Memorandum from The Bail Circle
1. I hereby would like to present to the
Select Committee evidence we received re the problems on food
scarcity and distributions, and its connections with politically
biased violence and withholding of aid in both rural and urban
areas throughout Zimbabwe. I would leave it to the judgment of
you and your colleagues as to where it would be most effective,
if at all.
2. The material was sent for submission
to the Select Committee by the former Canon at Harare Anglican
Cathedral, who withdrew from that church position after his vocal
and public role in the conflict about the politicised appointment
of Bishop Norbert Kunonga, of Harare, which made his position
3. Since the former Canon and his team have
initiated a charity providing food aid, trauma assessment and
where necessary, referral to safe houses to farmworkers dispossessed
in the course of the farm occupations. The organisation is called
the Zimbabwe Community Development Trust. The group became operational
in December 2001; The Committee will, I am sure, be aware of the
risks posed to the ZCDT team by disclosure of some of the activities
hereby reported to it.
(an account of ZCDT aims and actions since;
see Annex A and B)
4. The ZCDT works very closely with the
Amani Trust, the Zimbabwe equivalent of our UK trauma expert group
the Medical Foundation, in monitoring and documenting incidences
of militia violence, police passivity and obstruction to resource
access, and in providing safe houses.
(for Amani's documentation on violence to ZCDT
clients, see Annex C)
5. In addition to Amani's summary of their
data on concurrence of food safety, access obstruction and violence
against ZCDT clients, the Canon was also sent case sheets documenting
individual clients' experiences of assault and obstruction to
food by Zanu-PF militias, with a handwritten note outlining his
views on the evidence for a deliberate and politically biased
deprivation/exclusion policy by the government being operated
A transcript of these client casesheets and
the comments, giving range of incidents, is also appended.
Case reports food obstruction and crop destruction,
and transcript; see Annex D.
6. There are furthermore press reports from
a) National News dd. 14 May 2002 and b) VOA News dd 14 May 2002
on the forcible return of dispossessed farmworkers which had been
in the care of the ZCDT, to the Marondera area from which they
had originally been displaced.
The ZCDT went to the High Court on behalf of
these displaced persons to seek their return to the safety of
the ZCDT aid camp, and restrain the police from attacking and
displacing the farm workers.
Neill's written margin comment to us: "Not
that the police obey the courts, but there is a principle involved."
I understand from today's telephone conversation
that those returned to Marondera were the subject of renewed attacks
by the occupying "war veterans" who had displaced them.
Forced return displaced farm workers to Marondera.
7. A report (working draft) on food security
and the link with systematic violence, produced for a network
of NGO's working in the field, the NGO Food Security Network,
quantifies the current position insofar as it is recorded, bearing
also in mind the safety requirements under which some fieldworkers
Food security; A Civic Assessment of Needs and
8. Finally, there is a recent report, dated
12 May 2002, that once again NGOs such as the ZCDT are to be on
the receiving end of further state persecution.
News 24, report dd 12 May 2002.
9. The Bail Circle is a network of British
volunteers assisting and supporting detained asylum seekers. It
is funded by the Churches Commission for Racial Justice. During
the course of last year and recently, it has born some of the
brunt of providing advocacy support in the UK to the excessive
number of Zimbabwean asylum seekers detained by the Immigration
Service as having "manifestly unfounded", and therefore
legally certified, that is appeal-restricted, asylum applications,
despite growing evidence to the contrary on persecution of any
and all opposition supporters at all levels of prominence in Zimbabwe.
As a result of this unexpected workload we inevitably were contacted
by/made contact with a number of civic groups and agencies working
in Zimbabwe for the preservation of civic rights. It is through
these channels that the information submitted has reached us.
The material enclosed resulted.
The Bail Circle
32 National News, Tuesday 14 May 2002, "Riot
Police throw refugees back to their tormentors." [Not printed]. Back
Report produced for the NGO Food Security Network. Draft, May
2002. [Not printed]. Back
[Not printed]. Back