Thought of the Day:
" When evil men plot, good men must plan. When evil
men burn and bomb, good
men must build and bind. When evil men shout ugly
words of hatred, good men
must commit themselves to the glories of
Where evil men would seek to perpetuate an unjust status quo, good
seek to bring into being a real order of justice"
Luther King Jr
(Quoted in 'In my own words')
Lack of food and forex may stifle Zimbabwe's growth
April 7, 2005
By Lucia Mutikani
Zimbabwe is likely to
miss its key inflation and growth targets for this
year due to worsening
food and foreign currency shortages, according to
analysts who say these
will hobble its economic recovery programme.
The country is in the throes
of its worst economic crisis since 1980, but
the government has projected a
turnaround this year, declaring inflation the
bank has forecast inflation of between 20 percent and 35 percent
peaking at 620 percent in 2004, and gross domestic product growth of
3 percent and 5 percent following a contraction of more than 30
In February the annual inflation rate was 127
Analysts predict a worsening of economic woes as the country
seeks to import
1.2 million tons of grain at an estimated cost of $250
billion) this year to feed a third of its people.
said the food import bill would hit economic growth as less funds would
available to upgrade creaking infrastructure.
The grim food outlook
follows a poor harvest due to drought and inadequate
seed and fertiliser
support to small rural farmers.
"It will be impossible to meet the 20 to
35 percent [inflation] target
because the government needs to secure $250
At the current exchange rate, it's about Z$1.5 trillion and they
budgeted Z$50 billion," said an analyst who asked not to be
The government has acknowledged that the country, once a regional
breadbasket, needed food.
Analysts said the government would battle
to raise funds for food imports on
the domestic money market, which they
said had been operating with a Z$1
trillion deficit in the past two weeks in
a bid to keep money supply growth
The central bank has
artificially kept treasury bill rates low, with the
one-year note at about
65 percent, which analysts said was aimed at
providing the government with
Zimbabweans have already started hoarding basic commodities,
were hiked by more than 100 percent after last week's election,
won by the
ruling Zanu-PF party.
"Inflation will now accelerate quite
significantly because of the price
increase, which had been held back
artificially before the elections," said
Tony Hawkins, a business professor
at the University of Zimbabwe.
Analysts said there was need for the
central bank to devalue the Zimbabwean
Zimbabwe has an acute
shortage of foreign currency after the International
Monetary Fund and other
donors withdrew support. The central bank's forex
auctions currently meet
only 8 percent of the market's needs.
"How we manage the foreign currency
issue is going to determine the
performance of the economy. We are relying
on the export sector, but we need
foreign direct investment and other
capital inflows," said Harare economist
Witness Chinyama. "We need to
re-engage with the international community."
Harare tobacco sales
resume as farmers meet central bank
Zimbabwe's tobacco auction houses resumed
sales yesterday as growers pressed
the central bank to relax an exchange
rate that has damped their profit.
On Tuesday farmers shut all three of
Zimbabwe's tobacco-trading floors,
cancelling the season's opening day of
The Zimbabwe Tobacco Association, which represents most farmers,
met the central bank, seeking a devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar
raise in the government subsidy of Z$2 000 per kilogram
On April 4 $1 fetched Z$6 087 compared with a black market rate of
as Z$14 000. The central bank sold $11 million, less than a 10th of
"The issue hasn't been resolved," said Rodney Ambrose, the chief
of the association. "Focusing on the Zimbabwe dollar return is our
On Tuesday 150 farmers shut Zimbabwe's biggest auction
house after prices
fell to as low as $0.22 a kilogram. Prices yesterday
ranged between $0.25
and $2.59 a kilogram by 11am.
Tobacco last year
sold on Harare's auctions at an average $2.02 a
kilogram. - Bloomberg
ANC and Zanu-PF similarities cause whites to
This paranoia is for the most part irrational and is born out
April 7, 2005
By Max du
The first time most white South Africans started caring about
welfare of the people of any African country was when Zimbabwe's Robert
Mugabe started going haywire five, six years ago.
analysis of this over-reaction by whites is that it proves
that they are
racists; that the only reason why they took notice of Zimbabwe
Mugabe was nasty to white people; that they love it when a black
I am sure that in the case of many this analysis is not
far off. But I
suspect that for most ordinary white South Africans, the
somewhat more complex.
I think it would be true
to say that white South Africans hate Robert
Mugabe more than they hate any
black personality in South Africa.
What lies behind this white
obsession with a man in another country
who can have no effect on their
To start with, I think many whites fear that under the
political culture of the ANC is not that different from that of
push the ANC to a point where they feel they might lose power and
also lose the veneer of democracy.
defence of Mugabe and his men by mainstream ANC leaders
and indeed the
apparent brotherly relationship between Robert Mugabe and
Thabo Mbeki only
reinforce this fear.
Take Nelson Mandela out of public life and
threaten the ANC at the
polls, so the paranoia goes, and the ANC will also
want to change the
constitution, start interfering with the judiciary and
force whites off
The ANC's recent resolution that
the judiciary should be more in tune
with the masses and the erratic
behaviour of at least one black judge again
gave substance to this
Then there is the land issue. White South Africans sense that
own government and perhaps the majority of their fellow citizens
agree that white Zimbabweans had to be driven off their land. And
the sentiment is that white South African farmers should also
make way for black peasant farmers.
But at the heart
of the white fear and loathing is Mugabe's often
repeated declaration that
white Zimbabweans are not really Zimbabweans -
they are colonialists, they
are British imperialists, they are all racists
and they are the enemies of
They are certainly not Africans or equal citizens in
the land of their
birth. In fact, humiliating them and confiscating their
property is a proud
victory for Africans, as Mugabe had suggested again
during his recent
election campaign. Africa is a place for black
This drives a red-hot poker right through the hearts of
Africans, especially those with no cultural, emotional or family
any country outside Africa.
If this is how the
ruling class in Zimbabwe feels, so the thinking
goes, then there is a good
chance that it is also what their comrades to the
south feel. Why else would
Mugabe get a hero's welcome every time he visits
South Africa, whites
In fact, some whites would point out, South Africa's president
already on occasion referred to whites as "colonialists of a special
In fact, black politicians and commentators regularly fling insults
warnings at white citizens. Only last week a top black academic warned
whites to start imitating black culture and behaviour, otherwise they will
not be "rehabilitated".
There can be no more fundamental threat
to a community's sense of
security than to declare them, even in a
roundabout way, unwanted aliens in
their own country. It renders them
rootless; it threatens everything that is
familiar and sacred to them; it
makes them deeply fearful of the future; it
makes them withdraw into a
Of course this paranoia is, for the most part, irrational
exaggerated. But after generations of forced separation and white
most whites have a very limited understanding of black political
They have little appreciation of the
long history of the ANC and no
understanding of the debates and contrary
voices inside the ruling alliance.
These fears are a hangover from
before 1994, when many whites were
paralysed with expectations that the
black majority would do to whites what
the white minority had done to
But let us be brutally honest: there are disturbing
between the ANC and Zanu-PF. The ANC has been far more
reconciliatory, but their continued deep-seated resentment of
often apparent. They are also deeply intolerant of criticism and
and also quick to demonise their opponents as reactionaries and
I am also nervous of the day the ANC is
going to feel that their power
is being threatened. I am not so sure what
they are capable of doing to
remobilise their popular support when that
situation arrives. I also
sometimes feel uneasy about the signs of growing
racial nationalism and
How sad to have to say this
after more than 10 years of democracy.
MDC in parliament boycott quandary
4/7/2005 7:13:00 AM (GMT +2)
THE Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC), which won 41 of the 120
contested seats in last
week's polls, is mulling a boycott of parliament to
ratchet up pressure on
the ruling ZANU PF government.
Party insiders said the MDC, miffed
by the two-thirds majority amassed
by ZANU PF in the disputed March 31
elections, might withdraw its
participation in the House if its proposed
appeals to the Electoral Court
The MDC, which many observers
say literally shot itself in the foot by
announcing a boycott of
parliamentary elections in August last year before
changing its stance in
February, has alleged massive rigging by
bodies in favour of ZANU PF in about 72 of
the 120 contested seats.
As of yesterday, losing MDC candidates and elections agents were
compiling a dossier of the alleged electoral fraud that would
form part of
the evidence to the Electoral Court.
The MDC has 14 days to appeal to
the court after the announcement of
the final results, according to the
"Parliamentary boycott is one of several options being
the President (Morgan Tsvangirai) and other members of the
decision-making body," said an MDC senior official privy to the
Harvest House, the headquarters of the main opposition party.
decision on the matter will be reached before the expiry of the
us to appeal to the Electoral Court. The outcome of the appeals
Electoral Court will also play a pivotal role in the contemplated
Analysts warned this week that the 41 MDC
legislators could be
expelled from Parliament if they proceed with the
boycott, leading to
by-elections in their mostly urban
The constitution stipulates that if a legislator misses
sittings without notifying the Speaker, the House will have
to vote with the
aim of expelling the member.
Last year, Zengeza
Member of Parliament, Tafadzwa Musekiwa, resigned
his seat after missing 21
Welshman Ncube, the MDC secretary-general, played down the
yesterday, saying a boycott would not take the party
He said: "You don't achieve anything by a parliamentary
is not an option people are suggesting," said Ncube. "We are
two options - a legal and political option. The political thing
to do is to
mobilise people against theft."
However, another source
said militant MDC officials have vowed not go
back on the issue, as they
seek to pressure President Robert Mugabe into
calling a re-run of the polls
already condemned by the West but hailed by
Africa as free and
Yesterday the MDC released preliminary findings of a report
what it alleged was "massive" electoral fraud in 30
constituencies in the
provinces of Manicaland, Mashonaland West, Mashonaland
East and Matabeleland
According to the party's preliminary
findings, in 11 constituencies
(Kariba, Manyame, Goromonzi, Murehwa South,
Mutoko North, Seke Rural, Buhera
South, Mutare South, Mutasa South, Mutasa
North and Nyanga), the deficits
between the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission's
official pronouncement on the
number of votes cast and the final total
directly accounted for the ZANU PF
"In most of these
constituencies the ZANU PF candidate was either a
senior party official or a
government minister," reads part of the party's
report. "This analysis does
not even take into account the uneven electoral
playing field, the inflated
voters' roll, the coercion of the rural
electorate, nor the high number of
people who were turned away on polling
The opposition party,
which critics claim clearly lacked Plan B in the
event of defeat, also wrote
on Tuesday to Justice George Chiweshe, the head
of the ZEC, complaining of
alleged irregularities in the voting and counting
Financial Gazette has both the preliminary report and the letter
secretary-general Ncube, wrote to Justice Chiweshe.
"On the night of
March 31, 2005 and the morning of 1 April, 2005,
officials from the Zimbabwe
Electoral Commission (ZEC) appeared on ZTV and
gave an account of the total
number of people who had voted in each
number of constituencies whose figures were given was 76
announcement was abruptly ceased without explanation.
"We have taken
time to analyse the figures in relation to the totals
that each candidate
polled as given by officials from ZEC in announcing the
results. In each and
every case we find that there are glaring discrepancies
between the total
number given as the people who voted and the totals of the
results. In some
cases such as Beitbridge, Murehwa South and Mutare South,
are as high as 15 000," reads part of the MDC letter to
Ncube added: "We urgently seek an explanation from you as to the
these disparities. We have reason to believe that these
disparities are a
direct result of manipulation of numbers to achieve ZANU
PF victories in
constituencies where they had lost.
"While we continue to gather
evidence from our election agents at each
polling station on the extent of
manipulation of figures, we urgently seek
an explanation by close of
business on April 7, 2005. Failure to do so will
leave us with no option but
to seek legal recourse."
The MDC attached a table showing the figures
as given by the ZEC and
the results as announced by ZEC showing alleged
AU poll team in surprise U-turn
4/7/2005 7:11:45 AM (GMT +2)
IN an extraordinary
volte face, the African Union (AU) observer team,
which had initially hailed
Zimbabwe's just-ended Parliamentary poll as free
and fair, has called for
investigations into alleged electoral fraud.
ZANU PF won 78 of the
120 contested seats in last week's polls, with
the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) polling 41 while the remaining seat
went to an independent
The MDC, which grabbed 57 seats in the 2000 parliamentary
has alleged rampant rigging of the polls, claiming it has
discrepancies in 72 of the 120 contested constituencies.
The AU observer team said while it commended the peaceful conduct of
elections, it noted certain concerns that required appropriate
among them the large number of potential voters turned away from
stations and political agents playing a passive role in the conduct
"The MDC has alleged that there are serious discrepancies in the
official results released by the ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) for
several constituencies. It is hoped that both the ZEC and the ESC (Electoral
Supervisory Commission) will promptly look into the allegations with a view
of assuring the Zimbabwean people of the authenticity of the results of the
elections," reads part of the statement issued by the AU.
addition to the foregoing concerns, the AU observer team will
include in its
final report recommendations on technical and administrative
could further enhance the transparency of the Zimbabwean
and the verifiability of its outcomes."
Kwadwo Afari-Gyan headed the AU
mission, which yesterday was still in
Harare monitoring the post election
period slightly marred by pockets of
violence in Harare allegedly by
disgruntled MDC youths irked by what the
opposition alleged was "day-light
robbery" by ZANU PF.
President Robert Mugabe cherry-picked 23 African
nations, three Asian
and one European country, Russia, to observe the polls,
which the majority
have declared as free and fair, much to the chagrin of
the M DC.
The South African and Southern African Development Community
observer teams, criticised by the MDC of pre-judging the polls two
before the polling day, were in the forefront of endorsing the
Dual elections to be scrapped
7:15:44 AM (GMT +2)
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe plans to scrap the
holding of separate
presidential and parliamentary elections, among other
amendments that could be effected by his ZANU PF party after
week's parliamentary polls.
leader, who has also spoken of introducing a two-tier
parliament, told the
South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) last week
the changes would be
along the lines of the draft constitution rejected in a
"I've never believed it was a better system to have a
election on its own and a parliamentary election on its own,"
following his victory in a poll the main opposition Movement for
Change (MDC) has dismissed as a fraud.
"If the president
is not good even after one term, they can vote
against (him or her)," he
He attributed his party's victory to its age and revolutionary
as well as to the commitment of its members.
Asked about his
plans for national reconciliation, President Mugabe
between his party and the MDC in parliament as well as
"Should they (the MDC) have any ideas they believe in sincerely that
help us to move forward constructively and economically improve the lot
our people, fine, they will be very welcome to bring those ideas to us,"
Turning to the country's economic situation, President Mugabe
that as a result of the drought, Zimbabwe would need to import maize
"We have the money to do so," he said.
how he planned to turn Zimbabwe's sagging economy around,
said foreign currency had to be made available to the
The "corruption and dirt" in the financial sector would have to
looked at "very sternly and very seriously", he said, adding he hoped to
have inflation back to double digits by the end of 2005.
he planned to improve relations with the European Union and
which had imposed embargoes against Zimbabwe, President
Mugabe said he had
not offended anyone.
"We are more sinned against than sinning . . . We
have been put into
the dark by Mr Blair, for his own reasons. It's a very
unfair act, indeed,
to us," he said.
"We can't change. We can't
agree to become puppets either," he added.
Asked about his country's
media laws, which require journalists to
register with the government,
President Mugabe said they were "good laws".
"I don't think our system
would prevent a genuine journalist from
becoming registered. Let people
register, but don't deny them registration.
I don't see any reason why we
must deny them, unless they are proved to be
bitter enemies of the
President Mugabe described Pope John Paul II as a virtuous man
preaching on peace needed to be heeded world-wide.
the Pope had been "a very virtuous man, a virtuous leader of
Church, and we do hope that all that he has preached about will
be heeded by communities throughout the world".
Mbeki to discuss poll concerns with Zimbabwe Sapa and Own
April 07 2005 at 07:38AM
African government will discuss certain concerns with its
neighbour in days to come following last week's elections, the
foreign affairs said at parliament on Wednesday.
"In the days to
come, those concerns will be discussed with the
government of Zimbabwe,"
Director-General Ayanda Ntsaluba said following his
budget presentation to
the Foreign Affairs Portfolio Committee.
He said the South African
government held the same views as observer
missions from the African Union
and Southern African Development Community -
that there had been an
improvement in the build-up to the elections.
"This was quite
clearly a positive thing," he said, but did not
elaborate on the "concerns"
Ntsaluba said the elections had helped in "some
ways" but had not
addressed many of the socio-economic challenges that still
"That is what Zimbabwe needs assistance to
deal with," he said.
Meanwhile, the ANC Youth League (ANCYL)
yesterday slammed Cosatu and
the ANC over its stance towards the Zimbabwe
Calling on Cosatu leaders to stop being the "West's
president, Fikile Mbalula, said the organisation had
"By holding pickets and claiming solidarity with
the workers of
Zimbabwe, Cosatu has shown where its true feelings lie," he
Mbalula was speaking at a political rally held in Mamelodi
to commemorate the death of Solomon Mahlangu, who died at the
hands of the
apartheid government in 1976.
"Zimbabwe is a
sovereign state and not even South Africa, the ANC and
supporters, who all act as the 'shop steward' of Africa, have the
tell that country and its leadership what to do," he said.
said Africa did not need a Big Brother to boss it around.
that the elections were neither free nor fair, Mbalula said
that if the
citizens of Zimbabwe were really unhappy they would not have
Robert Mugabe as president.
a.. This article was originally
published on page 1 of Cape Times
on April 07, 2005
Focus on economy, mend international
4/7/2005 7:46:55 AM (GMT +2)
controversial parliamentary elections have come and gone.
And so is the
madness and controversy associated with election time where
is done for political expedience.
The voice of reason and influence
of realities are usually ignored as
the magic influence of populist
phraseology takes centre stage.
Now it is time to face up to reality.
Top of the agenda should be the
reality of the country's depressing economic
situation, increasing ostracism
by the international community and other
burning issues that had been put on
the back burner in the run-up to the
That the previously resilient economy has stumbled upon many
skins over the past few years is beyond argument. Although there are
signs of bottoming out, a lot still needs to be done to uncork the
undoubted immense growth potential and bring it back to its
levels, deal with joblessness and corporate failures.
The depressing effect of the economic meltdown cannot be
There is a bottomless well of disenchantment and general
among Zimbabweans who have suffered the consequences of
deprivation, hence the dwindling band of optimists among the
populace over prospects for a near-term recovery. There is no
pretend otherwise. Indeed, this is a red flag that should not be
The government should move with lightning speed to put a fresh
the enfeebled economy - to ensure the long yearned for era of
It is also an unpalatable truth that Zimbabwe carries the
stigma of a rogue state. The Zimbabwe government, which many
unanimous was seeking legitimacy in the just-ended
parliamentary poll, has
expectedly protested the pariah state tag. It feels
that the stigmatisation
stems from unjustified hostility, contempt and
ostracism by its Western
critics who it accuses of seeking regime change in
Zimbabwe. The West
accuses Zimbabwe of a serious democratic deficit. And
indeed, its major
point of bitter attacks has been allegations of
fundamental human rights
Whether this is entirely true
or not is not the issue here. The point
is, Zimbabwe is dealing with issues
of perceptions that must be faced
head-on as a way forward. The
sand-in-the-head ostrich mentality is not
going to help the situation
because perception is, to all intents and
purposes, considered as fact. And
that explains why Zimbabwe's credit rating
has been reduced to junk status
in the face of perceived high political,
country and sovereign risks and why
critical funding from the International
Monetary Fund - from which Zimbabwe
might have had an inglorious exit - is
still on ice.
therefore be futile for government to ignore these issues on
that they are being propagated by former colonial masters with
is embroiled in a long-running diplomatic rift. We have said
it before and
we will say it again - re-engaging the international community
would be a
victory for pragmatism, so to speak. Metaphorically speaking, no
an island. Yet Zimbabwe stands isolated when it is in its
interest to be
re-integrated into the community of nations. It is not like
the fences have
irretrievably broken down. They can be mended and they
Forget the tragi-comic posturing from some prejudiced, narrow-minded
under-performing government ministers recently rejected by the
These officials have all along been claiming that Zimbabwe does
not need the
IMF and even intimated that the country is doing just fine in
Nothing could be further from the truth. The claims uttered by
Industry and International Trade Minister, Dr Samuel
Mumbengegwi, not so
long ago could be laughable were it not for the gravity
implications especially coming from senior government officials.
it is true that the IMF slammed the door on Zimbabwe several
years ago and
the country has been going it alone during those years, the
question to ask
the Honourable Minister is, have we fared any better in the
support from the institution? Sadly the answer is no. Zimbabwe
does not need
any reminding that the kind of mentality as exhibited by the
likes of Dr
Mumbengegwi has seen the economy lurch from one crisis to
Given the fragile state of the economy, Zimbabwe needs the support of
institutions like the IMF. This is for a variety of reasons. The financial
assistance that comes from international monetarists in the form of balance
of payments support could help stabilise the country's finances. Admittedly
what the country might get from the IMF might just amount to the proverbial
drop in the ocean considering the magnitude of our external financial
support requirements. But the IMF funding is seen as a seal of approval by
other international donors and financiers, which have been sitting on the
fence maintaining the wait-and-see attitude. In other words, they take their
cue from the IMF. The fund's continued absence from Zimbabwe can therefore
only but fuel negative perceptions. This is why the more pragmatic Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe is seeking a deep rapprochement with the Bretton Woods
Without this stamp of approval, no matter how many
passes the hat - no international financier will twitch. At
best all the
country can get from these financiers are good words minus
action - real
support. This has happened before but it does not help the
anyway. Now, as we have said before, we do not accept the
mystique of the
IMF nor do we hold any brief for some of its outworn
shibboleths. But what
other choice does Zimbabwe have in the face of the
economic crisis some
politicians are finding difficult to acknowledge
And now to the Notebook . . .
8:14:10 AM (GMT +2)
The elections have come
and gone. If only we could have more elections
than rains, we wouldn't mind
because elections take care of all ills in this
country as our politicians
become dangerously generous.
If only we could have them once or
twice a year!
Anyway, the results of the elections were fantastic.
Zimbabweans should be on cloud nine because they got the
results they more
ZANU PF, the party which we have
been made to believe had one leg in
the grave and the other one on a bar of
soap, shocked everyone when it
strutted to a resounding victory.
Yes, a resounding victory for ZANU PF because it is so serious when it
to elections that it does not leave anything to chance . . . not even
smallest of them all. In every election in this country, ZANU PF knows
it is the one to lose, so it makes it a point that nothing like that
It is quite a different story in the opposition camp,
people seem to take pride in being career shadow ministers. The
violence and rigging aside, the opposition lost because it deserved
Their turn has not yet come, if ever it will, so
they will have to
cool their feet a little bit longer.
for change in this country is ripe, change will come. It
will come on its
own like the sun, whether there is rigging and/or violence,
because its time
will be ripe. No one can stop it - just as no one could
stop the Pope from
dying at the weekend!
If ZANU PF was ordained to rule for 30 years, it
will rule for 30
years. If it was ordained to rule for 90 years, it will
rule for 90 years,
no matter what you and me might think about the quality
of its rule.
Our opposition can protest and demonstrate for the next
five years but
that won't make a harpooth of difference . . . for ZANU PF
will be in total
control, at least for the next three years, unless
happens, but definitely not mass actions, "final
pushes" or court petitions.
Tell CZ why ZANU PF, wily as it is, could
not win with the power of
incumbency in its back pocket? Chiefs, DAs,
soldiers, police, war veterans,
new farmers, Green Bombers, Zimpapers, ZBH,
drought, farming inputs . . .
you name it!
those 30 free seats, ZANU PF won the elections
because it had to win. It
deserved to win.
From a democratic point of view, the results of last
reflected the wishes of the people of Zimbabwe. Anyone who
should prove otherwise . . . because what counts is the
total number of
ballots cast, not what could have been cast by some
We are told that villagers were threatened that
if they voted
"unwisely" the authorities would deal with them because the
the Great Uncle was dishing out like confetti were not being
dished out for
. . . but to monitor how they were going to
These are the stories that are doing the rounds. But even if they
true, how can they be substantiated in a serious court of law? Courts
operate not on the basis of rumour, salted and peppered stories and
folklore, but evidence, hard and palpable evidence, so this will not
ZANU PF won. Hopefully next time the opposition will invent their
stories to frighten voters to vote for them!
As for CZ, he
won't suffer any BP from the election results. If
anything, he is happy with
them. Just happy like a puppy with three tails
because they reflect the
wishes of the people of Zimbabwe. The wishes of
those people who have
wishes. Those who didn't vote do not have wishes, so
why bother about
The only consolation now is that, with ZANU PF having a
majority, more people will realise the need to vote in the next
. . if they see the real face of ZANU PF this time round, they
wishes and next time they will go, queue and vote! Hopefully it
won't be too
late for them!
It was quite nauseating how everyone
got so interested in the outcome
of the elections in which they did not
vote! Why would people be so
interested in the results of an election they
think is not important . . .
elections which they think will not change
Some people in this country think they are too important, too
too serious or too religious to go and vote. And for that, they will
only themselves and their grandmothers to blame.
We tend to
take too many things for granted - too many by half - and
we forget that it
is this right to vote that we are now snubbing that some
people chose to die
for. We value some things when we have lost them and,
hopefully, with ZANU
PF back in total control, we won't lose this right
During the 1999 elections in South Africa, the second
in that country, many little political parties knew for
sure that the ruling
African National Congress (ANC) was going to win
resoundingly. There was no
doubt or argument about it.
So were the
elections necessary? one may ask. They were very important
to all the
parties that were running.
While the ANC wanted to increase its winning
margin even up to 120
percent, all the other parties had one aim: ensuring
that the ANC did not
get a two-thirds majority! Because two-thirds majority
by ANC would be
disastrous for them . . . and because of that, one party,
the National Party
to be precise, had this message on its campaign poster:
For an ordinary South African, this did
not mean anything. But the
message was very pregnant with meaning. It meant
that if the ANC was to get
a two-thirds majority in that election, it was
going to behave more or less
like our own ZANU PF at that time!
Find below what a ZANU PF two-thirds majority in parliament can do for
ZANU PF can change the constitution to create a Senate,
chamber of parliament into which the powers-that-be can freely and
pile all ruling party spent forces - the likes of Enos Chikowore,
Ndlovu, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Dumiso Dabengwa, Chris Chigumba,
Chikwinya . . . all those who are no longer fit to win the mandate of
people through an election! And more.
And what is this we are being told that the regrettable death of the
had something to do with some wavelets of shock coming from the results
our own elections here? Isn't it scandalous for anyone think of this as a
Anyway, what we know for a fact is that one of these outgoing
MPs collapsed when the truth dawned on him that people who had been
benefiting from his "projects" were actually not his people, but rank
Hopefully, a lesson has been learnt - that you don't
performance in polls by the number of people who queue up to
freeload on you
in the pre-election period. Right now CZ has two party
T-shirts for use as
pajamas, but does it mean he voted for both
Hard luck to those who were unfortunate. The good thing is
is always a next time!
Back to Papal affairs. Our own
Great Uncle will be attending the
funeral of the Pope in Rome tomorrow. So
will be world leaders from more
than 200 countries. And this includes Tony
Blair of Britain and George W
Bush of America.
CZ wonders what will
happen if whoso-ever would be responsible for
sitting arrangements at the
solemn occasion makes the mistake of sitting
some people close to each other
. . . there could be another funeral!
When it is time to choose the
next Pope, hopefully no mischief-maker
will throw the name of our own
brother, Pius Ncube, in the hat. Someone
could hang himself.
this is the last thing we would like, especially with the serious
of leaders this country is facing!
GMB board dissolved
4/7/2005 7:49:51 AM (GMT +2)
THE government, faced with another
serious grain deficit, has
dissolved the board of directors of the Grain
Marketing Board (GMB).
The dissolution could be a precursor to
other major changes at the
Although some GMB board
members said their terms of office had
expired, The Financial Gazette can
reveal that the government had become
impatient with the long absence of the
parastatal's chairman, Enock
Kamushinda, from the country.
Kamushinda has been out of Zimbabwe for several months. The former
Metropolitan Bank chairman and founder is now based in Malaysia, where he is
reportedly pursuing some investments.
Sources said the government,
which has now openly hinted it may import
maize this year, had panicked into
action against the GMB following
revelations that the country's grain silos
were virtually empty.
The GMB, which imported 400 000 tonnes of maize
in 2004 against a
projected national output of 2.4 million tonnes, had only
64 000 tonnes in
stock last month.
Zimbabwe consumes an average 158
000 tonnes of maize per month.
According to the sources, the GMB
management could also be
The dissolved GMB board
comprised Kamushinda, Mabel Chinomona,
Nhlanhla Masuku, Irene Zindi,
Florence Ziumbe, a Mr O Matore and Joseph
Matovanyika, chief executive of
the Agricultural and Rural Development
Samuel Muvuti, a
retired army colonel appointed to head the lossmaking
parastatal in 2003,
has been spared the boot, the sources said.
Contacted for comment,
Masuku said the term of the GMB board had
"Our terms of
office came to an end. It was not a dissolution. We just
thanking us and informing us that our terms of office had
Masuku, adding the government might soon appoint a new team
to run the
The GMB, a monopoly in Zimbabwe's grain market, has consistently
recorded heavy losses over the years. In 2003, the parastatal registered a
$24.8 billion loss, before raising the figure to $302 billion in 2004. The
parastatal blames the losses on a state-imposed uneconomic pricing
The GMB was established in 1931 in response to the 1930 world
recession. It's major mandate is that of ensuring food security,
particularly for staple food products such as maize and wheat.
One Square Metre Syndrome hits Harare
4/7/2005 7:44:22 AM (GMT +2)
EDITOR - The streets of Harare, once
known as the Sunshine City, are
littered with rubbish to levels so
disgusting you cannot comprehend what
kind of people take ownership of such
How did this come about you may want to know? It is
what I term the
One Square Metre Syndrome (OSMS). This is where an
individual will throw
litter a metre away from their feet. This effectively
means any litter one
metre away from where one stands does not affect them.
They are comfortable,
this makes it their comfort zone.
OSMS is a
serious disease that has to be treated and it is most
distressing to note
that over 90 percent of the inhabitants of this once
glorious city are
infected. It stems from lack of guidance by the parents to
from generation to generation.
Can we than expect anyone to take
responsibility for anything if all
we care about is the one square metre
To further complicate the extent of this scourge, by
OSM, you are encroaching into another's space, and no one
cities around the world have realised the need for inhabitants
responsibility for the upkeep of their cities and have managed to
cities from dumpsters.
This involved somewhat
unconventional methods of communicating the
need to abide by social
dictates. This included actions like spraying with
water for fouling the
street, citizens' arrests with immediate fines and
One that I believe would be first of its kind would be
holding pens in
the middle of the city for a minimum of one hour or picking
up litter to
fill a garbage bag if one is found to be infected with OSMS. On
the core of
social responsibility would be for individuals and corporates to
Cans dedicated to them after donating for their installation at
their choice anywhere in the city. I am prepared to be the first
council takes up the idea. Anyone smart or crazy enough to join
Being smart is not a political issue. Join me. The Harare Smart
Bringing the Sunshine back into the City.
011 408 448
April 06, 2005
~~~ Newsletter 060
Those who wish to sing always find a song
Join our mailing
Remember you have to be connected to the
internet to view the pictures in this newsletter - or visit our website at www.zvakwana.org
kuti uchanzwa nzara yakadai?
waiziva here kuti uchava rombe
waiziva here kuti kuchava nechirwere chakadai?
wanzi fara nokuti kwava ne25 years:
urombo asi ivo vachifuma
kushaiwa mishonga asi ivo
kana voziva kuti upfumi ndehwedu TESE!
Saka simuka iwe, batsira kurwira
And when they
have fallen into things
They eat the meat from the chest of bulls
their wives grow larger buttocks
And their skins shine with health,
throw themselves into soft beds
But the hip bones of the voters
painful sleeping on the same earth
They slept before Uhuru.
- Saul and
Cliffe 1973, vol.2:293
A little bit of this, and a
little bit of that:
- Comments on the mdc’s lack of leadership
- We need
to fill the vacuum with hope
- A small questionnaire for our subscribers
The mdc gets red carded
- What does non-violent action mean and we offer some
- WOZA warriors lead the charge
- 2008 may be too late!
The right to resist tyrants
- The one square metre (OSM) syndrome
Leadership: if not khatesi then riini?
Since the election results began
trickling in on Friday morning its been more and more clear that the small
dictator has cunningly stolen yet another election from the people of Zimbabwe.
Hongu, no one really is surprised about this. If we expected free and fair
elections Zimbabwe wouldn’t be considered a dictatorship and an “outpost of
tyranny!” So the announced results are not surprising but the lack of mdc
leadership in responding to this election theft is very disappointing. Vazhinji
vedu are feeling let down by the mdc’s impotent response to yet another stolen
election. What options do we have now as we consider the immediate future?
First, it is time that we realize that the mdc is no longer the vehicle for our
aspirations unless they get more creative and less stagnant. They have become a
part of the state apparatus and are rendered ineffective by playing by rules
that ensure that the status quo continues.
In Harare & Chitungwiza alone
over 230,000 people voted for the mdc. In Bulawayo another 85,000 actively
supported the mdc. Even if 10% were willing to go out and “defend their votes”
like the mdc has suggested this would be a protest worth reckoning with. And if
it were just 1% this would mean over 2,000 people in Harare. That is 10 times
the recent WOZA demonstration. If the WOZA activists are brave enough to lead a
vigil of 250 people what is the mdc waiting for?
You won the
elections, but I won the count.
- Anastasio Somoza, Nicaraguan dictator (1925
Politics loves a vacuum: if you don’t fill it with hope, it will
be filled with fear
What a pity that the mdc and civil society doesn’t use this
philosophy as a guiding light. But perhaps the reality at this time is that we
must build ourselves up outside of political parties and create a powerful
people’s movement where zvido zvevanhu (not politicians’ ambitions) direct our
activities. In many different countries around the world it has been organised
people power that has eventually removed dictatorships. In our previous
newsletters we often spoke of the need to look further than the symbol on the
ballot paper and to engage more personal responsibility in selecting our mps or
representatives based on their integrity, insight and commitment to community as
well as broader areas of concern. At this time we as individuals need to dig
deep and find our own inspiration and motivation for challenging injustice and
intolerance. This often means that we have to become our own leaders. We need to
lead by personal example whether it is organising small house meetings to
discuss challenging the regime, or making our own leaflets and sharing them in
community, or standing UP to institutional repression by refusing to pay taxes
to the state (in any form: income tax, levies, licences etc). We cannot go face
to face with an enemy that has all the state machinery at its disposal so we
must work with stealth like a thief at night. Jambanja is not an option but we
have an obligation to neutralise the machinery that is used to enslave and
impoverish us. Any institution that doesn’t work for the people is against the
conveniently consultative or genuinely dictatorial?
The mdc made a big effort to
demonstrate that it was consulting both its members and "the people" on whether
people wanted them to participate in this election. If they could do such broad
consulting then, we expect them to be doing the same now at this crucial time.
They must put in the effort to find out what their members really want, instead
of just assuming kuti vanoziva zvido zvedu! Having our vote stolen for the third
time is no joke Mr Tsvangirai. We deserve better.
If you respond (email@example.com) please send us your
postal address so that we can give you some Zvakwana get UP activist
1) What do you think
the mdc should do now that another election has been stolen?
Nothing; we all knew the election would not be free and fair, what more can they
b) File legal challenges on the seats they think were stolen from
c) Appeal to the international community, South Africa and SADC to do
d) Lead people in non-violent collective action to protest the
e) other (please explain)
2) If the mdc does
not do something very creative and powerful to protest this election, what do
you think the prospects for it, and Zimbabwe, are over the next few
3) Some people think
the mdc should be renamed the “Movement for Dithering Change.”
you think this is a fair name for them? Why or why not?
b) What do you think
mdc stands for at this moment?
4) Munofunga here
kuti mdc should take up their seats in parliament? Please give some details in
5) Would you
participate in non-violent protests? What kinds of activities are you prepared
to participate in?
Security guards find it hard to secure their
Zvakwana activists interviewed some Fawcetts Security
guards seen to be working on Election Day. It appeared that guards on day duty
during elections were going to struggle to vote and they were very shaken up by
this. What is troubling is that employers in security firms did not make good
provision for their workers to rotate on shift to allow for voting. We hope that
this attitude will change by the next election. You can email Fawcetts Security
Pictured above: The mdc gets
the red card. A Zvakwana subscriber has emailed us this picture of a new kind of
red card that is circling the streets. If you can’t see it in this email please
What does “leading” look like?
It is quite
obvious that the mdc faces many challenges when considering “what to do”. What
we can suggest to the mdc are a few things:
- Be clear in your language:
mass action does not need to be violent – always refer to non-violent collective
- Mass action does not need
to be a protest: it could be a prayer vigil, a rally, a public meeting, or a
music concert. For example Morgan Tsvangirai could light a candle for peace
following this election, and pay his respects to the POPE at the Cathedral. He
could encourage mdc supporters living within Harare Central constituency to join
him at the Cathedral in prayer. These are statesman like acts that will enhance
his stature while at the same time build confidence in Zimbabweans to come out
and gather together. It might also be worth the mdc considering the use of
“disarming” tactics. So this example of lighting a candle for peace should
include an invitation to robert mugabe; predictability gets us precisely nowhere
as this last election has shown us.
- Organise a big “come meet
your mp after election” gathering (defy POSA!!!!)
- Boycotts are another form
of collective non-violent actions
- Clearly, people need to
hear more from the mdc: get out press statements, mps should organise meetings
to re-connect with the people in their constituencies and ask for ideas and
- Be consultative, not
kudzvinyirira – welcome constructive criticism
Step-by-Step escalation in a non-violent
- Investigation and research:
checking facts and allegations: building an airtight case against opponents and
preparing for counter charges
- Public forums: letters to
editor, etc. Basic public education on issues
- Picketing, leafleting, etc:
public contact with both supporters and opponents
- Demonstrations, rallies,
marches: show of strength by maximizing numbers
- Limited strike: involving
those immediately affected (teachers, for example)
- Boycott: against any
company or product in question
- Limited non-cooperation: by
those most immediately affected (makombi drivers, for example)
- Mass actions:
non-cooperation, civil disobedience, direct action
- General national strike:
countrywide stay away to shut down the economy (longer than one day)
- Establish a parallel
government: so that we are no longer controlled by the small dictator
Rural results have been
nullified becoz according to SADC principles, cattles and goats were not
supposed to vote!
- Osama, Zvakwana activist
Zvakwana members keep in touch
Zimbabweans used our call back number to send text messages and voice mail
during Election Day. Thank you for staying in touch! Here are some comments from
Zimbabweans on the street and at the polls:
Plan B - no way these elections were "free and fair"
Civil disobedience, cat
strikes, karate gungho and all please sukumani and rally behind Dr
So what’s the next
I am so angry on the whole
thing. Is there anything to be done?
Vote zanu pf for
Zvauriwe ugodzosera nyika
kumazhing zhong (don’t let Zimbabwe be sold to the
WOZA warriors lead the charge
ngokwezandla ngangokwenyawo ngakuyahamba. It is about the hand. But if it were
about the feet (in the street), progress could be made. Women of Zimbabwe Arise,
(WOZA) on Election Day 31 March 2005, organised a prayer vigil at Africa Unity
Square in Harare. The focus of the vigil was to pray for peace during the post
election period and to pray for 'divine intervention' to prevent the results
being manipulated as reported in the 2000 and 2002 Elections. Over 1000 WOZA
members from Bulawayo, Harare and rural representatives were en route. Riot
police descended on the women (20 of whom had babies strapped to their backs),
who had already begun to sing and pray. WOZA women aged from 17 to 80 were
arrested and detained overnight in an open courtyard at Harare Central Police
Station. The women were released after a night in custody, under armed guard and
charge with "Obstruction" under the Miscellaneous Offences Act. This attracts a
$ 25 000 fine. The women of WOZA, through this release would like to ask the
first female Vice President of Zimbabwe, Joyce Mujuru to answer these questions.
Where was she when riot police beat women and trampled them? Where was she when
they were denied access to food and lawyers? Where was she when they had to
sleep in an open courtyard? Where was she when they were denied access to
toilets? She must show us if she is woman enough to defend women and their human
rights of dignity and peaceful assembly. We believe that she must know - in
prison or not Zimbabwean women are not free! (You can telephone mujuru on
011-800009). We would like to send this message to Morgan Tsvangirai, MDC
President: You asked us to defend our vote but did not say how. The choice is
now simple - mass action or mass starvation! The hospitalised WOZA women,
recovering from the brutality of the regime, are asking who will take their
place in the streets to fight to free our votes? From a WoZA news statement 4
April 2005. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org
Post elections shortages of basic goods
Welfare Minister paul mangwana yesterday said Zimbabwe had enough food including
basic commodities such as sugar, soap or cooking oil. mangwana instead blamed
shortages on panic buying and on pro-opposition manufacturers whom he said were
creating artificial shortages in a bid to incite people against the government.
If you’d like to set him straight why not send him an SMS to
This time, no court challenges
and no truce! If MDC wants to have a truce with a regime that orchestrated the
turn away of 25% voters and denied Diaspora votes, then we might as well call
them bad apples. Iyezvino tavakuda maleaders that can organise civil
disobedience. Amandla ngawethu!
2008 may be too late
The way the mdc is keeping
quiet, it looks like it’s happy to wait for 2008 for a presidential election to
try boot out the dictator election-style. But mdc, we’ve got news for you: 2008
may be too late! mugabe is already talking about how he wants to stick around in
his same old seat till he’s 100 years old. SABC has interviewed him talking
about how he’s going to increase the seats in parliament to 200, add in a
senate, and link the presidential elections to the parliamentary every five
years. So the next presidential election could only be in 2010! If the mdc takes
up its seats in parliament, it wont have enough presence to block these changes.
mdc if you’re hoping to get another chance at election fevah in 2008, you could
wake up sorely disappointed. mdc the time is now!
The right to resist tyrants
Do the people in
Kyrgyzstan, Burma, Zimbabwe, Lebanon or Iran have the right to stand up to the
powers of state? A great and ancient tradition says they do and argues that
resistance against tyrants is obedience to God. The Christian right of
resistance derives from the premise that humanity owes God greater obedience
than people. A king deprives himself of his governmental authority through his
own wrongdoing and as a result his right to rule over others. Should a ruler
violate the terms of this relationship, the community was within its rights to
depose the king and elect a new one. The power of a king derives from abantu.
Should it be lost, or if the conviction of the people abused, abantu will take
back that which belongs to them. Excerpts from article by Hubertus Hoffmann: to
read the entire article visit:
Munoziva here kuti. . .
that the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) are soon to
be releasing a CD of songs about the Constitution? Zvakwana gives them a big pom
pom. Often it is music and poetry that makes a good bridge between getting
people to know more about their rights. Please email email@example.com for more
One Square Metre Syndrome (OSMS)
The streets of
Harare, once known as the Sunshine City, are littered with rubbish to levels so
disgusting you cannot comprehend what kind of people take ownership of such an
eyesore. How did this come about? You may want to know. It is what I term the
"One Square Metre Syndrome" [OSMS] where an individual throws litter a metre
away from their feet. OSMS is a serious disease that has to be treated and it is
most distressing to note that over 90% of the inhabitants of this once glorious
city are infected. Other cities around the world have realised the need for
inhabitants to take responsibility for the upkeep of their cities and have
managed to rescue the cities from dumpsters. This involved somewhat
unconventional methods of communicating the need to abide by social dictates.
This included spraying with water for fouling the street, citizens' arrests with
fines paid on the spot and such ingenious deterrents. One kind that I believe
would be first of its kind would be picking up litter to fill a garbage bag if
one is found to be infected with OSMS. I am prepared to be the first to respond
if the council takes up the idea. Anyone smart or crazy enough to join me?
Everything the light touches is your kingdom. I believe such drastic action will
go a long way in restoring our city to its former glory and at no cost. Being
smart is not a political issue. Join me. The Harare Smart Team, Brining the
Sunshine back into the City. Contact details: firstname.lastname@example.org or cell phone
011 408 488.
- From letter printed in the Zimbabwe Independent April 1st.
(Maybe this clean-up can start with all the election posters that are flapping
and fraying on our walls, lamp posts and trees?)
FAREWELL TO YOUTH
Yesterday it was
who warmed the drum with your fingers
when you struck the skin.
We, deranged, sang and danced like frogs
our hands touched the blue
while our feet sprang in the air
at the moment of our twilight.
Now who would
that this rebirth would be shrouded
and ready for burial:
who would have thought
we would start to fight
against the ghost
And deep in the
heart of the land
a little bird sings a doleful song
flicking its tail up
Gone back back back!
We have gone back back back!
Zvakwana, Sokwanele, Enough!!
you SPEAK OUT - keep discussion alive, keep information flowing.
Please remember Zvakwana
welcomes feedback, ideas and support for actions.
Enough is enough,
report - Download 290k
|Zimbabwe: Mugabe Says
Media Law to Stay|
Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe says the tough, much criticized media law he
promulgated in 2000 is not going to be repealed.
The Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act has been criticized
by media and rights groups as an attempt by the Zimbabwean government to muzzle
the independent media.
Among other things, the act requires publishing houses and journalists to
apply to a government-appointed commission for a license to operate in Zimbabwe.
Journalists caught practicing without a license face two years in jail, a fine
Four newspapers have been closed and scores of journalists arrested for
falling foul of various sections of the act. To date, none of the journalists
has been convicted.
But President Mugabe says it is a good law and it is here to stay. He says he
sees nothing wrong with requiring journalists to register to operate. In an
interview with South African Broadcasting Corporation he said the law should not
stop "genuine journalists from registering. He added that he did not see any
reason for anyone to be denied registration unless these have been proved to be
what he called "enemies, bitter enemies of the party."
Mr. Mugabe says sections of the act that did not go down well with Zimbabwe's
neighbors and the international community have already been amended.
However, media groups in Zimbabwe say the act is unacceptable and have
challenged the constitutionality of some of its sections to the highest court in
the country. The supreme court has ruled in favor of the government.
The Media Institute of Southern Africa - a media watchdog - feels the law
must go or be reformed. With the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, it is
appealing to the African Union to review the law.
"We cannot live with a law that sends somebody to prison for two years for
just communicating, without him getting a license or being accredited by the
Media [and] Information Commission," said Matthew Takaona, the president of the
Zimbabwe Union of Journalists. "It's primitive."
Mr. Takaona believes the AU will make recommendations that might force Mr.
Mugabe to reconsider.
Report claims evidence of Mugabe
Thursday April 7, 2005
Robert Mugabe was caught "red-handed"
stealing last month's parliamentary election in Zimbabwe when it emerged his
ruling Zanu-PF party had failed to win enough votes, a report claimed today.
A Zimbabwean pro-democracy movement Sokwanele, whose name translates as "enough
is enough", said official figures showed massive ballot stuffing started half an
hour after the polls closed at 7pm when sample counts showed a victory for the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
In the most extreme cases, the group claims
that Zanu-PF more than doubled its support in some constituencies from 6,000 to
16,000 votes in the hours between the polls closing on March 31 and a result
being declared early the next morning.
"The fraud is out, and for all to see," the report said. "There can be no
denying that Zanu-PF have been caught red-handed."
Sokwanele said the fraud was revealed when the turnout figures as of 7.30pm
for 72 out of Zimbabwe's 120 constituencies were mistakenly read out on state
television and radio by officials from the electoral commission.
That meant the group could compare the original turnout figures with the much
higher number of votes reported in the later results. Assuming Zanu-PF would not
use "ghost voter" ballots to increase the opposition share of the vote, the
difference would be the extra votes the party gave to itself.
In the Goromonzi constituency in Mashonaland East province, the electoral
commission put turnout at 15,661 at 7.30pm but the declared results read out
several hours later added up to 26,123 votes: Zanu-PF recorded 16,782 - more
than the announced number of voters - the MDC took 8,578 and 763 ballot papers
were spoiled. Subtracting the 10,462 excess votes from the declared Zanu-PF
total, Sokwanele puts the ruling party behind the MDC on 6320 votes in
The group claims an unadulterated nationwide result would have given the MDC
at least a two-seat majority among elected MPs. That would not have given the
party a majority in parliament, since Mr Mugabe also appointed 30 MPs, but still
represented an important victory to a party struggling to reflect the strength
of domestic opposition to the current leadership.
"Using this windfall information and the results declared for MDC, it is
possible to calculate by a simple matter of arithmetic that the absolute minimum
of seats actually won by the opposition is 62," the report said.
Zanu-PF's two-thirds majority in parliament now allows it to change the
constitution. The MDC has demanded a re-run of the vote.
Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections were declared fair by southern African
observers but western nations have expressed scepticism over the vote and Mr
Mugabe's claims that the allegations of vote rigging are "nonsense".
The foreign secretary, Jack Straw, this week told MPs that thousands of
voters had been turned away and discrepancies between the votes tallied and the
official numbers had emerged. He said there was "strong evidence [the elections]
do not reflect the free democratic will" of the Zimbabwean people.
"Some say this is about Africa versus the west. It is not," he said. "It is
about democracy versus dictatorship. Other Africans, too, have been saying
enough is enough."
The Sokwanele report dealt only with the hours after the polls closed but
said "months of cynical scheming ... the manipulation of the food delivery
system and the cunning rewriting of the election laws, effectively to put Mugabe
appointees in command, with the military to control it" had contributed to the
manipulation of the electoral process.
The US embassy in Harare, which was not granted official observer status but
deployed 25 teams of diplomats to monitor the election, said some polling
stations were intimidatingly close to police stations and "appeared to be
associated with food distribution". At many of them, it said, up to 30% of
would-be voters were turned away.
Read the Sokwanele report posted to this website on 6/4/05here.
Mugabe tightens grip on Zimbabwe
The British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has found time amidst the
electioneering to condemn the poll, which has just seen Robert Mugabe hold on to
power in Zimbabwe. Jack Straw said it was seriously flawed and did not reflect
the free democratic will of the Zimbabwean people.
Zimbabweans queued from the early hours to vote in the
Tony Blair is going to have a busy few weeks, but his great rival is feeling
very relaxed, and sitting pretty.
No, not Michael Howard.
Down here, on Africa's southern tip we have a different perspective.
We know that the man who really stands up to Mr Blair is none other than the
President of faraway Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe.
Mr Mugabe has just fought, and won, an election of his own.
He even called it the "Anti-Blair campaign".
At every rally and press conference, Mr Mugabe rounded on Mr Blair as enemy
number one, the imperialist, itching to restore white rule.
Now, with victory secure, Mr Mugabe is choosing his new government, and
working out how he can change the constitution to tighten his grip on power.
If the past is anything to go by, this will also be a useful time to settle a
The timing is perfect. The pope's death, the royal wedding, that British
The attention of the world is elsewhere and maybe a few opposition activists
need to be softened up a bit. Taught a lesson for standing up to Mr Mugabe so
publicly during the election campaign.
Zimbabwe has been the bane of my life throughout my posting in Johannesburg.
It has been the story in Southern Africa, but one that is always just out of
The potential penalty for working in Zimbabwe without accreditation
is two years in jail
The Zimbabwean government imposed a ban on the BBC in July of 2001.
I arrived in August of 2001. And I am due to leave in August of this year.
I have had to report on Zimbabwe week after week, on the radio and
television, for four years, without being able to go there.
Well, almost without being able to go there.
There have been one or two opportunities. The cricket world cup a couple of
years ago, for example.
The Zimbabweans were so eager to host some matches that they promised to
allow in all sports reporters. So, for a few strange weeks we all became cricket
journalists, and went to Zimbabwe.
Other trips have been more furtive, and more frightening.
The potential penalty for working in Zimbabwe without accreditation is two
years in jail.
wants to spend two years in a Zimbabwean jail.
Zanu-PF: 78 seats
MDC: 41 seats
Independent: 1 seat
Elected seats: 120 seats
Seats appointed by the president: 30
sweeps to victory
So let's just say that those other trips were very carefully planned, and
short and sweet.
So it has been frustrating.
Not least because I have become so moved by the plight of Zimbabweans, as
they struggle with repression and economic decline.
Here in the Johannesburg bureau, we all do our best to keep in touch with
Zimbabwe, talking to everyone who passes through, reading every website and
chatting to friends in the country.
But it is not the same as being there, and the longer the ban goes on, the
greater the risk that we end up being out of touch with events in Zimbabwe.
That is something we have to watch very carefully.
It is no consolation, but there were other people excluded from this election
who have far more reason to feel aggrieved.
Nobody knows for sure how many Zimbabweans have fled abroad during the past
five years. More than three million is a common estimate.
The ruling Zanu-PF party has dismissed charges of
That is about a quarter of Zimbabwe's entire population.
We do know that the majority have come here, to South Africa.
I have got to know quite a few of these immigrants in recent months, and
their stories are depressingly consistent.
Some are escaping persecution and even torture, but most came here just to
make a living.
Many are well educated, eloquent people, who left their families behind.
And life in South Africa has often been difficult.
I have been into squalid flats in disgusting run-down blocks, where there is
no running water and where 10 or 12 Zimbabweans sleep on the floor, sharing
I know Zimbabweans who were teachers at home, but who work here as
housemaids, security guards, waiters, or who just sell whatever they can on the
Last week, I met James. I have changed his name to keep him safe.
In Zimbabwe, he was an air-conditioning technician, who was threatened by the
security forces because he was a union activist.
He said people would come up to him, and tell him they knew where he lived.
"They would say, 'don't be surprised if you wake up one day in hospital, or
something happens which is even worse'. What kind of life is that?"
President Mugabe has decided that the people who ran away from his
rule, must not threaten his grip on power
So James decided to leave and now his life is miserable.
He shares a room with drunks and drop-outs, it is the only place he can
afford, and survives on occasional work.
If things were better at home, he would go back at the drop of a hat.
So, not surprisingly, James followed last month's elections very closely.
He had a huge interest in how they turned out, but, and here is the problem,
he had no say.
Zimbabweans abroad are not allowed to vote.
President Mugabe has decided that the people who ran away from his rule, must
not threaten his grip on power.
There is a huge irony in all of this.
When James does put together a few pounds he does what most Zimbabwean exiles
do, he sends money back to his destitute family.
Last year Zimbabwean exiles sent home about £60 million.
In other words, the diaspora, driven from home and denied the vote, is now
helping to keep Zimbabwe from total collapse.
And, by implication, helping to keep President Mugabe in power. Which, come
to think of it, is all very convenient.
No one could accuse the Zimbabwean leader of being naive.
Which is just as well because if you want to outfox Tony Blair, you need to
keep your wits about you.
From Our Own Correspondent was broadcast on Thursday, 7 April, 2005 at
1100 BST on BBC Radio 4. Please check the programme
schedules for World Service transmission times.
Fuel and food shortages hit Zimbabwe
Thu Apr 7, 2005 10:10 AM BST
HARARE (Reuters) - Fresh fuel and essential food shortages have hit Zimbabwe
barely a week after President Robert Mugabe's ruling party romped to victory in
The shortages are stoking fears the country will miss its inflation and
growth targets, hobbling the recovery of an economy which has been in a deep
slump for five years.
Pumps at most fuel stations in the capital Harare have run dry over the past
two days with motorists bracing for the long queues they had to tolerate for
much of last year.
"We ran out this morning and we don't know whether we will get any supplies
tomorrow," a Harare petrol attendant said.
The fuel shortfall is largely a result of an acute foreign currency shortage.
Zimbabwe has been without international funding because of differences over
Mugabe's policies, particularly the seizure of white-owned farms.
Foreign exchange auctions controlled by the central bank are only meeting
about 8 percent of market needs, analysts say.
Cooking oil and the staple maize meal were also scarce in shops in the city
centre, with some shoppers bulk-buying the few stocks left in a couple of shops
although a government minister gave assurances that maize-meal supplies were
back to normal.
"We haven't had cooking oil for a few days now. Some people have been
hoarding for days in anticipation of these shortages," said an assistant at a
city centre supermarket.
Maize-meal supplies were already erratic in both rural and urban areas in
recent months with supermarkets out of stock for days on end. This had become a
central issue in pre-election campaigns with Mugabe pledging that no one would
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party, in power since independence in 1980, increased its
grip on power after trouncing the Movement for Democratic Change in polls which
the opposition and many Western powers condemned as rigged.
Analysts have predicted a worsening of economic woes as Zimbabwe seeks to
import 1.2 million tonnes of grain at an estimated US$250 million to feed a
third of the population.
This follows a poor harvest due to drought and inadequate seed and fertiliser
support to small rural farmers who largely benefited from Mugabe's controversial
seizure of white-owned farms for redistribution to landless blacks.
Critics say the seizures led to the collapse in commercial agriculture in a
country that was once a regional breadbasket but Mugabe says drought, not land
seizures, are to blame for food shortages.
© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.