Kubatana.net ~ an online community of Zimbabwean activists

Archive for February, 2011

Measuring democracy

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Monday, February 28th, 2011 by Bev Clark

You measure democracy by the freedom it gives its dissidents, not the freedom it gives its assimilated conformists.
- Abbie Hoffman

Dogged resistance

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Saturday, February 26th, 2011 by Bev Clark

An article from The Week:

It was 1941; they should have been preparing for the invasion of the Soviet Union, but instead Nazi officials in Berlin were preoccupied by news that a businessman in Finland has trained his dog to give a mocking Nazi salute in response to the word”Hitler”. Indeed, officials were so outraged by this perceived act of defiance that, according to records newly unearthed in Berlin, German diplomats in Finland – an ally of Nazi Germany – were told to gather evidence for a prosecution.”This is a funny story, but it is a Nazi story which tells how they were looking for enemies everywhere,” said historian Klaus Hillenbrand.

Gwisai describes torture of detainees in police custody

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Thursday, February 24th, 2011 by Amanda Atwood

Read the latest statement from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights on the case of Munyaradzi Gwisai, Hopewell Gumbo and 43 other Zimbabweans who have been charged with treason:

Gwisai bemoans torture as Muchadehama challenges placement of activists on remand

Detained social justice activist Munyaradzi Gwisai on Thursday 24 February 2011 lamented the torture sessions to which suspects are subjected by state security agents as tragic and inexpressible.

Gwisai, who testified before Harare Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi during an application for refusal of placement on remand for the 45 human rights activists filed by defence lawyer Alec Muchadehama disclosed in court that he, together with other activists, were subjected to torture sessions during their detention by the police at Harare Central Police Station.

Gwisai said the torture sessions were aimed at securing confessions from the activists which would implicate them in the commission of treason, a charge which they are facing in court.

In narrating his ordeal, Gwisai said he was tortured together with five other detainees in a room in the basement at Harare Central Police Station by nine state security agents who included some police officers who had arrested them.

During the torture sessions, which were recorded on video, the detainees were asked to recount what had transpired during their meeting which was held on Saturday 19 February 2011 in central Harare.

Gwisai said each of the six detainees received a series of lashes which were administered while they lay down on their stomachs. He added that he received between 15 and 20 lashes as the police and his tormentors sought to obtain confessions from him and the other detainees.

Gwisai said the pain which he endured and suffered as a result of the torture sessions was “indescribable, sadistic and a tragedy for Zimbabwe”.

The University of Zimbabwe labour law lecturer said it was extremely difficult for him to sit and walk because of the torture sessions he underwent together with other detainees.

Gwisai said the meeting held on Saturday was held to discuss ISO business and issues of democracy and constitutionalism and not to plot the toppling of the government as alleged by the police and prosecutors. He added that the meeting which was attended by HIV/AIDS activists was also meant to commemorate the life of a deceased HIV and AIDS activist, Navigator Mungoni.

Earlier on Muchadehama outlined the detainees’ complaints against the police.

The detainees’ lawyer said the arrest of his clients was unlawful as they were not advised of the reason/s for their arrest. He also advised that they were over-detained in filthy and stinking police cells. He said the detainees only knew of the treason charge when they finally appeared in court on Wednesday 23 February 2011 and no warned and cautioned statements were recorded in relation to the treason charge.

Muchadehama told the court that the police extensively subjected his clients to severe interrogation sessions where they attempted to coax some of the detainees to turn against their colleagues and be considered State witnesses.

He said some of the detainees were assaulted, brutalised and tortured while in police custody. The defence lawyer said the torture sessions were administered through assaults all over the detainees’ bodies, under their feet and buttocks through the use of broomsticks, metal rods, pieces of timber, open palms and some blunt objects.

In his application for refusal of remand Muchadehama argued that the facts as outlined by the State did not constitute the commission of an offence.

The matter continues on Monday 28 February 2011 when prosecutor Edmore Nyazamba, who applied for the placement of the detainees on remand, cross examines Gwisai. In the meantime, all 45 will remain incarcerated in remand prison in Harare and at Chikurubi Women’s Prison for the women detainees.

Students raided for discussing fees

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Thursday, February 24th, 2011 by Amanda Atwood

This from Bulawayo Agenda:

Riot police have reportedly invaded NUST after hearing that students have got a meeting to discus the issues of fees. The feeling of the police is said to be that the meeting may be connected to the Munyaradzi Gwisai saga. Reports are that Acting President of the SRC, Malvin Musvipo, and the Dean of Students have been taken by CIO for interrogation to prove whether the meeting is purely a student meeting with no political attachments. The students have maintained that it is a purely student meeting to discuss fees issues. The meeting is at 10am.

Answer this question

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Thursday, February 24th, 2011 by Bev Clark


Which building would you be visiting in Harare, Zimbabwe if you encountered the following?

Broken windows
Dirty windows
Overpowering smell of urine from the toilets
Overgrown grass
Enough flies to feast on
Rubble outside the front doors
Beer can/coke bottle lying in the courtyard


Harare Magistrates Court

I was there yesterday evening in support of a colleague who has arrested for attending a meeting. The charges are entirely spurious. Treason? For watching a dvd on the Egyptian protests and discussing them?

I felt dirty when I left court yesterday.

Not only from the effects of the shabby building, but also because I’d been in the presence of so little real justice.

Treason charges for Gwisai and 44 other activists

del.icio.us TRACK TOP
Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011 by Amanda Atwood

The following statement from the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights further details the case against Munyaradzi Gwisai and the 44 co-accused:

Police on Wednesday 23 February 2011 charged International Socialist Organisation (ISO) coordinator Munyaradzi Gwisai and 44 social justice and human rights activists with treason.

Prosecutors sneaked in the charge of treason as defined in Section 20 of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act [Chapter 9:23] or alternatively contravening Section 22 (2) (a) (i) of the Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act, that is attempting to overthrow the government by unconstitutional means. Lawyers for the 45 were only advised of the charges minutes before the court convened.

If found guilty of treason, the activists risk being slapped with a sentence of death or life imprisonment.

State prosecutor Edwin Nyazamba, who was assisted by one Mthombeni accused the activists of convening and attending a meeting in a boardroom at Cross Roads House along Julius Nyerere Way in Harare on Saturday 19 February 2011, where they allegedly organized, strategised to implement the removal of a constitutional government of Zimbabwe by unconstitutional means, in similar fashion to the Egyptian revolution, which resulted in the ousting of former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak.

The activists allegedly viewed video footage of the Egyptian protests and made speeches urging other activists in attendance to mobilise a revolt against the government in similar fashion to the protests which were recently staged in Egypt and Tunisia.

Prosecutors said the police who raided and arrested the activists confiscated a video projector, a laptop, and two DVD’s containing the Egyptian and Tunisian revolt recordings.

The State alleged that the police recovered placards with inscriptions which read “Choice is now socialism ISO” and “Marxism in the millennium MDC ndizvo”.

Defence lawyers Alec Muchadehama and Marufu Mandevere of Mbidzo, Muchadehama and Makoni Legal Practitioners, who are members of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) protested against being ambushed in court as prosecutors only availed the charge sheet to them a few minutes before court proceedings.

Harare Magistrate Munamato Mutevedzi adjourned proceedings to Thursday 24 February 2011 to allow the defence lawyers to obtain instructions from the activists as they had not been afforded the opportunity to do so with regards to the new charge of treason which only cropped up when they were in court.

However, the principal prison officer, in contempt of the court, barred defence lawyers from taking instructions from their clients and transferred the activists to Harare Remand Prison and Chikurubi Maximum Prison.

The 45 activists are Munyaradzi Gwisai, Antonater Choto, Tatenda Mombeyarara, Michael Sozinyu, Eddson Chakuma, Hopewell Gumbo, Welcome Zimuto, Phillip Magaya, Prolific Mataruse, Godknows Biya, David Mupatse, Douglas Muzanenhamo, Ganizani Nunu, Reki Jimu, Josphat Chinembiri, Strutton Muhambi, Trevor Chamba, Clarence Mugari, Munyaradzi Maregedze, Willie Hlatswayo, Ian Muteto, Tinashe Muzambi, Tinashe Mutazu, Pride Mukono, Lenard Kamwendo, Tinashe Chisaira, Trust Munyama, Peter Garanewako, Elizabeth Makume, Megline Malunga, Daison Bango, Malvern Hobwana, Tashinga Mudzengi, Ednar Chabalika, Thokozile Mathe, Francisca Thompson, Masline Zvomuya, Nhamo Kute, Annie Chipeta, Tabeth Chideya, Charles Mubwandarikwa, Thomas Chibaya, Fatima Manhando, Blessing Muguzayaya and Robert Muhlaba.