HARARE - President Robert Mugabe's national security ministry has taken over
food importation and distribution in Zimbabwe, in a development observers
told ZimOnline will cast a veil of secrecy on the country's food situation
as well as perpetuate politicisation of food aid.
Mugabe, who until
last month had insisted that Zimbabwe had enough to feed itself, recently
appointed a National Task Force on Food Security to deal with the country's
fast deteriorating food crisis. The task force is headed by National
Security Minister in the President's Office, Nicholas Goche. Goche also
heads the state's spy Central Intelligence Organisation accused of hunting
down and victimising opposition supporters.
"The task force is a
ZANU PF (Mugabe's ruling party) creation and its operations are not open to
the public," said a source privy to the latest developments surrounding food
procurement and distribution.
The chief executive
officer of the state's Grain Marketing Board GMB), in charge of food
procurement and distribution, Samuel Muvuti, refused to take questions on
the matter and referred all questions to Goche. Goche could not be reached
International and local food relief organisations say
up to four million people or about a quarter of Zimbabwe's population need
emergency food aid or they will starve.
Mugabe, who admitted
during campaigning for last month's parliamentary poll controversially won
by ZANU PF that Zimbabwe faces a serious food crisis, told international
food agencies to take their help elsewhere because the country had enough to
But a subsequent probe by Parliament revealed that the
state's Grain Marketing Board was to receive only about 600 000 tonnes of
the staple maize in its silos by December 2004, a far cry from the 2.4
million tonnes Mugabe and his Agriculture Minister Joseph Made claimed
Zimbabwean farmers had produced.
Zimbabwe requires 1.8 million
tonnes of maize for human consumption and stock feed per year.
The country has virtually survived on food handouts from the international
community in the last four years after Mugabe plunged the large commercial
farming sector into turmoil through violent land seizures for distribution
to landless blacks.
Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
shadow minister for agriculture Renson Gasela, a former GMB boss, condemned
the government's move to place food distribution under state
Gasela said: "ZANU PF wants to use food as a tool to sway
voters to the ruling party. They want to distribute food along party
The opposition accuses the ruling ZANU PF party of denying
food aid to its supporters as punishment for backing the MDC. ZANU PF denies
the charge. - ZimOnline
Pressure group demands say on new constitution Fri 15 April
2005 Harare - A local pressure group fighting for a new constitution in
Zimbabwe has demanded a say in the rewriting of Zimbabwe's constitution
saying it will resist attempts by the ruling ZANU PF party to unilaterally
rewrite the country's supreme law.
Addressing journalists in
Harare yesterday, National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) chairman Lovemore
Madhuku, a constitutional law expert, said: "All changes which do not
involve people will be resisted by all forms available including peaceful
"We are appealing to the government to give us the
right that belongs to us, to be involved in the constitutional reforms of
our country," said Madhuku.
The NCA is a coalition of churches,
students and political parties fighting for a new and democratic
constitution for Zimbabwe.
Madhuku, who has been arrested and
beaten up by the police in the past for organising street protests demanding
a new constitution, however said his organisation was ready to work with the
government to draft a new people-driven constitution.
spearheaded a campaign to reject a government-led draft constitution in 2000
which critics said entrenched Mugabe's grip on power.
time, the group said it was willing to call churches, the government,
individuals, all political parties, including the ruling ZANU PF to an All
Stakeholders' Conference to draft a new constitution for Zimbabwe.
"We are prepared to start working with the government and even if the
rejected draft is brought on the table, we will appreciate it and start
dismantling it. But it has some positive clauses. We are against its
structure of the government as it gives too much power to the executive,"
President Robert Mugabe has already hinted that
ZANU PF was planning to amend the constitution to pave way for the creation
of a Senate and increase the number of legislators in the House from 150 to
200. With its two-thirds majority, there are serious fears that ZANU PF will
seek to amend the constitution through Parliament.
for comment yesterday, John Nkomo, the Zanu PF chairman said his party was
prepared to work with any group for the betterment of Zimbabwe.
"We have an open-door policy. Whoever has genuine interests and ideas for
Zimbabwe will be welcomed by ZANU PF," said Nkomo. "What we will fight
against is the imposition of foreign ideas and agendas."
PF accuses the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party of being
a front for the West out to reverse Zimbabwe's liberation war gains. -
Jonathan Moyo challenges electoral law Fri 15 April
2005 BULAWAYO - Former government information minister Jonathan Moyo has
appealed against a High Court ruling dismissing his request days before last
month's election to have four polling agents for each contestant at each
Moyo wants Zimbabwe's Supreme Court to strike
off an electoral provision which requires only two polling agents at each
voting centre saying the two agents are not enough in monitoring proceedings
Moyo, who won the Tsholotsho seat on an
independent ticket after falling out favour in ZANU PF, said even though he
went on to win the election, the courts must correct the law so that it is
not abused again in future.
High Court judge Nicholas Ndou last
month dismissed the case saying it was not urgent. But in papers filed at
the court, Moyo argues that Ndou misdirected himself in confining his
determination of the matter on the issue of urgency, instead of the merits
of the case.
Moyo says the two polling agents, allowed under the
new electoral law, are not enough to monitor the three voting queues during
polls. Under the law, voters queued in three lines depending on the first
letter of their surnames.
His attorney, Kossam Ncube told
ZimOnline yesterday that the fact that Moyo went on to win the seat was not
an issue, but that they wanted the law to be corrected so that it is not
used again in future polls.
"Even if Moyo had lost, we were still
going to appeal against the High Court ruling as we felt and still feel that
it was misdirected and grossly unfair. It's a matter of dealing with
injustice regardless of whether one has surpassed the unjust law's
restraints," said Ncube.
No date has been set yet for the case. -
British journalists acquitted Fri 15 April 2005 HARARE
- The two British journalists jailed in Harare for the last two weeks were
yesterday acquitted on charges of practising their trade in Zimbabwe without
But Julian Simmonds and Toby Harnden of the
Sunday Telegraph newspaper will be sentenced today on a lesser charge of
contravening the Immigration Act by overstaying their visas granted to them
The two were released from custody after a magistrate
in the small town of Norton, 40 km west of Harare, where the journalists
were alleged to have committed the offence, ruled that the state had failed
to prove its case that they were covering last month's disputed election
without state accreditation.
The two journalists faced up to
two years in jail had they been convicted of breaching Harare's tough Access
to Information and Protection of Privacy Act which requires all journalists
wishing to practise in Zimbabwe to be accredited with the
government-appointed Media and Information Commission.
Simmonds were arrested at a polling station in Norton on March 31 and were
accused of taking photographs of people who were queuing to
But the magistrate ruled that the state had failed to
establish a case for the accused persons to answer adding that the evidence
that had been led by state witnesses was confusing.
that the State had not produced the camera that had been used including the
pictures that the accused had allegedly taken. He added that the state had
also failed to lead evidence from the government commission that accredits
journalists to buttress its claims that the two were covering Zimbabwe's
election without being accredited to do so.
At least four of the
country's independent newspapers have been closed down and several
journalists arrested in the last three years for breaching the state's
draconian media laws. - ZimOnline
Mbeki sticks to quiet diplomacy policy towards Harare Fri
15 April 2005 JOHANNESBURG - President Thabo Mbeki yesterday said his
government was studying reports from Zimbabwe's main political opposition
and civic society groups on the country's disputed parliamentary
But the South African leader insisted that whatever the
contents of the reports, Pretoria will stick to its policy of "quiet
diplomacy" towards President Robert Mugabe and his administration in
Responding to questions in Parliament from opposition
Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon about whether the run-up to Zimbabwe's
March 31 ballot was free and fair and what steps Pretoria would take to
address any violations by Harare of a Southern African Development Community
(SADC) electoral protocol, Mbeki said that even Zimbabwean groups had
conceded that voting was peaceful.
But the South African
President, who holds the rotating chair of the critical SADC Organ on
Defence and Politics, disclosed that Pretoria had received detailed reports
from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party and the
Zimbabwe Election Support Network.
Another report was expected from
the Zimbabwe Council of Churches and South Africa was going to consider
seriously issues raised in that and other reports in seeking a solution to
Zimbabwe's crisis, Mbeki said.
He also revealed that his government
and the Harare administration were going to reconstitute a joint committee
to look at ways of helping Zimbabwe overcome its economic
But Mbeki insisted that all his government and other
players in the region could do was offer a helping hand but the solution to
Zimbabwe's problems rested with the Zimbabweans themselves.
Mbeki, who besides his influential SADC post has extra clout in the region
because of South Africa's economic might, has been widely criticised for
refusing to adopt a more robust approach towards Mugabe.
government has said Zimbabwe's poll won by a landslide by Mugabe and his
ZANU PF party reflected the will of Zimbabweans but stopped short of
declaring the election as having been free and fair. - ZimOnline
HARARE - The Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) this week released a damning report that
documents all the alleged electoral malpractices by the ruling Zanu PF using
State resources and electoral institutions during the March 31 parliamentary
In its 56-page report on the elections, subtitled
"Stolen", the MDC points out the shortcomings of the so-called independent
body responsible for the supervision and administration of elections, the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), the abuse of repressive laws to stifle
the press and the opposition leading to "the denial of the Zimbabwean
The MDC said the management structure for the
March 2005 elections was partisan and unprofessional in its conduct of
The opposition claims the whole
administration of the election was supervised by the same partisan
institutions that allegedly subverted the electoral processes in the
controversial June 2000 parliamentary elections and the March 2002
presidential elections, giving Zanu PF "hollow victories".
"Both the Registrar General (Tobaiwa Mudede) and Mariyawanda Nzuwah (the
Elections Directorate) are two individuals who openly support Zanu PF," the
document says. "Claims that the creation of ZEC, established under the ZEC
Act have ensured that Zimbabwe's electoral laws were consistent with
regional guidelines do not stand up..
"Firstly, the ZEC was
established too late in the day to have any real role in running the
elections. Many of ZEC's key functions had already been carried out by the
time it was formally established. For instance, the Office of the Registrar
General had carried out the voter registration exercise in May and July
According to the MDC document, ZEC was subservient to
the Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) a constitutional body whereas ZEC
was merely a legislative body.
The MDC questions the
independence of ZEC, the appointment of people to ZEC and how a body whose
responsibility was to run the elections could be expected to deliver without
its own support staff.
Other parts of the document highlight
the partisan attitude of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) in granting
permission to hold campaign rallies, the restrictive nature of the
legislation in place to curtail information dissemination, the biased
coverage of MDC campaign rallies and programmes, and the continued abuse of
grain maize as a campaign tool.
During the campaign period, the
MDC recorded 124 incidents of selective food selling, denial of right to
hold campaign rallies, threats of expulsion from villages if people voted
for the MDC, and beatings by Zanu PF militants and the police throughout the
country, including illegal arrests and detention.
has been enmeshed in controversy since the infamous farm invasions in 2000
which led to the breakdown of the once vibrant agriculture industry, the
rule of law, the economy, the health delivery system and the lifestyles of
the majority Zimbabweans has worsened.
The country's elections
since 2000 have been condemned by Zimbabwe's civic society, the opposition,
Europe and the United States of America as fraudulent and rigged in favour
of President Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF.
HARARE - A cabinet
reshuflle is imminent sometime next week, with speculation rife that Rtd
Lieutenant-General Constantine Chiwenga, who was replaced as Manicaland
provincial governor by Tinaye Chugudu, is most likely to be appointed the
new Minister of Defence.
Sources within Zanu PF told The Daily
News Online that Chiwenga was set to replace Sydney Sekeramayi, who is most
likely to be moved to his former Ministry of State
The sources said since Foreign Affairs minister Stan
Mudenge was linked to the Tsholotsho faction aligned to former parliamentary
Speaker Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose political fortunes are on the wane,
Sekeramayi would replace incumbent Nicholas Goche. Goche would revert to the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where he once served as deputy
The sources said President Robert Mugabe was likely
to settle for Goche because ambassador Tichaona Jokonya, who was initially
tipped for the post, is not feeling well.
Others tipped to
be in the new Cabinet in various capacities include Obert Mpofu, the former
Matabaleland North governor who was replaced by Thoko Mathuthu. Patrick
Chinamasa is likely to be retained as Minister of Justice, since he had
shown contrition after he was accused of being linked to the Mnangagwa
faction, which sought to block the election at the Zanu PF congress last
year of Mugabe favourite Joyce Mujuru for the post of vice
Others set to be retained are Paul Mangwana
(Labour), Aeneas Chigwedere (Education), David Parirenyatwa (Health) and
Amos Midzi (Energy).
The sources said the Ministry of
Information and Publicity was a toss-up between Webster Shamu and Zimbabwe's
ambassador to China and former ZBC director-general, Chris
Newly-elected Mhondoro MP Sylvester Nguni is tipped
to land the Ministry of Industry and International Trade post because of his
strong background in the corporate sector.
Commissioners fail to agree on land disposal
The Daily Mirror Reporter issue date
COMMISSIONERS running the city of Harare on Wednesday failed
to agree to recommendations by the city's Land-Alienation Sub Committee that
all council land be disposed of through tender.
Tapfumaneyi Jaja opposed the proposal during the fourth ordinary Commission
meeting arguing the move could deprive the many in the low-income bracket of
gaining access to land. "The poor may participate (in the tender procedure)
but at the end they will get nothing while the rich will continue getting
more. The system currently being used needs refining here and there, but
it's alright," Jaja said. Michael Mahachi also agreed with Jaja saying a
number of people would be disenfranchised by the proposal if it was adopted
and implemented. However, Harare lawyer and also commissioner Terrence
Hussein, who chaired the sub-committee, defended the proposal
arguing that it was meant to prevent corruption. "What happened in the
past was that individuals identified council land and go knocking on a
council officer's door who would then make recommendations to the council to
dispose off the land and that is not transparent. "We want all Harare
residents to know when there is land identified for use and when that is
done everybody should participate," said Hussein The sub-committee
recommendations also read: "The policy on allocation of land without going
to tender was not transparent enough as it did not clearly outline how such
land was identified and this almost amounted to "secretive way" of
allocating land." Chamber secretary, Josephine Ncube also defended the
proposal saying the tender system would not favour the rich, because it was
not council policy to accept highest bids only and added that the proposal
would not apply to residential stands. The vice chairperson of the
Commission, Tendai Savanhu also said the old policy was open to corruption
since persons could bribe council officials to get land and said what was
needed was for council to identify the land and advertise it so that every
resident would be involved. In a meeting held in January this year, the
council's finance committee recommended that all council land be sold
through public tender resulting in the setting up of the Land-Alienation
Committee to consider the proposal for further recommendation to the
Commission. The land committee then adopted the proposal. It recommended:
"That it be noted that this sub-committee has reconsidered the proposed
policy under Item 32 of the Finance Committee Minutes dated 18 January 2005
to dispose all council land through tender. "That pursuant to recommendation
above and for the reasons highlighted in the preamble above it, be council
policy to dispose off all land through tender if council so
wishes." Commission chairperson Sekesayi Makwavarara had to refer the matter
back to the land sub-committee for further deliberations after the
commissioners failed to agree.
South Africa to Look Into Claims of Fraud in Zimbabwe
Election By VOA News 14 April 2005
Africa's president says his government will look into new reports on
Zimbabwe's elections, which detail serious irregularities.
Mbeki told parliament Thursday the government would study the reports from
both Zimbabwe's main opposition party (MDC) and the independent Zimbabwe
Electoral Support Network. He says his government will then address
whatever issues are raised.
On Wednesday, Mr. Mbeki's government said it
was satisfied Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections, won by the ruling party,
reflected the will of the people.
Observers from South Africa
endorsed the poll following the March 31 election. And a delegation of
monitors from the Southern African Development Community also said the vote
The United States and Britain have said the elections were
not free or fair.
Sign a petition to save
Zimbabwean human rights activists With the post-elections situation in
Zimbabwe still unstable, CIIR members are encouraged to sign a petition to
help protect two human rights activists believed to be in grave
NGOs working in the region have reason to believe that Mugabe's
ZANU-PF regime intends to eliminate political activists. The Netherlands
institute for Southern Africa (NiZA), for instance, has received reports
that the Zimbabwean secret police, the CIO, plans to get rid of human rights
activist Lovemore Madhuku and Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions' leader
Lovemore Madhuku, Chairman of the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA), is one of few Zimbabweans who openly oppose
Mugabe's regime. He was recently threatened by Augustine Chihuri, Chief
Commissioner of Police.
Lovemore Matombo is President of the coordinating
union organisation Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU). Matombo fights
for human rights, especially those of workers in Zimbabwe. Last month he
survived an attempt on his life but there is evidence that plans are being
formed for another attempt. Matombo's family have also been
Lovemore Madhuku and Lovemore Matombo need protection from
the international community. This petition will be delivered on 18 April,
alongside an appeal to President Mugabe, to the Zimbabwean ambassador in
Flower unhappy at Streak return Former Zimbabwe Test
star Andy Flower has severely criticised Heath Streak for returning to the
national team. Streak signed a new contract with Zimbabwe Cricket in
February after a 10-month dispute over his sacking as captain and team
"That Heath led them into it and is now back playing is
poor form," Flower told The Wisden Cricketer magazine.
said none of the rebels' demands had been listened to and he could not
understand their reasons for returning.
He added: "There have not
been the wholesale changes they were demanding but they want to go
"You don't make a big stand then when nothing changes go back
and say 'actually I do want a contract'.
"Now there are half a
dozen or so young white players out of a job."
Streak led the
rebels who took legal action against Zimbabwe Cricket, accusing them of
racism. The allegations were dismissed after an International Cricket
Rebels including Andy Blignaut, Trevor Gripper,
Stuart Carlisle and Craig Wishart have returned to the fold.
Flower, who played in 63 Tests, averaging 51.54, has not set foot in
Zimbabwe since the 2003 World Cup where he and Henry Olonga wore black
armbands to protest at the "death of democracy" under the presidency of
But he advised his younger brother Grant not to
take a similar stand after it effectively ended his international
"When Grant first got in touch and told me what they were
planning to do, my advice was not to do it - not to have a rebel group of
white cricketers giving ultimatums to the Zimbabwe Cricket
"I told him he would not win that battle. He'd either not
play any more international cricket or be in a protracted battle in court.
There wouldn't be any winners," Flower said in the magazine's May
And he believes the wrangling will have an effect on the
team for years to come despite the return of experienced
Essex batsman Flower said: "It will add to the strength of
the side a little, but there was a lot of damage done, with all the racial
discussion and I think there is a limit to the improvement the rebels are
going to make.
"I find it very surprising that they can return
after the relationship breakdowns during that year-long
"I don't know what the relationship between the rebels
and other players is. It has to be awkward. How do you build harmony out of
a situation like that?"
THE anticipated decline in cotton output this season,
compounded by "uneconomic prices" offered by tobacco merchants, could have
far-reaching effects on foreign currency inflows and the revival of the
economy at large, economic commentators have warned.
tobacco are Zimbabwe's major cash crops, generating a combined US$179
million last year. The "white gold" contributed the bulk of the earnings
with US$117 million while the "golden leaf" raked in US$62,9
According to the Commercial Cotton Growers' Association,
cotton output is expected to drop by 31 percent from 331 000 tonnes last
season to 228 000 tonnes this season due to shortage of basic
On the other hand, the prevailing prices on the tobacco auction
floors are way below farmers' expectations.
"This could affect the
foreign currency inflows," observed one Harare commentator.
the Reserve Bank has put in place some measures to ensure foreign currency
inflows from all sectors of the economy are maintained, it is important to
note that most of foreign currency is generated from cotton and tobacco," he
The analyst was, however, optimistic the prices of tobacco could
improve as the auction progressed
"You should also bear in mind that
for the previous years, it has became a norm that the season begins on a low
note and gradually improves as it progresses.
"As for cotton, there
are no two ways about it," commented Mr Tendai Manhide, an analyst with a
local financial institution.
"The output is expected to decline by at
least 30 percent. This will definitely have a negative effect on the economy
as cotton lint is the second largest foreign currency earner after tobacco,"
Last year foreign currency inflows into the RBZ coffers from
cotton exports amounted to US$117 million while actual shipments totalled
This year's target is US$165 million while tobacco is
expected to generate close to US$160 million.
were quick to point out that it was important to note that the country had
diversified its potential foreign currency streams by reviving some
under-performing sectors such as horticulture which had become stagnant in
terms of foreign currency generation.
"The enhanced platinum sector
regime, which was implemented in February will also enhance the generation
of foreign currency inflow," said Mr Jill Rosat, another Harare
Tobacco prices have declined to about US$0,90 from about
US$2,90 last season with merchants citing poor quality.
players have concurred that the bulk of tobacco grown last season was of low
quality and there were already fears that many of the farmers would not be
able to recover their production costs.
This could reduce the number of
farmers growing the crop in the next season, which is just two months
On the other hand, cotton prices have declined owing to a glut of
the commodity on the international market.
Many developed countries
are now using genetically modified seeds which tend to cut costswhile
boosting output. Zimbabwean farmers were likely to feel the heat in such
circumstances, concluded the analysts
EDITORIAL April 14, 2005 Posted to the web April 14,
THE $10 trillion Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's
Parastatals and Local Authorities Reorientation Programme is by any measure
a massive project set to induce radical transformation of parastatals that
have become perennial loss makers, feeding off the fiscus.
Government has, over the years, been forced to bail out one parastatal after
the other with no end in sight to the woes that have bedevilled these public
A classic example is the Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company
which, despite endless injections of capital by the Government and the
central bank, is almost collapsing with reports indicating that it is
operating at between 10 and 12 percent capacity.
The giant has now
been dwarfed by operational constraints that need intensive investigation so
they can be weeded out.
The story at Zisco is so sad that at some point
Government was advised to sell it off because it seemed to be beyond
But the powers that be at Zisco and the employees at large
should have heaved a sigh of relief when RBZ governor Dr Gideon Gono
unveiled, in his monetary policy statement in January, the $10 trillion
finance package under which $1 trillion would be injected into
Other parastatals and local authorities are also scheduled to
receive varying amounts under the programme.
It is everyone's hope
that the State enterprises, dubbed the "missing link" in the economic
turnaround efforts, should start performing sooner rather than
The assurance by the Reserve Bank that it will first conduct
re-orientation audits at the respective parastatals before it disburses the
funds is welcome given the history of mismanagement and abuse of funds at
most of the parastatals.
The audits, which sound very thorough,
should be able to identify the challenges being faced by these institutions
and should lay the groundwork for the adoption of efficient and effective
The audits will focus on aspects such as corporate
governance, procurement systems, human resources structures, debt profiles,
equipment holdings, usage of previously allocated funds, among other
This should give a true picture of the state of affairs at the
parastatals. I am sure the entire nation is keen to know what has really
been going wrong at some of these State enterprises.
Dr Gono said
some funds could be released before the completion of the audit exercise on
a project-specific basis to avoid what he termed "paralysis through
We hope the larger chunk of the funds will only be released
after conclusive audits to ensure effective turnaround.
Government is expected to cease the provision of funds to parastatals and
local authorities next year, by which time the State enterprises are
expected to be performing profitably.
We cannot wait for the day when
there will be enough electricity, efficient rail transport, unclogged
cellular phone networks, enough coal for farmers and other users, adequate
rural and urban transportation, clean and safe water, friendly roads and
other such key services.
With PLARP, we hope it's now only a matter of
Fleming considers Zimb boycott From correspondents in
Wellington April 14, 2005 NEW ZEALAND captain Stephen Fleming said today
he is prepared to boycott the tour of Zimbabwe later this year if he feels
it will make a difference.
But he said the decision will not be a hasty
one and there were three months to consider the moral issues.
information that I read suggests it's probably not wise to go and that will
make a difference, then that's something I'll consider," Fleming said after
leading New Zealand to an innings and 38-run victory over Sri Lanka in the
second Test here.
"Like the other players I'll be reading a lot, watching
the situation closely and trying to educate myself on what impact the tour
"The players will take a lot of care over the decision and
make sure it's the right one in their mind for the right
New Zealand Cricket (NZC) chief executive Martin Snedden has
said no players would be penalised if they individually decided not to tour
as a protest against President Robert Mugabe's government.
who has been in power since Zimbabwe's independence from Britain in 1980,
won a sweeping victory in the March 31 election, but foreign critics led by
the United States and the European Union dismissed the poll as a
Prime Minister Helen Clark has said she is personally opposed
to the tour and the leader of a minor party in the coalition government has
written to the players urging them to pull out.
Fleming said he had
received his letter but had not opened it yet, and said there had not been
any team discussion.
"The players have to get educated, it's naive for
them to make a decision without being educated.
"There's going to be
a lot of material that will give them an opportunity to make a decision on
whether they want to go for moral reasons.
"Safety will be discussed by
NZC and that'll be their decision."
Fleming, who leaves for England on
Sunday to take up his county contract as captain of Nottinghamshire, said he
would talk to Zimbabwe players to help his decision.
England's tour of Zimbabwe was in doubt after Zimbabwean authorities imposed
a media ban on 13 British journalists.
After a two-day delay, England's
cricketers finally flew out when the ban was lifted, but cut short their
EDITORIAL April 14, 2005 Posted to the web April 14,
AFRICANS from the SADC and from the African Union have declared
that Zimbabwe's March 2005 Parliamentary elections were free and fair, while
Australians, Americans and European insist that Zimbabwe's elections were
neither free nor fair. The question is : Are our neighbours honest friends,
or are our honest friends not our neighbours?
It is disheartening to
note that Zimbabweans, who now "enjoy" very limited freedoms of expression
and association, are not regarded seriously by the African leaders closest
to Zimbabwe when they make the case that elections that are conducted under
the stated - and worse - conditions, cannot lead to a free and fair
Thabo Mbeki is arguably the president with the greatest
influence south of the Sahara, and when he insists that Zimbabwean elections
were fair, or that international criticism of Zimbabwe's government is
either unbalanced or unwarranted, he is simply showing us how much he is out
of touch with reality.
It is impossible to understand how any honest
head of state could take Mbeki's position in the presence of numerous
well-researched and documented reports by organizations such as the NGO
Forum, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International on voter intimidation,
suppression of dissent, and politicization of the country's food
distribution, security and defense apparatus.
After all, our
neighbours are aware of the huge number of Zimbabweans entering their
countries, and they must be well aware that these Zimbabweans are by no
means tourists: they are men, women and children who can't go home
It is fine to appreciate the great lengths to which Western
governments, observers and human rights organizations have gone to in order
to tell the story of political intimidation and very probable fraud that lie
behind the ZANU PF victory in the parliamentary elections, but it is far
more important to scream for our neighbours' honesty.
At this time,
it appears that whoever chooses to stand against Robert Mugabe's regime must
also stand against the leaders of Africa who support him. The presidents of
countries like Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Malawi must be
confronted with the fervour and energy that their irresponsible positions on
the March 2005 and other elections call for.
South Africa, Botswana,
Mozambique, and all our "brothers and sisters" here in Africa must either
stop lying or simply look the other way and say nothing about Zimbabwe, for
to voice their support of - their legitimization of - the results of
(in 2000, in 2002, and now, in 2005) and indeed
of the Mugabe regime, is to attempt to weaken the strength of the reasonable
accusations of election fraud that several Zimbabweans and independent
election observers want to have investigated.
currently stand in the way of our freedom and justice, and they stand with
our President. If we choose to challenge the legitimacy of the ruling
party's election wins, we must also face our neighbours and for now, our
friends are far away.
ZIMBABWE and Zambia would need to
cough out at least US$32 million ($195 billion) to replace the old Victoria
Falls Bridge, which is nearing the end of its lifespan, The Property Gazette
The bridge - jointly owned by the Zimbabwe and Zambia
governments through the Emerged Railway Properties (ERP) - is the gateway to
trade between the two states and parts of the southern African
Constructed in 1905, the Victoria Fall Bridge is fast approaching
the end of its lifespan of up to 100 years and urgently requires
reconstruction to avert a potentially disastrous structural
It has been reported that the bridge was being overloaded for
the past 15 years due to unclear load limits. The bridge carries a railway
line, a roadway and a pedestrian walkway.
Karikoga Kaseke, the
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Communications, said
the US$32 million would be sufficient to cover the costs of building a
similar structure, adding more money could be required should the
authorities opt for a better structure.
He said: "The figure may vary
considerably depending on the type of structure selected. This estimate is
based on the total cost of similar projects around the world.
maintenance costs are shared as follows: ERP will contribute 60 percent, the
department of roads 20 percent and the Zambian Road Authority 20
Kaseke said the Zambia Railways Limited had received a loan
from the International Develo-pment Association and intended to apply a
portion of it for consultancy services aimed at assessing the structural
integrity of the Victoria Falls Bridge.
Zambia floated a tender for
the structural assessment of the bridge in September last year and the
implementation period for this assignment was given as three
Both Zimbabwe and Zambia are yet to decided on the structure of
the bridge. This would depend on various factors such as affordability,
environmental considerations and the technology available.
ideal structure should be able to span the gorge, as is the current
situation, in order to avoid any foundations in the gorge. The bridge should
be able to accommodate both rail and road," he said
vehicle drivers have been advised to use the central portion of the roadway
deck so as not to overstress the outside stringers.
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