Mail and Guardian
Chris Chinaka | Harare, Zimbabwe
23 August 2007 04:20
President Robert Mugabe's government introduced a Bill to
Parliament on Thursday that would give Zimbabweans majority ownership of
foreign companies, a move which critics say will deepen an economic crisis.
If passed, it would give the government sweeping powers over how
foreign companies, including mines, operate in Zimbabwe.
Indigenisation and Empowerment Minister Paul Mangwana told the
assembly the Bill would create an environment that would increase the
"participation of indigenous people in Zimbabwe".
The Bill was passed to a parliamentary legal committee shortly
after it was introduced. Mugabe is likely to push it through because his
ruling Zanu-PF party dominates Parliament, analysts say.
Mugabe, accused of widespread human rights abuses and destroying
Zimbabwe's economy, has been tightening his control of the country as
discontent grows with chronic food, fuel and foreign currency shortages,
'It is all going to get worse'
Meanwhile, Zimbabweans shrugged off their country's latest
world-record breaking inflation data on Thursday as irrelevant to a misery
that could only get worse.
After a long delay, the government released official figures on
Wednesday showing July inflation at 7 634,8%.
Despite its staggering scale, many people said it underestimated
the true situation and paled into insignificance alongside chronic food,
fuel and foreign currency shortages.
The data was published after the government imposed a price
freeze, which backfired and left store shelves empty.
"These inflation statistics are meaningless ... it is the height
of dishonesty for them to release inflation figures only after enforcing
price reductions," said Patrick Moyo, a student at a Harare college.
"What is clear, however, is it is all going to get worse."
Complaining is risky under President Robert Mugabe's crackdown
on dissent. The only option for those who have had enough is to leave for
The journey can require crossing crocodile-infested rivers and
there is no guarantee of a job or home at the end of it. But more and more
people leave every day. -- Reuters
Thu 23 Aug 2007, 13:10 GMT
By Nelson Banya
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabweans shrugged off their country's latest
world-record breaking inflation data on Thursday as irrelevant to a misery
that could only get worse.
After a long delay, the government released official figures on Wednesday
showing July inflation at 7,634.8 percent.
Despite its staggering scale, many people said it underestimated the true
situation and paled into insignificance alongside chronic food, fuel and
foreign currency shortages.
The data was published after the government imposed a price freeze which
backfired and left store shelves empty.
"These inflation statistics are meaningless ... it is the height of
dishonesty for them to release inflation figures only after enforcing price
reductions," said Patrick Moyo, a student at a Harare college.
"What is clear, however, is it is all going to get worse."
Complaining is risky under President Robert Mugabe's crackdown on dissent.
The only option for those who have had enough is to leave for neighbouring
The journey can require crossing crocodile infested rivers and there is no
guarantee of a job or home at the end of it. But more and more people leave
Critics accuse Mugabe -- in power since independence from Britain in 1980 --
of ruining what was one of Africa's most promising economies through
controversial policies such as the seizure of white-owned farms to resettle
His government in turn charges Western countries with a plot to oust the
veteran leader. At the end of June, it rolled back prices of basic goods and
services to June 18 levels, accusing businesses of hiking prices as part of
such a plot.
This made the July inflation figure not much higher than the official figure
for June of 7,251.1, whereas that was a big leap from 4,530 in May.
The freeze sparked frenzied buying. Maize meal, sugar, flour and cooking
oil, once stapled foods, have become a luxury.
Zimbabweans hoped for a little relief on Wednesday when the government
announced price increases for some goods, including food products, beverages
and farming inputs.
But on Thursday, shops remained empty as tempers flared in long lines
outside. "Nothing has changed, we still have to wait for hours for
deliveries," said Tendai Jemwa, after waiting for sugar for two hours.
Although the government says the inflation figure is correct, many analysts
and critics say it is likely much higher. The International Monetary Fund
said last month it may reach 100,000 by year-end.
That may rattle Zimbabweans. But their president, a former African
liberation hero, remains defiant after 27 years in power.
Analysts say Mugabe may loosen price controls as he struggles against
inflation and growing discontent.
"It is clear this is just one more failed government policy and I see
gradual relaxation as government finds itself with more and more egg on
their faces," said Anthony Hawkins, a lecturer of business studies at the
University of Zimbabwe.
"That will then lift the lid on underlying inflationary pressures," he
Chris McGreal in Johannesburg
Thursday August 23, 2007
The South African president, Thabo Mbeki, chided critics of his handling of
the political upheaval in Zimbabwe today, saying his efforts to mediate
between the government and opposition were "on track" and would deliver a
resolution to the crisis.
A meeting of Mr Mbeki's cabinet rejected reports in the South African press
that the talks were failing after Zimbabwe's ruling Zanu-PF failed to turn
up for the first round and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
said there was no progress at subsequent negotiations.
The cabinet said in a statement that Mr Mbeki had reported to a summit of
regional leaders that he was confident of brokering a deal.
"Contrary to misleading and sensationalist media reports, the report
indicated that the facilitated talks between the government of Zimbabwe and
the opposition were on track and was confident these talks will deliver an
agreement that will lay the foundation for free and fair elections in
Zimbabwe," the statement said.
The cabinet also denied that Mr Mbeki blamed Britain for Zimbabwe's economic
woes. According to a document circulating among diplomats ahead the summit
that purported to be a draft of Mr Mbeki's position at the meeting, and
which was reported on in the Guardian, the South African leader joined Mr
Mugabe in accusing the UK of leading a campaign of western sanctions to
bring Zimbabwe's economy to its knees.
Mr Mbeki's office says it knows nothing about the document. "Government once
again categorically rejects the allegation that President Mbeki had blamed
the British government for the problems in Zimbabwe. This is simply not
true," the statement said.
The South African government has previously sided with Mr Mugabe when he
blamed Zimbabwe's economic woes on western sanctions, although the measures
taken by Europe and the US are limited to travel bans on senior ruling party
officials and other steps that have no economic repercussions.
A regional summit in March effectively accepted Mr Mugabe's view and called
for "the lifting of all forms of sanctions against Zimbabwe".
At the end of their summit last week, the region's leaders said that
Zimbabwe's crisis was "exaggerated", but new economic indicators suggest
otherwise. Official inflation rose to 7,634% in July, the highest in the
world. Consumer groups say that real inflation is probably twice that or
The state Central Statistical Office said that a government order to shops
to cut prices by at least half in late June brought month-on-month inflation
down from 86% in June to 31% in July. But it also left most supermarket
shelves bare and most of basics, such as cooking oil, sugar and tea, are now
generally available on the black market at several times the official price.
Earlier this week the government bowed to reality and permitted shop owners
and producers to raise the price of some basic goods by 20%, but retailers
say they do not believe it will do much to ease the crisis.
Thu Aug 23, 12:38 PM ET
CAPE TOWN (AFP) - The South African government expressed confidence Thursday
in free and fair elections in neighbouring Zimbabwe even as the ruling party
and opposition there remained at loggerheads.
The South African cabinet accepted a report by President Thabo Mbeki that
his attempts to broker a stalemate between Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were "on track".
"The report ... was confident these talks will deliver an agreement that
will lay the foundation for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe," government
spokesman Themba Maseko told journalists after a fortnightly cabinet
Southern African leaders failed last week to heed calls for strong action
against the embattled Zimbabwean government, saying at the conclusion of a
two-day summit in Lusaka, Zambia, the country's problems were "exaggerated".
Zimbabwe is in the throes of an economic crisis with inflation past the
7,000 percent mark, four in five people jobless and 80 percent of the
population living below the poverty threshold.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who got a rousing welcome to the summit,
told Zambia's state ZNBC television that sanctions were to blame for his
country's economic woes, adding things were getting better.
"It is going well, relatively," he said.
On the sidelines of the summit, Mugabe's Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
told journalists no political reforms were necessary in his country, while
the MDC Wednesday denounced a two-month voter registration programme as a
sham to boost Mugabe's chances of victory in elections set down for March.
Maseko said Thursday that despite their public sparring, the Zimbabwean
government and opposition remained committed to talks the SADC mandated
Mbeki to facilitate.
"The president (Mbeki) did indicate that he informed the SADC heads of state
that both parties were united in the resolve that the talks will proceed.
"Yes there will be hiccups as the talks unfold, but the overall assessment
... was that the talks were indeed progressing and that an agreement or a
settlement will be reached soon to make sure that there will be free and
fair elections in Zimbabwe," said Maseko.
"The president in his capacity as the facilitator of the talks is confident
that in fact progress is being made on a number of fundamental issues."
Maseko rejected media reports that SADC heads of state were divided on how
to deal with the Zimbabwean issue, and said there had been no discussion on
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs -
Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)
Date: 23 Aug 2007
HARARE, 23 August 2007 (IRIN) - The dumping of untreated sewage into Lake
Chivero, the main water supply dam of the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, has
finally caught up with authorities, and the city has seen an upsurge in
cases of diarrhoea and dysentery.
According to Prosper Chonzi, Harare's City Health Director, unreliable water
supplies and sewer blockages have led to a surge in diarrhoea cases. The
official daily newspaper, The Herald, quoted him as saying that Harare's 60
clinics were now attending to more than 900 cases of diarrhoea every day.
Many more are being treated at private health institutions. Chonzi told IRIN
his department had ordered all clinics to treat cases of diarrhoea free of
charge to encourage people to seek treatment, which would prevent infection
Most of Zimbabwe's public infrastructure is in a state of disrepair. The
country is saddled with crippling foreign exchange shortages and the world's
highest inflation rate. The official inflation rate has been pegged at
around 3,700 percent, but in recent confidential correspondence with bank
chief executives, seen by IRIN, Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono said
inflation had shot up beyond the 7,000 percent mark in June.
The Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) took over the provision of
water and sewerage services two years ago from the efficient, elected Harare
Municipality, but it has failed to raise money to repair the city's sewerage
treatment plant, resulting in untreated human waste being diverted into Lake
Chivero, the city's main source of water.
ZINWA has maintained that it does not have the foreign exchange to import
spare parts to refurbish the outdated water treatment works, and residents
have had to contend with water cuts, at times lasting for more than six
A dire shortage of fuel and poor funding has also made ZINWA unable to
attend to burst sewer pipes, resulting in effluent flowing into the streets
of many Harare townships.
The hardest hit have been areas like Mabvuku and Tafara, where there has
been no potable water for more than six months. Several people in Mabvuku
died of cholera earlier this year after residents had gone without clean
water for months, forcing them to resort to shallow unprotected wells.
The minister of water resources, Munacho Mutezo, whose ministry oversees
ZINWA, told IRIN in a statement that the government had recently made
available Zim$100 billion (about US$400,000 at the parallel market exchange
rate) for the refurbishment of water and sewage treatment plants.
"My ministry would like to assure residents that ZINWA is doing everything
within its reach, with limited resources at its disposal, to ensure normal
service," he said in the statement. Mutezo said normal supplies of water
would resume "soon".
The ongoing power cuts made it difficult for ZINWA to provide water, because
the 20-hour outages meant they could not pump water to residential homes,
Precious Shumba, spokesman for the Combined Harare Residents Association,
called on the government-appointed city leadership, and the ministries of
health, water resources and local government to move quickly to avert what
he described as an "unmitigated health disaster".
"There are biting water shortages, caused partly by a porous water
reticulation system that has all but totally collapsed. In every suburb that
we have visited in the high-density areas over the last two weeks, sewage
was flowing in the streets, creating fertile environments for the spreading
of waterborne diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, which have
begun to affect many residents," Shumba said.
Burst sewer pipes
IRIN visited the high-density suburbs of Mbare, Dzivarasekwa and Budiriro in
Harare, and saw the sewage flowing in the streets. Susan Tarwisa, a
vegetable vendor in Glen View, told IRIN it was not surprising that many
residents were complaining of stomach ailments.
"Very few people can afford medical treatment, and the few who can afford to
visit hospitals cannot afford or find the medical drugs. There are many
people who are suffering in their homes," she said.
"People are drinking unsafe water from shallow boreholes. They don't have
enough water to wash vegetables or plates which they use, creating a
breeding ground for waterborne diseases."
Johnny Rodrigues, chairperson of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, an
environmental activist group, told IRIN that the implications of discharging
raw effluent into the capital's main water source were beginning to be felt.
"For a long time we have warned that diverting raw sewage and industrial
effluent would have the effect of causing an outbreak of waterborne
diseases," he said. "The lake into which the effluent flows is where
residents catch fish for resale in urban Harare, and this creates another
front ... [for diseases to] spread, especially since the fish are sold in
open, unhygienic conditions."
Harare's water woes are partly caused by power cuts, but its long-suffering
residents will perhaps take some solace from reports that normal power
supplies are to resume in early 2008.
The Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority, the state power utility, has
received a US$40 million loan from its Namibian counterpart, NamPower, to
refurbish the Hwange Thermal Power Station in Matabeleland North Province,
which will generate an extra 330MW of electricity, 150MW of which will go to
Namibia for five years in exchange for the loan.
In Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, the municipality has decommissioned
four of its five supply dams and instituted water rationing so strict that
it has left people without the precious commodity for weeks at a time.
Residents told IRIN that they feared outbreaks of cholera and diarrhoea
caused by falling hygienic standards.
"People are going for several days without bathing, and the little water
that they get is being stored for drinking and cleaning utensils," said
Mlamuli Tshuma. "Residents who are lucky to have boreholes are making brisk
business by selling water to desperate families."
In June, more than 20 people died of diarrhoea in the gold mining town of
Kadoma, 138km south of Harare, in Mashonaland West Province. The town had no
tap water for weeks because the water treatment plant had broken down and
there was no money to repair it.
This article does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or
Combined Harare Residents Association
22 August 2007
RESIDENTS in Ward 45, Dzivarasekwa this morning (22 Aug. 07) converged at
Dzivarasekwa district office and demanded that the local district office
urgently attend to the crisis of burst sewers that has gone unattended for
nearly two weeks.
Dzivarasekwa and Tynwald have had perennial problems of burst sewers for
ages and request for assistance from the district office have fallen on deaf
ears. The crowd of about 70 residents which was led by the CHRA local
leadership of Ward 45 made several resolutions. After meeting the officers
in charge at the district office residents resolved the following;
If the sewerage bursts which have been left unattended to for weeks are not
solved the residents will throw the sewer at the district office. They
argued that most of the people working at the district office did not live
with sewage burst and hence could not sympathise with the residents. They
would want to throw the sewage at the district office as a sign of
discontent and also to make them appreciate the gravity of the matter.
Residents are also keen on petitioning the Minister of Water Resources and
Infrastructural Development on the state of waste management and in
particular the sewage crisis that has hit the area. The letter will be
carbon copied to ZINWA and the City of Harare.
They will mobilise residents from other areas so they can make a combined
action at the Town House and ZINWA offices within 14 days.
The Combined Harare Residents' Association (CHRA) has been running capacity
building programs to assist residents to make local based actions to solve
local actions. The popular action witnessed today was part of the ongoing
exercise by CHRA to decentralise the planning and implementation of programs
at community level. Since ZINWA took over the administration of Sewer and
Water services there has been a phenomenal decline in the management of
sewer and water services.
Several areas have gone without water while burst sewers have become the
order of the day. The worst affected areas include Mabvuku-Tafara, Budiriro,
Dzivarasekwa, Glen Norah, Glen View and Hatcliffe.
Resident's have had to close and abandon use of their toilets since they
have been blocked for ages. This situation has created a new wave of disease
outbreaks with Cholera and Diarhorrea topping the list. The Association has
continued with its effort to lobby for the reversal of the decisions by
Cabinet to let ZINWA run sewer and water services. CHRA also runs awareness
campaigns on how to combat the spread o Cholera and Diarhorrea. The
Association will continue to advocate for effective, accountable and
transparent municipal services.
SW Radio Africa (London)
23 August 2007
Posted to the web 23 August 2007
Shelves are still empty in Zimbabwe's shops, despite the fact that
government has increased the price of some basic commodities. Workers
continue to struggle to get transport in the morning and after work, and
long queues can still be seen when shops get a delivery. It has also been
reported that some government officials are benefiting from the shortages of
meat by raiding the Cold Storage Commission and selling the meat at inflated
prices on the black market. New records released by the Central Statistical
Office Wednesday put Zimbabwe's inflation at 7,634.8 percent in July.
Economic experts say it is actually beyond 14,000 percent, the highest in
Journalist Caiphas Chimhete reported that on Wednesday government published
a new pricing structure, increasing the price of some basic commodities. He
said scarce items such as sugar, chicken, soap, car tyres and floor polish
were among the items on the list. Blankets and farming inputs like seeds and
fertiliser were also included. Although they have reviewed prices upwards,
the authorities have not admitted that the price control exercise introduced
back in March was a disaster. They continue to enforce price controls that
are causing the very shortages that have gripped the country.
Chimhete said butchers have not started providing enough meat for everyone
after government made a u-turn weeks ago and allowed some private abattoirs
to operate. Meat has become a luxury for most Zimbabweans. The Harare based
reporter revealed that people who are finding meat on the black market claim
that it is actually top officials from the Cold Storage Commission who are
selling it. According to Chimhete, the meat is available at two to three
times the government stipulated price. And it is top officials who are
making the money.
In other economic news, the Deputy Minister of Industry and International
Trade Phineas Chihota, has said government will charge higher excise duty on
imported goods that are also available locally. The Deputy Minister said
this in the House of Assembly Wednesday in response to a question from
Timothy Mubhawu, the MDC MP for Tafara/Mabvuku. Mubhawu had asked the Deputy
Minister to clarify two contradicting Statutory Instruments issued by the
ministry, one banning the importation of basic commodities and another that
rescinded the ban.
SW Radio Africa (London)
23 August 2007
Posted to the web 23 August 2007
Two US filmmakers, arrested on Wednesday morning with the Girl Child Network
director Betty Makoni, were deported on Thursday without having any legal
recourse. They had been summoned the day before to report to the police
which led to their subsequent arrest.
Their lawyer Dzimbabwe Chimbwa said it is still not clear why they were
arrested but the Americans had been filming a documentary on Makoni's Girl
Child Network. This is an organization that works with orphans and abused
children in Zimbabwe.
Makoni was released the same day at around 9pm but the two Americans
remained in detention overnight. Chimbwa said he was denied access to them
at all times. He said it was only after Makoni advised him that the police
had searched her house and taken their travel documents that they suspected
the authorities were intending to deport the foreigners.
The lawyer said: "Our enquiries at South African Airways confirmed that the
police had been there to try and get them onto a plane which was leaving
today at 1pm. We managed to urgently file an application before the High
Court to stop the deportations and we got that order at 1 o'clock but
unfortunately it is exactly at that time the South African Airways, which
the two were supposed to be on, was leaving."
A frustrated Chimbwa said the bottom-line is that his clients were forcibly
removed from the country without having any access to their lawyers and
without being afforded their right to be heard. The police charged them
under the notorious Access to information and Protection of Privacy Act, on
allegations of practicing journalism without accreditation.
Betty Makoni told the lawyer that they were subjected to long hours of
interrogation, which included threats and attempts to force them to sign
confessions that they had committed an offence. "And she did confirm that
after a night in detention the clients were looking very weary and
emotionally disturbed," the lawyer said.
The police confiscated all the equipment and documents the filmmakers had in
their possession when they were arrested. Chimbwa said the police also
harassed him. He said: "I was threatened by the police officer who was
manning the reception at CID Law and Order and he accosted me outside of CID
to ensure that I couldn't continue."
23rd Aug 2007 18:43 GMT
By Trust Matsilele
OVER 500 thousand Zimbabweans illegally evicted from commercial farms, which
the Robert Mugabe government seized over the past few years, are still in
dire need of shelter, food, citizenship and dignity as they remain staying
in rural squatter camps.
An independent leading researcher, whose identity has been protected for
fear of retribution from the Zimbabwe government, confirmed thousands were
still living in poverty with the nothing being done to help them out of
The researcher, who is with the Forced Migration studies at the Witswaterand
University, said over thirty thousand children of school going age still
have no access to any educational facilities posing serious dangers for the
country in the future.
He said it would take a long time to address such problems that were created
by the Zimbabwe government since it began its land grab programme in 2000.
Previous reports from the Zimbabwe Human Rights Network placed the figures
of those deceased due to internal displacements and violent removals to over
Human rights lawyer Tapera Kapuya says the suffering inflicted upon innocent
civilians and ordinary farm workers by the government amounted to a crime
against humanity which could see Mugabe being hauled before the
International Criminal Court of Justice.
The research, entitled Multiple Displacements in No Man's Land, also proved
that only 330 thousand blacks had benefited from the land reforms with the
rest being Zanu PF elites taking over fertile lands in places like the rich
Since the land invasions of 2000 up to date, Zimbabwe suffered concurrent
droughts and has been getting aid from international aid agencies.
Opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai has castigated the land reforms,
especially the manner in which they were done which saw some bloody thirsty
ex-combatants killing some white commercial farmers and illegally driving
them from their land.
"The MDC is not against the land reform but we are against the recklessness
in which it is done," Tsvangirai once remarked.
23rd Aug 2007 18:56 GMT
By Trust Matsilele
THE Movement for Democratic Change's Johannesburg district will on Sunday
hold a meeting to intensify efforts that will see the opposition going all
the way out to deliver change in the country soon.
The meeting will be held at Hillbrow Queens Hotel from 1pm.
Austin Moyo, the Johannesburg district chairman, told
zimbabwejournalists.com that there was an urgent need to intensify the
struggle against the Zimbabwe government through "all legitimate available
challenges" as the only way to deal with the political and economic crisis
in the country.
"We are fighting afresh and this needs people to increase their commitment
and efforts so as to deliver change in the forthcoming elections," said
The MDC's national chairman Lovemore Moyo will address the meeting. He is
among other top MDC leaders expected to address Zimbabweans on the need to
make sure they go home to vote next year.
"We are urging all patriotic Zimbabweans to come for this meeting as we
continue intensifying our lobbying initiatives to both SADC and the region,"
added Giyani Dube, information secretary for Johannesburg .
Moyo lamented the departure of Zimbabwe from the rule of law as well as
Harare's its arrogance by failing to uphold international legal instruments
of which it is a signatory to.
"SADC should see to it that Zimbabwe uphold protocols on holding of
democratic elections, those guidelines should be followed, the region should
stop applying selective justice to other countries as this has led to three
contested elections," Moyo said.
The Sunday meeting comes a week after thousands graced another meeting in
Limpopo province where party cadres had gone to address Zimbabweans there.
Afrique en ligne
Windhoek, Namibia - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has survived
two coups attempts this year as angry and desperate Zimbabweans try to
remove him through military means, said respected Zimbabwean academic and
political scientist, John Makumbe.
The fiery academic, who is conducting a series of public lectures in
Namibia, said Wednesday night the foiled coups had resulted in three senior
army officers dying in unexplained circumstances.
Makumbe, who is also a lecturer in political science at the University
of Zimbabwe (UZ), was speaking at a public lecture organised by Namibia's
Institute of Democracy (NID).
He slammed Mugabe as a 'tyrant', saying his (Mugabe) story is that of
a 'liberator' who later turn into a 'dictator'.
He also accused Mugabe of trying to turn Zimbabwe into a North Korea
by starving people and ruling through an iron fist.
"People of Zimbabwe want Mugabe out so badly there has been two coup
attempts and three (army) Brigadier Generals suspected to have been involved
were killed clandestinely," Makumbe alleged
Reports said Harare courts were currently trying some of the alleged
coup plotters, though the court sessions were being held in camera.
Brig.-Gen. Armstrong Gunda and Gen. Taurai Lifa are said to have died
through lethal injection, while Gen. Fakazi Mleya died in a mysterious train
"The dictator we have in Zimbabwe is a former liberator. It is a sad
thing when the liberator turns around and becomes a tyrant," Makumbe said.
The 83-year old Zimbabwean President is battling for political
survival in crisis-hit Zimbabwe.
Reeling from Western sanctions, a deteriorating economic environment
and waning support at home, Mugabe has remained defiant and accuses Western
countries, especially former colonial master Britain, of sabotaging the
economy to effect regime change.
Makumbe also warned that Namibia was closely following in the
footsteps of Zimbabwe.
Detailing a grim picture of the collapsing Zimbabwean economy, Makumbe
said it was up to the people of Zimbabwe to effect regime change.
He said many Zimbabweans were living in fear of Mugabe and were opting
to flee the country than confront 'the tyrant.
"Zimbabweans are so afraid of Mugabe that they think crocodiles in the
Limpopo river are more humane," Makumbe said, drawing a huge laughter.
Thousands of Zimbabweans are wading across the crocodile infested
Limpopo river into neighbouring South Africa.
He dismissed efforts by regional leaders to broker a lasting solution
to Zimbabwe's socio-economic political problems.
A week ago, the Zimbabwean leader received a thunderous welcome from
SADC leaders at the bloc's summit in Lusaka.
"African leaders close rank, they are all very much afraid of their
own people and they start thinking that maybe tomorrow it will be me. They
close ranks and support each other," Makumbe said.
Windhoek - 23/08/2007
From The Namibian, 23 August
The University of Namibia pulled the plug at the eleventh hour on a public
lecture by a well-known Zimbabwean academic critical of that country's
President Robert Mugabe. Unam announced shortly before lunchtime yesterday
that outspoken University of Zimbabwe lecturer Professor John Makumbe's
public lecture, scheduled for last night, was cancelled. "All relevant
stakeholders have been informed of the cancellation. We apologise for any
inconvenience this may cause. The university is unfortunately not at liberty
to discuss the reasons behind the cancellation," Unam spokesperson Utaara
Hoveka said in a statement. The public lecture - titled 'Landscapes of
Poverty - Daily Life and Social Crisis in Zimbabwe' - was jointly organised
by Unam's sociology department and the Namibia Institute for Democracy as
part of a series of six lectures for August and September. NID said in a
statement that it had acted in good faith in organising the lecture with
Unam and, at no stage did the university express any problem with Makumbe or
the topic. "In fact, the university has been advertising the lecture series
including this particular lecture in several newspapers," the NID said. The
NID said it was concerned about the implications of the cancellation "for
academic freedom and freedom of expression at the university and in Namibia
Unam informed the NID of the cancellation yesterday morning and did not give
the NID a reason for pulling out of the event at such late notice. "The
lecture series received the full backing of Unam as a contribution to the
intellectual life of the University. Professor Makumbe's name and his topic
were on the original list of lectures drawn up by the NID and Unam and the
process of arranging the lectures proceeded through the appropriate channels
at the University," NID said. Professor Makumbe is a highly respected
political scientist who has lectured previously in Namibia, while the NID
has a strong track record of organising public debates and discussions which
create platforms for a wide variety of views and contribute to strengthening
Namibia's democracy as a whole. In view of the importance of continuing to
promote mature democratic debate, the NID decided to proceed with the
lecture by moving the venue to a local hotel. A bus was arranged to
transport people who arrived at the Unam campus to the Safari Hotel. Another
lecture is scheduled for tonight at the same hotel, when Professor Makumbe
will talk on the topic 'Zimbabwe: What Now?"
Thu, 23 Aug 2007
South Africa's Cabinet has been told that finance ministers of the Southern
African Development Community (Sadc) are to conduct a detailed assessment of
the economic conditions in Zimbabwe, and to identify any possible action
required. This follows an initial survey carried out by the Sadc
Cabinet spokesperson Themba Maseko said on Thursday that President Thabo
Mbeki reported to Cabinet on what he told the Sadc heads of state at the
Lusaka summit last week.
The decision on economic recovery in Zimbabwe appears to fly in the face of
a Cabinet statement which reaffirmed the South African government position
"that the solution to the problems of Zimbabwe will come from Zimbabweans
themselves" agreeing to find a political solution for the country's
Maseko also discounted reports that the Zimbabwean government said its
economy does not need outside help. He said the Zimbabwean president was
part of the heads of state summit and took part in the final decision making
Maseko also told a media briefing that Cabinet noted that Mbeki's report to
Sadc was received by the heads of state, and "contrary to misleading and
sensationalist media reports the report indicated that the facilitated talks
between the government of Zimbabwe and the opposition were on track, and was
confident these talks will deliver an agreement that will lay the foundation
for free and fair elections in Zimbabwe".
Maseko added: "Government once again categorically rejects the allegation
that President Mbeki had blamed the British government for the problems in
August 23, 2007 09:46 AM
Contrary to what ANC says that South Africa cannot do anything about
Zimbabwe, and the various diction ANC led government of South Africa employs
to absolve themselves from the crisis in Zimbabwe, history shows they can do
something its only that they are unwilling. They have the economic
wherewithal and the political clout needed to bring change in Zimbabwe.
Their main argument is flawed, that Zimbabweans have to solve their own
To the outside world it gives a distorted view that the people of
Zimbabwe are unwilling to solve their own problems yet the people of
Zimbabwe are incapacitated by a brutal government and through repressive
laws. What the ANC preaches is that Zimbabweans need to find a solution
through dialogue, Zanu PF is unwilling to negotiate they have even failed to
turn up for meetings brokered by Mbeki. Zanu PF also keeps throwing out key
negotiations points even before the talks begin like the need for a new
constitution that would have ensured that result of the proposed 2008
elections are free and fair, so how can we also talk when what we want to
talk about is deemed unnecessary. Since Zanu PF holds power illegally in
Zimbabwe they do not see the need to negotiate as stated by Chinamasa how
then can Zimbabweans solve their own problems?
Let's look at what we could do in Zimbabwe if it was a free country,
we would have won the 2000 parliamentary elections had Zanu PF not rigged
it. Morgan Tsvangirai could be the President now had Mugabe not rigged the
2002 Presidential Elections. Murambatsvina would not have happened;
basically if people of Zimbabwe could do something about their situation
then we certainly could have done something about it long ago. The only
reason that is stopping us is that in Zimbabwe we live under a dictatorship,
were personal freedom is curtailed, where human rights are no longer
respected, where freedom to express political opinion is a dream, there is
no free press in Zimbabwe. Recently for Mbeki to be tasked by the lame SADC
to broker talks between opposition in Zimbabwe and the illegal government of
Robert Mugabe had come about because on the 11th of March this year Mugabe's
partisan police murdered Gift Tandare a member of MDC (rest in peace) and
beat more than 60 opposition leaders including Morgan Tsvangirai to pulp in
a barbaric reaction to opposition called prayer meeting in Harare. Now Mr
Manuel<!--[if !vml]--><!--[endif]--> tell s how under such circumstances we
can we help ourselves?
History tells us what precipitated the Lancaster House conference that
ushered Mugabe and Co into power were the sanctions that were imposed by
apartheid regime on the Rhodesian government. Internationally, the then
Rhodesian state was placed under official United Nations sanctions almost
from the start of UDI (Unilateral Declaration of Independence) in 1965.
Apart from a few daredevil adventurers who broke the sanctions by
aircraft missions across Africa, White ruled South Africa became the
Rhodesians' main source of supplies, including the vital oil and petrol
needed to keep the wheels of the army running. Pressure was then applied to
the South African government to in turn exert pressure on Ian Smith. At one
stage the beleaguered country had only three days fuel and ammunition left
after the supply was cut off by the then South African Prime Minister, John
Vorster, in an attempt to curry favor with the American government. Vorster
had been promised a lifting of pressure on South Africa by Henry Kissinger,
the then 'American' Secretary of State, in return for pressure being applied
to the Rhodesian government. Foolishly, Vorster believed Kissinger, and
applied pressure to Rhodesia, simply cutting off shipments of vital supplies
and refusing to take Smith's calls when the later tried to find out what was
The same would happen today if South Africa were to hermetically seal
the border with Zimbabwe, cut off the electricity, refuse to buy Zimbabwean
produced goods then Zanu Pf might want to negotiate. For those that think
sanctions would hurt ordinary Zimbabweans, think again because what is
hurting ordinary Zimbabweans today is the dictatorship that rules Zimbabwe.
Like the forced price controls that have led to the shortages of basic
commodities like meat, sugar, bread and oil.
At the height of apartheid black South Africans called on the world in
order to defeat apartheid and the world answered their call. Our call is the
same today as it was for South Africans, whereas then the enemy was a white
racist government now its black government but the questions and answers
remain the same, this is a government that is starving its own people a
government that murders its own citizens for belonging to an opposition
party. ANC should be more revolted by Mugabe, if apartheid was
understandable white supremacy over blacks, surely black on black apartheid
is too much to stomach.
The First Post
Moses Moyo in Harare
Revealed: Mugabe's secret plan to create his own version of the Hitler Youth
Hitler had the Hitler Youth. Mao had his Red Guards. Robert Mugabe has the
21st February Movement - a youth organisation now to be revamped,
indoctrinated and let loose in our streets and schools.
The 21st February Movement - it's Mugabe's birthday - began life in 1986 as
a benign boy scout-type organisation. Now it is to become a fanatical corps
of uniformed kids, all dedicated and devoted to their President and their
A recent meeting of Zanu-PF's governing body agreed to militarise and
politicise the 21st February Movement, starting with pre-school toddlers.
The programme, which will be compulsory for all children, is titled, with
surprising frankness, 'Operation Catch Them Young'.
I have been shown the minutes of the meeting in which the members - senior
Zanu-PF officials - agreed to this regimentation of all school children in
order to "safeguard our sovereignty".
The minutes read: "Plans to build the Party Ideological School should be
expedited to ensure consistence in inculcating the ideology of the Party in
instilling values and norms and to institutionalise these values and norms
from pre-school level."
Take that tortured sentence apart, word by word, and it means one thing:
Plans include dressing even the smallest children in green uniforms and
teaching them to march and chant Zanu-PF slogans. The aim is to have
fanatical kids as young as four screaming their loyalty to Mugabe in unison.
This same meeting also agreed plans to clamp down on dissent among
university students. "Politically correct and educated cadres within the
Party should be appointed to administer universities to safeguard the
interests of Zanu-PF, its beliefs, values and norms," the minutes recorded.
It also discussed the lack of Zanu-PF young women activists, and had an
answer to that problem too. "We resolve to mobilise all young women to form
and join the Zanu-PF Young Women's League."
This planned brainwashing of all our young people clearly has many purposes,
but one purpose in particular the Politburo was happy to set down and spell
out in the official minutes. "The President," it recorded, "should be
President for Life."
FIRST POSTED AUGUST 23, 2007
Aug 23rd 2007 | MASHONALAND
Zimbabwe's hunger and misery are worsening. A mass exodus is possible, says
the United Nations
OVER 3m people are thought to have left the Zimbabwe in recent years, and
the UN refugee agency says it is working on contingency plans in case the
exodus worsens. There seems every chance that it will, given 80%
unemployment, inflation that was said officially this week to be above
7,600% and severe shortages of the most basic goods. Zimbabwe's situation is
growing ever more miserable.
Another UN agency, the World Food Programme, reckons that 4m
Zimbabweans-about one-third of the remaining population-will need food aid
by next year. This year's harvest of maize, the local staple, was meagre.
Rains have been poor, and the government's disastrous land-reform programme
has turned once flourishing commercial farming into subsistence agriculture.
This is plain to see in rural Mashonaland, the area around the capital,
Harare, and the traditional heartland of President Robert Mugabe's ruling
ZANU-PF. Most of the land where tobacco and maize used to grow lies fallow,
taken over by wild vegetation. One commercial farm that used to grow maize
and rear cattle has been divided into 35 plots for subsistence farmers. The
irrigation system that once made the harsh terrain lush broke down long ago.
Only one of the 100 or so farm workers who used to work there remains. His
small plot is dry, and he has to walk several kilometres to a neighbouring
farm to get water. He expects his stock of grain to run out in November,
after that he'll be lucky to get one meal a day until the next harvest, in
March or April.
A makeshift school has been set up in a small farm building, but many
parents cannot afford to spend even a few cents on education. The teacher
says that a third of children in the area do not go to school. Those who
attend class find that hunger is a distraction. Nearby, two pupils are
staring up a tree, slingshots in hand. They are hunting a monkey, their only
chance of eating meat. The youngest, wearing shorts that reveal his bony
legs, says they manage two meals a day: tea and bread, when available, for
breakfast, and maize porridge later in the day. His battered shoes are far
too big and the laces are tied around his ankles. He lives 4km (2.5 miles)
away and walks to school.
In another part of Mashonaland, a white farmer tries to hang on, having lost
the bulk of his farm to a senior government official and a few so-called war
veterans. He is one of the 350 or so commercial farmers thought to be left,
from 4,500 before the government started redistributing land in 2000. A
portrait of Mr Mugabe hangs on the office wall and he maintains good
relations with local officials. He says he is not fighting land
redistribution itself. But some buildings (including his own house),
valuable equipment and crops already planted have been taken over as well,
so he is fighting that in court. The next crops will need to be planted
soon. Uncertain about the future, he may not make the investment. From 1,200
workers, he now employs only about 500. "We are going one way," he says.
Only cheap government loans and heavily subsidised diesel help to keep his
farm going. But he also plants and harvests on neighbouring farms, which
have been reallocated to black owners, and gets half the crop. Many new
landowners find that reselling their subsidised diesel on the black market
is far more lucrative than farming.
Presidential and parliamentary elections in Zimbabwe are scheduled for next
March. The ruling party is said to be leaning on traditional chiefs to
control rural voters. Road-blocks in Mashonaland are frequent. In Chegutu,
close to Mr Mugabe's home, shops are bare, and the struggling local
factories and farms have laid off workers. But after years of intimidation,
the opposition has almost disappeared. In Marondera, 45 minutes south-east
of Harare, the much-feared youth militia roam the streets and the atmosphere
Voter registration has just finished. The Zimbabwe Election Support Network,
a local NGO, says that rural voters loyal to ZANU-PF have been registering
in cities, presumably to dilute support for the opposition, strongest in
urban areas. But Zimbabweans will no doubt be cheered to know that the
leaders of southern Africa, gathering for a summit last week, wished
elections next year to be free and fair.
SW Radio Africa (London)
23 August 2007
Posted to the web 23 August 2007
The opposition Democratic Alliance party in South Africa on Thursday
released a damning dossier drawn up five years ago, that proves the
government had worked on contingency plans to deal with refugees from
The DA said the government was acting as if it never recognised there was a
problem in Zimbabwe but Marike Groenewald, the media officer for the DA,
said the evidence proves the government knew there was going to be a crisis
of refugees streaming across the Limpopo, to seek refuge in South Africa.
Groenewald told Newsreel that despite their government's reluctance to admit
to the Zimbabwe crisis, in 2002 it had undertaken research into the
possibility of setting up a refugee camp on the Zimbabwean border.
'We are in possession of a public works document drawn up five years ago for
the Home Affairs that outlines contingency plans for a refugee camp in
Musina that would have catered for 50 000 refugees,' Groenewald said.
She said the document describes a farm identified as Antonvilla, which could
provide proper sanitation for the refugees within eight months of the start
of construction. The farm was previously used as a military base.
She added; 'Now we have three million refugees from Zimbabwe and the
government tells us the situation hasn't amounted to a crisis yet. There is
evidence everywhere to see that the situation in Zimbabwe has rapidly
Groenewald warned the situation could deteriorate to a point where the Thabo
Mbeki government would find itself overwhelmed with Zimbabwean refugees.
'What is not clear, however, is why government has done absolutely nothing
about implementing the plan in the five years since the report was
concluded,' she said.
Human rights lawyer Gabriel Shumba said the influx of Zimbabweans into South
Africa started as early as 2000 and has escalated ever since.
The South African based lawyer said it has now become difficult to define
who was an economic or political refugee, because people in both categories
were running away from the same problem, Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF.
23rd Aug 2007 18:27 GMT
By Ian Nhuka
HARARE - An influential civil society organisation, the Zimbabwe Civic
Education Trust (ZIMCET), has joined the long list of democracy advocates
condemning the just-ended mobile voter registration exercise as a sham.
ZIMCET executive director, David Chimhini said the government wasted
taxpayers' money by deploying at least 2000 officials to register only 80
000 people in two months.
Chimhini, a former head of human rights watchdog, ZimRights said more voters
could have been registered if the Registrar General's office and the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission had held education programmes before the
launch and during the registration exercise.
"It is laughable because how can a whole government deploy as many as 2000
officials to register as few as 80 000 people over two months. This is
sheer wastage of public funds," he said.
He added that the voter registration programme was poorly communicated to
the people. He said some communities did not even know that mobile voter
registration teams were in their areas, while in other cases people were
turned away after being told that only those wishing to obtain identity
documents were being served.
"For example in my home area, in Mutasa North in Honde Valley in Manicaland
province, most people were not aware of the programme or where they could
register as voters. This in addition to several reports we have heard,
shows that the programme was flawed and held over a very short period of
time," said Chimhini, a former head of human rights watchdog, ZimRights.
His condemnation of the exercise comes hot on the heels of a similar
assessment by the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN). ZESN identified
several flaws in the voter registration.
The body unearthed damning evidence that, Zanu PF used its influence to bus
people from the party's rural strongholds to urban centres, like Harare
where they were registered as voters.
This, charged ZESN was meant to beef the ruling party's support, at the same
time, diluting the popularity of MDC, which enjoys traditional support in
urban areas countrywide.
ZESN also accused Zanu PF of using housing co-operatives, such as Ernest
Kadungure in Harare North to register people from rural areas.
The prospective voters added ZESN were given proof of residence by the
co-operatives, indicating that they are Harare residents yet the
co-operative has not built even a single house.
The Registrar-General's Office, which is responsible for voter registration,
requires letters from landlords or water and electricity bills as proof that
those seeking to register as voters reside in the constituencies where they
want to vote.
Both factions of the MDC, have also condemned the manner in which the
exercise was done, saying its supporters were systematically turned away
from registration centres. Furthermore, they have said it was done
secretly, warning that vote rigging is already in motion, seven months
before the elections. They have called for an extension of the mobile
Chimhini expressed fears that Zanu - PF would once again use the prevailing
drought to politicise food aid in a bid to earn votes in next year's
"This is a drought year and there is food aid distribution going on and
my fear is that Zanu - PF will politicise food. But our people must be
educated and know that it is the responsibility of any government to
feed its people," he said.
Zimbabwe will hold local government and joint parliamentary and
presidential elections next year.
New cars for ministers, seized vehicle imports being "redistributed".
23 Aug 2007 08:21
As the majority of Zimbabwe's citizens continue to grapple with chronic
daily shortages of basic goods and commodities, President Robert Mugabe's
government has splashed out on a fleet of luxury cars for each of his 34
ministers at a state-funded cost of around £3m.
As if that was not enough, reports also indicate that Mugabe and his Zanu-PF
party are distributing vehicles impounded at the various border posts to
civil servants. The vehicles were impounded following an order that the
payment of duties on imported vehicles be made in foreign currency.
Sources say each top-of-the-range Mercedes S350s (SA list price - R750 000)
that Mugabe is distributing to his government ministers has a V6 engine,
infrared cameras and luxurious back massaging seats.
Mugabe himself is believed have acquired a specially crafted version of the
Mercedes S600L (SA list price R1,28m). The sleek, top-of-the-range vehicle
boasts a 12-cylinder engine, which can accelerate from 0 to 62 miles per
hour in 4,6 seconds. Including modifications, such as bullet-roof armour,
the vehicle is believed to have cost a £700 000.
Sources in the Ministry of Finance have told Moneyweb that, in a move to
lure support from the struggling civil servants, the government had decided
to hand out brand-new impounded cars to headmasters, senior police officers
This comes at a time when state spies at the Central Intelligence
Organization (CIO) received more than 100 brand new Toyota Yaris vehicles
from the same ministry.
The government gazetted a law in April requiring people importing luxury
vehicles using free funds to pay import duty in foreign currency. Vehicle
owners were given three months to pay the import duty.
TalkZimbabwe reports that the Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) received an
instruction from Zimbabwe's Minister of Finance, Samuel Mumbengegwi saying
that all cars that were impounded at various border posts around the country
should be handed over to the Home Affairs and Education Ministry for
distribution to senior police officers and headmasters especially in rural
areas. Contacted for comment Mumbengegwi denied the reports, describing them
A number of civil servants are quitting their jobs for either the private
sector or companies outside the country who are offering better packages
compared to the government.
Zimbabweans, stung and hard done by the country's unprecedented economic
tumble have over the past few years resorted to immigration to neighbouring
countries, especially South Africa and Botswana.