Hungwe most independent judge!


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Charles Hungwe was described as perhaps Zimbabwe’s most independent judge by the United States embassy after he ordered the release of Movement for Democratic Change treasurer Roy Bennett.

Bennett had appeared in court for in Mutare but the attorney-general’s office had obtained a delay for his trial and then indicted him in the High Court.

He was immediately imprisoned after the attorney-general refused to extend his bail but Hungwe ordered his release after an application for bail by Bennett’s lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 09HARARE834, ZIM NOTES 10-16-2009

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

09HARARE834

2009-10-19 07:45

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO3155

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0834/01 2920745

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 190745Z OCT 09

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5038

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 3103

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3214

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1643

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2477

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 2846

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 3262

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 5709

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2396

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC

RUEATRS/DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHMFISS/EUCOM POLAD VAIHINGEN GE

RUZEJAA/JAC MOLESWORTH RAF MOLESWORTH UK

RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 HARARE 000834

 

AF/S FOR B. WALCH

ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

ADDIS ABABA FOR ACSS

NSC FOR SENIOR AFRICA DIRECTOR

STATE PASS TO USAID FOR L.DOBBINS AND J. HARMON

COMMERCE FOR ROBERT TELCHIN

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O.12958: N/A

TAGS: PGOV PREL ASEC PHUM ECON ZI

 

SUBJECT: ZIM NOTES 10-16-2009

 

———–

1. SUMMARY

———–

 

Topics of the week:

 

– Roy Bennett Locked Up Again and then Ordered Released…

– MDC Announces Disengagement from ZANU-PF…

– Media Commission Selected, but not Announced…

– Journalist Arrested in Chiadzwa…

– Trial of Human Rights Lawyer and Court Clerk Begins…

– IMF Mission Briefs Donors…

– Shoprite Gets Cold Feet…

– Liberalization of Gold Marketing Leads to Mine Re-opening…

– Ministry of State Enterprises and Parastatals Fights for

Relevance…

 

———————————

On the Political and Social Front

———————————-

 

2. Roy Bennett Locked Up Again and then Ordered Released… On

October 13, MDC Treasurer and Deputy Minister of Agriculture Roy

Bennett appeared for trial in the Magistrates Court in Mutare. The

Attorney General’s representative obtained a delay and then indicted

him (essentially refilling charges) in the High Court on October 15.

He was immediately imprisoned after the AG refused to extend his

bail. Bennett’s trial on charges of banditry, terrorism and

sabotage is now scheduled to start in Mutare on October 19. On

October 16, attorney Beatrice Mtetwa argued Bennett’s bail

application before Justice Charles Hungwe in the High Court.

Hungwe, who is perhaps Zimbabwe’s most independent judge, ordered

Bennett released.

 

3. MDC Announces Disengagement from ZANU-PF… After Bennett was

locked up on October 15, the MDC Standing Committee met and resolved

to disengage from ZANU-PF until all Global Political Agreement (GPA)

outstanding issues were resolved.   Disengagement means the MDC

will not meet with ZANU-PF in Cabinet or in the Council of

Ministers. Outstanding issues include the appointments of Reserve

Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes

Tomana, and President Robert Mugabe’s failure to appoint governors.

At this time, the MDC has no intention of leaving government, but is

seeking to pressure ZANU-PF to implement the GPA. See Harare 832

and 826.

 

4. Media Commission Selected, but not Announced… President

Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai have jointly

selected members for the new Media Commission which will inter alia

license newspapers. George Charamba, Permanent Secretary in the

Minister of Information and Mugabe spokesperson, has indicated the

Commission will not be announced until members of the other

commissions provided for in the Global Political

Agreement-Electoral, Human Rights, and Anti-Corruption-are selected.

Interviews for the Electoral and Human Rights Commissions have

taken place and short lists of candidates for Mugabe and Tsvangirai

have been formulated. ZANU-PF appears to be foot-dragging on the

Media Commission, as independent dailies will begin publishing once

the Media Commission is established. See Harare 824.

 

5. Journalist Arrested in Chiadzwa… A freelance journalist was

arrested in Chiadzwa on October 8 and held at a military base in the

Qarrested in Chiadzwa on October 8 and held at a military base in the

diamond field after soldiers found her taking photographs. After

calling a friend in Harare, lawyers secured her release from the

base, and she was transferred to the jail in Mutare. She is

scheduled to appear in court in Mutare on October 19 on charges of

entering a protected area without a pass.

 

6. Trial of Human Rights Lawyer and Court Clerk Begins… The

 

HARARE 00000834 002 OF 003

 

 

trial of prominent human rights lawyer Alec Muchadehama and high

court clerk Constance Gambara on charges of obstructing justice

began on October 14. They stand accused of illegally securing the

release of three men accused of bombing police stations in 2008 who

were abducted in late 2008 and tortured by State agents. In April,

a judge granted the three bail, but the State prosecutor indicated

he would file an appeal to bail. When he failed to do so within

seven days as required by law, Muchadehama approached the clerk who

issued an order of release. The State, however, proclaimed that it

had seven business days, not calendar days to file the appeal.

Muchadehama and Gambara were arrested in May; Muchadehama spent one

night in jail and Gambara spent one week in jail before being

granted bail.

 

 

———————————–

On the Economic and Business Front

———————————-

 

7. IMF Mission Briefs Donors… An IMF team arrived in Harare this

week to review GOZ economic reforms. At an October 13 briefing for

OECD chiefs of mission, IMF officials said there had been progress

on budget execution, but serious concerns remained about governance

at the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. Pressure for wage increases and

lack of progress on rule of law added to doubts about the economic

outlook. See Harare 820.

 

8. Shoprite Gets Cold Feet… South African retail giant Shoprite

has shelved plans to buy the OK Zimbabwe grocery chain. A statement

by Shoprite management cited “socio-economic and political

uncertainty.” OK has declined to comment. Our business contacts

are inclined to think that Shoprite was put off by the GOZ’s seizure

of Kingdom Meikles and other politically motivated meddling in

private business. See Harare 828.

 

 

9. Liberalization of Gold Marketing Leads to Mine Re-opening… On

October 14, Mwana Africa Plc. announced its first gold production of

5.5 kilograms at the Freda Rebecca mine, which had closed in 2007

amidst Zimbabwe’s economic implosion. According to the Zimbabwe

Chamber of Mines, Freda Rebecca will be able to produce 990

kilograms of gold by end of year, thanks to both the liberalization

of gold marketing at the beginning of the year and the improvement

in Zimbabwe’s economic climate.

 

10. Ministry of State Enterprises and Parastatals Fights for

Relevance… Following unilateral ZANU-PF appointments to boards to

state-owned enterprises under the Ministry of Information and

Publicity two weeks ago, the Ministry of State Enterprises and

Parastatals published advertisements calling for applications for

board appointments to parastatals on October 11. The confusion

arises from the overlapping functions of various ministries and the

on-going power struggles between the MDC and ZANU-PF in the

transitional government. Unfortunately for the Minister of State

Enterprises and Parastatals, an MDC appointee, most of the

parastatals were created by Acts of Parliament that compel them to

Qparastatals were created by Acts of Parliament that compel them to

report through their own line ministries.

 

——————

Quotes of the Week

——————

 

11. “I hope SADC see that ZANU-PF has not shifted from its position

of abusing the powers it has to decimate the MDC – powers given to

them by SADC.” Beatrice Mtetwa, the human rights lawyer

representing Roy Bennett.

 

12. “The bottom line is that all animals are equal but some are

more equal than others.” — Jonathan Moyo quoted without irony in

 

HARARE 00000834 003 OF 003

 

 

the October 11 Sunday Mail on the reasons for his return to

ZANU-PF.

 

13. “I did not want to shoot him. I placed my service pistol on

the table inviting him to come out of the hotel so that we could

fight. I wanted to fight him with my bare hands; that is why I

placed my service pistol on the table. The problem was that during

our discussion the MP continued to denigrate the army and I wanted

to discipline him. However, I have since forgiven him.” —

Major-General Engelbert Rugeje, explaining allegations that he

threatened to shoot Tachiona Mharadze, MDC-T MP for Masvingo West,

following an altercation over the role of the army in the inclusive

government. Rugeje was frequently seen leading election-related

violence in Masvingo province in 2008.

 

 

PETTERSON

 

(5 VIEWS)

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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