob Chiripanyanga, a self styled ‘war veteran’ used an iron bar to viciously assault three people at Foothills farm in Bindura – he too was using violence in an attempt to forcibly displace all farm workers that he considered loyal to the MDC parties. Pinsi Tauro sustained serious head injuries and was unconscious for one and a half hours.
Five people were shot with rubber bullets on Friedewal Farm, Chinhoyi, leaving two of them hospitalised and seriously injured. Reports also emerged of workers on the farm being blasted with shot-gun pellets and assaulted with wire and sticks by thugs loyal to Edward Mashiringwani, the Deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank – he is the man ultimately responsible for coordinating the atrocities on the farm in his attempt to take over the remaining piggeries. The police response was a farce: six of the Friedewal farm workers were arrested and charged with inciting public violence.
The last vestiges of pretence that the ‘land reform’ programme is about ‘equity’ and ‘addressing historical wrong doings’ dissolves in the light of the case of Luke Tembani. Rather than showcase Mr Tembani as a pioneering black commercial farmer who started farming in the early 1980s and went on to build a school for people living in the area, elements in the Zanu PF government have ignored a SADC Tribunal ruling protecting Mr Tembani and his family, and evicted him from his farm.
The month of October culminated in a major diplomatic incident, with the deportation of Manfred Nowak, the UN special rapporteur on torture. Mr Nowak, who had been officially invited to come to the country, had his invitation cancelled at the last minute while he was mid-journey in Johannesburg. He was subsequently refused entry into Zimbabwe and deported. He said: “I have never been treated as rudely by any government as the government of Zimbabwe”. This shameful action will only serve to confirm the pariah status of a country still held hostage by lawless corrupt thugs, a perception that yet again undermines investor confidence and with it Zimbabwean citizens’ hope for economic recovery.
These incidents are a small sample of some of the breaches of the GPA that have taken place in October. Robert Mugabe’s declaration that Zanu PF has “fulfilled everything that the GPA wanted us to fulfil” must be called what it is: an outrageous and bare-faced lie.
The volume of articles detailing breaches of the provisions of the Global Political Agreement (GPA) last month was so great that we cannot do them justice in this short document. For further relevant information, readers are encouraged to visit http://www.sokwanele.com/zigwatch
Roy Bennett indicted and sent to prison
SW Radio Africa (ZW): 14/12/2009
Once again MDC official Roy Bennett has been placed in the firing line, further testing the validity of the Zimbabwe justice system under the power sharing government. On Wednesday Mutare Provincial Magistrate Lucy Mungwari delivered a judgment against the MDC Deputy Minister for Agriculture designate, committing him to prison pending trial in the High Court. The MDC official’s trial is expected to start in Mutare on Monday where the High Court will be conducting its Circuit Court. The MDC Treasurer General was also committed to prison even though the State’s papers were not in order and the defence team had not been furnished with the indictment papers.
ZANU PF denies villagers food: report
Zim Online (ZW): 05/10/2009
Hundreds of hungry Zimbabwean villagers are being denied food handouts and forced to denounce their own parties in return for assistance as marauding ZANU PF militants continue to wage war of attrition against perceived political enemies, a leading human rights group has said. The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) said in its latest report on rights violations in the country that of the 1 335 incidents of political violations recorded during the month of July, about 493 cases or 37 percent were of people who were harassed, intimidated or physically assaulted while trying to access food assistance.
Fresh violence rocks Chiweshe in Mashonaland Central
SW Radio Africa (ZW): 23/10/2009
Fresh violence erupted in Chiweshe district this week as 50 homes belonging to known MDC supporters were burnt down by ZANU PF militias. Expressing concern over the situation the MDC MP for Mazowe central, Shepherd Mushonga, told SW Radio Africa that their supporters and activists were being driven out by the militias, led by a well known district coordinating committee chairman named as Gatsi…. ‘The situation is grave. Our supporters are being driven out by ZANU PF militias. Through a well-timed brutal assault unleashed over the weekend, many MDC activists have fled their homes and have taken refuge in neighbouring areas. These militias again remind us that they will stop at nothing to maintain their empires of doom,’ Mushonga said.
MDC activist left for dead by ZANU PF war veterans in Makoni
SW Radio Africa (ZW): 20/10/2009
A losing MDC candidate during last year’s rural district council elections is lucky to be alive after he was severely assaulted and left for dead, by a group of ZANU PF militias in Makoni South, Manicaland province.’They stole all his MDC cards and party regalia he had in the house. They also forced him to prepare a meal for the gang after which they started beating him up with logs, stones and sticks. It was so vicious they knocked him unconscious and thought he was dead’. There are fears militias are regrouping to try to enforce the ZANU PF favoured, Kariba draft constitutional document.
Soldiers rape women, loot property at Karori Farm
Zimbabwean, The (ZW): 17/10/2009
Soldiers deployed by Brigadier Justin Mujaji at Karori farm, have allegedly raped three women and looted property at the farm in a bid to scare away workers. Armed soldiers stationed at the farm since 2004, have reportedly raped Vongai, Rhoda and Regina. An army sergeant identified as Moyo, is set to appear in court facing rape charges. “In a bid to displace the rape victims so that they fail to stand as state witnesses in court, the soldiers evicted workers from the farm end of last month on October 27. Helpless workers and their families were driven off the farm on tractors driven by the gunmen. Some were dumped in bushes while others were abandoned along the Harare-Mutare road. Houses of management staff were crashed down leaving property trapped in side,” said a displaced farm worker. Karori farm resembled a war zone as sergeant Makono fired live bullets at fleeing defenseless workers and their dependence.
ZANU PF begins forced militia recruitment in Mudzi
SW Radio Africa (ZW): 19/10/2009
A squad of ZANU PF militants, who were behind last year’s election violence, is moving around the Mudzi district forcibly recruiting innocent youths to join the notorious ‘green bomber’ militia. Our correspondent Lionel Saungweme reports that between the 12th and 14th of October dozens of villagers below the age of 35 were rounded up in the Chinake, Chatima, Murenyi and Denga areas of Mudzi. They were taken to Nyamapanda near the border with Mozambique and told they would undergo ‘unspecified’ training. … The local ZANU PF MP for Mudzi North, Newten Kachepa, is also said to be playing a leading role in the recruitment. Kachepa has been implicated in various cases of election related violence and murder but has never once been arrested or prosecuted.
Abducted this evening: MDC employee Pascal Gwezere
We’ve just received information that MDC employee Pascal Gwezere was abducted today by armed men driving an Isuzu twin-cab in the Mufakose area of Harare at 6.45 pm tonight. We have confirmed that this is true, but apart from those details this is all the information we have at this point.
Zanu-PF thugs on rampage in Mutoko
Zim Net Radio: 18/10/2009
An MDC Mutoko councillor, Chamunorwa Mundete, has fled his home in Nyamuzizi after more than 10 armed Zanu PF supporters besieged his home in the middle of the night and threatened to kill him. Mundete, who is the councillor for Ward 28, had to sneak out through his bedroom window after armed Zanu PF thugs stormed his home and said they were going to kill him if he continued to support the MDC. “I was saved by the darkness as it was around 3 A.M when the thugs came. I left with only the clothes that I am wearing and I am staying with some relatives here in Harare,” said Mundete.
Zimbabwe Election Support Network officers arrested
SW Radio Africa (ZW): 29/10/2009
Two more members of civil society were arrested this week as the crackdown on perceived ‘opponents’ of the State continues. The Zimbabwe Election Support Network staff members, Thulani Ndhlovu and Ndodhana Ndhlovu, were arrested on Wednesday evening in Hwange’s Dete area, for conducting a public outreach workshop allegedly without police clearance. ZESN Board Chairman Tinoziva Bere denied they had conducted an illegal meeting, saying the group had received permission from the local traditional leadership and the district administrator’s office. He said Ndodhana was subsequently released but Thulani is still in police custody and is being charged with contravening a section of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA).
Renewed Violence Against Rural Teachers Amid Zimbabwe Political Crisis – Union
VOANews (USA): 23/10/2009
With political tension currently running high in Zimbabwe, intimidation and violence are rising in the country’s rural schools, the Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe said Friday. The PTUZ says youth militia associated with the ZANU-PF party of President Robert Mugabe have gone on the offensive against rural teachers in the wake of the disengagement by the Movement for Democratic Change formation of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai from its ZANU-PF partner in the unity government over alleged power-sharing violations.