Press statement from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights

A Zimbabwean Magistrate on Monday 27 July, 2015 ordered the release of three civil society leaders who were arrested and charged with contravening one of the country’s tough security laws after  faulting the Zimbabwe Republic Police for over-detaining the trio in breach of the country’s new Constitution.

Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services (ZPCS) and police officers on Saturday 25 July, 2015 ambushed and arrested three Civil Society Organisations (CSO) leaders Mfundo Mlilo, the spokesperson of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, (CiZC) and the director of the Combined Harare Residents Association, CiZC programmes manager Nixon Nyikadzino and Dirk Frey, the spokesperson of Occupy Africa Unity Square movement and charged them with contravening Section 25 (5) of the Public Order and Security Act (POSA).

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The prison and police officers alleged that the three CSO leaders failed to give notice of a gathering that allegedly took place on Friday 24 July 2015 outside the premises of Harare Remand Prison or alternatively Section 5 (2) of the Protected Places and Areas Act. The police claimed that Mlilo, Nyikadzino and Frey were part of 60 CSOs representatives and informal sector traders who visited Harare Remand Prison on a solidarity visit to some detained National Vendors Union Zimbabwe leaders and some traders.

But the trio’s lawyer Gift Mtisi of Musendekwa Mtisi Legal Practitioners and a member of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights on Monday afternoon filed an application seeking the immediate release of his clients and arguing that their rights had been violated and should be set free as they had been detained beyond the prescribed 48-hour period as provided for in Section 50 (2) and (3) of the Constitution.

While the State which opposed Mtisi’s application and which wanted to have the CSO leaders placed on remand in custody to 06 August 2015, the human rights lawyer insisted that his clients must be released as the police had not secured a court order to extend their detention beyond the 48 hours.

Mtisi argued that it would be illegal for Harare Magistrate Tendai Mahwe to entertain the State’s intentions as doing so would perpetuate an illegality. In the end, Magistrate agreed with Mtisi and ordered the immediate release of Mlilo, Nyikadzino and Frey.

Press statement from Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights:

Zimbabwean authorities on Friday 24 July, 2015 and Saturday 25 July, 2015 arrested some civil society leaders, activists and a journalist in a fresh onslaught against non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services (ZPCS) officers first arrested journalist Edgar Gweshe and activists Charles Nyoni and Don Makuwaza, the mobilisation and membership recruitment officer for Chitungwiza Residents Trust on Friday 24 July, 2015 and handed them over to the Zimbabwe Republic Police, who charged them with contravening Section 5 (2) of the Protected Places and Areas Act Chapter 11:12 for allegedly failing to comply with a directive from an authorised officer regulating conduct and movement.

The three, who are represented by Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights member Tonderai Bhatasara of Mupanga Bhatasara Legal Practitioners, were arrested at Harare Remand Prison during a solidarity visit by leaders and representatives of CSOs to some detained informal sector traders and their union leaders.

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Prosecutors charged that the activists were part of about 60 vendors who gathered outside Harare Remand Prison and held a meeting whose agenda was not known. ZPCS Superintendent Renias Chiwakaya reportedly ordered them to disperse but they allegedly resisted the order resulting in a police officer firing some warning shots. The prison officers reportedly confiscated a camera and some mobile phone handsets which they claimed had been used by Gweshe, Nyoni and Makuwaza in taking photographs outside the prison complex.

On Saturday 25 July, 2015, some prison and police officers teamed up at Rotten Row Magistrates Court, where they ambushed and arrested three CSO leaders Mfundo Mlilo, the spokesperson of Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, (CiZC), Nixon Nyikadzino, the CiZC programmes manager and Dirk Frey, the deputy chairperson of the Occupy Africa Unity Square, who were following up on the appearance in court of Gweshe, Nyoni and Makuwaza.

At the time of their arrest, the prison and police officers alleged that the three had taken pictures and had led a “resistance” at Harare Remand Prison on Friday 24 July, 2015 where they allegedly led about 60 CSOs representatives and informal sector traders on a solidarity visit to some detained National Vendors Union Zimbabwe leaders and some traders.

Mlilo, Nyikadzino and Frey, who are represented by Gift Mtisi of Mtisi Musendekwa Legal Practitioners, a member of ZLHR, were taken to Harare Central Police Station, where they are detained.

Meanwhile, Gweshe, Makuwaza and Nyoni were on Saturday 25 July, 2015 released on $50 bail and ordered to report to the police once in every two weeks and continue residing at their given residential addresses.

Press statement from Civil Society in Zimbabwe:

On Saturday 25 July, 2015, Zimbabwe Prison and Correctional Services (ZPCS) officers teamed up with some Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) officers arrested three CSO leaders Mfundo Mlilo, the CiZC spokesperson, Nixon ‘Mao’ Nyikadzino, the CiZC programmes manager and Dirk Frey, the deputy chairperson of the Occupy Africa Unity Square.

The three were arrested while attending the bail hearing of CiZC Information Officer Edgar Gweshe and activists Charles Nyoni and Don Makuwaza who were arrested on Friday while visiting National Vendors Union of Zimbabwe activists who are detained at the Harare Remand Prison.

Civil Society in Zimbabwe condemns the sustained onslaught against civic society leaders which have culminated with the reprehensible and arbitrary ambush and arrest of civic society leaders and activists on charges of violating one of the country’s tough security laws.

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At the time of the arrest of Mlilo and Nyikadzino, the prison and police officers alleged that the three had taken pictures and had led a “resistance” at Harare Remand Prison on Friday 24 July, 2015 where they allegedly led about 60 CSOs representatives and informal sector traders on a solidarity visit to some detained National Vendors Union Zimbabwe leaders and some traders. Gweshe, Nyoni and Makuwaza, who were first arrested at Harare Remand Prison on Friday 24 July 2015 during a solidarity visit by leaders and representatives of CSOs to some detained informal sector traders and their union leaders were charged with contravening Section 5 (2) of the Protected Places and Areas Act Chapter 11:12 for allegedly failing to comply with a directive from an authorised officer regulating conduct and movement.

Civil society is deeply concerned by the actions of the state through launching an unwarranted assault on civil society on cooked up charges of leading an unspecified “resistance” in a bid to close up the operating space.

Civil society condemns the unprofessional conduct of the ZPCS and the ZRP officers of firing gun shots in the presence of unarmed civilians who were visiting their relatives and colleagues.

It is quite clear that the arrest of the CSO leaders and activists is part of a calculated and sustained assault on CSO’s. These actions are meant to divert the attention of the Zimbabwean public from the agonising economic crisis and deteriorating living conditions which the government has failed to arrest.

Responsibility for the current crackdown lies squarely and fully on the government which has either been powerless to stop the attacks on CSOs, directly or indirectly involved in the coordination and implementation of the attacks, or simply unconcerned with the challenges faced by those outside their ivory towers.

Should further harm befall those within the civic society sector as a result of such ongoing and future attacks, it is this fascist government that we will hold responsible.

Civil Society demand and call upon:

- The Government of Zimbabwe to immediately release the civil society leaders and activists.
- The Government of Zimbabwe must desist from intimidating, harassing and interfering of legitimate operations of civil society in Zimbabwe.
- The ZPCS and ZRP to exercise professionalism and carry out their duties in non-partisan manner with due diligence and stop harassing and intimidating human rights defenders.
- The Government of Zimbabwe should create an enabling environment for CSOs in accordance with the Zimbabwean Constitution and the various regional and international norms which Zimbabwe has signed which protects fundamental rights of human rights defenders to exist and be protected by law, to organize associate and carry out peaceful and legitimate activities.
- The Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) to condemn this act of repression and de-mand, from the current Chair, guarantees for Zimbabwean CSOs to operate freely.

Issued by / Contact Persons: 1. Mfundo Mlilo, Spokesperson, Mobile: +263 772 127 397 / +1 612 483 0685 Email: mfundomlilo [at] gmail [dot] com 2. McDonald Lewanika, Executive Director, Mobile: +263772 913418 Email: mlewanika [at] gmail [dot] com Email: info [at] crisiszimbabwe [dot] org ; publications [at] crisiszimbabwe [dot] org Website: www.crisiszimbabwe.org

Louis Car Wash

louis_car_wash

Please could you help get the word out about Louis Car Wash? I met him today while walking back from the Fife Avenue shops. He was clearing up an area to start his own car wash business. He is homeless and wants to, and can work to make himself a living. Please find attached a JPEG image I made to help spread the word that his car wash is up and running. Your assistance in helping Louis get clients, or get long term help to get him out of the poverty trap is greatly appreciated. – Nyasha, Kubatana member

Call for Proposals: African Diaspora Support to African Universities Program / Visiting Professorships In The Humanities And Social Sciences: Council for the Development of Social Science research in Africa (CODESRIA)
Deadline: 15 September 2015

Under its newly launched African Diaspora Support to African Universities program, the Council for the Development of Social Science research in Africa (CODESRIA), is pleased to invite interested African scholars in the Diaspora to submit proposals for visiting professorships to African Universities. The Program seeks to mobilize the African academic Diaspora to support African universities and to strengthen the linkages between African academics in the Diaspora and African universities. The visiting professorships are meant for African academics in the Diaspora who are willing to contribute to the strengthening of African universities, the nurturing of new generations of scholars in Africa in a culture of excellence, and the revitalization of the social sciences, higher education studies, and the humanities. The specific objectives of the program include the strengthening of PhD programs and the curricula in the social sciences, and the humanities (SSH), and related fields; contribute to the filling of gaps and dealing with shortages of qualified teaching staff; PhD supervision and mentoring of young social science scholars in Africa, more generally; as well as in strengthening the relationships and linkages between African academics in the Diaspora and the institutions where they are based with African universities. More here

Inside/Out with Gerald Mangena

Kubatana wanted to find out more about Gerald, one of the movers and shakers behind theSpace Event happening on 18 September 2015 … here’s what we got

Describe yourself in five words?
Intuitive, creative, excitable, fun loving

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Know and understand your values; follow your dreams anchored upon those values before it is too late or rather, before it is much difficult to turn back

What’s the most ridiculous thing you’ve ever done?
It was my fiancée’s birthday while she was still at college. I arrived at her hostel window early morning, playing the song, “When a man loves a woman” on VERY HIGH VOLUME (sorry to all the ladies who were still sleeping). She looked out the window and she was thoroughly surprised! We then had a mini celebration with cake and flowers with her few friends before I dashed off to the office to arrive at 8am!

What is your most treasured possession?
Well I do not really treasure any possession because they come and go! If you insist that I pin point at least one thing, then that would be my golden Seiko 5 wristwatch that I received from my dad. It is a symbol of forgiveness and reconciliation (call me and I will tell you the whole story)

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What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
When one knows their true potential and even knowing the path to unlocking that potential and yet remain locked in the dungeon of potential, unable to passionately release it to make their own positive contribution to society

Do you have any strange hobbies?
I constantly dwell my thoughts on anything of the future all the time, which brings a sense of worry at times

What do you dislike most about your appearance?
I love everything about my experience. Oh, wait, but there is someone out there who dislikes something about their appearance right? I have something to say: it is those around that person that have made them to feel that way and unfortunately, that person has not yet managed to break through the wall of shame created by these people (I broke that wall)

What is your greatest extravagance?
Buying stuff to spoil my fiancée

What have you got in your fridge?
You really want to know? Please take a guess. Hint: I’m a bachelor who spends little time at home. You got it? Yes, you’re right: some water, one or two packets of meat, and, after a visit from my fiancée, some yoghurt

What is your greatest fear?
The END. When you reach YOUR end, only to discover you failed to be what you were created to be – life wasted!

What have you got in your pockets right now?
My wallet and my phones

What is your favourite journey?
Any journey that fits into my purpose in life

Who are your heroes in real life?
My late grandmother: she always prayed for me to be a good man and each time she told me that, I would be double-inspired.  My mother: she really knows how not to give up on anything she will be working on

When and where were you happiest?
The day I found out that my fiancéd was the kind of woman I want to spend my life with. This was when I was in my bed and in deep thought about what kind of woman she was.

What’s your biggest vice?
None! (wink wink)

What were you like at school?
A shy and yet carefree boy (at primary school), then, a very shy guy, conscious about his appearance yet confused about the world around him though he was confident in his academic capabilities (at secondary school). College time was a series of years of revelation about what I want the end of my life to be like

What are you doing next?
Preparing for a sweet wedding and honeymoon!

Check out theSpace, Zimbabwe’s only international platform convened by young people designed to provide solutions and opportunities for growth and thought process to current and future challenges here: www.thespace.co.zw

Rise from the rubble

A big thanks to Young Achievement Sports for Development (YASD) for this inspiring story:

June 2015 marks 10 years since the people of Hatcliffe and thousands other Zimbabweans lost their property and homes in a government led operation termed “Murambatsvina / Restore Order“. For the young people who witnessed their homes been destroyed and been rendered homeless it became a turning point in their lives. One young person is Paul Nyamhake captain of the street soccer team that will represent Zimbabwe at the Homeless World Cup 2015 edition to be hosted in Amsterdam.

Paul was only 10 years old when their home was destroyed, like many other youngsters in the area Paul dropped out of school. Through efforts of Young Achievement Sports for Development (YASD) he enrolled in the organisation’s sports training program where his talent was nurtured. YASD helped the homeless young people in the community to be reintegrated back into school half a year later. Though he was back in school Paul had to walk a distance of about 5 kilometres just to attend a decent and a formal school.  Eventually he dropped out of school and chose a different path of life: football. Like most of the other young boys in the community, they would play football in the streets as a way of escaping the poverty, drugs and to while away the idle time as the community lacked social structures such as running water and electricity, let alone recreational facilities.

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Paul spent most of his time playing soccer in the YASD ST Program which saw him been groomed into a focused and committed young man. Talented as he was on the field he lacked some skills that many take for granted such as confidence, public speaking skills, goal setting and planning. Over the years YASD has done various trainings and camps where young people like Paul would be taken and trained to be more focused in their life, to give them hope that being homeless was not a finality but could also be used as a stepping stone in life. Being partner to the Homeless World Cup organisation is a platform YASD uses to inspire young people in the community that one day they can represent their country at an international level, which can open doors of endless possibilities of success. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to market his talent so that he is able to tell the others that your background does not limit your destiny – being homeless is not the end of the world.

Paul has rose against all odds, his outstanding talent gave him high hopes. From the YASD sports program there were local football scouts who were impressed with his skills and he had the opportunity to play for a social league, Astra-Chemical. Paul impressed so much that other teams would engage his services from time to time. Through playing for theses social teams Paul was crowned the top goal scorer at the communications league when he was just 17 years old. He scored 28 goals in 15 matches.

Currently, Paul is still living in the Hatcliffe Community though 10 years have passed since his home was destroyed. Nothing much has changed in terms of infrastructural development or access to services and sanitation. His family has built a 4-roomed brick structure that he shares with 5 other siblings as well as his parents.

His dream is to play for Manchester city one day. He hopes to meet Yaya Toure, his role model.

Learn more about Young Achievement Sports for Development (YASD) and get involved!

www.yasdzim.org

Zimbabwe Political Economy Review

Understanding the informalisation of the Zimbabwe Economy, published by Zimbabwe Democracy Institute:

The purpose of this review is to critically analyze the shifting political economy of Zimbabwe through the growth of the informal sector and its implications on the democratisation processes. At this historic moment where the question of livelihoods of ordinary citizens as exhibited by daily running battles and every day forms of resistance by vendors and municipal and government authorities in cities such as Harare over vending spaces; it is perhaps instructive to have a deeper analytic appreciation of the political and economic malaise Zimbabwe is going through in order to fashion responses that address the root causes of the shifting political economy. The morbid symptoms in the economy require political, economic and civic actors to look for solutions that address the causes and not the symptoms such as chasing, beating, assaulting and arresting vendors in the cities of Zimbabwe. Read more here

Here is the International Socialist Organization (Zim) response to the Supreme Court Ruling on Retrenchments:

The working class is in despair and a climate of melancholy is engulfing the nation following the triumphant victory of the bosses in a Supreme court ruling that has reshaped and rearranged the essence, meaning and interpretation of the Zimbabwean labour law regime particularly Labour Act 28_ 01. The appalling ruling, which is now law, provides for the termination of employment contracts prior to a three-month notice even without a retrenchment package. Workers have already begun to be kicked out from their jobs unfairly without a single dime as retrenchment package. From Friday 17 July 2015 in the aftermath of the ruling to Tuesday 21 July 2015 hundreds of workers have lost their jobs with bosses particularly at Pelhams, Steward Bank, TN Harlequin and Croco Motors wasting no time to shed jobs and plunge their employees into destitution. The retrenchment board has been rendered void, Employment Councils, Trade Unions and collective bargaining, the Labour Court and even the Minister of labour have all been technically stripped of their positions and reduced into innocuous feeble institutions with no legal basis to defend workers against both unfair termination of employment contracts and to ensure that workers get decent if any retrenchment packages.

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The International Socialist Organization (ISO) Zim notes this sudden, unfortunate, horrific and morbid development against the working people and the poor  in general with colossal misgiving. The Supreme Court ruling is a quantum leap in the wrong direction towards the casualization of workers, strangulation of the poor and extreme exploitation of the poor and suffering in Zimbabwe. Workers are the creators of wealth, it is the appropriation of unpaid and slave labour that produces surplus or profits that are privately accumulated by bosses and workers who have worked tirelessly doing work that is physically weary and mentally tedious can now be kicked out of their jobs with nothing, as penniless slaves, in a state akin to their first day of work. The Supreme Court ruling has intensified the conditions of work under the present system of ‘wage slavery’ where workers are being shamelessly exploited by capitalists receiving starvation wages and performing unpaid labour. There is every reason for every worker to cast away all illusions about capitalism, which has been exposed by the ruling as an evil system that preys on the exploitation of the poor with no scant regard of the future and welfare of workers. The Supreme Court ruling is being celebrated and hailed in all boardrooms in banks, factories, food outlets, farms, and government offices as a tool that will enable the easiness of hiring and firing workers and also as the institution of labour market flexibility that will maximize enormous profits for bosses.

A Supreme court ruling that legally empowers capitalists with the right to dismiss, sack and boot out employees through a mere notice of termination of the  contract of employment without a retrenchment package is a heartless decision , a callous act and an indictment of the bourgeois legal system as a ruling class superstructure for the protection of ruling class interests. The state and law are mere tools for those who are rich and powerful that enable them to maintain their grip power and ensure an uninterrupted process of exploiting the poor. The strangulation of the poor, the massacring of workers and vandalism of state resources is legitimized, justified and buttressed by the state and law whose orientation corresponds to the exploitative system of capitalism. The laws are clear in stating that workers can be kicked out of their jobs without any benefits or packages and if workers try to demonstrate and strike the same laws will have them dismissed from their jobs and the state through riot police ‘the infamous black boots’ and soldiers will descent on them to quell dissent. The state and law are brutal, inhumane, callous and the only recourse for workers is their resolve, intrepidness, astuteness and organization in destroying capitalism first through strikes, factory occupations, demonstrations culminating into fighting political mass strikes that will lead to a revolution against the ‘bosses society’ ‘wage slavery’ ‘exploitation’ starvation, misery and suffering and supplanting it with a socialist society based on equality, social justice and freedom.

There is absolutely no doubt that the Supreme Court in the case between Don Nyamande, Kingston Donga vs Zuva Petroleum has a set a common law precedent that is efficacious which has set in motion the ‘floodgate’ of termination of employment contracts by the bosses. The government itself, desperate for another ‘ESAP’ is implementing an IMF Staff monitored program which enjoins it to slash the civil service has been yearning for such legal a mechanism to launch a full scale program of cutting jobs in hospitals, schools, universities and other public institutions. The private sector struggling with the contradictions of capitalism, the conflict between technological advancement and the relations of production engendered mainly by neoliberal globalization and the insatiable desire for capitalists to maximize profits is seizing this ‘opportunity of a lifetime’ to hire and fire workers without any costs or slight reduction in profits.

The only way forward for the working class is the unity of the labour movement and organization around a radical anti-capitalist program of action. The legal battle has reached its inherent limit, an appeal against the Supreme Court ruling before the Constitutional Court will hit a brick wall as Section 65 in the constitution which deals with Labour Rights is deeply flawed and parochial for use in a sound case against the ruling. The new Constitution which was voted ‘Yes’ in 2013 only inadequately and narrowly articulate labour rights and is devoid of any meaningful provisions that protect workers from unfair labour practices. The other option available to repel the Supreme Court ruling is the parliamentary route through the reform of the Labour Act particularly section 12 that deals with the termination of a contract of employment. The Parliamentary road is inherently flawed in that the Parliament is just a ruling class apparatus for protecting the interests of bosses since most if not all parliamentarians own businesses and farms and would want to use the exploitative laws to further their interests. Parliamentarians most of them who are beneficiaries of the elite indigenization and economic empowerment policy like Munangagwa, Chombo, Obert Mpofu, Kasukuwere will behave in line with their selfish bourgeois instinct oriented towards the exploitation of the poor which means that they will not reform the labour act to protect workers and will most likely oppose any plans repel the the Supreme Court ruling but with a possibility of pushing for cosmetic reforms to avoid a backlash and cajole the gullible into believing that they are ‘pro-poor’ elites.

The ISO calls on the ZCTU, COZTU and the ZFTU to urgently launch a full scale mass strike with all workers downing their tools in protest over the unfair, exploitative and diabolic Supreme Court ruling and Labour laws in general. Working people of Zimbabwe and the globe at large must begin a campaign of boycotting Zuva Petroleum service stations to starve it to death.

Shinga Mushandi! Shinga!
Quina Msebenzi! Quina!

ISO Information Department

Run for kids in Zimbabwe!

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