Thursday 02 August 2007
By Never Chanda
HARARE - Zimbabwe's beleaguered economy is seen sinking deeper into murky
water as the inflation scourge drives most economic activities underground,
analysts warned yesterday.
The analysts said the under siege Zimbabwe manufacturing sector must brace
for more difficult times in coming months as the effects of an ongoing
government blitz on prices begin to take toll on the economy.
The International Monetary Fund this week projected that Zimbabwe's
inflation could hit 100,000 percent by the end of 2007 as a result of the
government order to roll back prices to mid-June levels.
Products have since disappeared from shelves and only available on a
thriving black market following the order.
University of Zimbabwe political scientist John Makumbe said that prospects
of higher inflation further dented any chances of recovery of the comatose
manufacturing and agricultural sectors.
He said the next few months could witness the emergence of a market where
the Zimbabwe dollar would no longer be accepted as legal tender.
"There is a high likelihood that everybody will move into the black market
where they will trade in other currencies," Makumbe said.
An economist with a Harare-based economist even projected that the rate of
inflation could rise beyond 300 000 percent by year-end on the back of
continued money printing by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ).
"In fact assuming an average month-on-month inflation rate of 130 percent,
we should be sitting on annualized inflation of 310,000 percent by December
this year because the central bank would have to print more money to finance
the government's bloated expenditure," said the economist who spoke on
condition he was not named.
Finance Minister Samuel Mumbengegwi is expected to seek Parliament's
approval during the next two weeks for a supplementary budget after most
government ministries had exhausted their allocations for the 2007 financial
and calendar year.
The funds from the supplementary budget would fund food and fuel imports and
are expected to exert pressure on Zimbabwe's budget deficit, initially
estimated at 46 percent for this year.
President Robert Mugabe and RBZ governor Gideon Gono said the central bank
would continue to print money to finance agriculture and manufacturing. -
Thursday 02 August 2007
By Pfudzai Chibgowa
BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe's splintered main opposition party says it will continue
to present a united front in talks being facilitated by President Thabo
Mbeki despite last week's breakdown in attempts to reunify the party.
The secretaries general of the splintered Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) factions, Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube told ZimOnline yesterday that
the two formations will continue to work together under the South Africa-led
Mbeki was last March tasked by the regional Southern African Development
Community (SADC) to lead talks between the MDC and President Robert Mugabe's
ruling ZANU PF party.
The talks are however at a delicate stage after Mugabe rejected opposition
demands to discuss a new democratic constitution for Zimbabwe, a key element
of the talks that are aimed at dragging Zimbabwe from the brink.
Arthur Mutambara who heads the smaller faction of the MDC last weekend
launched a scathing attack on Morgan Tsvangirai calling the Zimbabwe
opposition politician "a weak and indecisive" leader.
Mutambara said his party will field its own candidates in next year's
presidential and parliamentary elections after talks aimed at reunifying the
party broke down adding to fears that the move could wreck relations between
the two parties that have presented a unified front at the Mbeki talks.
"We agreed to work to formulate a common position in the negotiations. But
at no time was the SADC initiative seen as compelling us to contest the
elections as one group. The recent statement by Mutambara does not
jeopardise the negotiating process at all," said Ncube.
Biti said although he was disappointed by Mutambara's description of
Tsvangirai, the sentiments should not wreck the South African-led
He said dialogue and negotiations to secure an even electoral playing field
for next year's elections will continue despite the breakdown of talks.
"If the Mbeki initiative is going to fail, it will not be because of us,"
"If people are going to differ, it should be on questions of principles
other than personalities. I don't know what value was obtained by calling
Tsvangirai a 'moron'," said Biti.
Political analysts say the breakdown in talks to reunify the opposition
party could hand over electoral victory to Mugabe and ZANU PF on a silver
plate in next year's elections. They said a divided MDC stands no chance of
dislodging Mugabe from power. - ZimOnline
Thursday 02 August 2007
By Nqobizitha Khumalo
BULAWAYO - Manufacturing firms in Zimbabwe's second biggest city of Bulawayo
are facing closure after city authorities said they will tighten water
rationing measures in the next two months.
Bulawayo, which used to be Zimbabwe's industrial hub before most companies
relocated to Harare in the 1990s due to the water crisis, has been battling
serious water shortages over the past few years because of successive
The city, which is tucked in the dry south-western parts of the country,
last month said only two dams, Insiza and Inyakuni, still had some water
with the latter expected to run dry at the beginning of October.
Business leaders and industrialists in Bulawayo have warned of dire
consequences if the water situation is not addressed.
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) President in Bulawayo, Dumisani
Sibanda said the situation would be disastrous for business if the city
decommissioned one of the two dams currently supplying water to the city.
"The water situation is bad but manufacturers have set up a committee that
meets with council regularly. Industries have been spared for the time being
as they still get water supplies.
"But the situation will be critical if the other dam is de-commissioned,"
said Sibanda whose CZI is the voice of business in Zimbabwe.
The water crisis in Bulawayo has seen most residents get supplies once in
every three days.
Bulawayo has five dams that supply water to the city but three of the dams
have already been decommissioned.
Bulawayo council spokesperson Pathisa Nyathi said industry could face water
cuts soon because of the persistent water shortages in the city.
"Currently we have not included industry in water shedding schedules but if
Inyankuni runs out of water, then we will have no choice as there will be
very little water available," Nyathi said.
Bulawayo needs an average of 120 000 cubic metres of water every day but if
Inyankuni dam is de-commissioned, the city will only be getting a paltry 46
000 cubic metres of water per day, way below the city's daily needs.
The city last June warned of potential disease outbreaks due to the water
Plans to draw water from the mighty Zambezi river in the north have remained
on the drawing board since the early 80s with politicians from the
Matabeleland regions accusing President Robert Mugabe's government of
dragging its feet over the project.
The Zimbabwean government which is battling its worst ever economic
recession that has seen inflation zoom beyond 5 000 percent, says it has
failed to build the 450km Zambezi water pipeline because of lack of funds.
The worsening water crisis is only an addition on a long list if hardships
faced by Bulawayo residents as the country grapples with a severe economic
recession described by the World Bank as the worst in the world outside a
war zone. - ZimOnline
Thursday 02 August 2007
By Batsirai Muranje and Patricia Mpofu
HARARE - A Zimbabwean photojournalist was on Wednesday beaten up by
the wife of Zimbabwe army commander Constantine Chiwenga while covering a
tour by Morgan Tsvangirai of shops in Harare to assess the impact of a
government crackdown on prices that began two months ago.
The controversial Jocelyn Chiwenga, pounced on award-winning
photojournalist Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi at Makro Wholesalers in Harare as
Tsvangirai toured shops and supermarkets to assess the effects of the price
crackdown that has triggered massive shortages of basic goods in shops.
Chiwenga, who was among the shoppers in Makro at the time of
Tsvangirai's visit, verbally abused the Zimbabwe opposition leader accusing
him of causing the shortages because of the "sanctions" that he had called
President Robert Mugabe and his ruling ZANU PF party have in the past
blamed Zimbabwe's economic woes on "illegal" sanctions imposed by Britain
and her Western allies. They also accuse Tsvangirai and his opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party of calling for sanctions against
"This is the effect of the sanctions," an irate Chiwenga said as
Tsvangirai and his team expressed shock over the empty shelves.
As photographers jostled to take photos of the MDC leader and his
team, Chiwenga ordered Makro staff to close the doors trapping Mukwazhi and
several other journalists and MDC officials inside the building.
She then grabbed Mukwazhi and slapped his face accusing the
photojournalist of "sending 'false' pictures to Britain."
"I was shocked by the attack," Mukwazhi later told ZimOnline. "They
freed me a few minutes later after all my colleagues had gone."
This is not the first time that Chiwenga has been in the news for the
In 2003, Chiwenga beat up former Daily News lawyer Gugulethu Moyo at a
police station in Harare after she had gone there to secure the release of a
photographer who had been arrested while covering an MDC demonstration.
Five years ago, Chiwenga boasted that "she had not tasted white blood
since 1980 and missed the experience" after she seized a farm from its white
owner at the height of the government's violent farm invasions.
Tsvangirai first visited Gutsai Supermarket in central Harare before
visiting OK Bazaars outlets in Harare's working class suburbs of Mufakose
At a press briefing after the tour, Tsvangirai attacked the price
controls saying they were not sustainable.
"This is a crazy policy which has resulted in shortages of basic
commodities. This regime has failed," he said.
Zimbabwe is in the grip of a debilitating economic crisis that has
manifested itself in the world's highest inflation rate of over 5 000
percent, a rapidly contracting GDP, the fastest for a country not at war
according to the World Bank and acute shortages of foreign currency, food
The crisis took a turn for the worst last June after Mugabe ordered
that businesses should halve prices of all commodities in a desperate bid to
The price cuts have led to shortages of basic goods, while economists
have warned that the crackdown could trigger a total collapse of Zimbabwe's
weakened economy. - ZimOnline
Nick Wadhams in Nairobi, Kenya
for National Geographic News
August 1, 2007
Wildlife has been nearly wiped out on Zimbabwe's former private game ranches
in the seven years since President Robert Mugabe began seizing and dividing
the areas into small plots, a conservation group says.
Some 90 percent of animals have been lost since 2000, while the country has
seen an estimated 60 percent of its total wildlife killed off to help ease
massive economic woes, the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force said in a report
issued in June.
"[The animals] are being killed indiscriminately," said Johnny Rodrigues,
the author of the report. "There's a lot of commercial poaching, there are
people on the ground snaring these animals. This is where a lot of the
destruction is coming from."
For its study, the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force gathered information and
studied records about 62 game ranches. Fifty-nine reported losses, including
the killings of a total of 75 rare black rhinoceroses and 39 leopards.
Most of the losses appeared among antelope, including 9,500 impalas, nearly
5,000 kudus, and 2,000 wildebeests.
The numbers help give a rough estimate of the environmental impact of
Zimbabwe's recent descent into economic and political chaos.
Inflation-estimated at 5,000 percent-is now the worst in the world. On
Wednesday the government introduced a 200,000 Zimbabwean dollar bill-which
is worth only about $1 dollar U.S. on the black market.
The economic meltdown has had a wide-ranging and devastating impact on what
is one of Africa's premier tourist draws. Zimbabwe's wildlife parks teem
with herds of elephants and rhinos, as well as sights such as Victoria
Along with plummeting wildlife numbers, the country has seen massive
deforestation and the neglect of some national parks.
At Hwange National Park, for example, animals have been killed off by severe
drought, a problem exacerbated by scarce gasoline supplies.
There is no longer enough fuel to power the pumps that feed the watering
pans where animals gather.
Until now there had only been anecdotal evidence of widespread slaughter on
the private ranches that were occupied under President Mugabe's
controversial land redistribution program.
That policy, implemented in 2000, is seen as a central reason for Zimbabwe's
Mugabe argued at the time that the reforms would reverse decades of
discrimination and help Zimbabwe shed its colonial past, when wealthy white
farmers snapped up some of the country's best land.
Yet once he expelled the farmers and subdivided the land, the farms that
made Zimbabwe Africa's breadbasket collapsed, and some of the country's most
basic foodstuffs became impossible to find.
And as a result, the subsistence farmers who moved in-often dubbed "war
veterans" by the regime-began to hunt wildlife that had thrived, and in many
cases, been protected on the ranches.
Government regulations meant to shield the animals have been disobeyed, and
wildlife officials have been forced to focus their limited resources on
Zimbabwe's national parks and reserves, where the damage is less severe.
According to the task force, Zimbabwe had 620 private game farms before the
land seizures began, but now has 14. And of 14 conservancies before 2000,
only one remains.
Because of the proliferation of snares, many of the animals on these former
ranches have been maimed, report author Rodrigues said.
"They're telling the world they want the tourists to come back, but the
tourists aren't going to come back because most of the animals you see
nowadays have amputated legs," he said. "It's just like a rehabilitation
The report acknowledges that the findings are still preliminary-many of the
farmers whose land was seized have left the country, so in some cases the
group had to rely on hazy reports from people still near the former ranches.
"We are not claiming to 'know' how much wildlife has been lost," the report
said. "We have just tried to make the most accurate estimate possible with
very limited data to work with."
Still, the trend is a disaster, because Zimbabwe once had some of the
world's most progressive and successful conservation policies.
Elephant populations there have boomed, and on conservation areas that are
strictly monitored and controlled, rhinoceros populations are growing.
Matter of Survival
Part of the reason for the decline is that poachers from neighboring
countries have entered Zimbabwe to hunt its animals. Another is the booming
trade in bush meat.
"It's a matter of survival," said George Kampamba, coordinator of the
conservation nonprofit WWF's African Rhino Program. "For people to really
survive, now that poverty levels are so high, they have to do what they're
doing-which is the bush meat trade."
The government too has turned on the animals. Rodrigues said the government
slaughtered a hundred elephants last year so their meat could be served as
part of Independence Day celebrations.
And his group has also reported that Zimbabwe recently sold ivory to China
in exchange for military hardware.
Wildlife destruction has become so severe that even Zimbabwe's authoritarian
government is acknowledging mistakes.
"Errors that were made were not intentional," Environment Secretary Margaret
Sangarwe told the state-owned Herald newspaper.
"An area of concern is the resettling of people in some areas meant for
wildlife rearing, and ensuring that our wildlife is safe."
By Carole Gombakomba
01 August 2007
A spokesman for the Save Zimbabwe Campaign said Wednesday that the coalition
of organizations opposing the government of President Robert Mugabe regrets
the exit from its ranks of the opposition faction led by Arthur Mutambara,
but said that the organization will continue its efforts to "liberate"
Zimbabweans without him.
Mutambara announced Saturday that his Movement for Democratic Change faction
was withdrawing from the Save Zimbabwe Campaign, accusing the coalition of
civic, church and political groups of favoring his rival, MDC founder Morgan
Mutambara said his faction would run its own presidential candidate in March
Spokesman Pius Wakatama of the Christian Alliance, which launched and
coordinates the Save Zimbabwe Campaign, told reporter Carole Gombakomba of
VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that despite Mutambara's statement it is
"business as usual.
The organization said it was unfortunate that Mutambara announced his
decision to the media before bringing his concerns to the Save Zimbabwe
Lovemore Madhuku, who accompanied Tsvangirai on a Save Zimbabwe Campaign
tour of European capitals, said the fact that Tsvangirai led the delegation,
and would lead others to come did not indicate he was being favored over
01/08/2007 21:22 - (SA)
Johannesburg - There was no price too high to allow Zimbabwean President
Robert Mugabe to step down, Mail & Guardian publisher Trevor Ncube said in
Johannesburg on Wednesday.
"If that means giving Robert Mugabe immunity from prosecution, let that be
done," he told a public debate on leadership in Zimbabwe at the University
of the Witwatersrand.
Letting Mugabe go would give Zimbabwe the opportunity to start again, he
Ncube was on a debating panel with Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition activist
Eleanor Sisulu, and Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa director
The event was part of a series of conversations on African leadership.
'I have a problem with that'
Ideally, Ncube wanted Zimbabweans to reject both the ruling Zanu-PF and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
However, that left the question of where a new leader would come from.
"I doubt that leader is going to come from the MDC.
"... for now we might find ourselves looking for leadership within the
Zanu-PF," he said.
"Zimbabwe deserves free and fair, legitimate elections in the truest sense,"
Whoever was elected - even if that was Mugabe - "let them run Zimbabwe and
govern the country because it is what the people chose as their leadership,"
Mutasah criticised the talks being conducted by President Thabo Mbeki on
behalf of the Southern African Development Community in an attempt to
resolve the crisis in Zimbabwe, because they excluded the Zimbabwean people.
"We need to make sure these talks do not happen in a closet.
"If ordinary people are excluded from the table, I have a problem with
that," he said.
Opposition leader Arthur Mutambara has allegedly instructed his management committee to undertake a propaganda offensive against his rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, following the collapse of unity talks.
Mutambara's plan to "paint a dismal and hopeless picture" of Tsvangirai is contained in a 7-page damning dossier shown to The Zimbabwean this week, detailing the set up of a "Think Tank Organ" comprising four committees whose brief is to "completely discredit Tsvangirai."
But MDC (Mutambara) deputy secretary-general, Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, dismissed the document as a "badly done CIO hatchet job."
"Expose his (Tsvangirai) failings as a losing leader who lost his MP election, lost in the 2002 presidential elections, lost (as party leader) in the March 2005 parliamentary elections," says the strategy document.
Misihairabwi-Mushonga denied the document was authentic, saying its contents flew in the face of the "Code of Conduct" and "Coalition Agreement" signed between the two parties, which agreed they would not insult each other.
She then alleged that Tsvangirai and his deputies had initially breached the codes by attacking Mutambara legislators during rallies and rejecting the one-candidate principle in all future elections.
Mutambara allegedly wrote: "Is it true that Tsvangirai was originally in favour of senate elections? If so turn it on him. That Tsvangirai bought a house in South Africa? If so, why do you spare him? …Tear him to pieces."
The document further alleges that Tsvangirai embezzled MDC funds and disregarded decisions made by consensus.
"That Tsvangirai had a slush fund unknown to the management. If so, why keep quiet about it?," asks Mutambara in the letter.
Tsvangirai's spokesman William Bango said the MDC leader wanted to steer clear of commenting on any matters involving personalities in the struggle for democracy in Zimbabwe.
Provinces mobilised to keep succession off agenda
BY ITAI DZAMARA
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe and his loyalists in the ruling party are
blocking all avenues of reformation of the party ahead of next year's
elections, it has emerged.
The Zimbabwean has established that Mugabe, apparently aware of the growing
efforts at blocking his desire to stand for next year's elections as well as
keep the leadership status quo, has already deployed the political
commissar, youths and women leaders on his side into the provinces, to send
the message that the party is intact and doesn't need any leadership
Zanu (PF) political commissar, Elliot Manyika confirmed to The Zimbabwean
that, "we have our teams going to the provinces to mobilise our people, send
a message of solidarity and make the record straight about the leadership
Zanu (PF) insiders say the pro-Mugabe officials visiting provinces are
mainly carrying the message that there won't be any need to discuss the
leadership issue and that the provincial leaderships must not include the
matter on agendas, either in their provinces or at the lowest levels.
The main objective is to block the matter from being included on the Zanu
(PF) agenda when the party holds an expected extraordinary congress before
the end of the year.
"The provinces are being convinced that there is no need for leadership
change because the current leadership still has a valid mandate and is
capable of leading the party into the elections," a source from the Mujuru
"There is even the use of intimidation against party members, who are being
told that there are dangers facing those that will be seen to be supporting
the leadership change agenda because it originates from enemies of the
Manyika, who is on the Mugabe faction, says the aged leader will stand for
the ruling party at the presidential elections, claiming he has been
endorsed and that he has a valid mandate. The Zanu (PF) constitution
stipulates that the leader of the party is chosen at a congress and given a
five-year mandate and Mugabe's current tenure expires in 2009. However, the
same constitution provides for the holding of a special congress as well as
the removal of a leadership by the structures.
The tension continues to rise within Zanu (PF) and former finance minister
Simba Makoni is believed to be preparing to launch a bid for the top
A month-long fuel shortage in Zimbabwe was set to worsen this week as queues
at fuel stations grew longer in Harare, with government's lies that it was
providing subsidized fuel shamelessly exposed.
The price cut, which authorities contends would lead to fuel being available
at Z$60,000 has remained hot air as the scarce commodity completely
disappeared from fuel stations but readily available on a thriving black
market where a 5-litre gallon was retailing for anything up to $2 million.
An official with Exor told The Zimbabwean that the situation was "very
serious" and that a resolution to the current crisis was "unlikely in the
"The industry is likely to face frequent shortages and in fact stock levels
are currently so low that it will take some time to re-build the country's
Amid the crippling fuel crisis now pushing the country to the brink, oil
companies and the business sector are calling on individuals and companies
to conserve the country's dwindling stocks.
Zimbabweans have been urged not to make unnecessary journeys and even to use
bicycles in order to preserve the precious stocks of fuel. Industry has
agreed to target supplies to key sectors such as agricultural exports, which
earn the foreign exchange needed to buy more oil.
President Robert Mugabe recently blamed the situation on foreign banks
hoarding hard currency, but most people here point the finger instead at
corruption in the state oil-importing company, NOCZIM. An industry source
told The Zimbabwean that NOCZIM has been importing fuel without paying its
bills and foreign creditors had now cut off supplies.
Memories of a massacre
stand first: The Guardian's correspondent in Zimbabwe in the early 80s, NICK
WORRALL, gives his exclusive first-hand account of how he broke the news of
the Gukurahundi massacre in Zimbabwe.
'Dozens of small villages had been similarly attacked and hundreds -
possibly thousands - of people shot dead'
'My colleagues had betrayed our confidence and agreement'
'The suffering people of Matabeleland were failed miserably by the
'The Catholic Church knew at first hand about the killings and had been
giving fleeing villagers places of refuge in their churches'
It was a quiet Saturday morning in January 1983. I was sitting reading the
sparse newswires, sitting at my desk in the small office I rented in Frankel
House, in the centre of what used to be called Salisbury - now Harare.
There seemed little news around on this sultry day and my mind was drifting
towards swimming pool and cold wine.
So, about to leave for home, I was picking up some papers when a small,
oldish man, entered my office. He looked dishevelled and out of breath. He
thought mine was the BBC office. I told him it was not but, sensing a bit of
news, I asked him to sit down, catch his breath and tell me his story.
He told me he had rushed over from Matabeleland where something dreadful was
happening and he wanted to give details to the BBC. I told him that the BBC
correspondent was, as far as I knew, out of town. But if he could give me
details I would see that it was passed to the BBC when their man returned.
In the meantime I asked him to tell me what was upsetting him.
The story he stammered out turned my blood cold. I asked if I could come
with him to his village so he could show me enough for me to give the story
to my newspaper. The BBC, I said, would certainly pick it up quickly.
There had been quite a bit of news to report - government irritation at my
claim (true as usual) that Zim, suffering from severe shortages, was getting
its petrol, from South Africa. Tantamount to a shameful African crime at
that time. Then there had been consistent reports from Matabeleland of
attacks on farmers with official blame being aimed at "dissidents".
Some attacks, including a bomb or two in Harare and another against the air
force in Gweru, were being blamed on the South Africans or perhaps on
disgruntled former Rhodesian soldiers who refused to live under black rule.
Apart from these Robert Mugabe had made an unexpectedly good start after his
sweeping election victory in 1980. A certain amount of opposition had come
from Joshua Nkomo's Matabeleland supporters, but a strong military presence
in that part of the country seemed likely to quell any potential rebellion.
Most of the Zim armed forces had received training from the British army,
but a curious decision, which was bound to irritate the West, brought in
soldiers from North Korea to train a new element of the local forces - to be
known as the Fifth Brigade. They already had the country agog after a major
showing of drill, armed and unarmed combat at the capital's major soccer
I had arrived in Zimbabwe in 1981 to report for the London Sunday Times but
I changed to the Guardian when I had the chance. I was fond of this great
liberal paper from my days in Britain, especially since my father had been
their man to report on Ian Smith's illegal declaration of independence in
defiance of colonial masters Britain. John Worrall was expelled when Smith
finally lost patience with his fair, but often damning, reports.
I decided that I should not go down to dangerous Matabeleland alone but pass
the news to two other British correspondents, the Reuters bureau chief and
the freelance stringer for The Times. We all agreed to go down together
first thing the next morning.
My informant had come from a small village some distance northwest of
Bulawayo. He took us there. All that remained was a ring of burned huts,
some still smouldering. There were a few women. They were obviously in
mourning. As we drove in they gathered up their children and moved away. But
our friend called them back and reassured them that we meant them no harm.
They told the story that two days before a troop of Fifth Brigade soldiers
had driven into the village and brandished a piece of paper. They read out
the names of several men, all of them local officials of Joshua Nkomo's ZAPU
political party. They ordered the villagers to produce the men. When they
said the men were not in the village the soldiers grabbed six villagers,
male and female. These were lined up in front of a hut and shot. Huts were
then set on fire and the soldiers departed.
We were shown hollow graves in which the murdered villagers had hastily been
buried. And we were told that this incident was by no means a one-off.
Dozens of small villages had been similarly attacked and hundreds - possibly
thousands - of people shot dead. Others, they said, especially young men,
teenagers, had been savagely tortured with bayonets and left to die on the
We were shown two or three more villages which had suffered a similar fate
at the murderous hands of the red beret-wearing Fifth brigade. We saw more
shallow graves, more burned huts and more weeping women. In each case the
same story was told - they were seeking Nkomo supporters and were under
orders to kill them.
We were also taken to the Mpilo hospital in Bulawayo where we were told many
young men had been taken suffering from bayonet wounds. We saw about 15
victims, covered in bandages over a mass of holes in their chests and
stomachs. Some were clearly in great agony, others had been drugged and were
sleeping. Those that could speak told a similar story - they'd been dragged
away from their huts or from their work and the soldiers had repeatedly
stabbed them and then left them, lying on the ground.
When we had seen enough we retired to the Holiday Inn hotel to discuss what
we had observed. It was now quite late on Sunday but there would be time to
write a story and file it to London by telex that night. We were of the
opinion that it was important that all three of us should tell the story
now - in that case we would be protected by the coverage. No-one could
accuse any one of us for having made up the story which seemed to accuse
Robert Mugabe and his army of mass murder. There was safety in numbers.
The next day I discovered that the Guardian had used my story on the front
page. Reuters and the London Times had printed nothing. My colleagues had
betrayed our confidence and agreement. I knew that it was only a matter of
time before I would to pay the same penalty as my father had 13 years
It was nearly three months before they expelled me. I spent time trying to
get others who knew full well what was happening in Matabeleland to support
me from the accusation that my story had been a lie. I travelled to
Botswana where I found hundreds of refugees from Matabeleland in a camp, all
of whom told similar stories of the massacre. The Catholic Church knew at
first hand about the killings and had been giving fleeing villagers places
of refuge in their churches. But no-one wanted to admit to the problems.
Another well-informed organisation was Oxfam who had several programmes for
the poor in Matabeleland and had observed the actions of the troops. But
they did not want to jeopardise their operations either.
One result of my report (which was never acknowledged by Mugabe or any other
Zimbabwean official) was to have Matabeleland closed down to the press. It
took more than a year before Donald Trelford made the effort for The
Observer to look for himself. Not many of our colleagues have made that
effort. Perhaps in future journalists might show a bit more courage when
confronted with this kind of brutality. On another occasion lives might be
saved. In this, the suffering people of Matabeleland were failed miserably
by the journalists.
The role of the press over this dreadful issue was far from courageous, nor
has it resulted in any repentance or admission of guilt and change of heart
by Mugabe, himself a Roman Catholic. I shall never forget these words about
his president from an embittered Joshua Nkomo during an interview: "Mugabe
has dismantled everything but mantled nothing".
Last ditch efforts to save the collapsing inter-party talks aimed at ending
the Zimbabwean political crisis have seen SADC leaders and the African Union
trying to convince President Robert Mugabe that the only route is engaging
the opposition and seeking a negotiated settlement.
The Zimbabwean can reveal that South African President Thabo Mbeki,
apparently sensing danger due to the imminent collapse of the talks
following the apparent display of a negative attitude by the Harare regime,
last week sent a delegation to Harare.
Led by Safety and Security minister, Sydney Mufamadi, the delegation is
reported to have met Mugabe and tried to revive the talks. Informed sources
say the mediation efforts face collapse with reports that both opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) factions complained to Mbeki about the
attitude shown by Zanu (PF) and hinted that they might soon announce a pull
This followed failure by the ruling party representatives to attend the
third meeting in South Africa recently. It has also been reported that
Zambian President, Levy Mwanawasa, Armando Guebuza of Mozambique as well as
Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia have made contact with Mugabe, urging him to
engage the opposition in dialogue.
The SADC leaders are making concerted efforts to secure meaningful
commitment and progress on the dialogue initiative and are racing against
time ahead of their summit set for Lusaka soon. "The leaders all responded
with what seemed to be panic to reports of Mugabe frustrating the talks, as
well as him proceeding with his Constitutional Amendment Number 18," an
impeccable source said. "They are all convinced the talks' route is the
only one left for them to try and save Zimbabwe and the prospect of it
failing spells doom for the region.
Diplomatic sources also told this paper this week that AU chair, President
John Kuffor of Ghana had communicated with Mugabe and MDC factions' leaders
in trying to push for the engagement of the political parties in dialogue.
Foreign affairs minister, Simbarashe Mumbengegwi was not immediately
available for talks, whilst Justice minister, Patrick Chinamasa, one of the
Zanu (PF) representatives at the talks, insisted that the ruling party
"remains committed to dialogue that is done transparently and sincerely".
Efforts to obtain comment from Mbeki's office in Pretoria failed whilst MDC
(Tsvangirai) secretary general Tendai Biti said his party was worried by
Zanu (PF)'s approach but remained committed to the dialogue initiative. -
Confusion reigns over the Control of Goods (Import and Export)(Agriculture)
Regulations, a law that will cost thousands in the informal sector their
jobs as well as worsening foods shortages in Zimbabwe due to come into
The law bans the import of goods into the country from neighbouring
countries particularly South Africa, from where thousands were helping their
families back in Zimbabwe with commodities and most informal traders were
Such 'controlled' goods include cooking oil, fruits, beans, meat, milk
products, poultry products, maize meal and sugar all which have disappeared
from supermarket shelves after a recent price freeze ordered by government.
"The people of Zimbabwe are trapped by their own government. I have not
heard of any country where people are stopped from buying goods that are not
available in their country. This obviously will make the situation with
regards to hunger worse. It is a ploy by government to force people to
produce the goods that are not in supply by starving them," said economist
Luke Zunga, a board member of the Zimbabwe Civil Society Organisations
But the ambassador to South Africa, Simon Khaya Moyo, has refuted reports of
the ban. According to a fax sent to CAJ News on Saturday, Khaya-Moyo said
the Ministry of Industry and international Trade and the Zimbabwe Revenue
Authority had advised him that there was "no change of policy and that no
ban has been imposed".
However, people or businesses who wish to import bulk foodstuffs for re-sale
into Zimbabwe should first apply for permits or licences from the Ministry
Industry and International trade," explained Khaya-Moyo.
He said the already existing standing rules and regulations on quantities of
personal goods and foodstuffs that can be imported duty free would continue
to be applied.
Buses plying the Johannesburg-Zimbabwe route and informal cross border
transport operators, referred to as omalayitsha in South Africa, said the
law would compromise their profitability as well as eventually kill their
businesses which they said were their only means of survival, respectively.
South Africa-based Zimbabweans largely rely on the services of these
transporters to send food to their starving relatives back home.
"The new law will result in few if any people sending their goods to
Zimbabwe using our services. This will see our businesses unfolding. I
have been in this industry for more than a decade and if there was a time I
feared my business will take a knock, it is now," said a malayitsha who only
referred to himself as Tshuma, in the teeming Park Station Taxi Rank in
Cross border traders also bemoaned the new law. "The law is vague. I
understand we now require permits to resale in our country the products that
we buy here. It is common knowledge that it takes ages for government to
issue permits to regulate any form of informal trade.
"That spells trouble to our means of livelihood. By buying goods for resale
in Zimbabwe I am able to make profit to send my children to school. As it
is, this might be my last visit to South Africa on business," said a
distraught Sihle Ndazi, a cross border trader and a mother of three. - CAJ
BY JOHN MAKUMBE
The pulling out of the Save Zimbabwe Campaign (SZC) by the Mutambara faction
of the MDC last week was unfortunate but not entirely surprising. It was
unfortunate because it basically weakened the broad alliance that civil
society and opposition political parties have formed in order to effectively
fight the Mugabe regime. The fact that the dictator has access to state
power and machinery requires that all progressive forces should pool their
resources and energies in order to confront the dogs of dictatorship more
effectively. The Mutambara faction may be relatively smaller than the
Tsvangirai faction, but it is a fact that there are some progressive
Zimbabweans in that faction whose leadership skills could have benefited the
SZC in its endeavours.
But perhaps the most unfortunate part of the whole saga is the manner in
which Mutambara handled the announcement of the withdrawal from SZC and the
demise of unity talks between the two MDC factions. The insults levelled
against Morgan Tsvangirai were certainly not called for. Obviously the
journalists who were present loved every word that Mutambara used to
describe Tsvangirai. For example, to call Tsvangirai a ".weak and indecisive
leader." is normally only done by elements within the ruining Zanu (PF)
This is not expected from another opposition political party leader who
aspires to dethrone Mugabe the tyrant. Harsh words like these should be
reserved for those who deserve them, and Tsvangirai certainly does not. It
is unfortunate that some opposition political leaders in Zimbabwe exert such
tremendous force and energy against fellow opposition leaders rather than
against the real enemy of the people of this bleeding and starving country.
Allegations that the SZC is being used to further the interests of selected
individuals should have been made at proper SZC fora instead of becoming the
subject of a press conference. To the best of my knowledge, the Mutambara
formation has not, to date, made an official complaint to the SZC task force
or steering committee. Had such a complaint been formally lodged, the SZC
would probably have done all in its power to resolve the issue without
embarrassing the leaders of either of the MDC formations. Indeed, the SZC
task force was taken by surprise when Mutambara made his dramatic
Be that as it may, the question that begs an answer now is: what are the
implications for the slow-moving mediation talks that Thabo Mbeki and his
team are pursuing? It is likely that the two MDC formations will find it
difficult to agree on all the issues that the beleaguered Zanu (PF) will
place on the table. The fight between the two formations is likely to
seriously hinder the talks, and that will work to the advantage of the
dictator. Meanwhile the suffering people of Zimbabwe are left wondering
whether any good is likely to come from this recent display of political
bickering in the opposition camp. The dictator obviously loves every moment
of the whole sordid matter.
HARARE - Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor, Gideon Gono, has agreed with the
public that the government-run Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa)
lacked the capacity to run water affairs.
Departing from his prepared speech at the Zimbabwe Local Government
conference in Harare last week, Dr Gono criticised Zinwa for taking over
water and sewer responsibilities when it did not have the capacity to
He said it was disheartening that some parts of the country go for up to 10
days without water.
When reporting to Cabinet, government officials should say what they were
able to do rather than exaggerate what they thought they could do, Gono
"Where we are failing we must go back to Cabinet for reviews of decisions.
There is nothing wrong in reviewing certain decisions", he said.
Local authorities and the public have lobbied against Zinwa's ambitious
water take-over since its proposal last year.
Minister Munacho Mutezo has vowed that the state authority would forcibly
take over all water operations, despite protests. - CAJ News
Investigations done by The Zimbabwean here have established that many public
media journalists are not accredited by the Zimbabwe Media Information (MIC)
yet not one of them has been arrested for contravening the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).
Yet journalists from the private media are constantly harassed and drag to
court for not being accredited.
"I have been working for the public media for the past five years and since
the inception of AIPPA and MIC we have not experienced any problems. Some of
us worked for a whole year without accreditation because we were supporting
Mugabe's government. No one was arrested for practising without
accreditation," said a former reporter with one of the Zimpapers newspapers,
who requested anonymity.
Another current reporter with the Bulawayo-based state media said he was
currently working without accreditation and had never been asked to produce
Efforts by journalists to form an independent regulatory council aimed at
replacing MIC were fruitless as the government refused them the
opportunity. - Silas Nkala
The City of Johannesburg plans to establish transitional accommodation for
desperate Zimbabweans flooding South Africa because of political and
economic turmoil at home.
The centre will be opened in few weeks time and will be a referral point for
"The building will be managed by refugee organisations dealing with shelter
in the city. The new arrivals will be given few months to be connected to
services such as Department of Home Affairs to legalise their stay and to
get to know the city," said Director for Community Development Department,
The City of Joburg's Mayo, Amos Masondo, recently opened a Migrants Help
Desk in an attempt to integrate migrants in the city.
Hundreds of Zimbabwenas have so far visited the centre to seek assistance.
The Zimbabwe Political Victims Association has been nominated to run the
centre. "At least people will be directed to places where they are offered
assistance and it might reduce number of illegal immigrants in the city.
Some are even targeted by criminals as they roam the streets looking for
jobs," said one official from a refugee organisation. - Zakeus Chibaya
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's (RBZ) handling of business travel allowances
is fraught with loopholes and corruption, resulting in the loss of huge
amounts of scarce foreign currency to individuals and companies aligned to
the ruling party. Investigations by The Zimbabwean have shown that RBZ
Governor Gideon Gono, vocal in his denouncing of corruption, has failed to
stamp out a system of patronage and favouritism based on Zanu (PF) party
politics to guide the handling of foreign currency issued by the central
It has also been established that looting of scarce forex is rampant through
systematic misrepresentation by individuals and corporates applying for
business travel allowances.
The Zimbabwean has seen copies of applications by a Zanu (PF) official who
runs an agro-business company, requiring him to travel regularly, especially
to Asia. On three occasions during the past four months he has requested
foreign currency through CBZ Bank Limited and claimed to have a delegation
of between 11 and 15 members when in fact, only two, three and four people
have made the trips.
Amounts of between US$20 000 and US$35 000 have been approved by the RBZ,
and this paper established that the bulk of the money was used to purchase
goods for resale here and to trade on the black market.
"That is the system used by almost everyone and it is now entrenched," an
RBZ senior official in the forex department said, on condition of anonymity.
"The governor is aware of this and there is a deliberate lack of interest in
scrutinizing the applications, especially for those on the right political
Gono denied these allegations: "Nothing can be further from the truth. Your
sources are feeding you with imaginary lies. The Reserve Bank, as custodian
of administering the country's Exchange Control Regulations does not assume
the role of banks which it supervises," he said.
"The Authorised Dealers are expected to carry out post issuance checks to
confirm that their customers indeed travelled. In the surveillance systems
that we use, there are established, internationally compliant and tested
corporate governance rules that are in force. The equivalent of up to US$500
a day may be issued as business travel allowance."
The Zimbabwean revealed in March that President Robert Mugabe and other
senior government officials have been looting from the RBZ's contingency
account and prejudiced the country of more than US$20 million since
independence in 1980.
By Jonga Kandemiiri
01 August 2007
The faction of Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change headed
by MDC founder Morgan Tsvangirai has lodged a Z$504 billion (US$3.4 million)
lawsuit against the state for disrupting a political rally rally in February
of this year.
The opposition suit charges that instead of providing security and ensuring
peace and order at the Highfield rally as instructed by the Harare high
court, Zimbabwe Republic Police "reprehensibly became the perpetrators of
The suit names Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi, Police Chief Augustine
Chihuri, Harare South Chief Superintendent Thomsen Jangara and four other
Lawyer Jessie Majome, representing the faction, told reporter Jonga
Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that the opposition faction is
suing the police under the State Liabilities Act for failing to protect
Zimbabwean citizens as required.