HARARE, Zimbabwe (Reuters) -- Zimbabweans were reminded on Tuesday that
there is only one certainty in their lives. Prices are running wild and
there is nothing they can do about it.
The latest bad news came from Mozambique, where an International Monetary
Fund official projected the southern African country's year-on-year
inflation could reach over 100,000 percent by year end.
Zimbabweans know life is getting tougher. For them, it's just a matter of
bracing for more misery and uncertainty every time they are hit with new
"Things are already very bad. I cannot readily find sugar, salt, milk, beef
and a lot other things. I spend many days running around, scrounging to get
these basics, so obviously I cannot relate to any suggestion that life is
going to get harder," said a 30-year-old clothing salesman in Harare.
"How am I expected to relate to such futuristic figures without imagining
that such horrendous hardships will mean death for us," he told a Reuters
correspondent, a wary eye darting to see if anybody was listening to the
Like many others, he fears any criticism of President Robert Mugabe could be
risky as security forces crack down on dissent.
Thousands of miles away in Maputo, Abdoulaye Bio Tchane, director of the
IMF's Africa department, expressed concerns in an interview with Reuters
that Zimbabwe's inflation rate could climb above 100,000 percent by the end
of the year.
Deeper hardships were beyond the imagination of many Zimbabweans, struggling
to cope with empty shelves at stores amid severe shortages of basic
foodstuffs and other vital goods.
Many urban residents are also struggling with water, electricity and
transport shortages in a country once viewed as southern Africa's
Broken sewage pipes have left almost an unbearable stench around some poor
housing estates. High unemployment and rising poverty have broken many
Zimbabweans. All this, officially under an inflation rate of over 4,500
Zimbabwe's central bank said it will issue higher denominated bank notes on
Wednesday to help consumers cope with hyperinflation ravaging the country.
But previous measures designed to rescue the economy failed to raise spirits
on Zimbabwe's streets. Henry, a Harare newspaper vendor, said his family has
not been able to buy any bread in the past week.
"There is very little bread in the shops, and I am sure bread and all the
other things will be very, very expensive by the end of the year," he said
when asked about the IMF's bleak inflation prediction.
"I don't know what the actual costs will be but I know that I, and the
majority of people here, will not be able to afford them."
Political and economic analysts see no end in sight to the economic crisis
pressuring Mugabe, who remains defiant, accusing opponents and Western
powers of plotting to oust him.
"What is very clear is that the government blitz [on prices] has just pushed
the black market deeper into the ground, emptying shelves and making things
more expensive, feeding the inflation spiral," John Robertson, a leading
Zimbabwean economic consultant and commentator told Reuters.
The Seattle Times
By ANGUS SHAW
The Associated Press
HARARE, Zimbabwe - The central bank unveiled a new 200,000 Zimbabwe dollar
note today, double the face value of what had been the highest denomination
bill in a country where bundles of notes are needed for the simplest
The Reserve Bank said in a statement circulation of the new 200,000 Zimbabwe
dollar bill from Wednesday was for "convenience" in business and individual
The bill is worth $13 at the official exchange rate or $1 at the dominant
illegal black market rate. With five bills a Zimbabwean millionaire can buy
a handful of scarce food items.
Runaway inflation has led to bundles of bills being needed for routine
purchases. Few businesses or even government departments, including the tax
office, accept checks. They demand cash or same-day bank-to-bank transfers,
for fear the value of the currency will plummet even further before checks
Zimbabwe is in its worst economic crisis since independence from Britain in
1980, blamed largely on disruptions in the agriculture-based economy in the
former regional breadbasket after the often violent seizures of thousands of
white-owned commercial farms began in 2000.
Last August, the central bank slashed three zeros from the currency and
issued new notes, saying the old cash had become unmanageable and
computerized accounting and regular electronic calculators were unable to
cope with the number of digits in routine transactions.
Since then, official inflation has trebled to 4,500 percent, the highest in
the world. Independent finance houses estimate real inflation closer to
A government edict to slash all prices last month in a bid to curb inflation
has left shelves across the country bare of corn meal, meat, eggs, milk and
Acute gasoline shortages have crippled transport and commuter services. The
price of gas has been slashed to half the cost of importing it.
At least 5,000 businessmen, including some of the country's top corporate
directors, managers and street vendors have been arrested, briefly held and
fined for failing to obey the June 26 price cut edict.
31 July 2007
THE economic lunacy of Robert Mugabe's regime in Zimbabwe is more than just
price fixing. It is another round of what the international community has
failed to name, perhaps because to name it would require action. The
officially created disaster in Zimbabwe is the longest-running genocide
affecting the greatest number of any people for more than half a century.
The latest attempt to ordain the economy is yet another demonstration of
power and arrogance exercised at whatever the cost to the citizens of
Until now, it was mainly Zimbabweans that were baffled by the officially
stoked inflation ruining them and the country. Now, with the official decree
to halve prices, the whole world must be aghast. Where can such determinist
lunacy come from?
I was an economist in Zimbabwe after independence in 1980. Much was
achieved - by small and big farmers, in education, health, tourism,
community wildlife, housing and much else. What was not allowed to succeed
was any discipline over budgets and macroeconomic policy, and any programme
that might strengthen the autonomy of the rural population - Mugabe's vote
bank, which he sought to patronise and control.
Zimbabwe inherited a high "structural" inflation after the 15 years of
sanctions against Ian Smith's regime. During that long period of sanctions,
import substitution raised the number of manufactured goods from about 500
to more than 2300. This caused inferior goods at high prices to be
circulated, passing on increased prices, greater inefficiency and poor
service: that is, structural inflation.
The Zanu (PF) government was immediately besieged by "friends" pushing their
agendas and seeking to gain influence. One way to do the latter was to
appeal to the known idiosyncrasies of Mugabe. As a Marxist-Leninist, he
believed that economic decisions could be made at the centre; that all key
information could be known officially.
A parallel was India's First Five Year Plan, in the 1950s, which followed
the Russian model of directing the commanding heights of the economy. That
centrist behaviour suited the predominant class of economic planners - the
educated priestly caste, the Brahmins. Planning sought to "ordain" the
economy. So too with Mugabe. T he method appealed to his large intellectual
arrogance. And, no doubt, since he is Catholic, to his observation of papal
The first post-independence "commission" after 1980 in Zim- babwe dealt with
wages, prices and labour conditions. Its chairman developed an economic
vision that played to Mugabe's preference - the ordination of the economy.
It pictured the major move of migrant worker families into towns, thereby
releasing much land for those left behind. This was to be done by a single
ordination: minimum wages for the many lower level workers were to be
doubled by presidential signature. Then, workers could afford better
housing, greater cash costs for food, travel, etc, to maintain families in
town. This was done by edict and was followed within a year by a further 50%
The result was a massive jump in the already high inflation rate as there
was little ability to double, or more, local production of basic goods to
meet the increased wages. Imports rose sharply for consumption goods as
against the much needed capital goods to rebuild the economy. The result,
for labour, was a once-off bonanza that, for seven years, led to annual wage
increases being below the inflation rate - falling real wages - to redress
the imbalances created by this absurd artificial attempt to boost wages by
decree. The very high inflation that resulted damaged savings and pensions,
hurting mainly those with fixed incomes. Very few families moved into the
towns as housing, schooling and other services cannot be increased as
quickly as a wage increase can be "ordained".
The next "gift" by a Zanu (PF) professor of economics "friend" was an even
more absurd proposal that cabinet adopted without reference to bureaucracy.
Faced with a near run-away inflation, a small piece of paper was given to a
silver-tongued minister to read out in cabinet. It stated a complete
economic untruth but appealed to the "ordination" urges of Mugabe. It simply
reminded cabinet that Zimbabwe was a sovereign state and that, therefore, it
could and should introduce a "price freeze" and that such a price freeze
could be in perpetuity. "Banish inflation!"
In Zimbabwe, imports and exports form more than 60% of gross domestic
product (GDP). It is a hugely open economy, with most prices determined by
the world economy. In the US and the European Union, imports and exports
form only about 12% and 13% of GDP. In SA, a more primary producer, they
form more than 32% of GDP. Unless the Zimbabwe economy is first "closed off"
to the world, few prices can be set administratively.
It took a huge effort by the economic departments, business and others to
slowly unravel the "price freeze" without ever doing so publicly or
politically. Some companies, under the still-ruling sanctions regime, had
just received price increases and foreign exchange to run their businesses.
They were in the pound seats. Others found themselves at the end of the
queue, with no foreign exchange and "old" prices that meant operational
The price freeze was broken in 1983 by a desperate Zimbabwe Breweries. It
had been waiting for some time for a price increase to be approved. It had
just made a whopping profit on the back of the vast ordained wage increases.
As a result, it had the biggest proposed capital investment ever by any
company in Zimbabwe. Suddenly, it could only see inflation and frozen prices
eat that nest egg away. Unless something changed, the price freeze would
bring beer production to a standstill within a year.
The MD was a school friend. We still talked. He became an emotional wreck as
the breweries sank into mounting losses. Finally, we met. I explained that
this mess was not going to go away quickly. My only suggestion was to play
the "game". I advised: "Dry up three small towns before the next long
weekend." The breweries did. The following Tuesday it received a price
increase. The price freeze was effectively over.
Today, driving all production underground or ending it altogether by halving
prices is yet another "ordination" of the economy. It raises vital questions
about governance and about the daily social and economic rights of citizens
. There has to be another way of establishing social and economic security
beyond political democracy.
Dr Reynolds is a development economist.
By Emma Hurd
Updated: 09:49, Tuesday July 31, 2007
Vigilantes have launched their own campaign to stop thousands of
impoverished Zimbabweans crossing the border illegally into South Africa.
The influx is fuelled by poverty and desperation.
But some in South Africa are so alarmed by their government's apparent
failure to prevent the wave of illegal immigration that they are taking
Sky News joined a group of white farmers as they patrolled the border
between Africa's richest nation - and a country on the brink of collapse.
The men, who are using vehicles designed for game hunting to track down
illegal immigrants from Zimbabwe, are the self declared enforcers of South
Africa's immigration laws.
"They are coming into our land, breaking our fences and killing our animals,
we can't afford it, and the security forces are doing nothing so we have to
act," Andre Nienaber told me.
It's not long before they identify their first prey. A group of about eight
men and women are wandering by the roadside, they scatter as soon as the
farmers stop to question them, and the white men jump out of their pick up
trucks to give chase.
The men are too fast for them, but they corner one of the women. She looks
terrified as they drive one of the trucks towards her, pinning her against a
Her hands are bound with a plastic tie and, together with her friend she's
loaded into the back of the pick up. One of the farmers warns them not to
try to run away again: "If you do there'll be trouble," he said.
As the hunt goes on the women, crouching on the floor of the truck, tell me
they had come to South Africa to try to find work so they can support their
children back home in Zimbabwe.
"I have four children and she has two," Fungai Makoni said.
Further down the road, the farmers spot another group. This time they
meekly climb into the back of another pick up, without even attempting to
escape. They had been walking for two days.
"We had to leave", Tacaran Mkundele said, his exhaustion obvious. "In
Zimbabwe we cannot survive. The bread costs 55 thousand bucks."
Inflation is now close to 5 thousand per cent in Zimbabwe, fuelling the rush
over the border. The farmers are collecting scores of Zimbabweans every day
and no one seems to question their authority - even when they demand to see
the identification of some black South Africans who just happen to be
walking near the border.
"What would you say to those people who say you're just a bunch of
vigilantes?" I asked Gideon Meiring, the leader of the farmers' patrol.
"No one dares say that", he told me leaning against a pick up truck full of
his passive captives. "If they are honest people should get down on their
knees and thank us."
The police, accused by the farmers of doing little to stem the flood of
illegal Zimbabweans, seem to have little choice but to co-operate with the
They collect the captives and take them to holding centres ready for
Among them we found Joas Mande, 61. Like the others, his hands were bound
and his eyes reflected the despair of a father who would be returning to his
family empty handed.
"I have two sons who want to go to University," he told me. "Now there will
be no-one to support them. I have failed."
Most of the Zimbabweans said the situation in their homeland was so bad that
they had no choice but to try to sneak into South Africa again.
But the farmers will be looking for them. South Africa is already home to an
estimated three million illegal immigrants from Zimbabwe and they say the
country has to put its own interests first.
UN Integrated Regional Information Networks
31 July 2007
Posted to the web 31 July 2007
Bulk traders have been flocking to South Africa for months to buy groceries
for resale in Zimbabwe, but now a rapidly growing number of individual
shoppers are arriving to stock up on essentials in Musina, about 13km from
the border, in South Africa's Limpopo Province.
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe launched "Operation Reduce Prices" in
late June in an attempt to cap escalating prices as businesses tried to
cushion themselves against the world's highest inflation rate by forcing
retailers to slash their prices by 50 percent.
This has resulted in empty shop shelves and widespread shortages of basic
commodities, and the International Monetary Fund has warned that Zimbabwe's
year-on-year inflation rate could reach over 100,000 percent by the end of
The biggest supermarket in Musina, Spar, has seen an increase in turnover of
between 50 percent and 70 percent in July, manager Pieter Koekemoer told
Mo, 30, said he had come to Musina to buy groceries for his family and
friends in Zimbabwe. He wrote their names on the plastic bags as he packed
them into his pick-up truck, saying that the cost of fuel, import duty and a
South African visitor's visa were a small price to pay.
Some bulk traders use a medium-size delivery vehicle and often supply formal
shops, but now no longer want to supply them because price controls make it
unprofitable. With more individual shoppers also crossing the border to buy
food for themselves, bulk business is declining.
"The bulk trade at my shop has gone down 40 percent in the past two weeks,"
said Jason Rana; 95 percent of his clientele are Zimbabwean traders buying
Bulk trade is expected to slow even further after a new regulation comes
into effect on 1 August. According to the Zimbabwean embassy in South
Africa, there will not be a complete ban on cross-border trade, but a permit
for importing bulk foodstuffs for resale will have to be obtained from
Zimbabwe's Ministry of Industry, and will not be as easy to get as a
Waiting for jobs
Besides the shoppers and traders, thousands of Zimbabweans who have crossed
the border illegally wait around Musina in the hope of finding a job to pay
their fare to bigger South African cities further south.
According to Bertus Schutte, who manages the labour force on Maswiri Farm,
about 20km north of Musina, more and more Zimbabweans come looking for work
every day. He said they left as soon as they could, and about fifty
labourers went to cities like Johannesburg and Pretoria each week.
Peter, 20, and Kudzai, 18, from a village in Masvingo Province in southern
Zimbabwe, crossed into South Africa illegally near the Beitbridge border
post two weeks ago and have since been waiting for jobs at Maswiri.
They plan to seek work in Johannesburg, where friends of theirs already have
jobs in construction. It is estimated that there are close to three million
Zimbabweans in South Africa, mostly illegally.
Neither Peter nor Kudzai has a passport, and they do not see the point of
going to one of the refugee reception offices run by South Africa's Home
Affairs Department, which deals with immigration, to ask for asylum.
"They know they will be sent back immediately, because the authorities see
all of them as economic refugees. So, coming in illegally or on a visitor's
permit and staying, is the only option," Jacob Matakanye of the Musina Legal
Advice Office, an organisation that helps immigrants in the region, told
There are no official figures on the rate of influx of illegal Zimbabweans
into South Africa, but in the past few weeks local media and the South
African opposition party, Democratic Alliance, have been reporting a rising
tide of Zimbabwean immigrants.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM), which runs a reception
and support centre in Beitbridge providing assistance to migrants returning
from South Africa, reported that 16,500 Zimbabweans were sent home in June,
and the figures for July were expected to be the same.
"There is no sudden 'tsunami' of people being deported," said Nick van der
Vijver of IOM. "These figures ... represent the number of Zimbabweans
deported, and say nothing about the number of people leaving Zimbabwe."
He said the story of a wave of Zimbabweans coming [to South Africa] in the
last few weeks seemed an exaggeration, considering the number of deportees
had remained relatively stable.
Gabriel Shumba, of the Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF), estimated that 5,000
people legally crossed the border every day, 3,000 of whom remained in South
Africa. Illegally, he guessed, about 7,000 were crossing the border daily.
Shumba expected these numbers to increase as Zimbabwe's parliamentary and
presidential elections, scheduled for March 2008, drew nearer. "Violence has
always been stepped up before elections," he said. "Besides, hunger will
also drive many people to South Africa."
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations ]
By Tichaona Sibanda
31 July 2007
A senior officer with the Zimbabwe Republic Police was last week dismissed
from the force, allegedly after it was discovered she had 'links' with the
MDC. It still remains unclear how she is involved with the opposition party.
There are reports however that this is a message from Police Commissioner
Augustine Chihuri that any MDC sympathisers within the the force would not
Assistant Commissioner Kudzai Sibusiso Ndawana was practising as a dentist
at Morris Depot training school. She had to be forcibly dragged out of her
official residence at Chikurubi support unit base by fellow armed colleagues
after refusing to leave. Police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Oliver
Mandipaka confirmed Ndawana's dismissal and the subsequent withdrawal of her
housing and vehicle benefits.
Initial reports say Ndawana had resisted vacating the house after an
internal investigation linked her to the MDC. The high ranking officer from
the police medical corps also had her official Peugeot 406 taken away.
Former Assistant Commissioner Jonathan Chawora said it is clear from reports
that the reaction from Chihuri was very heavy handed.
'If it is true they fired her for her links with the MDC then Chihuri and
almost half the police force should be dismissed for being card carrying
members of Zanu (PF),' Chawora said.
According to Chawora, serving police officers are barred from active
politics although they are allowed to vote in any election. This means a
serving officer can privately be a member of a chosen political party but
cannot articulate party views in public.
'Chihuri is on record telling the nation that he was a staunch Zanu (PF)
cadre. Army generals are also on record saying they would never salute a
President without war credentials. This effectively means they are pro-Zanu
(PF), so its clear the laws are being selectively applied in the security
services,' Chawora added.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Lance Guma
31 July 2007.
As more information emerges from the tragedy that struck along Harare's
airport road last week it turns out that it was one university student
Tafirenyika Magwidi, and 2 other men, who were murdered by unknown
assailants. The Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU) on Monday issued a
statement saying 3 students were caught up in the suspected ambush but
Sidney Chisi, a youth leader in the Youth Initiative for Democracy in
Zimbabwe, was able to shed more light on the incident on Tuesday.
In an interview with Newsreel he revealed how the naked body of Magwidi, a
Humanities student at the University of Zimbabwe, was found between the
Catholic University in Hatfield and the One Commando army barracks on the
other side of the road. The same complex also houses the 2 Brigade
headquarters. Chisi explained how a variety of factors connived to sentence
Magwidi and the other two to a brutal death. He says the eviction of over
4000 UZ students from campus, the crackdown on the business sectors which
has created transport shortages, and the perennial power cuts, all created
the environment that led to the murders.
The group decided to walk after failing to secure transport and Magwidi in
particular was in temporary accommodation in Hatfield after being evicted
from the UZ campus halls. It's also thought power cuts made the entire area
very dark and easy to operate in for those who attacked them. Chisi says the
same area has seen a dramatic increase in the number of muggings. He says
the number of 'street kids' and people struggling to survive the economic
collapse is fuelling high crime levels. He also blamed commuter omnibus
drivers for conniving with robbers operating in the area.
A post-mortem conducted has now revealed Magwidi was 'hit by a strong
object.' His mother, a cross border trader, was busy selling her wares in
Namibia at the time her son was killed. She is said to be deeply distraught.
No details regarding the identity or cause of death of the other two victims
have come out yet, except that they died from their injuries a day after the
attack. A fourth man is in a coma and battling to survive in the intensive
care unit of a local hospital. Magwidi was buried at his rural homestead in
Mhondoro on Tuesday, with a service held at St Josephs Roman Catholic Church
in Hatfield the previous day.
ZINASU president Promise Mkwananzi meanwhile blamed the Zanu PF regime for
the murders saying they created the situation that led to the tragedy. He
refused to rule out political motives in the murder saying criminals were
not known to kill people and take their belongings as happened in this case.
The students are currently trying to get the Vice Chancellor arrested for
defying a High Court order setting aside the eviction of over 4000 students.
Mkwananzi said the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights are working on the case
and they hoped something would happen soon.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
Sources in Zimbabwe say Robert Mugabe's Government has entered into a deal
with Libya and Iran to procure fuel supplies against future deliveries of
gold and diamonds.
Author: Africa Correspondent
Posted: Tuesday , 31 Jul 2007
Zimbabwe's isolated President Robert Mugabe, who last week reaffirmed the
government's bid to assume full control of the country's minerals and mining
sector, has mortgaged the country's diamond and gold resources to Libya and
Iran for the procurement of bulk fuel supplies, Mineweb can report.
Sources within government revealed Tuesday that the Zimbabwean government
had struck a deal with unnamed partners in Libya and Iran for the
procurement of bulk oil in exchange for diamonds and gold.
The unnamed partners, the sources said, have links and connections with the
governments of Libya and Iran.
"Our government has made a deal with some partners in Iran and Libya for the
procurement of oil but this will be in exchange for gold and diamonds," said
the source, speaking strictly on conditions of anonymity.
This, the source said, is why the government has made a fuss about going it
alone in mining diamonds at the Marange diamond fields. About a month ago,
media reports indicated that Zimbabwe's information and publicity minister,
Dr Sikanyiso Ndlovu had said government would not seek partners to mine
diamonds. Consequently, the Zimbabwe government declined a US$ 200 million
German investment in the mining of the Marange diamonds.
Following this development, the government then mandated the Minerals and
Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe (MMCZ) to mine the diamonds at Marange.
The Central Bank head, Dr Gideon Gono slammed the MMCZ in his Monetary
Policy presentation. He said the parastatal had no capacity to mine the
diamonds at Marange.
The fuel, which will be procured through diamonds and gold is now at Feruka,
the sources said, adding: "It is quite a huge amount of fuel that it will
last for a long time should the deal stand".
Last year, unconfirmed reports indicated that Mugabe had made a deal with a
Libyan firm for the importation of fuel to bail out the country's ever-
squabble dogged fuel sector.
Observers and analysts said the move to hedge the country's mineral
resources could be "Mugabe's latest self cushioning antic ahead of next
year's harmonised presidential, parliamentary and local government polls"
scheduled for March.
Mugabe is known for his survival antics, especially ahead of elections,
which could prove a landmark in the history of the mineral-rich Southern
African nation. The fuel, observers and sources maintained, will be used in
Mugabe's Zanu PF campaigns for next year's polls.
Zimbabwe is currently in the throes of a fuel crisis, which has culminated
in 24-hour long queues at service stations.
Efforts to get a comment from Zimbabwean officials proved fruitless as there
was no-one willing to speak out officially, on the issue.
By Mutumwa Mawere
Last updated: 07/31/2007 12:37:16
THE significance of the acquittal of Dr Chris Kuruneri as was the acquittal
of James Makamba and others has one again gone unnoticed particularly in
respect of the constitutional order obtaining in the Zimbabwe of today.
Key questions need to be asked and answered on the kind of Zimbabwe we want
and what kind of values should inform it. What kind of constitutional order
would allow a citizen to be deprived of his human and property rights on
trumped up charges with impunity on the part of the perpetrators?
Is it the kind of Zimbabwe that the national democratic revolution was
founded upon and successfully prosecuted? Why has the opposition been silent
on these atrocities and vocal on others?
With the acquittal of Kuruneri, the opposition is conspicuous by its silence
as President Thabo Mbeki proceeds with his mandate by warning on Sunday that
elections in Zimbabwe next year must be "free and fair" and produce a
government legitimate in the eyes of the people of the devastated nation
while no mention was made of the complete breakdown of the rule of law and
political morality that should inform any democratic society as is evident
in the handling of this landmark case
If a government can get away with constructively undermining the rights of
citizens how can rational minds expect any fair play on election issues?
Here you have a cabinet minister in President Mugabe's government being
arrested and spending 15 months in remand prison and a further two years
under house arrest on allegations of externalisation, a charge invented by
the Governor of the RBZ, Gideon Gono, when he was appointed in 2003 to
position himself as an action man determined to rid Zimbabwe of an economic
disease that has so far not found a doctor.
Apart from the emotional and psychological aspect of the senseless
sterilisation of a brilliant mind, the battle between Kuruneri and the State
he accepted to serve as minister has cost him dearly. He had to hire five
lawyers and appear before seven judges and three magistrates before being
After this ordeal, the State led by President Mugabe who has of late styled
himself as a corruption buster failed to sustain its case and as expected,
no-one is to be punished for the abuse. In fact, President Mugabe is
expected to run for another term during which more victims like Kuruneri are
likely to suffer the same fate with no hope of justice or accountability on
the part of the state.
The position taken by Kuruneri from the beginning of his ordeal has not
changed i.e. that Zimbabwe had no jurisdiction over free funds available to
an individual and used to acquire offshore assets. The acquittal of Kuruneri
has left him only facing punishment for illegally possessing a Canadian
passport, an offence for which he has already been convicted on his own plea
The real trouble for Kuruneri had nothing to do with his dual citizenship
but that a South African newspaper, the Sunday Times, broke the story that
he was the owner of a seaside mansion in Cape Town, South Africa, that was
alleged to have cost about 30 million South African rands.
If Kuruneri, like most of Mugabe's cabinet ministers as well as
businesspersons, had decided to hide his investment, there is no doubt that
he would still be a minister. Unfortunately, honesty in Zimbabwe attracts a
What have been missing in the Kuruneri's story are the real lessons from
When a cabinet minister in a government that proclaims to be nationalistic
and pro-poor decides to invest his money in offshore assets and elects to
keep a Canadian citizenship fully knowing the consequences, then you must
know that there is something fundamentally wrong about the system.
Kuruneri was smart enough to know that Zimbabwean citizenship has been
devalued to such an extent that it really means nothing to citizens if after
27 years of independence they have become poorer than at independence. If
the investment climate in Zimbabwe has been made hostile by bad policies,
then even Mugabe's ministers would only be smart enough to know that their
investments are more secure in countries with stable economic environments
and that respect the rule of law.
Kuruneri's affairs were put on the spotlight. Police opened investigations
into how he got money to finance the construction of his personal property
and sought to establish whether he did not break foreign exchange
regulations in the process.
Following the newspaper article in South Africa, Kuruneri was then arrested
on April 24, 2004, and was initially charged with externalising US$1,082
million, 34 000 British pounds and 30 000 euros. The figures were later
revised to US$582 000, R5,2 million, 37 371 British pounds and 30 000 euros.
I have no doubt that Kuruneri at first must have been confused by what was
to follow and had befallen him and would naturally have thought that it was
a big joke.
He first made a bail application on April 30, 2004, naively thinking that
any reasonable judge would dismiss the allegations.As expected, Justice Ben
Hlatshwayo who has not been known for diligence and fairness, dismissed the
application on May 12, 2007, saying there was a high likelihood that
Kuruneri would abscond.
He then took his case to the Supreme Court on May 17, but Justice Elizabeth
Gwaunza referred the case back to the High Court on June 4, 2007, after
Kuruneri's lawyers failed to follow appeal procedures.
Gwaunza later dismissed the appeal, saying Kuruneri could abscond if granted
bail as he had vast resources outside the country which he could use to
sustain himself. Kuruneri made eight unsuccessful bail applications during a
15-month stint in remand prison and at one time offered assets worth $15
billion (old value) to be freed on bail.
It was only on his ninth attempt, that he was granted bail by Chief Justice
Godfrey Chidyausiku on July 27, 2005, under stringent conditions. He was
ordered to pay $50 million (old value), to surrender the title deeds for his
farm in Mazowe, to transfer R1,3 million held in an offshore account into
his local CBZ account and to remain under house arrest. He also surrendered
his travel documents.
Kuruneri appeared before the following judges and magistrates in his long
journey to freedom: Cremah Chipere, Omega Mugumbate, John Koto and Justices
Ben Hlatshwayo, Elizabeth Gwaunza, Chinembiri Bhunu, Lawrence Kamocha,
Charles Hungwe, Godfrey Chidyausiku and Susan Mavangira.
If anyone had confidence in the independence of the judiciary after 27 years
of independence, the Kuruneri case is pregnant with lessons. Kuruneri's
lawyer, Jonathan Samkange, had this to say: "Personally, I am very pleased
with this outcome. This is victory for justice."
However, is this really a victory of justice or victory of the barbarians
masquerading as government officers? How can this represent a victory for
justice when an innocent man can be condemned by the executive with no
protection of the courts or parliament and then serve time on remand and
endure the humiliation that Kuruneri had to go through for exercising his
What is shocking is that the contenders for power in the confused Zimbabwean
environment have not been concerned about Kuruneri because he is Zanu PF. In
the pursuit of political expediency, justice is seen in political terms and
this has now become acceptable as the norm in Zimbabwe even by the
It was only natural that Kuruneri had to fight his own battle with no
assistance from the so-called human rights groups or even the Law Society.
He remains accused of having dual citizenship, a crime that is laughable for
people who know Kuruneri well. You can give Kuruneri as many citizenships as
you want, but you can never take the Zimbabweanship in him.
No-one is leading a movement to scrap any laws that would make it a criminal
offence to hold dual citizenship when the policies of the government have
gone a long way in devaluing the meaning of what it means to be a citizen.
When you observe Zimbabweans in their numbers electing to be governed by
other people, then surely it follows that the citizenship law is obsolete
and has ceased to serve any national purpose.
As President Mbeki continues with the election agenda, it must be obvious to
many that the real deal has nothing to do with elections. If the prevailing
Zimbabwean constitutional order fails to produce checks and balances as has
been evident in not only Kuruneri's matter but other matters where the
government has targeted individuals for political expediency, then it must
be obvious that Zimbabwe has sunk so low that maintaining the status quo
will not resolve the crisis.
With the Kuruneri outcome, one would expect any rational incumbent President
to appoint a Commission of Inquiry to investigate the conduct of the law
enforcement agencies as well as the RBZ in what appears to be politically
motivated cases that are being prosecuted at the cost of the nation as well
as the victims.
Mawere is a New Zimbabwe.com columnist. He lives in exile in South Africa
after his businesses in Zimbabwe were expropriated by the government,
including his flagship Shabanie Mashaba Mines
Tuesday 31 July 2007
By Justin Muponda
HARARE - Zimbabwe's opposition party has severely weakened its bid to
unseat President Robert Mugabe in next year's national elections following
the breakdown in unity talks between two rival factions of the party,
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has come closest
to removing Mugabe from power but the party has been severely weakened by
internal divisions and a carefully orchestrated government crackdown on its
Supporters of the opposition party were hoping that a split in its
leadership ranks in 2004 would be resolved before next year's presidential
and parliamentary elections, but the smaller breakaway faction led by
academic Arthur Mutambara said at the weekend it was going it alone and
questioned Morgan Tsvangirai's leadership credentials.
Mutambara said his party will field its own candidates in next year's
"It is very unfortunate because in an authoritarian system such as
ours, we need all the democratic forces working together," John Makumbe, a
senior lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe's political science department
"The dictator is obviously clapping his hands because it is to his
advantage that they present a divided front. The opposition is now fighting
on more fronts than just one, and it limits their capacity to mobilise
against ZANU PF," added Makumbe.
Zimbabwe will hold a key presidential and parliamentary vote, which
both opposition formations say they will contest but only if there are
guarantees the elections will be free and fair.
The MDC says Mugabe, who has ruled Zimbabwe since independence in
1980, has won past elections through fraudulent means, a charge Mugabe
denies. The opposition party also says the country's economic and political
turmoil has its roots in the flawed polls.
Political analysts said the breakdown in unity talks could discourage
MDC supporters from going to the polls next year, handing Mugabe an easy
"They have disappointed many people in Zimbabwe and outside and they
(MDC) are unlikely to succeed in dethroning Mugabe," said Eldred
Masunungure, a University of Zimbabwe political scientist and leading
The analysts feared the sharp rift among the opposition factions could
filter into the Southern African Development Community (SADC) sponsored
talks between Mugabe's ZANU PF and the opposition.
SADC in March this year tasked South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki to
broker talks between the MDC and ZANU PF in a bid to end an eight-year
economic and political crisis that is already being felt in the region.
Zimbabwe's inflation has sailed to around 5 000 percent although
private economists put it at double that figure while shortages of food,
fuel and foreign currency have devastated the southern African country of 13
Mugabe's government, desperate to secure the elusive urban vote since
2000, has ordered a price freeze on all commodities to bring relief to
But while consumers have welcomed the lower prices, basic commodities
like maize-meal, milk, meat, sugar and bread have all disappeared from
"This fight (between MDC factions) will be taken to the ongoing
mediation led by Mbeki. It is surely going to set back the mediation process
further and it will leave Mbeki very disappointed," Makumbe, a staunch
critic of Mugabe's government, said.
"It will be a matter of personality clashes and ZANU PF will walk away
the winner," he said.
Analysts said Mugabe, a wily and cunning politician, who has outfoxed
opponents in the past would be quick to exploit the split to maximum
advantage when the country goes to the polls next March.
The analysts said if the two MDC formations contested next year's
elections separately they were likely to divide the vote but added that if
one of the factions boycotted, the other was likely to participate, almost
assuring ZANU PF an easy victory.
Mugabe, at 83 years is fit for his age and has indicated he will
contest in the elections scheduled for next March. If he wins he would have
ruled the country for 33 years, making him one of the longest serving
statesmen in Africa.
"What I see happening is that Mugabe will only need one of the
factions to participate to make sure that next year's elections look
legitimate," noted Masunungure. "So one might boycott only for the other to
participate and ZANU PF only needs one faction and will say the election was
free and fair."
Mugabe denies charges that he has presided over Zimbabwe's economic
meltdown that has left eight in 10 people without a formal job and instead
says former colonial ruler Britain has led a hostile Western campaign
against Harare to punish it for seizing white-owned farms to give to
The veteran leader says the land was stolen by white colonialists and
was the key reason for waging a bloody war of liberation in the 1970s. -
Tuesday 31 July 2007
By Hendricks Chizhanje
HARARE - Zimbabwean police on Monday said they had so far arrested at least
6 200 business executives and managers for defying a government directive to
roll back prices to mid-June levels.
Police spokesperson Oliver Mandipaka said the business managers, most of
whom have been fined and released, were arrested for pricing their goods
beyond the government stipulated prices.
"The main charges are those of overpricing. We are vigorously clamping down
on those who are still defying the government's directives on prices," said
At least 33 business managers were due to appear in court yesterday for
defying the directives on prices.
The Harare authorities launched the blitz on prices late last month after
they accused business leaders of working with their Western enemies to hike
prices of basic goods in an attempt foment rebellion against the government.
President Robert Mugabe has rejected appeals by the business community to
reverse the government order that has seen hungry Zimbabweans sweep away all
basic goods from shop shelves with business leaders saying they cannot
afford to restock after they were forced to sell at a loss.
Economic analysts have warned that the crackdown, code-named Operation
Dzikisa Mutengo, could bring Zimbabwe's struggling economy to its knees in a
matter of weeks. - ZimOnline
Tuesday 31 July 2007
By Nqobizitha Khumalo
BULAWAYO - A Zimbabwean white farmer has filed an urgent High Court
application demanding the release of three vehicles and an unspecified
amount of ivory that were confiscated by the police when they evicted her
from her property last week.
Margaret Joubert, together with her ailing 83-year old mother, Ellen
Maud Dolphin, were evicted at gunpoint by heavily armed police officers from
her Portwe Estates Farm in Inyathi, in Matabeleland North province.
Joubert also wants the police to release several computers that were
also forcibly taken away from the farm.
Joubert's lawyer, Josphat Tshuma, confirmed yesterday that he has
filed papers at the Bulawayo High Court seeking the release of the vehicles
and the other equipment.
"Police have no right to hang onto the equipment and in the first
place they are not supposed to be at the farm, papers were filed at the
Bulawayo High Court last week on Friday," Tshuma said.
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena could not be reached for comment
on the matter yesterday. The police have however in the past defied High
Court orders to vacate Portwe Estates.
Joubert said the police had seized three elephant tusks that she was
keeping inside her farmhouse. She said the ivory was cleared by the
Department of Parks and National Wildlife and there was no need for the
police to keep it.
"I have instructed my lawyer to institute legal action against the
police and he has already filed an urgent High Court application for the
release of my property which includes three vehicles, three elephant tusks
and computers," said Joubert.
The police last week forcibly evicted the Joubert family as well as
their farm workers and the farm manager Lovemore Muzenda as the long running
dispute over the property entered its fourth month.
The police invaded Portwe Farm last March and declared that the farm
now belonged to the law enforcement agency. They chased away foreign
tourists who were at the safari lodge on the farm and seized keys to all
buildings at the farm.
President Robert Mugabe's government has over the past seven years
chased away about 90 percent of the country's 4 500 white farmers plunging
the southern African country into acute food shortages. - ZimOnline
By Irwin Chifera, Thomas Chiripasi, Patience Rusere and Safari Njema
Harare & Washington
30 July 2007
Hopes among some Zimbabweans that the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change might mend the fault line between its two factions have been dashed
with the declaration by Arthur Mutambara, rival to MDC founding president
Morgan Tsvangirai, that he intends to present himself as a candidate in the
2008 presidential election.
At the same time, Mutambara told journalists at a news conference in Harare
over the weekend that his MDC faction was pulling out of the Save Zimbabwe
Campaign which had provided a venue for cooperation by the two opposition
formations. Mutambara charged that the Save Zimbabwe Campaign was supporting
Tsvangirai, who has announced he will challenge the incumbent President
Correspondent Irwin Chifera of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe reported.
Responding obliquely in a campaign speech on Sunday, Tsvangirai said
democratic forces must work together to dislodge Mr. Mugabe and the ruling
party in 2008.
Correspondent Thomas Chiripasi reported from Harare's Kuwadzana section.
Commented Tsvangirai spokesman Nelson Chamisa: "We believe in unity of
purpose and we hope people will realize that the enemy is Mugabe and not
Mutambara's decision to enter the presidential field in next year's election
is likely to benefit Mr. Mugabe and the ruling party, said democracy and
governance program director Peter Kagwanja of the Human Science Research
Council in South Africa.
Kagwanja told reporter Patience Rusere that the move could also undercut the
crisis negotiation talks being mediated by South African President Thabo
As campaigning for the March 2008 elections picks up, key issues are
emerging as respective party leaders address supporters, reported Safari
As medical facilities decay, as equipment breaks and is not replaced, what
hope for those who must have treatment?
There are many ways to die in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe today, starvation,
riot, a visit from your friendly neighbourhood policeman... But one of the
saddest now threatens a group of people already suffering from a life
They are patients with renal failure. In the past there have been sufficient
dialysis machines in the country to cope with demand, even though patients
often had to supply their own equipment and fluids bought for them by kind
family members in South Africa.
But now, like so much of the infrastructure of this country, the machines
have begun to fail. Last week the machine at Bulawayo's Mpilo Central
Hospital broke down. This left one functioning machine in the country, here
at the Parirenyatwa hospital in Harare.
I visited the renal unit at the hospital at the weekend and was shocked by
what I saw - scores of patients, many of them elderly, many from far away,
waiting patiently for a chance to undergo dialysis.
In pain, and with swollen limbs and faces, they were clearly aware that
their prospects are grim. Each dialysis session lasts four hours, and
patients normally require dialysis three times a week. The queue at the unit
was long, and growing longer by the hour.
I spoke to one patient, Kenneth Ncube, from Nkayi in Matabeleland far to the
South. He told me: "I travelled to Bulawayo to have my dialysis, but I was
told that the machine at Mpilo had just broken down. Knowing the danger I
was in, I took the train to Harare, but now we've been told that the machine
here has broken down too. No-one can tell us when it will be repaired."
I understand that a lack of foreign currency means the government cannot
afford to import spare parts for the machines. Desperate doctors and
technicians have resorted to cannibalising old machines for parts, but this
option is fast running out.
One doctor at the unit told me: "All we can do is give the patients pain
killers. The future for these people is very uncertain. Once the urea and
potassium levels go up, a person can easily suffer a cardiac arrest, and
this can of course lead to death."
Next day I returned to the hospital, to find the gate to the Renal Unit
sealed, with no-one allowed in. No-one was prepared to tell me why.
I called Health Minister David Parirenyatwa for his comments. (The name is
no coincidence. The Parirenyatwa hospital was named after his father, the
first black Zimbabwean to qualify as a medical doctor.) I asked him to
comment on the fate of Zimbabwean kidney patients. This was his statement to
"I do not discuss these issues in the press, you are in the habit of
fabricating stories. In any case, this is an issue of national security and
you should send your questions in writing and copy them to Mutasa (State
Security minister). Make sure the questions are on official letterheads and
It is probably a good thing that Kenneth Ncube and his fellow sufferers in
that endless queue will never know or hear the words of comfort and sympathy
offered by their so-called Health Minister.
Posted on Tuesday, 31 July 2007
Agencia de Informacao de Mocambique (Maputo)
31 July 2007
Posted to the web 31 July 2007
The Mozambican police have arrested 131 people (92 Mozambicans and 39
Zimbabwean) for illegal prospection for gold and other minerals in
Chimanimani, in the central province of Manica, on the border with Zimbabwe.
The arrests were made during an operation codenamed "leao" (Lion) launched
to dismantle groups of illegal miners.
The Manica provincial police commander, Arsenia Massingue, cited in
Tuesday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias", said that, because of poor
security conditions, two of the Mozambican detainees managed to escape
during the night.
She said that during the operation, the police seized 24.5 grams of gold,
750 grams of other minerals, and unspecified quantities of mercury (used in
panning for gold).
They also seized 55,000 meticais (about 2,200 US dollars) and over 7,000
Zimbabwean dollars (virtually worthless), along with tools such as shovels,
pickaxes, hoes, machetess and basins.
500 grams of the drug cannabis was also found in the possession of the
Massingue added that in order to prevent the illegal prospectors returning
to the area, a police unit has been stationed at Chimanimani.
"Noticias" reports that elsewhere in Manica some members of the police have
turned into criminals. Thus in Guro district a police corporal, Fernando
Fanheiro, and three others, were caught in possession of 10 head of catt;e
stolen from local farmers. A further three people were arrested in Mossurize
district for rustling. They were using an obsolete rifle to threaten the
animals' owners, who were unaware that the gun was not in working order.
21:22, July 31, 2007
An ecological crisis is looming in the Hwange National Park in
Zimbabwe as animal numbers have increased sharply, raising fears of a
population crash, The Chronicle reported on Tuesday.
Zimbabwe last experienced a population crash during the
devastating drought of 1992 when many animals died at Gonarezhou National
Park owing to a shortage of food and water.
Wildlife management experts confirmed to Chronicle that the
animals'' growing demand for food and water could soon lead to a population
crash in the Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe''s largest game reserve and
Africa''s third biggest park.
Those fears have been raised and it is up to the parties
concerned to see what measures can be taken. There was a need for immediate
intervention to bring the situation under control, a wildlife expert was
quoted as saying.
"If the numbers continue to grow at this rate, we will have a
situation where food resources will be exhausted and the whole habitat
destroyed," said the expert.
The expert emphasized the urgent need for an intervention
strategy. There is need for a strategic population management through the
manipulation of water points by way of introducing rotational pumping to
reduce overabundance of animals at one place and reduce pressure on the
habitat, he said.
According to the reports by the newspaper, there are huge
numbers of elephants within the park with an alarming birth rate. Large
herds of jumbos and their calves could be spotted in most parts of the park.
There were more than 200 elephants drinking water at each watering point.
As the jumbos drank water, they barred smaller animal species
from nearing the water holes. Animals such as warthog and, giraffe were seen
milling around, awaiting their turn.
Due to the increased numbers of elephants, there is also serious
destruction of vegetation.
A Parks and Wildlife Management Authority official confirmed the
fears of a population crash as more animals stampede for scarce water and
Hwange National Park has 60 artificial watering points. Water is
currently being pumped at only 36 points. More than 15,000 litres of diesel
are needed at Hwange National Park to run the water engines every month. The
pumping of water is conducted eight months a year.
The Herald (Harare) Published by the government of Zimbabwe
31 July 2007
Posted to the web 31 July 2007
FARMERS have called on power utility Zesa Holdings to minimise power
disruptions to the farming sector as it was severely affecting their
irrigation cycles and preparations for the tobacco season.
Shortages of power have grossly affected wheat growth with most of the crop
clearly showing signs of moisture stress while preparations and irrigation
of tobacco seedbeds have been stalled by power outages.
Although the power utility said it would ensure uninterrupted power supplies
to farmers, the farming sector says it is still experiencing severe power
outages which Zesa has, in turn, blamed on inadequate supply of coal from
Hwange Power Company.
An economist with the Zimbabwe Farmers' Union said a sizeable hectarage of
the crop would be a write-off due to irrigation failures caused by
persistent power cuts.
In an interview with The Herald Business, ZFU vice-president Mr Edward
Raradza said power interruptions were affecting irrigation for both wheat
and tobacco dryland crops.
"Although both the winter wheat crop and tobacco seedbeds have been going on
well, power outages are affecting irrigation, leading to the crop showing
signs of moisture stress.
"For the tobacco crop preparations we have not encountered problems with
inputs but our only worry at the moment remains power for irrigation. This
is affecting progress on their seedbeds as they rely on irrigation," he
Most farmers were making use of the remnant stocks of fertilizer and
chemicals from last year and Mr Raradza hoped more fertilizers and chemicals
would have been secured.
Tobacco Industry and Marketing Board acting chief executive Dr Andrew
Matibiri said there was need to increase power supply to the farming
community given that power was an integral part of any farming operation.
"We have put our tobacco target at 70 000 hectares, up from 55 000 achieved
last year, and preparations for the season are satisfactory.
"As for chemicals and fertilizers we are using our remnant stocks from last
year but the only problem has been of power for irrigation.
"Just like the winter wheat programme, irrigation of tobacco seedbeds is
being affected by power outages as most dryland tobacco relied heavily on
irrigation water," Dr Matibiri said.
Agriculture Minister Mr Rugare Gumbo recently said the country would be
forced import wheat, as there was a likelihood that farmers would not be
able to meet the country's production target owing to serious power cuts.
"Due to load shedding, wheat farmers have failed to get enough electricity
for irrigation purposes. As a result we are going to import wheat to ensure
that there is enough to meet demand," he said
Government was looking at ways of increasing power supply to the farming
sector although the efforts were being hampered by shortages of foreign
Farmers said there was need for Zesa to abide by its schedule on load
shedding to avert problems caused to irrigation planning schedules and
damage to irrigation equipment. Only 45 000 hectares have been put under
wheat this season against a target of 76 000 hectares.
Zimbabwe requires about 420 000 metric tonnes of wheat annually, but has
seen production dropping to below 200 000 tonnes over the years.
From The Herald (SA), 30 July
By Derrick Spies and Hendrick Mphande
Zimbabweans living in Walmer township in Port Elizabeth fear they are being
targeted by local residents after a xenophobic attack against three of their
countrymen this weekend. Eastern Cape spokesman for the Movement for
Democratic Change, Roderick Chimombe, said violence against Zimbabweans had
been escalating in the township over the past two months. "It is clear there
is an element within the Walmer township that is targeting Zimbabweans. Just
last month they burnt down the house of Joseph Matasa, which he used to
store the cane furniture for his business," Chimombe said. He cited another
incident two months ago in which a Zimbabwean was apparently gunned down in
In the latest attack, Takawira Ndaba, Walter Marwendo and Dellington Savanhu
were attacked and repeatedly stabbed by a group of about 20 men while on
their way home yesterday afternoon. "We had stopped to buy some meat for a
braai and had just left the shop when they attacked us," said Savanhu from
his bed in Provincial Hospital. He was stabbed several times in his back,
chest and face, and passed out during the attack. His friends were also
severely beaten, with Ndaba receiving a stab wound just below the eye and in
his head and Marwendo sustaining numerous stab wounds to his back. Ndaba was
treated and released from hospital, while Marwendo was still in intensive
"I don't know why they attacked us, I just saw them walking towards us and
then they started stabbing me," said Savanhu, who was having difficulty
breathing due to a punctured lung. He said he did not expect to be faced
with violence when he came to South Africa. "I left Zimbabwe to escape from
the violence, now I'm being attacked because I'm Zimbabwean." Chimombe said
the attacks against Zimbabweans needed to be addressed by the police, home
affairs and local government and that the residents needed to be educated
about xenophobia. "Many of us are here because of political persecution back
home. We have left our families and work so that we can survive, and now we
are being attacked here," he said.
Xenophobia, particularly towards Somalis, has become a hot issue in
townships throughout Nelson Mandela Bay and was the flashpoint for riots
that took place in Motherwell at the beginning of the year. Police spokesman
Ernest Sigobe said Walmer police did not have a record of the weekend
attack, nor did they fear xenophobic attacks against Zimbabweans were taking
place. "I have spoken to the director of Walmer Police station, and he has
assured me there is no evidence to show that Zimbabweans are being targeted
in the townships," he said. In another incident linked to xenophobia, a
Somali national has been arrested following the death of a man over the
weekend. Nicklas Windvogel, 48, died after he was shot in the stomach
yesterday morning in the Storms River area. A 38-year-old Somali citizen
will appear in court today on a charge of murder.
From Mmegi (Botswana), 30 July
People of the border villages of Matsiloje and Matshelagabedi have asked for
police reinforcements and told Vice President Ian Khama that they bear the
brunt of cross-border crime, perpetrated by illegal immigrants from
Zimbabwe. With the foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) almost ever-present in
Zimbabwe, the people of Botswana's border villages are in a quandary unique
to the frontier. "The crime rate is too high in this village," said Kgosi
Oganne Polson at the Matshelagabedi Kgotla. "I urge you to increase the
number of local police in our village." Kgosi Polson said the three local
police officers and five special constables in the village are overstretched
by the ever-increasing crime in Matshelagabedi, which does not even have a
He said Zimbabwean cattle rustlers steal their livestock, and that on the
rare occasion when stolen cattle are recovered, the owners still lose
because Botswana authorities kill and burn the animals for fear of FMD
infection. Compensation for a destroyed animal is currently P400. Polson
pleaded with Khama to increase the compensation to at least P1,200. On other
issues, Polson complained of delays in drought relief projects, saying the
vice president should "get civil servants responsible for such projects to
pull up their socks." A villager, Baitshenyetsi Lentswe, complained of poor
facilities at the clinic: "We have repeatedly expressed our grievances to
relevant authorities, but to no avail."
Contrary to expectations that Khama would fully respond to their grievances,
the vice president mainly noted some developmental changes in the two
villages. He said the two villages had grown considerably compared with the
last time he was there when he was still a soldier. "You are better (than
others) because you have electricity and water," said Khama amid ululations.
He said P1,200 compensation for a destroyed beast was too much; however,
government was reviewing the issue. The Assistant Minister of Agriculture
Olifant Mfa, who was in Khama's entourage, agreed with Polson that P400 for
a destroyed animal was too little, hence the issue was under review. Mfa
said the idea is not to pay but compensate: "It is true that the money is
not enough but we feel killing is the best way to control FMD," he said,
much to the chagrin of farmers.
For his part, the Assistant Minister of Labour and Home Affairs Gaotlhaetse
Matlhabaphiri said unemployment was a countrywide concern; hence government
encourages companies at the mines near the villages to employ locals.
Whereupon the villagers said corruption was rife at the mines. Without ado,
Matlhabaphiri said a commission of inquiry had been appointed to investigate
the issue. As in other villages he visited, Khama donated soccer balls to
the constituency, Tati East. The vice president said the balls would be used
in a tournament to be facilitated by the constituency MP Samson Moyo at a
date yet to be set. Prize money for the tournament is P3,000, P2,000 and
P1,000 for first, second and third place respectively. Khama visited
Themashanga before going on to Tsamaya where he was expected to have a
relaxed exchange of views with village elders by the fireside in the