Zimbabwe poll results challenged Zimbabwe's opposition
Movement for Democratic Change is to challenge the results in certain
districts from last week's parliamentary election. The party has also
published a report alleging "massive fraud" in the 31 March
The MDC MPS nevertheless took their seats as parliament met
"We will take a few selected cases to court on
Friday to prove the election was stolen," MDC spokesman David Coltart
Speaking in South Africa, Mr Coltart
said the party had already filed one challenge to an electoral court on
Tuesday, concerning a poll result from the city of Bulawayo.
"Aside from all the allegations of the use of food as a political weapon
there were systematic and fundamental violations of the electoral law by the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission [ZEC] itself which facilitated the final
rigging and fraud on election day and the day after," Mr Coltart told the
He added that polling agents were denied access to the polls
and tens of thousands of voters were turned away.
also claimed there was "a disparity of a quarter of a million votes" between
the voter numbers announced when polls closed, and the results announced in
the following two days.
commission has described the allegations as "not relevant" and the ruling
Zanu-PF party has dismissed the allegations of fraud.
correspondent Alastair Leithead says the MDC is running out of options since
there is no support from Zimbabwe's neighbours for the fraud claims, and the
courts have still not dealt with complaints about the 2000
The MDC won 41 of parliament's 120 elected
President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party won 78 and he can
appoint another 30 MPs.
Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean president, has appointed
unelected MPs ahead of today's opening of parliament, boosting the large
majority won by the ruling Zanu(PF).
The Herald, the official
Zimbabwean newspaper, has reported that Mugabe returned Joseph Msika, the
vice president, and Emmerson Mnangagwa, the outgoing speaker, to the
country's parliament. Msika did not stand in the March 31 elections and
Mnangagwa lost to an opposition candidate.
Zanu(PF) won 78 of the 120
elected seats, but Mugabe has the authority to appoint another 20 members
along with 10 traditional leaders, giving his party much more than the
two-thirds majority that allows him to change the constitution at
Zanu(PF) chairperson not appointed Local media have speculated
that John Nkomo, the Zanu(PF) national chairperson, might be brought in as
the new speaker, but he was not among those listed in The Herald.
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has cited "serious and
unaccountable gaps" in vote tallies to back its accusations, supported by
Western powers, that Mugabe's party rigged the election. Zanu(PF) denies
The MDC won 41 seats in the elections, 16 seats less than
in the last parliamentary polls in 2000. The remaining elected seat went to
former Jonathan Moyo, the information minister, who won as an independent
after falling out with the ruling party. - Reuters
JOHANNESBURG - Dr Simba
Makoni, Zimbabwe's former Finance Minister faces stiff competition from
other aspirants who boast of equally good credentials for the top post at
the African Development Bank (ADB). Dr Makoni was short listed by the ADB's
board of governors as one of the seven candidates earmarked to run for the
post of the bank's president.
Dr Makoni, one of the most
respected politicians in Zimbabwe and outside, resigned from President
Mugabe's Cabinet two years ago after he disagreed with his colleagues on how
to run the country's economy.
He has been endorsed as the
candidate of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), where he was
the executive secretary for nine years.
Dr Makoni was
credited with initiating Zimbabwe's Millennium Economic Recovery Plan in
2000, but his strong advocacy for free market reforms and the devaluation of
the Zimbabwe dollar did not go down well with President
Although no longer in government,t Dr Makoni is a
member of President Mugabe's inner circle because he is a member of the Zanu
PF politburo. He holds the post of deputy secretary for economic
Dr Makoni faces serious challenge from six other
candidates who were also short listed for the ADB top job. They are Dr
Donald Kaberuka (Rwanda), Kingsley Y Amoako (Ghana), Ismael Hassan (Egypt),
Theodore Nkodo (Cameroon), Olabisi Ogunjobi (Nigeria) and Casimir Oye Mha
Dr Kaberuka, Rwanda's Finance and Economic Planning
Minister, is being heavily supported by all countries from East Africa while
the rest of the hopefuls are being sponsored by their respective
Dr Kaberuka, according to the Rwandan media, is
working round the clock, traveling around the globe to solicit support for
his candidature. He has just returned from a tour from most of the countries
in southern Africa and is currently on a tour of European countries, Japan
and the United States lobbying.
"We have been meeting
leaders of different countries and finance ministers to explain our vision
for the bank," Kaberuka told journalists in Kigali, Rwanda's capital, adding
the race was stiff. "It's a tight race; there are seven of us, all of them
very good candidates."
Nkodo of Cameroon is currently the ADB
vice-president for north, south and east operations apart from having worked
as a director of the ADB's central operations
has worked for the World Bank holding various posts.
of Nigeria is the vice-president of the ADB in charge of west and central
operations. He has been with the ADB since 1978 .
Gabonese candidate, is a former minister for planning and development, as
well as for foreign affairs in President Omar Bongo's
Ismael Hassan is a former governor of Egypt's
central bank and has held top posts in several financial
The elections are being held to replace the
retiring ADB president, Omar Kabbaj, a Moroccan economist who has led the
institution since 1995.
The African Development Bank Group
consists of the African Development Bank (ADB), Africa Development Fund
(ADF) and the Nigerian Trust Fund. It is headquartered in Abidjan, Cote d'
Eric Chinje, the ADB public relations manager, told the
Kenyan media recently that election of the new president would be held
during the annual meetings of the ADB Group in Abuja, Nigeria, on May 18 and
19. The new president is expected to take office on September 1.
JOHANNESBURG - The
government has said Joseph Mwale, the fugitive Central Intelligence
Organisation (CIO) state security agent, will finally face justice for
allegedly masterminding the gruesome murder of two opposition activists
during the run-up to the 2000 parliamentary poll.
been a free man since the alleged murder of two Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) activists Talent Mabika and Tichaona Chiminya despite a High
Court ruling which ordered his arrest.
Pressed why Mwale
continued to be a free man despite his alleged involvement in the murder of
the two MDC activists, Kembo Mohadi, Zimbabwe's Home Affair Minister said:
"Like anybody else if he (Mwale) committed a crime, regardless of his
status, he will get arrested. Nobody is above the law in Zimbabwe. If he has
not been arrested yet then investigations are still in
Police fall under Mohadi's
Mohadi refused to say when Mwale would be arrested
since the police and other security agents knew his whereabouts, saying:
"These are security issues which I can not discuss with
Mwale, although now sporting a heavy beard to
disguise his identity, is known to be based in Mutoko District, 200
kilometers north-east of Harare.
Mohadi's assurances that
Mwale, will, at long last, face justice come as a big relief as hopes were
fading that the feared CIO agent would, one day, be made to account for his
alleged crimes against humanity.
Chiminya, MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai's personal assistant, and Mabika, a youth activist, were killed
at Murambinda Growth Point in Buhera. The MDC activists were burnt to death
when the vehicle they were travelling in was torched by Mwale and three of
The two were campaigning for Tsvangirai in
Buhera North when they met their deaths. Tsvangirai lost to Kenneth
Manyonda, the Deputy Minister of Commerce and
Trade in the 2000 parliamentary poll.
Trainos Zimunya better known as Kitsiyatota, other Zanu PF activists known
as Gwama and Mudzamiri have since been arrested facing murder charges. They
are out on Z$5 million bail each which was granted by High Court Justice
Zimbabwe's main opposition
party said it will take its seats when the country's new Parliament is
inaugurated on Tuesday, despite branding the March 31 parliamentary polls as
a massive fraud.
"Our parliamentarians will be there at Parliament
today," said William Bango, spokesperson for Morgan Tsvangirai, who leads
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
At a news conference
in Johannesburg on Tuesday, MDC spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi echoed
Bango, saying: "Forty-one MDC members have been elected. We expect them to
carry out this responsibility."
The MDC maintains that the March 31
polls were rigged by President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu-PF, which took 78
seats of the 120 seats up for election.
Mugabe had earlier said
his party would "run the country in the normal way", even if the MDC
Meanwhile, Mugabe appointed 30 lawmakers from
the ruling party ahead of the inauguration of the new 150-member Parliament,
state media said on Tuesday.
Under the Constitution, the
president can nominate 30 members in the 150-seat Parliament.
State television and newspapers on Tuesday listed the 30, including serving
Cabinet ministers and senior government officials who failed to make it to
Parliament in the March 31 ballot.
Among them is former parliament
speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was for a long time widely seen as a
successor to succeed Mugabe, until a leadership row last year that led to
the sacking of former information minister Jonathan Moyo.
MDC, which has mounted the stiffest challenge to Mugabe's 25-year grip on
power, has condemned the elections as "a massive fraud", citing
discrepancies between the number of votes cast and the results announced by
the national poll body.
The opposition party has said its probe
in four provinces showed "serious and unaccountable gaps between the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission's official pronouncements on the number of
votes cast and final totals accorded to each candidate". -- Sapa-AFP
Mugabe throws lifeline to embattled former Speaker Tue 12
April 2005 HARARE - President Robert Mugabe yesterday threw a political
lifeline to embattled former Speaker of Parliament Emmerson Mnangagwa who
lost in last month's election after he appointed him a non-constituency
Member of Parliament (MP).
Mnangagwa, who has seen his
political fortunes take a nosedive after losing the vice-presidency of the
ruling ZANU PF and government to Joyce Mujuru at the party's December
congress, lost the Kwekwe Central seat to the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change's (MDC) Blessing Chebundo in last month's
Observers said the loss had threatened to send Mnangagwa,
long seen as Mugabe's heir before the December congress, into political
But yesterday, Mugabe threw a lifeline to the former
speaker after he appointed him non-constituency
Under the constitution, Mugabe appoints 30
Apart from Mnangagwa, 11 others were also appointed as
non-constituency MPs. These are Vice President Joseph Msika, Edna Madzongwe,
Patrick Chinamasa, Samuel Mumbengegwi, Paul Mangwana, Amos Midzi, Sikhanyiso
Ndlovu, Titus Maluleke, Canisia Sathiwa, Abigail Damasane and Munacho
Most of those appointed yesterday lost to the MDC in
its urban stronghold during the controversial March poll. ZANU PF secured 78
of the 120 contested seats with the MDC winning 41 seats. Jonathan Moyo, who
was fired for backing Mnangagwa for the vice-presidency, secured the
Tsholotsho seat after standing as an independent.
appointed four new governors and retained six others yesterday, with
long-serving Masvingo governor Josaya Hungwe, who backed Mnangagwa in his
bid to block the rise of Mujuru to the vice-presidency, losing his
The unelected Members of Parliament plus 10 pro-ZANU PF
traditional chiefs who seat in Parliament ensures the ruling party controls
a critical two-thirds majority in the House allowing it to unilaterally
amend the country's constitution. - ZimOnline
ZIMBABWE'S Sixth Parliament
yesterday elected Zanu PF national chairman and ex-minister John Nkomo as
Speaker while Edna Madzongwe retained her position as Deputy Speaker to end
a week of horse-trading within the ruling party circles for the coveted
posts. As correctly speculated by The Daily Mirror, Zanu PF parliament-elects
yesterday morning met for at least four hours at the party's headquarters in
Harare to endorse the candidature of Nkomo and Madzongwe, ahead of
Parliament's swearing-in ceremony later in the day. Nkomo and Madzongwe's
candidatures were proposed by the ruling party politburo after almost
aweekofwide-scale consultations.Soon after the 150 legislators - 108 from
Zanu PF, 41 MDC and independent Jonathan Moyo - took their oaths of office,
the governing party's national political commissar Elliot Manyika nominated
Nkomo for the Speaker's post and was seconded by the secretary for
administration Didymus Mutasa. The MDC did not proffer a candidate and Nkomo
was unanimously elected. Out-going Cabinet minister Flora Bhuka and Zvimba
MP Sabina Mugabe respectively nominated and seconded the nomination of
Madzongwe as Deputy Speaker. Again the MDC failed to offer an
opponent. Nkomo's election was almost a faiti accompli through out the week
as he is the fourth senior person in Zanu PF after President Robert Mugabe
and Vice Presidents Joseph Msika and Joyce Mujuru. But, there was
horse-trading for the Deputy Speaker's post over the past week, amid reports
of heavy lobbying for a number of would-be candidates within the supreme
decision-making politburo. Numerous names were linked to the Deputy Speaker's
post, among them Zanu PF women's league boss Oppah Muchinguri, former
Mhondoro legislator Mavis Chidzonga and losing Harare Central candidate
Florence Chideya. By late Monday afternoon, Madzongwe was leading the pack.
In the Fifth Parliament, Madzongwe deputised Emmerson Mnangagwa, a former
cabinet minister and ex Zanu PF secretary for administration.The Speaker and
Deputy Speaker of Parliament are elected in terms of the Zimbabwe
constitution. The top two House officials, reads the constitution, must be
elected in accordance with parliamentary standing orders from among persons
who are or have been Members of Parliament and are not members of the
cabinet, ministers or deputy ministers.
WORKERS countrywide at the
government-owned Agricultural Rural Development Authority (ARDA), who had
not been paid for the last two months, started receiving their salaries and
wages for February and March on Wednesday last week, The Daily Mirror has
learnt, Sources close to the parastatal yesterday said the major cause of
the delay was that the agricultural giant was failing to break even,
although it has several farms and properties across the breath and length of
the country. Some workers, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of
reprisals, said ARDA had started paying workers in batches. Although
efforts to get ARDA chief executive Joseph Matowanyika's comment were
fruitless, some workers insisted that indeed they had not been paid for the
past two months. Matovanyika was said to be away officially in Rusape. "Dr
Matowanyika is on a business trip and is attending a function in Rusape,"
said his secretary. "He should be returning later in the afternoon. You can
speak to him when he comes, preferably tomorrow early in the morning." A
visit to ARDA headquarters in Harare yielded nothing after this reporter was
denied an audience with the human resources manager. "The human resources
manager does not want to speak to you. Only the CEO comments on such
matters," said a man at the reception, who also declined to disclose the
manager's name. "I think the best thing you can do is contact the boss
(Matovanyika)." Later when The Daily Mirror spoke to some senior officials
based outside Harare who had come to the offices on business, it emerged
that workers went for the Easter holidays without having been paid. "We
received our salaries some time ago, or to be precise last week," said one
of the officials, who later claimed that he was based at one of the
organisation's estates in Centenary. "Probably other workers may still
not have been paid. Otherwise we were paid." In a related case, some
workers based at Transau and Kondozi farms near Odzi said they had not been
paid as of last Friday. "I have not been paid since February and there are
many of us in the same predicament. "There are more than 50 families
staying here at Transau Farm here who have not been paid since
February. Many workers are now finding the going tough. "We were advised
that we would be paid after the just-ended parliamentary elections. We hope
to be paid probably at the end of this month, that is if funds are
available," said one worker. At Kondozi, workers were understood to have
publicly lost patience over the lack of payment of their dues, with several
complaining over their plight at the local Odzi beerhall.
TWO losing MDC candidates in the recent
parliamentary elections, Douglas Mwonzora (Nyanga) and Aaron Chinhara
(Gokwe), were arrested last weekend on allegations of inciting
violence. The latest arrests come after 16 other opposition MDC party youths
were nabbed and arraigned before the Harare magistrates in connection with
violence that erupted in the capital where property worth millions of
dollars was destroyed and people hurt. The youths, facing charges of
public violence, have since been released on $300 000 bail each and are
expected to reappear in court on April 22. According to the MDC information
department, Mwonzora was arrested on Sunday night together with 16
opposition activists and were being held at Nyanga Police Station. It added
that Chinhara and about 50 party supporters were also picked up in Gokwe on
Saturday. The MDC said Chinhara was later released from police custody on
Monday without charge. "The arrest of the two is seen as part of efforts
by the police to harass MDC officials and comes shortly after the arrest of
Nelson Chamisa, the Member of Parliament for Kuwadzana who was tortured
while in police cells last week," the opposition information department said
yesterday. Chamisa, the opposition party's national youth chairperson who has
had several brushes with the law since the birth of the MDC in September
1999, was arrested on Thursday last week on allegations of inciting public
violence and is out of custody on $1,5 million bail. The youthful MDC
lawmaker who was sworn in yesterday together with his colleagues has since
claimed he was tortured while in police custody. His lawyers were
contemplating suing the culprits in their individual capacities. Chief
police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena would neither confirm nor deny the
arrests yesterday, but said was still verifying the facts. He reiterated that
the police would clampdown on offenders. "If people commit offences the
police will always arrest them," Bvudzijena said.
Short of staff and supplies, a Zimbabwean hospital struggles to
cope with the multiple symptoms of economic as well as medical
By Marceline Ndoro in Buhera (Africa Reports: Zimbabwe
Elections No 28, 11-Apr-05)
"Prostitution, poor child spacing and
poor water supply inevitably lead to malnutrition, diarrhoeal diseases and
sexually transmitted diseases," said Dr Mike Thompson, a British medic who
formerly worked at Murambinda hospital in Zimbabwe.
He now helps
raise funds in Britain for the facility, which recently became the
benefactor of the entire royalties of the latest book by Scottish novelist
Alexander McCall Smith.
"Tuberculosis thrives on such a rich diet of
misery, with malaria thrown in for good measure. AIDS is a huge and growing
problem," said Thompson.
"[The staff have] to send terminal cases home as
soon as possible to avoid swamping the hospital and ruining families with
debts run up for transporting cadavers."
Murambinda hospital, founded
nearly 40 years ago by a Catholic order, the Sisters of the Little Company
of Mary, serves the drought-stricken district of Buhera in the southeast of
It is one of the few efficient hospitals left in Zimbabwe's
ruined healthcare system.
But key services - including free supplies
of anti-retroviral drugs to patients with HIV - are almost entirely
dependent on the flow of overseas donations like those from McCall
Hospital superintendent Dr Monica Glenshaw explained that the vast
majority of patients are extremely poor.
"Buhera is the second
poorest district in the whole of the country," she told IWPR. "It's
difficult to give a precise measure of the poverty level because most of the
people are subsistence farmers. But the average income is less than 50 US
cents a day."
The United Nations sets its own measure of absolute poverty
at twice that, one US dollar a day.
The maize crop in the district
has failed this year as a result of drought - and the hospital has seen an
influx of patients suffering from kwashiorkor, marasmus and other diseases
symptomatic of malnutrition.
Doctors told IWPR they know of at least 60
people who have simply starved to death in surrounding villages in the last
12 months, but they believe the total is higher. With the help of a Dutch
charity, the hospital has begun providing a free basic meal to
The sole benefit of the food crisis is that increasing numbers
of people are signing up for HIV tests in the desperate hope of receiving
The Murambinda hospital currently has 2,700
patients registered as HIV-positive. So far just 53 have been supplied with
anti-retroviral drugs, which do not cure the condition but delay the onset
Besides supplying these drugs, charitable donations also make it
possible for Murambinda to charge some of the lowest fees of any hospital in
Zimbabwe. A consultation costs the equivalent of just eight US
"It is so affordable here," Tariro Goto, whose husband was a
patient at the hospital, told IWPR. "When I brought my husband once before,
I did not have 35,000 Zimbabwean dollars [just under six US dollars] to pay
for the medicines he needs, but I got them free when I explained I had no
But the facility is desperately short of staff.
arrived at seven o'clock and my husband only saw a doctor 15 hours later,"
Goto added. "Then it took another six hours to be attended by a
Dr Glenshaw told IWPR that she really needs a minimum of four
doctors and 55 nurses at the hospital, but is forced to struggle by with
three doctors and 30 nursing staff.
For every 100,000 patients, a
developed country like Britain has 150 times more doctors than are available
in the Murambinda area. The ratio is similar with regard to nurses. And the
hospital has just 125 beds to cope with the many thousands of people who
need in-patient treatment each year.
In an attempt to address this
problem, staff have been forced to establish an extensive homecare programme
under local AIDS activist Nonia Temberere, with the support of the French
charity Doctors Without Borders and 300 community volunteers.
volunteers work with terminally ill people, many of them AIDS patients in
the final stages of the disease.
With most AIDS deaths in the 15 to 49
age group, Temberere said, "I have orphans and children being asked to take
care of their terminally ill mothers and fathers.
"But with very
little or no guidance other than from my team and Murambinda on how to
administer home-based care, it has led to some of the children themselves
The situation reflects the state of healthcare across
the board in Zimbabwe, where the hospital system was once the envy of other
African countries. Two decades of mismanagement, neglect and rampant theft
have left public health services in a catastrophic state, with doctors and
nurse leaving in large numbers to seek work elsewhere.
lost faith in the system," a doctor at the main public hospital in Bulawayo,
Zimbabwe's second city, told IWPR. "They think, 'Why spend our money on a
substandard, ineffective service?' Now, if they really want to be cured,
they go to a witch doctor."
Life expectancy, which was 63 in Zimbabwe in
1998, has plunged to 33 - largely as a result of AIDS exacerbated by
The money from donors like McCall Smith - whose book
is forecast to bring in over 190,000 dollars - will help provide a
continuous supply of anti-retroviral drugs from South Africa, which are
otherwise becoming increasingly unavailable in Zimbabwe as the national
economy continues its tailspin.
But Dr Glenshaw said she worries
about what will become of the Murambinda hospital.
remains bleak, especially because of the country's economic problems," she
told IWPR. "And things are likely to get worse before they get better.
Finance is a constant worry for us, and the current reliance on donor
support is not sustainable in the long run.
"What the future holds is
Marceline Ndoro is the pseudonym used by a journalist in
Zimbabwe. Information on Murambinda hospital and efforts by overseas donors
to sustain its work is available at www.fmh.org.uk
HARARE, April 12 (Xinhuanet) -- A visiting official of
China's First Automobile Works (FAW) said here Tuesday that the company was
exploring the possibility of setting up a bus assembly plant in Harare that
would cater for the southern African region.
Yan feng, vice
president of the FAW import and export corporation, said the company's
technical team was already in Zimbabwe to study the market.
Yan made the remarks while meeting with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe,
who expressed gratitude to FAW for supplying 50 80-seater buses to Zimbabwe
United Passenger Company (ZUPCO) to alleviate transport problems in the
country's urban areas.
Mugabe said Zimbabwe looked forward to
more business with the company.
"I am extremely happy that
the buses have come and that they will continue to come," he
"I am also happy with the relations that we have with the
company, and I hope we will continue to relate with the company ina
meaningful way," he added.
Yan said their company had
chosen Zimbabwe as the focal point in southern Africa because it was a
"Zimbabwe and China have longstanding
relations, and Zimbabwe is a friendly country," he said.
Zimbabwe and China enjoy good bilateral and trade relations that have seen
the two countries cooperating in various areas.
Yan said the 50
80-seater buses would be used to provide transport in urban areas while his
company would bring more buses to provide transport between cities in the
ZUPCO signed an agreement with FAW in December last
year under which the Chinese company will provide 400 buses to
FAW, one of China's top automobile producers, made a
new record of exporting 10,336 motor vehicles last year, a 251 percent
increase from 2003.
Survey records alarming levels of child malnutrition
[ This report does
not necessarily reflect the views of the United
JOHANNESBURG, 12 Apr 2005 (IRIN) - A survey in 10 districts
across Zimbabwe has recorded alarmingly high levels of malnutrition among
Interviews conducted by the country's Food and Nutrition
Council, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare,
showed stunting or chronic malnutrition levels as high as 47 percent among
children aged from six months to 59 months on commercial farms.
rates of wasting or acute malnutrition, ranging between 5.5 percent and 6.7
percent, were noted in the southern provinces of Matabeleland - triple the
"acceptable" level of two percent, according to the council.
malnutrition levels coincided with high prices for the staple food,
All three nutrition indicators - wasting, stunting and being
underweight - were worse among orphans.
"Orphans are three times more
likely to be wasted/thin, two times more likely to be stunted and 1.5 times
more likely to be underweight than non-orphans," the survey found. The
council called for assistance to orphans and vulnerable children to be
The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), which funded part of the
survey, said the findings highlighted the need for strengthened funding for
ongoing food and supplement interventions.
"The survey supports what
UNICEF has said for some time, and it has [made a case for] what we have
been working towards - that is, critical support to the country's nutrition
and health services," said James Elder, UNICEF's spokesman in
"There is an enormous need for children in this country; a need
that UNICEF and partners are ready to respond to on a large scale ... for
this to happen, a boost in funds is desperately required," Elder
"With elections now behind us, we are hoping that the issue of
people will override that of politics ... until that happens, life will
remain very difficult for Zimbabwean children," he told IRIN.
its recommendations the report called for an extension of the surveillance
system to all districts in Zimbabwe; an investigation into the poor coverage
by vitamin A supplementation programmes; and the inclusion of an HIV
indicator in the system.
Upstarts out as Mugabe beefs up old guard April
By Basildon Peta
Two weeks after winning the
controversial parliamentary election, President Robert Mugabe has begun
consolidating his power base by appointing mostly loyal war veterans to 10
key government posts.
And by amending legislation, he is
set to add two years to his term as president.
of nine war veterans and one loyalist as resident ministers, or governors,
shows Mugabe is keeping faith in the old guard and jettisoning young turks
who caused him trouble when they hatched a plot to block his appointment of
Joyce Mujuru as vice-president.
He has also fired Josiah Hungwe,
the once-powerful governor of Masvingo province, who was linked to the
ill-fated attempt by Mugabe's former spin doctor, Jonathan Moyo, to block
Mugabe appointed war veteran and close aide
Willard Chiwewe to replace Hungwe.
The 10 resident ministers
operate from the 10 provinces, and automatically become MPs. They are among
the 30 nominees Mugabe is constitutionally empowered to appoint to the
He will reveal the names of 12 more
appointees when he announces the final list of his cabinet later today or
tomorrow, after the new parliament is sworn in this morning.
Another eight appointees are drawn from a pool of traditional chiefs, who
played a crucial role in getting rural people to back Mugabe.
Mugabe is expected to drop other officials linked to Moyo's bid to block
Mujuru when he announces his final cabinet line-up, but retain the old
John Nkomo, Zanu-PF chairman and outgoing Special
Affairs Minister in the president's office, is set to be appointed the new
Speaker of Parliament today, replacing Emmerson Mnangagwa, who seems headed
to the political scrapyard after he lost his seat to the opposition.
I BEGGED HER TO COME BACK HOME BUT SHE LOVED IT
BY SUE KEMP
12:00 - 12 April 2005
Valerie Clarke can still remember the devastation she felt when she was told
of the brutal murder of her sister in Zimbabwe. She received the telephone
call from the Home Office on Friday, September 26, 2003 - a day that changed
Almost two years on, she is still fighting for justice
for 66-year-old Marjorie Eggleston and her husband Eric, who were killed in
their home at Prospect outside the Zimbabwean capital of Harare by armed
The gang of four bound, gagged and beat them and then shot
Mrs Eggleston in the back. She lay dying for up to an hour while her home
Her 72-year-old husband is believed to have died
from asphyxiation after being tied up.
Two men suspected of
involvement in the killing were arrested by police almost
One was caught by a neighbour's gardener near the
murder scene and the other was detained by police the following
A third was arrested in October 2003 and a fourth in
December. All four were charged in January last year with the
They were being held in the central jail of Harare
awaiting trial and, if convicted, faced the death sentence.
Clarke, from Exmouth, hoped justice would be done, especially when she was
told that at least three of the suspects had admitted to being in the house
when the killings took place while another acted as look-out.
last week she was told that three of the four had been released and the
charges against them dropped.
For Mrs Clarke and her family, it is
another blow in an 18-month nightmare. She still cannot believe her sister
was killed. Mrs Eggleston lived in Heavitree and Exmouth as a youngster
before leaving to settle in Rhodesia, now Zimbabwe, in 1962.
still can't believe this could have happened to them. They were not rich,"
she said. "They were retired and had been living almost hand-to-mouth in a
"I have been told my sister was sitting doing a
crossword puzzle when the gang appeared. They tied and gagged them and then
shot her in the back. All they took in the end was her handbag.
"They were just a retired couple living quietly - they did not have a
fortune or anything much."
She said she had last spoken to her
sister two weeks before when she begged her to come back to Devon because
Zimbabwe was such a dangerous country. But she would not leave because she
loved it there.
Valerie said: "Marjorie would never come back to
England. I wanted to try to bring her back but she wouldn't
"They only had a pension, that's what was so sad about the
robbery. They didn't have anything. Their pool was cracked and full of
stagnant water. Their garden was overgrown."
Gail Van Der
Merwe, the youngest of Mrs Eggleston's three daughters, said: "Both mum and
dad put a lot into the country. Mum was a very caring and very determined
"They were too scared to leave their property. One would
stay in while the other went out. It seems the robbers thought my folks had
a lot of money but they didn't."
Mrs Van Der Merwe left the
strife-torn country before her parents' murder and now lives in Surrey. She
said: "My husband felt he could not guarantee our safety. It wasn't just
about being killed, you could be raped, too. We have got a better lifestyle
Critics of President Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe
claim that the country's economic plight and his government's policy of
taking land off white farmers to give to its supporters led to a huge rise
in violent crime.
Mrs Eggleston, then Marjorie King, lived in
Exeter as a girl and attended Ladysmith School in Heavitree.
She later lived in Exmouth and worked for Boots before marrying and moving
Mr Eggleston had been a catering manager at Air Zimbabwe
and his wife had worked in airport security before retiring. Post-mortem
examinations on the couple showed that they had been severely beaten before
Once she had been told of their deaths, Mrs Clarke began a
long battle to arrange a proper funeral service and cremation. The couple
were eventually cremated in Zimbabwe seven weeks after their deaths but Mrs
Clarke was determined to bring her sister's ashes back to her native
She set about arranging a memorial service and an interment
in Heavitree: "We wanted to arrange a service in Exeter so all the people
who knew Marjorie when she was younger had the chance to come and pay their
respects to her. "
Mrs Eggleston's daughter brought her
mother's ashes back to Exeter in March last year and she was finally laid to
rest 10 months after she was murdered.
Her ashes were interred
at a service at St Michael's Church, Heavitree.
ashes were taken back to his home town of Hull.
SW Radio Africa : The government is still jamming our
shortwave broadcasts. To get around this we are broadcasting on more than
one frequency. For the full 3 hours of our broadcast (6pm to 9pm Zimbabwe
time) we are on 12145 kHz in the 25m band. We are also broadcasting on 15145
Khz in the 19 metre band from 6pm to 8 pm, on11770 Khz in the 25 metre band
from 8pm to 9pm, and on 4880 Khz in the 60 metre band for the full three
hours. In the mornings you will also find us on Medium wave from 5am to 7am
on 1197 kHz. Outside the broadcast area, listen over the internet at www.swradioafrica.com .
Studio 7 : VOA Studio 7: Studio 7 broadcasts every evening from 7 pm to 8 pm
Zimbabwe time. In Zimbabwe, tune in to 909 AM, and at 4930, 11975 and 17895
kHz short-wave. Studio Seven in the Morning broadcasts Monday through Friday
at 5:30 am Zimbabwe time at 909 A-M and at 4930 and 6080 KhZ short-wave.
Outside the broadcast area, Studio 7 and Studio 7 in the Morning are
accessible on the internet at: www.voanews.com/english/africa/zimbabwe
ZIMBABWE farmers who delivered their crop to the
auction floors hoping for "meaningful returns" last week have threatened to
withdraw from tobacco farming next year citing the poor prices on
Farmers are protesting against the sharp drop in prices from
US$2,90 last year to an average of US$0,22 per kilogramme.
thought the situation will improve since we took up the farming of the crop
in 2002, but three years down the line we have not yet realised meaningful
returns as tobacco farmers," lamented Mr Noah Mberi who farms in
"I am actually thinking of pulling out of tobacco and start
other agricultural projects," said another disgruntled farmer from
The latest developments in the tobacco industry, which is usually
regarded as a major foreign currency cash cow, are likely to have
far-reaching effects on the production of the crop and economy in general
considering the farmers* threats.
Bearing in mind that the country
was pinning its hopes on tobacco to improve the foreign exchange inflows,
there are increasingly vociferous calls for Government to intervene to end
the impasse between farmers and the merchants.
The current prices are
very low and farmers have expressed their displeasure, arguing that they
borrowed a lot of money from banks and their chances of paying back now look
remote in the absence of an upward review in prices.
The majority of
small-scale farmers started growing tobacco three years ago after benefiting
from the Government*s land reform programme.
Since then the farmers have
not yet started enjoying "meaningful returns" considering the high cost of
inputs such as fertiliser which is eroding their meagre
However, they pointed that their decision to pull out should
not be misconstrued as sabotage since they were allocated land under
agrarian reform but pointed out that the sector was no longer
"We appreciate what our Government has done to allocate land to
the landless, but we cannot continue farming when it is apparent that the
returns are not satisfactory,"fumed another farmer.
importance of tobacco exports to the Zimbabwean economy, analysts, however,
said Zimbabwe would need to reduce its dependence on tobacco. In particular,
several factors would be significant in the country*s ability to undertake a
less painful transition away from tobacco production in the long
In fact, over the past decade Zimbabwean farmers have
diversified into several other export crops over the past decades. For
instance, it exported very few cut flowers 20 years ago, but between 1980
and 1999 the total quantity of flower exports increased more than six-fold
from 2 900 tonnes to 18 200 tonnes, while export revenue rose from US$13
million to US$84 million.
While prices of many agricultural
commodities have tended to fall over the past years, Zimbabwe has maintained
its exports. For instance, cotton exports increased from 54 000 tonnes in
1981 to around 100 000 tonnes in 2000, while exports of tea and coffee
doubled during the same period.
Despite the impasse between the farmers
and buyers, Zimbabwe is likely to generate close to US$157 million in
tobacco sales this year, up by about 30 percent from last year, but this
latest chapter could have negative impact on the foreign currency
ZIMBABWE Congress of Trade Unions president Mr
Lovemore Matombo and his deputy Ms Lucia Matibenga had to run for dear life
recently when they were physically attacked by some officials over alleged
corruption and mismanagement in the umbrella labour body.
flared at the meeting held in Harare and top ZCTU officials, including Mr
Matombo and Ms Matibenga, had to flee as disgruntled members started
throwing water glasses and other objects at them.
Mr Wellington Chibebe is said to have been poked several times with a
newspaper by Mr Langton Mugeji, a member of the labour body's general
This was after Mr Chibebe allegedly failed to give a
satisfactory explanation as to who had sanctioned the salaries that Mr
Matombo and Ms Matibenga are getting.
Efforts to get a comment from
Mr Chibebe were fruitless as his mobile phone was either switched off or not
When contacted, Mr Matombo said owing to his status as an
arbiter, it would be unprofessional for him to publicly state his position
on a contentious internal matter which was still to be resolved.
am a professional and I cannot comment because I am also involved in the
issues at stake. About my salary, talk to administration.
case, it is not important for me to comment because you want to scandalise
the ZCTU," he said before abruptly switching off his phone.
also refused to comment, saying she had important business to attend
"I cannot talk to you because I have to answer my other phone," she
said before hanging up.
Mr Mugeji could also not be reached for
A spokesperson for ZCTU affiliates which represent 19 unions, Mr
Nicholas Mazarura, who is also the deputy secretary of the Zimbabwe
Construction Industry Workers' Union, accused Mr Chibebe of giving leeway to
Mr Matombo and Ms Matibenga to misuse ZCTU funds.
"Matibenga has not
been formally employed since 2000 yet she claims to be representing the
workers, and Matombo is now more of a politician than a workers' union
"These people are now getting a salary every month yet our
constitution stipulates that they should be given allowances only since they
will be operating on a part-time basis," he said.
He further pointed
out that the two's contracts with the ZCTU were terminated over a year ago
but Mr Chibebe had ensured they continued working for the union despite the
fact that their changed status no longer met requirements of the labour
Mr Mazarura further denounced the ZCTU for
abandoning its core business of representing the workers.
"One of the
core principles of the ZCTU when it was formed was to work towards the
lowering of the number of workers living below the Poverty Datum Line, but
ironically this trade union has never made any effort to address this
"Workers continue suffering. They are not accessing ARVs
(anti-retrovirals) yet as a group they are making the immense contribution
to the Aids levy. But senior officials at ZCTU are virtually doing nothing;
they have become more of politicians than workers' representatives," Mr
The ZCTU top brass has been accused of hijacking platforms
for addressing and discussing issues affecting workers to further their own
interests and denounce the Government.
In a letter to Mr Chibebe
dated April 8, Mr Mazarura attacked the ZCTU for hijacking workshops meant
to educate workers on occupational health and safety to promote their
personal interests and political agendas.
"We refer to the above, and
write to advise you that we have been inundated with distress calls from our
concerned members who attend these workshops. They are complaining that you
are completely hijacking the agenda to further your own
"Could you kindly ensure that this kind of practice is stopped
forthwith? Mr Chibebe, please do not start off a fire you will not be able
to control. You have stretched our patience to the (breaking) limit now,"
reads part of the letter.
The ZCTU leadership has also come under
fire for opening an informal sector account without the knowledge of the
The criteria used to select signatories was
controversy-ridden as only the secretariat that comprises of the project
co-ordinator, a Mr Mutemeri, and Mr Chibebe are the sole
Mr Mutemeri refused to comment, saying he had knocked off
work and was relaxing at home.
Money in the account is believed to be
from donors and no one audits the transactions.
"It's a pity that the
officials are now labelling us radicals and some are saying that we are
being sent by external forces to cause havoc in ZCTU yet we are fighting for
the workers. We are only saying 'no' to corruption. We are not going to
break away from the ZCTU. We just want to put the house in order and we are
encouraging unions to pay up their subscriptions," said Mr
The ZCTU has over the past years been concentrating on
partisan opposition politics at the expense of its core business of
championing and protecting workers' interests. It has, in many cases, sided
with employers who it should be negotiating and bargaining hard with from
opposite sides of the table.
Tue April 12, 2005 6:40 PM GMT+02:00 By MacDonald
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate, among
the world's highest, slowed slightly in March, but analysts warned that food
and foreign currency shortages could push price pressures higher in the
Inflation, branded enemy number one by President
Robert Mugabe, eased to 123.7 percent in the year to March from 127.2
percent in February, according to official figures on Tuesday. Last year
inflation hit 624 percent.
However, the figures took no account
of the doubling by businessmen of prices of basic goods such as maize meal
and sugar shortly after the March 31 election in which Mugabe's ZANU-PF
party won a two-thirds majority in parliament,
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has rejected the result, accusing
Mugabe's government of vote-rigging.
The government, which had kept
a tight cap on price increases ahead of the parliamentary elections, ordered
a reversal of the increases but most businesses have defied the directive,
resulting in basic commodities disappearing from shops.
have re-emerged on the black market at higher prices.
Statistical Office said that on a month-on-month basis the consumer price
index in March was up 4.3 percent, compared with 3.1 percent in
"Going forward we will see a reversal in the inflation
trend as a result of pressures from food shortages and foreign currency
shortages," economist Witness Chinyama told Reuters.
shortage of foreign currency has forced manufacturers to operate well below
capacity, further worsening the scarcity of commodities.
southern Africa nation is facing its worst economic crisis since
independence from Britain in 1980, blamed by critics on Mugabe's policies,
which include the seizure of large tracts of land from white farmers to
The central bank has forecast inflation
between 20 and 35 percent by the end of this year, but analysts are
sceptical on whether this will be achieved.
"Because of the
poor agriculture season and food shortages, prices will rise further and
food has a higher weight in the CPI basket," Chinyama said.
Mugabe charges that the economy has been sabotaged by enemies of his
controversial land reforms, denying charges he has mismanaged the once
THE view of the cynical student of Zimbabwean political history
is that Robert Mugabe believes he will only relinquish power if someone can
do to him what he believes he did to Ian Smith. Mugabe and Zanu PF believe
firmly they removed Smith from power through force of arms. They would never
hand over power to the MDC after an election.
For them, the MDC and
Morgan Tsvangirai have to beat them on the battlefield to win the country.
Zimbabwe's independence was negotiated among, as they say today, "all
stakeholders" who included the same much-despised Ian Smith, and the even
more pilloried Abel Muzorewa, prime minister of the fortunately very
But for Zanu PF and Mugabe, independence
was negotiated on the battlefield. You would think that Lancaster House,
where a new constitution was hammered out by the same stakeholders had not
happened at all.
Many political students believe it is this view of the
birth of Zimbabwe which inhibits Zanu PF from letting "people who were not
bitten by mosquitoes" as the late Eddison Zvobgo put it famously take over
What critics of the MDC are urging the party to do -- to
be more militant, to be more uncompromising - could turn it into another
Zanu PF. It would have to plunge into the gutter to the fight the dirty war
that Zanu PF is accustomed to.
Mugabe is no different, in this
respect, from some of his contemporaries - Kenneth Kaunda, Hastings Kamuzu
Banda, Milton Obote, Daniel arap Moi, Mobutu Sese Seko and Yoweri Museveni.
These people wanted to hang to power for ever. In most cases, they believed
their countries owed them so much, it was unthinkable for them to give away
power in an exercise as mundane as an election.
Some of these people
died in ignominy, out of power and quite often out of their minds. In most
cases, as well, their countries suffered incredible economic
Zimbabweans must pray this does not happen to their country. Of
course, relying on prayer alone might not save it either.
"If you are kind, people will accuse you of selfish motives-
be kind anyway. If you are successful, you will win both false friends and
real enemies - succeed anyway. What you spend years building, someone
may destroy overnight - build anyway. The good you do today, most people
will forget - do good anyway. Give the world the best, you have and it may
not be enough - Give your best anyway. In the final analysis, it is between
you and God. It was never between you and them anyway."
1: RE: Tesco's - A New Appeal, received 8.4.2005
Dear Ms Stott
I am writing AGAIN to you to appeal to
Tesco to realize that dealing as your company does with suppliers of
vegetables from Zimbabwe, you may well have the blood of many people on your
I would like to point out to you that very few farms in Zimbabwe
have had LEGAL changes of ownership (in the British context of the adjective)
and that their owners, with title deeds, and many thousands of employees
(whom you profess to care so much about) are no longer on these
These former farm workers are now refugees in their own country
and face starvation on a daily basis. What are your people on the ground
achieving (apart from good business deals for you in spite of the moral
turpitude surrounding them)if they cannot even get these facts right? Do you
lot in England not read the newspapers, or failing that, watch TV?
I said in my previous message to Tesco, I have had sight of your platitudes
to other Zimbabweans in this country who are concerned about this issue and
your doling out of the same banalities over and over again is an insult to
our intelligence and rather beggars the question of what sort of 'customer
service' you offer. I wonder if you realize that there are over a million of
us in Britain?
Why are you not able to provide a list of the farms you
deal with in Zimbabwe so that the facts can be established once and for all?
Your reluctance to do so, as previously requested by several people, paints
a rather bloody picture of Tesco, in every sense of the word.
So, in a
word, NO, you have not addressed my concerns, AGAIN.
2: JAGMA Vision and Mission Statements, received 10.4.2005
Dear JAG (JAGMA),
I was very pleased to receive the text
of the mission and vision statements.
It is extremely important that
the future is considered-easy to say but at a time when a great many people
are feeling despondent over last weeks events, it is necesary that as many as
possible are encouraged to look forward.
I suggested over two years
ago to an MDC MP that consideration should be given to the future of wildlife
(although not, I accept, the most important priority, food production, human
rights must take priority) as soon as possible because it will become again a
source of forex but it will need a great deal of time to investigate the
situation and begin the conservation in order to restore it to a point where
it can be utuilised, whether for photographic safaris or a return to
I was disapointed to hear the view from that MP that the matter
of wildlife could not be considered until there was a change of government.
Whilst I am a wholehearted supporter of democratic change I feel that
this (personal) view of one MP is incorrect and I applaude the action of
JAGMA at present.
3: MDC perhaps not finished, received 11.4.2005
by Keith Battye
have heard and read a lot of analysis about the "poor showing" of the MDC at
the last election and I have a few thoughts you may wish to
When it became obvious to the regime in February 2000 that
there was a lot of support for the MDC in Zimbabwe a number of things were
done to reverse that support, most of which had barely started by the time of
the 2000 parliamentary elections. The result was 57 seats to the MDC. So
the electoral engineering by ZANU-PF started in earnest.
the MDC of funding the white farmers were stripped of their farms, their bank
accounts emptied by "redundancy packages" and their non-farming and farming
assets vandalized. At the same time a deliberate policy of inflation was
embarked upon to destroy savings and incomes so that little or no
discretionary finance was available to the opposition from within Zimbabwe.
The external finance was turned off by new laws making foreign funding
illegal. An outrageous treason charge was brought against Morgan Tsvangirai
and others thus using up any cash resources still in the bank.
same time farm labour that was thought to be unreliable and influenced by the
white farmer was displaced, the unreliable middle class forced into economic
exile and "fear struck into the hearts of the whites" as per the leader's
We then saw the introduction of AIPPA and POSA which
removed any access to government media and closed down the critical mass
circulation daily newspaper. It also stopped any ability to campaign in
either the urban or rural settings. Add to this the continual arrest and
harassment of MDC MP's and supporters, the removal of foreign media
practitioners, the destruction of the MDC council in Harare, the effective
use of militia, police and army in the suppression of the opposition and you
see an party with no way to get the message out.
After all this and
lots of other less notable but equally vicious tactics what do we find. A
ruined economy, no agriculture to speak of, a huge migration of the brightest
and best to anywhere but here, the subversion of the uniformed services and
youth, our withdrawal from the international community and the destruction of
the democratic norms we all yearn for, and for what?
A total reduction
of 16 seats to 41 for the MDC! Good grief. This stands as a monument to the
insanity of the regime and the sheer guts and sticking power of the MDC and
the great Zimbabwean electorate. I say well done and I know that the regime
and its leader must be very afraid now that having brought their full
vindictive and destructive power to bear on the MDC and its supporters this
is all they could achieve. I take my hat off to Morgan and his team and I
weep that such a destructive, vindictive and self indulgent crew as Mugabe
and ZANU-PF can be seen as winners by anyone let alone Mbeki and the wusses
in the ANC.
4: RE: Gerry's letter on Zimbabwe, received 10.4.2005
I'd like to thank Gerry Whitehead for his
letter and add my similar sentiments.
Whilst we are all badly
disapointed with the election results that were announced (we are of course
not at all disapointed with the true results) we should remember that the
only chance there has been of democratising Zimbabwe has come from the MDC.
Because Mugabe and ZANU PF were able to cheat Zimbabwe and the MDC of its
just reward does not mean that MDC were at fault. MDC might be better
organised in some areas, it could be more effective here and there, it could
benefit from a little less internal struggling but tell me is there any party
in the world which cannot be improved?
There may be much assistance from charities, civil rights
groups, church groups, and many others to whom we should be eternally
But in the end none of these can or will form a government, a
political party will become the government because only politics can provide
the answers to political problems and there is only one party in Zimbabwe
that can and is challenging Mugabe and ZANU PF. There is huge support for
MDC and for anyone to think that there will be any other group which
can provide a solution is ridiculous.
Ok so I am a stupid Rusape women who has forgotten this is the
" big city".
Just wanted to remind any other "village idiots" to take
care out there. It wasnt such a big deal as I am in one piece but still not a
Tonight on my way back from dancing lessons (ok !!!//) I
had to stop at a red robot, big mistake!!! but had no choice with lots of
traffic - hence to say I am basically unharmed, bit battered and bruised ,
but these guys are nasty so ladies be warned!!. There I am minding my own
business, waiting at the robot, next thing I notice two very casually moving
men, one on either side, taking their time and their was nothing I could
do!!! I realised what was coming and had no choice but to sit there and wait
for it - they were wrapping what I assume to be rocks inside plastic bags
onto their hands and moving towards my car, they were not afraid, they were
not wary, they just came towards me in what seemed like slow motion -
smashed the windows, whilst the one helped himself to my handbag from the one
side, the other tried to haul me out the car, thank goodness I am a heavy
smoker and had in my hand a huge metal heavy table lighter ( couldnt find
my little one when leaving home) so I literally hit the guy with it and
hung onto the steering wheel for dear life, they then walked away !!! and
jumped over the hedge into Harare Park - and of course made on their merry
way. This was at the intersection by the park playground, (old rhodes avenue
and moffat street )
Security guard with his bicycle on the island did
nothing of course!, car on my right nothing! car behind nothing! What
alarmed me though was that it was not a quick thing - these guys couldnt have
cared less who saw them or whatever.
Of course, most importantly I am
alive and breathing - but I am now without my remote for the electric gate,
house keys, diary with all our details in, cell phone, bank cards, cheque
books and most annoyingly and irritating and time consuming to replace -
drivers licence, id etc. so in future of course I plan to travel light and
leave the rest at home. >From today I am not going to be the "village
idiot" anymore - but in case there are any "out there" I just wanted to let
Take care of yourselves and leave the handbag at home -
meantime I plan to see if these two chaps use my just purchased tickets to
the show at Reps on the 21st!!! Imagine if there they are sitting in my seats
- wouldnt suprise me in the least if they had the nerve to do so.
JAG Hotlines: +263 (011) 205 374 If you are in trouble or
need advice, please don't hesitate to
contact us - we're here to help! +263
(04) 799 410 Office Lines
posted this on Social. It seems to have originated from Howard Dean & Co.
I'm posting it here (re-formatted from a Word doc.) as discussions are taking
place on both Market and Social. - Roger]
MASSIVE INCREASE IN DOMESTIC
WORKERS- WAGES & ALLOWANCES
With effect from 1st March 2005, MINIMUM
WAGES for Domestic Workers were increased by almost 1000% and ALLOWANCES were
increased by almost 500% | Statutory Instrument 42/2005 dated 25th March 2005
These massive increases a week before the Parliamentary Elections
led to speculation that this was a vote-catching gimmick aimed at the
urban electorate. If so, execution was clumsy. Issuing the relevant
Government Gazette on the Easter Friday public holiday, coupled with the
postal delay, reduced the Minister of Labour to announcing details at a news
conference on the eve of polls. If this was aimed at urban votes, poll
results indicate it was not particularly successful.
The ZCTU itself
was apparently seeking wage increases of the order of 500% and was resigned
to receiving about 150%.
It is possible that in the aftermath of the
election, wages and allowances may be revised downwards. However, Government
Printing & Stationery in Harare have already sold out their stocks of the
relevant Government Gazette & Statutory Instrument and are presently
printing more. This may indicate there will be no going back on the sudden,
massive increases. (Or it may of course merely be a classic case of the right
hand not knowing that the left is doing.) But until and unless the increases
are altered, employers of domestic workers are legally obliged to pay the
gazetted increases, which are reproduced below. Note that it is in order to
give the back-pay for March with the April pay | although it would be
advisable to tell your workers that you intend to do so, rather than leave
them in the dark. We follow this with some advice about employers- options,
where they feel unable to afford the steep increases.
Minimum Wages for Domestic Workers are provided for in the
Domestic Workers Employment Regulations, 1992 (SI 377 of 1992) in the First
Schedule (Grading & Wages). Wages have traditionally been updated by the
Minister of Labour in the middle of each year. From 1st March 2005, minimum
wages were increased as follows |
2 Cook/housekeeper (with or without Grade 1 duties) 850 000.00 196 305.00 35
692.00 3 966.00
Grade 3 Child/minder or disabled/aged minder (with or
without Grade 2 duties) 900 000.00 207 852.20 37 791.31 4 199.00
4 Disabled/aged minder with Red Cross Certificate or similar qualifications
(without grade 1,2 or 3 duties) 950 000.00 219 400.00 39 891.00 4
* The hourly rate applies to each hour worked, and any part of
an hour worked must be remunerated as a complete hour.
Minimum Allowances for Domestic Workers are also
provided for in the Domestic Workers Employment Regulations, 1992, this time
in the Second Schedule (Minimum Allowances). Again, allowances are
traditionally updated by the Minister of Labour in the middle of each year.
From 1st March 2005, minimum allowances were increased as follows
ADVICE ABOUT EMPLOYERS- OPTIONS There is no doubt that since
inflation rocketed | and is still very high, as witness the costs of
foodstuffs and staples in the shops | minimum wages and allowances for
Domestic Workers have been grossly inadequate. To provide a context for the
advice that follows, we thought it would be useful to indicate a basic range
of items a Domestic Worker might hope to purchase each month, to keep himself
or herself fed, clean and fit for work. As we all know, prices keep going
up steadily | and quantities would obviously increase when
family responsibilities are taken into account. - Tea, mealie-meal, salt,
cooking oil, vegetables where these cannot be grown regularly. Milk, sugar,
bread, margarine, peanut butter and especially meat tend to disappear from
the table because of cost, resulting in a diet that no-one would choose
to subsist on. - Laundry soap, bath soap, Vaseline, toothpaste. -
Additional costs are clothing | underwear, footwear, off-duty clothing | also
uniforms in regard to children, school fees/levies. Medicines may be a cost
where clinics cannot provide them.
Those employers who can afford the
increases, albeit reluctantly because of the sudden jump, may well choose to
pay, in view of the above context. Where an employer has been providing food
etc in addition to pay, recognizing the hardships facing domestic workers, he
may now choose to explain to the worker that in view of the new minimum wage,
he will no longer be able to continue this, and that he is now passing
this responsibility back to the worker. However, if he has specified
these additional benefits in a letter of appointment, they have become part
of the worker-s terms and conditions of employment | and labour law
stipulates these cannot be unilaterally changed by the employer without the
We now set out various approaches that employers
might wish to consider, where they feel the size of the increases makes the
continued employment of a Domestic Worker on the same basis as before
1. -This is my relative- You could maintain that since the
person doing domestic work is related to you (a niece in the house, a nephew
in the garden, for example), you do not employ them, as such, and so do not
need to pay them the new rates. However, even the best (and highest) of
families have disagreements, as we have recently seen | and if at some time
in the future your -nephew- decides to seek back pay, you may find the
judicial process favours the weaker party rather than the one deemed to have
long pockets. Back pay at the new rates could be substantial.
Exemption You could seek exemption from the increases by applying to
the local Ministry of Labour offices. It is likely you will have to prove
the level and limits of your income and expenses. This may be a feasible
or even unavoidable approach for some (such as pensioners) but is likely to
be distasteful and even humiliating to anyone.
3. Two (or more)
Households The Domestic Workers Employment Regulations state that two or more
households may share the services of a domestic worker, in effect each
employing him part-time. However, if the total time he is employed is 30
hours or less per week | i.e. about 60% of a full-time domestic worker | then
he is categorised as a part-time or casual worker. Obviously, in that
situation, he must be paid twice the hourly rate for his grade. The intention
is obviously to try and ensure his total income does not fall too low.
Therefore, the answer is to ensure that in dividing the domestic worker-s
time between households, he ends up working for more than a total of 30 hours
a week. Payment would then be split between the two households on some agreed
4. Move to a fixed-duration Contract The advantages of a
fixed-duration contract are, correspondingly, disadvantages for the worker |
you can pay a lesser amount (for less work), and you can terminate services
more easily. The worker who is now in permanent employment would have to
agree to become a contract worker. Why should he? If the only alternative you
can seriously see is termination of employment, a full and frank discussion
is called for. Note that it would be advisable to pay him all terminal
benefits due | see below, under termination, for details | and formally
terminate his employment in a letter he signs acknowledging receipt of all
terminal benefits, at the same time as you both sign any new fixed-term
contract. In view of the reference to the 30-hour minimum in the Regulations,
it would seem advisable to employ for at least 30 hours a week, and base the
pay on the hourly rate for the grade. For a cook/housekeeper, this would
still exceed half a million dollars a month | and minimum allowances would
still be due, unless you provide accommodation etc. If this still
seems unaffordable, you may need to combine a contract with the previous
option of two or more households.
5. Terminate employment. This is
likely to be a common first reaction to the increases but is not a simple
matter. There are two routes. Resignation | The domestic worker can resign,
either of his own choice or by mutual agreement between him and yourself.
Resignation is always best put in writing, in case of later disagreements.
Note that legally a mutual agreement must be put in writing and signed by
both parties to the agreement. You may wish to convince the worker to resign,
recognising this is the simplest route, by paying him (in addition to his
terminal benefits) rather more than you would if you terminated his services
by dismissal (see below). Note well that if termination is on the basis of
resignation, this must be by mutual agreement and cannot be coerced or
blatantly induced. The domestic worker must clearly sign his acceptance of
any mutual agreement regarding resignation.
Dismissal | The Domestic
Employment Regulations do not provide for an employer to merely dismiss a
domestic worker by giving him notice; nor does the Labour Act. This is not to
say that this is not done | particularly where (perhaps because of proven
theft or gross negligence) there has been a breakdown in the trust inherent
in an employment relationship where the worker is often in sole occupation of
the workplace for much of the day. The Domestic Workers Employment
Regulations do state in Section 16(6) that -Nothing contained in this section
shall affect the right of the employer to dismiss a domestic worker | or the
domestic worker to terminate his employment | summarily on grounds recognised
by law as justifying summary termination of employment-. In this context,
-summary termination- refers to immediate dismissal. Termination by normal
disciplinary process (for theft etc) is rather difficult in regard to a
domestic worker, since a single employer cannot in all fairness be the
accuser, the investigator, the impartial -judge- in the case and the person
who hears any appeal against his judgment. Also, there is no Employment
Council for the Domestic Employment sector, that could serve some of these
functions, nor is there a Disciplinary Code of Conduct for the sector. In
practice, therefore, the Ministry of Labour in the past has seemed to allow
an employer to discharge a domestic worker by paying him three months- wages
(plus allowances in place of benefits such as accommodation etc) as
Cash-in-lieu of Notice and any Gratuity he is due for length of service, as
well as any other Terminal Benefits such as cash-in-lieu of vacation leave
due. Note that if you terminate before the end of a month, you must pay the
remainder of that month-s pay plus three months- cash-in-lieu of
Obviously, if the domestic worker does not want to leave your
employment, perhaps because he considers his dismissal unfair, he may
complain to the Ministry of Labour | which before 7th March 2003 could hold a
Hearing, listen to both sides and issue a final determination on the dispute.
Now a Ministry Labour Officer can only try to -conciliate- | i.e. try to get
you and the domestic worker to compromise. If you want the worker to leave
your employ, however, there seems no room for compromise | except, perhaps,
to give him a bit more money. If conciliation fails, the next stage
is arbitration, arranged by the Labour Officer. It seems events are
unlikely to proceed to this expensive stage in a dispute involving
Alternatively, the disgruntled ex-worker may
involve a Trade Union representative. The Union will probably recognise there
is little chance of re-employment and so will instead seek more money for the
ex-worker from you | with a proportion of that as its fee. Now that the wages
are so high, this could be substantial. In dealing with a Union, written
proofs come in very useful | a Letter of Appointment, Pay Records and a Leave
Record | as well as a letter signed by the worker listing all terminal
benefits paid and received at the time he left your employ. Nonetheless, even
if the Union cannot validly allege underpayments of any kind and therefore
cannot demand back-payments, it may still press for more money, even going so
far as to write you a letter formally alleging unfair dismissal, the need
to pay a retrenchment package, and so on. Note that in the past the
Ministry of Labour has appeared to tacitly recognise that formal retrenchment
and an associated package is not necessary in regard to domestic workers but
that is probably because of the practicalities, not the law. That may
change, particularly if these increases result in wholesale dismissals. You
may decide to pay an extra sum to get the Union and the worker to go away |
if so, prepare a letter to be signed by the worker; don-t pay direct to
a Union representative, leave it to the worker to negotiate any commission
he will pay to the Union for its intervention | or you may respond,
verbally or in writing, stating you are not prepared to pay more money and if
the ex-worker is unhappy with that, he should take it to the Ministry of
abour -and we-ll see you there in due course-. That is likely to be the end
of the matter as, in the past, the Union usually does not proceed
further. Again, this may change in view of the larger sums now
Please note that explanations in this newsletter are not
intended as a substitute for professional legal advice which subscribers are
advised to seek when in any doubt.
A number of the points raised above
are explained in more detail in a publication -The Law on Employment of
Domestic Workers-, available from Aquamor. The publication covers minimum
conditions, wages, allowances, uniforms, hours of work, overtime, pay
records, deductions from pay, trade union-s right of access, part-time and
casual work, working in two households, piece-work, contracts, vacation
leave, sick leave, special leave, maternity leave, termination, calculating
gratuities, and provides a sample letter of appointment/ wage slip/ leave
South Africa Abdicates Its Regional Responsibilities
Fresh from the charade of his latest rigged
reelection, Robert Mugabe, dictator of the disintegrating country of
Zimbabwe, had the effrontery to show up in Rome for the funeral of Pope John
Paul II. Mugabe was raised a Catholic and still sometimes is seen at Mass,
though his record as a political leader is anything but saintly.
U.S. State Department called the March 31 election "seriously tainted," and
European leaders joined in the condemnation. Crucially, however, the observer
mission from the Southern African Development Community approved the result.
The neighboring governments guilty of condoning this blatant fraud--foremost
among them, South Africa--should be made to pay a price in their relationship
with the United States.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), fearful of provoking a violent crackdown if it staged street protests
and dubious of the value of a legal challenge, remains paralyzed in inaction.
Ordinary Zimbabweans are furious. "We should have boycotted the elections. If
we had maintained the boycott, [Mugabe's] ZANU-PF would have had no one to
steal the election from," shouted mechanic Mafios Mukeudzei, as celebrating
thugs from the ruling party drove past his garage a few days after the
But higher-ups--Mugabe, the Southern African Development Community,
and the larger African Union--all wanted the election so they could maintain
the fiction that Zimbabwe is a democracy.
Given the absence of a free
press, the government's use of food as a political weapon, widespread
intimidation by the ruling party, and even murder, all of which have worn
down most opposition, Mugabe may have believed his Zimbabwe African National
Union-Patriotic Front would actually win the popular vote. He allowed foreign
journalists entry a week before the election, and while many opposition
activists were hampered from doing their job by being denied access to voter
registration rolls and polling stations, there was no systemic violence
against the opposition. Mugabe even allowed most people who wanted to vote to
do so--although in several key constituencies, many would-be voters' names
were not on the rolls, while their dead relatives' were.
of speculation over nightmare scenarios, the fraud was astonishingly simple.
Where ZANU-PF looked as though it would lose key constituencies, it simply
announced bogus results. It could do this because there was no independent
monitoring of the ballots. But inattention to detail and poor coordination by
ZANU-PF meant even this relatively secure approach was exposed almost
immediately, when the tallies announced by two different electoral bodies
failed to jibe.
First, officials of the ZANU-PF-run Zimbabwe Elections
Commission announced the number of people who had cast ballots in each
constituency at the close of voting. Meanwhile, the police radioed results to
the National Logistics Committee in the capital, Harare. Many hours later,
the Logistics Committee released the official election results.
now seen records documenting over 30 discrepancies between the two sets of
results, but three quintessential examples will suffice. In Beitbridge, the
Elections Commission announced that 36,821 votes had been counted, yet the
Logistics Committee counted only 20,602 votes, with ZANU-PF winning. In
Goromonzi, the Elections Commission claimed 15,611 voters, but according to
the Logistics Committee the winning ZANU-PF candidate alone received 16,782
votes. Similarly, in Makoni North, the Elections Commission counted 14,068
voters, while the Logistics Committee gave the ZANU-PF candidate 18,910
The Elections Commission figures would have been hard to fake,
since they reflected counted voters and were issued immediately upon the
closing of each polling station; whereas, the National Logistics Committee
had hours to come up with its count, and at a secret location in Harare. In
perfect Mugabe style, no observer mission--indeed, no outside party--had
access to the Logistics Committee. The South Africans admitted at their
media briefing that they did not visit the committee--indeed, that they did
not even know it existed.
The ruling-party leaders showed a breezy
lack of embarrassment that these discrepancies were witnessed by observers.
Their unconcern shows that President Mugabe knew the Southern African
observers would endorse his election no matter what--short of violence at the
Clutching at straws, a spokesman for the opposition MDC party,
Dave Coltart, said, "If we can provide clear evidence of fraud we will
remove any last hope that Mugabe may have of proving legitimacy. . . . When
you have such blatant rigging, it's only a matter of time before it
The problem for Coltart is that the fraud has already
been exposed, and nothing will happen. Tom Woods of the State Department said
prior to the election that the United States "would not hold the region
hostage over Zimbabwe." Unthreatened by Washington, regional leaders
proceeded with business as usual. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has so far
ruled out legal challenges over the poll, which may be the right call given
that his complaints over the 2000 election are still pending, although to
make a simple complaint would cost little energy. He has also ruled out
armed struggle, and considering the ruthlessness of the army and police, this
may be wise too. But anger over another stolen election is turning to
despair, and Tsvangirai needs to act quickly or see his leadership
Catholic archbishop Pius Ncube says the MDC should have thought
of "a plan to get Mugabe out. . . . Here in Zimbabwe people are so pushed
around by Mugabe they usually take the results and say, 'Ah, ah, what a
pity.' They want to leave it up to God. What I say is that God helps those
who help themselves." Ncube is extraordinarily brave, but unlike other
Zimbabweans, he has some protection from the Vatican and Mugabe's
Catholicism. But he is also right: Action is required, now.
the recent Ukrainian uprising, as Ncube wants, will be very difficult--no
neighboring countries are really friendly to the opposition, there are no
free media to summon people to the streets, and the police may repress
protesters brutally. But as I write, independent media representatives are
still in Zimbabwe, and could still report any action by the
Sheperd Matetsi, a 26-year-old mechanic, was game for protest
the day the results were announced. "We're waiting for word from Tsvangirai,"
he said. "If he gives the word, we will go to the streets, . . . although
there is some risk to life. But he hasn't called." And as AK-47-toting
soldiers fanned out across the suburbs of Bulawayo in an effort to prevent
any large gatherings, people waited.
Most likely, Tsvangirai and the
MDC will avoid a confrontation, and opt for a series of strikes, a natural
response from a former union leader. But strikes are a pitiful weapon against
a president who has already demonstrated that he doesn't care if the economy
collapses. By the time you read this, if protests are not in full swing,
Zimbabwe could be stuck with ZANU-PF misrule for many years to come. The
State Department's Tom Woods told me, "It remains our goal to ensure that
when the time of transition back to democracy is upon us, those Zimbabweans
who must carry the country into the future are prepared to do it."
Mugabe's position strengthens, the more important political interactions are
between the United States and Southern Africa. Dave Coltart, the opposition
spokesman, wants the State Department to announce that it will have to review
the Southern African countries' eligibility for trade deals and aid under the
African Growth and Opportunity Act. While these countries may be more
democratic than Zimbabwe and just about meet the requirements of the act, any
long-term confidence Washington might have in them has been undermined by
their willingness to endorse gross electoral fraud.
abdication is especially depressing. As the leader of this election
whitewash, Africa's most powerful state is flirting with a dangerous retreat
into the all-too-crowded ranks of unserious, even odious, regimes that dot
the continent. As some worried commentators in South Africa are now saying,
it is no longer unthinkable that the ruling African National Congress, the
party of Nelson Mandela, might follow the path taken by ZANU-PF. Only a
strong signal from Washington, like the withholding of aid, is likely to
convey to President Thabo Mbeki the grave concern with which the United
States would view any South African retreat from the path of