Olonga 'a black icon in Zimbabwe', says
Posted: Sunday April 27, 2003 7:58 AM
-- Retired Zimbabwe international Andy Flower has paid
tribute to his former
teammate Henry Olonga, with whom he protested against
Mugabe's regime during the World Cup in South Africa
The two players made headlines during cricket's showpiece event,
black armbands to "mourn the death of democracy" in Zimbabwe, but
believes the younger Olonga, the first black cricketer to represent
country, had much more to lose.
"He was a black icon in Zimbabwe
and the perfect role model for youngsters,"
the 34-year-old Flower wrote in a
column for Britain's Sunday Telegraph
"The easy path for
him to have taken would have been to stay in cricket and
"I realize that he had much more to lose than I did over this
issue and my
respect for him is immense."
Flower, a world-class
batsman who quit the international game last month
after Zimbabwe's failure
to reach the World Cup semifinals, is playing
English county cricket for
Essex this season.
The 26-year-old Olonga, who went into hiding after the
World Cup amid
reports that the Zimbabwean secret police were looking for
him, has also
retired and is in England on a six-month work permit to play
and do TV commentary.
Fast bowler Olonga, a gifted singer
who has said he could look to music as
an alternative career, played his 50th
and final one-day international for
Zimbabwe in the World Cup Super Six clash
with Kenya in Bloemfontein on
"He is now getting his life
sorted out over here (in England)," said Flower,
who played 63 tests for
Zimbabwe, making 4,794 runs and averaging a
world-class 51.54 with 12
"He is a smart, charismatic guy who will
not be short of career options,
whether it is cricket commentary, music or
"We speak regularly and have definitely become closer friends since
our stand over "the death of democracy" in our
Flower added that he had mixed feelings over Zimbabwe's
two-test series in
England later this year.
"There will be
demonstrations and I actually think that will be a positive
thing, because it
will give the human-rights activists a chance to highlight
the problems in
Zimbabwe," he said.
Zimbabwe will play two tests against England,
starting at Lord's on May 22,
and a one-day international tournament against
the hosts and South Africa
beginning on June 26.
"I have mixed
feelings about whether this tour should take place,"
"But I do not think that sporting sanctions against
necessarily work. They did during the apartheid years in South
because of the importance South Africans attach to sport.
the Zimbabwean leadership have their hands rather full these days, what
their own business interests and rapidly deteriorating economy - and
increasingly hungry, and therefore restless, population."
was suspended from the Commonwealth last year after allegations
had rigged his re-election as president.
Around half the country's 14
million people are suffering food shortages, a
crisis which Mugabe critics
have blamed in part on his policy of
redistributing white-owned farms to
ZIMBABWEAN GETS NO RESPECT FROM MUGABE
JOHANNESBURG — A Zimbabwean soldier who died while serving with British forces
in Iraq has been vilified by the government of President Robert Mugabe, and his
family has been harassed by the country's notorious secret police.
Christopher Muzvuru, 21, was killed April 6 when his unit overran the town of
Basra. But in Harare, the Zimbabwean capital, the state media have called him a
mercenary and a sellout.
"For a Zimbabwean, whose country is virtually at
war with Britain, to join the armed forces of an enemy is the highest level of
selling out," was the comment from the Daily Mirror in Harare, a paper owned by
a member of Mr. Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front
"He should be buried in Britain," the paper said.
government-owned Herald newspaper likened Pvt. Muzvuru to the buffalo soldiers
in Bob Marley's reggae song about former slaves who fought in the American Civil
Pvt. Muzvuru's parents have declined to comment, but a friend of the
family told The Washington Times that they were living in terror in their
hometown of Gweru, in central Zimbabwe.
"They have been visited by Mugabe's
secret police and harassed by the government, and it is very painful for them,"
said the man, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal.
"They are in
deep mourning for their son, and all the government can do is portray the young
man as a traitor and his family as enemies of the state."
In London, a
spokesman for the Ministry of Defense confirmed that Pvt. Muzvuru joined the
army in February 2001 and was one of about 200 Zimbabweans in the British
He said other countries with significant numbers of nationals
serving in the British army include Australia, Canada, India, Ireland, Jamaica
and South Africa.
For the past two years, the government of Mr. Mugabe, 79,
has been at loggerheads with the United States, Britain, Canada and much of the
Commonwealth because of attempts to suppress the opposition. Human rights groups
estimate that as many as 70,000 people were beaten or abused by government
agents in the past year.
More than 600,000 Zimbabweans live in exile in
Britain, and an estimated 2 million have fled to neighboring South Africa.
Mr. Mugabe, who has ruled the country since 1980, was returned to power last
year in an election marred by intimidation, and the results have not been
recognized by Britain or the United States.
television did not show Iraqis celebrating the fall of dictator Saddam Hussein
and described the U.S.- and British-led campaign as a "neocolonialist invasion
against a sovereign state."
But a story in an opposition newspaper in the
capital, Harare, accused the government of being too scared to screen pictures
of a dictator being toppled and said the Zimbabwean people "will also be dancing
in the streets" the day Mr. Mugabe leaves power.
For now, Zimbabweans are
lining up in the streets to buy scarce supplies of fuel, flour, sugar, salt and
the diet staple, cornmeal. A disastrous land-redistribution exercise has ended
commercial production on most of the formerly white-owned farms.
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) charges that instead of the land
being handed over to black peasants, the best farms have been given to Mr.
Mugabe's friends and family.
The farm seizures, combined with severe drought
in parts of the country, have caused food shortages and a sharp rise in
inflation, crippling the economy.
Yesterday, police in Harare raided the MDC
headquarters and arrested 30 persons on the third day of a nationwide strike
against fuel-price increases, Agence France-Presse reported.
Most shops in
Harare's central business district remained closed, but some small businesses
were open. Banks were closed, and hundreds of people lined up outside to
withdraw money from automatic teller machines.
A military helicopter hovered
overhead while riot police patrolled the streets.
Although the strike was
called by the labor group Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the MDC has backed
the action and promised more of its own.
Earlier this week, police arrested
45 MDC supporters mourning the death of a party activist who died after a
suspected assault by police.
Mugabe may call it quits: Mbeki
South African President Thabo Mbeki says his Zimbabwean counterpart, Robert
Mugabe, is seriously considering retirement.
President Mbeki says Mr
Mugabe has told him several times that he is contemplating retirement.
Mbeki says the Zimbabwean President and the ruling ZANU-PF party are considering
a renewal of leadership.
Last week, during an interview with Zimbabwean
state television, Mr Mugabe said he was getting to the stage that retirement
might be possible.
The 79-year-old has previously suggested that he would
step down when his controversial land reform program was completed.
there is no obvious successor to take over the presidency.
Mr Mugabe has
been in power since 1980.
Zimbabwean police bury opposition activist
HARARE, 27 April 2003
A few of Marchiredza's friends
ran to the burial site and were last
seen hiding in the bush, hoping to bid
him farewell from a distance.
HARARE: The opposition Movement for
Democratic Change says Machiridza
was one of its outstanding grass roots
leaders and organisers. He was
arrested 10 days ago, and allegedly beaten.
Opposition officials say police
took him to the local government hospital and
chained him to a bed, but they
say he received no treatment.
friends collected him from the government hospital and took him to
clinic, but he died shortly afterwards, on the 23rd anniversary of
independence last week.
Doctors say the cause of death was loss of
Machiridza's funeral was supposed to be a major event.
party president Morgan Tsvangirai was due to speak over his
coffin at a
church hall. But after his relatives were arrested, and the hall
surrounded by policemen, Tsvangirai went to the man's home to pay
respects privately to his widow and children.
the second day of the three-day strike called by the
trade union movement, to
protest a 300% increase in the price of fuel, many
shops and factories
remained closed. But the strike was not as widespread as
on the first
Workers said commuter bus drivers were threatened by ruling
officials that if they did not provide transport from the suburbs to
industrial areas, they would lose their licenses. So many of them
Addressing The Issues
by Suzette Gardner
independence in Washington DC was business as usual
for the diplomatic staff
at the embassy there. Zimbabwe's Ambassador to the
United States, His
Excellency Dr. Simbi V. Mubako recently held a press
reception to mark the
nation's independence by addressing some of the issues
facing Zimbabwe and
lacking clarity in the western press. The 'Black Press'
in Washington DC were
especially invited to discuss the current challenges
facing the 23 year old
The audience of mostly journalists and Pan-African activists
intently to his presentation lamenting the misinformation western
continues to make public about Zimbabwe. Ambassador Mubako admitted,
the misinformation was due to either lack of information from
sources -which journalists have limited access to, and of coarse,
"Zimbabwe is facing serious socio-economic problems," he said, but
story of Zimbabwe will be written by you!"
press is on a propaganda campaign to demonize Zimbabwe,"
Mubako. "Zimbabwe has its faults as any other country, [but]
policies are anchored in democracy. and the government never want
from a democratic process."
Ambassador Mubako chose the event to announce a
turning point in modern
Zimbabwean affairs. "The land distribution process is
now over", he
Zimbabwe has been engaged in the internationally
policy of seizing portions of farms owned by whites and
to black Zimbabwean nationals.
Faced with questions and
concerns that some Zimbabweans are regarding the
process as inconclusive, the
Ambassador retorted "the white farmers have
never been satisfied by the
process. some white farmers are still on the
land, complaining mainly because
they want compensation." The Ambassador
affirmed, that compensation could
only be for 'improvement' to the land
itself, but not for the land, which was
unjustly "taken from the blacks in
the first place without any
The ambassador proudly offered that 400,000 families had been
11 million hectares of land acquired. The next step, he said,
emphasis to be "placed on the utilization of the land .those who
acquired the land will have to utilize it."
As if pre-empting
questions which were sure to follow, he further announced,
"...there will be
a land audit, promised by President Mugabe himself." The
land audit he
explained, was to assess misappropriated land, and to
re-distribute land that
is being held by landowners without plans or
resources to put the land into
Responding to allegations that Mugabe cronies have unfairly
land than they are due, the Ambassador acknowledged that this
is in fact
"real" but pointed to the official land redistribution policy as
clearly against any person acquiring land not sanctioned by law.
emphasized that "those are things the audit will iron out .there are
cases like that but they are few and it does not mean the whole project
flawed." He pointed out that 400,000 families-with an average of 6
per family, thus roughly 2.4 million Zimbabweans "cant all be friends
Mugabe or cronies."
The Ambassador also addressed the current food
shortage crisis in his
homeland. He claimed that NGOs presently operating in
Zimbabwe were using
food as a political tool against Mugabe supporters who
were often denied
food because of their political affiliation. His Excellency
Mubako was keen
to isolate Mugabe supporters and government ministers who are
involved in 'food politics' from the national agenda. Mugabe, he
made it clear that ".it is against government policy for any
[use food as a political tool], any official doing this, is doing
their own political purposes--not the government's."
rumors that Zimbabwe may be next on the U.S. list for regime
Ambassador Mubako remarked, "Zimbabwe's relations with the U.S. is
good as they should be." Zimbabwe, he said, "have no quarrel with the
States" which have taken a negative political attitude towards
Referring to President George Bush's recent Executive Order
which also provides for the freezing of assets belonging
government officials, the Ambassador quickly pointed out that
leader on the list of 72 or so have assets in the United
Mugabe, he said, issued a statement that if the United
States finds any of
his assets in the U.S., "let them take it and distribute
it to their
The Ambassador appeared to regard threats made against fellow African
by the U.S. to be more serious. Pressure on members of the African
(AU) to either isolate Zimbabwe or face omission from the proposed
of NEPAD were classed as "very rude." Ambassador Mubako advised the
"go to the African states to ask how to deal with an African state"
than dictating from afar.
The Ambassador agreed that the United
States' tone and threats towards
Zimbabwe is colonial. "We have been a colony
after all," he said, "[but] if
we are going to be threatened by a new
colonialism, we have to fight.
Zimbabwe will never agree to surrender its
Suzette Gardner is a freelance writer, editor of
founding member of Organized Community Of United
People (The COUP) a
Washington, DC based organization for socio-political
change through media
and education. She is also host of Roots Revolution, a
adventure into roots reggae, dub, afro-Diaspora beats, afro pop,
little "talk." She contributed above article to Media Monitors Network
from Washington, DC, USA.
City water crisis: Briefcase firm fails to deliver
By Rex Mphisa
A briefcase company contracted by the Harare
City Council to supply water
treatment chemicals has failed to
Council has reverted to indigenous firm Highdon Investments for
"We had no choice but to approach Highdon. There was eight
hours of water
supplies left for the city and I authorised that deal," said
Engineer Elias Mudzuri in an interview.
employee, Mr Ray Chiromo is believed to have been instrumental in
formation of Aqua Provitae Zimbabwe.
He, however, denied any involvement
in the formation of the company.
"I don't know what you are talking
about, you may be confusing me with my
"Maybe because he is a
consultant and has something to do with this," he
contracted a Zimbabwean registered company Aqua Provitae Zimbabwe to
200 tons of lime although it had a contract with Highdon Investments
supply the same chemical.
Last month, council dispatched officials to
Zambia where they unsuccessfully
tried to buy lime from the Zambian
Highdon Investments is the sole agent of the Zambian producer
Aqua Provitae Zimbabwe was formed last year in
December after council had
flighted advertisements for tenders to supply it
with water treatment
Records at the Deeds Registry list its
directors as Hemia Ndongera and
Margaret Mutsvangwa both of 990 Crowborough
The company was registered on February 17 this
Council, which was supposed to have opened the tenders on January
year, extended the period.
Ms Ndongera denied any knowledge of
Aqua Provitae Zimbabwe and said she didn
't even know where the Deeds
"I don't know anything, not even Margaret Mutsvangwa," she
referring all questions to her husband Mr Kavhumbura who
Mr Christopher Simon of Norton, who claimed to
have assisted Mr Chiromo form
the company, confirmed that Mr Kavhumbura had
indeed approached him for
"I did some memorandums and
articles for him before he took the application
himself and within two days
he had finished the whole process," he said.
According to Mr Simon such a
process that involves what is called a name
search normally takes three weeks
and he was surprised at how Mr Chiromo
managed in such a short space of
"But he told me he knew a chief registrar there and that it would
yes it was fast," said Mr Simon.
Mr Cornes yesterday
confirmed Mr Chiromo had indeed helped him form the
company because he was
somehow well connected.
"But I hope you are not making any insinuations
that there was something
corrupt in the way we did it," said Mr Cornes who
kept phoning this reporter
about the story.
On Saturday when The
Herald visited number 2 Steppes Road in Chisipite,
which is given as the
operation address of Aqua Provitae Zimbabwe, Mr
Humphrey denied knowledge of
any Ndongera or that they lived or operated
When told that
this was one of the directors of a company called Aqua
Provitae Zimbabwe, he
asked this reporter to wait for about 10 minutes
during which he sounded to
be consulting someone in the background.
The interview was done through
the gate intercom.
Some council sources said Mr Cornes was based in the
United Kingdom and flew
into the country on Friday specifically to see how
they could tackle this
problem which he confirmed.
"I came and have
had meetings with the acting town clerk," he said admitting
company had failed to meet the deadline to supply the
Tuesday council placed an order of 100 tonnes of lime from
Investments as a stop-gap measure when the city of about 2,5 million
had just eight hours of water left.
Eng Mudzuri blamed his
officials for the near disaster saying there was no
reason for them to wait
for a crisis.
"You see my friend, I am the Mayor and you cannot expect me
to be doing all
that. It's their job to see that we have enough chemicals and
I really do
not mind where they buy. It is our duty to see that people get
"They should be in a position to know. You must
ask the acting Town Clerk. I
never involve myself in such matters as
procurement or awarding of tenders,
they must tell you," he said.
Mudzuri said what was more important was the welfare of the people and
council delivered good services.
It was not important to consider who the
supplier of the chemicals was.
He blamed his officials and the acting
Town Clerk for the near disaster
saying they should have properly awarded
tenders to companies that had the
capacity to supply.
Efforts to get
comment from the acting Town Clerk and the council's public
Extract from Financial Times interview with Tony
FT: The kind of things you are saying about
North Korea sound quite similar to the things you said about Iraq before
military action there, so obviously that leaves open the possibility that the
way you deal with the threat could be similar?
A: No it doesn't, and this is the
danger of getting into these discussions, because actually I said that Iraq was
unique because they used weapons of mass destruction, because they were
breaching United Nations resolutions, and I specifically say to you, as far as I
am aware, no-one has any plan to take military action against North Korea, but
these are issues and we have to tackle them and deal with them. And that is why
I said when I was asked about that in the House of Commons some months ago, you
have to deal with the issue of North Korea, now let us hope we can deal with it
through the talks that are starting.
But I think that all of this, you see I fit this
within a broader framework which is what I call a global agenda, which deals
with issues to do with security and terrorism, but also deals with issues of
global poverty, of justice, of issues like the Middle East peace process. And I
think you can construct an agenda where world opinion can form a consensus
around such an agenda and intervention in those circumstances - I don't mean
necessarily military intervention - but focus on an issue and trying to resolve
it is an important part of making the world more secure, more safe and more
I would like to see a bigger focus by the
international community on Zimbabwe, which is a scandal and a terrible situation
that is developing there. Now there is a limit to what you can do, but I have
never had a difficulty with the concept of intervention, it doesn't, as I say,
necessarily mean that it is armed intervention, it can be diplomatic
intervention, it can be pressure.
But the thing that we are learning about our modern
world is that the more freedom, the more democracy, the more justice, the
greater the security.
MOVEMENT FOR DEMOCRATIC CHANGE
WEEKLY BRIEFING NOTE
- Police arrest 57 mourners at the funeral of MDC
activist Tonderai Machiridza, including his wife and mother
- Police raid MDC HQ arresting 30 party
- COSATU General Secretary slams Mugabe and Zanu
Information Please Contact:
Nkanyiso Maqeda, MDC Director of
Information: 0263 91 248 570
Grace Kwinjeh, MDC EU Representative: 0032 494
James Littleton, London: 00 44 7771 501
year’s Independence Holiday coincides with the festive period of Easter. Both of
these occasions are supposed to signify hope and the renewal of life. It is a
time we must remember our freedom from colonial bondage….Throughout our history
unjust laws had to be defied in order achieve our freedom. Stand ready for the
final call to reclaim our dignity and freedom. You are the agents of change. We
have now realised that change demands action,” said MDC President Morgan
Tsvangirai in a Independence Day and Easter message to the people of Zimbabwe
(14 April 2003)
“The MDC is not surprised by the decision taken by ZCTU
calling for a stay away in protest against the increase in fuel prices. The call
to workers, business, students, women and all others to stay away is completely
justified and deserves the support of every progressive Zimbabwean,” said Paul
Themba Nyathi, MDC Secretary for Information and Publicity (21 April
“Zanu PF lacks both the political will as well as the policy solutions
to tackle the fuel crisis. In fact this unprecedented rise in the price of
petrol is symptomatic of a dying and desperate regime. Their policy failures are
now ubiquitous. Yet again Mugabe and Zanu PF have reneged on their promises to
the people of Zimbabwe. Before February 2003 the regime claimed that the price
of fuel would be kept at affordable levels. Everyone knew that the continued
flagrant mismanagement of the economy would preclude the regime from keeping
this promise”, Professor Welshman Ncube, MDC Secretary General, following the
announcement of a 209% increase in the price of petrol (16 April
Successful Three Day Strike
The three day
strike called last Monday by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions in protest at
the obscene 209% hike in the fuel price has been a resounding success. On
Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of last week nearly 70% of businesses nationwide
were forced to close as workers heeded the call to stay at home. In Harare and
Bulawayo the figure was closer to 90%.
In several cases armed police
raided the homes of managers of stores and banks and forced them to open their
For thousands of workers, the hike in the fuel price has meant
that the cost of travelling to work is now higher than the amount they
MDC Activist Dies on Independence Day
Tonderai Machiridza, an
MDC youth who was abducted and brutally assaulted by heavily armed police
officers on Sunday 13 April died on Independence Day at Avenues Clinic as a
result of the injuries sustained from the torture.
At Tonderai’s wake
on April 23, police brutally attacked mourners and arrested over 57 people,
including Tonderai wife and mother who were subsequently assaulted by police
officers whilst being held in custody. Police also took Tonderai’s body to the
police station where the mourners were being held.
When police finally
granted ‘permission’ for Tonderai to be buried they barred scores of mourners
from attending the burial, including MDC President Morgan
Tsvangirai Court Victory
High Court judge Ann-Marie
Gowora has ordered the Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC) to release to the
MDC’s lawyers various documents relating to the 2002 presidential election as
requested by the MDC.
Police Raid MDC HQ
On Friday 25 April, police
raided the MDC HQ in Harare and arrested 30 party officials who have
subsequently been released without charge. The police used the usual spurious
excuse that they were looking for ‘subversive material’. These are the actions
of a panicked, paranoid and increasingly desperate regime.
Several MDC activists in Chitungwiza and Mashonaland West
province have fled their homes for fear of police arrests and torture after last
month’s successful stayaway called by the MDC.
tuckshop owned by an MDC activist in Harare was petrol bombed by Zanu PF
activists last Thursday.
Attacks on Teachers Condemned
International, a global academic authority, has condemned the politically
motivated attacks on teachers. Over the past three years scores of teachers have
been attacked by Zanu PF thugs on suspicion of supporting the
Thousands Face Starvation
Over 84,000 villagers in Matabeleland
South face starvation following the forced closure of humanitarian relief
programmes by members of the Zanu PF youth militia. The militia closed the
Umzingwane Aids Network after accusing two of the officers of working for the
COSATU General Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, recently launched a
scathing attack on Mugabe and Zanu.
"We are absolutely disgusted at the
level at which human rights are abused in that country [Zimbabwe]…..it has
become….a liberation movement gone astray." said Vavi
on Human Rights
At the annual meeting of the UN Commission on Human Rights in
Geneva, a resolution on Zimbabwe, tabled by the EU, was stopped in its tracks
when South Africa tabled a motion of ‘no action’. As a result, the pressing
issue of state sponsored human rights abuses in Zimbabwe was not even debated,
as was the case last year. The ability by members of the Commission to block
investigations of systematic human rights abuses calls into question the very
purpose of the Commission. Human rights abuses in Zimbabwe are increasing on a
daily basis yet due to the ‘political agendas’ being pursued by certain members,
the UN Commission on Human Rights is paralysed from taking any effective
The EU resolution had accused the Mugabe government of
“numerous cases of assault and torture in a climate of impunity” as well as
“occurrences of violations of the freedoms of expression, opinion, association
and assembly”. The desire by certain African nations to block this resolution
A recent report by the Commonwealth
Secretary General contained compelling evidence for Zimbabwe’s continued
suspension from all councils of the Commonwealth and severely undermined the
arguments of those who have been assiduously campaigning for Zimbabwe’s
re-admittance to the Commonwealth. The report highlighted how the Mugabe regime
had systematically failed to address any of the concerns expressed by the
Commonwealth Troika at the time of its suspension (March 19 2002) and how it
continued to be in total breach of the Harare Principles.
“Overall the general political, economic and social situation in Zimbabwe has
deteriorated since March 2002….there has been no significant or substantive
change of direction in Zimbabwe towards compliance with the Harare principles,
as was the expectation in the Marlborough House Statement and the Abuja Mid-Term
Last Wednesday saw the opening
of the annual trading season of Zimbabwe's lucrative tobacco crop. Tobacco is
Zimbabwe’s largest earner of foreign currency, however, analysts have gloomily
predicted that Mugabe’s irresponsible land reform policies has resulted in
production dropping by a third last year. Current estimates put this year’s
tobacco yield at 100 million kg, down from 165 million kg last year. The drop in
tobacco production will exacerbate Zimbabwe’s chronic shortage of foreign
currency, a factor that will precipitate further hikes in the fuel price in the
not too distant future.
The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply
Authority (ZESA) has warned of a long period of frequent power cuts because
"curtailment measures" effected by its external suppliers for non-payment of
electricity imports worth about US$20 million ($1,6 billion). The imminent power
cuts will lead to more businesses adopting downsizing measures in order to
survive which will mean more job losses. The inability of ZESA to service its
huge debts underlines the grotesque mismanagement of the economy by the Mugabe
regime. Zanu PF has no policy solutions to an economic crisis that is
“March 2003 has gone down as the month when the
non-coherent macro-economic policies of ZANU PF’s policies entered into a
whirlwind confusion and panic stance, ultimately plunging the Zimbabwean economy
into deeper catastrophe,” said Tendai Biti, MDC Secretary for Economic Affairs,
and Tapiwa Mashakada, MDC Shadow Minister for Budget Finance & Economic
Affairs in their March report on the state of Zimbabwe’s
Zimbabwe has been rated the second worst and
highest risk economy, ahead only of Iraq, by the Economist Intelligence Unit
(EIU)'s risk assessment for 100 mainly developing and highly indebted
Delays by the Mugabe regime in announcing how much food Zimbabwe
will harvest this year is hampering efforts to mobilise humanitarian aid for the
country. The delays underline how little the regime cares for the plight of over
7.5 million Zimbabweans now dependent on food aid.
With existing food
programmes coming to an end this month, relief agencies are unable to make plans
for renewed relief efforts until they know what the food deficit is going to be
after the harvest. Zanu PF clearly thinks humanitarian considerations are
subordinate to political factors.
United Nations World Food Programme
(WFP) has warned that even if this year’s harvest is better than expected
Zimbabwe will still not have enough food to feed itself, a factor which
underlines the urgent need for the regime to provide accurate forecasts.
Catholic Bishops Condemns Mugabe
Roman Catholic bishops in
Zimbabwe have launched a scathing attack on the corruption in the public and
private sectors and slammed the Mugabe regime for politicising food aid
disruption. In a report the Catholic bishops said that “A Zanu PF membership
card is now a prerequisite for accessing cooking oil, maize-meal and other
Close to two million
Zimbabweans are at risk of contracting malaria, and the mortality rate is
expected to rise due to the lack of basic anti-malarial drugs, the International
Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) warned last Wednesday.
Sunday Mirror Zimbabwe
Zanu PF/MDC talks on
Chofamba-Sithole Deputy Editor
DESPITE the recent hardline posturing by
both political parties, insiders
have revealed that talks between the ruling
Zanu PF and the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) have already
However, at this stage, it is conducted through facilitators on
of the political spectrum who are keen to see the stalemate
between the two
broken and the country rescued from further
The Sunday Mirror has it on good authority that the
include academicians, clergymen and a number of influential
working on a framework for national dialogue that includes
reform, culminating in joint presidential and parliamentary
possibly in 2005.
The facilitators' framework for dialogue
revolves around the following
points: lMutual acknowledgement and respect of
the two parties lDefinition
of the national interest, thereby providing for
the establishment of
consensus on the economic crisis and strategies for its
lGovernment of national unity based on the 1980 model between Zanu
PF and PF
Zapu, and partly on the South African model between the African
Congress and Inkatha Freedom Party. The two parties essentially
separate entities, as opposed to the PF Zapu/Zanu PF Unity Accord
whereby one party disappears into the other.
reform. The 2000 draft constitution could be used as a
around which the national dialogue will emerge with a new
acceptable to Zimbabweans. It could be passed through
parliament or put to a
national referendum by September this year
lPresidential and parliamentary
elections in 2005.
"The pressure on both parties to start national
dialogue is quite
overwhelming and by this week, Zanu PF and the MDC have
accepted the need
for dialogue. All indications are that the actual process
will start soon," one of the facilitators, who pleaded
anonimity, told the
Some of the facilitators are
pushing for an early election and have put
forward April 2004 as their
There is also significant disagreement within Zanu PF, the
over the date for new elections, with some insisting that
Mugabe should stay on until the expiry of his current term
"This school of thought is arguing that there would be cracks in
cohesion should Mugabe leave before then, while others argue that
approach is unsustainable in view of the tensions emanating from within
well as beyond Zimbabwe's borders," the insiders revealed, adding that
committee was subsequently set up to work out the mechanics of
Robert Mugabe's succession.
In an interview broadcast on ZTV
last week, President Mugabe hinted that
with the land issue addressed he was
considering stepping down, but shot
down prospects for talks with MDC leader,
"Is Tsvangirai prepared to recognise me before I can
meet him? He doesn't
accept I am the president of the country, and there's no
The ruling party's spokesperson, Nathan
Shamuyarira also buttressed Mugabe's
position. He said as long as the
opposition refused to recognise the
legitimacy of the 2002 presidential
election results, it would be difficult
to define the way
Pressed for comment on whether that position was not mere
the deepening political and economic crisis in the country
opposition's increasingly confrontational approach, Shamuyarira said:
that's for you journalists to speculate on." He dismissed the claim
Zanu PF had set up a succession committee.
But insiders say the
pressure for dialogue is coming from within Zimbabwe
itself and the process
has become truly home-grown, even though the Southern
Community (SADC) and sections of the international
community are being asked
to contribute through supportive actions and
deeds, rather than statements
which might undermine the national dialogue.
Yesterday's issue of the
Daily News reported that Tsvangirai was ready to
meet with Mugabe "anytime
anywhere, but without preconditions".
"We can also put conditions, but
where will that take us? Let's meet and
discuss the crisis we are currently
facing instead and let's not waffle
around the issue of personal interest,"
Tsvangirai is quoted as saying.
South Africa's Beeld newspaper last week
reported that there were "feverish
negotiations" between Zanu PF and the MDC
to reach "an agreement that could
save the country from
Citing "informed sources", the paper claimed there were moves
President Mugabe a non-executive president by July 1 this
But MDC secretary-general, Welshman Ncube dismissed the claim of
talks between his party and Zanu PF as well as the suggestion that
were any steps to amend the constitution to render the
On the precondition for talks set by
President Mugabe, Ncube said: "We are
unable to withdraw our court challenge
(against the presidential election
results). It would be difficult for us to
remove the single most important
issue on the agenda. What else is there to
talk about?" He said his party
remained committed to dialogue but did not
believe trying to foster a
government of national unity was the solution to
"The simple solution is to allow Zimbabweans to elect
a government of their
choice. A government of national unity should only
arise out of the
magnanimity of the winners, provided they have been elected
The facilitators are said to have started work on
the framework for national
dialogue about two months ago in the hope that
both the MDC and Zanu PF are
mature enough to realise the extent to which
partisan politics are
suffocating the country and would, therefore, take up
the opportunity for
Sunday Mirror Zimbabwe
Zim-DRC business yet to fully exploit
WHILE basic commodities labelled "made
in Zimbabwe" are now found in some of
the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
towns, business partnerships and
economic co-operation between the two
countries is still yet to be fully
realised, representaives of the two
governments said in Harare yesterday.
Zimbabwe's Minister of Defence,
Sydney Sekeramayi and DRC Minister of
Information and Press, Ambassador
Kikaya Bin Karubi confirmed that business
people in both countries were still
to avail themselves of opportunities.
The two were addressing journalists
at the end of the three-day joint
ministerial commission for the
implementation of the DRC-Zimbabwe memorandum
of understanding (MOU) on
military and economic co-operation.
"Zimbabwean business people are quite
keen to do business with the Congo.
Initially as the prospects of instability
in the DRC lingered, only a few
had energy to go there. But now there is
peace and our governments are
working to create environments conducive for
business and investment. "We
expect more and more interest from Zimbabweans
to take up business
opportunities there, as well as encourage the Congolese
to invest in
Zimbabwe," Sekeramayi said. He is the MOU chairman.
security concerns in both countries, the ministers said stability and
prevailed. Sekeramayi said the three-day Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
stayaway, calling on government to nullify recent fuel increases,
peacefully and the country was "very quiet." Karubi lambasted
practitioners for misleading people on the situation in Zimbabwe,
delegation had been warned not to travel to Zimbabwe because the
"ablaze" with rampant turmoil.
"Despite the bashing in the
media, we came, did our work and we are going
back. Zimbabwe is quiet and
peaceful. One wonders why the media is
misinforming the world? It's a
question for the reporters," Karubi said.
He said parties to the DRC
conflict had agreed on a new constitution, saying
a transitional government
was to prepare for elections within a period of
two years. Karubi said the
governments of Uganda and Rwanda were already
withdrawing their troops to
pave way for Un peacekeepers being deployed.
Karubi said the DRC government
had made good progress in stabilizing the
Great Lakes region. Zimbabwe no
longer has a single soldier in the DRC,
the DRC signed the MOU in Lubumbashi on December 8, 2000, to
progress on bilateral issues, including military and economic
fourth meeting, which ended yesterday, was to review progress
made in the
implementation with particular reference to eight subsidiary
covering economic co-operation and bilateral sovereign
relationship for the
mutual benefit of nationals of the two countries.
From ZWNEWS, 27 April
Where has he gone?
controversial Zimbabwean businessman, has disappeared from
the list of
Britain's wealthiest people. The tycoon, who first made his
fortune in the
tobacco industry, and now has business interests in sports
tourism (and is also alleged to have stakes in Congo diamond
mines and arms
dealing) appeared on both the 2001 and 2002 lists, published
annually by the
Sunday Times. In 2001, he was ranked as the 48th wealthiest
Britain. The Sunday Times estimated his wealth then at £550m. He
was said to
be wealthier than Madonna, to have accumulated more money than
impresario Andrew Lloyd Webber, and to be richer than the Queen of
He also featured higher in the list than two scions of the famous
dynasty - Sir Evelyn Rothschild (£500m and 51st) and Lord Rothschild
and 59th). Last year, he moved sharply up the rankings, to 33rd, with
worth estimated at £720m. This year? Nowhere. The search facility on
Sunday Times website yielded the result "Nothing Found". Has he vacated
Sunningdale mansion and moved to healthier climes? Has he lost his
Or have his lawyers been at work to keep him out of the
There is an easier explanation for the simultaneous
Nicholas van Hoogstraten from the Sunday Times list. In
Hoogstraten, vocal supporter of, and donor to, Zanu PF, was ranked
with a fortune of £200m. In 2002, he was 595th - his fortune having
to £60m. In October last year, he was found guilty of manslaughter
sentenced by an Old Bailey judge to ten years in jail for his involvement
the killing of Mohammed Raja, a business associate with whom he had
dispute. The Raja family are believed to be suing him for £5m in
Van Hoogstraten refused to disclose his assets, and the judge
imposed a £200
000 weekly fine, to increase by 10% each week, until he
CFU Second Farmers' Meeting
The second general farmers meeting for farmers
now living in Harare was held
on Wednesday 16th April, at Art Farm. The venue
was changed from the CFU
head office where the first meeting was held last
month, as a larger number
of people were expected to attend. However,
probably due to the proximity of
the Easter holidays, and being in the school
holiday, the turnout was much
lower than the first meeting.
President Commodities, Doug Taylor-Freeme chaired the meeting, which
with a short address from Graham Mullett of Redfern and Mullett, who
chairman of the Valuation Consortium.
Mr Mullett explained that the
Valuation Consortium was putting together a
database of farms in order to
establish a value for compensation purposes.
He said of the 10,000 forms
distributed, approximately 1,100 had been
returned, and there was a steady
return of around 350 forms per month.
He said to register with the
Consortium would cost $23,000 for farmers who
had already had a farm
valuation done, while those who had not been valued
recently would have to
pay an additional $60,000 verification fee.
Doug Taylor-Freeme then gave an
update on events that have taken place since
the last farmers' meeting. The
most significant of these was the Union's
response to Government's Memorandum
of Understanding (MoU).
After wide consultation on the approach to take,
he said the Union responded
with a two-page letter highlighting several
issues which were felt to be
significant, and stressing others which the
Government had not touched on.
The first issue was that Government was
stating it had acquired 11 million
hectares, which the Union argued against
as there is still a large
proportion of that land with outstanding or
on-going litigation. The second
issue was that Government appeared to be
hinting that all land would become
nationalised and the Union felt if this
was the case then all stakeholders
should be informed.
The letter then
stressed that the three basic principles of commercial
security of land tenure, law and order, and viability
and sustainability, had
not been mentioned in the MoU and asked that
Government reconsider its
document to incorporate them.
Mr Taylor-Freeme said that since the letter
had been delivered to Government
there had been no communication between the
Ministry and the Union, and
Government's feelings on the letter had been
aired very publicly in the
newspapers. He added that the Union was standing
firm on its principles and
was preparing a document detailing the three
principles of commercial
On the ground the Vice President
said the Union was dealing on a daily basis
with continuing problems of
forced evictions, theft or taking over of crops
and, more recently, increased
violence against farmers and their employees.
He pointed out that it was
necessary to keep some channels open between the
Union and its contacts in
Government and other bodies such as the police,
since these contacts were
vital in getting help to try and sort out the
problems on farms.
Taylor-Freeme then mentioned his recent visit to South Africa, at
invitation of the cane growers in Natal where he addressed their AGM, and
trip to Zambia with the Coffee Producers Association. On both visits
highlighted the problems in Zimbabwe and found a lot of interest in
Director Hendrik Olivier then talked about the Union
itself - its
restructuring and its continued determination to provide a good
all members. He said the Union's main objectives were to keep
farming, and to try and create an environment whereby farmers off
farms could return to farming. Other activities keeping Union staff
elected members busy were compensation, legal matters and communication,
well as trying to source fuel, inputs and new markets.
and answer session then followed. This started with a question on
why CFU had
recommended that farmers go the LA1 or LA3 route. Mr
out that CFU had only given farmers the options
available to them and had not
said the LA route was the only one to take. He
added that this route had
indeed worked for some farmers, so it was an
response to a question on how many farmers were still on their farms,
Taylor-Freeme said that an impact assessment survey published in February
this year showed there were between 900 and 1000 farming, however more
half of these were only partially operational. He said it was important
try and keep a nucleus in each district.
Replying to a comment on
disgruntled members, the Vice President said any
members who were not
satisfied with the Union
were welcome to come in and discuss their problems
The next general farmers' meeting will be held in May, at a
date and venue
specifically stated that this message is a Commercial Farmers'
communiqué, or that it is being issued or forwarded to you by the
an official CFU capacity, the opinions contained therein are
Private messages also include those sent on behalf of any
directly affiliated to the Union. The CFU does not accept
responsibility for private messages and opinions held by the sender
transmitted over its local area network to other CFU network users and/or
Letters from ZimGateway :
Remove fear and we have a political breakthrough
is a fact that Zimbabweans are desperately yearning for change to emancipate
themselves from the socio-economic decay they are facing.
the truth is that unless certain “diseases” are eradicated among us, change can
never be achieved. The major one is fear.
wise piece of advice to all patriotic and courageous Zimbabweans is that change
is demanded and never begged for. The time for change is ripe and inevitable,
but the people are not utilising the opportunity to achieve this long-awaited
Zimbabweans are patiently waiting for President Mbeki “of the quiet diplomacy
fame”, or the unpredictable President Olusegun Obasanjo to champion our cause,
then that is wishful thinking of the worst order.
Mbeki nor Obasanjo is Zimbabwean.
should be made clear to all change-minded Zimbabweans that the onus lies on us
to liberate ourselves from the yoke of President Mugabe.
we are not part of the struggle for change, then we are part of the problem as
we will be among those cultivating the ruthless, despotic Mugabe to cling
tenaciously to power.
is now clear that all means and efforts to engage the Mugabe regime into
meaningful and productive talk have failed. There is need now for a militant
confrontation with the brutal Zanu PF.
Zanu PF is a party of zealots who only understand the language of force. It is
high time Zimbabweans stood up for their rights. Right now, Mugabe is not only
trembling, but sensing and smelling danger and this is why he is threatening to
arrest Morgan Tsvangirai if he goes ahead with the eagerly awaited march to
pretends to be a paragon of peace and democracy which he undermines every day.
Zimbabweans are not part of the lasting solution to the predicament we are
enveloped in, then we are wholly to blame for the problems we are wallowing in.
should know that change will breed freedom, prosperity, peace and harmony. The
road to these goals of change requires our determination, sacrifice, suffering
and even death.
the name of change, I urge all anti-Mugabe cadres to overcome fear at all costs
because at this juncture, fear is tantamount to a surrender of our democratic
rights. Change demands action and action requires courage.
should not be intimidated by the police and army. Zanu PF is the epitome of
Satan. It derives pleasure from the suffering and death of people. Mugabe should
take heed of MP Job Sikhala’s words that the blood of his regime’s political
martyrs is the fertile soil in which the seeds of freedom will germinate.
should be warned that the very people who assisted him to climb the ladder of
power and authority are the same people who shall engineer his downfall. We are
our own liberators, but the problem within us is fear and
are on the verge of a major political breakthrough if only we can overcome fear.
Change is at hand and victory is certain!
Dube – Gweru
Get ready to celebrate the Iraqi way
read somewhere in your paper a suggestion that we should erect a giant statue of
President Mugabe so that we will have something to destroy soon when the despot
is removed from power.
this is a very good idea. We are looking forward to the day when we will burn
all the pictures of Mugabe that are hanging in offices throughout the country.
also look forward to the day when we will burn all those chitenje (or “Zambia”
pieces of cloth) with the picture of Mugabe.
has happened in Iraq should happen here also.
Hlabangana – Kwekwe
Decisive encounters win wars ... when you strike,
is there for everybody to see that Zimbabwe is so diseased that it would be
difficult to imagine that we could ever bring it back to life without some
political surgery or even amputation.
sad that we have to repeat the same things over and over again — the
degeneration of the economy, emasculation of people's freedoms, repression,
inaction and myopia and foolish arrogance by the rulling party.
have undergone so much suffering and when we think the worst situation is over
we find ourselves in even more torture, more suffering and more repression.
is of very grave concern that despite what we are going through we do not, as a
nation, seem to have a clear and decisive strategy about how to quickly and
effectively deal with our situation inorder to liberate ourselves from this twin
monster of economic and political suffering.
different segments of our society, from political structures to civic
organisations, we are from time to time demonstrating what most people have
concluded about Zimbabweans — docility and the excellent gift of talking without
many times have our political and civic leaders talked about decisive action?
Every now and then we hear leaders annoucing that "we have now resolved to
liberate ourselves" but these claims have never being transformed into any
is a grave danger in leaders announcing some action when they are not yet fully
prepared for it. First it puts the "enemy" on the alert.
importantly leaders lose credibility because they will be labelled as parroters.
is the underlying tone of "peaceful means of engagement" always carried out in
this messages. I do not think it is important even to mention the form of
engagement in terms of whether it is peaceful or not.
qualifying a liberation action as peaceful simply implies being loyal to or even
fearful of the regime. Peaceful in whose terms? And does the situation at hand
guarantee that liberation objectives will be achieved through peaceful means
given the nature of the regime?
think it is more important to talk of an appropriate means of action to achieve
an objective and not whether or not the means are peaceful. The situation
dictates the means and not vice versa.
say that if you are not ready don’t strike at all but when you strike, strike
encounters win wars. What is needed is careful planning, organising of a strong
irresitible coalition, assessment of the enemy's capabailities and weaknesses,
formulating multiple strategies and counter strategies and evaluating each
strategy's objective and contribution to the overall objective.
Tzu, the great Chinese warrior, advised that plan your stratgey so that you
divide the enemies forces, so that those that you attack at any given point are
these points, use an overwhelming force.This requires boldness and a strong
resolve in the leadership, and the ability to fight to the bitter end.
also seems that the pro-democracy forces in Zimbabwe are lacking on the
propaganda war and use of information. A good coalition with sensible media
houses on the use of information can bring good results.
… Perhaps being a product of a violent period in the history of a country
dictates that you see the need for a military style victory over the Mugabe
regime. In some situations armed revolution is unavoidable but this is
fortunately not yet the case in Zimababwe.
suggest you revist Sun Tzu and learn about the greatest of all the arts of
to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To
subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme
I suggest instead of advocating a bellicose solution to problems caused by
Mugabe's Zanu-PF read up on Gandhi because all that is needed in Zimbabwe is a
campaign of non-violent civil disobedience and Mugabe's regime will “crumble
like a biscuit”. … Ed
Grace lives it up in 5-star luxuary while
Zimbabweans suffer - Zondi Mahlangu
came to picket against the presence of Zimbabwean First Lady Grace Mugabe, but
security personnel at Caesars Palace dispersed the 20 protesters in less than
group, calling themselves Concerned Zimbabweans Abroad, converged on the hotel
after reports that Mugabe had booked into the hotel. They held placards saying
"Mugabe is not the people's choice" and "Mugabe must go".
to Radio 702 news editor Stephen Grootes, the station received information that
Mugabe was at Caesars. "We received information and acted upon it. Our reporter
actually had a short conversation with her. She dropped the phone as soon as he
mentioned he was from 702."
when Saturday Star contacted the hotel we were told the name Grace Mugabe was
not on their guest list.
Sibanda, president of Concerned Zimbabweans Abroad, said: "We are having the
wife of the president come stay in a five-star hotel. It is five star against
poverty. The reality is that the people of Zimbabwe are
Mugabe is the right target of this protest. There is nothing more embarrassing
for a man than having your wife come home and tell you that her shopping has
been disrupted by disgruntled people. Wherever these people go shopping anywhere
else in the world, the peaceloving people of the world must tell them to leave,"
said Sibanda. - Saturday Star
… Jay Sibanda is right. The looters of Zimbabwe must not be allowed to spend
their illgotten gains in peace. Let their wives and children dread everyday that
they go out into the public and have to look the people in the eye that their
husbands or fathers have tortured or stolen from. Let them have nightmares.