Zimbabwe News Roundup

Violence up 15%: ZPP

The Zimbabwe Peace Project says that there has been an upsurge of violence in the past month since President Robert Mugabe reiterated his intention to hold elections this year.

Mugabe said he was adamant that elections would be held this year – with or without democratic reforms.

ZPP said that its monitors reported a 15 percent increase in human rights violations that were “directly linked” to the new push for polls in 2012.

Zim torture ruling

The activists who led a landmark legal challenge in South Africa last week have expressed hope of a favourable ruling in the coming months.

The case, which calls on South Africa to honour its international legal obligations and investigate incidences of torture in Zimbabwe, came to an end in the Pretoria High Court on Thursday.

Presiding Judge Hans Fabricius reserved ruling on the matter, but a judgement is expected soon.

The case, brought by Southern Africa Litigation Centre and the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum, is based on a dossier detailing the attack on MDC members in 2007, which was handed to the NPA in 2008. But a formal investigation was never launched.

The Litigation Centre’s Nicole Fritz told SW Radio Africa on Friday that she was pleased with how the case progressed this week, explaining that even Judge Fabricius appeared critical of how the State had handled the issue.

“It would appear that Judge Fabricius is aware and very troubled by the fact that Zimbabwean torture victims have no rights and he seems to be upset by their plight,” Fritz said. – SW Radio Africa

Poll discord

Discord in the coalition government has reached fever pitch as President Robert Mugabe threatens to go it alone with polls as early as June.

Mugabe demanded last week that COPAC concludes a new constitution by May or the country would go for elections using the lacerated Lancaster House constitution.

But the MDC formations are staunchly resisting a forced early poll without the necessary reforms.

Ministry probes theft

The education ministry is investigating how school text books donated by the U.N. children’s agency end up in the hands of bookstores and street vendors.

The United Nations Children’s Fund has supplied 22 million books since late 2010 after a decade of economic meltdown that left many schools without teaching materials. In some schools, scores of pupils had shared a single book.

Education Minister David Coltart said Friday that culprits behind the theft and sale of books — officially the property of government schools — will be prosecuted.

Mujuru death puzzle

The family of the late army general Solomon Mujuru says it still suspects foul play in the way he died, despite a ruling to the contrary by inquest magistrate Walter Chikwanha. Family lawyer Thakor Kewada said they will seek permission from the Home Affairs Ministry to have his remains exhumed for a fresh post-mortem.

The decision sets up a potential flashpoint, given the determination by some sections of Zanu (PF) to kill speculation over the general’s death. Attorney General Johannes Tomana has already instructed the police to treat the Mujuru docket as ‘a closed and completed matter’despite protests from his family.

SA to deport Zims

The South Africa’s Ambassador to Zimbabwe has disclosed that all those who did not apply for permits and criminals will be flushed out of his country soon.

Ambassador Vusi Mavimbela told Radio VOP recently that deportations are coming soon.

“There is nothing more that we can do as a country, no one wants to keep a person who entered their country illegally. Those who failed to apply or get their permits will be flushed out of South Africa.”

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