MDC Challenges Continued Abuse of Presidential Powers Act

A Press Release from
Senator Lilian Timveos,
Shadow Minister and MDC-T Spokesperson for Home Affairs.

MDC CHALLENGES CONTINUED ABUSE OF PRESIDENTIAL POWERS
26.02.2014

The Movement for Democratic Change is deeply disturbed by the continuing Zanu PF culture of abusing the Presidential Powers Act, which has now been outlawed by the new Constitution.
The latest example of this abuse is Government’s decision to print the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Bill before any public debate has taken place on regulations that were gazetted by the President in January.
On the 3rd January this year the Government published the Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) (Trafficking in Persons Act) Regulations, 2014, which are intended to give effect to the United Nations Palermo Protocol on ending modern-day slavery.
It was a shock to many stakeholders that these regulations were rushed through under the Presidential Powers Act which is no longer constitutional and should be repealed.
We would have thought that in a country that purports to be democratic, stakeholders and interested parties would be given a few months to lobby government to ensure that the Bill would be an improvement on the gazetted regulations. But in fact such a Bill has already been sent to the printers although it has not yet been published.
All this urgency is being deliberately created to prevent public debate on human trafficking, which is a growing problem in Zimbabwe, fuelled by Zanu PF policies.
The MDC calls for urgent action by those wanting to lobby to ensure the eventual Trafficking in Persons Act is an improvement on the regulations.
The regulations which have been published are so deeply flawed and so divergent from the original Palermo Protocol that they may not be of any meaningful use in ending human trafficking in Zimbabwe.
We are well aware of attempts by Zanu PF officials to stop debate on human trafficking in Zimbabwe so that they can continue exploiting slave labour on farms they forcibly occupied.
To contact Senator Timveos, e-mail: lilimikoro@gmail.com; mobile 263 779 701 082

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MDC Mourns Unki Mine Workers

A Press Release from Honourable Lilian Timveos,
Senator for the Midlands Province, Shadow Minister and MDC Spokesperson for Home Affairs
MDC MOURNS UNKI MINE WORKERS
24.02.2014
On behalf of the Movement for Democratic Change and in my capacity as Senator for the Midlands Province, I would like to express shock and sorrow over the death of four workers from Anglo Platinum’s Unki Mine in Shurugwi in a bus accident on Sunday 23 February 2014.
According to the Police, many others were seriously injured and were hospitalized. We wish them a speedy recovery.
It is sad for the Midlands community and the nation at large that we have lost not only dedicated workers, but also breadwinners and useful citizens. Our deepest sympathies go to their families.
As a party and a nation, we are horrified by the number of accidents that continue to take the lives of our people. We call upon the government to do everything in its power to ensure that these accidents do not happen.
In particular, we call upon the Zimbabwe Republic Police and Vehicle Inspection Department to carry out proper investigations into the causes of accidents, instead of just blaming drivers on the basis of eyewitness accounts without evidence. Thorough investigations will help the nation to find lasting solutions to the road carnage that has brought so much sorrow to our nation.
We also urge Unki Mine to speed up the construction of houses near the mine site. This, we believe, will eliminate the need for workers to travel long distances to and from work, putting their lives at risk.
As a workers’ party, we urge all workers in Zimbabwe to remain united, focussed and vigilant at this time of our sad loss.
For more information, contact Senator Lilian Timveos: lilimikoro@gmail.com ; Mobile 263 779 701 082

Midlands South Province Endorses President Tsvangirai

A Press Release from
Senator Lilian Timveos,
Shadow Minister of Home Affairs,
Chairperson, MDC Midlands South Province
MIDLANDS SOUTH PROVINCE ENDORSES PRESIDENT TSVANGIRAI
25.02.2014
Movement for Democratic Change leaders and members in the Midlands South Province have expressed confidence in the continued leadership of party President Morgan Tsvangirai, amid growing calls for the National Council to endorse a decision by all 210 districts to immediately expel recalcitrant deputy treasurer-general Elton Mangoma.
Attending report-back meetings held by Midlands South Chairperson and Midlands Province Senator Lilian Timveos in Shurugwi and Zvishavane at the weekend, party members denounced Mangoma for trying to dislodge President Tsvangirai through the back door.
“I want to talk about the ‘love letter’ that was written by Mangoma because that letter has circulated on Facebook, WhatsApp and in the newspapers,” Senator Timveos told a cheering crowd at Chiedza Hall in Zvishavane.
“It is you the people who voted for leaders at Congress. It is unacceptable for one leader to then go and write a letter to another leader telling him to leave office without even consulting the people? Mangoma never came to Zvishavane to tell us his plans. If President Tsvangirai was to leave office on the basis of a letter written by an individual, what would the people who voted for him say? That little letter is of no effect. We don’t remove our leader that way.”
Speaker after speaker castigated Mangoma, accusing him of denying them funding for election campaigns and reserving the money for his foiled bid to topple the party President.
“The President called a meeting of all districts because of a letter written by Mangoma,” Senator Timveos told another report-back meeting and victory party for Councillor F. Machaya of Ward 7 (Zimasco) in Shurugwi.
“President Tsvangirai wants to know what you the people have to say about the letter written by Mangoma. This man used to be our Treasurer. I’m saying ‘used to be’ because the people have rejected him. All the districts asked the National Council to endorse his expulsion. Mangoma was our Treasurer and he refused to give us money for elections. We were rigged by Zanu PF, yes, but this man refused to give us money. The districts said Mangoma can keep the money which he has taken. We don’t care.
“He was selected by Save (President Tsvangirai) to negotiate the GNU. He negotiated for himself to go to JOMIC and become the head there, and he started planning to remove Save. That is bad.”
Senator Timveos called on the people to be united against threats from Zanu PF, which has budgeted money to fight the MDC after they failed to run the economy because of corruption.
The Shurugwi meeting was also attended by Provincial Secretary for Local Government, Mr Cleopas Shiri, who introduced the Chairperson.
Mr Shiri told the festive gathering that in 2007 he was abducted by the CIO and brutally tortured, giving him life wounds which he showed the crowd. He now walks with a limp after his leg was broken during torture while he was a Trade Unionist under the Ferro-Alloys Union.
“While the CIO was torturing me they never mentioned Mangoma. They were asking me about Tsvangirai. So for someone to come now and tell me that Tsvangirai must go is utter nonsense. We’ve only been 15 years in this struggle. Other struggles take much longer. It would be disastrous to change command while under fire. Zanu PF is feeling the heat. There is no peace in their own camp, so they are using people among us to try and disrupt our activities,” Mr Shiri said.
To contact Senator Lilian Timveos, e-mail lilimikoro@gmail.com Mobile: 263 779 701 082

MDC Condemns Murder of Zvishavane Supporter

A Press Statement from Senator Lilian Timveos,
Shadow Minister and MDC Spokesperson for Home Affairs.
16.02.2014
The Movement for Democratic Change is calling upon the Zimbabwe Republic Police to conduct thorough investigations into the murder of a party member in Zvishavane recently.
The man, who was dressed in MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai’s campaign T-shirt, was found murdered and partially buried in a shallow grave on Thursday 13th February 2014. His identity has not been ascertained due to the advanced state of decomposition of his body, but we cannot rule out the distinct possibility that this man was killed for political reasons.
We have to remind everyone that Zvishavane and neighbouring Mberengwa are infested with Zanu PF militias who have not been punished for past acts of murder of our supporters. Thugs like Biggie Chitoro, who cause terror and mayhem, especially at election times, have gone scot free, giving them encouragement to carry out other attacks.
We implore the ZRP to do a professional job and find the killers. We are skeptical, however, judging by the ZRP’s performance in other similar cases in the past. Even where murderers and attackers of our supporters are known and reported, the police do nothing and this gives encouragement to the militias to carry out future attacks.
We are also disheartened that the Police dog section, which could assist in these murder investigations, has been decimated due to failure by the police to feed the dogs.
We encourage the public to come up with information that might help this investigation.
To contact Senator Lilian Timveos, email: lilimikoro@gmail.com, Mobile 263 779 701 082.

MDC Demands Prosecution of Corrupt Parastatal Bosses

Press Release from Senator Lilian Timveos,
Shadow Minister and MDC Spokesperson for Home Affairs
MDC Demands Prosecution Of Corrupt Parastatal, Municipal Bosses
12.02.2014
The Movement for Democratic Change demands the immediate prosecution of individuals involved in corruption in parastatals, municipalities and all public offices in Zimbabwe.
It is shocking that the country’s Police Service has failed in its mandate to secure government property and resources, which are being looted left, right and centre by the very people appointed to protect them.
For the Police to say they cannot act on corrupt parastatal bosses because they have not received reports from their employers is totally absurd. Why are they so fast to descend on MDC activists accused of petty crimes, even when there is no evidence, only to incarcerate the wrong people. What is the Police Serious Fraud Squad doing if not investigating grand theft at Air Zimbabwe, ZBC, PSMAS, ZESA and Harare City Council.
Corruption is a crime in Zimbabwe with statutory penalties. It can be investigated by any police officer without the intervention or interference of the President or Minister.
We, therefore, demand action from the Zimbabwe Republic Police to investigate and bring to justice all individuals involved in corruption in our parastatals. This includes grand theft through inflated salaries and benefits.
We take great exception to the remarks attributed to Vice President Joice Mujuru, to the effect that corruption should only be investigated by the President’s Office. She also allegedly further said corruption could not be discussed by the public in the media. Although these remarks appear to have been retracted, it is common knowledge that the current so-called anti-corruption drive is the usual charade which will fizzle out as soon as Zanu PF’s feuding factions decide to end it.
What we want is an Independent Commission to investigate corruption crimes in Zimbabwe.
For the Vice-President to blame the press for statements attributed to her is a sad development. That kind of warped logic characterizes her party of governance misfits, which has ruined Zimbabwe through 34 years of wrong policies, corruption and outright theft of public resources. Otherwise how do these mega-scandals continue to happen when we have in charge highly paid party officials who claim to have the people’s mandate?
The President’s Office, with its vast network of spies, has always known about these corrupt activities but they did nothing about it. No significant person has ever been brought to the law courts or prosecuted. This is why the matter has now been brought to the court of public opinion through the media and the elite culprits are being exposed and shamed.
We are not surprised by Mrs Mujuru’s fear of investigations or public exposure. She was in charge of such parastatals as ZBC, when she was Information minister and superintended over the mobile phone licence scandal, and Minister of Water when the Zinwa scandal rolled into motion. We also must question her role as Vice President in charge of collapsed parastatals such as National Railways of Zimbabwe, which she was mandated to revive.
We strongly dismiss Zanu PF’s attempts to divert attention through political gimmicks. Corruption is a cancer which is eating away the fabric of our society and stealing our children’s future. We have to deal decisively with it by choosing now to start prosecuting offenders instead of protecting them in the name of ideology or party politics. There should be no sacred cows.
To contact Senator Timveos, email: lilimikoro@gmail.com

MDC Condemns Government Over Deteriorating Prison Conditions

A Press Statement from Senator Lilian Timveos,
Shadow Minister and MDC Spokesperson for Home Affairs.
MDC Condemns Government Over Worsening Prison Conditions
05.02.2014
The Movement for Democratic Change strongly condemns the government for refusing to take immediate corrective action and seek international humanitarian assistance for thousands of people trapped by hunger, disease and lack of legal aid in Zimbabwe’s prisons.
We wish to register our outrage at the government over this indifference and urge the international community to come to the assistance of thousands of men and women trapped in these death cells mistakenly paraded as humane facilities. We are calling for access by independent experts for an impartial inspection of detention centres in the country.
In December, a senior official confirmed to a Committee of Parliament that 100 prisoners had recently died in detention due to hunger. Her evidence under oath confirmed reports from human rights groups that overcrowding is rife in the prisons, accompanied by severe food, medication, clothing and transport shortages. Torture, humiliation and coercion are applied routinely, with women sometimes being locked up with men and being threatened with rape as a form of punishment. Instead of acting on these grim reports, the Minister of Justice Emmerson Mnangagwa simply denied everything and forgot about it. What callous disregard for duty by a minister of the government.
As a nation, we must get to the root of this problem, which is a total breakdown in our justice delivery system, from the time a suspect is taken into custody at a police station to the time they get to serve their sentence if convicted. There is need for co-operation between all law-enforcement and justice delivery branches but the system is badly infected by corruption. Reports are surfacing daily of police and judicial officers being bribed to determine the pace of investigations and even stall proceedings in court on technicalities. We have also had reports of prison officers stealing the meagre supplies meant for prisoners or preventing relatives from bringing food. Corruption and mismanagement is the root of the problem.
Zimbabwe’s prisons, most dating back to colonial days, can accommodate only 17 000 but there are a reported 22 500 prisoners at any given time. Some 30 percent of these people are awaiting trial and many of them have been in prison for more than one year because of failure of the state system. The reason for this is failure by the Zimbabwe Republic Police to do their investigative work properly and keep innocent people out of jail. Many of the suspects are eventually released without being convicted, after spending up to 10 years in remand prisons. This is cruel.
The breakdown in our justice delivery system is a typical sign of repressive regimes around the world. We have seen at every turn the police disregarding court orders to have suspects released. This is a major contributing factor to the overcrowding and shortages in prisons because a lot of people who are detained do not deserve to be in jail. As an example, the Chief Justice in January cautioned the police to disregard cases of people “insulting” the President while drunk in bars, but we still get many MDC supporters being taken into custody over casual statements made at rallies and in pubs.
We want to take particular note of the case of the 31 people who were arrested in Glen View. One of those suspects, Ms Rebecca Mafukeni, died at Chikurubi Prison after being denied medical care. Others languished in prison for up to three years. Many were acquitted.
We have to ask whether or not it is right for a policeman to just walk up to innocent people and lock them up without looking at these possible consequences. The root of our problem of having more people behind bars than the system can take care of is shoddy detective work at the police station, or even before someone is arrested.
The way the Glen View case was handled was vindictive on the part of the police. They took innocent people with perfect alibis and incarcerated them. They condemned productive citizens of this nation to a life behind bars for simply belonging to the MDC, and for leading the people’s struggle for freedom.
Even before investigations were conducted, the police published a statement in the Sunday Mail claiming that the MDC was guilty of the offence. They then took profiled individuals who were linked to a crime they never committed.
It is this sort of political persecution and partisan policing which is crowding police cells and prisons throughout the country. As MDC, we demand a rights-based system that guarantees safety for everyone. It is therefore incumbent upon the police to do their work properly before arresting anyone as the results of a simple arrest can be death in filthy jails for the targeted individuals.
The Glen View case is a classic failure of police work. In a normal system, the officer who was in charge of that so-called investigation ought to resign. How can you persecute the wrong people for three years with no evidence while the real criminals are getting away? We call upon police commanders to take note of the fact that they are part of a rigid justice delivery system with limited resources. The more they pursue personal political agendas the less the needs of justice will be served.
Various people have talked about the dangerous levels to which our prisons have deteriorated. As the latest witnesses have testified, there is no food, there are no blankets or clothes and there is no room or medication. The same situation prevails in our police cells, where innocent people arrested for petty things are made to go for days without food and without bathing. This standard treatment people are getting equals torture on a mass scale.
We call upon the government to re-engage humanitarian organisations and seek international assistance on behalf of suffering prisoners, especially those at police stations. Above all we implore every policeman and woman to uphold justice by not getting involved in political disputes and filling our jails with the wrong people.
To contact Senator Timveos, send an email to lilimikoro@gmail.com or call 263 779 701 082