Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Lawyer warns journalists not to use hate laungage

MUTARE – A senior human rights lawyer has warned Zimbabwean journalists that they risk facing criminal prosecution under international law if they propagate hate language and support violation of human rights.
Tinoziva Bere, a Mutare – based lawyer, told journalists attending an elections reporting workshop held in this eastern border city that journalists who support violations of human rights and the murder of citizens should not only be prepared to face sanctions but should face criminal prosecution under international law.
“Any journalist who supports violations of human rights and the murder of citizens should not only face sanctions from the United States but should face criminal prosecution,” Bere said.
He was responding to a question on whether it was appropriate for the United States to slap travel sanctions on journalists.
Some Zimbabwean journalists from the government-controlled media have been put on travel sanctions along with President Mugabe and his top lieutenants in Zanu PF for not respecting human rights.
Some of the affected journalists include Pilkirayi Deketeke, Ceazer Zvayi, Munyaradzi Huni all from Zimpapers and Rueben Barwe and Judith Makwanya from the public broadcaster, Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation. The journalists are accused of complicity in the violations of human rights in Zimbabwe.
President Mugabe and his Zanu PF party have been accused of violating human rights since 2000 when a serious political challenge to unseat the 85-year old former guerilla leader was mounted by the MDC, led by Morgan Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai is now Prime Minister under a political settlement reached at so as to ease mounting tensions caused by a flawed presidential run – off held on June 27 last year.
Human rights campaigners estimate about 100 MDC activists and sympathizers were murdered in cold blood during the campaign but such horrendous acts were never exposed in the State controlled media. Instead, newspapers under the Zimpapers stable and the ZBC sought to cover up the violent acts.
Bere said journalists should instead take a leading role in defending the rights of citizens instead of supporting and covering up acts of violence and violations of human rights.
Journalists and media executives from the central African country of Rwanda are serving lengthy jail terms after they were convicted by an international tribunal trying genocide suspects in Arusha, Tanzania.
The journalists and media owners were accused of using their newspapers and radio stations to fan the genocide that saw close to a million Rwandans from the Tutsi ethnic group being slaughtered between April and July of 1994 in Rwanda.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Biti says Mugabe now too old to continue ruling

MUTARE - Tendai Biti, Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister and a top MDC official says President Mugabe has now become too old to continue ruling the country in an effective manner.
Biti, the MDC secretary general, told about four hundred people at Dangamvura Grounds, that Zimbabwe now urgently needed younger politicians like Morgan Tsvangirai to effectively tackle the problems facing the country.
Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, is the country’s Prime Minister under the inclusive government negotiated to end a political stalemate caused by a flawed presidential run off held last year on June 27.
“The major problem is that our country is being led by very elderly people,” Biti said amid applause. “We now need wheelchairs in Cabinet because a lot of too old.”
He was speaking during election victory celebrations held by Giles Mutsekwa, the MP for Dangamvura-Chikanga constituency. Mutsekwa is the home affairs minister together with Kembo Mohadi of Zanu PF.
Biti said it was disappointing when leaders hang on to power despite their very advanced ages. He said if civil servants were forced to retire when they reach 60 years it was imperative for political leaders to also emulate that.
He said President Mugabe and his geriatric lieutenants should move now move aside because of old age and allow Tsvangirai, who is relatively younger and raring to go, to take over.
“Chipai Save wachirikutemwa dzinobuda ropa kuti watonge,” he said, meaning to say: “Give Save a chance who still has the energy to take over.” Tsvangirai is commonly referred to as Save, his totem, in MDC circles.
President Mugabe, now 85, still wants to cling on to power after enjoying close to a decade of unfettered rule which has culminated in the collapse of a country once marveled as the breadbasket of southern Africa.
Biti said it was disheartening when leaders die whilst in office instead of retiring and resting from the hectic political offices.
This was seen as a veiled reference to Joseph Msika, the country’s vice president, who died last week at the age of 87.
Biti said Tsvangirai can not effectively solve the country’s problems as long as “they are two drivers on the stirring wheel”.
Biti said the MDC entered into the power sharing deal with its sworn political nemesis so as to extricate the country from a 10-year unprecedented economic and political crisis.
Biti said the MDC was committed to have a liberalized media in Zimbabwe and bring international news organizations such as CNN, BBC and Sky News into the country.
He said they were also committed to ensure the country goes through a proper national healing process to unite the people divided for almost a decade because of the political rivarly between the two major political parties.
Biti attacked the country’s justice system saying it was being selectively applied to victimize MDC legislators.
He queried why eight MDC Members of Parliament have been arrested and promptly convicted of various criminal offences when at the same time no Zanu PF MP was facing the same treatment.
“The justice system has become effective when it comes to convicting MDC MPs but Joseph Mwale is a free man,” he said.
Joseph Mwale, the reclusive Central Intelligence Organisation operative, continue to be a free man despite calls by the High Court to have him arrested for the gruesome murder of two MDC activists, Talent Mabika and Tichaona Chiminya at Murambinda Growth Point, Buhera in 2000.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Soldiers desert ZNA

NYANGA – UP to 500 soldiers from the Zimbabwe Defences Forces (ZDF) deserted the army during the past few years, a senior army officer has revealed.
Major General Martin Chedondo, the army’s Chief of Staff, made the revelation when officiating at a graduation ceremony for 60 soldiers who had successfully completed six months training programme on Group Company Commanders Course and Platoon Commanders’ Course.
The ceremony was held at the All Arms Battle School in Nyanga.
While addressing the grandaunts, Major General Chedondo said the 500 soldiers who deserted the army were “cowards” who had failed to “withstand the heat”.
However, army sources said Major General Chedondo was being conservative with the figures suggesting the number of deserters could be much higher.
“We have between 400 and 500 members of the force who were coward enough to have deserted the army because of the difficult conditions,” Major General Chedondo said.
He said those who deserted did so at time when the country was facing serious challenges ad needed them most.
But Major General Chedondo said they have now managed to wither the storm and all was now well in the army. “Those who celebrated that the Defence Forces were now torn apart should try it and see,” he said.
The senior military man said the difficulties had been caused by “illegal sanctions” imposed by the Western World.
Zimbabwe has faced serious economic and political which observers and analysts blame on skewed policies by President Mugabe’s Zanu PF political party, which enjoyed 28-years of unfettered rule. But President Mugabe and his lieutenants blame the problems on Western countries which they say wanted to effect a regime change in Zimbabwe.
During the past turbulent eight years millions of Zimbabwean’s, both skilled and unskilled, fled the country to seek a better life in the Diaspora.
Soldiers also deserted the army and fled out of the country’s borders. Many of them joined the British military while others were scattered in neighboring countries prompting the Zanu PF government to claim they had been recruited by the MDC, then in opposition, to invade the country with the help of countries such as Botswana.
The claims were shot down by both the MDC and the Batswana government.
The two rival political parties are now in a coalition government.
Major General Chedondo, meanwhile, told the graduants in Nyanga that the inclusive government should be supported for the country to move forward.
He said the leaders should always remember the country was freed from colonial rule by the blood of thousands of young Zimbabweans and should therefore not allow anybody to reverse the “gains” of independence.