President Robert Mugabe has ruled out holding talks with the main opposition
party despite international pressure to do so. South Africa's President
Thabo Mbeki has reportedly offered to help Zimbabwe repay some of its
foreign debts on condition that talks are held.
Mr Mugabe said he
would rather talk with the UK than the opposition MDC.
is in an economic crisis, with shortages of fuel, food and foreign currency
and high unemployment.
"Today we tell all
those calling for such ill-conceived talks to please stop their misdirected
efforts," Mr Mugabe said in a speech in the capital, Harare, to remember
those who died in Zimbabwe's 1970s war of independence on Heroes
"The man who needs to be spoken to in order to see reason
resides at No 10 Downing Street [UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's
residence]... That's the man to speak to," he said.
Harvest House, Harare, [headquarters of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC)] are no more than his stooges and puppets. We would rather speak to
the principal who manipulates the puppets."
Mr Mugabe has blamed
Zimbabwe's problems on a UK-led Western plot designed to oust him because of
his seizure of white-owned land.
His critics say the land reform
programme has ruined what used to be one of Africa's most productive
"Only someone with his head firmly buried in the sand
would not understand why there are calls for dialogue," said MDC spokesman
Paul Themba Nyathi.
Separately, South African and Zimbabwean
officials have started talks over a possible loan - Zimbabwe needs $300m or
it faces expulsion from the IMF.
Mr Mbeki reportedly wants to
use the loan to get Zimbabwe's rival politicians to talk to each other and
possibly form a government of national unity to resolve the country's
economic and political problems.
Food aid delayed
his Heroes Day speech, Mr Mugabe also justified the demolition of thousands
of homes, which the government says were built without planning
"Let those loud hypocrites who speak in defence of
slums that brutalise our people tell us what they have done for our people
in the area of housing," he said.
A recent United Nations
report said 700,000 Zimbabweans had been left homeless by Operation Drive
Meanwhile, a consignment of 37 tonnes of food aid sent
by South African church groups to Zimbabwe is being held up at the border
because Zimbabwe officials want proof that it is not genetically
"We just wanted to get the food there as fast as
possible. But we are appealing to everyone to speed up the process so that
the food can arrive in Zimbabwe in the next couple of days," said South
Africa Council of Churches spokesman Ron Steel.
Zimbabwe, the SACC said those left homeless were living in "shocking
Mr Mugabe says new houses will be built for those made
Following a failed harvest, Zimbabwe is suffering food
It has been short of foreign currency for imports such
as fuel for several years.
Zimbabwe suffer huge defeat to NZ First Test, Harare,
day two: New Zealand (452-9 dec) beat Zimbabwe (59 & 99) by an innings
and 294 runs
Zimbabwe suffered their worst innings defeat in
Test cricket when they were bowled out for 59 and 99 on the second day
against New Zealand.
It means they lost the first Test by an
innings and 294 runs in Harare.
Spinner Daniel Vettori took
6-29 in the two innings and James Franklin 5-29, including three wickets in
four balls in Zimbabwe's first knock.
New Zealand had declared on
their overnight score of 452-9, Shane Bond nine short of a maiden Test
And they wasted little time in skittling out Zimbabwe for
59, five more than their record low, made against South Africa in
That was one of just 12 matches in Test history that have
failed to reach a third day.
"The mood was clinical out there.
After the first hour the goal was to win this test today," said New Zealand
captain Stephen Fleming.
"To be able to turn the game around so
quickly was a good effort.
"To get 20 wickets in a day you have to
bowl well and this was some of the best cricket I've seen this team
"It's good for us, but I'm not sure it's good for the
Zimbabwe captain Tatenda Taibu was at a loss to explain his
"It was very disappointing," he said. "I
thought we would bowl them out on the first day (after New Zealand were
reduced to 113-5) and our batting wasn't good enough."
desperate last 15 months for Zimbabwe have also included their previous
heaviest defeat, by a margin of an innings and 254 runs to Sri
But this time they were bolstered by the return of
several veterans, including Carlisle and Heath Streak, who had been in
dispute with the national cricket board.
Asked to bat at six,
Carlisle was the top-scorer in the first innings, left unbeaten on
Hamilton Masakadza made a spirited 42 in the second innings but
with just a handful of overs to go on day two, Vettori delivered the
crushing blow as Chris Mpofu was stumped for a duck and Zimbabwe were
dismissed for 99.
It was New Zealand's finest Test triumph,
surpassing their innings and 185 run success against Pakistan in Hamilton in
The second Test is scheduled for 15 August in
Mugabe dampens Mbeki's push for talks Tue 9 August
HARARE - President Robert Mugabe on Monday said he would
rather speak to British Prime Minister Tony Blair to resolve the country's
economic crisis, dampening South Africa's push for the veteran Zimbabwean
leader to negotiate with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
South Africa has provisionally agreed to loan troubled
Zimbabwe US$500 million to offset arrears with the International Monetary
Fund and for fuel and food. But Africa's economic powerhouse is said to have
imposed conditions that Mugabe meet the opposition to resolve a deepening
political and economic crisis.
Mugabe told a gathering of
mainly party supporters and members of the army at the Heroes Acre to
commemorate the lives of Zimbabwe's liberation war heroes that he would
rather speak to Blair whom he said was the principal behind the
"I am aware that there are shrill calls from
many quarters, including those which we expect to know better, for the
so-called talks with the MDC," Mugabe said in an apparent reference to South
Africa's call for dialogue.
"They know who must be spoken to. The
man who needs to be spoken to in order to see reason resides at No. 10
Downing Street in London," he said.
Media reports quoting unnamed
senior officials in Pretoria and Harare have indicated that South Africa was
demanding wide-ranging political and economic reforms before it could lend
money to Zimbabwe.
On the economic front, Pretoria is demanding a
revival of Zimbabwe's mainstay agricultural sector, after it was
destabilised by Mugabe's chaotic seizure of land from white farmers.
Pretoria also wants Harare to review its monetary policies especially its
dual exchange rate policy.
South Africa wants efforts to
resuscitate Zimbabwe's economy boosted by reforms on the political front,
key of which is resumption of talks between Mugabe's ruling ZANU PF party
and the MDC to find a democratic solution to the country's political
But on Monday, Mugabe seemed to pour scorn on the South
African initiative and said his recent visit to long-time ally China would
"transform our economy in a fundamental way."
"Such talk is a
slap in the face for Thabo Mbeki's efforts but then I think Mbeki is caught
in between helping to avert total collapse of a neighbour and being seen as
propping up Mugabe," Harare economist John Robertson told
He said Mugabe had effectively told Mbeki "to go to
hell", banking on Chinese support.
The veteran Zimbabwe leader
said ZANU PF could however engage the MDC if the opposition called-off
sanctions imposed on his leadership by the West, a demand dismissed by MDC
spokesman Paul Themba-Nyathi as cheap politicking.
Morgan Tsvangirai last week said he was ready to meet Mugabe in talks to end
Zimbabwe's crisis, an offer contemptuously rebuffed by Mugabe who said: "No
sir (Tsvangirai), I don't want to meet you."
Zimbabwe is grappling
its worst economic crisis blamed by critics on mismanagement and repressive
rule by Mugabe. Food, fuel, essential medical drugs, electricity, hard cash
and almost every other basic commodity is in short supply.
the ageing Zimbabwean leader denies ruining Zimbabwe and says his country's
problems are because of economic sabotage by Britain and its Western allies
to punish Harare for seizing land from white farmers and giving it to
landless blacks. - ZimOnline
Mugabe reinvents same old laws to force his will on
schools Tue 9 August 2005
HARARE - Zimbabwe government ministers
have over the years built a notorious reputation of willfully ignoring the
cries of the poor and powerless in society.
Even in the face of
strong popular rejection of their policies by the long-suffering
Zimbabweans, government ministers have stubbornly rejected popular
sentiment, burying their heads in the sand.
ministers have come up with amendment after amendment, patching up the
statute books and the constitution in their image whenever they realised it
did not suit their hazy vision.
Critics say this trend is not
Faced with a vibrant university which held several successful
demonstrations against his government, President Robert Mugabe came up with
the University of Zimbabwe Amendment Act in 1992 which virtually castrated
serious student activism at the campus.
In 2000, faced with the
biggest challenge to his grip on power, Mugabe drastically rebaptised the
colonial and notorious Law and Order Maintenance Act as the Public Order and
Security Act (POSA) to stifle emerging political opposition in the form of
the Movement for Democratic Change.
The security Act bans
Zimbabweans from gathering in groups of more than three to discuss politics
without police permission.
After failing to deal with a vibrant,
questioning press, the government came up with a new law - the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) to silence
Now Mugabe is redirecting his ire at schools which
embarrassed his government in the courts last year as they resisted
government interference in the running of the institutions.
Education Amendment Bill set to be tabled in Parliament soon, has given
credence to charges that his government wants to extend its iron grip over
Zimbabwe's deteriorating education system.
Last year, Education
Minister Aeneas Chigwedere sought to control fees charged by private schools
in the country. He lost the battle in the courts.
provoked the ire of parents when he sought to introduce one set of uniform
for all schools. There was a public hullabaloo over the move forcing the
minister to backtrack.
Now Chigwedere, through the Education
Amendment Bill has brought back the same conditions through the back
The amendments, critics argue, impinge on the rights of both
church-run and private schools to recruit staff of their own choice giving
the Minister powers to determine who can be employed by these
The draft law will empower the Minister to determine the
school uniforms children should wear and what associations teachers should
Human rights lawyers have criticised the proposed
amendments saying they impinge on some provisions of the Convention of the
Rights of Children and the African Charter on the Rights of the
Rangu Nyamurundira of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
(ZLHR) says the proposed Bill, if passed into law, will effectively deny
children the right to be enrolled at a school of their choice.
"The Bill raises concerns coming as it does after government closed 46
schools in its bid to control school fees in contravention of the provisions
of that Charter which it ratified," Nyamurundira said.
Amendment Bill seeks to punish schools that fail to comply with the
government's directives on school fees and levies by arbitrarily placing the
school under direct management of the education ministry.
which defy the government directives on fees risk being de-registered while
any excess amount collected in fees will be forfeited to the
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) secretary
general Raymond Majongwe says his union is peeved by the proposed
The trade unionist said the proposed amendments were
nothing more than "the ministry's misplaced desire to extend needless
control over the running of schools in the country."
"Amendments have become a norm in this country whenever a minister feels
enfeebled by current legislation. The new Labour Bill even bans teachers
from becoming members of a trade union," he said.
the education ministry of failing to keep its fingers on the nation's pulse
as shown by the widespread sexual abuse of students at a Macheke government
"We are not arguing that the ministry should not have some
control but too much of it is uncalled for. The ministry should address the
serious crisis in education sector rather than seek to control who private
and church run schools employ."
Chigwedere, a historian and
former school head himself, could not be reached for comment on his draft
Zimbabwe's education system once the envy of the region, is
almost on its knees after thousands of trained teachers fled the economic
meltdown back home.
The remaining teachers, who are poorly
remunerated, make up an unmotivated workforce in poorly equipped schools,
with virtually no solution in sight. - ZimOnline
UN to appeal for aid for displaced Zimbabweans Tue 9 August
JOHANNESBURG - The United Nations (UN) this week plans to
appeal for more aid for Zimbabweans displaced in a controversial government
urban clean-up exercise as several tonnes of food aid remain stockpiled in
Johannesburg because Harare wants written confirmation it was not
genetically modified. The UN's Harare co-ordinator Agostinho
Zacarias told the Press that representatives of the world body were in talks
with Harare over the appeal to the international community for humanitarian
The UN, which strongly condemned Harare's clean-up exercise,
estimates that at least 700 000 people were left without homes or income
after the police demolished city backyard, shantytown homes and informal
According to the UN, a further 2.4 million
people were also affected by the urban renewal exercise, which President
Robert Mugabe defended as necessary to smash crime and to restore the beauty
of Zimbabwe's cities and towns.
Zacarias said the UN wanted
humanitarian support to provide "shelter and to stabilise" the situation in
Zimbabwe's cities after the mass demolition of homes. He expressed hope the
Zimbabwean authorities, who are touchy over external aid, would not reject
The UN diplomat spoke as the South African Council of
Churches said on Monday it was still unable to deliver 37 tonnes of food and
6 000 blankets to displaced Zimbabweans because authorities in Harare will
not allow the aid in without documentary proof the food was not organically
A written assurance by the supplier of the food that it
was not genetically modified had been rejected by Harare, according to SACC
spokesman Ron Steele.
"They waited until Friday, saying they
wanted something more substantive than a document from the supplier," Steele
Zimbabwe and several other southern African countries have
banned the import of genetically modified food because of uncertainties
about its safety and also because of concerns it could end up contaminating
the local natural varieties.
Officials in Harare last week
accused the SACC of hiding behind a humanitarian aid to push a political
agenda but had said they would allow aid from the religious group. -
It is enough to distress any new
emigrant. Sending money back home is, for many Zimbabweans working in
neighbouring South Africa, a frustrating, complicated and costly
The methods of choice include asking visiting friends or
acquaintances to take the cash with them on their way back into Zimbabwe.
Another option is having cross-border taxi drivers do it, albeit for a hefty
fee. Any method will do; except transmitting money through the official bank
International bone fide agencies, like Western Union, are not a
viable option. Under the country's regulations, recipients can only get the
money in local currency at the equivalent 'official rate'. Those with U.S.
dollar or accounts in other major currencies are also compelled to redeem
their money at this rate or else accept travellers' cheques.
not be such a problem if the difference between the official and thriving
parallel market rates was less colossal. Currently, one U.S. dollar fetches
17,500 Zimbabwe dollars on the official market and almost three times that
on the parallel market.
"It's an absolute shortage of foreign currency,"
says Godfrey Kanyenze, an economist with the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
The result is that even bankers, like Kenneth - a Zimbabwean
teller in one of South Africa's biggest banks - shun the official channels.
"I hate having to accept the much-reduced rate," he says.
In the last
several decades, Zimbabweans have joined other Southern Africans who went to
work in South Africa's booming gold and diamond mines. But the trek to South
Africa intensified with the deterioration of the Zimbabwean economy five
years ago. A populist, and damaging, land-reform programme preceded three
Resultant economic problems include a critical
shortage of foreign exchange to import fuel, basic food stuffs and
medicines. This, coupled with unemployment rate of 75 percent, has forced
almost a quarter of the population to emigrate.
Now estimated at up
to two million, Zimbabweans are the second biggest group of foreign Africans
in South Africa. Some are skilled emigres. The majority, though, are
economic refugees who do menial jobs such as farm or house work or waiting
on tables. But, together, the money they send home is making a difference to
"The work is not as I expected, but at least I can put
something on the table every day," says 33-year-old Rebecca, a former high
school teacher now working as a waitress at Johannesburg's glitzy Sandton
shopping centre. Her remittance of South African Rands û sent through
cross-border taxis - take care of her parents and also pays for her three
children's education in "better" schools.
But Emelda has neither the
time nor the sophistication Themba has. From Cape Town, almost 3,000
kilometres away from Zimbabwe's second city of Bulawayo, the publishing
executive pays for friends' and relatives' satellite TV subscriptions. He
also buys - and sends - groceries together with electrical appliances and
"I help people who cannot access foreign exchange and it is people
I know and will not disappear with my money," he says.
bought are delivered in various ways. Since there is much human traffic
between the two countries, it is easy to find couriers for such things as
cell phones. "For smaller items I sometimes post and the postage fees will
be added on to the amount owed," Themba says.
Another method is to make a
payment at one of the big department stores, sometimes asking that the goods
be released at a branch closest to the border, for instance. "For larger
items you can connect with truck drivers too," he says.
One can also
use "omalaitsha" (carry-alls). These are a new breed of van-owning
entrepreneurs who make money by carting goods and groceries from Zimbabweans
in South Africa to their homes, mainly in Bulawayo.
For his troubles,
Themba receives compensation in Zimbabwe, at a rate agreed to in advance.
"They pay me by passing on the money to my folks and also for other personal
business like the upkeep of my properties in Zimbabwe."
For those without
the kind of network Themba runs, the only way of sending money home is by
handing it over to cross-border taxi drivers.
Their hub is Johannesburg's
busy Park Station, the city's major bus and rail terminus where
Zimbabwe-bound taxis occupy the northern corner of the upper level. Here
drivers compete in attracting the attention of anyone seen as intending to
send money home. It is not difficult to see why; commission is 20
One such driver, Bheki, says carrying money is more lucrative
than transporting people. There is no question of the money not reaching its
intended destination, he assures, showing several envelopes neatly stacked
in his flack jacket. "Even if you give me 50,000 Rands (7,692 U.S. dollars),
I will deliver it," he says.
Getting money home is not much easier
for Zimbabweans working overseas. Themba, a legal advisor based in the
Balkans, says in the last five months, he has been unable to send cash to
Zimbabwe via the official channels. Themba is not related to the publishing
executive in Cape Town.
"The last time I sent money to my wife into our
U.S. dollar account in Bulawayo, she had to withdraw travellers' cheques and
drive (80 kms to neighbouring) Botswana to cash them at a loss," he says.
"Now I only wait until l know someone going to Zimbabwe, and send the money
as a parcel."
In Britain, which is now home to almost a million
Zimbabweans, posting money is relatively easier. That is because a throng of
Zimbabwean middlemen has snapped at the business opportunity.
client deposits British pounds into the middleman's account upon agreeing on
a favourable rate. In turn, the middleman deposits the money, in the
intended account in Zimbabwe in local currency. This seems to work
"It's very convenient and efficient and you know you gain a lot
than using the Zimbabwean bank system whereby the folks end up getting rates
that are next to nothing," says 28-year-old Emelda, a Zimbabwean student in
In at attempt to kill the parallel market and also
cash-in on the remittances, the government launched a scheme, called
Homelink, which aims to offer a rate slightly better than the official
More recently, the programme was expanded to include a mortgage
component, whereby Zimbabweans in the Diaspora may get housing loans which
they repay in U.S. dollars or any one of the world's major
The scheme is largely seen as a flop. "Human beings are
rational and act to maximise their benefits," Kanyenze says. "You'd be very
stupid if you send your money at the official rate when you could be getting
Some say it is also because emigres are loath to believe in
a scheme initiated by a government they blame for their leaving the country
in the first place.
Zimbabwe, which faces expulsion from the
International Monetary Fund (IMF) due to accumulated arrears of almost 300
million U.S. dollars, is seeking an estimated one-billion-U.S.-dollar loan
from the South African government. A delegation led by President Robert
Mugabe has just returned from China where it managed to secure a grant of
only 6 million U.S. dollars, mainly to buy food.
UN rights expert condemns African 'cover-up" on Zimbabwe
August 08, 2005,
GENEVA (AFP) - A UN human
rights expert sharply criticised major African leaders, saying their failure
to condemn President Robert Mugabe's housing demolition campaign in Zimbabwe
was tantamount to a "cover-up."
A UN human rights expert sharply
criticised major African leaders, saying their failure to condemn President
Robert Mugabe's housing demolition campaign in Zimbabwe was tantamount to a
"cover-up." The UN special rapporteur on the right to adequate housing,
Miloon Kothari, said Zimbabwe was heading towards a disaster if the
government failed to change course on the forcible eviction of about 700,000
people from shantytowns.
"The silence of major governments in
Africa continues to be shocking," Kothari told journalists.
"And of influential individuals like Nelson Mandela, I don't understand why
they don't speak out," he added, referring to the former South African
"There is a kind of a cover-up that is there as far as
President Mugabe is concerned."
Kothari also called on leading
developing nations outside Africa, such as Brazil and India, to speak out
against the demolitions.
"What needs to be impressed upon President
Mugabe is that he has to change course -- you cannot rule a country by
arbitrarily demolishing thousands and thousands of people's homes," he
"You cannot run a government by that kind of direct
animosity towards your population because what we are looking ahead to is a
much greater disaster," Kothari said.
Kothari said UN Secretary
General Kofi Annan was ready to spearhead a coordinated campaign by the
world body on the situation in Zimbabwe.
Some 700,000 Zimbabweans
have lost their homes and livelihoods in the campaign and a further 2.4
million people have been affected, according to a UN report released last
The report by UN envoy Anna Tibaijuka said the demolitions
had been "carried out in an indiscriminate and unjustified manner, with
indifference to human suffering."
Kothari, an Indian legal
expert, said he was concerned that there had been no moves by Zimbawe's
authorities since the UN report to resettle or compensate those who had been
thrown out of their homes.
Mugabe on Monday said he had invited
Annan to Zimbabwe "so that he can have an appreciation of what we are trying
to do for our people in the sphere of housing and informal
Zimbabwe's president also lashed out at critics, calling
them "long-distance philanthropists who romanticize shacks."
Kothari said he was willing to travel to Zimbabwe to provide help with a
fair housing policy.
government continued its bid to save face over its South African bale-out,
with central bank governor Gideon Gono pointedly reminding SA that his
country was not extending a begging bowl, but was in "loan negotiations,
which are different from asking for a gift".
Gono's comments at the
weekend are being seen as an admission that while SA has agreed in principle
to give the Zimbabweans a bale-out, there are conditions attached to the
deal. Gono said it was common practice to attach conditions to
SA has been at pains to play down the fact that it wants economic
and political reforms in Zimbabwe in return for its aid.
comments also come amid calls from groups ranging from the opposition
Democratic Alliance (DA) to the South African Communist Party (SACP) for
President Thabo Mbeki to take the country into his confidence on the planned
SACP chief Blade Nzimande said: "If government is going to
give the loan, it must take Parliament and the broader public into its
DA leader Tony Leon said Mbeki had to tell SA what terms, if
any, government was attaching to the loan.
Gono said there was
nothing unusual about the talks between SA and Zimbabwe for a rescue
package, which some reports say is worth about $500m, because "borrowing is
a common phenomenon worldwide".
SA, which announced last
Wednesday that it was prepared "in principle" to aid Zimbabwe, wants
President Robert Mugabe to effect lasting economic and political
Gono told Zimbabwe's state-owned media: "Borrowing between
central banks, between nations and different players in the financial
markets the world over is a common phenomenon in the world of finance, trade
and international interactions."
He refused to disclose details
of the agreement which Zimbabwe struck with SA for the loan needed to pay
the country's $295m arrears to the International Monetary Fund, among other
Gono insisted SA would not disclose the details of the talks
because it understood the confidential nature of the negotiations. "This is
a principle which our counterparts down south respect and adhere
"Any requests to discuss or disclose the nature and stage of
discussions is not only unfair but tantamount to pointing us towards
breaking confidentiality, norms of good corporate governance and behaviour
in the world of finance," Gono said.
He said Zimbabwean Finance
Minister Herbert Murerwa, who met his local counterpart, Trevor Manuel, last
week to negotiate the final terms of the deal, would issue an "appropriate
statement depending on the appropriateness of
Harare is understood to be hugely embarrassed by the
fact that it has been reduced to begging after running down its economy.
Gono was at pains to emphasise that Zimbabwe was not begging but negotiating
for a loan in the usual way countries or individuals
"There is a difference between a loan and a gift and central
banks are not in the habit of negotiating for gifts but loans," he
"In 2000, Zimbabwe borrowed diesel from Botswana worth between
30-35 million pulas which we paid back."
Mugabe likely to sabotage loan conditions : editor
Attempts to use the promise of economic aid to encourage
political reform in Zimbabwe could very likely prove fruitless, as Robert
Mugabe, the Zimbabwean president, is likely to throw a spanner into talks
with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). This is the view
of Dumisani Muleya, the news editor for the Zimbabwe Independent
Yesterday, newspapers reported that South Africa had slammed
the Zimbabwe government with a number of loan conditions, including a new
constitution agreed to by the opposition and fresh elections.
however, warns that Mugabe and the ruling Zanu(PF) are opposed to any form
of talks with the MDC. Even if South Africa succeeds in pressuring Zanu(PF)
to concede to talks with the MDC, the ruling party is "not going to take the
talks very far", he says.
Muleya says he has spoken to people deployed by
Mugabe to past talks. "They have told me clearly that they had been mandated
by Mugabe to make sure that those talks do not succeed. So even if now they
were to end up at the negotiating table, I believer the same will happen,"
'My own party perpetrated atrocities on me' August 08
2005 at 10:33AM
Harare - Frank Chamunorwa was beaten up and left
for dead by President Robert Mugabe's thugs when he helped launch the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in September 1999.
was bitter and close to tears when he described a more recent political
assault, six weeks ago. Though less violent, it was more painful because he
was abducted from his Harare home and assaulted on a street corner, not by
Mugabe's Zanu-PF, but youths of his own party.
Chamunorwa, 55, a veteran of Mugabe's liberation army, of complicity in what
he calls an "absurd" plot to oust the president of the MDC, Morgan
Tsvangirai, in favour of the party's secretary-general, Welshman
"I have never been so dejected in my life
because my own party perpetrated atrocities on me. I was not only beaten but
forced to bend down, lie on the ground by youths, most of them younger than
"Morgan has our mandate. More than half the
population want him to rule, but his ineptitude and indecision may cost him
and Zimbabwe dearly."
He scoffs at those in Tsvangirai's inner
circle, particularly national chairperson Isaac Matongo, whom he accuses of
"doing Zanu-PF's work" by fanning "false and stupid" rumours of Ncube's
He says he remain a loyal elected provincial official
but is intensely critical of the MDC, probably Africa's largest opposition
He says that even though the MDC is unremittingly persecuted
by Zanu-PF, it failed to do basic political work before the March
parliamentary elections. It did not ensure, for example, that new supporters
who turned up at rallies in Mugabe's rural strongholds were registered
Chamunorwa is not sure whether Tsvangirai believed the
party's amateurish election directorate's propaganda that the party could
win enough votes to overwhelm Zanu-PF.
Surely, critics ask,
this was the MDC's third election experience and it had seen enough of Zanu
PF's methods to know that it rigs polls.
The MDC lost 15 of the
seats it had won in 2000 when it came within three seats of defeating
Mugabe. The party was then just nine months old.
Now, with another
30 appointed seats, Zanu-PF has a two-thirds majority and has already begun
steps to change the constitution.
Diamond Karanda, 31, an official
in MDC security until he was beaten by MDC colleagues on June 16 and
accused, like Chamunorwa, of supporting Welshman Ncube, says he still cannot
walk properly because his left leg was so badly wrenched during the
"I have many scars from Zanu-PF.
out four teeth, but it is not alright when I am beaten up in the MDC
boardroom which has become a torture chamber."
They are not the
only two who have been attacked for the same reason, by youths, about 20 of
whom have been expelled.
Ten days ago at a meeting of the MDC's
national executive committee a statement was circulated from the party's
legal secretary David Coltart who was overseas on party
"Violence has been used for over 100 years in this
country to achieve political objectives and is responsible for the
catastrophic state we find our country in today," Coltart wrote. "I cannot
believe that the youths involved in despicable acts acted independently. It
is common cause that they are unemployed and yet they had access to
Coltart pointed out in his statement that
last year MDC thugs tried to murder Peter Guhu, the MDC's former director of
security who has now fled to SA.
"I am deeply concerned about
persistent allegations... that Welshman Ncube is vying to be president...
there are only two people in Zimbabwe who have sufficient national support
to run for president, Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai.
Within the MDC only Morgan Tsvangirai has sufficient status to contest the
presidency. Welshman Ncube knows that. I know that," Coltart
"At the very time we have Zanu-PF on its knees and divided,
we appear to be intent on tearing up everything we have worked so hard to
build over the last few, very difficult years... " said
MDC national chairperson Isaac Matongo brushed off
Coltart's statement. "It was not tabled officially. Anyone who says we are
fighting among ourselves is helping Zanu-PF," he said last
Tsvangirai has declined to comment.
scientist John Makumbe says: "Zanu-PF's methods have rubbed off on all of
us, including the MDC.
"Morgan Tsvangirai failed to mobilise an
aggrieved nation because his advisors tell him all the time: 'Stop, Mugabe
will kill you.'
Zanu-PF uses the state resources to crush the MDC.
(The party) knew this when it began, or else it didn't understand
Zanu-PF." Commentator Brian Raftopoulos says: "The MDC is paralysed and
if this is not dealt with it will lead to its demise."
Tsvangirai, like Chaminorwa and Karanda, are from the majority Shona
Ndebeles like Welshman Ncube accept, without question,
that after decades of Mugabe's ethnic politics, only a Shona can hope to be
a national leader at this time.
The MDC has tried to shun
ethnic tensions, so many of its leaders were relieved when, in apparent
despair with the party's paralysis, both Welshman Ncube and his Shona deputy
Gift Chimanikire recently told Tsvangirai they wanted to quit.
Neither has yet resigned through formal channels, and both apparently hope
that the MDC will "face its own demons",
Yet discontent with
Tsvangirai's leadership is coming increasingly to the surface as the MDC
fails to make any headway against Zanu-PF. When Mugabe carried out his
recent six-week assault on the urban poor, bulldozing large areas and
destroying the homes or livelihoods of 700 000 people, the opposition failed
to offer any coherent response.
strongest critics in the party accept that he is the victim of assassination
attempts and treason charges intended to de-stabilise him and that he is
demonised in the daily press and on radio and television every
But his leadership skills are nonetheless coming under sharp
scrutiny. Under the MDC's constitution, if he seeks re-election at its
second congress next March, it would be his last term as leader. And if, as
expected, Mugabe changes the constitution to merge presidential and
parliamentary elections - which will allow him to remain in office until
2010 - Morgan Tsvangirai may never get another chance to lead
The MDC held an imbizo last weekend to address these
problems and reportedly made progress. But much repair work remains.-
Independent Foreign Service
This article was
originally published on page 11 of The Star on August 08, 2005
It must irk Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe that, just as
he is firming up his "total control" strategy, SA is trying to spoil
everything by imposing conditions on the granting of the loan he so
desperately needs. Still gloating over his party's resounding two-thirds
"victory" in the last election, which SA enthusiastically vindicated, Mugabe
must be feeling a little betrayed by his friends. In fact it is curious to
us all that our government has the gall to put the issue of the elections,
and even talks with the Movement for Democratic Change, which resoundingly
"lost" the same election, on the table at all after SA's representatives did
such a good job of whitewashing an election so obviously rigged in favour of
the ruling party. The land issue is another one. SA has apparently listed a
fair and open programme of land reform as another condition. Does this mean
the enthusiastic support for the land grab by most members of our cabinet
was a farce designed to keep Mugabe happy, even as the country went into
In fact, most of the conditions we are led to
believe are on the table make a mockery of our government. They directly
contradict the line SA has taken over the past five years on a number of
issues, and the related tacit, or sometimes overt, support for such actions
which has led more than one of our ministers to arrive back from tours of
the country, stage-managed by the Zimbabwe government, spouting propaganda
without a trace of shame. That is not quiet diplomacy. It is spineless
fawning over the region's puppeteer. And if Mugabe rejects all conditions
and the loan to boot, SA will have only itself to blame. In any case, the
question is whether the $1bn loan, or $500m or whatever it amounts to, is
enough to get him to agree to unravel his complex web of power, because that
is essentially what SA is asking him to do.
Mugabe has been
consolidating his political control over many years under the noses of the
region's leaders. He has tampered with the constitution to give him wider
powers, including the power of veto, changed the laws to legalise the
actions of his regime in support of his power, oppressed the nation, rigged
elections, silenced independent voices and shored up his popularity with
patronage. "The sole priority of the government is to keep itself in power,"
a Harare banker told me recently. "Economic fundamentals don't count except
where they contribute to that end. You must realise that the government does
not care if it ruins the country in pursuit of that. Most of those
politicians need to end their days in power. What else are they going to
Mugabe has shown no signs of slowing down in his bid for total
control. Right now his government has a raft of new laws in the pipeline
designed to strengthen its powers. Legislation to allow government control
of private schools is before parliament, as is a new law to allow all
productive farmland to be nationalised. It includes a clause barring any
court challenges to government land seizures, in contravention of the
country's bill of rights. State-controlled agricultural marketing boards are
said to be in the pipeline while price controls on certain goods remain,
accounting in part for serious shortages of basic commodities, and the
government controls the fuel price in the formal economy. The government
recently refused the reregistration of two independent newspapers, forcing
people to continue a daily diet of unmitigated propaganda.
negotiators need to understand that any mooted reforms, either in full or
piecemeal, are in direct contradiction to Zanu PF's strategy of total
control. In essence, they are asking Zimbabwe's government to destroy its
own carefully constructed edifice of comprehensive, centralised control.
Dropping treason charges against the leader of the opposition is a small
price to pay for a large loan. Even increasing the fuel price is do-able.
But asking for the government to rewrite the very constitution that props it
up against the tide of change is like asking the ruling party to commit
suicide. Pulling out the rule-of-law card, the revision-of-the-constitution
card, the talks-with-the opposition card or even the free-market card will
collapse the whole house of cards the president has put in place to entrench
his hold on power. Mugabe has long experience of a scorched-earth policy.
Compromising his power is not an option - further destroying the economy is.
There is every chance he will go for broke.
08/08/2005 10:16 HARARE (AFP) Mugabe hits out at 'hypocrites' who condemn
housing demolitions Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Monday lashed out
at critics who have condemned his demolition campaign, calling them
"hypocrites" and "long-distance philanthropists who romanticize
Addressing a Heroes Day ceremony commemorating those who died in
Zimbabwe's war for independence, Mugabe acknowledged that the "broad cleanup
campaign" launched in May "had created some difficulties" for families who
lost their homes.
"We acted decisively, but always mindful that the
achieved end was to accommodate displaced persons by providing them with
better shelter, which is what is happening now," he said at the ceremony
attended by some 8,000 people at the Heroes' Acre shrine outside
"Let those loud hypocrites who speak in defense of slums that
brutalize our people tell us what they have done for our people in the area
of housing ever since," said Mugabe.
"Let those long-distance
philanthropists, who want to romanticize shacks as settings and habitats for
human rights, tell us why they do not allow them in their own
Some 700,000 Zimbabweans have lost their homes and livelihoods in
the campaign and a further 2.4 million people have been affected, according
to a UN report released last month.
The report by UN envoy Anna
Tibaijuka said the demolitions had been "carried out in an indiscriminate
and unjustified manner, with indifference to human suffering."
said he had invited UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to Zimbabwe "so that he
can have an appreciation of what we are trying to do for our people in the
sphere of housing and informal business."
"That visit, if taken up, will
enable him to understand our situation better," he said.
said he is ready to travel to Zimbabwe but no date has been set for the
The Chinese certainly know a thing or two about managing
difficult individuals. They have had Mr. Mugabe in their midst since Saturday
and seem to have achieved all they set out to do. Treat him with dignity,
puff up his ego and send him away with a raft of empty promises which may or
may not have to be met in the future. But with North Korea on your southern
borders I guess you get pretty adept at entertaining nutty dictators. They
even laid on some computer equipment - no doubt heard about his campaign to
supply computers to schools.
This is very important because if the
Chinese had extended a massive aid programme to Zimbabwe it would have broken
the stranglehold that President Mbeki has over the regime in Harare and
allowed Mugabe breathing space with which to maneuver.
The ploy of
getting a local University to award him an honory professorship was one that
I would never have dreamt of. It was a perfect choice - free, no subsequent
obligations, easy to lay on and it pandered to the one area where Mugabe is
most vulnerable - his massive ego. An honory degree would not have been as
effective - he has several of those, declaring him a General in the Peoples
Liberation Army would have been an insult to the Chinese armed forces. No, a
professorship at an esteemed State controlled University with a carefully
tutored and assembled audience was a perfect choice.
He went on to
visit Malaysia to also request for economic assistance. They were even less
accommodating. China was always his best bet. By my reckoning he has
approached 5 countries, South Africa, China, India, Malaysia and Namibia.
Really there are no other likely takers - I am sure he would have canvassed
Libya during the AU summit in early July. I doubt if he would get a tent peg
out of that particular administration. So the Eastern world returned Mr.
Mugabe to his roost, shackled and bound by a crisis of his own making and at
the mercy of his African neighbors.
It has come to light that in fact the
Mugabe regime asked South Africa for a massive US$1,4 billion dollars in new
loan financing. No details on the hypothetical terms, which were also
offered. South Africa is the only country to respond so far and we understand
the offer is for a much smaller sum, extended as lines of credit with South
African institutions for supplies of various key basic commodities; no
When Mugabe came home last weekend, he did so empty handed, we were
then confronted with the same problem that faced the Chinese - although
with fewer options to play with. What do we face? Mugabe is an
81-year-old dictator who has ruled his country with an iron fist for 25
years. He has destroyed our economy and forced a third of our population into
economic exile. In the process he has been responsible for thousands of
murders, torture on a scale unusual for the 21st Century. He has undermined
the rule of law and abused the democratic principles that his 30-year
struggle for independence demanded from the white colonials.
We face a
man who dares not leave his post and remain in Zimbabwe. If he did so
eventually someone would take him to Court and seek redress. He might even
find himself in an international Court facing charges of human rights abuse
or worse. The specter of Saddam Hussein hiding in a hole in the ground to be
found by a US military patrol and arrested without any dignity is a real
fear, not only for Mugabe but many of his henchmen.
So how do we manage
this situation so as to achieve the desired outcome? I define the latter as a
peaceful, democratic transfer of power to whoever can win a genuine free and
fair election in Zimbabwe. Perhaps to this we would have to add today -
because of the scale and urgency of the economic and humatitarian crisis
facing Zimbabwe, that we need an immediate arrangement that would allow the
international community to come in and help an interim Zimbabwe
administration fix our most urgent problems.
The MDC road map has been in
place for over three years - it was put there when President Mbeki made his
first abortive attempt to get talks going - remember that? The actual talks
actually went a long way - far further than Mugabe ever wanted and when he
woke up to what was happening he stopped them. The road map has not changed
since then - an interim administration, new constitution and then fresh
elections under international supervision.
This time the question of how
we manage Mugabe is of even greater importance. The responsibility rests
mainly with the South African and perhaps the other SADC leaders, but it also
rests in part with those of us who live in Zimbabwe and are engaged in the
struggle to regain our democratic rights.
South Africa has the
advantage this time in that they know what sort of a man they are dealing
with. The duplicity, cunning, ruthlessness is all well documented. At the
same time they also know that the regime has run out of space in which to
maneuver. Mugabe has his back to the wall - great position for a firing
squad, bad for resistance motivation. So Mr. Mbeki will have to use both his
stick and a carrot to get cooperation. The stick to ensure that we do
actually go into negotiations and that the outcome is accepted and respected.
A carrot to give the old man some security about his own future. Reports
suggest that this has been taken into consideration.
A deal has been
negotiated and is now with the two Presidents - South Africa is being devious
about exactly what it has in mind but they have said "there is no point in
extending a loan facility to Zimbabwe if the underlying political and
economic problems are not addressed". In this respect they are absolutely
right - but to get that wily old man to the table and then to stick to any
agreement - that is another matter.
For us in Zimbabwe, we need to be
clear about what we want - Mr. Mbeki has stated repeatedly that our future is
in our hands, lets not blow it when the ball comes out of the ruck. Then we
need to be committed to making the outcome work for us in every way. To start
with by delivering some stability and the most basic needs of the majority of
our people. Then growth and a better standard of living for everyone, not
just a tiny minority who are well connected.
And when the time comes
to chose our new leaders, let look for men and women who will serve the
people and put their own interests last. People of integrity and vision,
people we can trust for our future. Leaders who are humble and well endowed
with simple old-fashioned common sense and compassion. Please Lord, let it be
From: Trudy Stevenson Sent: Tuesday, August 09, 2005 3:04 AM Subject:
Education Amendment Bill - Parliamentary Public Hearing Thursday 11 August 9
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Education, Sport and
Culture will hold a Public Hearing on the Education Amendment Bill
(concerning government controlling fees etc for private schools) this
Thursday 11 August at Parliament at 9 am. Use the Union Avenue entrance, if
possible bring a written submission and prepare to make a brief oral summary
- ie about 5 minutes. Give your name to the committee clerk when you arrive
if you wish to make a submission. The Bill is available in electronic form on
Editor Pleads Not Guilty to Charges of "Publishing
Media Institute of Southern Africa
PRESS RELEASE August 8, 2005 Posted to the web August 8,
On 3 August 2005, Willie Mponda, editor of the weekly community
newspaper "The Sun", pleaded not guilty to charges of publishing falsehoods
when his trial opened in Gweru, the capital of Zimbabwe's Midlands
Mponda, who is on ZWD $250,000 (approximately US$14) bail, is
being charged under Section 15 (1) (c) of the Public Order and Security Act
(POSA), which deals with the publication of false statements prejudicial to
The charges were filed following the publication of a story in
the newspaper's 10 June edition, alleging that a Gweru woman had committed
suicide after her two telephone shops had been destroyed by the police at
the height of a controversial clean-up campaign, Operation Restore Order, to
rid urban areas of illegal structures, street vendors and suspected
The state alleges that police did not destroy the woman's
shops and that no Gweru woman committed suicide as a result of the
The trial was adjourned to 11 August after the charges were
read to Mponda. If convicted, the editor risks five years in jail or a fine
of ZWD $100,000 (approximately US$6), or both imprisonment and a
For further information, contact Zoé
Titus, Programme Specialist, Media Freedom Monitoring, MISA, Private Bag
13386 Windhoek, Namibia, tel: +264 61 232 975, fax: +264 61 248 016, e-mail:
email@example.com, Internet: http://www.misa.org
Zimbabwe: International Book Fair A Dim
Affair Date: Monday, August 08 @ 18:48:34 BST Topic: Book Fair
Organisers and publishers were quite disappointed with the Zimbabwe
International Book Fair, which ended in Harare on saturday.
only 98 exhibitors (20 of them foreign) took part in this year's event
compared to last year's 150 exhibitors.
The Book Fair has played host to
some of the continent's leading writers in addition to the country's crop of
top international award-winning writers. But the majority of the visiting
guiding lights of African writing have decried Zimbabwe's human rights
record. They are now staying away in protest.
An event that over the
years has captured the world's attention and imagination for one of the 52
weeks of the year was this year reduced to a provincial activity.
GUEST EDITORIAL: Zealotry in Zimbabwe by Rev. Bernice
Powell Jackson August 8, 2005
Nearly three-quarters of a million
people in Zimbabwe have been rendered homeless as the government has
destroyed their small shanties in a program which the government has named
"Operation Restore Order," but which the people are calling Operation
Tsunami. By whatever name, this action by the Zimbabwe government of
President Robert Mugabe has been condemned by the United Nations in a recent
report, which has also demanded that compensation be paid to the
It is winter in Zimbabwe, which means that thousands of families
are left without homes to shiver in tents. In many instances, not only were
homes destroyed, but so were the markets and small businesses which support
many families. Moreover, the nation is facing a food shortage and oil is not
readily available to most Zimbabweans.
Share your thoughts
on this story on the ChicagoDefender.com message board.
Restore Order is the latest in a series of actions taken by the Mugabe
administration, which are leading much of the world outside Africa to turn
its back on this government. Other actions include the re-distribution of
much of the country's farmland, which Mr. Mugage attributed to the need to
end the last vestiges of colonialism. But it has meant that much of the
farmland, which had been able to produce food for the nation is now unable
to do so.
In addition, the status of the last national election is
questionable, with many outside observers raising concerns about the
fairness and openness of the election. Mr. Mugabe's political opponents have
long charged that their opposition has meant the harassment, beatings and
arrest of their leaders. In addition, many journalists have been imprisoned
or forced to leave the country. The United Nations report, written by
Anna Tibaijuka, the highest ranking African woman in the U.N., called these
latest actions under Operation Restore Order a "humanitarian crisis of
immense proportions" which leaves Zimbabwe in a "virtual state of
emergency." Yet, leaders of African nations seem unable or unwilling to
speak out against Mr. Mugabe's actions, calling it an "internal
Perhaps the biggest tragedy of the Zimbabwe debacle is that
Mugabe was a much respected liberation movement leader, revered in much of
Africa and often named with Nelson Mandela. His courage and wisdom guided
those fighting the apartheid government of Rhodesia and led them into the
new nation of Zimbabwe. I remember when many African Americans were buying
land and homes in the newly-freed Zimbabwe, inspired by Mugabe and his
Today, the economy and the nation of Zimbabwe are in
shambles. The bulldozing of tens of thousands of homes of the poorest of the
poor is one more testimony tovMugabe's zealotry and his willingness to do
anything to remain in power. It's a sad commentary.
people of Zimbabwe wait - wait for the world to intervene in the madness.
They are hungry - hungry for food and hungry for justice. Now, many of them
are also homeless. Tragically, many are also becoming hopeless. While they
Rev. Bernice Powell Jackson is the executive minister of the
Justice and Witness ministries of the United Church of Christ.
There is no clear information about whether
South Africa has now resolved to give Zimbabwe the US$1 Billion that Mugabe
has requested to pay off the IMF debt and help ease economic pressures on
the country. Reports coming from South Africa appear to indicate that
Thabo Mbeki's government has approved in principle extending credit
amounting to US$500 million to Mugabe's regime. What is not clear is how
much and on what conditions if any. But another question is whether this
money is coming directly from South Africa, or whether South Africa is a
proxy in an international plan to rescue Mugabe to enable him to pay his
debts. I have stated in the past that some unwritten policies of the
World Bank and IMF are based on the notion that if a person who owes you
money is on a death bed you will help the person to survive so he can
eventually pay back your loan. Many Third World countries have been
rescued from total collapse under this principle. When a country cannot pay
its debts, it is allowed to borrow more money to pay its debts but under
conditions for economic reforms ordered by the IMF and or the World Bank. It
is quite possible this principle may have been applied to Zimbabwe. A
collapsed Zimbabwe is not good news to the lenders. Key
industrialized countries like the United States and Britain have tried a
carrot -and- stick approach to try to resolve the Zimbabwean problem. The
carrot in this case would be a rescue package for Zimbabwe in the hope that
anything that will help improve the economy will encourage the
democratization process. However, the biggest problem according to a staffer
in the United States Congress is that Mugabe is one rabbit that does not eat
carrots. To this extent Mugabe has proved obnoxiously stubborn in any
efforts to encourage a dialogue between ZANUPF and the MDC. There
are reports that the loan from South Africa will be a carrot aimed at
getting Mugabe to meet with his political opponents. Reports indicate so far
that Mugabe has adamantly refused to have any talks with the MDC outside
Parliament. He was quoted as saying Mbeki can go to hell if he insists
on the talks with the MDC as precondition for the loan. Instead Mugabe
reportedly wants more destruction of people's property and homes. This is a
clear indication of where Mugabe's mind lies: more violence, more aggression
against the people of Zimbabwe and more destruction of the country.
The Zimbabwean economy is in a free fall. Just last week, the runaway
Zimbabwean dollar hit a new low with an exchange rate of US$1 being
equivalent to the black market rate of ZW$40,000, a plunge of 100 percent
from barely three weeks ago. The shortage of fuel has taken a bite. Two
weeks ago, passengers on an Air Zimbabwe flight from Harare to London said
the plane made an emergency landing in Uganda because it ran out of fuel.
The passengers said the plane had earlier been delayed in Harare for two
hours because officials were looking for fuel in the black market.
Inflation is rising steadily to the current 160 percent with estimates that
it will top 200 percent by the end of the year. The economy has shrunk
by about 40 percent. Unemployment continues to rise to more than 70
percent. Mugabe's attempts to bring the economy under ZANUPF control
have worsened the situation. As I said last week ZANUPF top bras are
consuming rather than productive elite. They have never created wealth in
their lives. They never will. They just do not have that mind, skill or
capacity to do so. This is why they, without shame, have to rely on seized
properties as well as looting the reserve Bank for foreign
currency. So what is Mugabe's basis for such stubborn resistance to
economic and political reforms? The answer lies in the fact that Mugabe and
his top cronies are living very comfortable lives. They have access to the
country's wealth which was created by someone else. Like Emperor
Nero when Rome burned Mugabe and his top cronies are playing fiddle. The
late Edison Zvobgo described once Mugabe as a madman who was given a baton
in a relay race to pass on to the next athlete. Instead, this madman,
according to Zvobgo, ran away with the stick into the bush and is still
running up to this day. The loan from South Africa is reportedly on
condition that Mugabe meets with the MDC to agree on a new Constitution for
Zimbabwe as well as fresh elections under conditions agreeable to all
parties in Zimbabwe. There had been talk of forging a government of
national unity. For a long time it was suspected that South Africa, Britain
and the United States were in agreement on bringing ZANUPF and MDC into a
coalition government pending new and fresh elections. That may well
be so. Historically the transition from colonial rule to independence in
many African countries has followed a pattern of a transitional government
of national unity. The question is: Can Mugabe be brought to meeting
with Tsvangirai as a condition for the loan he so badly needs? Is he in
position to refuse such conditions? Mugabe has so far repeatedly said Mbeki
can go to hell if he Mbeki thinks Mugabe will accept such conditions. But
more important, has Mbeki got the motive, intent and capacity to wield a
stick on Mugabe? So far Mbeki has reportedly given Mugabe one week to
respond to the conditions of the loan. What if the week passes and Mugabe
refuses? What then? Mbeki does not come through as one man who can
effectively wield a big stick on Mugabe. He is far too friendly and
respectful of Mugabe to do that. This brings us to the role of former
Mozambican's president Joaquim Chissano whom we understand has been
appointed the African Union's envoy to Harare. In the first place
not everyone is agreed that South Africa should give the loan to Zimbabwe
unless there are substantive changes in the country. MDC secretary general
Welshman Ncube reportedly felt that Mugabe cannot be trusted to engage in
meaningful talks because Mugabe has never been serious about such
talks. There is some truth to what Ncube has said. Mugabe has on a
number of occasions in the past five years agreed to talk only to change his
mind at the last minute. Neither is there any real hope that
Chissano could be any different from Mbeki in terms of effectively
persuading Mugabe to the conference table. Neither Mbeki nor Chissano can be
said to be honest brokers of their close and intimate relationship with
Mugabe. Mbeki has already distorted the reason for giving Mugabe the loan.
He said he was helping Zimbabwe to make up for the debt Zimbabwe inherited
at independence! Considering the fact that Zimbabwe has been free for
20 years it is difficult to accept or understand Mbeki's logic. This is what
makes people sceptical that Mbeki will in fact get tough on Mugabe. Mbeki
has a tendency to stretch the truth about what is happening in Zimbabwe. It
is plainly obvious that Mbeki cannot handle the truth when it comes to
Zimbabwe. To go back to my earlier question on what it will take to get
Mugabe to accept the terms of the loan he is being offered from South
Africa, if that indeed is true. International pressure must be
intensified on Mbeki. The South African highly industrialized economy is
dependent on investment capital and export earnings. It is therefore
vulnerable to the vicissitudes of the international economy. Unemployment in
South Africa is going up and the country carries an extra load of over three
million Zimbabweans. It is quite possible that economic pressure could
be brought to bear on Mbeki, especially if he is reminded of the civil
unrest that can be sparked by a crisis of rising expectations among young
mostly Black South Africans. It happened in the late 1980s and
early 1990 are when South Africa was unable to repay all its external debts
and had to negotiate a rescheduling of its indebtedness. It was this
economic factor that finally and decisively brought apartheid South Africa
to its knees. Earlier in the 1970s a similar situation led to apartheid
South African prime John Vorster bringing pressure to bear on Ian Smith who
not long before had said there would be no black majority rule in Rhodesia
in his lifetime. Under similar conditions it may well be possible
to get Mbeki to also act decisively on Mugabe. But Zimbabweans cannot raise
their hopes too high on Mbeki. Ultimately Zimbabweans will have to rely on
themselves to confront Mugabe. Zimbabwean civic society should never abandon
mass action. Many people tend to be discouraged when mass action fails. It
can take a while for the mass action to eventually succeed.
Whatever happens Mugabe's days are numbered. He is living on borrowed time.
He has nothing more to contribute to Zimbabwe. Anyone who thinks Mugabe can
be a positive force for progress or democratization is giving Mugabe credit
he does not deserve. Mugabe has abandoned Zimbabwe. He is in fact the
chairman of the top ZANUPF cronies not president of Zimbabwe. His mission
now is the survival of ZANUPF not Zimbabwe. If Mugabe were to be engaged in
talks with the MDC Mugabe would not be negotiating for the welfare of
Zimbabwe but that of ZANUPF. Zimbabwe under Mugabe is a classic case of
a failed state in which Zimbabweans have now been left to their own
People who go to Heroes Acre in the capital
to commemorate those who died in Zimbabwe's war of independence can almost
predict what Robert Mugabe will say on those occasions. It has been the same
rhetoric ever since a viable opposition emerged 5 years ago. Monday was no
Mugabe ranted against the MDC, Tony Blair and the West.
In 2004 his focus was the elections which he called the "Blair Elections".
This year it was the same old rhetoric: "The man who needs to be spoken to
in order to see reason resides at No. 10 Downing Street ... that's the man
to speak to. Those in Harvest House, Harare, are no more than his stooges
and puppets. We would rather speak to the principal who manipulates the
puppets." Our Harare Correspondent who watched the live commemorations on
television said the 81 year old dictator also put his stamp of approval and
support on the controversial clean up exercise "Operation Murambatsvina"
which was recently condemned as a "disastrous venture" by a United Nations
envoy. It also appeared, although he didn't mention names, that he was
snubbing Thabo Mbeki's so called conditions on the loan to Zimbabwe.
Observers say Mugabe's Heroes Day speech suggested that political conditions
South African deputy president claims press wrong on Zim loan
Violet Gonda and Tererai Karimakwenda 08 August
It can almost drive you crazy, the amount of
information that is being released by the media regarding Zimbabwe's request
for a loan from South Africa. Then there are those conflicting facts, all of
which are said to have come from "reliable" or "highly placed" sources. The
responsibility ultimately falls back on the officials who are negotiating
this deal, or not. They are playing games and failing to inform the very
people that they claim they wish to help - suffering Zimbabweans. So just
what do we know for sure?
According to Tim Hughes, a research
fellow at South Africa's Institute for International Affairs, South
Africa has agreed, in principle, to at least bail out Zimbabwe, with
the International Monetary Fund. Any further assistance is still under
The Foreign Editor of Independent Newspapers in
South Africa, Peter Fabricius, told us that there is no clarity on the loan
as the reported conditions are controversial and sensitive as they move into
areas of sovereignty. He believes this is why Mugabe's Heroes Day speech
suggested, without naming South Africa, that political conditions are
unacceptable. Fabricius said the other problem is that although there is a
certain grain of truth to the reports on the loan conditions, confusion has
been exacerbated by the South Africa government, which has been pursuing a
policy of quiet diplomacy and not saying much publicly. He also said the
Zimbabwe government is also notoriously unreliable when it comes to sticking
to any agreement, that is agreed in private.
All the other
information that has fuelled press reports (no pun intended here
Zimbabweans!) is simply speculation, rumours and hearsay. South African
deputy president Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka must have also become tired of it,
for she told the press Monday afternoon that they have the situation wrong.
She said an announcement would be coming imminently. Until then, we
hold our breath!
Last updated: 08/09/2005
01:41:14 THIS week I turn my eyes on one of the most controversial
issues that have affected South Africa in recent times. For the past few
weeks, a heated debated has been raging unabated like a forest fire across
the nation's social spectrum.
People from all walks of life
have been caught up in the debate over the possible implications of the
proposed Zimbabwean loan deal with South Africa.
record, perhaps it is trite for me to briefly discuss the key facts that
have emerged so far in the loan saga. These include the following, among
. Zimbabwe originally applied for a US$1 billion bail out
from the SA government
. The SA government has agreed in
principle to bail out the Zimbabwean government after some protracted secret
. An impasse has been reached in the loan deal due to
the SA government's demand for the inclusion of some political conditions in
. Reports in the media now suggest that the SA
government is now ready to release an amount of up to US$500 million,
subject to a compromise agreement on the several political conditions
included in the loan deal.
According to some weekend media reports,
the bail out issue is now almost a done deal. The reports insists that a
tentative agreement on a loan of between US$200 and 500 million including
about 100 million dollars to be paid to the International Monetary Fund
(IMF) was reached during talks in Pretoria last Thursday.
money is to be paid out over an 18-month period but not to the Zimbabwean
government. It will be channeled through the United Nations or church
The funds are to be used among other things to finance
purchases of fuel, seeds and fertilizer ahead of the planting
But Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe would have to agree
to create a new constitution which could lead to fresh elections, a fair
land reform programme, media freedom and a credible programme for economic
However South Africa is not specifically insisting on
Mugabe opening talks with the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
but rather emphasizing the need "to interact with all role players to ensure
economic and political stability", the source said.
Subsequently, it appears that the loan deal negotiations have had the
concomitant effect of raising the hopes and expectations of some Zimbabweans
both at home and abroad. These believe that somehow, the SA government will
be able to use the opportunity to help effect positive democratic reforms in
Zimbabwe. Such a scenario could thus lead to a breakthrough in the present
political crisis that has stagnated for over five years.
to be seen as one of those people who are keen to burst the bubble of
renewed optimism for a political breakthrough in Zimbabwe. However, I have
no alternative but to play the role of party spoiler in this matter.
Honestly, it would be unfair to presume that the SA government has at last
mustered the moral strength and goodwill to persuade the Harare regime to a
Surely it is clear that the ANC led
government has always valued its friendship with Zanu-PF regime above all
else. The precedent that has been set by the policy of 'quiet diplomacy' has
been that of underlining the need not to scupper that decades old
relationship between the two liberation movements. Put in other
words, it has always been easier for the SA government to define the broader
national interests of all Zimbabweans mainly in Zanu-PF terms. In essence,
the so-called 'policy of quiet diplomacy' has proved to be a liability to
the democratic hopes of many Zimbabweans.
Many of them have learnt
of how prepared the SA government is to sacrifice the nation's democratic
aspirations at the altar of political expedience for the benefit of Zanu-PF.
That fact has not been lost to Zanu-PF and hence the hard line stance
against any form of political compromise being part of the loan deal. Nobody
should fault the Zanu-PF hawks for feeling that they have the upper hand in
the whole negotiation process.
The reality we all have to face
as part of the forces of the pro-democracy movement in Zimbabwe is that the
SA government has never had the democratic interests of our country at
heart. As such, if push comes to shove, Pretoria might find it easier to
betray our hopes again than to scupper its valued close ties with Zanu-PF as
its erstwhile political partner.
Any gains that might be gained
from the current loan deal negotiations might only be relevant in so far as
to open up opportunities for us to consolidate some gains for our struggle.
Such gains will thus be at the very best, be accessory in
Ultimately as President Thabo Mbeki has always insisted,
the solutions of the crisis in Zimbabwe lies in the hands of its people.
Foreign interventions from countries like South Africa are only critical at
the level of supplementing our own efforts. Any attempts to place all our
hopes on the likes of SA are thus most unfortunate and regrettably will not
yield any serious democratic results.
We thus need to realize
that ultimately that the democratic hopes of our nation will continue to
remain in our political hands. We need to get more organized and galvanized
and come up with more innovative strategies on the way forward. We owe this
not to ourselves only but also to our posterity. History will judge us
harshly if we do not do something constructive to help our people realize
the dream of a new prosperous and democratic Zimbabwe. CONTACT
Daniel Molokele is a human rights lawyer based in Johannesburg. He has been
elected as the Interim Chairperson of the Zimbabwe CSO Forum (South African
chapter) National Committee. His column appears here every Monday
At least 36
Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) officers in the Beitbridge border town
and three in Harare have been arrested.
The suspects arrested so far are
facing various charges involving illegal foreign currency dealings, bribery
In a related development, the bail granted to four Zimra
officers arrested in Beitbridge in the ongoing clampdown - code-named
Operation Integrity - was withdrawn after a successful application by the
State as the revenue authority intensified investigations into corruption
that has rocked the organisation.
At the weekend, Silas Kimbini (44),
Norbert Siniwa (33), Adrian Mungate (age not given in court records) and
Francis Pawandiwa (age also not provided) had their bail revoked by a
Bulawayo-based regional magistrate Mr Clifford Foroma.
Mukwasi from the Attorney General's Office successfully applied for the
cancellation of the bail.
The four had initially been freed on bail
amounts ranging between $3 million and $5 million by the town's magistrate
Mrs Mercy Rukoni.
Mrs Rukoni and Mr Tarcicious Moyo, the prosecutor who
handled the bail case of the four, were recused from presiding over the
hearing of the State's application for the cancellation of the
The Secretary for Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Mr
David Mangota, would not be drawn into comment as he asked this reporter to
fax questions regarding the circumstances under which the bail for the four
was cancelled, and the recusal of the two judicial officers from hearing the
application for the withdrawal of the bail.
Efforts to get comment
from the AG's Office also yielded nothing.
Under the anti-corruption
campaign, Zimra has recovered a total of 28 luxury cars belonging to its
staffers in the border town, which have been impounded pending
investigations into the 36 officers.
A total of about R40 000, US$2 300
and 500 Botswana pula was recovered from the arrested officers.
statement, Zimra said the officers were under investigations after a
thorough search at their residences resulted in the discovery of some
incriminating property ranging from foreign currency, imported luxury
vehicles to pornographic materials.
". . . some pornographic
materials in the form of video tapes and magazines, and DVDs, home theatres,
colour television sets and computers are being held as exhibits," said
"The recovered property was imported using foreign currency whose
source the officers are failing to explain, indicating a serious possibility
of externalisation, corruption and illegal dealings through receiving
The officers were arrested by a special operation team drawn
from the Criminal Investigation Department, Special Investigations and
Support Unit of the police from Harare in conjunction with a Zimra team from
the Loss Control Division.
It is being alleged that the Zimra
officers facilitating smuggling of goods into the country, were demanding
bribes from clients and conniving with clearing agents to avoid payment of
They are facing charges such as externalisation since they were
allegedly given foreign currency in cash and bought the vehicles outside
Zimbabwe instead of submitting the money to the Reserve Bank of
They are also facing charges for borrowing money in a foreign
land without the authority of the central bank.
The officers, it is
further alleged, failed to make true declarations on some vehicles in the
case of those who lied that the vehicles belonged to friends based in South
Africa whereas when they were brought, the officers used their names when
The officers would also be charged with
money-laundering since these vehicles are proceeds of ill-gotten money and
that could be proven by the fact that the alleged culprits could not give
information on where they got the money to buy the cars.
Of the 36
arrested in Beitbridge, six appeared in court last Thursday pleading guilty
to the charges against them and were remanded in custody to Thursday this
week for sentence.
Since the six have tendered a plea of guilt, it is
likely that Zimra's application for the forfeiture of their vehicles would
succeed as part of restitution.
In Harare, a credit card scam where
Zimra officers fiddled with the credit card duty payment system was
unearthed at the Harare International Airport, resulting in the arrest of
two officers last month. Investigations are continuing.
allegedly defrauded Zimra of millions of dollars in revenue.
officer was arrested last Tuesday at the airport on allegations of
involvement in a smuggling ring in which he facilitated the smuggling into
the country of computer cartridges worth millions of dollars.
said the ongoing operation was driven by the organisation's zero tolerance
to corruption and its commitment to safeguard revenue and its
"Clients are urged to report any unethical behaviour to
the station managers. Alternatively, they can call our whistleblower hotline
on 04-724709 and confidentially report what they know," said
It said 10 percent of the proceeds discovered is offered as a
reward if information leads to recovery.
Zimra said Operation
Integrity was proving effective in stemming the rampant rot brought about by
The operation would be spread to other stations around