RESTORING JUSTICE – RESTORING PEOPLE
Obituary: Archbishop Desmond Tutu
The Mike Campbell Foundation is deeply saddened by the passing of our patron, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, on 26 December 2021. He was a great support to our foundation and always spoke out against the gross injustices in Zimbabwe. He censured former President Mugabe for turning his country into a “basket case” and criticised South Africa for being too soft on him. In 2012, Archbishop Tutu led a campaign to stop the SADC Heads of State from closing down the regional human rights court, the SADC Tribunal, so that the rule of law, development and human rights would be protected throughout the region.
Latest newsletter from the MCF
Ben Freeth reports in his latest newsletter from Harare that conditions continue to be tough and there’s a high level of despondency and frustration. He says “the country desperately need change, but it’s extremely difficult to achieve given the stranglehold that the regime has on the country and its citizens.” He notes that November marked four turbulent years since the 2017 de facto coup that catapulted Emmerson Mnangagwa to the presidency. His promise of a “new Zimbabwe” that is “open for business” remains unfulfilled. Ben also gives an update on the progress of the MCF’s projects in Zimbabwe.
State seeks to recover US$32m from Chihuri
The Zimbabwean High Court is expected to hear a corruption case in which the State is seeking to recover more than US$32 million and seize numerous properties from former Police Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and his family. Chihuri, who has been in exile since the military coup that toppled the late former president Robert Mugabe in 2017, reportedly siphoned millions of dollars for his personal, family and cronies’ benefit during the 25 years he was police boss and a loyal Mugabe supporter. He allegedly sold five properties between 2017 and 2018, and buyers paid a total of US$620 000 for the properties.
Zim journalist Jeffrey Moyo on trial
A Zimbabwean freelance journalist working for the New York Times, who spent three weeks in jail in 2021 on charges that the NYT said were baseless, is accused by the Zimbabwean government of obtaining fake accreditation documents for two of the US newspaper’s journalists on a visit, and is due to appear in court again. The NYT said it was deeply troubled by the prosecution of Jeffrey Moyo, a widely respected journalist, and that it appears designed to” chill press freedom in Zimbabwe”. Reporters Without Borders ranked Zimbabwe 130th out of 180 countries in its World Press Freedom Index in 2021.
New human rights video encourages hope
Zimbabwean Mbira sensation, Hope Masike, has joined hands with Mr. Putiti [popularly known as “ExQ”] on a new song and accompanying music video titled Shuwa to deliver a message of hope, and the importance of human rights for all. Shuwa means sure or true in English. "Do enjoy and share for awareness, said ExQ. "[It’s] very emotional, great storytelling of societal ills and [it aims to] conscientize each and every one of us to uphold our human rights. We need to work as one people! Be our brother and our sister’s keeper." The song and video production were sponsored by the EU Delegation to Zimbabwe.
School reopening date has been deferred again
Amid mounting criticism, Zimbabwean President Mnangagwa has indefinitely deferred the reopening of schools, citing high numbers of Covid-19 cases fuelled by the Omicron variant. Schools were set to reopen on January 10, but only examination classes are allowed to reopen on January 10. According to a report by UNICEF, the indefinite closure of schools has affected 4.6-million children. Statistics released from Zimstat, the country’s official statistics agency, show that 60% of the school-going population dropped out of school in Bulawayo, while Harare witnessed 56% of its school-going population dropping out.
Practical ideas for agricultural renewal
“That Zimbabwe’s agricultural system is in need of renewal is beyond question. However there is no broad agreement on what constitutes that renewal, nor is there consensus among agricultural practitioners in Zimbabwe on how to achieve it,” writes Taruvinga Magwiroto from the University of Zimbabwe. He notes that all of the big issues are all related to the problem of land ownership. The former white commercial farmers have the capital, expertise and commitment, and they are Zimbabweans, he writes. They just happen to be white. How best do we exploit these strengths in a new order? How do we create a new order?