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Mugabe: Talks Radical, Acts Like a Reactionary


by Patrick Bond
If you want to know what's going on in Zimbabwe, you could try
taking seriously the view commonly argued by the independent left in this
region, namely that Mugabe talks radical -- especially nationalist and
anti-imperialist -- but acts reactionary, especially to the urban poor and
working people.

Fortunately, we have a fresh version of this argument, made to
millions of viewers on Sky News Sunday Live with Adam Boulton on March 18.

Boulton interviewed Moeletsi Mbeki, the younger brother of South
Africa's president Thabo Mbeki. Exiled from apartheid South Africa as a
member of the African National Congress, Mbeki lived in Harare for many
years, and was once a Mugabe supporter.

But explaining the current situation, he did not mince words:

Mbeki: Mugabe is prepared to use force, any amount of force,
he's prepared to kill the opposition, he's prepared to do anything that he
considers necessary to stay in power, so that's why he's still in power.
He's prepared to rig the elections which he does when they are held, so
those are the reasons why Mugabe is still in power, and as you saw the
beating of the leader of the opposition and his other leaders of the
opposition during the last few days.

Boulton: Whose job is it to do something about it? Is it
simply a question of waiting for a movement within Zimbabwe? Should it be
neighbouring countries like South Africa that increase pressure?

Mbeki: Southern Africa is the most industralised part of
Africa and therefore it has a very huge labour force, working class labour
force, wage earners. What is the new phenomenon we are seeing in southern
Africa is that this labour force they are all joining trade unions, many of
them are members of trade unions. Now these trade unions have become
politically active and have started forming their own parties, so all the
governments in southern Africa are faced with the threat to their power from
the trade union movement. MDC, the Movement for Democratic Change, Morgan
Tsvangirai, for example, was the leader of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions. In Zambia we saw a trade union setting up a political party which
out voted the then President, Kaunda. So we are seeing in southern Africa
the trade unions being the main opposition to the ruling parties and this is
really the situation whereby all the countries have a vested interest, all
the ruling parties in our region, have a vested interest in ensuring that
the opposition does not win in Zimbabwe because they see this as a threat to
themselves as well.

Boulton: And that would apply to Thabo Mbeki as well, the
South African President, that effectively he's worried you would say about
the MDC possibly infecting or strengthening a trade union movement within
South Africa?

Mbeki: Well absolutely, the biggest opposition in reality in
South Africa to the government is actually the trade unions and they have
threatened to form their own party, they have threatened to encourage the
Communist party, which is an alliance with the ANC to stand on its own and
compete against the NC in the election. So it's not just South Africa of
course, Mozambique, Botswana all of these countries, Namibia, are faced with
the same challenge.

Boulton: Now I've spoken to President Mbeki about the
situation in Zimbabwe a number of times and his argument always is first of
all that the whole question of land reform is one which affects the whole
region and therefore he has sympathy with what Robert Mugabe is trying to
do. . .

Mbeki: There's no land reform in Zimbabwe, what there is, is a
confiscation of private property owned by Zimbabwean citizens by a small
clique that surrounds Mugabe. There is no land reform in Zimbabwe.

Boulton: So given that the situation is deteriorating do you
think the time has come now for heavier intervention by South Africa?

Mbeki: Well as I explained to you, you are very unlikely to
get any meaningful intervention by South Africa or other southern African
countries, because all of them the trade union inspired political party led
by Morgan Tsvangirai is a threat also to them.

Mbeki concludes that Tsvangirai -- who suffered a fractured
skull in a police beating on March 11 (see it here:
slowthoughts.wordpress.com) -- is too optimistic about the beginning of
Mugabe's end: "I know his willingness to use violence, he has an endless
appetite for the use of violence and he sees this as a wonderful opportunity
for himself, for the use of violence."

And as for big brother Thabo, Moeletsi is just as cynical: "You
know our own government is faced with challenges from the trade unions, so
if you are faced with that situation I think the priority for any politician
is his own power, his own opportunity to stay in power rather than issues of
conscience. So I think in terms of South Africa the issue of how to
frustrate the trade unions taking power and challenging the power of the
ruling parties is more of a priority than the beating of opposition
demonstrators and their leader."

It may not warrant further elaboration, but Moeletsi Mbeki has
reduced last week's arguments by Mr Stephen Gowans of Ottawa to nonsense,
and in the process shamed the good name CounterPunch (and indeed 286 other
outlets between 22 and 26 March, according to a Google search of "Milosevic"
"Mugabe" "Stephen Gowans" -- though Gowans has rewritten this thesis for
several years now with Milo as his reference hero).

To illustrate the selective analysis that fatally flaws Gowans'
work, he cites only Zimbabwe's state-owned press (the Sunday Mail and
Herald) and three western newspapers. This is as farcical as trying to draw
truth by balancing two extremists with blatant political agendas.

Hence Gowans' claims that the country's economic crisis is due
to "sanctions [that] bar Zimbabwe from access to economic and humanitarian
aid, while disrupting trade and investment."

What kind of "economic aid" to African countries get from the
imperialist powers, one might ask? (Answer: not empowering to any ordinary
folk.) And in reality there is plenty of humanitarian aid -- especially
food -- flowing into Zimbabwe, allowing people to barely survive. Moreover,
aside from trivial personal sanctions against ruling party elites traveling
to -- or maintaining foreign bank accounts in -- the US or Europe, there are
only minor financial sanctions against Zimbabwe in place today.

What are they? To be sure, the US Congress has prohibited the
Bretton Woods Institutions from lending to Zimbabwe, but anyone wanting the
IMF and World Bank back in Zimbabwe is no friend of the commoner. Other
bank sanctions can be circumvented by cooperating institutions such as South
Africa's ABSA and others which funnel vast amounts of remittances from
exiled Zimbabweans back home. The Chinese government last year advanced a
$200 million loan. Equatorial Guinea provides oil as thanks for foiling a
2004 coup plot.

To Gowans' point that the MDC has a neoliberal streak, tell us
something new. This was first witnessed in February 2000, when the party's
then economic secretary promised to privatise all parastatals plus the
educational system within five years. And the subsequent backlash allowed
former Trotskyist student leader Tendai Biti -- now MDC general secretary --
to successfully advocate a social democratic program instead.

Because Tsvangirai's MDC is a large multi-class front with
backing from the Bush and Blair regimes as well as from the urban masses,
it's not to be trusted if it takes part in some form of unity government --
perhaps as early as March 2008, in the event Mugabe loses his grip on the
ruling party, a distinct possibility in coming days.

But it's more likely, as Moeletsi Mbeki says, that Tsvangirai's
people will suffer more of the state's thirst for violence that killed 20
000 Zimbabweans in Matabeleland during the early and mid-1980s, a point it
seems Mr Gowans does not want to reveal to his readers.

In contrast, those whose instincts are left and who are
genuinely concerned about Zimbabwe's future would do better to consult
websites like kubatana.net or Sokwanele.com or Pambazuka.org, and support
the April 3-4 general strike called by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions, or aid regular protests by Women of Zimbabwe Arise and the National
Constitutional Assembly, or talk up last week's occupation of City Hall
steps by the Combined Harare Residents Association, or witness the
progressive forces regularly assembling in the Zimbabwe Social Forum.

As far as I can tell -- sitting across the Limpopo River --
there is indeed a nascent left in Zimbabwe, it is beleaguered and beaten,
and it doesn't need any distractions from lads in Ottawa who can't tell the
difference between talk left and walk right.

--------------------------------------------------------------------
Patrick Bond coauthored Zimbabwe's Plunge: Exhausted
Nationalism, Neoliberalism and the Search for Social Justice. He directs
the Centre for Civil Society at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban,
South Africa: www.ukzn.ac.zaccs and can be reached at bondp@ukzn.ac.za.

31/03/07

mrzine Monthly Review


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MDC members tortured

Zim Standard

HARARE Magistrates' court yesterday resembled a
funeral parlour as relatives and friends wailed in horror at the sight of
their abducted Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) members, badly tortured
while in police custody.

The nine MDC members, some on life-support system, appeared at the
Rotten Row court yesterday after days in police custody.

They were arrested last Tuesday and Wednesday at their homes while
others were arrested at the party's headquarters in Harare's central
business district.

They were accused of masterminding the spate of petrol bombings that
have occurred countrywide.

MDC national executive member Ian Makone and activists Shame Wakatama
were put on a life-support and whisked to a private hospital for treatment.

The other seven were helped into ambulances as they could not walk on
their own. These were Glen View MP Paul Madzore; Brighton Makimba; Luke
Tamborinyoka a former journalist of the banned Daily News; Stanley Mutembi;
Kudakwashe Matibiri; Zebediah Juada and Bertha Chokururama.

MDC MP for Kambuzuma Willias Madzimure and Evelyn Masaiti were among
those who openly wept on seeing their colleagues in such a brutalised state.
Even a female police officer, who stood guard, was seen shedding tears.

"I have been telling you all along that these people need medical
attention," shouted Madzimure, as Makone struggled for breath. "Makone is
dying. One of these days, you will be held accountable."

Madzore's younger brother, Solomon, described in graphic detail how
his brother and his wife, together with their two-year-old child, were
abducted.

He said: "The police just burst into our home. It was almost midnight
and this came as a shock. They pushed and shoved them into a vehicle. And
that was the last I saw of him until today. But police released the wife and
child after a plea from detained males."

A Harare magistrate Faith Mushure had earlier ordered that the MDC
activists be taken to hospital for treatment, but the police refused.

They agreed after some of them collapsed outside the courtroom due to
excessive pain.

They were later taken to the Avenues Clinic where it was expected that
the magistrate would remand them while they sought treatment.

All the arrested MDC activists are being charged with contravening
section 23 of the Law Codification and Reform Act.

The latest wave of police attacks on MDC members follows the first one
three weeks ago when Morgan Tsvangirai, Arthur Mutambara, Lovemore Madhuku
and nearly 50 others were arrested in Highfield, Harare.


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'Hell on earth' if Mugabe wins 2008

Zim Standard

BY WALTER MARWIZI & VALENTINE MAPONGA

PRO-DEMOCRACY groups vowed yesterday they would put up a spirited
fight to stop Zanu PF from effecting an 18th amendment to the Constitution
as plans by President Robert Mugabe to hang on to power attracted widespread
outrage and condemnation.

In the streets of Harare, ordinary people bearing the brunt of
never-ending economic hardships expressed fears that another six years under
Mugabe could turn Zimbabwe into a real "hell on earth".

They said they had no idea how they would survive in the coming few
months if Mugabe was allowed to hang on to power.

Some said they could only wait for the 2008 polls to demonstrate their
disenchantment with the 83-year-old leader.

Others, like the veteran nationalist and founding member of Zanu PF,
Enos Nkala, said they would vigorously campaign against Mugabe in next year's
presidential election, accusing him of destroying the economy.

Nkala told journalists in Harare on Friday he would fight "till I drop
dead" to ensure that Mugabe, whom he described as "savage and a ghost of
violence" did not win next year's election.

The former Finance and Defence Minister in an early Mugabe
administration said he supported the newly formed Patriotic Union of
Matabeleland (PUMA).

Another veteran of the struggle, Edgar Tekere, said endorsing Mugabe
would be a disaster.

CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1

They are engaging in their madness of singing Mugabe, Mugabe! That's
no good for the country, and for the party. It means we are going to
continue to sink," Tekere said.

Mugabe has presided over a collapsing economy yet members of the Zanu
PF central committee endorsed him as their candidate in the 2008
presidential election, set for March.

They also endorsed the enlargement of both the National Assembly and
the Senate in what is certain to increase government expenditure.

Analysts saw the enlargement of the two houses as a ploy by Mugabe to
secure the support of Zanu PF Members of Parliament who did not support the
so-called election harmonisation for fear of losing their seats.

An amendment which allowed Parliament to choose a President in the
event of the death or resignation of Mugabe would cushion the veteran
leader, said an analyst yesterday.

But while Mugabe celebrated his endorsement as the party's
presidential candidate, opposition political parties said they would fight
to stop the 18th Amendment to the Constitution.

Gabriel Chaibva, a spokesperson for the Mutambara faction said: "We
will make sure that we prevent Zanu PF's proposals of amendments to the
constitution. We have said as a party: no to unfree and unfair elections
under the current political environment. There is need for a new
constitution that must be all-encompassing."

Commenting on the proposed harmonised elections, Morgan Tsvangirai who
leads the other MDC faction, yesterday demanded a "new people-driven
constitution by Zimbabweans for Zimbabweans, and the consequent repeal of
all repressive laws, such as POSA and AIPPA and indeed the reform of
existing laws".

Tsvangirai, addressing a press conference, said under Mugabe "Zimbabwe
is on an auto-cruise to self-destruction".

"It is in this context that the MDC will fully participate in the
stayaway that has been called by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions on 3
and 4 April."

They are engaging in their madness of singing Mugabe, Mugabe! That's
no good for the country, and for the party. It means we are going to
continue to sink," Tekere said.

Mugabe has presided over a collapsing economy yet members of the Zanu
PF central committee endorsed him as their candidate in the 2008
presidential election, set for March.

They also endorsed the enlargement of both the National Assembly and
the Senate in what is certain to increase government expenditure.

Analysts saw the enlargement of the two houses as a ploy by Mugabe to
secure the support of Zanu PF Members of Parliament who did not support the
so-called election harmonisation for fear of losing their seats.

An amendment which allowed Parliament to choose a President in the
event of the death or resignation of Mugabe would cushion the veteran
leader, said an analyst yesterday.

But while Mugabe celebrated his endorsement as the party's
presidential candidate, opposition political parties said they would fight
to stop the 18th Amendment to the Constitution.

Gabriel Chaibva, a spokesperson for the Mutambara faction said: "We
will make sure that we prevent Zanu PF's proposals of amendments to the
constitution. We have said as a party: no to unfree and unfair elections
under the current political environment. There is need for a new
constitution that must be all-encompassing."

Commenting on the proposed harmonised elections, Morgan Tsvangirai who
leads the other MDC faction, yesterday demanded a "new people-driven
constitution by Zimbabweans for Zimbabweans, and the consequent repeal of
all repressive laws, such as POSA and AIPPA and indeed the reform of
existing laws".

Tsvangirai, addressing a press conference, said under Mugabe "Zimbabwe
is on an auto-cruise to self-destruction".

"It is in this context that the MDC will fully participate in the
stayaway that has been called by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions on 3
and 4 April."

National Constitutional Assembly chairperson Lovemore Madhuku said
Mugabe would do anything to hang on to power.

Constitutional Assembly chairperson Lovemore Madhuku said Mugabe would
do anything to hang on to power.


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Bishops warn of people's anger

Zim Standard

BY OUR STAFF

THE Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference has criticised practising
Christians who do nothing while State agents, policemen and soldiers assault
and beat up peaceful, unarmed demonstrators and torture detainees.

In their Pastoral Letter due to be read in churches today, the nine
bishops say this is unacceptable, shows disrespect for human life and falls
far below the dignity of both the perpetrator and the victim.

"Oppression is a sin and cannot be compromised with," they say. "It
must be overcome. God takes sides with the oppressed."

They suggest that young Zimbabweans see their leaders "habitually
engaging in acts and words which are hateful, disrespectful, racist,
corrupt, lawless, unjust, greedy, dishonest and violent..."

The bishops warn: "More and more people are getting angry, even from
among those who had seemed to be doing reasonably well under the
circumstances. The reasons for the anger are many, among them, bad
governance and corruption."

A tiny minority of the people had become very rich overnight, while
the majority are languishing in poverty, creating a huge gap between the
rich and the poor, the bishops said.

"Our country is in deep crisis," they warn. "The consequences of such
overtly corrupt leadership, as we are witnessing in Zimbabwe today will be
with us for many years, perhaps decades, to come. Evil habits and attitudes
take much longer to rehabilitate than to acquire. "

The bishops say despite the rhetoric of a socialist revolution brought
about by the armed struggle, the colonial structures and institutions of
pre-independent Zimbabwe persist.

"None of the unjust and oppressive security laws of the Rhodesian
State have been repealed," the bishops say. "In fact, they have been
reinforced by even more repressive legislation, the Public Order and
Security Act and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, in
particular. It almost appears as though someone sat down with the
Declaration of Human Rights and deliberately scrubbed out each in turn."

Soon after Independence, say the bishops, the power and wealth of the
tiny white Rhodesian elite was appropriated by an equally exclusive black
elite, some of whom have governed the country for the past 27 years through
political patronage.

Many Zimbabweans are angry and their anger is now erupting into open
revolt in one township after another.


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ZCTU calls for stayaway

Zim Standard

BY OUR STAFF

THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU), the largest labour
grouping in the country, has called for a two-day stayaway this week, citing
the failure by the government to act on their ultimatum.

On 27 January, the ZCTU gave the government a four-week ultimatum
demanding, among other things, that it "should take steps to address the
economic meltdown (and) should, as a matter of urgency, address the concerns
of striking doctors without victimizing them".

At a special general council meeting held in Harare on Friday, the
ZCTU resolved that: "... all workers be mobilised between now and March 31
2007 to stay away from work from 3 to 4 April 2007."

In addition, "national actions will be called for after every three
months and they will be incremental".


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Teachers demand $2.3m

Zim Standard

BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE

TEACHERS are now demanding a salary increment of over 300% effective
at the end of this month, according to letter written to the Public Service
Commission (PSC) by their association.

This comes less than two months after the government awarded them a
300%pay hike.

In a letter to the PSC, the Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe
(PTUZ) secretary-general, Raymond Majongwe, said teachers were "living like
paupers" due to the current hyper-inflationary environment.

"With reference to the 2007 national budget as announced by Minister
Herbert Murerwa in November 2006, we hasten to remind you that the second
quarter of 2007 is approaching," says the letter, dated 15 March 2007. "The
cost of living has significantly gone up and our members are failing to make
ends meet."

Inflation now tops 1 700%, but may reach 5 000% by year-end.

Majongwe said teachers required a basic monthly salary of $1 420 000,
and $420 000 and $540 000 in transport and housing allowances respectively.

"The poverty datum line is well over $1 million and this is what we
want to earn as teachers."


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Police farm invasion challenged in court

Zim Standard

By Kholwani Nyathi

BULAWAYO - Senior police officers last week invaded one of the few
remaining white-owned farms in Matabeleland North, court documents seen by
The Standard reveal.

According to an urgent High Court application seeking the eviction of
the officers now occupying Portwe Estates in Bubi District, 27 police
officers in a convoy of 16 vehicles on Monday descended on the farm and
forcibly took the keys to all the buildings, and erected tents in which they
are now staying.

The owners of the property, which includes a safari company, J Joubert
and Son (Pvt) Ltd were told the farm was now a "police state farm".

"On 26 March at about 13:30 hrs the police arrived with 16 vehicles
and 27 personnel," said Lovemore Muzeza, the farm manager in his founding
affidavit. "They were led by the second respondent (a senior assistant
commissioner Chivandire) although most of the officers were ranking from
Assistant Inspectors. Some arrived in their own vehicles and other vehicles
had only two or three policemen inside."

The Commissioner of police, Augustine Chihuri is the first respondent
while the Minister of Home Affairs, Kembo Mohadi, is the third.

Muzeza said the officers immediately identified a place where "they
would hold their Christmas party" and resolved to thatch some buildings "so
that we are seen to be doing some-thing".

Joubert and Son, through their lawyers Web Low & Barry, said the
invasion of the property by the police had brought operations at the farm to
a standstill and affected safari operations, as tourists were being
intimidated by the heavy police presence.

Police had unlawfully gained control of the property after they took
over the keys and started forcing farm workers to work for them.

"I appreciate that there may be lawful reasons for the presence of the
police on the property to investigate offences but I see no reason for them
to be there 24 hours a day, seven days a week," Muzeza said.

"It will undoubtedly have an intimidating effect on tourists who come
there for peace and quiet and fishing."

The farm owners also want the police officers interdicted from
harassing company officials and employees at the farm, and the keys they
confiscated returned. They also want 15 hunting rifles seized by the police
during an earlier raid returned.

The farm was designated in terms of the Land Acquisition Act but the
final determination on the constitutionality of the matter is still to be
made by the Supreme Court.

The harassment of the farm owners dates back to 2001, when Pascal
Joubert was left for dead by war veterans who tried to force him out.

Several raids by armed police have also been carried out at the
property. Last year, the government said it would give white and black
commercial farmers up to the end of the harvesting season to vacate
properties acquired under the land reform programme.


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Police killing condemned

Zim Standard

BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE

MUTARE - As politically motivated killings and violence escalate
countrywide, civic organisations and church leaders have called for a
moratorium on violence and for the government to "respect" the lives of its
citizens.

The appeal comes as security forces intensify their crackdown on
opposition supporters ahead of next year's presidential election.

Speaking at a conference on good governance in Mutare last week,
Centre for Peace Initiatives in Africa (CPIA) executive director, Leonard
Kapungu, implored the government to respect the rights and lives of
citizens.

The conference, with the theme "Zimbabwe: Towards a political
framework that guarantees good governance", was organised by the CPIA.

It discussed ways of coming up with an acceptable people-driven
constitution.

"I want to appeal to the government of Zimbabwe to respect the rights
and lives of the citizens of Zimbabwe," said Kapungu. "Our people are the
precious resource of our country, they are the engine that makes our country
succeed or fail. They must be protected."

Kapungu appealed to the people to "once more go to the spirit of the
22 December 1987 when our leaders announced that never again will a Zimbabwe
gun be turned against another Zimbabwean".

In 1987, Zanu PF represented by President Robert Mugabe, and PF Zapu
by Joshua Nkomo, signed the Unity Accord, pledging to foster peace in the
country.

Bishop Trevor Manhanga of the Pentecostal Assemblies of God also
condemned the recent shooting and killing of people by the security forces.

"What happened in Highfield is wrong," he said. "Demonstrations and
shooting people will not take us anywhere."

At least two people have been killed in politically motivated
violence. Police last month gunned down Gift Tandare, a National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA) and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
activist, as they pounced on unarmed civilians in an attempt to thwart a
prayer meeting of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign.

Another activist, Itai Manyeruke, was shot dead by the police in
Canaan, Highfield. He was buried in Buhera South two weeks ago.

The police brutally assaulted MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, Lovemore
Madhuku of the NCA, Grace Kwinjeh and Sekai Holland (both MDC) among others.

The government has accused Britain and the United States of sponsoring
the opposition to effect "regime change" in Zimbabwe.

It has also accused the MDC, which denies the charges, of being behind
the current wave of bombings that have occurred across the country.

The conference recommended the formation of an implementation
committee comprising civil society, the Executive and the Legislature to
spearhead the constitution-making process.

It said the committee would use the rejected 2000 government-sponsored
draft constitution, the NCA draft constitution as well as the Lancaster
House Constitution and its amendments to come up with a draft constitution
that would be forwarded to President Robert Mugabe.

"The conference felt that in the process of crafting a new
constitution it will be prudent to revisit the civil society proposals and
the draft document rejected at a referendum in 2000," said the conference.

The MDC's national organising secretary Elias Mudzuri, who denounced
violence, expressed concern over low-level Zanu PF representation at the
conference.

"We would have appreciated a situation where government officials were
represented by senior officials, like permanent secretaries," he said.

Zanu PF was represented by its deputy director of information, Stephen
Chidavanyika, who said his party was prepared to work towards a new
constitution.


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Bulawayo goes to court over ZINWA take over

Zim Standard

By Kholwani Nyathi

BULAWAYO - The City Council will take legal action against the
government to stop its controversial take-over of water and sewer
infrastructure through the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA), says
outgoing town clerk Moffat Ndlovu.

Speaking in an interview on his last day in office on Friday, Ndlovu
said the move was "criminal" and would sound the death knell on all local
authorities where ZINWA was preparing to move in.

Ndlovu's statement is the first indication that the council is
prepared for a long drawn out fight with the government after Vice-President
Joseph Msika declared recently that the take-over would go ahead despite
protests from residents and the council.

The town clerk said the take-over was "absolutely criminal" and if it
had come before his departure ZINWA would not even have managed to "take a
pen" belonging to the council.

"The council has vowed to take all legal measures to ensure that we
keep what is ours," said Ndlovu. "It is absolutely criminal to just come in
and take over our investment."

The outspoken town clerk who is leaving the council after serving it
for 24 years took a swipe at the Minister of Water Resources and
Infrastructure Development, Munacho Mutezo (pictured), for declaring that
even if people of Bulawayo "mention Gukurahundi" the take-over would still
go ahead.

"What he used is not the right language for a politician," he said.

Most local authorities would crumble if "the authorities do not see
sense and reverse the take overs" because they rely on revenue generated
through the provision of water and sewer.

Bulawayo expects to generate 70% of its revenue this year from the
sector and if ZINWA is allowed to take over service delivery, Bulawayo will
grind to a halt.

Ndlovu had no kind words for the Minister of Local Government, Public
Works and Urban Development, Ignatious Chombo either.

Chombo has been blamed for the demise of local governance in Harare,
Mutare and Chitungwiza. Observers say the only reason he has not descended
on Bulawayo is because the city is one of the best run in the country, but
the ZINWA take-over was seen as a last-ditch effort by the government to
take over the running of the city.

Chombo forced out popularly elected mayors in the three cities who all
belonged to the Movement for Democratic Change and imposed politicians with
Zanu PF links to run Harare and Mutare.

Running local authorities through "directives" had contributed to the
demise of local governance in the country, Ndlovu said.

During his tenure Bulawayo courted Chombo's ire when on several
occasions it challenged his directives, such as on the reversal of tariff
hikes and the controversial Operation Garikai.

"I think consultation died down with the departure of former deputy
minister, Fortune Charumbira," he said. "Consultation is very important
because councils have to understand government policies and have a buy into
its programmes."

Asked to compare the ministers of local government that he served,
Ndlovu said: "(The late) Enos Chikowore didn't interfere much, (Joseph)
Msika was a good old man, John Nkomo would consult and as junior as I was,
he would ring me and ask for advice."


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Handicapped triumph over discrimination

Zim Standard

By Jacqueline Mbayiwa

THE mere sight of a semi-paralysed man would lead you to conclude that
disability is inability. But when you see the Mercedes Benz this man drives
you are bound to wonder: is this triumph over disability?

Engelbert Makanjera (43) is the Southern Africa Development Community
(SADC) regional rehabilitation officer. He had polio when he was
six-and-half years old and has been in a wheelchair since.

He was fortunate enough to have the support of his parents who
provided him with a decent education up to tertiary level.

"I am proud to be disabled because I accepted my condition. My parents
were very supportive and they provided me with the means of mobility. I
however cushioned myself with hard work and in Grade Six I became the
chairman of the Debating Club at my school; this boosted my confidence and
that is when I realised that I was a leader," he said.

Makanjera is also the vice-president of the Jairos Jiri Association,
secretary general of the Zimbabwe Paralympic Committee, and a life member of
St Giles Association, among others.

He is married and blessed with four children, "I am happily married to
a woman with a disability too, I uplift the disabled in my society in Ruwa
and today am building a basketball court for them, and I help them with
moral support and counselling. They look up to me because I give them a
shoulder to lean on," Makanjera said.

However, not all the disabled people in Zimbabwe are as fortunate; on
street corners they are always asking for alms because most of them are not
literate enough to be employed.

The National Association of Societies for the Care of the Handicapped
(NASCOH), the official umbrella body of 53 organisations of and for people
living with disabilities in Zimbabwe is calling for the government to
address disability issues and fund the organisations for disabled people.

NASCOH executive director, Farai Mukuta said: "The government has
promulgated the Disability Act of 1992 and has put in place the Ministry of
Social Welfare to cater for the financial and material needs of people with
disabilities.

"There is still a need for the government to go a step further by
implementing a quota system whereby employable people with disabilities
(PWD) are absorbed into gainful employment. This will in turn empower them
economically to be able to sustain their livelihood and ultimately command a
good sense of responsibility from society."

There has been a call for civic society to demystify misconceptions
about the disabled and accept them as equals because they are as intelligent
and literate as anybody else.

Tsarai Mungoni became visually impaired as a result of trachoma at the
age of five years. He says it became a very difficult, stressful and
disturbing condition with which he came to terms through counselling.

He holds a Bachelor in Social Works (Honours) and a Masters in
Business Administration from the University of Zimbabwe,

"I also hold a Post-Graduate Diploma in Law (Conciliation and
Arbitration), a Masters in Business Administration with a merit; I passed
the degree with distinction and am married with two children. I am a
disability activist and I sometimes donate my personal resources towards
assisting the disabled people in Zimbabwe," Mungoni said.

Despite the degrees and qualifications, Mungoni says he still faces
discrimination from the private sector on accessing employment, "When you
are called for an interview, as soon as they discover you are disabled, the
interview is cancelled. The private sector has closed its doors on us. They
are still retrogressive, and they think the disabled are not competent
enough to be employed.


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Goche paying farm workers paltry wages

Zim Standard

By Tapiwa Zivira

THE Minister of the Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare,
Nicholas Goche, has admitted paying paltry wages to his workers at Ceres
Farm near Shamva.

Goche, whose ministry is responsible for workers' welfare, said he
paid his workers $10 000 a month, but would adjust this to $32 000 at the
end of last month (March).

Goche had been asked to respond to complaints by his workers that he
was underpaying them.

He admitted: "Actually I was paying my workers more than the gazetted
$8 000. I was giving them $10 000 and this month (March) they are to get the
new salaries backdated to last January."

Goche said his workers were better off as other employers were paying
less.

One of Goche's workers who spoke to The Standard at the heavily
guarded farm complained the workers could not sustain their families on
present wages. " I cannot even buy a 2kg packet of sugar and I have a family
to sustain. If I leave this farm I have nowhere to go as my family is from
Mozambique," he said.

With inflation pegged at over 1 700% and the consumer basket for a
family of six at more than $800 000, Goche's workers belong to a large
agricultural workforce on what many labour analysts characterise as
"scandalous wages".

Many of the workers are now employed by new farmers who took over
properties confiscated by the government from white commercial farmers.


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Teachers challenge Mugabe insult charges in Supreme Court

Zim Standard

BY GODFREY MUTIMBA

MASVINGO - A teacher who wished President Robert Mugabe dead and
another who likened his rule to that of Nazi dictator, Adolf Hitler, have
filed a constitutional challenge in the Supreme Court against a section of
the Criminal Codification Act that makes it an offence to insult the head of
the State.

Selestine Jengeta (36), and Letwin Matereke (34), both employed by the
Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture at Victoria and Mucheke high
schools respectively, were last week remanded to 21 June pending the
finalisation of their constitutional challenge. They briefly appeared before
a Masvingo magistrate.

Their defence lawyer, Wellington Muzenda of Mwonzora and Associates,
is challenging a section of the Criminal Law Codification and Reform Act.

Muzenda is arguing that the section infringes on the right of freedom
of expression, thereby contravening section 20 of the Constitution of
Zimbabwe.

In his papers, Muzenda argues that the Act contravenes several
sections of the Zimbabwean Constitution and has petitioned the Supreme
Court, sitting as a constitutional court, to determine whether or not the
Criminal Codification and Reform Act chapter 9:23 contravenes section 89 of
the Constitution of Zimbabwe.

He submitted, in addition, that section 33(2) (A) (ii) of the same act
contravenes section 20 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe in that it derogates
the right to freedom of expression.

Muzenda wants the court to rule whether or not derogation is
reasonably justified in a democratic society.

The two teachers were arrested on the same day, but in separate
incidents, last December for insulting or undermining the authority of the
president after making public statements regarding the head of State.

Charges against Jengeta arose on 17 December last year while he was
drinking beer in a police pub at Phoneix police camp. The State alleges that
Jengeta, who was watching television, wished Mugabe dead when he appeared on
ZTV's Newshour, saying his rule was responsible for the suffering of the
people.

"Dai munhu uyu afa, zvinhu zvaiita nani hurumende yachinja kana
kukatonga mumwe munhu," (If this person died things would be better in this
country; the government would change for the better if someone else began to
rule) Jengeta allegedly said pointing at Mugabe's image on the screen.

He was immediately arrested by a police officer who was watching
television with him.

Charges against Matereke arose on the same day when she was travelling
in a commuter bus along Masvingo-Mutare road. Matereke allegedly joined a
debate in the kombi when passengers were discussing the incidence of
diamonds being smuggled from Marange to South Africa.

She allegedly said: "Regai vanhu vaende nawo ikoko nekuti munyika muno
tiri kutongwa naHitler (let the people smuggle the diamonds to other
counties as we are being ruled by Hitler in this country)," she allegedly
said.

Matereke was arrested by a soldier based at 4:1 Brigade who later
force-marched her to Masvingo Central police station when they arrived in
the city.

Cases of people facing charges of this nature have been on the
increase in Masvingo, but have also occurred in other parts of the country.

Two weeks ago two Chivi men were acquitted after the court found
insufficient evidence that they had insulted Mugabe after singing a song
that implied the President was sterile.


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Daring trainee journo told to leave

Zim Standard

BY OUR STAFF

THE New Ziana trainee journalist, arrested for asking "the wrong
questions", was ordered to leave the news organisation on Monday.

Tapiwa Chininga was told to stop reporting for duty at the State-owned
New Ziana newsroom until the "dust that he had created after his arrest had
settled".

Chininga (23), was arrested two weeks ago after he asked Constable
Simbarashe Nengwene, manning Kuwadzana police base, why the police were
being "brutal" to opposition members.

He also asked him why they did not feel guilty after killing and
torturing members of the opposition.

Chininga was arrested, charged and released on $5 000 bail the
following Monday.

Chininga confirmed he was ordered to leave after the publication of
his arrest in The Standard.

He said tension mounted with his bosses who wanted to keep the image
of the State-owned institution "clean".

But the editor of New Ziana, Rangarirai Shoko, dismissed the reporter's
claims, saying the dismissal resulted from a theft case in the New Ziana
newsroom.

In an unsigned comment faxed to The Standard dated 26 March Shoko
wrote:

"Two student interns, Tapiwa Chininga and McDonald Rainosi, were today
(26 March) asked to leave after being implicated in a theft case. Constable
Ndabamuromo at Central Police Station in Harare is handling the matter.
Police have charged Chininga with a second offence, which is still under
their investigation."

Shoko would not elaborate on the theft case. Enquiries by The
Standard, however, indicated that a mobile phone was reported stolen in the
New Ziana newsroom in February. The owner of the cellphone is said to have
suspected three people: Chininga, another trainee journalist, Rainos, and a
named senior reporter. Police launched investigations but failed to nail the
culprit.

Sources said the case had already been forgotten, until last week when
it emerged that Chininga had walked into a police station and asked "wrong
questions" of the police.


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NAC wasteful - Matombo

Zim Standard

By Bertha Shoko

THE National Aids Council (NAC) has been accused of wasting taxpayer's
money on administrative purposes and "useless workshops", and not on helping
workers living with HIV/Aids.

The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions president, Lovemore Matombo,
told a breakfast meeting in Harare last week that, as a result of this
extravagance, hundreds of workers who paid the Aids Levy and were living
with the disease were going without the necessary treatment.

Their money was being squandered while the workers living with
HIV/Aids would not access the drugs to treat opportunistic infections and
Antiretroviral drugs (ARVs).

The government introduced the Aids Levy, now known as the National
Aids Trust Funds (NATF) in 1999.

The fund was set up to ensure that every worker played a part in
mitigating the effects of the HIV/Aids pandemic. But since it was
introduced, the Aids Levy has been dogged by controversy with activists
attacking the NAC for failing to reach "grassroots" people in need of the
funds.

The NAC has been attacked in the past forspending money on expensive
vehicles, endless workshops and expensive officefurniture, among other
things, while ignoring the needs of people living with HIV and Aids (PLWAs)

There are presently about 1.8 million PLWAs, with only 65 000
accessing ARVs in the state-run programmes, compared with the 600 000-plus
PLWAS in need of the life-prolonging drugs.

So where are the NATF funds going? The breakfast meeting was organised
by the Zimbabwe Aids Prevention and Support Organisation (ZAPSO) to discuss
the challenges poised by HIV and Aids on the productive sectors of the
economy,

Matombo told guests that his organisation was disturbed by the lack of
commitment by the government and the NAC to make treatment available to
PLWAs.He said failure by the government and the NAC to provide treatment to
hundreds of people, most of them workers contributing towards the Aids Levy,
deducted from their salaries is a "huge betrayal".

"The ZCTU has it on good record that most of the Aids Levy funds are
not tricklingdown to those people who really need they because they are
being wasted on administration, the salaries and allowances of people
employed to see to it that these funds are administered. So what is the
purpose really? We have made this demand to government that they must work
out a plan to ensure that every worker who requires treatment does receive
it. Unfortunately, they have failed to do this on the deadline that we
agreed and that is one of the reasonswe are going ahead with the stayaway
next week (this week) on the thirdand fourth of April."

The director of the NAC, Tapuwa Magure told Standardhealth that his
organisation continued "to do the best it can" to mitigate the effects of
the Aids pandemic with what he said were "limited resources".

According to the NAC, the Aids Levy has yielded roughly $1.7 million
since it wascreated in 1999. Zimbabwe was the first country in southern
Africa to institute a levy for HIV/Aids funding.

The ZAPSO meeting brought together a number of stakeholders working
towards the creation of HIV/Aids workplace policies. ZAPSO is an Aids
service organisation created to assist the formal and informal sectors of
the economy to establish and strengthen HIV/Aids prevention, mitigation,
treatment, care and support programmes and policies in the workplace.

The guest of honour was the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe,
Dr Gideon Gono who said the central bank would continue to give support to
HIV/Aids programmes in the country.Also present at the breakfast meeting was
the Swedish ambassador to Zimbabwe, Sten Rylander, who said his government
would continue to help mobilise resources for HIV and Aids.



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Passengers stuck as Air Zimbawe suspends staff

Zim Standard

By Nqobani Ndlovu and Pindai
Dube

BULAWAYO - Airline passengers were left stranded last week after
operations at the Victoria Falls International Airport reportedly ground to
a halt following the suspension of critical staff at struggling Air
Zimbabwe.

The beleaguered airliner suspended about 30 critical workers on
allegations of smuggling foreign currency, mishandling passengers and
pillaging resources at the resort town's airport, sources said.

The affected workers under the airline's subsidiary company, the
National Handling Services (NHS), were suspended on 20 March by management
and were in ticketing, cargo, handling check-in and load controlling
departments.

Sources indicated the suspensions followed the unearthing by the
police of a smuggling syndicate two weeks ago.

The syndicate allegedly received about US$16 312 and R2 000, involving
illegal foreign currency dealers operating in cahoots with airline staff.

Matabeleland North police spokesperson Augustine Zimbili could not be
reached immediately for comment to confirm the alleged unmasking of the
syndicate.

But Air Zimbabwe public relations manager, David Mwenga confirmed the
suspension of critical staff last Tuesday. He also confirmed workers at the
Harare International Airport were quickly dispatched to Victoria Falls to
fill in for the suspended workers.

"Workers were suspended on allegations of theft," said Mwenga. "We
sent a team of check-in staff from Harare to run the airport while
investigations are continuing."

He said one worker implicated in illegal foreign currency dealings and
theft had been dismissed.

Mwenga said their internal investigations were over and this week
management decided to recall the staff to work for a few days while awaiting
the results of the police investigations.

Management, he said, never directly accused any member of the staff,
including the station manager Francis Mayeni, of any wrongdoing, but
"because the initial allegations of theft could have involved any staff,
therefore he was asked to go home along with other staff."


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CAAZ fails to meet airport construction deadline

Zim Standard

By jennifer dube

THE Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) has failed to beat the
March target set for the beginning of construction work on Buffalo Range
Airport - the much-awaited gateway to the coveted Great Limpopo
Transfrontier Park (GLTP).

CAAZ initially anticipated starting construction at the site last
month and had a target 18 months for the completion of the job.

Air Zimbabwe had mulled plans of introducing a flight into Chiredzi
pending progress on the airport.

The upgrading project involves the construction of a runway and a
terminal at the Chiredzi based airport which is crucial for the successful
implementation of the GLTP, infamous for it's inaccessibility and bad
transport network.

Stakeholders in the tourism industry have in the past expressed
concern over the poor transport network and recommended that CAAZ expedites
the upgrading of the airport and government improves the road network to
attract investors.

In a desperate bid to save the authority's face, CAAZ acting general
manager, Jerry Ndlovu partially blamed an unidentified design consultant for
delaying progress.

Commissioned by the authority to do design work on the projects, the
consultant allegedly chickened out of the deal before take-off stage.

"The firm couldn't even do the first design. They just told us they
couldn't continue without even starting. I think they felt the project was
just too big for them," said Ndlovu.

But, according to Ndlovu, the consultant bowed out of the deal "a
couple of years back". Sources said the contractor pulled out in 2005.

Ndlovu, however, said the authority has since contracted another
designer and remarkable progress has been made on the projects.

"We have since engaged someone else and they have just completed
designs for the terminal building and the runway, and these are being
reviewed by our technical team while the quantity surveyors are working on
the project costs," Ndlovu said.

He said the tender for construction will be floated once the designs
were accepted.

"After acceptance, the designs will be presented to Chiredzi and the
tourism industry. The tender will then be floated," he said.

Ndlovu said the cost of upgrading the airport would be arrived at once
the designs have been completed.

"CAAZ received government funding for preparatory works. The authority
has already started the programme of scouting for funding for this project.
The exact amounts required will be available as soon as the designs have
been completed," he said.

Last year, the authority estimated the cost at US$8 million.

Ndlovu said CAAZ was committed to facilitating the country's benefits
from the GLTP alongside its South African and Mozambican neighbours.

"South Africa has since built the Kruger-Mpumalanga airport while
Mozambique is developing the Limpopo National Park.

"We hope to share passengers from the region into that place (GLTP).
We also hope to facilitate direct transfer of passengers from
Kruger-Mpumalanga airport," he said.

Speaking at a meeting between players in the tourism industry and the
Reserve Bank Governor, Gideon Gono, CAAZ CEO, David Chawota said the
authority's efforts at infrastructural development hung in the balance
pending adequate funds.

"We are unable as an authority to access all sorts of funds. Domestic
aviation has collapsed. Our local aviation has gone to neighbours," he said.

Chawota said the Victoria Falls airport needed a new runway while
Harare airport's runway required rehabilitation.

Chawota added that progress on infrastructural development was being
hampered by inflation and the brain drain.


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Forget about exchange rate review: RBZ

Zim Standard

By our staff

INDUSTRY may wail endlessly about the unviable exchange rate but the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) is resolved not to review it, as stated in
the recent monetary policy.

Addressing stakeholders from the tourism industry recently, RBZ
governor, Gideon Gono, emphasised that the central bank was not considering
reviewing the exchange rate sooner or later.

"The exchange rate policy is a protest policy," he said. "Over the
past three years, the central bank has been unfairly blamed for industry
failures and we thus resolved that we all compete and sacrifice to revive
our businesses.

"We realised that no amount of exchange rate will change the economic
conditions obtaining in the country. We decided business has to be
encouraged to do business while politicians addressed the situation
politically. Everyone has to be involved."

He said he was not moved by the protests aired by some sections of the
economy.

"The exchange rate is not the only instrument with which we can turn
around our fortunes. We will do nothing to the two instruments - exchange
rate and interest rate - because they are blunt instruments which have
failed to yield results in the past.

"I am aware of the counter-protests being mounted by some sections of
the economy. They are threatening to hold on to their produce in protest at
the fixed exchange rate. They can keep their tobacco and I will keep my
exchange rate," he mimicked President Robert Mugabe.

Gono was referring to the tobacco farmers who have boycotted the
tobacco floors in a bid to press for an upward review of the exchange rate,
currently fixed at $250 against the greenback.

Gono said the decision not to review the exchange rate was
necessitated by complaints concerning hotel prices from visitors, including
International Monetary Fund and Afreximbank representatives.

He said working together under his proposed social contract was one of
the ways through which the country could address its economic quandary.

"I am aware that some of you are making fun of the whole idea and even
going to the extent of saying I have run out of ideas. But the social
contract is only a platform from which we can start.

"At this stage, we want to work together to heighten awareness as we
gradually liberate our economy."

He said the tourism industry in particular could best turn around its
fortunes through learning from players in other countries and pledged to
facilitate an exposure trip to Dubai.

He urged players to adopt realistic packaging, competitive pricing
policies, maintain closer relations with the media and to desist from
decampaigning the country.

"Yours is an industry that has to be driven by constant communication
among stakeholders, so we can stay updated about your needs. Engage in
intense publicity activities and maintain close relations with the media so
they can report from an informed position. Desist from decampaigning
yourselves for I know some of you are involved in the distribution of
decampaigning material," he said.

He urged tourism players, especially safari and tour operators, to
register and also desist from price distortions.

Gono gave the players four days to come up with a comprehensive
package of their needs.


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Air Zimbabwe killing tourism, says Kaseke

Zim Standard

By our staff

THE government's policies are destroying the tourism industry and will
impact negatively on the country come 2010 when the World Cup is staged in
South Africa, says the head of the government's tourism agency.

Karikoga Kaseke of the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority told the Masvingo
press club recently that government policies relating to Air Zimbabwe would
compromise Zimbabwe's potential benefits from the World Cup.

"Air Zimbabwe is killing tourism," said Kaseke, the former head of the
Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe. "The national airline's service is
pathetic and if that situation continues, the country will not benefit much
from the World Cup tournament in South Africa."

He said Air Zimbabwe staff was the major problem because of the
maladministration by government appointees in key posts at the airline.

Kaseke alleged the incompetent officials enjoyed "over-protection"
from the government.

"The national airline is becoming a liability. Its officials'
incompetence is affecting our tourism and it will continue to disturb the
progress of the preparations for the World Cup.

"There is need for policy consistency in the national airline," he
said.

Kaseke said there were tourists who no longer trusted Air Zimbabwe
because of its "shoddy service".

He said although Masvingo city was chosen to co-host Zimbabwe's
campaign to benefit from the World Cup, the city's preparations were not up
to scratch. The Masvingo-Beitbridge road, he said, needed repair rather than
for the repairs to start from Harare where the dualisation of the highway
was taking shape slowly.

Mucheke stadium also needed extensive renovations, he said.


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Creating a climate that justifies full-scale repression

Zim Standard

Comment

THE savage attacks on opposition and civic society members three weeks ago
are a resurrection of the orgy of violence that has marred Zimbabwe's
electoral landscape since independence. They confirm who in this country has
" many degrees in violence".

Zanu PF has incorporated intimidation, coercion and violence into its
arsenal whenever its hold on power is threatened. In Nkomo: The Story of my
Life, Joshua Nkomo says of the turbulent times he was in government: "I
feared, but I certainly did not say, that the internal disruption was coming
from the same government that I was telling my people to trust."

In early February 1982, he says first Emmerson Mnangagwa and then the Prime
Minister (Robert Mugabe) announced on radio and television that massive
stocks of weapons had been found at two farms. "There was, they said, a plot
to overthrow the government with the help of South Africa. The man
responsible was Joshua Nkomo . . .

"The charges were ridiculous and soon became even more exaggerated."

One find was said to include enough electronic equipment to jam the
communications of the entire Zimbabwe security forces. Nkomo dismissed the
charges as "pure invention". Hostile publicity was directed against him in
the government-controlled media and the Prime Minister said: "The only way
to deal effectively with a snake is to strike and destroy its head." Mugabe
told the nation that the Father of Zimbabwe had become the Father of
Dissidents.

That strategy has changed little. Mugabe still contrives to use these ploys
in order to justify remaining in office. Today similar accusations are
raised but the target is the MDC, which the government charges with plotting
jointly with the UK and US to effect regime change.

But during 2000, 31 people were killed and more than 500 were seriously
injured in politically motivated violence blamed on the government. During
2002 54 people died.

Edgar Tekere in his recently published book, A Lifetime of Struggle, says of
the 30 May 1989 Dzivaresekwa parliamentary by-election: "Our candidate was
Mutikore. This was a real baptism of fire because (Herbert) Ushewokunze came
out with a group of armed thugs, and threatened everyone . . ."

Patrick Kombayi, Tekere writes, "was contesting against Simon Muzenda in the
Gweru constituency.

"As he was driving through Gweru on a road leading to Harare, but still in
the town centre, he was shot in broad daylight". His attackers were pardoned
by Mugabe.

Following the brutal assault on leaders of the labour movement while in
police custody last September, Mugabe brushed aside concerns of "a profound
sense of dismay" from the UN Country Team, International Labour Organisation
and the International Bar Association, suggesting the trade unionists got
their just desserts.

The cases cited above scribe a pattern of State repression but more
importantly highlights who, between the State and the opposition, has a
history and capacity for violence.

Hype, exaggeration and demonisation of opponents are Zanu PF's tried and
trusted methods. So are political violence and electoral manipulation. Then
Sadc wants us to believe that free, fair and democratic elections were held
in 2002. Nobody will buy that.


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Slavery, colonialism, Uhuru curse

Zim Standard

Sunday opinion by Bill Saidi

COMMONWEALTH Day was celebrated a few weeks before Britain remembered
the 200th anniversary of the law abolishing the slave trade.

As a Zimbabwean, I probably have no business mentioning the
Commonwealth because we are not members any more. This is thanks, in my
opinion, to some weird interpretation of sovereignty: one politician's
aberrations of self-importance cannot be challenged. Even by friends?

Connecting the two - the Commonwealth and slavery - may sound
far-fetched. But it seems perfectly logical. Until after the floodgates of
independence were flung open by Ghana's freedom in 1957, the grouping was
called The British Commonwealth.

All members are English-speaking and have this connection with the
British, either as former colonies, protectorates, territories or dominions.

Before they eventually colonised them, the British took slaves from
most of the countries which later belonged to the British Empire.

There are apologists for both slavery and colonialism: for the former,
they argue that since the Africans colluded in this heinous trade, they were
collaborators.

For the latter, the apologists insist if the colonised had been
serious in their resistance, they could have kept the marauders out of their
countries.

What? With just bows and arrows?

They argue this flaw in the African character is responsible for the
dictatorships which sprouted after 1957. Some even cite Zimbabwe as the
worst example of this spinelessness.

In the old song, Old Man River, the final lyrics are:

You get a little drunk

And you lands in jail.

I gets weary and sick of trying

I am tired of living but I'm scared of dying

But Ol'Man River he just keeps rolling along.

f you heard it sung by two great African-Americans, Paul Robeson and
William Warflield, you will know how deeply it can affect you, the way Louis
Armstrong affected us when he sung Why was I Born Black And Blue in front of
Kwame Nkrumah. One line in that song is My only sin is in my skin.

There is a barely subtle hopelessness in Ol' Man River, which, some
might argue, is typical of the fatalism with which many Africans are alleged
to approach life's vicissitudes - an example being, again, the Zimbabweans'
lack of cojones in dealing with Zanu PF dictatorship.

The song was written, not by a former slave, but by two white people,
long after Booker T Washington had written his bestseller, Up From Slavery,
in 1901. Soon after publication, the book became "the most influential book
written by an African-American. As one of a handful of classic American
autobiographies, its place in the literary and historical canons is
assured".

Briefly, Washington, a former slave, rose to become a great
educationist, founding Tuskegee College, in the Deep South of the United
States.

Other activists, notably Frederick Douglass and W B Du Bois, may have
been critical of his slightly "Uncle Tom" approach to black emancipation,
but like our own Charles Mzingeli, they could not deny Washington his
pivotal role in raising awareness among his own people of their plight in a
world being fashioned for them by foreigners.

There is not much evidence that militant activists like Eldridge
Cleaver, Huey Newton, Stokely Carmichael, Malcolm X or the Black Panthers
routinely quoted from Up From Slavery in their speeches.

But even they must know his role was crucial to the struggle.

During the commemoration of the end of slavery, debate - almost
inevitably - gravitated to reparations. I was reminded of an obscure village
tyrant in rural Southern Rhodesia, who once harangued a native commissioner:
"Why didn't you leave us alone, in our huts, in our nhembes? Now, you want
us to be like you. But you don't want us to be exactly like you...just
enough to obey your orders. Well, I am sorry.... give us everything, or
leave us alone!"

Which was when the native commissioner realised they were in real
trouble. It was he, someone said years later, who predicted that nothing
much would change - except the colour of the skin of the bwana.

Which is where we are today - more or less. The ordinary Africans'
response to the very idea of reparations is: Please, please, please! Don't
give it to the government.

There are, perhaps, a handful of African governments which could be
entrusted with such funds. At a pinch, they might carry out the mandate,
perhaps after hiving off a chunk for their own use...

Other matters brought up during the commemoration relate, inevitably,
to good governance. It was suggested, albeit obliquely, that there were
Africans who believed they were de facto slaves in their own countries
today.

What did come out, too, was that most Africans were haunted by this
eerie notion that their race was cursed. Even after winning emancipation
from slavery, colonialism, there was as yet still no freedom from
...themselves!-- saidib@standard.co.zw


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Selous Scouts tactics confirm illegitimacy

Zim Standard

Sunday view by Pedzisayi
Ruhanya

IF there have been doubts about the legitimacy of Zanu PF leader
Robert Mugabe as the President of the country, the incidents of torture,
kidnapping, assaults and state-sanctioned abductions that Zimbabwe is
experiencing would assist in coming to a consensus over the issue.

President Mugabe's administration has failed to bring about economic
prosperity in the country and this has led to political demands for a regime
change in the country, premised on poor economic management, rampant
corruption and an escalation in human rights abuses in the country.

The response to the country's economic meltdown has been an increase
in violence against political opponents through abductions, extra-judicial
murders, assaults and kidnappings by state security agents supported by Zanu
PF's youth militia groups and some rogue elements of the war veterans.

When the State resorts to the use of the repressive State apparatus
such as the police, the army and the intelligence services, to suppress
lawful and legitimate civil disobedience activities by a citizenry in search
of a political solution to the current political and governance crisis in
the country, that manifests itself through rigged electoral processes, human
rights violations, militarisation of critical state institutions, banning
and bombing of newspapers, infiltration of the judiciary through appointment
of surrogate judges and the absence of the rule of law, then both the
government and leader of that administration are illegitimate.

In my view, the use of Rhodesian-type Selous Scouts methods to silence
civil and political dissent in the country through abductions and torture of
civic and political leaders, as well as stage-managing bombings in order to
justify repression in the country, confirms the widely held view that Mugabe
is an illegitimate leader.

Just like the Ian Smith and Apartheid regimes, Mugabe's administration
could be lawful or legal but definitely not legitimate.

Bar racial discrimination and segregation, Mugabe has imitated
Rhodesian tactics of oppression both at law and political levels.

Through the 1965 Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI), Smith
overthrew Rhodesia's Constitutional order and ruled by decree where citizens'
civil and political liberties where at the mercy of the regime's secret
police. Mugabe did that in several ways: he maintained the state of
emergency until 1990 which he used to violate human rights in the Midlands
and Matabeleland provinces in the 1980s, imposed the notorious and imperial
executive presidency in 1987 and sealed his dictatorship through the
infamous farm invasions and the violence attendant to it until today.

The first and most basic level of legitimacy is that of rules. It is
argued that power can be said to be legitimate in the first instance if it
is acquired and exercised in accordance with established rules. These rules
may be unwritten, as informal conventions, or they may be formalised in
legal codes or judgments. In the case of Zimbabwe, during elections times,
rules are broken down with impunity, judges are harassed, lawyers are beaten
up while journalists are banned and newspapers bombed.

Currently the government of Zimbabwe, through the police, the military
and agents of the Central intelligence Organisation are involved in rampant
human rights abuses that have seen the torture of position leaders with
impunity. In one instance law officers from the Attorney General's Office
conceded in court that it was common cause that National Constitutional
Assembly leader Lovemore Madhuku and other opposition activists including
the President of the Movement for Democratic Change Morgan Tsvangirai were
tortured while in police custody contrary to the provisions of the law.

A government that is born out of such a process cannot be called a
legitimate regime. These are the issues that anyone who contends that Mugabe
and his government are legitimate needs to appreciate.

In my view Mugabe has lost legitimacy both at home and abroad hence
the decision by his last bastion of support, SADC, to confront him and tell
him off.


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Zim Standard Letters



Defiance campaign will not stop BY banning rallies in opposition
strongholds, the police have yet again demonstrated their partisan stance.
The arrest of opposition leaders who include Professor Arthur Mutambara,
Morgan Tsvangirai, Tendai Biti, Job Sikhala, Grace Kwinjeh, Sekai Holland,
Lovemore Madhuku and others is a clear attempt to drive fear into the hearts
of all freedom fighters.

There is no doubt we are now reliving the Ian Smith era. President
Robert Mugabe has forgotten the objectives of the second Chimurenga. Beyond
toppling the white colonial rulers and bringing back black majority rule,
the struggle was about dismantling a system of governance that is
dictatorial, intolerant and autocratic.

The police have gone a step further by torturing these opposition
leaders. The release of those arrested without charges shows how vindictive
and confused the police are. In a clear pattern that shows calculated
defiance of the courts, the police re-arrested Mutambara, Kwinjeh and
Holland while they were on their way to South Africa. Nelson Chamisa was
attacked savagely while on his way to Brussels for a meeting of MPs of the
African, Caribbean and Pacific nations and their European Union
counterparts.

The suffering of Zimbabweans has reached unprecedented levels that
require a revolution. Zimbabweans are tired of unfulfilled promises. They
want nothing short of total emancipation, freedom, justice and liberty as a
new platform for launching economic recovery and growth.

Mugabe's regime, conscious of the anger among the masses, has
mobilised the security forces and given them orders to descend heavily on
defenceless people. The people's message is clear. We all agree there is a
crisis in this country. The crisis is a result of the incompetence and
Mugabe's government, which has failed in all its policies.

No amount of intimidation, tear gas, baton sticks, bullets, hungry
police and army officers will stop us. The pain we endure daily as a result
of Zanu PF embitters us more than the pain of tear gas and bullets. We know
death is the ultimate price of freedom. There will be no retreat or
surrender.

We the youth owe it to ourselves to resist Zanu PF's repression. The
ruling party's legacy makes it impossible for the young generation to
advance academically in order to empower ourselves. What sort of Zimbabwe
will we have by the time we become parents if Zanu PF is allowed to continue
its misrule unchallenged?

Our demand for justice will not be halted by the arrests of Mutambara,
Madhuku and Tsvangirai. Now is the time for the youth to walk the talk. The
defiance campaign will not stop.

B Chiwola

Harare.

-------------

The final hour shall come for ruling party thugs SOON after my
release from hospital after a brutal attack by thugs in police uniforms at
Matapi police dungeons on 13 September 2006, I wrote in The Standard
challenging President Thabo Mbeki and other African leaders to unequivocally
condemn the brutal and satanic regime.

Since no such condemnation has been forthcoming and worse has
happened, I am compelled once again to issue the challenge.

How much does it take the likes of Mbeki to be stirred from
feats of comfort and do something about Zimbabwe? How many more broken
teeth, crushed ribs and fractured bones? How many bereaved mothers, wailing
orphans and grieving widows does he need to see before he can say enough is
enough?

Human rights have been widely abused in this country. The
government denies the abuses but Mbeki and other leaders on the continent
have refused to acknowledge them. They have shut themselves in a cocoon and
pretend that the sun is not shining. They cannot continue to bury their
heads in the sand.

Today President Robert Mugabe has dropped all pretence. He no
longer refutes that his uniformed thugs are brutalising people in their
custody. He and his Minister of Home Affairs, Kembo Mohadi, boast and
threaten right before the gaze of the entire world. He does this because,
like in the case of Mussolini before the invasion of Abyssinia, the world is
fond of looking the other way.

Africans should be ashamed of waiting for Europe to condemn
human rights abuses in their backyard.

If Europe is guilty of a regime change agenda, Africa is guilty
of regime preservation which is no less a crime than the former. Let me be
bold enough and ask: What is better, to clamour for the change of a barbaric
regime or to clamour for its preservation? Ask us the victims and we will
answer. In the eyes of the suffering masses of Zimbabwe, Africa is
disgracing itself.

It is not being a good neighbour to stand aside in the name of
non-interference and watch while next door a fellow resident slashes the
throats of his children and bludgeons his wife. This is what Mbeki and the
rest of the African leaders are doing.

It does not escape us that Mbeki is terrified if the MDC wins
then Cosatu will be emboldened to form a party that will eventually
challenge for power. It is nave in the extreme for Mbeki to believe that
the ANC will rule forever in South Africa.

The Bible says: "Be kind to a sojourner for you were sojourners
also in Egypt." In our case it should be: "Be kind to the opposition because
you were in opposition yourself in colonial days."

I read biographies and autobiographies of Nelson Mandela,
Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey and even Martin
Luther (not King). These people lived in the most trying of times and met
perhaps the world's most oppressive and repressive regimes.

To my knowledge, none of these was ever assaulted while in
custody. For brutally assaulting Morgan Tsvangirai, Lovemore Madhuku, Arthur
Mutambara and 50 others, the government has shown that is it capable of
anything and this dastardly act needs the outright condemnation of the whole
world.

If the government has the audacity to assault the likes of
Tsvangirai, Madhuku, Mutambara, Tendai Biti, Wellington Chibebe, Lovemore
Matombo - people whose assaults will raise eyebrows in the international
community - what then is happening to the common man/woman at Domboramwari
or at Overspill and other areas around Harare?

Is there need for proof that there is no rule of law in
Zimbabwe? You say Ian Smith was an oppressor and that Mugabe and company are
liberators!

I do not know and neither do I care whether Tony Blair and
George W Bush want to colonise Zimbabwe, because they will not be able to do
so. What I know is that when they say in Zimbabwe there is no rule of law
and no respect for human rights I say: "Hear! Hear!" and challenge Mugabe
and his cronies to prove otherwise.

Finally I encourage all Christians to pray for Zimbabwe.

Rev Nqobizitha Khumalo

Epworth

Harare.

--------------

Despotic Mugabe a monster of Western creation WESTERN
governments, Britain and America in particular, should stop their
unjustified criticism of South African President Thabo Mbeki for the
political crisis that they created in Zimbabwe. They created a monster and
now they are failing to remove it and so they find scapegoats to blame.

Mbeki and the African Union are now being accused by
Mugabe's critics in and outside Zimbabwe of failing to take action against
the Zimbabwean dictator. Do they want Mbeki to send an invasion force to
remove a President who was democratically elected by his own people?

Mugabe is not in power in Zimbabwe because he staged a
coup. He was helped into power in a controversial election in 1980 and the
same governments that are now describing him as a monster turned a blind eye
when Mugabe sent an army unit, the 5 Brigade, to slaughter more than 20 000
people in Matabeleland and the Midlands in the early 1980s.

Thousands of other opposition supporters were abducted
from their homes by the soldiers and government agents and were never seen
alive again. Where were these critics and the United Nations during those
days when Mugabe slaughtered thousands of defenceless opposition supporters?

There were no protests that we are seeing today against
Mugabe. No sanctions were imposed against the dictator despite his human
rights abuses and massacres in Matabeleland and the Midlands. The only sin
committed by those people in Matabeleland was supporting ZAPU, a party that
was then the only official opposition against Mugabe.

In 1983 the late Joshua Nkomo, then ZAPU leader, fled to
Britain after 5 Brigade tried to assassinate him at his Phelandaba residence
in Bulawayo. Britain continued to sell military hardware to Mugabe including
fighter jets despite the massacres he had committed against the minority
Nguni speakers in the country.

During those days of the Cold War you could understand why
America and Britain turned a blind eye to the Matabeleland massacres. It's
simple. ZAPU, was militarily and politically backed by the Soviet while
Mugabe had Chinese backing.

Mugabe found himself in the right country at the right
time, taking advantage of South Africa's international isolation because of
its apartheid policies. Mugabe became the West's blue-eyed boy and
development aid poured in like manna from heaven until the dictator made his
worst mistake in 2000 by attacking white commercial farmers and confiscating
their productive farms.

The farmers made one serious blunder by openly supporting
the newly formed Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) led by Morgan
Tsvangirai. You don't do such a thing to Mugabe and expect to get away with
it.

Mugabe must be asking himself why there is an
international outcry for arresting and beating Tsvangirai and killing one
MDC supporter recently when in the 1980s he massacred 20 000 opposition
supporters and there was no outcry.

Tsvangirai has failed twice to remove Mugabe through an
election. The events of recent weeks have turned him into a hero. The mass
protests could be his only ticket to State House, of course, with the help
of Western countries.

My advice to the Americans and British is: if you cannot
remove the monster you created, forever hold your peace and let the man rule
until Jesus comes.

Themba Nkosi

Cape Town

South Africa.

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