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draws up travel ban hit-list
Maponga and Davison Maruziva, The Standard (Zimbabwe)
December 11, 2005
THE government, scaling
up repression against Zimbabweans it considers among its trenchant critics,
has compiled a list of people whose passports should be "seized, withdrawn
and invalidated", The Standard can confirm. The move has drawn a chorus
of condemnation both at home and abroad. The list was drawn up on 24 November
and reportedly has the names of 64 on it, although The Standard has been
able to confirm 17 on those blacklisted.
Last week's seizure of the passport of Trevor Ncube, the chairman of The
Standard and The Zimbabwe Independent newspaper marks the beginning of
an onslaught against the private media through withdrawals of their travel
On Friday MDC's Secretary
for Information and Publicity, Paul-Themba-Nyathi had his passport seized
and withdrawn by the State soon after arrival in Bulawayo from Johannesburg,
The Standard understands
that the list of people whose passports should be seized, withdrawn and
invalidated is from Tobaiwa T Mudede, the Registrar-General to Immigration
and is listed as Reference D/9.
The letter from Elasto
H Mugwadi, the Chief Immigration Officer, is dated 28 November 2005 and
is headed Invalidation and withdrawal of Zimbabwe Passports. It reads:
"With immediate effect
Zimbabwe Passport held by the under listed persons are deemed invalid
and should be withdrawn on sight for onward transmission to the Chief
"Attached hereto is
a self-explanatory copy of the invalidation authority dated 24/11/05 from
the Chief Passport Officer and the Registrar-General, Cde TT Mudede."
Mudede's letter to
Immigration, dated 24 November 2005, says:
"You are please advised
that the current Zimbabwe passports of the following holders are effectively
withdrawn and invalidated for the purposes of passage. Please these passports
must be surrendered to the Chief Passport Officer, if with- drawn."
The European Community
(EU) and local analysts condemned the latest government move. The EU cited
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 13, which says: "Everyone
has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to
his country" guarantees freedom of movement.
In a statement, the
EU said: "Any withdrawal of a passport prevents freedom of movement and
is in breach of the Declaration. We have repeatedly expressed concerns
about the human rights record in Zimbabwe and called on the government
to respect individuals' rights, which include free expression and free
Ncube said there was
a linkage between the seizure of his passport, the listing of the other
16 and the Constitutional Amendment No 17 and that the intention is to
create a climate of fear and intimidation.
"From here on Zimbabweans
are going to be terrified to speak up and express themselves. The move
is meant to frighten people. The 17 of us are being used as an example.
I am the first person to have his passport withdrawn. I do not think I
am likely to get my passport in Bulawayo. The passport will be sent to
Harare," said Ncube, who is launching an application to have his passport
Meanwhile Ncube who
last week appeared on an Australian sanctions' list said: "The Australians
have called me and have apologised. They have said the issue is under
review and it will be corrected."
Professor Welshman Ncube said Themba-Nyathi was being punished for speaking
out against Mugabe's repressive policies.
The Committee to Protect
Journalists in its condemnation of Ncube's passport seizure said: "The
existence of this list is an affront to basic rights including freedom
of movement. This is nothing short-of a witch-hunt against those courageous
few who still dare publicly to criticse President Robert Mugabe."
Mudede and Mugwadi
were unavailable for comments all of Friday and yesterday.
But local analysts
interviewed yesterday said there was no enabling legislation that would
give the government a leeway to start impounding passports.
Arnold Tsunga, the
human rights lawyer and director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights,
said the move couldn't be justified in terms of the country's laws and
even by international statutes.
He said: "This kind
of a purge can only be found in a dictatorship where there is a severely
oppressive regime or in those governments who are suffering from severe
paranoia and are even afraid of their own shadows," Tsunga said.
Rashweat Mkundu the
director of the Media Institute of Southern Africa said the move is only
an intensification of repression by Mugabe's government on the citizenry.
Mkundu said: "This
goes to show how this government is determined to silence all dissenting
voices. We have seen much of what this government can do to its own people
since 2000. It's a grand plan to muzzle the Press and curtail the freedom
of movement of the people in this country. This is just an abuse of State
positions which is only synonymous with dictatorships."
a Constitutional lawyer and political analyst said the seizures could
never be justified in a democratic society.
Mudede's hit list:
Raymond Majongwe; Trevor Ncube; Geoffrey Nyarota; Basildon Peta; Clive
Masiiwa (sic); Nqobile Nyathi; Noble Sibanda; Bernard Mandizvidza; P Themba-Nyathi;
Caroline Gombakomba; Tafadzwa Musekiwa; Grace Kwinjeh; Beatrice Mtetwa;
Gabriel Shumba Marechera; Lloyd Mudiwa; and Lionel Saungweme.
This list was drawn
up on 24 November 2005. However, there is an expanded list of 64 people
and Ncube also features on that list.
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