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Mnangagwa govt lies about sanctions worsened Zimbabweans’ suffering!

“So Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube is begging the US government to inform banks that sanctions on Zimbabwe had been lifted….,” writes commentator Tendai Ruben Mbofana.  “Are international banks barred under the US sanctions law, ZIDERA (Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act) from doing business with us? The answer is quite simple. It is a big NO. International banking institutions are free to process financial transactions with most Zimbabweans. Both Mugabe and Mnangagwa elected to exploit every opportunity on the global stage to peddle the shameful falsehood that the country was under economic sanctions.

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CHINA has written off “substantial” interest free loans borrowed

China has written off “substantial” interest free loans borrowed by Zimbabwe during President Robert Mugabe’s final years in power, giving relief to a country that the IMF says is in ‘debt distress’. With Zimbabwe’s external debt standing at about US$14 billion, finance minister Mthuli Ncube told Parliament on 24 August 2022 that Zimbabwe had borrowed US$2,7 billion from China since Independence in 1980. He also disclosed that Zimbabwe had collateralised 26 million ounces of platinum in exchange for a US$200 million loan to finance the agriculture mechanisation programme in 2006.

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Zimbabwe’s gold reserves allegedly stolen under Mugabe’s administration

In a startling revelation, Chris Mutsvangwa, Zanu PF spokesperson, on 15 April said Zimbabwe’s gold reserves were illicitly removed from the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe during the tenure of late President Mugabe. Mutsvangwa, who played a key role in the de facto coup in 2017, said that an agreement was proposed with contacts in the Arab world wherein US dollars would be exchanged for Zimbabwe’s gold reserves. “The story gets murky after that….The gold reserves are gone, the US dollars don’t come,” Mutsvangwa lamented. However, Mnangagwa said that Zimbabwe has solid gold in offshore vaults.

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Finance Minister drags feet on appointing independent auditors to check gold reserves backing ZiG

Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube has dragged his feet in clarifying whether there are any independent auditors appointed to verify the reserves backing the just introduced ZiG [Zimbabwe Gold] currency.

The nation’s sixth currency [since independence in 1980] was introduced on April 5, 2024 with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe claiming that it was backed by 2,5 tons of gold and US$100 million cash. The ZiG has advanced 1.6% on the official market but like its predecessor, it continues to face headwinds on the parallel market/black market where it has so far waned by 20% since inception.

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SAPES Trust webinar:  “Crisis in opposition parties”

Following the resignation of CCC leader Nelson Chamisa, the SAPES Trust has organised a crucial webinar titled: "The Crisis in Opposition Political Parties". Time: Thursday 1 February from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm Harare/Pretoria, or 3:30 pm UK time. The panel is still being finalised. The Trust’s director, Dr Ibbo Mandaza, has been calling for a paradigm shift to achieve reform in Zimbabwe and has previously proposed a national dialogue process and after the contentious 2023 elections, the creation of a transitional authority. 

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Ben Freeth approaches the SADC Tribunal in his quest for justice for Zim farmers

After an epic journey of around 2,000km on horseback and walking from central Zimbabwe to Windhoek in Namibia, Ben Freeth is joined by supporters to walk the last few kilometers to the SADC Tribunal building in central Windhoek. The joint initiative to call for the reinstatement of the SADC court of justice is spearheaded by Dr Theo de Jager of the Southern African Agri Initiative, Barend Uys of AfriForum, Mqondisi Moyo, President of the Mthwakazi Republic Party in Zimbabwe’s Matabeleland province and Kgosi Mogakolodi Masibi, Kgosi of the Batlharo Boo Tokwana Ba Ga Masibi Cultural Community in South Africa.

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Zim farmer on horseback rides to Windhoek

When Ben Freeth headed west on horseback from the derelict Mount Carmel farm near Chegutu in Zimbabwe on 28 November, he had to lay low. For about 800km, Freeth avoided roads and stuck to the bush, following game paths where he could, while scouting the drought-stricken land for water and grazing for his horse, Tsedeq. It was only after he crossed the border into Namibia’s Caprivi Strip/Zambezi Region at the Kazungula border post that he could relax, stop fearing attack from forces despatched by the Zimbabwean government, and publicise the reason for his slow journey to Windhoek …

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“Long Ride for Justice” – Ben Freeth’s latest press update from Namibia

Momentum is building rapidly for a new initiative to call for the reopening of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)’s regional court of justice, the SADC Tribunal, as Ben Freeth, a rights activist from Zimbabwe’s Chegutu farming district, continues his challenging, long ride and walk – initially across western Zimbabwe and now through Namibia to Windhoek - on an equally resolute farm horse called Johnny Depp. Ben is now less than 200km from Windhoek where the support he’s received from communities along the way has been exceptional. Sighting en route include a solitary leopard……

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El Niño scorches southern Africa with driest February on record

A swathe of southern Africa suffered the driest February in decades that wiped out crops, precipitated power shortages and threatened to send already high food prices surging further. Last month, large parts of Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe had the least rainfall — or close to it — since records began in 1981. In Zimbabwe, some farmers have given up trying to grow and harvest their crops, allowing cattle to graze on what’s left. Water flows in the Zambezi River, which powers turbines that both nations rely on for electricity via Kariba Dam, are less than a quarter of what they were a year ago.  

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"Long Ride for Justice” - Namibians support Ben Freeth

Ben Freeth from Mike Campbell’s Mount Carmel farm in Zimbabwe, which was taken over violently by the Mugabe regime, is currently on a “Long Ride for Justice”, walking and riding from Ngoma Bridge Border Post at the eastern end of Namibia’s Caprivi Strip, to raise awareness of the need to reinstate the SADC Tribunal regional court of justice. "I am so grateful for the warmth and kindness of Namibians I have encountered so far - both in the communal and commercial areas. Thank you very much! My biggest need is to be able to give Stardust enough water." – Ben Freeth, Zimbabwean farmer

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"Long Ride for Justice” - Ben Freeth letter to Namibian Farmers

 My name is Ben Freeth from a farm called Mt Carmel Farm in Zimbabwe. You may see me with a horse walking along the road. 

I have ridden and led a horse unsupported from the farm through Zimbabwe for 800 km. Here on the Namibian side I have ridden and led a mule for approximately 400 km - with the amazing back-up of Dr Telané Greyling. 

 The mule is now back in Windhoek due to his intense dislike of being alone on the trail without a fellow equine. Megan from Grootfontein has come to the rescue with a wonderful horse called Stardust. 

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Join us on an incredible journey for justice which our executive director, Ben Freeth, has embarked on to raise the profile of the need to reinstate the regional court of justice, the SADC Tribunal, which was based in Windhoek, Namibia. To document Ben’s initiative, and keep you updated on his progress through a vast section of Namibia (having completed the Zimbabwean leg), we’d like to introduce our blog, "Long Ride for Justice”. Through it, you'll get exclusive insights, stories and updates directly from Ben as he rides and walks through remote landscapes, encounters remarkable individuals, and advocates for justice.


Even for a life-long adventurer like Zimbabwe’s Ben Freeth (54), an 800km/500 mile journey west across Zimbabwe with his remarkable horse, then west along part of Namibia’s sparsely populated Caprivi Strip with a mule, and south to the Namibian capital, Windhoek is no mean feat! Ben is executive director of the Mike Campbell Foundation and his objective is to raise awareness of the closure of the Southern African Development Community (SADC)’s regional court of justice, the SADC Tribunal, which was located in Windhoek, and to campaign for its reinstatement.

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ZANU PF kept Sikhala in prison for fear of losing 2023 elections

Job Sikhala, the former Zengeza West Member of Parliament for the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party, has claimed that ZANU PF abused State institutions to keep him in prison during the August 2023 general election to block him from participating in the polls. In an interview with Alpha Media Holdings chairman, Trevor Ncube, on the platform “In Conversation with Trevor”, Sikhala said ZANU PF was afraid he would cause “pandemonium” in the event of a rigged electoral outcome. After resigning from the CCC, Sikhala announced his intention to form a new political movement. He was in jail for a total of 595 days.

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 ZLHR Statement on world day of social justice

On World Day of Social Justice (20 February 2024), Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) issued a statement warning the government that forced evictions and the displacement of people are a gross violation of human rights, notably the right to shelter and freedom from arbitrary eviction, as enshrined in the Constitution. ZLHR also called on the government to stop the ongoing demolitions, evictions and displacement of people and to stop “the unquenchable penchant to perpetuate injustice in Zimbabwe”. ZLHR also said the government should alleviate poverty inequality and provide social safety nets.

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Mass evictions and demolitions

Two decades after a disastrous attempt in Zimbabwe at “land reform”, which drove out more than 4,00O white commercial farmers, the government is fighting illegal settlers on “state land” handed out by traditional leaders, land barons and corrupt government officials. Mass evictions and demolitions have occurred. Almost 4 000 people have been arrested for illegal settlements on state and council land as well as former farms. The government has reacted by destroying houses and other structures erected on the illegally-acquired land. ZimRights  warns that the evictions "are causing a wholesale violation of human rights".

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High Court (UK) upholds Border Timbers ICSID award

The High Court in London has rejected the Zimbabwe government's attempt to evade paying a US$125 million arbitral award for grabbing land belonging to Border Timbers Ltd and Hangani Development (the von Pezold case). The two companies were awarded US$124m plus interest and a further US$1m in "moral damages and costs" in 2015 by the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). The German and Swiss owners should have been protected by Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (BIPPAs) signed by the Zimbabwe government with Germany and Switzerland.

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Advocate Fadzayi Mahere resigns from CCC party

Advocate Fadzayi Mahere of the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) party, has resigned as MP for Mount Pleasant (Harare), in support of former leader Nelson Chamisa who on 22 January said he was dumping the “contaminated” CCC. Announcing her resignation and thanking her constituents, Mahere wrote: “Despite numerous odds, we fought hard to push back against unjust, anti-people pronouncements like the 2024 Budget, the fees crisis in higher education, the power crisis, the broken economy and the imposition of candidates following a series of fraudulent recalls. She said this was the beginning of a different journey.

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 Nelson Chamisa quits opposition CCC party

Zimbabwe’s opposition party leader, Advocate Nelson Chamisa, has been forced to quit the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) movement that he started last on 22 January 2022  after “an imposter”, Sengezo Tshabangu, managed to recall its legislators and local government. Chamisa said the CCC had been hijacked by proxies of President Mnangagwa’s ruling Zanu-PF party. Chamisa, who rose to prominence as a student leader and later as an activist in the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Zimbabwe’s late former prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai, said he was not abandoning politics.

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