When in 2008, I was briefed by the security that there were bombings of police stations and burning of houses in rural areas, I quickly realised that we were not dealing with the MDC or any other political party, but this was the ugly head of the Selous Scouts trying to tarnish the image of Zanu-PF.If they are using South African territory to plan criminal acts in Zimbabwe, they are liable under South African law too.
SA ruling: It’s time for an eye for an eye
Saturday, 19 May 2012 20:24
Sunday Mail Reporter
Diplomats from Southern Africa have said the time might have come for governments in the region to “square up” with former Rhodies and their influential friends in South Africa who are abusing democratic institutions in that country to continue their war against Zimbabwe in provocative ways that are now threatening to destabilise the region.
War veterans in this country have also added their voice, saying the former Rhodies and their friends in South Africa should know that “we are fully aware that they committed lots of unspeakable atrocities before our country’s independence and they continue to do so up to this day and so the time is fast approaching to return fire with fire.”
The concerns raised by the diplomats and the outrage from the war veterans follow a ruling handed down recently by Judge Hans Fabricius of North Gauteng High Court in South Africa calling on authorities in that country to probe alleged atrocities in Zimbabwe under statutes of the International Criminal Court (ICC) of which SA is a signatory.
Zimbabwe is not signatory to the ICC and so does not recognise the court which analysts say was established by the West to target African leaders who refuse to dance to their tune.
The ruling followed a petition by the Southern Africa Litigation Centre and the Zimbabwe Exiles’ Forum, organisations that have close links to former Rhodesians who seem to have discovered that their first choice to effect regime change in the country — the MDC — has failed dismally and are resorting to abusing democratic institutions in SA.
Harare lawyer Beatrice Mtetwa, who has represented top MDC-T officials in court on several occasions, is a trustee at the Southern Africa Litigation Centre.
Diplomats who spoke to The Sunday Mail on condition of anonymity for diplomatic reasons expressed grave concern that what started as a fight between Zimbabwe and the former Rhodesians was fast escalating to levels that are now threatening stability in the region.
“The outrage that has been sparked in Zimbabwe and indeed the whole Sadc region by the unprecedented decision by the South African court is not surprising at all if you consider the fact that the decision was made by a white judge who seemed to be intent on being provocative against both the ANC and Zanu-PF as former liberation movements.
“You must also remember that South Africa is home to very large numbers of former Rhodesians who are now very influential in that country's judiciary, legal fraternity, media, business and NGO community and those former Rhodesians have for some time now been using their critical positions and influence in South Africa to settle their Rhodesian scores with Zanu-PF in reckless and dangerous ways that may end up being very harmful to South Africa's national interest to the detriment of cohesion and stability within Sadc.
But fundamentally the decision has no basis in either South African or international law and is an unenforcable legal nullity which means that it was specifically made for political and propaganda purposes designed to soil relations between South Africa and Zimbabwe.
“If the South African government does not appeal against that decision, then obviously its own interests in Zimbabwe and the region will be in serious jeopardy because Zimbabwe and other countries in the region can retaliate through their own legal systems, not only against former Rhodesians who are now South Africans who committed genocidal crimes during the apartheid days up to as recent as 1994 but also against the South African government itself which is liable to legal claims for compensation,” said a Harare-based Sadc diplomat.
Another diplomat added that the issue about the threat stemming from the actions of the former Rhodies in SA “is being discussed extensively in diplomatic corridors and soon it will be taken to the appropriate levels for concrete action.”
Said the diplomat: “We have been observing what has been happening from the sad days of the disbanded Sadc Tribunal up to the latest ruling in South Africa. As diplomats from the region, we are noticing a worrying trend in the fight by the former white farmers against the Government here. Slowly the issue is spiralling out of control and is fast becoming a Sadc issue in general and an issue for liberation movements in the region in particular. We are still in discussions to see how best we can deal with this issue that has to be contained before the region is plunged into serious security problems.”
War veterans leader Cde Jabulani Sibanda said the people behind the SA court case and the judge who presided over it clearly show “the mentality of the white men in a free Africa”.
“Yesterday, these same people regarded us as sub-human and they ill-treated us. We fought for self-determination through the liberation struggle and we defeated them. Now they are regrouping in South Africa using that country’s white-controlled legal system.
“I can assure you that even if they use whatever techniques and whatever flawed legal system, we will still defeat them. The judgment in SA was not only against Zimbabwe. It was also against the liberation movements in that country and the whole region because it was instigated by former Rhodies and their apartheid friends representing the white struggle.
“We will stand up against this new onslaught and these Rhodies and their friends should know from the liberation struggle that we can return fire with fire. Those who committed violence in 2008 were charged and our courts are very competent to handle such matters,” charged Cde Sibanda.
According to the recently published WikiLeaks, a Harare regional co-ordinator for intelligence for the MDC, Charles Mutama, told the US Embassy in Harare that the security, intelligence and youth branches of the MDC were planning to attack police stations, Zanu-PF-owned shops and gas stations in five cities in the country.
Several police stations and railway lines were subsequently bombed in 2008 while several houses in rural areas were burnt during the same period leading to the arrest of many MDC activists who had received military training in Botswana and South Africa.
Some of the activists who were brought before the courts accused of banditry, insurgency and terrorism include Gandi Mudzingwa, Kisimusi Dhlamini, Andrison Manyere, Zacharia Nkomo, Regis Mujeyi, Garutsa Mapfumo and Chinoto Zulu.
Retired Brigadier-General Dr Felix Muchemwa on Friday described the disturbances that took place in 2008 that saw the bombings of police stations and the burning of houses in rural areas as a “Selous Scout operation.”
“These former Rhodies are saying the violence in 2008 should be investigated but we know that the former Selous Scouts were behind those disturbances. You see, when we took this country in 1980, we took it from General Peter Walls’ special forces. These forces wanted to carry out a coup and take out both President Mugabe and Vice-President Nkomo and so at independence we insisted that these special forces should be disbanded because we knew their machinations.
“When they failed to carry out the coup, they went out on a mission to destabilise the country after running away to South Africa. The Selous Scouts under these special forces carried out dirty tricks to discredit both Zanla and Zipra by carrying out the bombings of the Mambo Press, the Anglican Cathedral in Mbare and two of them actually blew themselves to pieces in a bid to tarnish the image of Zanla and Zipra.
“These Selous Scouts later regrouped in SA and they continued their dirty tricks in 2008 to discredit Zanu-PF. When in 2008, I was briefed by the security that there were bombings of police stations and burning of houses in rural areas, I quickly realised that we were not dealing with the MDC or any other political party, but this was the ugly head of the Selous Scouts trying to tarnish the image of Zanu-PF.
“These former Rhodies know they killed people in 2008 and now they are turning around to say go and investigate. Well, Muchemwa can go to SA today and say charge me but then the courts there have no extra-judicial powers over Zimbabweans.
“You see, the ruling was taken by the white-controlled courts which don’t have the arresting powers. The police have the arresting powers.
Let the police in SA make a wrong move and arrest one of ours and we will also make a wrong move,” warned the veteran soldier. The Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs, Cde Patrick Chinamasa, has already dismissed the ruling, saying it has brought the SA justice system into disrepute while Attorney-General Mr Johannes Tomana dismissed the judgment, saying Zimbabwean citizens will not be subjected to South African and international laws that the country is not party to.
Saving Zimbabwe An Agenda for Democratic Peace
Policy report for the Africa Policy Institute, July
Human Sciences Research Council, Pretoria and and Africa Policy Institute, Nairobi/Pretoria 10 July 2008
There were reports of arrests of MDC MPs on the ground of organizing violence. One MDC parliamentarian, Ian Kay, was arrested on 20 May for alleged role in violence in Mashonaland East. Another MP, Among Chibaya, was also arrested the next day for allegedly inciting junior officers in the police to rebel. As violence escalated, on 29 May President Mugabe visited the site of an alleged attack by MDC supporters at Shamva, where a homestead was burned down. Mugabe warned the MDC to “stop immediately this barbaric campaign of burning and destroying people’s homes.”40
Days to the elections, Police Commissioner, General Augustine Chihuri said on 20 June that the MDC was primarily responsible for the violence, alleging that the party was using its Democratic Resistance Committees to intimidate voters in an effort “to influence the outcome of the elections.”
He disclosed that the police had arrested 390 MDC supporters alongside 156 ZANU-PF supporters involved in violence.41 Harare’s officials further claimed that that activists of the MDC, disguised as ZANU-PF members, had executed violence against the population, mimicking the tactics of the Selous Scouts during the war of liberation.
In an article published in the Sunday Mail, it was further claimed that there was a “predominance” of Selous Scouts in the MDC structures, and a new strategy of resistance. The article claimed further that former Selous Scouts are training MDC youth activists in violent tactics at locations near Tswane (Pretoria) and Pietermaritzburg in South Africa.42
41 “MDC-T Behind wave of violence—Chihuri”, The Herald (Harare), 21 June 2008.
42 Although our researchers are yet to confirm the truth about this aspect, our contacts in West Africa spoke of Zimbabwean youths travelling to Guinea for training. API telephone interview, Zimbabwean political analyst, Dakar, Senegal, 7 July 2008; Ralph Mutema, “Zimbabwe: Tsvangirai Asked Khama for Armoured Car”, The Zimbabwe Guardian, 2 June 2008.
What I can't get out of my head, is that there were only very few few white farmers were killed during the Fast Track land reform process (2000 to today). Was this, because their killings were the result of Super Zapu, an organisation that likely only numbered 100 people, and that was heavily supported by the South African apartheid government and former members of the Rhodesian special forces in Rhodesia? And did so for the very same reasons they had in the 1980s, which was to grab international headlines and tarnish the image of the Zimbabwean government?
This is what the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace had to say on Super Zapu tactics, in the March 1997 report:
" While they operated, South Africa provided ammunition for Super ZAPU, and some of this found its way to other dissident groups in the country: arms and ammunition used by dissidents frequently indicated South Africa as the source of origin, particularly during 1983. Super ZAPU were also directly responsible for the deaths of white farmers in southern Matabeleland, during their time of operation. "
Source: REPORT ON THE 1980’s DISTURBANCES IN MATABELELAND & THE MIDLANDS
Compiled by the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace in Zimbabwe, March 1997