Thursday, June 19, 2008

Magistrate defies high court order on Matinenga

RUSAPE – A regional magistrate has defied a High Court order to release incarcerated top lawyer and MDC MP –elect, Eric Matinenga, whop was arrested on charges of inciting public violence.
Herbert Mandeya, a regional magistrate in Harare, presided over Matinenga’s case after all magistrates in Rusape had recused themselves on varying reasons.
Matinenga was arrested a day after he had been cleared of any wrongdoing by a senior magistrate in Mutare on charges that he was involved in public violence that had flared up in his constituency.
But surprisingly, Matinenga was re-arrested on the same charges he had been acquitted of by Hlekani Mwayera in Mutare.
After his second arrest on same charges his lawyers petitioned the High Court and Justice Chitakunye ordered his immediate release.
But Mandeya, sitting in Rusape declined to obey the High Court order saying the allegations were the same but the charges were different.
Matinenga was taken to court after languishing in police cells for almost a week.
The State, led by Tawanda Zvakare of the Attorney General’s office, said Matinenga was facing the same allegations but the charges had been altered to that of inciting public violence instead of involvement in public violence.
The State alleged the MP-elect incited public violence in Buhera West on 28 and 31 May respectively.
According to Trust Maanda, one of his lawyers, the court established that Matinenga was in Harare on 28 May representing a client at the regional courts. The client is James Mushore, the former NMB executive facing allegations of committing financial crimes.
But the court said he had a case to answer on the second count.
He was granted bail with very stringent measures but Zvakare of the AG’s office lodged an appeal, which meant Matinenga would remain incacerated pending the noting of the appeal.
Maanda said the State has up to seven days to file the appeal meaning Matinenga will have to remain in custody all that time.
“All this is in violation of a high Court order granted by Justice Chitakunye,” Maanda, a human rights lawyer, said. “We are lodging an immediate appeal at the High Court. All along they are holding him illegally.”
Maanda said by refusing to allow him get freed under very stringent measures it was clear the State was determined, at all cost, to ensure Matinenga continues to be incarcerated.
The magistrate had ordered Matinenga to surrender title deeds of one of his immovable properties, deposit ZW$500 billion cash and to report everyday between 6am and 6pm to the nearest police station.
“Effectively it was meant to immobilize him but the State insisted that in spite of these very stringent conditions he must be denied bail,” said Maanda. “The State is so determined to have him incarcerated.”

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Police officers held over missing ballots

By Clemence Manyukwe

HEADLANDS- Twenty police officers at Headlands police station were detained last week when 31 postal ballot paper applications went missing in an incident that saw law enforcement agents at four stations in Makoni district being summoned for parades and forced to chant ZANU-PF slogans.
Half of the officers are currently detained at Chikurubi Maximum prison.
The Headlands police station officers were detained in their station’s cells before being “screened”, leaving at least 12 facing disciplinary hearings.
The hearings started on Monday under a panel of five officers who include the Deputy Officer Commanding Mutare Rural, Joshua Tigere and the Officer Commanding CID, Rusape District, who was identified only as Chief Superintendent Dube.
Contacted for comment by The Financial Gazette yesterday, Tigere, a former police spokesperson for Manicaland province said: “I no longer comment on press queries, go to our spokesperson. I just presided over the case but you have to contact the spokesperson, he will tell you how I handled the case.”
Police national spokesperson Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena yesterday said he was yet to confirm the incident.
Police sources yesterday said some of the officers were severely assaulted following their arrest and one, identified as Muringayi is now walking with the aid of crutches.
After the Headlands incident, the arresting officers proceeded to Rusape, Inyati and Nyazura police stations all in Makoni District where they summoned officers for parades and forced them to chant ZANU-PF songs and slogans.
“The arresting officers said they wanted to knock sense into our heads because we were supporting the MDC (Movement for Democratic Change). They forced us to chant ZANU-PF slogans. Constable Banda of Inyati police station volunteered to resign after refusing to chant ZANU-PF songs,” a police source said.
The names of police officers who were arrested at Headlands police station were given as Wilbert Mushayavanhu, Gerison Gome, and Fidelis Zingwangwa with the rest being identified only as Nhendere, Munetsi, Maruva, Nyamayaro, Mudzuto, Chifamba and Mate.
The checking of applications for postal votes started on June 4 and will close on June 17 when all applications are supposed to reach the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), by noon.
A stilted campaign among armed forces has been launched to ensure that members vote for incumbent President Robert Mugabe in the June 27 election, which pits him against first round winner Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC.
The MDC has complained about ZANU-PF, in collusion with top military generals, going all out to coerce junior members of the army, the police and their spouses to vote for President Mugabe.
The uniformed forces vote two days before June 27 under the supervision of their superiors.

Violence breaks out in Chimanimani

CHIMANIMANI – About 500 people have fled from their homes in Cashel Valley and Mutambara after armed militants and Zanu PF supporters attacked their homes.
The attack began on Saturday.
War veterans, soldiers and Zanu PF youths who are camped at Cashel Valley moved from house to house beating up villagers accusing them of not supporting Robert Mugabe’s bid to retain the country’s presidency.
On Monday they descended on Mutambara Mission school and hospital where they indiscriminately attacked residents at the mission. One man from Cashel Valley was shot dead and three were seriously injured and taken to Mutambara Mission Hospital.
Another man identified as Musere, an elderly farm labourer at the mission, is missing amid fears the Zanu PF militants abducted him.
“People are sleeping in the mountains,” said one victim who fled to Mutare. “Those of us who are lucky have managed to come all this way to Mutare.”
The victim refused to be identified.
There were fears authorities at the mission could close down both the school and the hospital because of the intensifying violence.
Another victim who fled at the dead of the night on Monday said gunfire sound was heard throughout the previous night.
War veterans and soldiers camped at a Zanu PF base in Cashel Valley are armed with AK rifles an assortment of light arms, sources said on Tuesday.
“It is very frightening,” he said, “But the biggest worry is that all these is happening while the police are just watching and not doing anything.”
Cashel Valley and Mutambara are in Chimanimani West. The constituency was won by MDC; s Lynette Karinye who beat Cabinet Minister Munacho Mutezo.
Mutezo was not immediately available for comment as his mobile phone was continuously not reachable.
Pishai Muchauraya, the MDC spokesman in Manicaland said the violence has also spread to Nedziwa and other surrounding areas.
"It's frightening," Muchauraya said, "The level of violence against our supporters is now very alarming. It is not only in Chimanimani but throughout the province."
The violence in Chimanimani West is calculated at cowing voters not to cast their ballots in favour of Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader who squares it up with the Zanu PF ageing leader, Mugabe, who lost the March 29 vote.
Tsvangirai won the poll but not with enough votes to form a government. Political analysts believe Tsvangirai can win the June 27 run –off if it is conducted in a free and fair environment. But if the violence against perceived opposition supporters and sympathizers continue as the case, a Zanu PF victory is beckoning.
Victims of the Chimanimnai violence said the Zanu PF militants are threatening an all out war should Mugabe lose the run off.

"We will not let Tsvangira rule this country" Chinotimba

MUTARE – Veterans of Zimbabwe’s war of liberation have vowed never to allow Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, to take over power from President Mugabe should he win the June 27 election run – off.
Joseph Chinotimba, a leader of the war veterans told thousands of Zanu PF supporters at Bambazonke Business Centre that Tsvangirai will not be allowed to take over power.
Chinotimba, national vice-chairman of the war veterans’ association and a member of the Zanu PF central committee, was speaking at the official launch of the Zanu PF presidential campaign in Manicaland.
Voting for Tsvangirai would “reverse the gains of independence”, Chinotimba told the gathering.
He said was veterans would not stand and just watch as the country was being “taken back to former colonizers”.
"We, as war veterans, are geared to retain our Presidential candidate and will not let Morgan Tsvangirai win this election,” He said. “Remember, we went to war for this country and many sons and daughters of this beloved nation perished as the whites resisted majority rule.”
"We will not stand and just watch as the Western-sponsored MDC gives back this country to the former colonizers.”
Chinotimba’s threats that the MDC leader will not be allowed to take over power in the wake of similar threats issued by top ranking military and security officials who have publicly declared they will not salute Tsvangirai.
But such utterances have been roundly condemned by local and international human rights organization. They say the threats are calculated at undermining democracy and perpetuate Mugabe’s 28-year hold to power.
Mugabe faces Tsvangirai in a run up that has been marred by politically motivated violence which has been blamed on both political parties.
However, human rights groups blames much of the fracas on Zanu PF supporters whom they say, are being backed by the army and war veterans.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Court Dismisses Former ZBC Staffer's Application - Defence Appeals

Mutare Provincial Magistrate Chipadze on 5 June 2008 dismissed an application by lawyers representing former Manicaland, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) Bureau Chief, Andrew Neshamba.
The application was made on the basis that Neshamba was charged under a wrong law.

Magistrate Chipadze agreed with the defence's contention that ZBC as currently constituted is a company registered in terms of the Companies Act and that at all material times, Neshamba was employed by Newsnet Private Limited.However, he argued that in terms of the ZBC (Commercialisation) Act, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings was supposed to prioritise serving the needs of the state.

He ruled that the accused's conditions of service were those he enjoyed as an employee of ZBC, before the repeal of the ZBC Act. He interpreted this to mean that what had just changed were names. He, therefore, concluded that the accused was a public officer as defined in the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform)Act.

Soon after the ruling, the defence applied for stop proceedings in the Magistrate Court . They further appealed to the High Court, against the Magistrate's ruling arguing that the Magistrate had misdirected himself in refusing the defence's application and the misdirection was gross.

For the state, Nelson Makunyire opposed the application arguing that only in exceptional circumstances should proceedings be stopped to allow an appeal. He said it will be better for the defence to appeal once should the accused person be convicted.

Magistrate Chipadze will deliver his ruling on the latest application on 9 June 200.


Allegations against Neshamba are that on 4 February 2007 he and William Gumbo facilitated the entry of Peter Moyo, a South African based E-TV unaccredited journalist into Chiadzwa diamond fields in Marange and took video footage of the mine fields.

On 2 June 2008 the defence made an application that Neshamba who faces charges of abuse of duty as a public officer in contravention of Section 174 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act was not a public officer as envisaged by the Act.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Zanu PF blames parastatals for loss in elections

MUTARE - The Zanu PF leadership in Manicaland Province has accused the police force and parastatals for being responsible for their party's dismal performance in the March 29 elections.
Some government institutions also came under fire from the Zanu PF leadership.
They say parastatals and key government institutions withheld their services towards the crucial polls resulting in voters "turning against" Zanu PF.
President Mugabe's party lost 18 of the 26 seats during the March 29 polls. The MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai also got a much bigger chunk of the votes in the province.
Six Cabinet Ministers fell by the wayside during the poll. They are Oppah Muchinguri, Mike Nyambuya, Patrick Chinamasa, Joseph Made, Munacho Mutezo and Chris Mushowe.
At a meeting to review Zanu PF 's performance during the March 29 polls and to strategize for the presidential run – off several party members blamed parastatals and government institutions for the dismal performance.
Parastatals and government institutions that came under fire includes the Grain Marketing Board (GMB), Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA), Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA), the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) and the Mutare City Council.
Interestingly, the organizations are led and manned by individuals widely believed and known to be Zanu PF activists.
The super-charged meeting was held at the government complex, which houses the offices of the provincial governor, the provincial administrator, the Central Intelligence Organisation and other key government offices.
At the meeting Esau Mupfumi, a Zanu PF central committee member and losing candidate for the Mutare senatorial seat, "We have discovered that some parastatals are now working with foreign forces to unseat President Mugabe. We should all go to the run – off knowing what we fought for. We are now giving leaders of these parastatals up to Wednesday to mend things. We want to find ways of improving service delivery."
Power utility, Zesa, was accused of sabotaging Zanu PF because of its high bills and incessant power cuts.
"To us this is sabotage," said Cecilia Gambe, a senior Zanu PF official in Mutare, "How can electricity be switched off in critical areas like hospitals?"
Gambe said by switching off electicity at places such as Dangamvura Clinic which houses a maternity wing Zesa was sabotaging Zanu PF.
Other Zanu PF members blamed ZINWA for Mutezo's defeat in Chimanimani. The officials said ZINWA's poor billing and poor service delivery affected Mutezo and President Mugabe during the elections.
The police was accused of sympathizing with the MDC and supplying them with key and sensitive information during the campaign. The GMB was blamed for not availing enough maize meal to use for campaigning.
The Mutare City Council, which is run by a commission appointed by Ignatius Chombo, was accused of failing to provide a proper service delivery to residents and also corruption.