Problems mount in troubled Zimbabwe Situation worsens since ruling
party election victory Tuesday, April 26, 2005 Posted: 10:52 AM EDT (1452
HARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) -- Garbage is piling up uncollected
in the capital of Harare as Zimbabwe struggles with a deep economic crisis
that has also left major towns short of water and electricity.
Harare city council said on Tuesday rubbish had not been collected in
several townships and suburbs of the capital for three weeks because of a
national shortage of fuel and the expiration of contracts for some private
Critics say the city's mounting problems mark a
grim new stage of Zimbabwe's long-running political and economic crisis,
which many blame on President Robert Mugabe's government.
not collected refuse here for two months, and we are sick and tired of their
excuses," said one frustrated resident, pointing to a heap of rubbish in
Harare's densely-populated Mbare township.
Mugabe, who has been in power
for a quarter of a century, plunged the southern African country into crisis
five years ago when he started seizing white-owned farms for redistribution
to blacks, mostly supporters of his ruling ZANU-PF party.
seizures have hit the country's main commercial agricultural sector, a key
source of foreign currency earnings, and are largely blamed for a five-year
recession under which the economy has contracted by more than a third and
unemployment has topped 70 percent.
Mugabe's ZANU-PF won 78 out of 120
contested parliamentary seats in elections last month which the opposition
charges were rigged.
But the party lost most parliamentary contests in
major towns -- which have borne the brunt of the economic crisis -- to the
main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), a pattern also seen in
Post-election problems Since the election, Zimbabwe
city dwellers have seen their problems multiply.
Most gas stations in
the capital Harare ran dry this week, while the state electrical utility has
warned of power cuts resulting from a lack of spare parts to maintain
Food is still available in city stores -- albeit at prices
sharply higher than before the election -- but officials say the country
risks serious shortages amid a drought and inadequate supplies of seed and
Zimbabwean voters told Mugabe about their problems with
deteriorating public services during his campaign drive in the opposition's
The 81-year-old leader pledged he would help, but said
the fault lay mostly with the opposition-controlled city
The MDC says urban councils it controls have been starved of
money by Mugabe's government and denied rights to borrow money or raise
taxes to run towns efficiently.
International donors have cut aid to
Zimbabwe out of disapproval of Mugabe's policies while Western powers have
imposed sanctions over charges that Mugabe rigged both the 2000
parliamentary poll and his re-election two years later.
the charges and says he is the victim of a hate campaign because of his
Political and economic analysts say Zimbabwe's woes,
including the deterioration in public services, are likely to continue until
Mugabe makes peace with foreign donors.
"The bottom line about our
situation is that we are on the slide and we are going downhill until we get
help," said leading economic consultant John Robertson.
Food imports will drain govt coffers, say analysts
[ This report does not
necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
Apr 2005 (IRIN) - Zimbabwe has turned to Zambia, Uganda and Tanzania for
grain imports as the state Grain Marketing Board (GMB) attempts to restock
the country's dwindling maize and wheat stocks.
Minister of Public
Service, Labour and Social Welfare Nicholas Goche confirmed to IRIN that
Zimbabwe had expanded its grain sources to include these three countries, in
addition to South Africa, the major supplier.
"We have been looking for
more and more sources of grain. There are contracts that have been in
existence but not in force - we are reactivating those, and signing up new
ones, to ensure that food keeps coming. We received about 150,000 mt from
South Africa over the past month and we are expecting more deliveries from
East Africa," Goche told IRIN.
Goche, formerly the state security
minister, assumed his new portfolio following a cabinet reshuffle last
The government's admission came as economists said the country
needed to import at least 1.2 million mt of maize, 200,000 mt of wheat, and
unspecified tonnages of barley and sorghum to meet the country's immediate
Minister Goche said the country was expecting to
feed about 1.5 million people in seven mostly rural provinces, but could not
say whether there was a parallel relief programme for urban areas. Although
there were no responses from the embassies of the three source countries, an
official at the GMB procurement division told IRIN that the Zimbabwe-Uganda
maize import deal was signed during President Yoweri Museveni's recent visit
Didymus Mutasa, Zimbabwe's newly appointed minister of state
security, said he could not divulge any details beyond what Goche had said,
as food was a national security issue. His ministry, which is responsible
for the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), has taken charge of the
importation and distribution of food.
"Why do you want to know where
we get our food? I cannot tell you anything more than what you already know
because these are security issues. Besides, I am new in this ministry, so I
do not know much," Mutasa said.
A spokesman for the ruling ZANU-PF party,
Nathan Shamuyarira, said the country needed at least Zim $5 trillion (about
US $818 million) for the immediate importation of grains and cereals, and
the government would divert money from infrastructure development programmes
to import food.
"We have been forced to divert resources from other
projects to deal with the immediate hunger situation. We are in a
predicament. Food importation is our priority at the moment," Shamuyarira
Economists Erich Bloch and John Robertson warned that the high
cost of importing food would drive up inflation and lead to a thriving
alternative market for scarce foodstuffs and foreign currency.
expanded government and [the proposed new] Senate will both be a huge drain
on the national fiscus, which does not have foreign currency at present. It
means spending on the bureaucracy would compete with food importation for
resources, but government simply does not have such money - food importation
alone will cost the country tremendous sums of foreign currency between now
and April next year when the next harvest comes," said Bloch. "The result
will be a resilient black market for scarce foodstuffs in both rural and
urban areas; there will also be a more stubborn foreign currency black
market to fill up where government is failing. The cost will be too high for
our ailing economy."
He added that there was no hope that the country's
winter wheat-growing season, due to begin in late April, would improve the
food security situation until the next harvest.
Robertson said the
diversion of foreign currency into importing food would stall other capital
projects, costing the country heavily in terms of development; the
government needed to design long-term policies to counter the overall
economic meltdown, to solve the problem of food insecurity.
be taken to deal with the shortage of foreign currency. The causes of food
insecurity can be traced back to the collapse of the farming sector - the
collapse of the tobacco, cotton, timber and beef export industries. All
attempts at ensuring food security without addressing these problems will
fail," noted Robertson.
The GMB noted in a recent report to the National
Taskforce on Food Security that rather than government's harvest estimate of
2.4 million mt, only 600,000 mt of grain had been surrendered to its silos
after the 2004 harvest. The country needs 1.8 million mt of grain annually
to meet domestic consumption needs.
Contrary to government estimates
that 1.5 million people would need some kind of food assistance, the Famine
Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET) last month warned that up to 4.5
million were in need of immediate food aid.
Zimbabweans are reeling under a serious shortage of
basic commodities and erratic power supplies following the March 31
parliamentary elections, and experts partially blame this on dwindling
foreign exchange reserves and a poor harvest.
outages have become the order of the day in the capital, Harare, affecting
business operations, while for those at home, candles have disappeared from
shop shelves as demand outstrips supply.
electricity from South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and this
week, the power utility blamed the shortages on transmission
The national staple cornmeal is snapped up within
hours if available, while margarine and even toothpaste have run out in
Milk and butter supplies are
Queues for fuel are common as some gas stations run
dry for days in the post-election period. The shortage of fuel has partly
been blamed for non-collection of refuse in Harare.
cuts running for days in parts of the country are becoming the
Captains of industry and trade union leaders say the
shortages were anticipated.
"The shortages should not be
a surprise to anybody, we know the challenges we are facing -- the biggest
one being the shortage of forex. We are not generating enough forex, some of
the raw materials obviously have to be imported," said Pattison Sithole,
president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries.
"Some of the raw materials are obtained locally, such as maize, but we have
had a poor agricultural season," said Sithole in an
"What we are seeing now is a culmination of the
backlog that has been building over the months in terms of raw materials;
this is just crunch time," said Sithole.
main labour movement blames the government for the economic
"We have been harping on the fact that the idea by
government to pretend that the situation was normal, was actually
treacherous. It's a war against the people's minds, playing football with
people's brains," said Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions secretary general
Observers say shortages have partly been
due to controlled prices of basic commodities, which producers say are not
Some goods are, however, available on the black
market, where they fetch much more.
government has promised to review state-imposed price controls on essential
"In the next two weeks, the shortage of goods will be
behind us," said Colonel Christian Katsande, secretary in the trade
ministry, in the state-owned Sunday Mail.
aiming at a two-digit inflation rate by year-end from the current 123,7%, is
battling to keep a lid on the prices of basic
Zimbabwe's economy has been on downward
spiral in the past five years, characterised by runaway inflation and
perennial shortages of basic commodities.
Robert Mugabe has repeatedly denied charges that he is leading the
once-model economy to ruin by blaming the economic crisis on sanctions
imposed on him and his close associates by the European Union and other
Western nations. -- Sapa-AFP
Zim's economic crisis spirals out of control Basildon
Peta April 26 2005 at 10:35AM
Harare - Three weeks
after President Robert Mugabe won a disputed election, Zimbabwe's economy
has deteriorated rapidly and hardship has returned to haunt an embittered
Prices have shot up - in some cases threefold - leading
the government to threaten to jail manufacturers and retailers not observing
Basic foodstuffs have disappeared from
supermarket shelves, most cities and towns have run out of fuel, and power
blackouts have become the order of the day.
Tap water has
become a luxury because the supply system has become run down and there is a
lack of foreign exchange to pay for imported water-purifying
Those who have boreholes are cashing in by
selling water to desperate households.
In some suburbs of
Harare, long queues of people with empty containers have become a common
sight at properties that have boreholes.
Zimbabwean analysts note
that there is no fresh election on the horizon to spur the government into
taking urgent steps to resolve the crisis.
The response of the
Mugabe government has been to blame everything on "sabotage" by retailers
and manufacturers "unhappy" that Zanu-PF, and not the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC), won the parliamentary poll.
has accused retailers and manufacturers of wanting to incite the public into
revolting against him. But they say soaring production costs and the lack of
cheap foreign currency to import raw materials are the reasons for rising
Mugabe has dubbed his new cabinet "the development
cabinet", suggesting that its goal is to halt economic decline and end the
shortages of basic commodities. What he has not spelt out is how this is to
"It is hard to be optimistic about anything at the
moment as we hurtle backwards into the dark ages," says author Cathy
Meanwhile, new Information Minister Tichaona Jokonya has
promised a new lease of life for Zimbabwe's embattled media and pledged to
break with the traumatic past under his predecessor, Jonathan
He has also promised to smooth the way for foreign
journalists to get accreditation. Foreign journalists were largely banned by
Jokonya pledged, however, to keep the Access to Information
and Protection of Privacy Act, under which all media restrictions have been
He met editors of state and private newspapers at
the weekend and promised them that the era of wholesale closures of
newspapers and mass arrests of journalists was over.
promises are conditional upon one thing, however: that the media stop
"We no longer want to see journalists arrested
over stories they write," he said.
"But we should not malign
The privately owned media have reason to remain
sceptical while the pillars of repression erected by Moyo
As Jokonya was holding his meeting, the weekly Standard's
editor, Davison Maruziva, and reporter Savious Kwinika were being charged
over a report that ballot boxes and papers were found hidden at the house of
a rural administrative official days after the disputed poll.
The substance of the report is not disputed by the police. The official has
appeared in court. But the journalists are being accused of intending to
incite public violence.
.. This article was originally
published on page 1 of Cape Times on April 26, 2005
HIV/AIDS 'More Devastating' to Zimbabwe Than
President's 'Despotic Habits,' Globe and Mail Says 26 Apr
2005 . Toronto's Globe and Mail on Saturday examined how the HIV/AIDS
epidemic in Zimbabwe "is having a more devastating impact on the country"
than President Robert Mugabe's "increasingly despotic habits." At least 25%
of Zimbabwe's adult population is HIV-positive, and about 2,800 people in
the country die of AIDS-related causes each week. However, unlike many
countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Zimbabwe does not have a national
antiretroviral treatment program and the country receives only $4 in donor
aid for each HIV-positive person, compared with a regional average of $74
per person, according to the Globe and Mail. About 6,000 HIV-positive people
are receiving antiretrovirals through government clinics, nongovernmental
organizations and one local AIDS organization that provides the drugs
illegally. Another 3,000 to 4,000 people can afford to pay for the
medications at private clinics, although the supply of drugs in the country
is "unreliable," the Globe and Mail reports. Donor organization staff say
they make "hard decisions" about where funding will be used most effectively
for HIV/AIDS projects, and some express concerns that Mugabe might use the
provision of antiretrovirals "the same way he has food aid -- as a blatant
political tool, providing supplies to his perceived political supporters and
freezing out anyone thought to support his opposition," according to the
Globe and Mail (Nolen, Globe and Mail, 4/23).
Poaching, cattle 'decimating Zim national
parks' April 26, 2005
By John Yeld
of the continued slaughter of wild animals in Zimbabwe should serve as a
"wake-up" call to South Africa, says the Democratic Alliance.
Reacting to weekend reports that nine elephants had been killed and used as
meat for Zimbabwe's 25th independence celebrations, DA MP Garth Morgan
called on Environment Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk to "break the
silence" on conservation abuses in Zimbabwe.
(about) those areas that are due to be integrated with the Kruger National
Park to form the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park, he has remained deathly
silent and his own officials have said there is nothing to worry
But Van Schalkwyk's spokesman Riaan Aucamp said the
elephants had reportedly been shot nowhere near the Gonarezhou National Park
in the south, Zimbabwe's contribution to the Great Limpopo Transfrontier
Park. "So this has nothing to do with us," he said.
said: "Over the past five years, Zimbabwe's national parks have been
decimated by poaching. In Gonarezhou, there are reports that there are now
more cattle than wild animals, due to the destruction of fences.
"Private conservancies around Gonarezhou report that Zanu-PF strongmen are
frequently demanding that land owners allow Zanu-PF supporters to hunt
animals for food. Further, large portions of them have been invaded by human
government-owned Zimbabwe Newspapers (Zimpapers) is being sued for Z$100
million (R100 thousand) for defamation by the former Daily News lawyer,
Gugulethu Moyo and the Media Institute of Southern Africa (Misa) regional
director, Luckson Chipare, reports Gugulethu Ziyaphapha.
are suing for Z$50 million (R50 thousand) each over allegations, published
in the group's two flagship dailies, The Herald and The Chronicle, that the
two were hand picked to demonise the call and call for war against
it. Stephen Ndlovu, the former editor of The Chronicle who authored the
articles, is being sued in his personal capacity.
he maintains were accurate recordings of a media seminar that took place in
Namibia last year, Ndlovu said Moyo urged the international community to put
more pressure on Zimbabwe even if it meant taking the Saddam route, meaning
military invasion or war.
Ndlovu claimed that at the meeting,
Chipare called for more pirate radio stations to beam anti-Zimbabwe
propaganda to oust President Robert Mugabe.
He also claimed
that Moyo abandoned Daily News workers when she joined the Institute for
Democracy in South Africa (IDASA) at the time of the closure of the
newspapers. Her lawyers say Moyo never worked for Idasa. She did work for
Misa before moving to England.
"The said unlawful, false and
intentional publication portrayed (Moyo) as a reckless, unprofessional,
irresponsible, unpatriotic, subversive, seditious, deceitful, treacherous
and irresponsible opportunist," court papers say.
defamatory and intentional publications regarding Chipare have injured his
name and reputation by suggesting that he is unpatriotic, reckless,
indiscreet, unprofessional, irresponsible, seditious (and) engaged in
clandestine and dishonest arrangements to cause hostile propaganda against
his own country."
Sources from Zimpapers say the publishing
concern's lawyers are preparing a defence.
Ndlovu was fired by
Zimpapers last month and is fighting the lawsuit in his personal
Meanwhile, a reporter from The Standard, Savious Kwinika
has been charged with breaching the Access to Information and Protection of
Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the Public Order and Security Act.
charges come from an election story he wrote saying that missing ballot
papers and boxes were found hidden at a senior government official's
This comes after his editor, Davison Maruziva, was
charged with abusing journalistic privilege and attempting to incite public
violence with the same story.
A senior government official has
been charged for breaching the Electoral Act and the police confirmed the
story, but the two journalists are still being accused for publishing the
story with the sole purpose of inciting violence against government and to
discredit the recent parliamentary elections.
Johannesburg - Former
Zimbabwe information minister Jonathan Moyo says claims by the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) that the ruling Zanu PF rigged the
elections are credible. In an exclusive interview with the Mail &
Guardian Online, Moyo also ruled out economic revival in Zimbabwe under
President Robert Mugabe, whom he said has been in power for too long.
Stopping short of calling for immediate regime change, Moyo said Zimbabwe
needs "an absolute renewal" because "the political cancer has gone too
deep". Once regarded as the fiercest defender of the Mugabe regime, Moyo
also lamented the system of patronage under Mugabe's rule -- which,
ironically, many people believe was the reason for his rise in Zimbabwean
How does it feel to sit in Parliament among
parliamentarians who, by all public appearances, hate you? Zanu PF regards
you as a "traitor" or "defector" and the MDC views you as the architect of
the current media regime, which it cites as one of the causes of electoral
fraud since 2002. Mugabe also expressed these sentiments during this year's
campaign period, as did the opposition: It's a simplification that they do
that. Many of them know better and are much more serious politicians who
understand the challenges our country faces. I have had a good working
relationship with many in Zanu PF and many in the MDC. Even the campaigning
did not reflect what you are talking about, other than the vitriol that came
from certain sections of Zanu PF, but not all of them. It is a fact that the
national chairman of Zanu PF, John Nkomo; VP Mujuru; Elliot Manyika; and
Cain Mathema said a lot of things they are regretting right now, which are
not shared by many people, even in Zanu PF. The president himself led that
chorus. I'm sitting in Parliament as an elected member, and all of us have
taken an oath of allegiance to Zimbabwe and are guided by the national
interest. On the day of swearing-in, there was a clear demonstration that we
are committed to working together.
Being the only independent MP,
how are you going to make yourself effective in shaping national policy in
Parliament, since the last Parliament showed us that MPs vote on partisan
party lines? : It is regrettable that there is a history of voting on party
lines, even when reason or national interest dictates otherwise. But
Parliament is not just about voting. We're elected to articulate national
issues as they are, without fear or favour, and as an independent, I will
not be constrained by so-called party lines. Because of the polarisation and
division in our country, having a true independent voice that is able to
articulate issues of national concern is an advantage. My concern will be
all the people of Zimbabwe.
Will you enter into any coalition with
the opposition or the ruling party, and under what principle or
understanding? : There is no need for me to enter into any coalition. I'm
not going to enter into such a coalition. I'm not a member of either Zanu PF
or the MDC, and I have no intention of joining either. I will work with
those who are prepared to deal with Zimbabwe's problems. Zimbabwe needs a
political settlement. So, I will cast my vote with whoever takes the
national position, even if it is the ruling party. My vote will not be
guaranteed to anyone. Certainly, I will be sitting there [in Parliament] in
opposition to Zanu PF. I ran a campaign opposing Zanu PF in principle
because of the unfortunate development in November [when Zanu PF reprimanded
Moyo and suspended six provincial chairpersons for taking part in the
Tsholotsho "declaration" to choose an alternative candidate for the
vice-presidency]. In general terms, I will be working together with the MDC
as a constructive opposition. This is something I assured the electorate in
Tsholotsho. People wanted to be assured that I will not take their vote to
Zanu PF, and I will not do so.
What is your view of the March 31
election? Was it fraudulent as the opposition says, given that you have also
challenged certain Sections of the Electoral Act? : I have to make a
correction here. I have not challenged Sections of the Electoral Act, as
reported in the media. I have challenged a section of the electoral
regulations, not the Electoral Act. The reason for doing so is not to say
the election was fraudulent, but that a key minimum condition was absent.
However, the discrepancies that have been cited [by the MDC] are serious and
you don't have to be a specialist to realise that. One instance in
Beitbridge shows that. Before the announcement of result, the authority
running the elections announced that 36 000 people had cast their vote, but
when the result was announced, what came out was that 19 000 people had
voted. The same body [the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission] cannot say at one
point that 36 000 people voted and then say 19 000 voted. It has never
happened in the rational world that the preliminary figure is higher than
the final figure, and by that margin. You have to be totally mad or have a
terrible leap of faith to believe that. It does not make any sense,
especially since it is the same body that announced the preliminary figure
and the final figure. You can't have the left hand doing what the right hand
doesn't in the same body. Many people are shocked that the response to this
has been very casual. The freeness and fairness of the elections are about
perceptions people have about the [electoral] process, and that needs [to
be] a rational process. In this election, that rationality was totally
absent, notwithstanding what may come out of the courts regarding the
challenges that have been made. It raises serious eyebrows, and the sooner
the authorities realise that this is a serious matter and respond seriously
and accordingly, the better for the democratic process.
think the coverage of opposition candidates - including yourself - by the
Zimbabwean media was fair? : I had no coverage whatsoever myself.
Invitations were made for us to come and debate on national television, but
we did not accept them because the whole thing was just a charade, and in
any case, there is no TV reception in Tsholotsho. We learnt a few things in
this election, and one of them is that the best broadcasting is people
broadcasting -- that is, direct, interpersonal communication with the
people. Obviously ... the opposition does not receive favourable coverage,
but the Broadcasting Service Act enables it to get its messages across
during an election.
JOHANNESBURG - The Asian business community has taken up empty space to
exhibit at this year's 46th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair
which opens in Bulawayo today (26 April).
The fair, which
has always been regarded as Zimbabwe's window to the outside world, has been
adversely affected by the current political impasse in the country, with
most of the exhibitors from the western world staying
According to eye witnesses who are working as
casuals in the trade fair grounds, the Chinese have the highest number of
exhibitors after they occupied most of the empty space which had been
created by the last minute withdrawal of a number of western
President Mugabe is on record saying that
Zimbabwe had decided to do away with the western world and embraced the
eastern community. He told a crowd at the National Sports Stadium that
western world had imposed sanctions on his government over complains that
elections in the country had been rigged.
local exhibitors, most of them struggling indigenous business people and
flea market traders will be participating at the fair which is expected to
attract few visitors in its 46 year history.
Fair is opening during a time when the country is experiencing severe
shortages of food and fuel compounded by serious power cuts right across the
country. In Bulawayo yesterday, reports indicated that fuel was in short
supply although hopes had been raised after reports that a number of fuel
containers had crossed the Beitbridge Border Post, herding for
The fair will be opened by Mozambican
president, Armando Guebuza, who is set to arrive in the country sometime
This year's attendance at the fair is also set
to be affected by the recent opening of schools. In recent years, the fair
has always benefited from school children who visited it during school
Manyukwe Senior Reporter issue date :2005-Apr-28
THE United States
says it is considering widening sanctions slapped on Zimbabwe's leadership
since 2000 in the aftermath of last month's parliamentary polls it condemned
as undemocratic. Although it does not say how it will widen the sanctions,
Washington's intention to take punitive action against the country's
leadership over the outcome of the general elections contradicts reports by
various international observers endorsing the 31 March polls as free and
fair. Since 2000, the US and the European Union have imposed what they call
"smart sanctions" against President Mugabe, his Cabinet ministers and others
deemed sympathetic to the government. The list of targeted people has been
widened with each Cabinet reshuffle to include new ministers coming on
board. Although the sanctions are ostensibly targeted at the leadership, the
ordinary Zimbabwean has suffered following the withdrawal of aid by donor
agencies. The African Union (AU), Southern African Development Community
(Sadc), South Africa, Botswana, Malawi and some Asian observer missions said
the polls reflected the true wishes of Zimbabweans. But Constance Berry
Newman, US Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, was of the
contrary opinion. The former ambassador to South Africa, who is reportedly
close to her boss Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, told the House
sub-committee on Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations
last Thursday, the US was "reviewing and updating our sanctions regime to
ensure that our targeted sanctions have flexibility and teeth, and are
adequate to the new situation". Rice has no kind words for Zimbabwe and its
leadership, which she has described as "an outpost of tyranny". Part of
Newman's statement before the committee on Zimbabwe: Prospects for Democracy
after the March 2005 Elections reads: "I can say that the election has
re-confirmed the need for targeted financial and travel sanctions on regime
leaders who undermine democracy. The individuals who abused democracy and
helped to steal this election must be held accountable." The US imposed
targeted sanctions on the country's rulers, including business and religious
leaders she said were connected to the Zanu PF government since the 2000
general elections. Although foreign affairs spokesperson, Pavelyn Musaka
could not be reached for comment, President Robert Mugabe is on record
saying US punitive action against Zimbabwe was in retaliation to the
country's land and agrarian reform programme implemented in 2000 and a
passion for regime change. During celebrations to mark the country's Silver
Jubilee, President Mugabe said Zimbabwe did not need the US to validate its
elections, as Africa mattered more to it than the west.
Zanu PF beat
the MDC by 78 seats against the MDC's 41 in the 120 contested
University of Zimbabwe political analyst Heneri Dzinotyiwei
yesterday said further extending the targeted sanctions would only make life
very tough for ordinary Zimbabweans.
"It is vital for the countries
to take positions that help ordinary people than those that are seen as
making the conditions worse. The latest development may only serve to give
legitimacy to government claims that conditions in Zimbabwe are as a result
of foreign enemies rather than internal poor management," said
He added that it was difficult for ordinary people to view
anyone taking a stance that impacted negatively on their lives as a
supporter of their country in general.
Assembly (NCA) chairman Lovemore Madhuku said the widening of sanctions
would not help Zimbabweans achieve democratic reforms. He pointed out that
the Americans were misdirecting their support.
"We don't support
sanctions as NCA, we want them to support those of us who are fighting for
democracy in Zimbabwe. Americans are good at making noise without making
commitment to the issues that require urgent attention," he
Madhuku also said only internal pressure would make President
Mugabe yield to people's demands.
He said: "If Mugabe is given
sufficient internal pressure for a new constitution to open up the media and
so on, he will give in."
Another analyst, Claude Maredza, said the US
stance would affect ordinary persons as opposed to the leadership. Maredza
added that the action spurned President Mugabe's expressed willingness to
engage the West.
"Before the polls President Mugabe said he was willing
to talk to British premier Tony Blair and by implication that extends to
(US) President (George W.) Bush. Actually, this means that they are spurning
an olive branch by someone who is saying 'let's talk'," Maredza
MDC losing candidate for
Nyanga, Douglas Mwonzora, has petitioned the Electoral Court seeking the
nullification of the constituency's election result, claiming massive
intimidation of the electorate by his opponent, Paul Kadzima of Zanu PF and
a traditional leader - a situation, he said frightened his
supporters. Kadzima polled 12 602 against Mwonzora's 9 360
votes. Mwonzora, a legal practitioner, is also the National Constitutional
Assembly's (NCA) vice-chairman. He is seeking an order declaring him the
duly elected Member of Parliament for the area or alternatively a rerun of
the poll. The order Mwonzora is seeking reads in part: "It is declared that
the petitioner, Douglas Togaresei Mwonzora, was duly elected as the Member
of Parliament of Nyanga in the General Election of 2005. The cost of this
petition is borne by the respondent. Alternatively: it is declared that the
respondent was not duly elected as a Member of Parliament." Mwonzora said
he was seeking nullification of the result based on several alleged
malpractices such as the reported intimidation of the electorate by the
respondent, the District Administrator for Nyanga and Chief P.T. Saunyama,
acting in cahoots with Kadzima's supporters. In his affidavit, Mwonzora said
of Chief Saunyama: "On 29 January 2005, I held a campaign at Nyatate
Shopping Centre. The respondents then drove past my rally. A few minutes
later Chief P.T Saunyama came to the rally and 'arrested' me. He forcibly
took me and about 10 of my supporters into his car and drove me to ZRP
Nyanga. He accused me of holding an MDC campaign rally. He only released me
after the police at Nyanga, especially Sergeant Ngangami, intervened." He
also said the traditional leader had threatened to expel from his area
anyone who supported the opposition party. Mwonzora further alleged that
Saunyama called a meeting of kraal heads under his jurisdiction and warned
them that if they allowed MDC meetings in their areas they risked being
stripped of their headmanship. He claimed that Kadzima bribed people with
fertisliser and promises of food in return for votes. He added that at
Chapatarongo Primary School polling station, maize was brought before
polling and Ellen Chapatarongo and Eric Baruku, a war veteran, promised to
distribute the staple grain after voting. Mwonzora further alleged that
ruling party youths physically attacked him using beer bottles and reports
were made to Nyanga police. He said two of the youths who attacked him were
fined $25 000 each. He said villagers were threatened with war if they voted
for the MDC and on polling day a military helicopter, which had delivered
ballot papers, started hovering above many polling stations. Mwonzora
also alleged that a substantial number of people left without voting after
being told that this was in preparation for war. In some instances, he added,
election agents were allowed late into polling stations on the basis they
had no Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC) badges. They were only allowed
when polling had already commenced. He further alleged that in some cases,
his election agents were not allowed to accompany ballot boxes to the
constituency command centre. He also cited discrepancies between figures
given by the chief elections officer by the end of day on March 31 2005 and
the final declaration. Initially, 13 500 people were said to have cast their
votes, but ZEC said over 21 000 reportedly voted.
THE government of Zimbabwe is in the process of
recruiting doctors and medical specialists from Cuba and Egypt to alleviate
the shortage of health workers in the country. Health and Child Welfare
Minister David Parirenyatwa at the weekend said the teams from Zimbabwe were
already in Havana, Cuba, with orders to recruit as many doctors as they
could. He said government was also negotiating with Egypt to pave the way for
the recruitment of medical personnel from that country. "We want to get
as many as we can get - there is a need to fill up all vacant positions to
improve health service delivery, particularly in the rural areas. We are
looking for general medical practitioners, specialists, technicians,
engineers and nursing school tutors," Parirenyatwa said. He said the country
was still losing trained medical personnel to its neighbours and overseas
job markets, which offered better opportunities and conditions of
service. "We are still losing personnel, but I am sure the new Health
Services Commission, which will soon take over the responsibility of
recruiting medical personnel, will strive to improve working conditions and
remuneration, so that we can retain and even attract more skilled staff,"
Parirenyatwa added. He also expressed concern that student nurses were
abandoning their courses midway to escape the three-year 'bonding' period
they are required to serve before they can receive their certificates. The
bonding arrangement was imposed last year as a way of reducing the exodus of
staff, including newly trained personnel, to countries offering better pay
and working conditions. The latest batch of foreign doctors is expected to
arrive within the next two months to join the 204 expatriates already
working in Zimbabwe. At present there are 127 Cuban doctors in the country -
the largest contingent - and 77 from the Democratic Republic of
Congo. The shortage of medical personnel has badly affected rural health
institutions, which also face chronic shortages of basic
medicines. Despite the establishment of several commissions and boards to
spearhead the revival of the health sector over the past two years, the
shortage of human and financial resources has stalled these efforts.
WITH many Zimbabweans still trying to
get to grips with the recent increase in basic commodities, such as cooking
oil, sugar and mealie-meal to mention only a few, the price of clear beer
has also shot up by over 80 percent. This is the second increase in five
months following another on Boxing Day last year. A survey conducted by
The Daily Mirror yesterday at several liquor outlets showed that a pint of
Castle and Lion were being sold for up to $9 000 and the local green bottles
fetching not less than $10 000. Quarts are now being sold for at least $16
000. Those who prefer to merry till dawn will now have to part with a
fortune, with most night clubs now charging as much as $20 000 for a pint,
while quarts were pegged at $28 000 at one night club visited. No comment
could be obtained from officials at Delta Beverages yesterday although they
have attributed previous increases on rising in input costs. -Mirror
THE City of Harare has said the
current water cuts affecting residents in the high density areas of Mabvuku
and Tafara might take five days, if not more before the situation returns to
normal as the municipality battles to repair the broken down pump at its
Lemboto Station. City spokesperson Leslie Gwindi said: "The shortages were
due to breakdown of equipment at the Letombo Pump Station and once the
repairs are completed, the water has to be pumped up to a certain level in
our reservoirs before the situation returns to normal." Unscrupulous
individuals have resorted to selling the precious liquid in most
high-density suburbs with a litre of water fetching about $2 000. Harare has
also experienced an acute shortage of water treatment chemicals, especially
Ecol 2000, an oxidising agent used to destroy algae in water. The commission
running the affairs of the capital city resolved at its last meeting to
appeal to the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) to give it a special foreign
currency allocation to buy the much needed chemicals. Gwindi said the central
bank has not yet responded to the council's appeal. Due to high levels of
pollution in the city's water sources, Harare now requires eight different
chemicals to treat its water. -Mirror Reporter