Tomana impeached Hitschmann


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Attorney-General Johannes Tomana was forced to impeach Michael Peter Hitschmann, his key witness in the trial of Movement for Democratic Change treasurer Roy Bennett, when he realised that his testimony was damaging the State case because it was inconsistent with statements made to the police after his arrest.

Hitschmann asked the court to accept his verbal testimony as the truth because his post-arrest statements were made under torture-which he described.

Tomana admitted that without Hitschmann’s torture-induced confessions linking him with Bennett, the State’s quest to convict Bennett was a lost cause.

Hitschmann’s Lawyer Mordecai Mahlangu who was accused of obstruction of justice when he wrote Tomana advising him that his client had no evidence against Bennett was also acquitted.

 

Full cable:

 

Viewing cable 10HARARE23, ZIM NOTES 01-15-2010

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Reference ID

Created

Classification

Origin

10HARARE23

2010-01-19 07:04

UNCLASSIFIED

Embassy Harare

VZCZCXRO6451

RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN

DE RUEHSB #0023/01 0190704

ZNR UUUUU ZZH

R 190704Z JAN 10

FM AMEMBASSY HARARE

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5313

INFO RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE

RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA 3262

RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 3373

RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN 1796

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 2630

RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 3000

RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 0061

RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 0063

RUEHGV/USMISSION GENEVA 2531

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 000023

 

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 01-15-2010

 

HARARE 00000023 001.2 OF 003

 

 

———–

¶1. SUMMARY

———–

 

SADC Meets in Maputo…

Constitutional Process to Resume after Long Delay…

MDC-T Ministers Named in Corruption Probe…

Rash of Farm Invasions in Rusape…

AG Tomana Impeaches Own Witness…

Hitschmann’s Lawyer Mahlangu Acquitted…

Students Arrested While Protesting Fees…

Schools Re-open Amid Higher Fees and Threat of Strikes…

Banks Start Lending a Little Longer…

Skills Shortage Jeopardizes Recovery…

Farm Invasions Threaten Tobacco Recovery…

Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on the Edge…

 

———————————

On the Political and Social Front

———————————-

 

¶2. SADC Meets in Maputo…SADC leaders in Maputo for the

inauguration of President Guebuza are meeting to discuss Zimbabwe

and Madagascar. President Mugabe is in attendance. The MDC was

unaware that Zimbabwe would be discussed and no representatives are

present. According to South African President Zuma’s office (in a

press statement) the SADC Troika president will brief other SADC

leaders on Zimbabwe. We have no indication that substantive issues

will be raised, but it is concerning that the MDC was unaware that

Zimbabwe would be discussed.

 

¶3. Constitutional Process to Resume after Long Delay… After a

six-month hiatus in the constitutional process, on January 11

Minister of Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs Eric Matinenga

hosted the launch of the consultative phase of Zimbabwe’s effort to

draft a new constitution. Aside from minor disturbances, the event

— attended by 1,000 delegates — was a success and followed by a

three-day delegate training course. In the next couple of weeks the

thematic committee members will begin 65 days of outreach throughout

Zimbabwe eliciting the public’s opinion on 17 constitutional themes.

Political analysts warn that the outreach effort has the potential

to ignite violence and intimidation in ZANU-PF rural strongholds.

See Harare 22.

 

¶4. MDC-T Ministers Named in Corruption Probe… According to the

Zimbabwe Independent, citing a senior party source, co- Home Affairs

Minister Giles Mutsekwa, Energy and Power Development Minister Elias

Mudzuri, and Mines Deputy Minister Murisi Zwizwai are facing

internal corruption investigations by the party. Mutsekwa and

Zwizwai have been widely criticized since assuming their posts:

Mutsekwa for working too closely with the ZANU-PF co-minister of

Home Affairs and not curbing police abuses and Zwizwai for

supporting the ZANU-PF line that there has not been widespread

violence in Chiadzwa. The Office of the Prime Minister denied to us

that there was an investigation. Reacting to the Zimbabwe

Independent article, MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa called a press

conference today and denied any corruption investigation involving

the named ministers. It is unclear at this time whether there is

substance to the allegations or whether they represent intraparty

Qsubstance to the allegations or whether they represent intraparty

jockeying for position by disaffected MDC members.

 

¶5. Rash of Farm Invasions in Rusape… On January 12, a gang of

thugs invaded a farm in Rusape (Manicaland) owned by the South

African Smit family. The invaders tied the two

twenty-something-year-old sons to a tree and beat them before moving

on to another farm. Just last week another South African farming

family was forced to leave their farm in Rusape after a week of

harassment. Christmas morning the Finaughty family was chased off

their Rusape farm. At least four other farming families in Rusape

have been notified that their farms will be seized in the coming

 

HARARE 00000023 002 OF 003

 

 

days. Most of the families are of South African origin, but have

received no protection from the recently signed bilateral investment

pact between South Africa and Zimbabwe. AG

 

¶6.   Tomana Impeaches Own Witness… The trial of Roy Bennett

resumed on January 12 with AG Johannes Tomana telling the court that

the testimony of his star witness Michael Peter Hitschmann was

damaging the state case because it was inconsistent with statements

made to authorities after his arrest. Hitschmann asked the court to

accept his verbal testimony as the truth; he said his post-arrest

statements were made under torture-which he described. Tomana

admitted that without Hitschmann’s torture-induced confessions

linking him with Bennett, the state’s quest to convict Bennett was a

lost cause. The trial was adjourned to January 18 when Judge Bhunu

is expected to rule on the admissibility of Hitschmann’s post-arrest

statements.

 

¶7. Hitschmann’s Lawyer Mahlangu Acquitted… AG Johannes Tomana

suffered an embarrassment on January 14 when Magistrate Archie

Wochionga acquitted Histchmann’s lawyer Mordecai Mahlangu of

obstruction of justice charges. Wochionga ruled that the facts

before him did not constitute a crime. Tomana ordered Mahlangu’s

arrest last year after the latter addressed a letter to the AG

advising that Hitschmann had no evidence against Bennett.

 

¶8. Students Arrested While Protesting Fees… Zimbabwe National

Students Union (ZINASU) President Joshua Chinyere, Secretary General

Grant Tabvurei and five other Bindura University students were

arrested on January 14 after staging a demonstration over high

examination fees. Bindura University authorities have since

postponed the examinations due to disruptions caused by the

demonstrators. The arrested students are currently being detained at

Bindura Central Police station waiting to appear before court within

48 hours after their arrest. Student groups described Zimbabwe’s

public universities fees of $400-$500 per semester as “extortion”

considering civil servant salaries are around $150 per month.

 

¶9. Schools Re-open Amid Higher Fees and Threat of Strikes…

Primary and secondary schools opened for a new school year on

Tuesday, with fees and levies up an average of 50 percent in USD

terms from the first term of 2009. On Wednesday, civil servants,

including teachers, told the government they would go on strike in

14 days unless salaries are increased to US$600 per month, or four

times their current wages. The government rejected the proposal and

offered US$122 for the lowest paid worker and US$236 for the highest

paid. Although teachers, at the urging of their unions, went back to

school, many are refusing to teach until the salary dispute is

resolved.

 

———————————–

On the Economic and Business Front

———————————-

 

¶10. Banks Start Lending a Little Longer… As business confidence

improves and bank deposits increase, two Zimbabwe Stock

Qimproves and bank deposits increase, two Zimbabwe Stock

Exchange-listed banks have started extending 180-day loans instead

of the 90-day loans that are generally the norm. According to First

Bank Limited, the increase in the tenure of the loans is in response

to the needs of industry as well as the observed increase in total

deposits from around US$200 million in February 2009 to about US$1.2

billion as of December 2009. Such loans attract interest rates of

between 25 and 30 percent per year depending on the project being

funded. The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries believes that even

six-month loans are inadequate for the needs of businesses.

 

¶11. Skills Shortage Jeopardizes Recovery… According to a report

by the South African-based Center for Development and Enterprise,

Zimbabwe’s nascent economic recovery is threatened by a shortage of

skills in a number of disciplines. Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown of

recent years resulted in a massive outmigration of skilled labor to

 

HARARE 00000023 003.3 OF 003

 

 

neighboring countries. Most companies are reportedly recruiting

skilled labor from abroad at higher costs in order to attract the

requisite skills.

 

¶12. Farm Invasions Threaten Tobacco Recovery… The Zimbabwe

Tobacco Association is casting doubts on Zimbabwe’s ability to

achieve the targeted tobacco output of 65 million kilograms this

year primarily because of the on-going invasions of the remaining

white-owned farms, especially in the Rusape district of Manicaland

province. According to a report in the Zimbabwe Tobacco Today

publication, about a third of the 50 farms currently under threat

are major tobacco producers.

 

¶13. Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on the Edge… A report in The

Independent says that the central bank is on the brink of collapse,

weighed down by huge debts and high operational costs arising from

over-employment associated with the period of quasi-fiscal

activities. Because the RBZ can no longer act as lender of last

resort, it is now looking to the Ministry of Finance for funds. We

expect Finance Minister Biti will insist on major reforms at the RBZ

before he cuts any checks.

 

—————–

Quotes of the Week

—————–

 

¶14. “Shut up and stick to business!” — ZANU-PF co-chair of the

Parliamentary Select Committee on the Constitution, Paul Mangwana,

to war veterans’ leader Joseph Chinotimba after veterans attempted

to disrupt a meeting launching the outreach phase of the

constitutional drafting process.

 

 

RAY

 

(11 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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