Crimes Against Humanity


The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, gave President Robert Mugabe a dossier alleging a member of the church was murdered in cold blood while priests and parishioners were being terrorised by the police and armed gangs loyal to former Anglican church leader Nolbert Kunonga.

According to the dossier, a copy of which is in NewsDay’s possession, the police are said to be playing a critical role in the violence unleashed against members of the main Anglican Church by Kunonga, who was excommunicated from the church in 2007.

The police have been accused of arresting Anglican priests without cause and driving out worshippers from churches using baton sticks and teargas.

“Priests and deacons are arrested without charge on a weekly basis, often on Friday, allowing the police to hold them over the weekend without charge, so that they cannot minister to their congregations . . . Even when priests are not arrested they are threatened with violence by armed men,” reads the dossier.

“In Harare the police have disrupted church services and have been using teargas and baton sticks to drive people out of church buildings. As a consequence, most churches lie empty each Sunday, except where a handful of Dr Kunonga’s priests and their families are able to occupy them.”

The dossier claimed Jessica Mandeya of Harare Diocese was murdered on February 18, after having earlier received death threats for “consistently” refusing to join Kunonga. Kunonga and the police were also accused of denying Anglicans access to shrines such as Bernard Mizeki and Arthur Shearly Cripps for their annual pilgrimage.

“In 2010, just as people from all over the country and beyond started converging at the Bernard Mizeki Shrine just outside Marondera, police turned up in full force and drove the pilgrims away. The police took this action despite assurances (to) the bishops by government that they would not be disturbed or harassed by anyone.”

But, police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena denied the police were siding with Kunonga and said in the cases they had been involved they would be investigating criminal cases or restoring order.

“Most of the issues are common cause, basically they are turning common criminal issues into politics.

When someone reports that they have been assaulted, we react whether that person is aligned to Kunonga or Chad Gandiya, just like we react to violence whether the perpetrator is MDC or Zanu PF,” Bvudzijena said.

“If it’s public disorder, we react the same whether the disorder has been caused by Christians in a church or drunkards in a bar. In cases where there was disorder in church, the police may have moved in to restore order.”

President Mugabe was also informed that Kunonga had taken over several schools and nurseries in Harare and Manicaland Diocese, driving out priests and school heads resulting in academic standards falling.

Kunonga has also reportedly taken over orphanages, health facilities and training centres and was abusing funds while stripping the institutions of assets.

(Source)

Minister of State in Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Office Jameson Timba has launched an ambitious fight for the closure of the condemned Matapi police cells.

Timba who was arrested and locked up at the Matapi police cells last month has written to Harare mayor Muchadeyi Masunda asking him to close the cells because they are not fit for human habitation.

The Matapi police cells where condemned in 2005 by the Supreme Court in a ruling passed by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku.

“Your worship, the above inadequacies in the holding cells are a threat to public health in the city and beyond,” said Timba in a July 22 letter to Masunda also copied to the city of Harare Town Clerk, City Health Director, co-ministers of Home Affairs, Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

“I am, therefore, requesting that the city invokes the relevant by-laws and shut down this inhuman facility in the interest of public health until the relevant authorities have rectified the above inadequacies to your satisfaction.”

Timba was arrested for calling Mugabe a “liar”.

“May l also say that any policeman who has detained anyone at Matapi – before council rectifies the inadequacies noted by the Supreme Court – is in contempt of court from the date of the ruling,” Timba said.

The latest calls by Timba – one of Tsvangirai’s closest aides and advisors – come as the country has witnessed an escalation in the arrests of non-Zanu (PF) members and others fighting for more enhanced individual freedoms.

In a 2005 ruling on the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Union secretary general Wellington Chibebe, Nancy Kachingwe and the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights’ application for better detention conditions, Chidyausiku described the Matapi cells and those in Highlands as “degrading, inhumane and unfit for holding criminal suspects.”

The ruling also ordered the Zimbabwe Prison Services (ZPS) to improve conditions in the country’s jails.

Zimbabwe’s correctional services are generally deplorable and in recent years a commission led by another Supreme Court judge Rita Makarau decried overcrowding, poor diet and the high prevalence of disease, and pestilence in the country’s jails.

Recently, a parliamentary committee also raised the same issues – bordering on human rights abuses – and urged authorities to act on the state of the country’s prisons.

The committee concluded that some of the country’s jails are a death sentence in themselves.

(Source)

The Democratic Alliance plans to haul Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe before the International Criminal Court if he does not agree to step down in return for amnesty.

DA leader Athol Trollip told reporters the threat to prosecute Mugabe for human rights abuses including torture would be the last option of a five-part plan to speed up a peaceful resolution of the Zimbabwe’s political crisis.

“The DA will, where appropriate, exert legal and political pressure on Zimbabwe itself,” Trollip said.

“Until President Robert Mugabe is removed from politics, possibly through an amnesty agreement for him and his henchmen, free and fair elections cannot be staged. Should President Mugabe fail to commit to such an agreement, the DA will seek to bring him before the International Criminal Court to be tried for human rights abuses and acts of torture committed during his rule.”

Without the protection of his position and his government, Mugabe could be held to account for atrocities in Matabeleland soon after he came to power as well as for human rights abuses since a referendum on his constitutional proposals in 2000 demonstrated the extent to which he had lost popular support.

Mugabe was widely reported to be considering retirement with an indemnity from prosecution about six years ago when former Liberian leader Charles Taylor was arrested in Nigeria, where he had been living under the terms of a 2003 amnesty deal, and ended up on trial in The Hague.

South Africa’s support for Zimbabwe’s government of national unity had thrown Mugabe a political lifeline, Trollip said.

“By abusing state resources for political gain, retaining control of key components of the state, such as the military, and failing to comply with the provisions of the GPA (global political agreement), President Mugabe has, using a combination of violence, rhetoric and deft political maneuvering, staged a successful political comeback,” he said.

Mugabe, who has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980, was reported this week to have told President Jacob Zuma he had lost his appetite for power sharing and wanted to return to running the country without any regard to Morgan Tsvangerai’s Movement for Political Change.

The country is scheduled to hold elections early next year after agreement on a new constitution, but Mugabe has baulked at implementing almost all the obligations of the GPA, which was supported by South Africa and other countries in the region.

“The South African government needs to move towards playing a central role in positively shaping Zimbabwe’s political fortunes and galvanising support from SADC and the (African Union) to compel the GNU to work towards democratic reform,” Trollip said.

He said the DA would launch a campaign early next year to draw attention to Zimbabwe’s plight and would update its own 2009 “roadmap to democracy in Zimbabwe”.

The DA would crank up the pressure on South Africa as well as regional and continental organisations to ensure that free and fair elections are held soon.

Trollip said the party would, at the same time, increase the pressure on Zuma to deal more effectively with the Zimbabwean coalition partners to ensure that all of them stick to their promises.

He said the DA would continue to support targeted sanctions against Zimbabwean leaders until there was concrete evidence of significant movement towards a credible election.

The DA’s final tactic would be to exert legal and political pressure on Zimbabwe itself, including the threat of Migabe’s prosecution.

(Source)

The writing of a new constitution should have been an exciting and vibrant episode of momentous celebration by a nation expected to be eager to set its own code of practice away from the odour of the 1979 Lancaster House mind games.

But the very thought of an operation that seeks to gag people who are expected to speak makes Zimbabwe a gigantic and an amazing spectacle of historic tyranny in action.

Reports are abound about instructive prayers that go on forever carrying a silencing pitch and head start for the positions Mugabe wants followed. In a democracy nothing would be wrong to sell your views and ask for support. But Operation Vhara Muromo/Shut Your Mouth is essentially a violent stand against the right of a people to speak in an exercise that seeks to hear their views. What a pity.

Against this background it becomes compelling to examine and try to predict the chances of a free and fair election for the plebiscite scheduled to take place after the adoption of a new constitution.

It is also very important to remember that the violent elections of the year 2000 and 2002 characteristically followed on the heels of a constitutional exercise that was marred by bloodshed when the then ruling party failed to have its way.

It will be strange if the scheduled election rolls out and concludes peacefully without incident. It will be a shame if both parties went ahead into this election expecting violence and bloodshed, a few bodies lying in the streets, international headlines and back to the GNU sham of a marriage in which the other party looks no more than a mere mistress.

Shamefully and predictably, the next election will be marred by violence unless SADC was pushed now to start laying the foundations for conducting an undisputable peaceful election result.

The task of approaching SADC over this matter is for those who want fair play. Without SADC supervision, facilitation and observation the next election could turn out to be even bloodier and a waste of resources and time.

The most important job SADC is required to do is to facilitate the holding of a free election not just to stand there and observe one. Facilitation will mean that by the time the election is due SADC will have put in place all the manpower,technology,and necessary contingencies to ensure that the ballot is free and fair and importantly that the long delays in announcing the results of the last election are not repeated this time.

But before this election is held it is important to set the pace for a free transfer of power if the M.D.C should win. It is at the heart of the matter to be open about the need to calm the military top brass, and the sitting President about the possibility of a blanket amnesty over the political crimes committed by his party and generals under his orders.

It is indeed a contentious matter which raises temperatures but if we should be so angry as to be blinded our actions will cause the people who have a cause to fear to seek to undermine both democracy and constitutional rule.

Amnesty and the possible recalling of a seasoned military general such as Mujuru to serve as head of army in the five years of M.D.C leadership has symbolic and practical advantages. Amnesty is a way of looking ahead whilst pre-empting the ugly possibility of a military takeover or a militarilised takeover in which the sitting president may be one put forward by the army itself.

By refusing to talk openly about amnesty we encourage the kind of desperation that works against the reshaping of Zimbabwe into an accountably and democratically governed country.

There is already an appetite within Zanu PF echelons of power to carry on the kind of politics and criminality that Mugabe inspired. There are people in Zanu PF who have gained immensely from the racketeering and mafia nature of business at party ,government and state level and whist seeking to protect what they got they are wishing for more.

Zanu Pf government has and continues to provide them a platform to get extravagantly wealthy by stealing, corruption, harassment, intimidation, blackmail and murder. The kind of untouchability Zanu PF provides for these criminals is a permanent attraction for which they need not a kind of moderate syndicate leader like Mugabe.

Such people would rather the post Mugabe era was characterised by the same level of confusion and chaos that makes countries unstable and therefore weak in enforcing law and order. Without law and order criminals prosper.

The prospect of Mugabe dying in power and creating a vacuum leaves democracy at its most vulnerable point. Mugabe must be encouraged to sort out the succession issue. There is a danger of extreme anarchy if he passes on leaving a power vacuum.

To sort this issue requires him asking his commanders to put their guard down. Away from the criminality associated with the offices of these generals there is another dimension in which these commanders must be seen.

They are essentially the same people with those in the party or in government. They are soldiers yes, but they are war veterans ,they were in Mozambique and Nyadzonya,and for that reason they have a determination to keep Zanu PF in power. They are not neutral.

Put differently these guys have deeper roots than the Bright Matonga’s and Leo Mugabe’s of present day Zanu PF. In the Mafia structure of Zanu Pf they are the ultimate enforcers.

The relevance of this is that if democracy must succeed in Zimbabwe the crimes committed by Mugabe and his establishment must be pardoned which will in effect create within this security apparatus an assurance that there in no retribution if they as the last guarantors and protectors of this kleptomaniac regime should give in to free and civilised democracy.

It must therefore be a precondition that their immunity is dependent on them resigning before the next election. For the purposes of stability a respected retired general such as Solomon Mujuru must be recalled to lead the forces during the transition and five years on from there even if there was an M.D.C government.

That way you start talking to the military. That way we arrest the panic and paranoia of the generals and set in motion the eventual movement of our country from dictatorship to democracy.

Clearly it must be for the good of Mugabe and his conduits to accept, if it should be offered, that with his exit must go the whole thuggery ,brutality and excesses of the mafia state he created. Not even his children will live in peace if he decides to refuse to make far reaching reforms in exchange for amnesty. Not even the generals will live in peace.

Not even their children. It is clear that the only way out for Mugabe and his conduits is to accept that it is now inevitable to change course. No dictatorship lasts, for its very make ignites different combinations of anger and resentment which only dissolves with its overthrowing and jailing of its leaders.

The compensation of victims of torture, violence and the genocide in Matabeleland can be looked at by a commission or ministry with the view to seek to support families of those affected. The need to shame or direct our anger at few misguided men and women cannot allow us to lose sight of the fact that we have a country to run.

If we are so incensed by the wrongs committed against us to the point that we cant let go it may be the case that we are going to waiting for a chance for revenge for a long long time and by then most the principal offenders may be long dead.

The need to sort out issues over the immunity of Mugabe and possibly a list of others must be prioritised before the election. Mugabe himself should enter this debate and discussion and let the amnesty deals begin. He should provide the list of the leaders and families the amnesty must cover. The Amnesty should only cover political crimes not theft. The farms that were distributed to black farmers must remain leased to them for the 99 years except where there is multiple ownership within a family.

Neither elections nor a new constitution will adequately address the challenges Zimbabwe has in seeking to implement a transition. Of course Mugabe and the army are aware that they have lost the support of the people.

Whether they have lost that support to the M.D.C or not is a different matter. What is required is to ensure that Zimbabweans enter the post election period as free and equal citizens under a different climate of political relations and politics which ever political party has the most votes.

If we are to take the few years of the GNU as an example. It was a period of relative political calm and consequentially slight but positive economic growth. We have the energy and means to take that forward if we were willing to restart and remodel the texture of our political fabric as a nation.

Mugabe on his part needs to begin to fold in the greed disorder within his party. We need to go back to property rights and law and order. By now who has a farm can become a farmer, professionally, and build on from there. Wealth snatching is hardly a basis for developing confidence in your own country. It must stop.

We want a country where people are genuinely free to speak ,to associate and to hold those in public service accountable. We want a country that fosters an environment for successful indigenous business innovations. We want genuine empowerment of local people. We want the natural resources of our country to make the most for us all as a nation. There is no conflict between stable government, democracy and the empowerment of previously disadvantaged communities.

Zimbabwe’s tomorrow will depend on choices we make today. There is a clear need for maturity and belief in our people and country. We have a duty to sit together as a big family and iron out our differences, compliment each other in our strengths and show the world what a beautiful ,intelligent and resolute nation we are.

We must stop tearing each other apart. The stability and progress of our country will depend on what we do in the next few months. With Mugabe ageing and his mental health deteriorating the last thing we want is to miss the opportunity to throw away this dying dictator with the rubbish he stood for right. We will bury him at that diluted and contaminated rubbish mount called heroes Acre, a place where heroes lie restlessly beside carcass eating hyena’s that betrayed their dreams.

A place where gallant fighters and producers of this semi liberated country are shamed in their prize by being put to eternal grief by being laid together with escariots that turned on their own and betrayed the liberation agenda. Enough for that, for now

Beyond our anger we must have sense and compassion to see the future clearly, free of the madness, and corruption of these parasitic lunatics with whom we are all a big family called Zimbabwe. These are lunatics for whom we must show greater compassion if in our wisdom taking back Zimbabwe means more to us than senseless brawling and violence in which they confess to possess degrees.

It seems we must forgive them, grant them the amnesty first to move forward. That is where the heart of the matter lies. Outside that it is politics for its own sake with the biggest losers being the majority and the biggest winners being these losers.

Lets us all see sense and talk sense. Let us all act wisely. Zimbabwe is at crossroads. It needs clear decisive action or we haven’t seen the worst of these cowardly kind that fails to stand up to its own greed and finish the job of those who deserve to lie at the heroes acre..

Courage Shumba

(HUMAN RIGHTS ADVOCATE)UK
Executive Director
NYIKA VANHU FOUNDATION (Zimbabwe)

(Source)

Former Matabeleland provincial magistrate Johnson Mkandla has seen all the anarchy unfolds under President Mugabe’s watch – he was detained three times without charge, the only reason for his persecution was his association with the late Sydney Malunga, Naison Ndlovu and other PF-Zapu leaders.

In his detention cell, in Bulawayo’s Stops Camp, he saw civilians being slaughtered in an abattoir-style. He saw dead civilians wrapped in blankets and thrown into the back of police trucks before being ferried into unknown destinations.

These victims of Mugabe’s brutality remain unaccounted for and calls for accountability are now getting louder each day as Mugabe’s life begins to show signs of finally coming to an end following decades of murder and plunder, he said.

Mkandla says, at some point in the 1980s, he had come to regard Stops Camp as a death camp where he often saw civilians being tortured to death and their bodies thrown away without being handed back to relatives for decent burial.

“The next thing there would be a story that so and so is missing or so and so committed suicide in a police cell. If that person was badly tortured with visible facial scars, they will prefer to hide away his body and then profess ignorance of what happened,” said Mkandla who remains visibly haunted by his harsh brush with President Mugabe’s brutal regime.

One Saturday night in the early 1980s, Mkandla found himself surrounded by heavily armed security officers in his New Magwegwe home. He was being accused of aiding and abetting dissidents in Plumtree where he had gone to preside over a court case in the border town. On his way back, CIOs alleged, he had given a lift to dissidents.

“It was about 12 midnight and I heard someone in a loud-speaker with lights beaming into my bedroom ordering me, my wife and children to come out of my house naked. We were also ordered us to raise up our hands and walk into a nearby public road and lie down there,” said Mkandla.

“Then after that, they unleashed dogs into my house, but the dogs came up with nothing. They started searching my house from 12 midnight up to 6 am but still came up with nothing. As though that was not enough, they took me to detention at Stops Camp,” he said.

“Imagine I was a magistrate then and my neighbours respected me a lot but I am seen coming out of my house with my wife in underwears. It is something that I will never forget throughout my life on earth. I want to see those people who did that to me punished. I want to face those people and ask why?  My association with Sydney Malunga and other Ndebele leaders stems from my history in PF-Zapu. I had been regional PF-Zapu chairman during the liberation struggle and after independence,” he said.

“When I was a student the University of Rhodesia I also worked part-time at the PF-Zapu offices in Harare. I have come to be close to PF-Zapu leaders and they all knew me hence even after independence we continued having a good association as we shared the same political ideology which had nothing to do with dissident activity,” he said.

Mnkandla laments the idea that political violence before 2000 in Zimbabwe seem to have been kept under the carpet yet more people died in the 1980s and now wants Zimbabweans to come together and address it.

“What the MDC seem to have experienced since inception is something that we experienced as soon as Mugabe took office in 1980.

“For example, while I was detained at Stops Camp in Bulawayo, I heard someone being tortured until his last breadth. I heard civilians’ screaming for help until their voices faded away as they finally die. During my detention at Stops Camp, I lost count of such situations. I would then peep through my small cell window and see plain clothes officers carrying the dead civilians into the back of trucks. Then they would simple drive away and after some few hours I would hear someone next to my cell screaming for help until he goes the same way,” said Mkandla.

Mkandla, now based in the United Kingdom after being threatened with a treason change upon his return in Zimbabwe for campaigning for Western sanctions against Mugabe and his cronies, says he remains upset on what happened to him and what he saw in his police with his eyes.

“I have first had information about how people in Matabeleland were slaughtered by Mugabe’s security agents. I want to tell the truth about all this, although I was detained three times as a magistrate, there was never a point I was tortured myself. The whole detention thing was meant screw me up as a human being,” he said.

Mkandla added that: “The main reason why I was not killed or tortured is that the BBC had reported my plight on numerous occasions, hence I was now known internationally so it was not in the interest of Mugabe’s image to kill me. They would just harass me, question me and I would simple tell them that I was just innocent”.

“We lost people in Matabeleland and those people died a painful death. I want if the killers are not being haunted by that.

(Source)

Zimbabwe’s coalition government should bring to justice individuals responsible for recent and past episodes of political violence say analysts, rejecting attempts by President Robert Mugabe to forgive perpetrators of violence and move on.

Analysts told The Zimbabwean that government could help stabilize the country by bringing to justice the organizers of violence on all sides. Acting President John Nkomo told celebrations to mark ZANU PF politburo member and presidential affairs minister Didymus Mutasa’s 75th birthday in Rusape on Saturday that Zimbabweans should forget past political squabbles which led to bloody clashes.

Nkomo spoke hardly a week after Mugabe told Defence Forces Day celebrations that Zimbabwe should not seek to convict goon squads who took hundreds of lives in organized political violence sparked by ZANU PF’s devastating electoral loss in the 2008 presidential and general elections. Mugabe also suggested a blanket amnesty for security forces, who used excessive force in dealing with opposition supporters.

Admore Tshuma, a Zimbabwean journalist and political analyst, said by calling for amnesty for those guilty of political violence, Mugabe was subordinating justice to political self-interest, thereby shielding criminal elements who perpetrated violence on his behalf. “There can never be any reconciliation without accountability,” Tshuma said. “Amnesty is problematic because it promotes impunity.”

Researchers have documented serious abuses across the country, with ZANU PF militants and State actors attacking perceived MDC supporters when victory was announced for the MDC and Morgan Tsvangirai. MDC supporters later retaliated. Much of the violence was organized by local leaders and politicians from all sides, according to eyewitnesses.

Although many observers were surprised by the speed and scale of the recent violence, the underlying causes of the crisis are old and deep.

The failure to address systemic problems of governance and organized political violence was a direct cause of the recent crisis. And it dates back to the 80s. Nkomo said the squabbles between ZANU PF and ZAPU in the 80s “should be water under the bridge.”

“We need peace, unity and tranquillity to prevail so that we can move forward as a nation. If we say an eye for an eye, Zimbabwe will be blind,” Nkomo said.

But analysts urged the coalition government to support the various inquiries established under the February 2008 mediation process to investigate abuses by state forces and those responsible for the violence. How well these initiatives succeed will be central to the coalition government’s ability to improve the lives of Zimbabweans and stabilize the country.

(Source)

Two gay rights activists in Zimbabwe have been freed after six days in police custody where it is claimed they were abused and tortured.

Ellen Chadehama and Ignatius Mhambi were arrested last week accused of possessing pornographic material and insulting president Robert Mugabe.

Their employer, Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (Galz), said the two were assaulted by police while in custody.

They were also made to bend their knees into a sitting position with their arms outstretched for long periods and struck with bottles when they weakened and fell, according to their defence attorney, David Hofisi.

Nelson Chamisa, a government minister and spokesman for the Movement for Democratic Change, condemned the alleged abuse: “Ill treatment or inhumane handling of any human being for any reason goes against our philosophy. We do not believe harassment is the best way of doing business. It flies in the face of the democratic order.”

Chadehama and Mhambi were arrested last Friday for allegedly possessing photographs of gay sex and posting a letter in their office from former San Francisco mayor Willie Lewis Brown criticising Mugabe’s opposition to homosexuality. Under sweeping security laws it is an offence “to undermine the authority of the president”.

Magistrate Munamate Mutevedzi yesterday released the two on bail of $200 each until a trial set for 10 June, where they will face penalties of imprisonment or a fine.

Mutevedzi said provisions of Zimbabwe law on both allegations did not take into account the sexuality of suspected offenders.

Galz said Chadehama, 34, the administrator of Galz, and Mhambi, 38, an accountant, were married with children.

Homosexuality is illegal in Zimbabwe but arrests are rare and Galz operates openly. The public statements of politicians give cold comfort, however.

Mugabe, 86, has described same sex partners as “lower than dogs and pigs”. Morgan Tsvangirai, the prime minister, has said: “Women make up 52% of the population …there are more women than men, so why should men be proposing to men?”

The case is the latest in a series of flashpoints raising fears that gay rights are imperilled across Africa. Last week in Malawi a judge sentenced a gay couple to a maximum 14 years in prison with hard labour after the men made a public commitment to marriage.

That decision was condemned by South African president Jacob Zuma yesterday in a rare rebuke to a fellow African nation.

“We have condemned the action taken to arrest people in terms of our constitution,” Zuma told parliament in South Africa, where same-sex marriages are legally recognised. “We need to persuade, we need to make people understand, we need to move with them. We have never adopted a confrontational stance on matters.”

Phumi Mtetwa, director of the Lesbian and Gay Equality Project in South Africa, said: “The torture and harassment of the Galz comrades and the raid of the offices expresses Zimbabwe’s Zanu-PF government’s old tactics of dehumanising LGBTI people and Mugabe’s allies scoring political points by persecuting those who struggle for rights to equality.

“These struggles have to be seen in light of the increasing public homophobia on the continent – Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi and even South Africa, to mention a few. The South African government has a constitutional obligation to challenge its counterparts to defend the human rights of LGBTI people on the continent.”

(Source)

The state security agent who went missing after denouncing President Robert Mugabe and saying he felt used by the government for taking part in the torture, harrassment of innocent Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) activists, has been found dead.

Innocent Makamure had apologised publicly to villagers here for the role he had played in the torture and killing of innocent MDC activists. He said he had gained nothing by his actions.

Makamure had also expressed his intentions to apologise to the chief of the area.

Makamure went missing after these statements.

His dead body was found on Monday afternoon floating in Mwerahari River, after family members intensified searches.

Family members had last week told Radio VOP that they feared Makamure had been killed.

Manicaland Police spokesperson inspector Philip Makomeke said they had not yet received confirmation from police at Murambinda Growth Point that the dead body found was that of Makamure.

“All we have is that Makamure is on our missing persons’ list. I am yet to check whether he is the one who was found dead on Monday,” said Makomeke.

Makomeke said there were high chances that out of frustration or mental disturbances, Makamure could have committed suicide.

“If someone is highly frustrated or mentally disturbed, there are chances that such a person can commit suicide,” said Makomeke.

Family members who pleaded for anonymity, due to fear of further victimization, said they highly suspected foul play.

“It is unfortunate that these people do not reform. They have killed innocent because he had chosen to tell the truth. He had repented and he wanted to live a free life but they took him and murdered him,” said a family member.

“We are all shocked because of his death but after missing him for more than a week, we suspected something terrible had happened. He is gone and we now pray for our safety,” said the family member.

(Source)

Zimbabwean human rights violators could lose the right to travel to SA if an appeal due to be brought in the North Gauteng High Court today succeeds in forcing the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to arrest known perpetrators who set foot in the country.

The Southern Africa Litigation Centre (SALC), along with the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum, is seeking an order setting aside a decision by the NPA not to prosecute 18 identified Zimbabwean human rights violators in the event they travel to SA.

The case, aimed at preventing SA from becoming a haven for those who commit crimes against humanity, is the first such action in the country. It arises from a dossier submitted to the NPA in March last year, two weeks before the violent election in Zimbabwe.

Earlier this year attempts were also made to secure accountability for the victims of the war in Gaza with a dossier being submitted to the NPA, said Nicole Fritz, the head of the SALC.

The Zimbabwe dossier included a legal opinion by advocates Wim Trengove , Gilbert Marcus and Max du Plessis about SA’s obligations under the Implementations of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) Act .

The dossier contained numerous affidavits detailing personal experiences of widespread torture at the hands of the Zimbabwean police. Fritz brushed off suggestions that the case could jeopardise the fragile unity government, saying it was meant to prevent a recurrence of such abuses. “Security accountability can help stem the fallout in Zimbabwe,” she said.

Fritz said after a round of correspondence, SALC finally received a letter from the then acting NPA director Mokotedi Mpshe six months ago to the effect that he had been advised that the police did not intend investigating the matter.

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

The SALC maintained in its submission to the NPA that the senior Zimbabwean officials named travelled to SA fairly often, both for official and personal reasons.

(Source)

Two of Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF loyalists are on the verge of making it into the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC).

The two loyalists namely Jacob Mudenda, the former ZANU PF chairman for Matabeleland North and Joseph Kurebwa, a lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) are on the list of 16 candidates shortlisted for imminent appointment to serve on the ZHRC by President Robert Mugabe.  

Mudenda, the former Provincial Governor for Matabeleland North was nominated amongst new ZANU PF central committee members for Matabeleland North.

Kurebwa is the UZ political scientist who is famous for toeing the ZANU PF party line by making a controversial pre-election survey tipping President Mugabe to score a “majority win” in last year’s presidential elections which he however lost to his long-time rival Morgan Tsvangirai in the first round of elections. Tsvangirai failed to garner the mandatory majority to form a government.

A presidential run off that was marred by human rights abuses forced Tsvangirai to pull out of contestation and resultantly Mugabe became “victorious” in a one man race.

Kurebwa’s survey was labeled by the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) as a Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) project after it was disowned by the University of Zimbabwe’s political science department.

Other candidates on the list which was submitted to President Mugabe by the chairman of Parliament’s Standing Rules and Orders Committee (SROC) and Speaker of Parliament Hon. Lovemore Moyo include former Chief Immigration Officer and lawyer Elasto Mugwadi, medical practitioner Douglas Gwatidzo, Benhilda Makomva, Irene Sithole, Eunice Velempini, Professor Carol Temba Khombe, former Bulawayo Mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, Sethulo Ncube, Kwanele Jirira, Stewart Nyakotyo, Sheila matindike, Kucaca Phulu and Ellen Sithole.

The sixteen were selected from 33 people who were interviewed to serve as commissioners on the ZHRC last month.

President Mugabe is expected to appoint eight members from the 16 nominees four of whom should be women.

He will also appoint a chairperson who should be someone who has been qualified for at least five years to practice as a legal practitioner and who is appointed by the President after consultation with the Judicial Service Commission and the SROC.

According to the Constitution persons appointed to the ZHRC shall be chosen for their knowledge of and experience in the promotion of social justice or the protection of human rights and freedoms.

Among other functions the ZHRC will promote awareness of and respect for human rights and freedoms at all levels of society and to promote the development of human rights and freedoms.

The ZHRC will also monitor and assess the observance of human rights in Zimbabwe and recommend to Parliament effective measures to promote human rights and freedoms.

(Source)

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