Geneva, 1st October 2004
Mr. Coltart’s defence points out first of all that no one contested that reports had been made that the MPs in question had taken the farms. Moreover, they could have corrected any errors directly in the House. However, the select committee’s terms of reference were to establish whether the information contained in the list was correct or not. In the absence of any official information on this point (no register of interests) which, despite requests, the competent authorities are said not to have produced to date, Mr. Coltart will be unable to prove this point. There are fears that the procedures may not respect fair trial guarantees.
It should be noted that the delegation, where appropriate, informed the MPs concerned of the information concerning them contained in the memorandum prepared by the Police General Headquarters, dated 8 March 2004, which was provided to the delegation during its stay (Annex 3). Personal accounts referred partly to this information and to other incidents mentioned in the Committee’s report which had also been made available to them. Having not been informed that the delegation would wish to receive information about follow-up action to investigate alleged assaults on the MPs concerned, the police provided this information in writing shortly after the mission(police memorandum, dated 22 April 2004, Annex 4). The section below also takes account of the details given in it.
The delegation was provided with the report entitled “Playing with fire” of March 2004, commissioned by the Zimbabwe Institute, which contains the personal accounts of human rights abuses experienced by 50 opposition MPs and 28 opposition election candidates. The report contains additional details on the situation of the MPs concerned; however, it did not serve as reference document in the meetings.
Finally, while the delegation was unable to meet with some of the MPs concerned, it met with MPs whose cases had not as yet been referred to the Committee. These cases will be dealt with in separate sections.
1.The personal accounts of MPs concerned and information on their situation provided by the Police in context with the mission
1.1.1.Arrest under the Firearms Act
Mr. Madzimure was arrested on 8 June 2003 and charged under the Firearms Act with “pointing a firearm at a person”. According to police, a student at Kambuzuma High School had alleged that the accused, without provocation had pointed a firearm at him while he was walking along Kambuzuma Marimba Road.
Mr. Madzimure denied the allegation which, according to him had been entirely fabricated at the instigation, as the delegation understood, of the ZANU-PF candidate in the constituency. He said that police had come to his house on 7 June 2003 alleging that he was holding an illegal meeting. Although they had no arrest warrant, he invited them to search his house. They left when they found no evidence of a meeting. The following day, he was informed that he was wanted at the police station. He went there and was informed of the new accusation. He gave a statement in the presence of his lawyer, denying the allegation which, he said, the police did not believe themselves. The Police told him that they had to arrest him, having received “an order from above”. He was detained overnight without a charge having been brought against him. The next day, he was taken to court and released on bail. He said that he had been discharged on 1 March 2004 whereas according to the police memorandum of 8 March 2004 the matter was pending set-down date at court.
1.1.2.Stoning of his house
Mr. Madzimure reported, moreover, that on 23 May 2001 and then again on 24 and 25 June 2001, ZANU-PF supporters and youth attacked his house, destroying the roof, windows and doors. He lodged a complaint and the matter was still pending in court. However, according to the police memorandum, dated 20 April 2004, a youth known as George Mabvunyika was found guilty of malicious