OUR KEY ACTIVITIES:
Projects & activities that contribute towards solutions for the Zimbabwean crisis
WAYS TO HELP
We organise fundraisers for our Zimbabwean work but we’re a small team and would greatly value help from our supporters and anyone willing to help. Here are a couple of ideas – please contact us with yours!
THE SADC TRIBUNAL CAMPBELL CASE
Mike Campbell (Pvt) Ltd et al. v. Republic of Zimbabwe is a landmark test case decided by the SADC Tribunal. It held that the government violated the SADC treaty by denying court access and engaging in racial discrimination in the confiscation of land.
The SADC Tribunal was set up as a regional court to hear disputes between SADC member states and between individuals and states. The Tribunal was a court of last resort for those who had been denied access to justice in their own countries.
The Mike Campbell Foundation has initiated a court case which involves a group of dispossessed Zimbabwean farmers taking former South African President Zuma and the SA government to court for participating in the closure of the SADC Tribunal regional court.
COURT CASES JUSTICE & LEGAL ACCOUNTABILITY
The MCF took the courageous decision to use the law to focus on justice and legal accountability and to establish a workable legal foundation for property rights in Zimbabwe in the future. This has included a number of ground-breaking court cases
CONSERVATION AGRICULTURE TRAINING
We provide practical conservation agriculture training to an average of 144 destitute farm workers and others in their communities each year, teaching them how to feed their families on just 1/16th of a hectare using our free open-pollinated seed.
CONSERVATION AGRICULTURE FIELD DAY
The objective of our latest, well-attended conservation agriculture field day was to showcase our conservation agriculture activities and achievements – despite the ongoing drought conditions - in Harare and the Chegutu district of Zimbabwe.
OPEN-POLLINATED SEED PROJECT
Our open-pollinated seed project provides free high quality seed that can be replanted each year to destitute farm workers and other needy people in Zimbabwe. In 2017, we distributed more than 4 500 seed packs and in 2021 we achieved a record 12,000 seed packs.
SCHOOL FEES PROJECT
In 2018, we paid school fees for 262 children of destitute farm workers and pastors, as well as tertiary fees for two students. For the first two terms of 2019, we paid school fees for 256 children and two tertiary students.
FOOD CRISIS SOLUTION
Faced with yet another food crisis and economic collapse due to the demise of agriculture, the solution is simple – and this is what the MCF is working towards: Title deeds must be allocated for all agricultural land and title to the commercial farmland must be restored.
NEWSLETTER FROM BEN FREETH
Dear Colleagues and Friends
We apologise for the long delay since our last newsletter but it’s been a very challenging time.
Our chairman, Claire Freeth, became very ill and suffered from delirium as a result of severe pneumonia caused by the exhaustion of my father’s degenerating condition. She was admitted to hospital, after which she needed two months of complete rest. Fortunately she’s now fully recovered.
After death of my father, Zach Freeth, a founding trustee of the Mike Campbell Foundation, we were unable to organise a memorial service due to Covid-19 restrictions until last week.
Once the restrictions had been lifted in Zimbabwe, it was good to get back into the country. My immediate objective was to engage with what has been happening on the ground and with key non-governmental role players. The situation continues to be deeply difficult, with complex dynamics at play, but there are also rays of hope.
In this latest newsletter we provide an overview of the situation in Zimbabwe and an update on our projects. We also mention the very positive change of government in neighbouring Zambia.
Atrocities at Marange diamond fields continue
Despite its claims of progress, the diamond industry’s Kimberley Process (established to prevent the sale of “conflict diamonds”) continues to greenwash Zimbabwe’s Marange district conflict diamonds. Hundreds of officers from the army, police and Central Intelligence Organization (CIO) have been deployed to this community. Violence has been normalized. Driven by unemployment and poverty, desperate artisanal miners who break into the fenced area at night to mine are subjected to the worst forms of torture. They are handcuffed, set on by vicious dogs and then dumped deep in forests, where many die of their injuries.
IMF funding to prop up currency
Zimbabwe will use more than half of the US$961 million allocated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the form of Special Drawing Rights (SDR)s to support its beleaguered currency. The government abandoned a 1:1 peg between a precursor of the reintroduced Zimbabwe dollar and the greenback in February 2019. The currency now trades at 85.82 to the U.S. dollar and even lower on the black market. The SDR is not a currency, it is a potential claim on the freely usable currencies of IMF members. As such, SDRs can provide a country with liquidity. An SDR allocation does not add to any country’s public debt burden.
Donkey carts, Goodbye Store and gross auditing failures
On a recent road trip the feeling of travelling half a century back in time was palpable, with teams of donkeys pulling carts more plentiful than cars. Goats and pigs, cattle and turkeys have right of way and always they are being minded by children who have been out of school almost continually for the past 18 months. Crucial childhood learning has been lost to Covid restrictions in rural areas where online learning is non-existent, as are computers or even internet connections. Parents without access to any educational resources have had no option but to turn their children to chores: chop wood, carry water, tend to livestock.
Zambian elections generate hope
Commenting on the election victory last week by Zambia’s opposition United Party for National Development (UPND), Hakainde Hichilema (HH), a successful business man, commercial farmer and politician, Zimbabwean academic Ibbo Mandaza said that the elections had been closely followed by Zimbabweans. He noted that Zimbabwe’s opposition MDC Alliance leader, Nelson Chamisa, had been elated at HH's victory. Mandaza also commented that, were it not for the support of the military and related securocrat state, Zimbabwe’s Zanu-PF could have certainly faced the same fate in the 2008, 2013 and 2018 elections.
Journalists still persecuted in Africa
High profile Zimbabwean journalist Hopewell Chin'ono had to deliver his keynote address virtually at the South African National Editor’s Forum (SANEF) Nat Nakasa Award ceremony on 14 August 2021, after the Zimbabwe High Court failed to make a ruling on his application to have his passport released for travel. Chin'ono said it was evident that thousands of journalists, including himself, were still subjected to legalised and political persecution, regrettably by black governments who were meant to put an end to state-sponsored indignities. “Unfortunately, this history keeps repeating itself on the African continent,” he said.
Former SADC Tribunal judge wins compensation appeal
A three-judge panel at the SADC Administrative Tribunal, sitting in Gaborone, Botswana, has thrown out an appeal by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) not to award compensation to Justice Mkandawire, for unfairly and illegally terminating his contract. Mkandawire, a Malawian judge who was the first ever Registrar of the regional human rights court, the SADC Tribunal, who has been locked in a five-year legal battle with SADC, will reportedly be compensated for US$380 184.71 less his cumulative earnings in Malawi from the time of the termination of his contract up to 30 November 2016.
AG’s dire report on Cyclone Idai mismanagement
The recently released Auditor-General’s report for Zimbabwe (2019) includes a section on the devastation caused by Cyclone Idai in March 2019 and the gross mismanagement of the disaster: “The unimaginable and colossal damage inflicted by Cyclone Idai caught the Civil Protection Organisation unaware and ill-prepared to deal with a disaster of such a magnitude. … There were no robust and water-tight procedures and policies designed to match and address emergency disasters of this kind ….” It further records a distressing tale of food distribution failures, while donations and money were misapplied or went astray.
Mineral extractivism threatens Zim communities
Zimbabwe’s Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG) has expressed its concern about the growing phenomenon of extractivism. Throughout the country, people are living on the edge as hundreds of special grants are issued to so-called investors, predominantly from China, to explore for minerals and ultimately displace the people from their ancestral homes. For example, more than 1,300 families were forcibly evicted from the Marange diamond fields without compensation and dumped more than 80km away. Diamonds worth hundreds of millions of dollars continue to be looted from Marange annually.
BLM Movement ignores brutal black elites
Commenting in the Black Lives Matter movement, especially in relation to sport and the Olympics, Zimbabwean political commentator Tendai Mbofana asks: “What about the plight of the majority of black people (in Africa) who have no one fighting for them, or kneeling for their cause? Who is going to take a stand for the nearly 1.4 billion mostly black folk in Africa - who have either been, or are still being, ruthlessly massacred by their power-greedy black leaders, or those who are dying, or are sick, due to starvation, as a result of their richly-endowed nations being unashamedly plundered by the black ruling elite?
MDC-Alliance’s Land Reform Position Paper
Land reform: Zimbabwe’s main opposition party, the MDC-Alliance, has written an excellent position paper on the land reform issue. While it acknowledges that the land reform program is irreversible, it says “there is a need to rationalize the process through a comprehensive land audit that ensures title and security of tenure to the citizens who are beneficiaries. This must be a national and inclusive process aimed at a sustainable, equitable, transparent, just, lawful and economically efficient rationalization of the ownership and use of land….” Adequate compensation must be paid to dispossessed farmers and farm workers.
A 20-step solution from the IRR
In many independent African countries, the new ruling elites have shown little concern for the poor, or for their country, largely because loyalties have focused on family, clan or one’s ethnic group, not on the nation, writes RW Johnson. He notes: “Zimbabwe is ruled by a tiny elite of Zanu-PF politicians and the military who are rich due to all manner of cartel arrangements and rackets. Similarly, in South Africa the rapidity of its post-1994 decline has also bred disappointment and anger.” The IRR’s John Kane-Berman has, in the wake of SA’s July insurrection, penned 20 solutions which also apply largely to Zimbabwe.
Covid-19 third wave disastrous
Zimbabwe’s Dr Grant Murewanhema writes that “damage caused by the third wave of the coronavirus has exceeded that of the first and second waves combined by a huge margin, with many lives being claimed. Several families have lost two or more members, and the extent of social disruption is unimaginable. I have come across families that have lost both parents, young couples have been disrupted, pregnant mothers have departed from us, and some have left their neonates. This indeed has been a very sad time for us Zimbabweans and has been very draining both emotionally and physically for us healthcare workers.
Netherlands Ambassador bids farewell to ED
Outgoing Netherlands Ambassador to Zimbabwe Ms Barbara Van Hellemond this Wednesday bade farewell to President Emmerson Mnangagwa at the State House. She said: “I was posted here four years ago, I have the restarting of the re-engagement process, the Netherlands, the EU and Zimbabwe have reengaged with dialogue intensifying. She said Zimbabwe needed a stable economy and that her mandate was to build trust with the country as a nation. In 2018, Hellemond challenged Zimbabwe to work on values such as the rule of law and anti-corruption before her country can trust it with investments.
Zim-born lawyers challenge SA discrimination
Three Zimbabwean-born law graduates who cannot practice their trade in South Africa because they are not “permanent residents” or citizens, are aiming to overturn a section in the Legal Practice Act which discriminates against non-citizens within the legal profession. One of the trio, a Zimbabwean-born and fully South African qualified advocate, is having to work as a waiter because of legal profession’s rules. They all have various permits which allow them to live, study and work in South Africa. Doctors, engineers, accountants, auditors, quantity surveyors, nurses and teachers do not require permanent residence status.
ZWD20bn agro bills to support farmers
AFC Land and Agriculture Development Bank together with Agricultural Marketing Authority will raise $20 billion [approx. US$55 million] through agro bills. The money will be used to support farmers in the 2021/22 summer season with funding for seed, fertilisers, chemicals, mechanisation, irrigation, electricity, labour, combine harvesting services and transport. Beneficiaries will include smallholder, medium and large producers and input suppliers. The fund will be used to produce maize, soyabeans, traditional grains and sunflower.
Update on Covid-19 vaccination programme
Zimbabwe’s vaccination programme, which started in February, is gathering momentum. According to statistics released by the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MOHCC), as at July 25, 18 452 people were vaccinated with their first Covid -19 vaccine doses bring the total to 1 447 342 since the start of the programme. As at the same date, 2 286 received their second dose bringing the total to 680 660 people. The country has received the Sinopharm, Sinovac [both Chinese] and Sputnik V [Russian] vaccines. The population estimate exceeds 15 million.
Covid-19 causing multiple deaths in Zimbabwe
“The third wave of Covid-19 is upon us, and social media in Zimbabwe is awash with death messages and condolence messages,” writes Thandekile Moyo, a Zimbabwean writer and human rights defender. On Tuesday [20 July 2021] there were 2,705 new positive cases and 62 recorded deaths. But Zimbabweans believe those statistics are not reflective of the reality on the ground. They suspect that many Covid-19 deaths are going unrecorded. Covid-19 is killing multiple family members in many cases. Trevor Ncube, a newspaper publisher and entrepreneur, lost his mother, father and a niece to Covid-19, one after the other.
UK to begin deportation of Zimbabweans
The United Kingdom will this week [from 19 July 2021] start the mass deportation of Zimbabweans, who sought asylum at the height of the country's political upheavals in the 2000s under the late Robert Mugabe. Many also fled in the wake of the brutal government strategized violence during the 2008 presidential elections. British envoys in Harare are said to have met Zimbabwe's Foreign Affairs ministry officials to lay the ground for the imminent deportation of 150 Zimbabweans. Seventy-five British politicians have expressed their disagreement, citing the "deteriorating" political and humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe.
SA will look like Zimbabwe in 5 years
Tshabalira Lebakeng, former street child in Durban, and now a writer with the Homeless Writers Project, reports on his struggle to find food and operational ATMs in Johannesburg after the insurrection attempt that has devastated South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal province and parts of the Johannesburg area. He is approached by a man who offers him looted goods, justifying the theft by saying that he had to do something to survive. ‘Because South Africa will look like Zimbabwe in the next coming five years’, he said. He told Mr Lebakeng that he should think deeply about this African National Congress (ANC) government.
Elections: ZANU-PF targets Form 4 students
ZANU-PF national deputy political commissar Omega Hungwe urged the party at a meeting in Bindura to target Form 4 students for the 2023 elections since they will be eligible to vote. This is in order for ZANU PF to realize President Mnangagwa's target of five million voters. The party's second secretary, Kembo Mohadi, said at the meeting that they needed to grow the party in order to “preserve it to perpetuity”. "We have to account for the fulfillment of the promises we made to the people during the run up to the 2018 general elections,” he said (only of which 2% have been achieved according to a SIVIO Institute report).
Largest maize harvest since 1984/84
Zimbabwe is set to reap its biggest maize harvest since the 1984/85 season. This is attributed to an expansion of land devoted to (or cleared) for the crop and favorable weather conditions. Zimbabwe will also, for the first time in three years, manage to maintain the minimum strategic grain reserve of 500,000 tons in physical stocks. However, yields remain dismal (1.4 tonnes per hectare) in comparison to South Africa’s 5.9 tonnes per hectare. This poor performance is a warning to South Africa as expropriation [of the country’s largely white-owned commercial farms] without compensation looms, notes the Daily Maverick.
Impact of SA violence on Zimbabwe
Violent demonstrations in South Africa that have seen businesses attacked, looted and torched, will negatively affect trade with Zimbabwe and other regional partners. Zimbabwe’s industries will be impacted by the insurrection in its largest trading partner as trade channels get clogged and supply chains disrupted. The insurrection over the incarceration of former president Jacob Zuma for contempt of court started KwaZulu-Natal and have spread rapidly, notably to the Gauteng economic hub. There are severe disruptions at the ports of Durban and Richards Bay.
Cathy Buckle on the destruction in SA
Cathy Buckle’s latest newsletter from Zimbabwe is written to the country’s friends and neighbours in South Africa: Oh South Africa, we are heartbroken for you. Your pain is our pain. We have watched events of this week [and the destruction] in absolute horror, overcome with helplessness. As if the orgy of stealing wasn’t enough, shops, warehouses and buildings were deliberately set on fire by the looters. For twenty years South Africa has been our home from home. The place we could go to for solace, comfort, healing, sanity, food, work and so much more. Now we know how you have felt watching us for the past two decades.
Mnangagwa extends lockdown by two weeks
President Mnangagwa extended the level 4 lockdown by two more weeks from 14 July 2021 and deferred the reopening of schools, as the country recorded an 80% prevalence of the vicious Delta COVID-19 variant. Mnangagwa said his administration was targeting one million people for vaccination against the virus during the extended two-week lockdown period. On 12 July, 2 681 people tested positive to the virus while 59 died. The number of active cases in the country stood at 21 258. Information minister Monica Mutsvangwa said the national COVID-19 vaccination programme was now open to everyone.
The rule of law must apply
On 7 July 2021, former South African president Jacob Zuma was taken into custody to begin serving a 15-month prison sentence imposed on him the previous week for contempt of the Constitutional Court. The sentence was imposed after the Commission of Inquiry into Allegations of State Capture, chaired by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, argued before the court that Zuma should be jailed for defying the same court’s order that he appear and testify before the commission. This sends a strong message that the rule of law must apply, and that no one is above the law, an important democratic principle.
Diaspora’s right to vote being refused again
In 2018, President Mnangagwa pledged to extend voting rights to millions of Zimbabweans abroad – a move that, if implemented, would answer a decades-long plea by the country’s citizens in the Diaspora, who have consistently asked for the unconditional removal of restrictions to their right to vote. However, it has become apparent that the promise was mere political grandstanding as it was recently rescinded in a statement by Zanu-PF’s acting political commissar, Patrick Chinamasa. Last year the estimated 5 million people in the Zimbabwean Diaspora sent home a total of US$1-billion which accounted for 5% of GDP.
Current strategies won’t fix economy
While Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube claims he remains optimistic about the country’s economic future, there are two sides to every coin, writes Alec Hogg of the BizNews Power Hour. In comparison, highly respected economist John Robertson says that while there has been some improvement, recovery is still some distance away – mainly because the government is refusing to fix what they broke. When they took land off the market, the link between the farmers and the banks was broken – and that breakage is still there. Manufacturing relied on dependable supplies of agricultural raw materials.
Corruption and State Capture – Kuda Tagwirei
Reports analysing corruption and State Capture in Zimbabwe seem to be coming thick and fast. Maverick Citizen has obtained a new report published on Thursday that zooms in on the burgeoning offshore business empire of Kudakwashe Tagwirei, Zimbabwe’s richest businessperson and a close adviser to President Mnangagwa. In August 2020 Tagwirei was added to the US’s sanctions list. He also looms large in two earlier documents reported on by Maverick Citizen: the Cartel Power Dynamics report (published in February 2021), and the Africa Risk Consulting (ARC) Political Stakeholders report (published in March 2021).
The rule of law, Jacob Zuma and Mugabe
There are moments in rule of law, which determine whether rule of law or rule of politics prevails. The actions of political leaders, especially presidents, shape the culture of societies. On 29 June 2021, the South African Constitutional Court ruled that former president Jacob Zuma was in contempt of court, and he was sentenced to an effective 15 months’ imprisonment. If Zuma fails to comply, the damage will be irreparable. SA has a moment now, to elect whether to go the Zimbabwean route - which Mugabe did when he repeatedly flouted the rule of law - or maintain its own and respect judicial pronouncements.
Miniscule first compensation payment
The Zimbabwe government made its first compensation payment as part of an agreement to settle a dispute with white commercial farmers who had their land seized violently two decades ago. The state-linked Kuvimba Mining House Ltd. transferred just $1 million to the farmers as the government asked for a delay in paying the full $3.5 billion compensation it had agreed to a year ago. While the payment is a fraction of that agreed to, resolving the dispute is key to the country pulling out of the economic stagnation that the land seizures, ordered by then President Robert Mugabe, triggered.
2018 Elections: International community let down
Public law specialist Alex Magaisa, award-winning journalist and filmmaker Hopewell Chin’ono and Camilla Nielsson, director of President, discuss the making of the film and the Zimbabwean electoral system. Nielsen contends that ‘the international community let the Zimbabweans down big time on this one’. President details the rigged 2018 Zimbabwean elections from within the campaign of Nelson Chamisa, the president of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) Alliance (the opposition party). The film follows the buildup to the elections, the corruption and the disappointing aftermath of Zanu-PF’s stolen victory.
Land beneficiary records in a shambles
Zimbabwe’s ministry of Lands says beneficiaries of the land reform programme owe the government ZW$145.4 million for the infrastructure they inherited on allocated land, but the Auditor-General’s report for 2019 says there is no database of such farmers and farm improvements. The audit lays bare the government’s shambolic record-keeping in the Agriculture ministry. The country embarked on a fast-track land reform programme at the turn of the millennium which it claimed was to address colonial ownership imbalances and which came against the backdrop of mounting pressure from disgruntled war veterans.
Excelgate: Zim’s stolen 2018 election
It’s well known that the Zimbabwean presidential election of 2018 was stolen to consolidate the political gains of the military coup of 2017 that ended the rule of Robert Mugabe.. What is neither known nor understood, is how the election was stolen and the nature of the system that conducted the spectacular theft. Even more unknown is that the popular opposition presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa actually scored 66 percent of the vote while Emmerson Mnangagwa trailed far behind with 33 percent. Prof Jonathan Moyo’s book Excelgate: How Zimbabwe’s 2018 Presidential Election Was Stolen, reveals all.
New ARC report on corruption
A 50-page report written by private consultancy Africa Risk Consulting (ARC) promises to reignite questions about the capture of Zimbabwe’s economy by cartels and politicians that were raised in the report on Cartel Dynamics published by Maverick Citizen earlier this year. Titled Zimbabwe Political Economy Stakeholder Map, it was published in March 2021 but is confidential and not available online. Focusing on the main individuals involved, it warns that “Zimbabwe is rapidly moving toward a Russian-style oligarchical system [and that] it’s becoming a regional hub for laundering illicit wealth that is fuelling violent conflict.”
Govt takes successful farm from blacks
Sipho Malunga, the director of the Open Society Institute of Southern Africa (OSISA) and two associates who run a very successful farming operation on their legally purchased farm outside Bulawayo are now being targeted by the government because of Mr Malunga’s human rights activities. On 14 June he reported on Twitter that he had received a call from the Lands Office in Bulawayo stating “that the Zim Govt has acquired our privately owned farm & tomorrow they are coming to peg it & give it to people they have allocated it to. This isn’t about land reform & we will fight it in every way.”
Role of Rule of Law in Free Trade Area
The Agreement forming the African Free Trade Area came into force on 30 May 2019 and was launched on 1 January 2021. The main objective is to create a single market for goods and services and to facilitate the movement of persons in order to deepen the economic integration of the African continent. The efficacy of this body depends upon the respect that it is given by the member states. The main legal hurdle that the continent has to overcome is centered on the issue of the rule of law. A precedent has already been set by the Zimbabwean government, which refused to recognize the decisions of the SADC Tribunal.
Can man escape divine justice?
Can man escape divine justice? In February 2020, Zimbabwean Chief Justice Luke Malaba and his cohorts at the Supreme Court, ruled … that the RTGS dollar was equivalent to the US dollar. This resulted in many Zimbabweans losing their savings yet again. Furthermore, debts incurred in US dollars could now be repaid in RTGS dollars. The decree was a windfall for debtors whose debts were denominated in US dollars , but for creditors, it was a nightmare. However, Chief Justice Malaba, having reached the retirement age of 70, now faces retirement on a pension of US$30 per month instead of his anticipated US$ 3,000 per month!
Turkey interested in investing in the NRZ
National Railways of Zimbabwe (NRZ) board chairman Advocate Martin Dinha has left the country for Turkey to engage investors that are keen to help revive the organisation. Other interested parties include Russia, China, Indonesia and Turkey. According to Dinha, “there’s interest from Russia through the provision of wagons and locomotives” and from Turkey.
Turkey, a giant in rail, has shown interest in developing the new rail line and links, in particular the Lion’s Den-Kafue-Zambia railway link and the Shamva-Mutoko link.
Assessment of mining in protected areas
This report adopts a conservationist’s perspective in exploring the impacts of mining on wildlife, biodiversity, and the environment. The primary objective is to provide factual evidence on the intersection of mining and conservation in Protected Areas and Critical Ecosystems (PACE). While both are major contributors to socio-economic development, mining in PACE raises critical questions on the negative impacts on biodiversity, tourism, and the fundamental human rights of communities including the right to water, health, clean and safe environment. This report covers Chimanimani, Hwange, Umfurudzi, and Mazowe.