CL/175/11(a)-R.2- 7 -
Geneva, 1st October 2004
provisions but also the way in which they had been introduced. The draft constitution was rejected in the referendum of February 2000. New land laws were then introduced and the land grabbing started. The Supreme Court ordered the occupied farms to be vacated with the result that the Chief Justice was removed from office4.
As to the financing of the MDC, Mr. Sibanda stated that the party was funded by the black community in Zimbabwe. It did not receive any outside funding and had never been accused in court of receiving such funds. Mr. Sibanda pointed out that there were only three whites in the party and he said that the whites only started supporting the MDC after the referendum.
3.The Movement for Democratic Change and political violence
The authorities described the MDC as a violent party, at least in its beginnings. More particularly, the Minister of Foreign Affairs stated that the MDC had deliberately used intimidation and force in the 2000 election campaign when it started beating up people. Its violence was such that even Bishop Muzorewa issued a public statement calling on the party leader, Mr. Morgan Tsvangirai “to stop introducing and producing violence in Zimbabwe politics”. Other politicians had also warned the MDC that such violence “would only provoke violence by the ZANU-PF”. As to the Government, according to the Minister, it warned Tsvangirai not “to provoke a lion, because you will regret it later”. However, the MDC did not listen. The ZANU-PF first tried to defend itself but then “used massive retaliation”. The Minister complained that the western media condoned the provocation by the MDC and instead described the ZANU-PF as the “bad guy”.
The Commissioner of Police stated that the MDC’s main components came from academia (students and lecturers) and the labour movement both of which, he said, had a violent outlook and were engaged in various acts of violence. When the party was launched, he added, it openly adopted a strategy of political violence which it considered to be the key to power. While an opposition had always existed in the country since independence, the emergence of the MDC brought with it violence, including assassinations of political activists, such as Limukani Luphala and Cain Nkala (see under D.II. / 1.7. - case of Mr. Fletcher Dulini-Ncube). According to the Commissioner, during the first three months of existence, the MDC “went wild in violence”. The delegation was shown a video recording as evidence of this. The recording contained an interview Mr. Fidelis Mhashu had given to the BBC as well as various speeches made by Mr. Tsvangirai, one of them apparently held at a farm in the presence of white farmers. The delegation is neither aware of the date of Mr. Mhashu’s interview nor of the date and context of Mr. Tsvangirai speeches. In the BBC interview, Mr. Mhashu said that court decisions ordering the end of farm occupations should be enforced, that the MDC needed material, financial and moral assistance and that he approved the sanctions against Zimbabwe. As to Mr. Tsvangirai’s speeches, the delegation was unable to understand everything he said, but its interlocutors drew its attention to a sentence in the last speech shown to it to the effect that if President Mugabe did not want to go peacefully, the MDC would make him go violently. The Police Commissioner insisted that the MDC leadership, Mr. Tsvangirai, Welshman Ncube and Renson Gansela had plotted to kill President Mugabe and were brought to trial on such charges. In his view, this was a clear sign of the violence adopted by the MDC.
The Minister of Justice, apart from dwelling on the funding of the MDC which, he said, was provided by the colonial masters who in 2000 had publicly declared that a regime change was necessary in Zimbabwe, added that the MDC had attempted to assassinate President Mugabe. Mr. Job Sikhala had even been mandated to talk to the military about what should be done after his assassination. This took place before the 2002 presidential elections and, according to the Minister, in an atmosphere in which the MDC MPs disregarded the law and organised meetings to overthrow the Government illegally and by force.
The Commissioner of Police provided the delegation with the official statistics from the crime register regarding national politically motivated crimes, covering three periods: January to December
4 On 17 March 2000, Justice Paddington Garwe ruled in favour of the Commercial Farmer’s Union, that the occupation of commercial farms by war veterans was illegal trespass. This decision was later upheld by Justice Moses Chinhengo and finally, on 21 December 2000, by the full bench of the Supreme Court, chaired by the then Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay. According to the information provided to the delegation, Justice Gubbay was forced into early retirement after the full bench of the Supreme Court had struck down a presidential decree attempting to invalidate the MDC’s right to bring electoral challenges before the High Court.