BY OUR STAFF
RESERVE Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Dr Gideon Gono's three
children and Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri's son are among the eight
children of top government officials facing deportation from Australia, The
Standard can reveal.
On Friday, Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer
announced that Australia would deport children of Zimbabwean government
officials and other people on the sanctions list studying in that country.
"I have also decided to initiate steps to revoke the student visas
held by eight children of senior members of the Mugabe regime," he said.
"Once their visas have been revoked, the government will take the
appropriate measures to have these individuals removed from the country."
Downer said "a further two adult children who are children of a senior
Mugabe regime figure" wanted to study in Australia but he personally
intervened to have their applications rejected. He, however, declined to
reveal the identity of the "senior figure".
Although the Foreign Minister did not mention the names of the
children, reports from Australia indicated yesterday that among those who
will be deported are Gono's twin daughters Pride and Praise, who are
studying tourism and hospitality at La Trobe University. His son Passion,
studying music production in Sydney will also not be spared. Chihuri's son,
Sylvester, also faces deportation. It was not clear where he is studying.
Downer however said the majority of the 1 512 Zimbabweans on student
visas in Australia would not be affected by the new actions.
"These measures will not affect the overwhelming majority of
Zimbabwean students in Australia whom we are pleased have chosen to study
here and who help to maintain the strong people-to-people links between our
countries," Downer said. "Rather, they (measures) are an extension of the
measures the government has already imposed against those individuals we
have identified as being responsible for the dire political and economic
situation besetting Zimbabwe or for the egregious human rights abuses in
The latest measures, said Downer, are in response to Mugabe's failure
to pay "heed either to international opinion or his own people". He said the
president "continues to display a complete disregard for democracy and human
Just before he completed his mission in Harare, former US Ambassador
to Zimbabwe, Christopher Dell told The Standard that legislation had already
been crafted specifically for the deportation of government officials'
children studying in the US. He said they were waiting for President Bush to
sign the legislation before it could be effected.
Gono and Chihuri were not immediately available for comment yesterday.
But Presidential spokesperson George Charamba said they were not moved by
the Australian government's actions. He said the Australians were trying to
save face on the exodus of Zimbabwean students who are leaving that country
While attending the Langkawi dialogue a fortnight ago, Charamba says,
they met "many Zimbabwean students" who had already left Australian
institutions "mostly because of racial attitudes".
"In a way," Charamba, said, "what the Australian government is trying
to do is to politic on the inevitable. Our people were leaving whether or
not they were the children of Charamba or whoever, but because of the
intolerant racial attitudes of that society, and the uncompetitive pricing
of the Australian education system compared to the rest of Southeast Asia.
We want to advise the Australians that they are just one small country in
the world of education."
Charamba disclosed they wanted to establish a Malaysian Presidential
Scholarship similar to the one at Fort Hare in South Africa. He would not
It is estimated that over 300 children of government and Zanu PF
officials are living abroad, where they are enjoying "First World" health
and education services.
By Nqobani Ndlovu
BULAWAYO - Zanu PF politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa, not known to
publicly discuss his past, including the period he was incarcerated on
allegations of attempting to topple President Robert Mugabe's government,
says he is about to break his silence in a book he is writing.
Dabengwa, who was known as the Black Russian during the struggle, told
The Standard his book would focus on the time he spent in prison when he was
incarcerated for allegedly attempting to overthrow Mugabe, and the
Gukurahundi massacres among other issues.
Judith Todd in her latest book, Through the Darkness; A Life in
Zimbabwe, which is being serialised by The Standard, offers some insights
into why Dabengwa and Lookout Masuku fell foul of Mugabe's government during
the early 1980s.
Dabengwa will become the latest senior Zanu PF official after Joshua
Nkomo, the late Vice-President, and former secretary general Edgar Tekere to
write his memoirs.
Enos Nkala, the former defence minister and Zanu PF founder member is
also writing his book, which will only be released after his death because
"it will be too hot".
Vice-President Joseph Msika and Zanu PF national chairman John Nkomo
have indicated they, too, will be writing about PF Zapu's role during the
struggle for Zimbabwe's independence. There is general consensus that the
party's role has deliberately been de-emphasised.
Tekere's book, A Lifetime of a Struggle, released earlier this year
caused a serious rift in the ruling party, forcing Mugabe to warn his
colleagues to stop using autobiographies in their campaigns to unseat him.
But Dabengwa, who was also the intelligence chief of the PF Zapu's
armed wing, Zipra during the liberation war, said the "time" had come for
him to "talk" about his past.
He said unlike Nkala, he will release the autobiography while he is
still alive to "face off" with those who might be harbouring plans to
challenge his revelations.
"Time has come for me to talk all about my political career as a young
man," Dabengwa said in an interview.
"It will talk about the part I have played right through the
liberation struggle to post-independence and events that took place when I
was incarcerated during Gukurahundi."
In 1982 Dabengwa, together with the late Masuku, a Zipra commander and
four others faced treason charges which were quashed by the Supreme Court
for lack of credible evidence.
They were arrested shortly after the alleged discovery of arms caches
at farms owned by PF Zapu and were detained for nearly four years despite
Mugabe accused Dabengwa of writing a letter to Mikhail Gorbachev
(former USSR president) allegedly asking for assistance "to topple the
Zimbabwean government". Both the Soviets and Dabengwa, however, denied the
Masuku died shortly after being released while Dabengwa was later
given a Cabinet post in a unified government after the signing of the Unity
Accord in 1987.
Masuku was belatedly declared a national hero, but only after intense
"I will release the book soon while I am alive," Dabengwa said.
"There are many that will wish to challenge some of the things that I
will write but I am prepared to face whatever challenge."
Zanu PF chairman, John Nkomo - who is also a former PF Zapu senior
official - has said he will write his own book that will set the "record
straight" on the role played by the liberation movement.
Joshua Nkomo's former deputy, Vice-President Joseph Msika, has in the
past complained about "misrepresentations of the role played by PF Zapu"
during the liberation struggle.
He says the history of the liberation struggle is "full of
distortions" and "misrepresentations" which have to be corrected as it omits
the contributions made by PF Zapu and Zipra.
Pathisa Nyathi, a prominent historian, said Dabengwa's book is hugely
anticipated especially if he is prepared to lift the lid on the secrecy
surrounding the execution of the Gukurahundi military campaign.
"It is important for him (to write a book) since he was on the
receiving end of government brutality," Nyathi said. "But he has to be bold
enough to tell us what happened in the aftermath of his arrest.
"He should also shed light on events leading to his arrest and what
happened to the arms, (whether there) were any intentions to topple the then
Prime Minister (Mugabe), his incarceration and so forth."
In the past, Dabengwa has refused to talk about Gukurahundi insisting
that it was "dangerous to open old wounds".
"What we have been told so far has been coming from the Zanu-PF side,"
Nyathi said "We need to know what happened from him and not the patriotic
history that we have been subjected to.
"We need multiple voices as we are tired of the official version of
Between 1992 and 2000, Dabengwa served as the Minister of Home Affairs
and in 1991 he became chairman of the Matabeleland Zambezi Water Project,
which he still heads today.
In 2000, he contested and lost the Nkulumane seat to MDC
vice-president, Gibson Sibanda.
Again in 2005 he lost a senate seat to Rita Ndlovu of the Arthur
BY OUR STAFF
AWARD winning photojournalist Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi will tomorrow
appear before a hearing constituted by Media and Information Commission
(MIC) which intends to cancel his accreditation.
The hearing, initially set for 10 August was postponed after Mukwazhi's
lawyer, Harrison Nkomo of Mtetwa and Nyambirai, requested its postponement.
Mukwazhi was summoned by the MIC to appear before a panel which will
conduct a hearing at the organisation's offices in Harare.
The MIC wrote to Mukwazhi last month notifying him of its intention to
cancel his accreditation.
It claimed the photojournalist misled the commission by not indicating
names of buyers of his media products.
But Mukwazhi's lawyers are questioning the legality of the panel. They
also expressed concern over the "Notice of Intention to Cancel
Accreditation" which was issued before the hearing was convened.
"This, to us, appears as if a decision has already been reached before
our client is called to answer to these allegations in violation of the audi
alteram parterm rule," Nkomo said. "In that regard, it would appear as the
hearing is a mere formality when a decision has already been made."
Mukwazhi's troubles appear to have started following his recent run-in
with Jocelyn Chiwenga, the temperamental wife of the Commander of the
Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Lt General Constantine Chiwenga.
Mukwazhi was reportedly attacked by Chiwenga while covering a visit to
a Harare wholesale store by MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai to assess the
impact of the government's on-going price blitz.
BY OUR STAFF
BOTH factions of the opposition MDC said yesterday they had confidence
in the SADC initiative to solve the Zimbabwean crisis though regional
leaders had not publicly talked tough about Harare at the end of their
summit held in Zambia last week.
As in the run up to the SADC summit in Dar es Salaam in March this
year, an earlier robust offensive, which saw Zimbabwe's justice minister
telling the summit that no political reforms were needed in Zimbabwe,
"because we are a democracy like any other democracy in the world" appeared
to neutralise attempts to read Harare the riot act over its crackdown on
opponents and failing to ease the country's economic meltdown.
Western diplomats interpreted this as another sign that Southern
African nations do not have the resolve to influence President Robert
Mugabe, who has drawn international criticism.
Southern African leaders in the end did not openly urge Mugabe to
enact reforms in his country during the regional summit.
Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa, the new chairman of the Southern
Africa Development Community (SADC), said the group of countries had relied
on a report submitted by South Africa on Zimbabwe's crisis and had not
raised the issue with Mugabe.
South African President Thabo Mbeki, who has been mediating between
the Zimbabwean government and the opposition, submitted the report, which
outlined his efforts, to the SADC summit.
"We are quite happy that Mr Thabo Mbeki was capable enough and was
moving in the right direction," Mwanawasa said.
Emerging from the summit, regional leaders issued a communiqué
welcoming "progress" of the talks between Zanu PF and the MDC.
Mwanawasa who once likened Zimbabwe to a sinking Titanic said Zimbabwe's
problems were exaggerated. The statement appeared to mean that the leaders
had sided with Mugabe who is accused of pursuing policies that have
impoverished a once prosperous country.
But Nelson Chamisa, a spokesperson of the Morgan Tsvangirai-led
faction of the MDC suggested Mugabe had been roasted by the regional
leaders, keen to solve the Zimbabwean crisis.
"We know he (Mugabe) was told to change his way of running the
country," said Chamisa. "We have full confidence in the efforts of the
leaders and we want the SADC initiative to be fulfilled."
The MDC spokesperson made the comments after getting a briefing from
an MDC delegation he said was still in Zambia late yesterday.
Gabriel Chaibva, a spokesperson of the rival faction led by Arthur
Mutambara said yesterday the secrecy surrounding what was discussed during
the closed door meeting showed that regional leaders were concerned about
"This is clearly indicative that Zimbabwe is still on the agenda of
the regional leaders," Chaibva said.
Members of the civil society organisations who were also in Zambia
said they were well aware that Mugabe had a torrid time during a closed door
three-hour session that discussed the Zimbabwean crisis.
Sources said an attempt by Mugabe's delegation to blame everything on
sanctions was queried by some leaders who pointed at the ongoing price blitz
as a creation of the government.
"The leaders could not have come out of the meeting and said Mugabe
must go. They could not just reprimand him in public," said a member of a
civic society organisation that returned from Zambia yesterday.
BY OUR STAFF
THE Midlands State University (MSU) has defied a directive by
government for universities to freeze fees, The Standard can reveal.
Other institutions of higher learning such as the University of
Zimbabwe (UZ) were reportedly considering raising their fees.
MSU two weeks ago told students fees would go up from $109 000 to
between $4 million and $15 million for the new semester, depending on their
According to a notice from the Midlands State University senior
assistant registrar N Shava dated 3 August, registration and lectures were
due to commence on 6 August.
But students could only register once they had paid the required
MSU students who spoke to The Standard said they were not given
reasonable time to raise the new fees.
The new fee structure was posted on the university's website, only
three days before the start of the current semester.
"Some of us have no access to the internet during vacation," said
Samuel Dube, a fourth year student, "so we only got to know about the fees
when we returned to campus."
The students also complained about the residence fees, pegged at $4
"Such exorbitant accommodation fees only makes life harder for
non-resident students as landlords in Senga always charge twice the
university's residence fees," said Rumbidzai Mamvura, a student at the
Senga residential area provides alternative accommodation for the
students as the university has limited accommodation.
Houses in Senga also expose students to health hazards as they are
characterised by burst and blocked sewage pipes.
Amid the fee hikes and poor living conditions, a group of students
from the Faculty of Social Sciences face the prospect of repeating a
semester after they failed to complete a module because there was no
"We are supposed to be going on attachment this semester but we might
not," said a student from the faculty. "We will have to pay fees to repeat
the semester and that is our main grievance. It is not out of our own making
that we did not have a lecturer."
The university is experiencing a critical staff shortage, particularly
in the faculties of commerce, science and technology and natural resource
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
THE on-going government-sponsored price blitz has forced the closure
of many businesses in rural areas, The Standard has learnt.
The government in June ordered all businesses to sell their
commodities at prices obtaining as of 18 June, a move which economic
analysts have described as self-defeating and likely to cripple the private
Several rural business people interviewed by The Standard last week
said the future of their businesses hung in the balance because of the price
They complained that they were failing to source basic commodities for
resale because manufacturers and wholesalers were unable to provide them
with the goods.
At many growth points visited by The Standard most of the businesses
had closed down while others were only open when they had something to sell.
"What the government has done is virtually killing the rural
businessman," said one businessman at Nyanyadzi Growth Point in Chimanimani
District. "It does not make economic sense for me to sell a commodity using
the 18 June price because I need to factor in transport and wages."
Nyanyadzi is about 100 kilometres from Mutare.
The businessman, who requested anonymity for fear of victimization,
said he drives to Mutare almost every week to get supplies but at times he
comes back empty-handed after wasting fuel.
Unlike farmers, who get cheap government fuel at $15 000 a litre,
rural businesspeople buy fuel from the black market at $2.5 million for five
Another rural businessman at Birchenough Bridge in Buhera district
said his "business empire" - a bar, butchery, grocery and food outlet - was
on the verge of collapse because of the price controls.
"I buy beer and other commodities from either Chipinge or Mutare
because manufacturers no longer provide transport," he complained. "In most
of the cases, my businesses are closed because there will be nothing to
Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesman on industry
and international trade, Mufandaedza Hove, said the crisis being faced by
rural businessmen was predictable.
"The cost of acquiring goods is higher for rural business people
because they have to factor in transport costs. I would not be surprised if
some of them have shut down. If they haven't they will do so soon," Hove
Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC) president Marah
Hativagone said just like businesses in urban areas, businesses in rural
areas were also affected by the on-going price blitz.
"We have not done a study to ascertain the impact of price controls
but what I know is that every business is affected. This means rural
businesses are not spared by the blitz," she said.
The ZNCC president said the association was advocating for the
government to revert to Instrument 125 of 2003 where prices of only 19 basic
commodities were controlled.
"The taskforce is giving itself a cumbersome job by wanting to control
everything from toilet paper to bread," she said. "We are advocating that
they control only 19 basic commodities."
Among the 19 basic commodities are bread, flour, milk, maize- meal and
The Minister of Industry and International Trade Obert Mpofu was not
immediately available for comment.
By Kholwani Nyathi
BULAWAYO - A new farmer, Langton Masunda, has applied to the High
Court for the police to arrest Zanu PF national chairman, John Nkomo's
workers for allegedly interfering with his safari business.
Masunda and Nkomo are embroiled in a battle for the control of Jijima
Lodge at Lugo Ranch. Both claim the ranch was allocated to them under the
fast-track land reform programme.
Nkomo has sought Masunda's eviction from the property, but the
application is yet to be dealt with by the High Court.
Nkomo lost an earlier case where he wanted Masunda to be interdicted
from carrying out hunting operations at the disputed farm.
In the latest case Masunda wants Clifford Sibanda, a manager at Nkomo's
Gwayi Conservancy farm, and Watson Chipa, a professional hunter, to be
imprisoned for 90 days for violating court orders issued against Nkomo and
Masunda says Sibanda and Chipa have on many occasions interfered with
the "use, occupation and enjoyment of Jijima Lodge, its environs and hunting
operations" in violation of court orders.
Sibanda is the first respondent and Chipa the second in the papers
filed on 30 July.
"On no less than five occasions in the space of a fortnight, the first
respondent and his employees have caused veld fires deliberately destroying
plant and animal life in my farm and surrounding areas," Masunda said in his
"The first respondent was questioned by the police on the matter and
he readily admitted he had caused the fires but sought to argue that he was
lighting the fires on his own farm."
Masunda also accuses the two of placing baits and hunting within the
environs of Jijima Lodge, chasing away his clients who were on hunts,
frustrating hunting operations by scaring away game and harassing his
He wants them to be "found in contempt of court and sentenced to 90
They were given 10 days to respond but it was not immediately clear
whether the two had filed opposing papers. They were said to be away on
business when The Standard sought their comment.
Nkomo's mobile phones went unanswered. The two men have filed several
counter suits against each other and at one time the hunting camp was sealed
off by armed police after Nkomo pressed on with attempts to evict Masunda.
BY WALTER MARWIZI
IT was once a subject that was quickly brushed aside when top company
HIV/Aids was neither their creation nor their companies' problem, they
would argue in response to calls by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions
(ZCTU) for employers to roll out HIV/Aids programmes.
But as the pandemic ravages the country's workforce, it is now clear
progressive business organisations are fast realising that HIV/Aids is not
just a problem for individual workers or the government but a threat to
At a recent Employers' Confederation of Zimbabwe (Emcoz) and
International Labour Organisation (ILO) breakfast meeting in Harare,
business leaders made it clear the time had come for the "sleeping giant
(business) to wake up" and be involved in the fight against HIV/Aids at the
It was not just mere talk as David Mutambara, the executive director
of the Zimbabwe Business Council on Aids (ZBCA) presented a paper on
HIV/Aids as a business risk to Chief Executive Officers and human resources
ZBCA was established by 13 companies in 2004 and has a secretariat
which is examining strategies on how business can respond to the growing
pandemic. Its mission is to strengthen and widen the business sector
response to HIV/Aids.
Mutambara said time when HIV/Aids was treated just as a social problem
was over. The pandemic was not just a social problem but a business risk,
just like any other that threatened the survival of business operations.
He revealed that many business organisations are still in denial about
the pandemic, have all along failed to understand that they create
environments that allow people to contract HIV/ Aids.
For example, Mutambara said, business organisations created workplaces
which brought together different people who interacted, and ended up forming
relationships. Others attended workshops which took workers to places where
they ended up forming relationships.
"Businesses are perpetrators," Mutambara said. "They cannot say they
have nothing to do with the way workers contract HIV/Aids."
Mutambara, who is conducting research into how HIV/Aids affected
business, said companies lose a lot of money when their workers take leave
due to illness related to the pandemic or any other ailments.
The Labour Act makes it mandatory for employers to pay sick workers a
full salary for three months while they are away from the workplace.
Armed with a certificate signed by registered medical practitioner,
workers can also get an additional 90 days sick leave and employers will
still be obliged to pay them, this time half pay.
But even if workers do not go on leave, at symptomatic stage which is
characterised by opportunistic infections, companies suffer from reduced
productivity and have to bear with increasing costs of medical care.
For those workers at chronic illness stages, companies could be forced
to retire them with payouts, and sometimes bear the funeral expenses.
Afterwards, they would have again to bear the costs of staff recruitment and
training new staff.
Mutambara said supposing many workers were down with HIV/Aids-related
illness, this could be disastrous for any company.
"What is needed is for companies to shift their thinking, not to look
at HIV/Aids as a social responsibility but as a business risk," he said.
"This matter should feature on the agenda of the board, in line with other
"The board must set targets and monitor progress," said Mutambara who
suggested that chief executive officers must also be assessed for the
performance on the matter.
Business, he said, had the greatest potential, indeed more than
anybody, to roll out vibrant HIV/Aids programmes.
Already a number of companies have started these programmes. These
include mining companies which now provide ARVs for infected workers. Other
companies such as Barclays Bank, Zimsun and Nestle Zimbabwe have started
programmes aimed at mitigating the effects while others are doing it
Workers' representatives who have all along called on business to come
up with these interventions have welcomed the move.
Wellington Chibebe, ZCTU's secretary general, however cautioned the
programmes should not be like those of the National Aids Council which have
largely benefited the elite.
"We are now singing from the same hymn sheet, but what is important is
to ensure that the workers and not the top managers should be the
beneficiaries of such schemes," said Chibebe who believes the interventions
are long overdue.
It's not just the ZBCA that has taken the initiative to research into
the impact of HIV/AIids on business.
The African Institute of Biomedical Science and Technology wants to
develop tools that will be used by company bosses to measure the impact of
the pandemic on business.
The model which is for the Southern African region will first be
applied in Zimbabwe.
An official of the institute told The Standard it was cheaper for
business to come up with intervention programmes than to let their employees
succumb to the disease without any assistance.
BY OUR STAFF
BULAWAYO - A magistrates' court has freed a Gwanda commercial farmer
who was arrested last year for allegedly threatening to shoot two war
veterans who wanted to "kill" him.
Gary Earl Akeroyd, the owner of Todds Guest House along
Gwanda-Beitbridge road was charged with attempted murder following a scuffle
with Sibangilizwe Ncube and Muchaneta Ndlovu of Tshabezi Resettlement area
near West Nicholson.
The fight was a culmination of a long-running wrangle over the lodge
as the war veterans wanted to force Akeroyd to abandon the guest house.
At one time, Labour and Social Welfare deputy minister, Abednico Ncube
reportedly threatened to take-over the lodge.
Akeroyd was charged under section 189 (1) of the Criminal Law
(Codification and Reform) Act, Chapter 9:23 after he fired in the air to
scare away the war veterans who "were apparently drunk".
A fight then ensued pitting Akeroyd and his employee, Mike Dube, on
the one had and Sibangilizwe Ncube and Ndlovu on the other.
The two war veterans claimed the farmer wanted to kill them when he
fired into the air.
But Gwanda magistrate, Owen Thagwi, dismissed the State's case saying
it lacked merit.
Akeroyd was represented by Advocate Nicholas Mathonsi, of Coghlan &
Welsh Legal Practitioners.
According to court documents, Ncube and Ndlovu challenged Dube to a
fist fight near their homesteads. The incident took place on 20 October 2006
The two war veterans who had allegedly spent the day drinking at
Akeroyd's Todd's Kiosk were allegedly offended "by the fact that Akeroyd had
stopped his vehicle to urinate close to their gate".
When Akeroyd tried to help his employee, Ncube advanced towards him
"shouting that he wanted to kill a white man".
"Fearing for his safety and that of his vehicle, Akeroyd pulled out
his shotgun and fired one shot into the air to scare away Ncube who had
started throwing stones at him," court papers read in part.
By ZVIPO MUZAMBI
Chegutu District Hospital has stopped performing surgery and is
minimising admissions because of constant water and power cuts,
Standardhealth has learnt.
Amid claims by Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa), that it does
not interrupt water supplies to hospitals, Chegutu hospital has been
hard-hit by erratic water supplies. The crisis started three weeks ago.
Dr Munyaradzi Mazonde, the acting District Medical Officer, told
Standardhealth the problem of water and electricity had been prevalent for a
long time and has worsened, as both the hospital borehole and generator were
"This problem has been going on for a very long time," Mazonde said,
"and has since worsened because our borehole including the generator which
we used to pump water have not been functioning for years now. It is now
impossible for the hospital to spend a full day with electricity and water."
As part of their efforts to cope with the water and power shortages,
Mazonde said the hospital had stopped performing surgery and was restricting
"What we do is to try to minimise admissions as much as possible and
we have had to stop performing surgery, particularly procedures that require
electricity-driven machines," Mazonde said. "As for water, we send our
vehicles to a nearby hotel to borrow some as they have a borehole."
He, however, said problems always arise as at times they are forced to
admit more patients, citing a recent incident where the hospital received
many patients from Kadoma after an outbreak of diarrhoea in the town.
Mazonde said they had written to the Mayor of Chegutu and also
approached Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority in an effort to negotiate
so that they are spared the water and power cuts.
"I have written a letter to the mayor for assistance but he is still
to respond. Zesa, however, said the lines that support the hospital also
support a significant number of households so they cannot spare us," Mazonde
BY BERTHA SHOKO
KINGDOM Financial Holdings boss Nigel Chanakira says it is about time
Zimbabweans played a part in revamping the health sector for their own
Chanakira spoke as he applauded the launch of the Zimbabwe Health
Access Trust (ZiHAT).
ZiHAT, an initiative of Zimbabwe Medical Association, groups
Zimbabweans in the United States of America, Switzerland, United Kingdom and
Canada who are bound by a common desire to restore high standards that
Zimbabwe's health sector used to enjoy.
Chanakira was speaking at the official launch of the ZiHAT recently
when he challenged Zimbabweans to have leadership skills and take up
responsibility to solve their own problems.
"A motivational speaker once said that the biggest problem in Africa
was not one of poverty or illiteracy," Chanakira said, "rather the biggest
problem in Africa is lack of leadership.
"It is no use being negative about things going on in the country and
expecting a positive turnaround. We create the world we expect by what we
allow our minds to dwell on.
"As leaders, we must adopt a positive mind-set that only sees
possibilities and therefore begins to bring into existence a world without
limits. Not to say we disregard the reality on the ground, but we look
beyond temporary setbacks and create mechanisms for change."
Chanakira urged Zimbabweans to stop whining and talking about their
problems and instead do something to improve and solve these abnormalities.
He also urged the business community to undertake more social responsibility
programmes that benefit their respective communities instead of only
concentrating on making profits.
"Transformation is the ability to cause change within a group of
people, a community and indeed a nation," Chanakira said. "For me, it is
seeing a situation that touches your conviction as to being wrong, unjust
and blatantly immoral and taking steps to correct the scenario.
"It absolutely enrages me when Zimbabweans at home and in the Diaspora
willingly engage in conversations that strip our pride as Zimbabweans. And
you expect positive change? At a time when there has been no greater need in
our society as we see today, companies cut the budgets on corporate social
"We should not deafen our ears to the cries of help by focusing on
creating wealth for ourselves; rather we are only successful when we help
others to reach their goals."
Chanakira commended ZiHAT for having vision enough to try and make a
difference but urged the trustees to work hard to keep the programme afloat.
"Whilst I applaud the visionaries of ZiHAT, who have decided not to be
prisoners of the environment and translated their concern into positive
action," he said. "We ought to be the change we want to see and we can only
do this through the relentless and selfless dedication to the needs we see
in our society and walking the talk.
"Too many seminars and workshops are done, too little action occurs
thereafter. We have the resources within ourselves to put action to our
Also speaking on the same occasion Chairman of ZiHAT, Dr Paul
Chimedza, said they had decided to set up the trust because the "harsh
realities of the shortfalls" in Zimbabwe's health sector could not be
ignored any longer.
"In the past couple of months a few concerned men and women decided to
take the temperature of our healthcare delivery system as a nation,"
Chimedza said. "The reading was certainly not very encouraging. We have all,
at one point or the other, come face-to-face with the harsh realities of the
shortfalls of our health delivery system.
"It may be a relative that did not receive timely intervention due to
lack of medical equipment, women in remote villages having to travel long
journeys for medical attention due to understaffed health centres or local
clinics, or the unavailability of drugs, resulting in medical complications.
"However, the good news is that we believe as Zimbabweans, we have the
capacity and the stamina to ensure that our healthcare delivery system is
second to none. Instead of joining the masses in lamenting over the state of
affairs, instead of cursing the dark, we have decided to light the candle."
ZiHAT's Big hat concept is that everyone can contribute something.
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
THE ruling Zanu PF has embarked on a purge of Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) activists in Mashonaland Central Province in an effort to
weaken the opposition party ahead of next year's elections, The Standard was
told last week.
MDC organising secretary for Muzarabani district, Ging Dhlamini, said
he was severely assaulted by alleged Zanu PF youths two weeks ago, and
scores of MDC supporters had gone into hiding since Vice-President Joice
Mujuru addressed a rally in the district on 4 August.
"Scores of our members are now in hiding because Zanu PF militia and
traditional leaders are targeting us. They have told us to stop building our
structures or holding any political meetings," said Dhlamini, who was
assaulted on 5 August.
He said Zanu PF youths accused him of being "a puppet of the West"
because he was senior member of the opposition party in the area.
Dhlamini said other MDC activists who were assaulted include Farai
Pambayi (Dambakurima ward chairman), Constance Dzingirai (ward councillor)
and Stanford Maramba, the opposition party's youth chairman.
The three MDC leaders, he said, were "ordered" not to leave their
homes or report the matter to the police until after five days.
"I managed to escape," Dhlamini said, "but I heard the condition of my
colleagues is not good, especially Pambayi. Reports say he can't even walk."
According to a medical report prepared by Doctor Julia Musiriri of St
Albert's Mission Hospital, Dhlamini suffered "multiple scalp deep abrasions,
deep abrasions left side face, deep abrasion on left shoulder and mild
swelling left chest."
The report said the amount of force used was moderate but "injuries
are a danger to life".
When Dhlamini reported the assault case at Chadereka Police post, he
was told to go and make a complaint in Harare apparently because the
officers were afraid of handling the matter.
Efforts to get a comment from Zanu PF information and publicity
secretary, Dr Nathan Shamuyarira or Mujuru were fruitless.
Over the past years, Zanu PF has been using traditional leaders, youth
militia and national security agents to prevent the MDC from campaigning
freely or setting up its structures, especially in rural areas.
The MDC is the only credible opposition party that has presented a
serious challenge to Zanu PF, which as been in power since the country's
independence in 1980.
BY VUSUMUZI SIFILE
THE National Social Security Authority (NSSA) last week sent a team of
investigators to determine if Surface Investments - an oilseed extraction
company in Chitungwiza that was forced to close on 6 August because of
dangerous working conditions - could be allowed to re-open.
The factory was closed after one worker, Evans Nyaumwe, had his leg
crushed by a conveyor belt as he was removing waste cotton, a task that is
normally done by a front end loader. The Standard understands a number of
other workers were also injured and hospitalised, and discharged on 12
August. But the company says only Nyaumwe was injured. Nyaumwe is currently
hospitalised in Chitungwiza, where he is reportedly recovering.
When the factory closed, NSSA specified some requirements that had to
be met before the factory could re-open. It is understood that the NSSA team
ordered that one of the two units at the factory, which processes soya bean
products, should re-open. The cotton processing section, however, remains
NSSA general manager for safety and research, Benjamin Mthethwa, on
Thursday said they would only commission the re-opening of the factory when
all the necessary requirements are met.
"Unless those issues we asked them to attend to have been addressed to
our satisfaction, the factory still remains shut," said Mthethwa. He however
refused to give details of the specific issues that have to be addressed,
saying doing so would be "unethical".
But the legal advisor for Surface Investments, Succeed Takundwa, on
Friday was singing a different tune, saying they had since "complied with
all the safety majors pointed out by NSSA and invited them to re-inspect".
He said they resumed operations on 16 August, the same day Mthethwa said the
"factory still remains shut".
"There was only one major accident in which a worker lost a leg.
Others were small accidents. The company had taken all the safety and
security measures except a few issues which were pointed out by the NSSA
team," Takundwa said.
BY GODFREY MUTIMBA
ZANU PF'S repressive machinery never stops - even when Zimbabweans are
commemorating the Heroes' holiday!
Heavily armed police and Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO)
agents did not rest over the weekend as they forcibly dispersed thousands of
people who turned up for the late opposition MDC national chairman, Isaac
Matongo's memorial held at Mushayavanhu village in Gutu.
The Standard news crew which attended the function witnessed anti-riot
police descend on Matongo's homestead on Sunday morning and order all MDC
members, save for close relatives of the deceased, to vacate the premises.
They charged the gathering, a memorial service (Nyaradzo), was not
sanctioned by police.
A day earlier, they had barred scores of people at a road block at
Zvavahera turn-off along the Gutu-Kurai road from proceeding to Matongo
village. Private vehicles, hired kombis and buses were turned away but this
did not stop defiant MDC members and civic organisation activists.
They made their way to Mushayavanhu, through the mountainous terrain
of Mpandawana, leaving their vehicles at the growth point, about 15km away
to mourn their hero.
Unsuspecting police and Intelligence officers were however shocked to
find scores of mourners at the Matongo homestead in the evening.
MDC youths sang the night away, celebrating the life of their former
national chairman, who died in May.
Police officers pounced on MDC members in the early hours of Sunday
morning, armed with AK 47 assault rifles. Three truckloads of anti-riot
police drove at high speed to the Matongo homestead. Before they even
stopped, armed officers jumped from the vehicles as if on a military raid,
barking orders for people to disperse.
Panic gripped MDC activists and villagers who ran away in all
directions. They however were unsuccessful in their bid to escape as police
officers blocked the only exit at the homestead. They then confronted the
MDC leadership which included Matongo's wife, Evelyn Masaiti.
Although Masaiti tried to explain that it was just a family function,
all her pleas fell on deaf ears. Police officers informed her they had
special instructions from police headquarters in Harare. She collapsed upon
The former MDC MP was rushed to Gutu Mission Hospital where she later
recovered. The Standard watched members of the opposition at the memorial
service being harassed by police as they were ordered to produce their
identity documents at the gate before leaving. The members and activists had
travelled from as far as Harare and Bulawayo.
Police threatened to shoot anyone who dared to resist their orders.
The Standard news crew which was covering the memorial was also
ordered to show identity documents and leave the homestead.
Police officers kept the Matongo homestead under guard for the whole
day, making sure that MDC members would not return to the homestead and
proceed with the memorial service.
Church leaders who were supposed to lead prayers during the memorial
services were also not spared by police who insisted the service would turn
into a political rally.
Police insisted the mourners wanted to campaign for the MDC in Gutu
using Matongo's memorial service.
The Standard also heard that villagers in the surrounding areas were
barred from attending the memorial service by traditional chiefs and village
heads who threatened to reprimand anyone defying their orders.
A staunch MDC supporter, who talked to this reporter, said he defied
the order but his colleagues could not come after a directive, allegedly
from Zanu PF MP for Gutu North, Lovemore Matuke, who could not be reached
MDC activists and officials from civic organisations walked back to
Mpandawana, where they had left their vehicles and hired buses.
Shaking his head in disbelief one of the activists remarked: "This is
the height of repression."
BY NDAMU SANDU
A tourism revival document is gathering dust at the Zimbabwe Tourism
Authority (ZTA) offices a year after being formulated amid revelations that
the absence of a full board to administer the affairs of the authority had
stalled its launch.
The National Tourism Development and Marketing Strategy (NTDMS) was
composed last year by ZTA with assistance from all stakeholders in the
tourism industry and maps the way forward in making Zimbabwe a prime tourist
The blueprint, a copy in possession of Standardbusiness, seeks to turn
around the tourism sector in the country with a view "to find solutions to
problems resulting from past activities or neglect; to provide guidelines
for avoiding similar mistakes; and to encourage change and development of
the tourism industry in the desired direction".
It said Zimbabwe had experienced a decline in tourism numbers in
contrast to its regional peers who are experiencing a boom in the sector.
NTDMS acknowledges Zimbabwe did not have a plan in place to counter
"Whilst negative publicity and the negative perceptions about Zimbabwe
in the different markets have mainly contributed to this development," the
document said, "it is also accepted that the destination did not have a plan
to reverse the trend."
The blueprint aims to generate over US$2 billion a year for the
economy by 2010 as well as increasing the contribution of tourism to Gross
Domestic Product to 12% by 2010 from the current 3%.
NTDMS mandate is to increase annual tourist arrivals from both
traditional and new markets from 1.5 million in 2005 to over 3 million by
2010 as well as improving and repositioning the image of the country in both
traditional and emerging markets by December 2007.
The tourism industry has been on a decline over the years. In 1999,
the industry generated over US$200 million contributing about 7% to GDP and
employing an estimated 200 000 people directly and indirectly. However
following a decline in the performance of the sector, the industry is
currently estimated to be employing close to 100 000.
"This decline is a very sad development, which is a direct result of
the decline in tourist arrivals especially from the major traditional
markets," the blueprint said.
On its analysis of the environment, the blueprint says that the
elevation of tourism as a national priority in the National Economic
Development Priority Programme recognises that tourism has potential for
growth and that it is a major source of foreign currency and employment
The blueprint says that various pieces of legislation that address
tourism directly and indirectly should be reviewed with the
purpose of identifying areas of duplication and contradiction.
It says: "There is need to harmonise such legislation within the
Tourism Act so as to achieve an integrated approach towards fulfilment of
the destination's strategic objectives."
The strategy says there is urgent need to address the exchange rate to
make the destination not an expensive tourist destination.
Karikoga Kaseke, ZTA CEO, told Standardbusiness that the authority had
delayed in launching the document because it did not have full board
An 11-member board chaired by Zimsun CEO Shingi Munyeza was recently
appointed to steer the ZTA ship.
BY LUNGILE ZULU
BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe's largest telecommunications company, Econet
Wireless, says its expansion projects meant to increase its subscriber base
will continue despite congestion problems attributed to low tariffs since
they were slashed in line with the government price blitz.
Network problems have been further affected by power cuts experienced
in the country despite efforts to install diesel generators to minimize the
impact of load-shedding by the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (Zesa),
Econet Wireless said prolonged power cuts disrupted cellular coverage,
a situation that is threatening the availability of service, and is now a
major contributor to calls failing to go through between networks.
Douglas Mboweni, Econet CEO, said the company is going ahead with work
started a few months ago to add capacity to the network and increase its
subscriber carrying capacity from the current 800 000 to 1.2 million by
"The Econet board of directors has directed that there should be no
suspension of the work to increase capacity even though the network is
experiencing severe congestion due to low tariffs," Mboweni said.
"Our board's view is that we maintain a long-term approach to Zimbabwe
despite the current problems of low tariffs which are causing congestion and
Econet Wireless early this year signed two contracts with Ericsson of
Sweden and ZTE of China to supply equipment for the expansion project with
Ericsson expanding the core network which is made up of the switching
systems, whilst ZTE is supplying radio base stations for the southern part
of the country.
Meanwhile, Econet Wireless says future dividends will now include
shares as payment instead of cash. Econet reports twice a year, in February
and August, and generally pays a dividend to its shareholders when it
releases its results.
Econet said this is meant to help shareholders protect the value of
their money owing to the hyper inflationary environment and also to protect
the company to conserve cash during its current expansion programmes.
Mboweni said that the company is introducing scrip payments on future
dividends for the first time to help shareholders mitigate against
"At the end of each reporting period by the time shareholders actually
get their cash it would have lost considerable value because of
hyper-inflation hence the need to produce results at the end of each
"The payment of dividends is based in the results, and the board only
makes such payments having considered all the issues including the operating
environment," Mboweni said.
BY NDAMU SANDU
A trade expert says the time limit should not force African countries
to hurry into signing a new trade agreement with the European Union as it
will have serious ramifications on economies.
African countries under the bloc, Eastern and Southern Africa are
negotiating for reciprocal Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) that have
to be concluded by 31 December 2007.
"All such agreements that were made," Professor Yash Tandon, executive
director of South Centre, said "can be changed through political
Tandon said EPAs are a fall back position for the developed nations
after the collapse of the World Trade Organisation.
"In EPAs, they are putting things which are not in WTO," he said. "In
WTO, we have succeeded in putting away things such as Singapore issues which
open up economies further."
The "Singapore issues" refers to four working groups set up during the
WTO Ministerial Conference of 1996 in Singapore, namely investment
protection, competition policy, transparency in government procurement and
trade facilitation. Disagreements between largely developed and developing
economies prevented a resolution in these issues, despite repeated attempts
to revisit them, notably during the 2003 Ministerial Conference in Cancún,
Mexico, whereby no progress was made.
EPAs are being introduced to replace non-reciprocal preferential trade
African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries used to enjoy
unilateral trade preferences with the EU for almost three decades under the
Lomé Conventions. The Fourth Lomé Convention was replaced by the Cotonou
Partnership Agreement in 2000, which extends these unilateral trade
preferences up to the end of 2007.
Negotiated World Trade Organisation (WTO) compatible reciprocal trade
agreements, EPAs, will replace the current non-reciprocal preferential trade
regime. These EPAs have to be concluded by no later than the beginning of
2008. The agreement covers trade issues in six areas: fisheries; trade in
services; and trade related services.
THE "outrage" by the Minister of Transport and Communications,
Christopher Mushohwe, at the recent tragedy involving the National Railways
of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is nothing more than an attempt to divert attention from
A soldier from the Presidential Guard Headquarters in Harare died and
more than 50 other people, who were passengers on a Thursday morning
"Freedom Train," were injured following a collision with a goods train.
Initial reports say the line on which the collision occurred did not
have railway signals/communications and that the engine drivers were
operating by line of sight. In other words, someone took a decision for the
drivers to use the rail line knowing full well it could result in loss of
lives or damage to property.
Such callous disregard for human lives demands accountability. It
means those responsible, whether by omission or commission should accept the
consequences of their actions and decisions. The loss of even a single life
on the public transport network is one too many. We owe it to those who have
died to begin to take the tragedy on our roads and rail routes more
seriously. There should be zero tolerance to any more loss of lives. What
every Zimbabwean demands are results. We have been fed a diet of promises
for far too long.
The Minister ordered a "thorough investigation" but the record of
investigations into the tragedies involving the NRZ have largely remained
top secret, fuelling suspicions of a government cover-up and an attempt at
damage control over its neglect of the rail transport in particular and
public road transport in general.
To suggest that the NRZ can investigate itself is to mock victims of
the accident. What should properly happen is an independent inquiry into the
recurring accidents involving the railways. But it is understandable why the
Ministry would be uncomfortable with an inquiry: What if it found that the
NRZ's requirements to the Ministry were ignored, would the Minister release
a report that damns his ministry for not acting expeditiously? That is
But how many tragic accidents involving the NRZ have occurred since
2000 and what evidence exists to demonstrate that with each tragedy improved
safety measures have been implemented and continue to be enforced? Each time
there is an accident, there are outpourings of grief and sadness at the loss
of lives and property but after that life goes on happily ever after until
another disaster strikes and more innocent lives are lost.
It is tragic that Zimbabwe has a very weak and ineffective opposition.
The Minister responsible should have been put on the spot. In other
societies the Minister would have been forced to step down because of the
number of accidents involving the NRZ.
But as if to emphasise the lack of oversight and total paralysis over
what to do to bring improved safety to the public transport sector, the
death toll over the Heroes' and Defence Forces holidays became one of the
bloodiest in recent memory. This is despite assurances from the Minister
responsible for safer travel during the holidays. The figure could have been
worse - but thanks to the shortage of fuel there were fewer vehicles on the
If parastatals are coming under increasing pressure to perform,
perhaps the time for performance-related jobs for government ministers is
long overdue. We should not tolerate the loss of lives, especially where
pre-emptive action could save them. The minister should explain measures
implemented during his tenure designed to make public transport safer and
reliable, and why these have not produced the desired results.
All government ministers should learn to shoulder responsibility for
their actions or non-actions.
sundayopinion by Bill Saidi
TWO SADC foreign ministers addressed the three-day Sadc Civil Society
Forum in Lusaka last week - Botswana's Lt Mompati Merafhe and Mauritius'
Neither of them spoke with any passion or any lack of passion on the
Zimbabwean imbroglio. They were, incidentally, not asked to answer any
questions relating to Zimbabwe.
But Merafhe did speak with a lot of visible heat on Sadc members who
don't pay their dues: he was disappointed that his proposal that such
members be barred from addressing Sadc summits and their nationals denied
jobs at the Sadc secretariat had not been supported by a majority of
He didn't have to spell it out, but the impression we gained was that
he was at one with his president, Festus Mogae, whose views on Zimbabwe are
known to be unsympathetic to members who renege on their commitments, either
to pay up or to abide by the loftiest ideals of the grouping, among them
real, not cosmetic, democracy.
The forum did discuss extensively and without restraint the problem of
Zimbabwe, topping this with a straightforward resolution on the country's
political and economic problems.
The essence of all this was to reaffirm the Civil Society's oft-stated
opinion that Zimbabwe is "the sick person" of Sadc.
Yet there were some statements which fairly tormented the Zimbabweans
at the forum.
For instance, after comprehensive presentations by such eloquent civil
society leaders as Arnold Tsunga and Lovemore Madhuku, there were delegates
who railed against the leadership of the opposition as the main obstacle to
the resolution of the crisis.
Then there was another position, which again disparaged the opposition's
notion that President Robert Mugabe was the main impediment to a resolution
of the crisis which he himself had created, in the first place, largely
through his "Go to hell!" response to any criticism of his every decision.
Then there was this amazing declaration from one of the delegates:
Mozambique was deeply disappointed that the opposition supported Ian Smith.
The Tanzanian delegate dwelt at some length on Mugabe's record as a
freedom fighter and leader of the victory against colonialism.
The Zimbabweans boldly set out the home truths, one of them being that
Mugabe was no longer the leader of liberation movement, but the President of
Zimbabwe, a country with a constitution allowing for elections during which
such people could be challenged.
All this reminded me of a conversation I dragged myself into, in 2003,
with a Sierra Leone broadcaster during the Commonwealth Heads of Government
Meeting (CHOGM) in Abuja.
She said her dearest wish was to interview Mugabe because he was the
most fascinating African leader -in her opinion. I wasn't astounded by this
starry-eyed admiration for a man who, to some Zimbabweans, has been held
solely responsible for the bloody mess he later described as "moment of
madness" - the massacre of more than 20 000 people in Gukurahundi.
After all, there are Zimbabweans who don't believe that the atrocities
were the huge blotch on our history that they have been made out to be: they
believe Mugabe had good reason to act the way he did, even though he himself
later condemned the butchery, without reservation.
The Sadc leaders, apart from those whose foreign ministers spoke to
the Sadc Civil Society Forum, seem to back Mugabe to the hilt. Yet, only a
few months ago, President Levy Mwanawasa, in one of the most searing
criticisms of Mugabe, likened Zimbabwe to "the sinking Titanic" - a barb
that not even Ian Smith could match, in its graphic description of what is
happening to this country once described by some as "the gem of Africa".
Mwanawasa has political problems of his own: like Mugabe he is
apparently trying to change the constitution to suit his party, the Movement
for Multiparty Democracy. The largest opposition party is no longer the
party which won independence in 1964, Kenneth Kaunda's United National
Independence Party (UNIP), whose one-party policies stunted both political
and economic growth in 27 years of uninterrupted rule, which ended only with
Frederick Chiluba's victory in 1991, at the head of the MMD.
I had not visited Lusaka since leaving the country in 1980, to return
to Zimbabwe. The only familiar sight was the airport, from which we had
left. Everything else gave me the sensation of visiting another city,
another country, in fact.
Lusaka, a rather sleepy dorp in the 1960-70s, is bustling with
activity, both economic and human. There are now so many hotels and lodges
it is a tourist centre of some note. Among the people you discern a
purposefulness, a jaunty step of self-confidence, a manner of speech
bubbling with the ring of hope, confidence.
During my last days here, as the 1980s began, there had bubbled on the
surface a tension which would explode later into food riots, which later
mushroomed into the defeat of the founding leader of the nation.
Kaunda lives sedately in Lusaka, although he cannot be Levy Mwanawasa's
favourite resident of the capital. After all, he endorsed Michael Sata in
the last election. This former trade unionist probably earned Kaunda's
respect with his unabashed admiration of Mugabe, a man Kaunda himself had
once not found to be a fitting ally, his preference being, quite openly,
A Zambian delegate to the Civil society forum snapped angrily at me
"It's the British, of course!" when I tried to outline the cause of the
empty supermarket shelves in the cities and towns. His companion, a woman,
listened attentively as I proceeded to give them a short history of the
She nodded with apparent understanding, turning to her companion with
the unuttered question "Don't you think that makes better sense?" I was
reminded of the Sierra Leone broadcaster. If she could convince her
companion, perhaps she could convince Mwanawasa too, that it was time to get
out of Mugabe pocket, or the sinking Titanic.
sundayview by Judith Todd
JUST before he and the others were formally charged with plotting a
coup, I managed to see Edward Ndlovu. I went to the court and sat next to
him for half an hour before the magistrate arrived.
Amazingly Edward kept on taking about the need for unity - PF Zapu
must enter Zanu PF en masse; there should be a ceremony with Nkomo and
Mugabe present, at which Nkomo should welcome PF Zapu into Zanu PF, and then
he should retire. Then the job of cleaning up Zanu PF, stopping torture,
detentions, etc., should start from inside.
I had heard the argument of working from inside before, and it didn't
impress me, especially when I saw a man like Edward Ndlovu in the dock. It
was amazing to hear a man facing treason charges under Zanu PF still
advocating unity; especially after all he had been and was still going
Edward looked alright, but was desperate to get out of detention. Ten
people were charged. I knew that William Kona, an old-time struggler, and
Sydney Malunga MP had been tortured by being beaten on the soles of their
feet. In Kona's case, medicine had been withheld and he had eventually
collapsed and been admitted to hospital for two weeks. I didn't know what
the other accused might have undergone.
One night, Gift Masuku rang. She and a sister-in-law had arrived in
Harare and were stranded. I collected them in town. Gift insisted on trying
to see her husband, Lookout, who had been admitted to Parirenyatwa Hospital
the previous day. After lots of efforts she was allowed in to see him at
about 11.15PM and had 45 minutes with him.
Mrs Sharlottie Msipa had seen Lookout just after he had been admitted
and never thought he would live the night. He was unconscious, and at one
point, when she shook him and implored him to speak, he just managed to
touch his head and his throat. He was in agony. She said when he opened his
eyes, tears rolled down his face, so he kept them shut. Gift eventually got
one of the doctors to write down what he was suffering from.
Lookout was guarded by four men from the police support unit who
seemed to take pleasure in making it as hard as possible for Gift to see
him. She stayed in Harare for three nights before taking the train back to
Bulawayo. These wives, like Mary, Gift, Connie and Shamiso, wanted to be as
close as possible to their suffering husbands, but they had children to look
after and work to attend to.
The day after Gift left, Andrew Nyathi, chairman of Simukai
Co-operative, came to say Jimmy Mbambo had been taken by CIO. I rang Comrade
Shoko at CIO, and he said he would find out and ring back, which he did with
information that CIO now also had Maplanka and Felix Msika from Simukai.
Andrew then went to Harare Central police station to try and see them, and
that night I was told the police had kept Andrew, too.
A delegation of three men from the government of Guinea-Conakry
arrived on a private visit, financed by Bread for World, to learn what
Zimbabwe had done in the fields of resettlement, coping with refugees and
demobilisation. I drove them around the country for 10 days.
We struggled to communicate, as they spoke French and I did not, but
somehow we managed. In Bulawayo, Stephen Nkomo helped, as he did speak
French, having been Zapu's representative in Algeria. He had recently been
released from detention. After they met Stephen, they told me they now
wanted to meet his brother Joshua, and asked me to arrange it. They told me
they were not afraid and they obviously assumed that I wasn't either.
Their delegation was headed by David Camara, who had been imprisoned
under Sekou Toure. The other two were in exile for years. Camara was
described as Chef de Cabinet, Ibrahima Sory Sow as Conseiller and Ibrahima
Abba Diarra as Administrateur.
One evening at dinner, I asked Camara how long he had been in jail. He
said about five years, and a pall seemed to settle over the table. He was
very sombre, and shortly afterwards we all went to bed. The next morning he
gave me a note apologising for his poor English. I made some copies, exactly
as he wrote it:
I was emprisoned twice in Guinea.
1. First time: From 22 February 1971 to 27 August 72.
Accusation: They say that I have help the families of prisoners who
were hanged (or killed) one month before.
2. Second time: I was emprisoned from 18/7/76 to 19/12/80.
Accusation: They said I was with Diallo TELLI against the Government.
We wanted to fall down they Party (PDG) and to take power. Diallo Telli was
the first General Secretary of "Organisation de l'Unite Africaine" (OAU).
My comrades were died by lack of food between 18 and 21 days. Very bad
and sad things. It is not good for me to tell them.
They told me that under Sekou Toure about 25% of their population
became exiles. They were not so keen anymore on "socialism". I think that is
a word, like many others, that can be used to cloak many evils.
By 2006, President Robert Mugabe would equal the then President Sekou
Toure in that more than 25% of Zimbabwe's population was also in exile.
Swazini Ndlovu, ally of Dumiso Dabengwa, who gave important evidence
for Dumiso in his treason trial, was released from another spell of
arbitrary detention by the CIO, and Stannard arranged for him to return to
Bulawayo, where I saw him. I was trying to fathom the role of Stannard, and
so I asked Swazini if he could consider Stannard to be a friend.
"Yes, he is a friend of mine. They took me from office to office in
Chaminuka Building and eventually they took me to his office. He said: "I
know it must have been hell for you." I said: "For God's sake, at least tell
me what day it is today." He told me it was Friday.
They had kept me for four days in total darkness at Goromonzi, and
they had taken away the pills I have to control high blood pressure. I tell
you, I was sick. I thought I was finished. They took me to a nurse. She
refused to give me pills. She said I was critically ill and she would not be
responsible for treating me. They took me to Parirenyatwa and ordered the
doctor to give me pills.
"I was with them for eight, 10 days. They drove me up from Bulawayo by
car. My hands were manacled all the way. Yes, I knew them all. They said:
"Now we will fix you," and "Did you think we had forgotten that you gave
evidence for Dabengwa in the treason trial?" Yes, they interrogated me, but
there was nothing for me to tell them. When they took me to Stannard, he
said to them: "You see - I told you he knew nothing." They wanted to send me
back to Bulawayo by bus. I told them I didn't have a Zanu PF membership card
and the buses are stopped by people making sure everyone has a Zanu PF party
card. Stannard said: "You brought him here, now you've got to send him back.
Why don't you buy him a one-way plane ticket?" So they did.
"When I left Chaminuka Building, I looked at a telephone directory,
but I discovered that these days there is hardly anyone in Harare that I
know. I didn't want to come to your office. There are some people there that
I don't like to see. That Sister - yes, I know the whole story and how she
nearly finished you. So I just sat in the park and read a newspaper until it
was time to go to the airport."
*Excerpt from Judith Todd's latest book, Through the Darkness; A Life
in Zimbabwe, available from www.zebrapress.co.za
sundayopinion by Marko Phiri
THE most pressing thing as Zimbabwe heads for elections next year is
that the will of the people will win the day amid continued hardships
engineered by the founding fathers despite the ruling Zanu PF's age-old
insistence it is the only political formation which holds the eternal keys
of the battered country.
By the current collective sentiments of the people, it will be very
surprising for the present dispensation to emerge triumphant, and naturally
students of history will author tomes trying to dissect what really
But by past experience, the ruling party, though roundly despised by
millions for the misery it has brought, this has still not led to any defeat
at the polls though events and developments here have always tended to
forecast a different electoral outcome.
Today, however, as the nation sinks deeper and deeper into the
whirlpool of mass poverty, kosher patriots will be inclined to think they
deserve better, thus the election itself will be a moment to redeem
themselves from the authors of political and economic mayhem.
It will be recalled that when the results of the 2000 polls threatened
to make Zanu PF obsolete, some analysts and pro-government types said what
had buoyed the MDC to such historic victory was the people's so-called
Though the legitimacy of the overall result stood contested by the
MDC, this became a pointer about the ability of the people, the power of the
ballot to effect peaceful regime change. Thus ultimately, every election is
a protest against something, and post-independence Zimbabwe's electorate
sure has many things to protest about.
While it was said then that the MDC itself had little to offer in its
manifestos in terms of what it would do in real terms other than obsession
about unseating an increasingly autocratic regime once it gained the
majority in parliament, or once it assumed the presidency, this still did
not seem to bother the people who wanted change, not for change's sake, but
for a new beginning.
The oracles of old will tell you there is nothing wrong with moving on
in life, careers, change of government, love, etc. That is how the human
spirit is allowed to grow and flourish. If you are trapped in a time capsule
you only wake up in the future a very confused individual. But then, this is
the pedestrian philosophy Zimbabwe's founding fathers have vehemently
Even an untrained logician will tell you that as Zimbabwe has been
condemned into a state where the repression of alternative voices and
economic mismanagement have become the operating principles of the regime,
it only makes sense then that the people protest about this.
And this time, the protest is not on the street in the fashion of
civil disobedience favoured by the robotics professor and other dare-devil
pro-democracy activists, but through the ballot itself. Yet one lingering
motif has always been the claims by election observers and opposition
political parties about the ruling party's brazen inveterate theft of the
Street protests have only proved to be a realm of the foolhardy, and
one only needs the events of 11 March this year as a reminder.
But then, it is a known historical fact that rigging of the poll has
always been a phenomenon of African politics and the sad history of
post-independent Zimbabwe has always been that of the ruling party allegedly
stuffing the ballot boxes and inflating the votes in its favour.
While it has been argued by the ruling party and other rabid
pan-Africanists in its tow that this is the cry of the people who are sore
losers, it apparently remains unknown even to students of voting behaviour
how a party so despised can claim victory fair and square.
This sentiment can even be read in the pledge by President Thabo
Mbeki, the only thing that will redeem Zimbabwe is a free and fair poll. But
still it will be recalled that the verdict of the South African observer
mission of the last legislative polls was that the elections which
diminished the MDC seats were free but not necessarily fair.
Where do the ordinary voters who feel cheated seek recourse then to
assure their vote is respected within the realm of a democratic dispensation
of free and fair elections? If it is free, how can it be "unfair?" If it is
fair, how can it be "unfree?"
Can voters and opposition political parties alike then be assured that
a Zimbabwean election can have both elements for them to have a result that
is universally accepted?
Zimbabwe's history sure has Zanu PF its annals, but it has no place in
the country's future. That is a sentiment informed by events here which has
seen the ruling party dragging the economy and social services to levels
which we are told have not been seen in a country not at war.
So, if Zanu PF emerges triumphant in an election which opposition
forces and international poll observers - who Zanu PF sees as the "other"
enemy - endorse as free and fair, what would it mean about international
efforts to help the battered economy when the ruling party has previously
rebuffed such efforts?
Will the regime continue pursuing its megaphone diplomacy telling
everybody else singing a different tune to stuff it? Will bowls of goodwill
line the streets to the capital to help rebuild the battered economy?
A joke was told about a thief who broke into State House and fled with
a huge steel box which he believed had zillions of bearer cheques. In the
safety of his lair he opened the box only to be met by the caption "2008
The anecdote probably best illustrates just how disgruntled the people
are with the system but apparently cannot do anything about it. And then you
still have Zanu PF claiming victory despite everything else pointing to an
outright massacre at the polls.
The people's protest vote even in the absence of what others still
view as nebulous policy positions of the fractured opposition, is
legitimated by the fact that outside the ballot, Zimbabweans have shown that
they cannot pursue other avenues as possible vehicles of change. Who can
What a scoop! The Fiddler is always well ahead of the exhausted
chasing pack and this creates considerable jealousy amongst his less adept
colleagues at The Standard. He's indeed a standard setter! But the Fiddler
doesn't like to blow his own trumpet. He can't even play the trumpet. He was
brought up on the fiddle, like quite a number of people in high places. But
unlike those in elevated positions, he never stands around fiddling while
Rome burns. The Fiddler is a man of few words and many bold actions. He
scorns danger, providing there's absolutely no risk to himself. (His many
degrees in cowardice and spinelessness were all awarded magna maxima cum
The Fiddler's can now disclose that a new Election Bill will soon be
sped tracked through parliament. The Fiddler's source is naturally
confidential but it can be disclosed that the informant was a high-ranking
member of the Chikomba National Local Commissariat. The source only charged
a few million Zim shekels.
This legislation will guarantee that the next election will be
absolutely free and fair, will fully comply with all regional and
international standards, and will be flavour of the month with SADC. It
reads as follows:
Election Bill (2008-2010)
Not necessarily in this Bill- "breakdancing" means toyi-toying for the
"chef" means a person with the divine to rule;
"correct" means not incorrect;
"correct party" means what it says;
"court" means the court that will inevitably rule this Bill to be
"court order" means a stupid piece of paper that can be torn up;
"dead" means not alive except for voting purposes or a person who
votes for the wrong party;
"domestic violence" means gentle persuasion at election time;
"election" means any process by which the correct party wins;
"election challenges to the right outcome" means don't be silly;
"election monitor" means a green bomber;
"free and fair election" means an election that leads to the right
"ghost voters" means voters instructed by ancestral spirits to do the
"reward" means voting for the right party;
"register of voters" means a list of all those persons who deserve to
"voter" means any person who is wisely prepared to be politically
"law enforcement agencies" means all loyal agencies that contribute to
ensuring that the result is correct;
"lawyer" means an interfering busybody who can be ignored or worse;
"not quite entirely free and fair but beautifully legitimate" means
South African endorsement;
"party" means a party other than an incorrect party and, for the wrong
party, has nothing to do with celebration;
"President" means the one who cannot lose;
"politically correct" means supporting the right side;
"right party" means if you do not know what this is we are more than
willing to re-orient you;
"secret vote" means a vote known only by those who need to know;
"subversion" means all activities that the correct party considers to
"public gatherings" means public gatherings of the correct party ;
"regime change" means the election of the wrong party;
"rigging" means to make suitable adjustments to ensure the right
"voter" means a person who has contributed to the right outcome;
"whites" means non-indigenous persons who nobody in their right mind
would allow to vote;
"wrong party" means a party other than the right party;
2. All elections must produce the right outcome.
3. Every Zimbabwean citizen who is over five years of age and is not
dead shall have a right to vote in the elections, provided that:
a)Persons who are dead, but who would have voted for the correct party
were it not for the fact that they are dead, shall be entitled to vote;
b) All persons who show any signs of not wanting to vote for the
correct political party shall be entitled to vote provided that they pass
the simple test bashfully administered in the basement of the Prevention of
c) All eligible voters outside the country who are unable to return to
Zimbabwe to vote shall be entitled to cast a vote at a central polling
station conveniently situated on the Soloman Islands;
4. The Registrar-General, as he has so ably done in the past, shall
continue to ensure that all eligible voters are registered to vote, provided
that persons seeking registration must prove beyond reasonable or
unreasonable doubt that they do not have any stupid thoughts of voting for
the wrong party.
Time for Sadc to act on Zimbabwe is now
IT is becoming more evident that SADC countries are becoming more
impatient with President Robert Mugabe.
Recently the Zambian President Levy Mwanawasa was openly critical of
Mugabe. In Botswana members of parliament have expressed frustration with
Mugabe. But it is the statement by SA Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Aziz
Pahad last week which has in my opinion raised the stakes.
Pahad was quoted as saying: "What more could we have done? We have
been urging the government to address the situation since the crisis
developed with the land problem.
"We have tried systematically, bilaterally and multilaterally to
assist the Zimbabweans resolve their crisis. In the end, those pictures (of
Zimbabweans squatting in shacks) must be of concern to us all. With reports
that Zanu PF has lacked commitment in the current talks with MDC there is no
doubt that the South Africans have now been pushed as far as they can be
Even the Inkatha leader weighed in last week with a complaint that the
Zimbabwe Refugee crisis is causing problems for South Africa. Ironically the
South Africans and other SADC countries have been advised by many people,
including Zimbabweans to be more upfront in dealing with Mugabe for a long
time but the South Africans preferred "quiet diplomacy", whatever that is.
Some SADC leaders openly expressed solidarity with Zimbabwe.
It is quite obvious that the longer the Zimbabwe crisis remains
unresolved the more people and the more countries will be affected
negatively. This is not the first time that Mugabe has lacked seriousness in
efforts to address national issues. Mugabe is rightly blamed for the
collapse of the negotiations with MDC in 2003. He is also to blame for the
failure of efforts by the former UN Secretary General Koffi Annan to resolve
the Zimbabwe crisis.
During the Lancaster House talks in 1979 Mugabe walked out for several
weeks until pressure was exerted on him by leaders of the Frontline states,
Julius Nyerere and Samora Machel. I therefore think that until SADC leaders
become more robust and assertive in dealing with Mugabe the crisis will
remain unresolved and more people will suffer.
SADC leaders should take cues from the way West Africans through
ECOWAS have dealt with wayward leaders in their region and the way Nyerere
dealt with Idi Amin in Uganda. SADC countries should make it clear to Mugabe
that the game is up. The meeting in Lusaka should provide an opportunity for
the SADC Heads of State to deal with the Zimbabwe crisis decisively. The
Commonwealth Heads of State did the same thing in 1979 in Lusaka by ushering
the Lancaster House talks, which gave birth to Zimbabwe.
If it means Zimbabwe being expelled from SADC so be it, if there is no
progress in the current talks with MDC. This should be followed by tougher
measures on the part of SADC. By so doing I believe SADC countries will be
providing a fair deal for both the people of Zimbabwe and their own
Uncaring black leaders
IT's surprising and disappointing that black leaders
such as those in the mould of Mozambique's and Ghana's foreign ministers
Alcider Abreu and Nan Akufani Addo respectively, should stand up and call
for President Robert Mugabe to be allowed to attend the EU-Africa Summit in
Lisbon, Portugal, in December this year.
In the first place, do these so-called learned ministers know why
President Mugabe was slapped with a travel ban? Mugabe got the sanctions
because of his unprecedented repressive laws that have caused untold
suffering to his own people.
After all, these two ministers - who are they to speak on behalf of
the Zimbabweans who are suffering under Mugabe? Zimbabweans know very well
that the African Union is conniving openly with Mugabe's dictatorship and
they see no wrong in what he has done to the suffering people of this
Let those who are fighting together with the oppressed people of this
country continue to do so without hindrance from these blind and foolish AU
Opposition leaders such as Morgan Tsvangirai and Lovemore Madhuku and
others were savagely assaulted by police in March this year with Mugabe's
Democratic organisations the world over protested but we never heard a
word of disapproval from the AU. So the two foreign ministers should shut up
and mind their own business. Zimbabweans don't need or recognise you.
D R Mutungagore