Voices From Zimbabwe Plus

Zimbabwe: With the elections gone and the country firmly in their grip, the ruling ZANU-PF unravelled their newest ploy to silence hostilities from their own citizens. Trevor Ncube, the publisher of two of Zimbabwe's independent newspapers The Independent and The Standard, and leading South African titles the Mail and Guardian, had his passport seized at the Joshua Nkomo Airport in Bulawayo last week. News reports speculate that the government has put together a list of 64 opponents and critics whose passports must be withdrawn immediately upon detection by border enforcement officers. Human rights activists and Civil rights leaders have however pointed out that the specific constitutional provision enabling the government to curb the travels of citizens whose travels “pose a threat to national security” is yet to be ratified by parliament making a law.

Meanwhile ZANU-PF is holding its’ People's Congress in Esigodhini, a small town in Matabeleland where they've failed to mobilize any grassroots support. This is Zimbabwe notes how unusual it is for the people of Buluwayo to have the presidential motorcade commandeering city streets in the nation's second city.

“People in Bulawayo just aren’t used to motorcades.

On the way home tonight, friends were forced to veer off the main road into the lane for oncoming traffic. rgm had a fabulous day of ranting at the zanu thug congress in Esigodini and the mob were on their way home.”

Burundi: Agathon Rwasa is furious at the UN Burundi office for having nothing to say on International Human Rights day in light of the fact that several FNL leaders were captured with UN uniforms in their posession a month ago.

DRC: Sahara Sara reports an earthquake in eastern Congo that didn't get much coverage in MSM.

Adventures of a Retired Armchair Traveler contemplates the culpability of a DRC citizen convicted in Australia of spreading HIV, making this crucial distinction,

“In this story, there is not enough information to know whether the man that was jailed did what he did intentionally. Knowingly is not the same. Knowingly means that he had received a positive diagnosis and subsequently had unprotected sex with the two women mentioned in the article. Intentionally was how our character was infecting sex partners, which is much more insidious and scary.

Malawi: Mike of Hacktivate reports on Malawi's first blogger meet up.


  • Subject: More from Zimbabwe: Raymond Majongwe’s Passport withdrawn

    The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) reports that Raymond Majongwe, the Secretary General of the Progressive Teachers Union (PTUZ) and a member of the ZCTU General Council had his passport conficicated on arrival at the Harare International Airport today at 12:50pm.

    Majongwe had attended an ILO Workshop on HIV and AIDS in Nigeria. He was approached by immigration officials at the point of entry and no reasons were given for the withdrawal of the passport.

    It is believed that Majongwe is on the list of Civic Society leaders who have been earmarked by government to have their passports withdrawn as government believes that these people are talking wrong things about Zimbabwe abroad. This incident follows the ammendment of the Zimbabwe constitution which provided for the withdrawal of travel documents from all Zimbabweans who are pecieved to be enemies of the state.

    The ZCTU views this as a retributive counter action by the government of Zimbabwe after almost the entire ZANU PF leadership and Government Ministers were slapped with travel sanctions.

    It is a mischivious act of flagrant disregard of the freedom of association and movement. Rights which the government of Zimbabwe ratified under convention 87 (Freedom of Association and the Protection of the right to organise) of the International Labour Organisation.

  • ** High Priority **

    HARARE – Radio Voice of the people raided by police

    Radio Voice of the People has been raided by the police on the afternoon of the 15th december. According to local sources they were looking for the station manager, John Masuku and radio journalist Shorai Kwai, who were not in the office at the time of the raiding. At the time of this news alert there were no arrests, but the equipment of radio VOP had been sealed off and the staff had to remain in their office, nobody being allowed in or out. Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights had been allerted and were at the office for legal protection of Radio VOP.

    Please forward this news alert!

    ::: Zimbabwe government travel ban policy in shambles :::

    By Violet Gonda and Lance Guma
    14 December 2005

    The controversial passport seizures by Zimbabwean authorities reached new heights on Wednesday. On one hand they returned passports to leading newspaper publisher Trevor Ncube and opposition politician Paul Themba Nyathi, and on the other they confiscated that of outspoken trade unionist Raymond Majongwe as he arrived at Harare International Airport from an AIDS conference in Abuja, Nigeria.

    Trevor Ncube had filed an urgent High Court application challenging the seizure of his passport as unlawful. However his passport was returned before the courts considered the matter. Passports are being seized under constitutional amendment number 17, which allows the state to bar travel for perceived critics of the Mugabe regime.

    Ncube told Newsreel the Attorney General’s Office had called his lawyers on Tuesday to collect his passport, thereby conceding that the seizure was unlawful. Nyathi on the other hand says he received a phone call from immigration authorities advising him that his passport would be returned to him.

    Human Rights Lawyer Arnold Tsunga said the seizures are illegal, as amendment 17 is being implemented without an operational regulatory framework in place for this draconian legislation.

    The legal expert said it is obvious that the seizures of the passports violate fundamental principles of natural justice, and this is why the Attorney General’s office returned Ncube’s passport. The seizure was not a defendable case in court.

    Tsunga said the latest action concerning Majongwe shows that the system of government has lost control over organs of the state in the sense that “the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing.” He implied that this is the work of overzealous state security agents who continue to implement this action on the basis of a list that was compiled by the Registrar General’s Office.

    Raymond Majongwe is the Secretary General of the militant Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe. A former University of Zimbabwe student leader who has also produced poetry and protest music, Majongwe has been a thorn in the flesh for the government having led several demonstrations against them. Briggs Bomba from the International Socialist Organisation (ISO) told Newsreel they had tried to mobilize civic society leaders to go to the airport and protest the seizure of Majongwe’s passport. The effort proved a logistical nightmare, as they only knew of Majongwe’s arrival at the airport close to the time he got there.

    Immigration officials did not bother to tell Majongwe why they were taking his passport. Majongwe, according to his colleagues, was also aware he was on a special targeted list and knew his passport would probably be confiscated upon arrival. He told AFP “This whole exercise is to intimidate and mellow down people who want to take the ZANU-PF government head-on…I am not intimidated by this. In fact I am inspired by the fact that the government regards me as an influential figure in the democratisation process.”

    Trevor Ncube said: “People should not relax. It’s time for civil society to mobilise around this issue. We cannot have legislation that allows the government to use the passport as a way of punishing people that criticise it. It is very uncivilised to behave in this manner.”

    Widespread condemnation at home and abroad fell on deaf ears as the repressive sanctions were welcomed at the ZANU PF national congress this past weekend. Speaking at the conference, Robert Mugabe vowed to take “stern action” against non-governmental organisations and critics of his government. Mugabe’s party recommended on Saturday that the government act against hostile rights groups and asked security forces to draw up a list of people whose passports should be taken.

    :: SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news ::

    For more information, call Zimbabwe Watch on + 31 (0)6 28 91 31 81.

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