Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Published by the government of Zimbabwe
30 December 2008
Harare - THE Consumer Council of Zimbabwe has advised consumers to form groups and send members to South Africa to buy basic commodities there to counter exorbitant pricing by retailers in the country.CCZ executive director Ms Rosemary Siyachitema said people could buy more and save by going to South Africa where the products are cheaper."We keep on encouraging people to buy in groups," she said. "People need to stretch their money to the utmost. They should go where they can stretch it," she added.Most retail shops in towns as well as small grocery shops in high density suburbs and rural areas are selling goods in foreign currency and are refusing to accept the Zimbabwe dollar.Although the Government issued licenses to selected shops to sell in foreign currency, the rest are doing it without the licences.Small traders, including vegetable vendors, have also joined the bandwagon, making life difficult for the ordinary person who does not have access to foreign currency.Ms Siyachitema said the CCZ continued to appeal to retailers to reduce prices and put reasonable marks-up on imported goods.Last month the CCZ compiled a foreign currency basket which showed shocking differences between prices of goods in South Africa and Zimbabwe.According to the CCZ basket, a family of six required 80 rands per month to purchase goods in South Africa compared to 290 rands in Zimbabwe.Ms Siyachitema noted that by forming groups and sending one member, people would reduce costs of travelling to South Africa.
She noted that studies had shown that it was cheaper to buy as a group than buying repackaged goods."It works out to be cheaper. People should not buy from third parties," said Siyachitema.Before dollarisation of the economy, the concept of consumer clubs had spread in the cities with the CCZ assisting the groups to buy in bulk from producers.--New Ziana.
Friday, December 19, 2008
5th December 2008
2008 is now drawing to a close and one cannot help but bitterly remember the tragic shooting of Tusker, aka Dustbin after the last New Year's Party in Charara, Kariba. Thousands of people around the world mourned the death of this very special elephant.
TUSKER AKA DUSTBIN
For those who do not know, he was teased and tormented mercilessly by drunken youths and when he retaliated by turning a couple of cars over, he signed his own death warrant. We found out later that fruit had been thrown under the cars "to see what the elephant would do". The authorities decided that even though he had never killed anyone during his 30 years in Charara, it was only a matter of time before someone was hurt and he was shot on the 6th January 2008.
In an effort to stop any further New Year parties from taking place in Charara, which is a National Park area designated for wildlife, we presented the Chairman of Charara with a petition signed by over 1600 people.
We now believe our petition has been ignored by the National Anglers' Union, who are the organizers and the party is going to take place this year as usual. We would like to issue a warning to parents that this party is not a legal gathering and judging by reports from previous parties, drugs and alcohol will be readily available. We would also remind parents that 2 girls were raped last year after drugs were slipped into their drinks. One of these girls had a bad reaction to the drug and narrowly escaped death. The nearest medical facilities are 40 km away.
There are still some elephants in the Charara area and it is very likely that they will walk into the camp during the party, looking for food, as in past years, the organizers have made no attempt to prevent this. These elephants are not as good-natured as Tusker was. Several elephants have been shot in the area this year and those remaining are skittish. We can guarantee that if they are subjected to hairs being pulled out of their tails, fireworks and beer cans being thrown at them, cigarettes being stubbed out on them, headlights being flashed in their eyes and cars being rammed into their legs as Tusker was, they will do more than just turn over a few cars. The youngsters will be lucky to escape with their lives.
We strongly urge all parents to think very carefully before allowing your children to attend this party, which is just a tragedy waiting to happen.
Johnny RodriguesChairman for Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force
Landline: 263 4 336710
Landline/Fax: 263 4 339065Mobile: 263 11 603 213
Saturday, December 13, 2008
There is plenty of gallows humor circulating in Zimbabwe these days. One joke goes: "Q: What's the definition of an optimist? A: A Zimbabwean who thinks the country has hit rock bottom."As the cholera outbreak kills hundreds and still rages through the country, it is obvious that Zimbabwe's already dire political and economic crisis has drastically worsened and plunged the country into a humanitarian crisis.The plight of the most vulnerable has received understandable international attention. The poor have grown steadily poorer and died while President Robert Mugabe's ruling clique has prospered.But less attention has been paid to the fate of Zimbabwe's middle class, once the country's backbone, which has been decimated in recent years. The skilled have left en masse. Architects, artisans, electricians, mechanics, doctors, nurses, teachers - all gone to the burgeoning diaspora, now estimated at 5 million out of a total population of 13 million.This mass migration at least provides a flow of funds from those working outside Zimbabwe to those who remain. Zimbabwe is one of the world's newest remittance economies.Yet some of the country's middle class remain, determined to see the current crisis through."Every day I am sad and infuriated by the misery of so many people, but I still love this country," says Joy, 61. "I have a wonderful feeling about the people I work with. We are all struggling to get by, but we are doing it together. This government cannot last forever and I believe Zimbabwe will once again become a magical place to live. I don't want to give up."Joy conducts workshops with township children, promoting self-confidence and artistic expression, even though many badly need a good meal. Her husband James, 51, came to Zimbabwe in the 1980s to escape military service in apartheid South Africa. He is an artist and sells his paintings to diplomats and others with access to foreign currency.Like most people who are "staying on", James and Joy doubt that they would ever find a country to match Zimbabwe's almost perfect weather conditions. But life can be frustrating. For example, electricians from the power utility demand fuel or transport to repair faulty lines."The power shortages are infuriating," James says. "But just as we swear we can't stand it another day, the lights come back on!"The middle class is both white and black. "A few months ago our water stopped and my daughter didn't know what to do," says Mildred (not her real name), a black Harare accountant. "I told her to wash from a bucket of water we had saved. She didn't know how! In the rural areas everyone knows how to wash from a bucket of water. She didn't know how to be an African."Fred, 31 and black, lives in a township on the eastern outskirts of Harare. He has his own small home, a telephone line and occasionally running water. He has a small garden where he grows vegetables. He is well-off compared to the majority of his countrymen. The only way he can afford to stay in Zimbabwe is by traveling to South Africa to buy goods in short supply at home such as flour and rice and then selling them in his township."I don't want to leave when I have a home and a family dependent on me," he says. "But I can only survive by cross-border trading. It's now a way of life for me."Zimbabweans across the old racial divide have been brought together in coping with the intensifying crisis. At a bowling club in the city center where the greens are still immaculate, whites of the old school share tales of adversity with their black compatriots."It will all get better once he goes," one member suggests to wide approval. Everybody knows who "he" is but no one utters Robert Mugabe's name for fear of being arrested by one of the secret police - to publicly denigrate the president is a crime.No one knows when Mugabe will go, but the stubborn rump of Zimbabwe's middle class seems determined to hang on.
GlobalPost.com launches January 12, 2009.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
[9th December 2008]
Please note that the police have turned down ZimRights' notification of "Return Jestina Mukoko Now March" which was supposed to take place on Friday the 12th of December 2008
Please distribute this appeal widely
Would anyone who has any information on the whereabouts of Jestina Mukoko, Director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, who was abducted from her home on Wednesday 3rd December, phone hotline number 0912 471 671 or text a message to 0912 452 201
Her children, her mother, her brothers and sisters, her friends and work colleagues are desperate to find her
Because Jestina is well known, both in her previous role in the media and later for her work in organisations working on peace and conflict resolution, and is an active member of civil society networks, her disappearance has attracted wide-spread attention – and anger that someone who is a member of an organisation working for peace in Zimbabwe should be among the “disappeared”.
But she is not the first – there have been others who have also been forcibly abducted and whose whereabouts are still unknown. Our concern and outrage is for all who have suffered this fate. The “forced disappearance” of every single man, woman or child – and more names are listed below – is an atrocity and a violation of all that makes us human, and is a blot against our country Zimbabwe.
The number of the “disappeared” is on the increase and is an alarming development. We are all aware of the sufferings the people of this country are going through – the terrible toll that poverty, starvation, HIV/AIDS, other diseases and now cholera are exacting. And we are aware of the many victims of political violence, those who have been killed, tortured, maimed or had their livelihoods destroyed. For families, friends and colleagues of the disappeared there is an additional agony. The waiting, the uncertainly, the not knowing, the swinging from hope to fearing the worst.
A forced disappearance consists of a kidnapping, carried out by agents of the State or organized groups of private individuals who act with State support or tolerance, in which the victim "disappears". Authorities neither accept responsibility for the deed, nor account for the whereabouts of the victim. Petitions of habeas corpus [produce the person and justify the detention] or other legal mechanisms designated to safeguard the liberty and integrity of citizens are ineffective, and the kidnappers remain anonymous. The objective of forced disappearance is not simply the victim's capture and subsequent maltreatment, which often occurs in the absence of legal guarantees. Because of the anonymity of the captors, and subsequent impunity, it also creates a state of uncertainty and terror both in the family of the victim and in society as a whole. Uncertainty exists because people do not know what to do or where to turn. From the first moment, relatives have doubts about the victim's actual fate and the outcome of the search for their loved one. The fear caused by the unknown fate of the victim, and the realization that anyone can be subjected to a forced disappearance, and any motive may be used to justify the disappearance, means that forced disappearance often tends to paralyze not only the family but also opposition and human rights activities.
A forced disappearance violates a series of fundamental human rights, including: the right to liberty and security of the person, the right to recognition as a person before the law, the right to legal defence, and the right not to be subjected to torture. In addition, forced disappearance constitutes a grave threat to the right to life.
Forced disappearance is not simply a problem of the victims and their relatives, but rather a problem for all humanity. All human rights organizations, solidarity groups, unions, political parties and churches are urged to publicize this problem and this struggle, and to join forces to eradicate this crime.
Civil society must support the families and lawyers in their demand for thorough investigations, to rescue alive those who are disappeared, and to bring the perpetrators to justice – not for revenge, but in the name of justice itself and for the dignity of a civilized society. Societies cannot be constructed on a foundation of false reconciliation, inadequate justice, presidential pardons, and forgetting injustices done. Ignoring justice is the surest way to encourage injustice.
[Based on FEDEFAM definitions]
Forced Disappearance as a Tool of Political Repression
Forced disappearance has been a tool of other regimes. It was first used as a tool of political oppression by dictatorships in Latin America in the 1960s. [Although during World War II the Nazis used abductions as a form of repression, the detention of the victim was admitted]. The practice of forced disappearance was systemised and used extensively in Latin America in the 1970s, particularly in Argentina. The technique was later refined and applied in other parts of the world, including Africa and Asia and the Middle East.
UN Declaration on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance
Any act of enforced disappearance is an offence to human dignity. It is condemned as a denial of the purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and as a grave and flagrant violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and reaffirmed and developed in international instruments in this field.
Any act of enforced disappearance places the persons subjected thereto outside the protection of the law and inflicts severe suffering on them and their families. It constitutes a violation of the rules of international law guaranteeing, inter alia, the right to recognition as a person before the law, the right to liberty and security of the person and the right not to be subjected to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. It also violates or constitutes a grave threat to the right to life.
No State shall practise, permit or tolerate enforced disappearances.
States shall act at the national and regional levels and in cooperation with the United Nations to contribute by all means to the prevention and eradication of enforced disappearance.
Each State shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent and terminate acts of enforced disappearance in any territory under its jurisdiction.
The right to a prompt and effective judicial remedy as a means of determining the whereabouts or state of health of persons deprived of their liberty, and/or identifying the authority ordering or carrying out the deprivation of liberty, is required to prevent enforced disappearances under all circumstances…
In such proceedings, competent national authorities shall have access to all places where persons deprived of their liberty are being held and to each part of those places, as well as to any place in which there are grounds to believe that such persons may be found.
UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances
The UN Human Rights Commissioner’s Office has an active working group on enforced disappearances. Zimbabwean cases have been reported to it, but it takes some time to investigate the cases and report on them.
Details of Jestina’s Abduction
At 5 am in the morning a group, estimated at between 15 and 20 men and one woman, arrived outside Jestina’s Norton home. Two of the vehicles, one reported as looking like a silver-grey Mazda 626 sedan, drove into the driveway and about five men, some of whom were armed, went into the house and dragged Jestina out [in front of her young son] and forced her into a car. She was still in her night clothes and her abductors refused to let her get dressed, or even get her shoes and spectacles. Nor did they allow anyone to fetch her medication which she needs to take three times a day. As this was happening her son managed to make a whispered call to her brother who lives nearby. Some of the family and neighbours gathered, but were unable to do anything but bear witness to the approximate number of abductors and that none of the vehicles seemed to have number plates. Her brother immediately reported what had happened to the police. The family’s lawyers have been unable to locate Jestina and the court took 6 days to hear an urgent application for the police to produce or locate her. Jestina is the breadwinner in her family, as her husband died some years back. She is mother and father to a teenage son and her six year old nephew. After a career as a radio and TV broadcaster, she started working for peace, first as a programme officer setting up community peace committees all round the country, and then as Director of the Zimbabwe Peace Project, an organisation set up by churches and the Liberators Platform [war veterans working for peace].
Two Other ZPP Officers Abducted
Yesterday two more officers from Zimbabwe Peace Project were abducted from the ZPP headquarters in Harare – Broderick Takawira, Provincial Coordinator of ZPP for Harare Province, and Pascal Gonzo, a ZPP Field Officer. The office guard heard a hoot and as he was investigating who was arriving, 5 men forced an entry and took Broderick and Pascal. The guard reported he saw two cars – one of which he thought might be a Mazda, again no number plate. Their families and lawyers have not been able to find out anything about the two men’s whereabouts. This latest abduction makes it look like a deliberate targeting of an organisation working for peace.
Other Recent “Disappearances”
The first 15 people listed below have been missing for over six weeks. The last two were more recent. All were either candidates in the March Parliamentary or Local Government Elections, or members of a political party carrying out routine party business. There is no known reason for their disappearances other than political party allegiance.
Concillia Chinanzvavana, a parliamentary candidate in the March 29 elections
Her husband, Emmanuel Chinanzvana, who is a local authority councillor
Fidelis Chiramba, a senatorial candidate in the March 29 elections
Ernest Mudimu, a parliamentary candidate in the March 29 elections
Fanwell Tembo, party youth organiser
Terry Musona, party deputy provincial secretary
Collen Mutemagawo, party youth chairperson, his wife Violet Mupfuranhehwe and their two year old child
Lloyd Tarumbwa, party member
Pieat Kaseke, party member
Gwenzi Kahiya, party member
Tawanda Bvumo, party member
Agrippa Kakonda, party member
Larry Gaka, party member
Chris Dlamini party employee
A person known as Baba vaSarudzayi, party member
If anyone knows anything about the whereabouts of any of these persons please phone any of these numbers 011 619 749 or 011 635 755 or 011 635 448 or 011 619 746/7/8 so that their families can be informed.
Gandhi Mudzingwa, a former personal assistant to the Prime Minster designate, Mr Morgan Tsvangirai, was abducted on Monday while talking to a relative in a Harare suburb. Eyewitnesses at the scene of the incident said he was accosted by nine gunmen in six vehicles, and was shoved into one of vehicles, a Mazda 626, which drove off towards the city centre.
Document on Offer
Full text of UN Declaration on the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance
Veritas makes every effort to ensure reliable information, but cannot take legal responsibility for information supplied.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
Join this campaign and let's resuscitate our neighborhoods ~ one house at a time.Pick it up, even if you didn't drop itIf everyone picked up the litter from outside their own house our streets would be cleaner. Make an effort twice a week to do this and you'll be playing a positive part in cleaning up the whole city. Make and print a few leaflets and put them in your neighbors post box inviting them to participate.Change needs a sparkSo you've picked up the litter from in front of your house, now what? Take it to a safe space, somewhere where the smoke won't stink up your neighbors washing or house, and burn it. Do the same with your household rubbish AFTER you've recycled what you can. Sure burning is not the best option but dumping your waste in a public space is even worse. Until service delivery in our communities resumes, it's up to us to work out respectful ways to deal with waste management. After all, it's our rubbish, no-one else's.Walking on broken glassHave you noticed all the broken glass on our verges, roads and pathways? Two Kubatana bloggers, Natasha and Susan, have written about this issue lately. How about making our streets safe for our cyclists, pedestrians and our kids. Don't throw glass bottles on the road - it's just Really Ugly Behavior. Take them home and use them in some way.Fill it inAdopt a pothole. Not very exciting I know but hey, have you seen any municipal workers fixing them lately? If we want to stop the damage to cars and combies, and avoid accidents then we are going to have to do something about the holes in our roads. They're only going to get worse. So work out a plan with your neighbors and take turns in fixing what's in front of you.Unclog itIt's the rainy season and a lot of storm water drains are clogged making the roads flooded at times and making it difficult for pedestrians. Look out for clogged street gutters especially on street corners and arrange with neighbors to remove the soil, rubble and rubbish from them. Get your hands dirty!Switch it off!Help save electricity – that little you do get. Don't leave lights or other electrical appliances that are not in use on throughout the night. Cell phone chargers still consume electricity even when it is left in the socket with the phone disconnected. Although basic cell phone chargers don't consume enormous amounts of energy, when you add up all the cell phone chargers in the country the total energy used still amounts to significant numbers. Turn off other appliances like radios and TVs.We realise that people occupy a variety of dwellings from shacks, to flats and that our shopping centres, which are getting grubbier by the day, represent more challenging circumstances. But in each and every case, if we don't get involved and Do Something, then things will only get worse.Change starts with you!
It has become a common feeling, I believe, as we have watched our heroes falling over the years, that our own small stone of activism, which might not seem to measure up to the rugged boulders of heroism we have so admired, is a paltry offering toward the building of an edifice of hope. Many who believe this choose to withhold their offerings out of shame. This is the tragedy of the world. For we can do nothing substantial toward changing our course on the planet, a destructive one, without rousing ourselves, individual by individual, and bringing our small, imperfect stones to the pile.- Alice WalkerPlease either SMS (+263 912 452201) or email us any suggestions that you have, or campaigns that you're involved in, so that we can learn from each other. You add, we multiply!~ Kubatana
Monday, December 1, 2008
Water was turned off in Harare yesterday.
We have had no water in our suburb for 5 months and have relied on a borehole for our supplies, but now the situation has meant that our neighbours who were relying on their relatives for water are now coming to us. With cholera raging this is the only solution we have - to help others - and we do. If this situation is allowed to go on the health of the people in the city will be even more at stake.
Businesses were closed down in town by lunchtime as office toilets were blocked and there was a serious health threat.
Above is a typical scene - neighbour helping out neighbour by filling water containers.