|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Copyright © 2003, Dow Jones Newswires
(AP)--The government has repossessed about 400 farms
from black owners who occupied more than one property seized from white
farmers under a controversial land redistribution program, the state-run
Herald newspaper reported Wednesday.
The farms, covering at least 200,000 hectares, would be redistributed
to people still waiting for land, the paper said, citing John Nkomo,
minister of special affairs in President Robert Mugabe's office. The paper
didn't identify the farms or their owners.
Officials couldn't immediately be reached for comment.
Mugabe's government has confiscated more than 5,000 white-owned farms
for redistribution to impoverished blacks since 2000.
However, many prime properties have gone to government ministers, top
ruling party officials, military officers and their cronies.
Some ministers and ruling party officials have acquired more than one
farm, despite a government promise to enforce a "one man one farm" policy.
The often-violent seizures, along with erratic rains, have crippled
the agriculture-based economy and helped plunge the nation into its worst
political and economic crisis since 1980.
Mugabe says the land reform program is an effort to correct colonial
era imbalances that gave much of the country's most productive land to the
descendants of U.K., South African and other white settlers.
Critics say Mugabe, who lead Zimbabwe to independence from the U.K. in
1980, has used the program to shore up flagging support in the face of
burgeoning political opposition.
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
December 31, 2003 08:58 ET (13:58 GMT)
Zimbabwe: Yearender - Chronology of an Unremitting Crisis
Integrated Regional Information Networks
December 31, 2003
Posted to the web December 31, 2003
If last year Zimbabweans thought life could not get any tougher, 2003
disabused them of that faint hope.
Ordinary people struggled to cope through interlinked humanitarian, economic
and political crises that provided no let up, deepening their poverty and
Record levels of inflation daily eroded people's ability to provide for
their families, while under funded public services -including the once
impressive health and education systems - fell into even faster decline.
Humanitarian agencies warn that more than six million Zimbabweans - over
half the population - will again be in need of food aid by early 2004,
allegedly as a result of the impact of fast-track land reform, HIV/AIDS, the
government's economic policies and the lack of crucial farm inputs.
The following is a chronology of events of 2003.
15 January - Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan
Tsvangirai says that he was approached with a deal from the ruling party
that includes a safe exit for President Robert Mugabe and a national unity
government to lead Zimbabwe out of its political and economic crisis.
23 January - UN Special Envoy for Humanitarian Needs in Southern Africa,
James Morris, visits Zimbabwe to review responses to the humanitarian
disaster. He reiterates the impact of HIV/AIDS and says government policies
over land redistribution and the monopoly of the Grain Marketing Board (GMB)
have also contributed to the crisis.
31 January - NGOs and humanitarian agencies highlight the need to include
displaced farm workers in emergency relief programmes. They also point out
the need to include urban areas in nutrition assessments.
3 February - Tsvangirai's treason trial commences. He is accused, along with
two other MDC leaders, of plotting to assassinate Mugabe.
12 February - The UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation says it will
provide 340,000 vaccines for foot-and-mouth disease as part of efforts to
control the spread of the epidemic which has dealt a severe blow to the
country's livestock industry.
18 February - The government launches its National Economic Revival
Programme, which seeks to promote economic growth through home-grown
19 February - Dato' Param Cumaraswamy, the UN Special Rapporteur on the
independence of judges and lawyers, expresses his "grave concern" over the
arrest of sitting judge Benjamin Paradza.
25 February - The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) says food
aid to Zimbabwe needs to be extended for another year with urgent steps
taken to protect people from the consequences of yet another poor harvest.
20 March - The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) organises a two-day
stayaway in protest against the government's alleged disregard for labour
rights. Demonstrations are illegal in Zimbabwe without police clearance.
6 March - Tropical cyclone Japhet hits Zimbabwe severely destroying crops
10 March - Zimbabwe's first urban feeding programme opens in the country's
second city, Bulawayo.
20 March - MDC gives government until 31 March to meet a list of demands or
"face popular mass action to regain the people's liberties, freedoms and
dignity". The protest action is delayed until 2 June.
24 March - US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher urges that
government to end what he describes as a campaign of "violent repression"
against domestic opponents.
26 March - Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon's announces that
Zimbabwe's suspension from the 54-member body remains in force, to be
reviewed at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Nigeria
30 March - MDC wins by-elections in the Harare seats of Highfield and
4 April - A ministerial meeting in Harare of the Southern African
Development Community defence and security organ sets up a task force to
investigate allegations of human rights abuse.
10 April - The UN's Relief and Recovery Unit (RRU) warns that the food
security situation in the southern province of Matabeleland South is
18 April - Mugabe hints at the possibility of retiring before his term ends
in 2008. "We are getting to a stage where we shall say fine, we settled this
matter [land redistribution] and people can retire," he is quoted as saying.
23 April - Police arrest eight trade union leaders on the first day of a
three-day strike called to protest fuel price increases and hyper-inflation.
The stayaway is orchestrated by the ZCTU with the support of MDC.
25 April - Human Rights Watch criticises the lack of action by the UN office
of the High Commissioner for Human Rights regarding alleged abuses in
29 April - The Zimbabwe government denies reports that Mugabe is preparing
an exit plan for himself, saying the reports are "at best wishful".
2 May - Australia closes the offices of its overseas aid programme
Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) following
Canberra's decision in 2002 to impose smart sanctions on Zimbabwe. AusAID
moves its operations to Pretoria, South Africa.
3 May - Amnesty International (AI) launches a report entitled "Zimbabwe:
Rights Under Siege" to mark World Press Freedom Day. AI says the government
had introduced and selectively used legislation as a vehicle for committing
"widespread human rights violations" with impunity.
5 May - South African President Thabo Mbeki, Nigerian President Olusegun
Obasanjo and Malawi President Bakili Muluzi hold closed-door talks with
Mugabe, followed by a meeting with Tsvangirai, in a bid to "contribute to
the resolution of the problems" facing the country.
12 May - Forty-six women are arrested and detained during a Mother's Day
march. The march is organised by Women of Zimbabwe Arise to protest violence
and torture and to demand fairer food prices.
15 May - Mugabe establishes a Presidential Land Review Committee to examine
the implementation of land redistribution. Former secretary to the cabinet,
Charles Utete, heads the committee.
29 May - The Zimbabwe Defence Force warns MDC that it will not be "an idle
observer" during protests planned for June.
29 May - Mugabe calls for open debate over his succession within the ruling
2 June - The first day of a planned week of anti-government protests dubbed
the "final push" starts with a swoop on the MDC leadership by the police.
Tsvangirai is arrested on contempt of court charges for allegedly defying a
court order to call off the stayaway. The mass action is partly successful.
6 June - Tsvangirai is again arrested and charged with treason, this time
for remarks made in 2002 in which he allegedly called for Mugabe's removal
by force. The security forces clampdown on the last day of the MDC's
9 June - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) suspends Zimbabwe's voting
and related rights over the government's economic policies.
11 June - Parliament passes two controversial media bills - the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Amendment Act (AIPPA) and the
Broadcasting Services Amendment Act.
20 June - Tsvangirai is awarded bail and freed after two weeks in custody.
26 June - Mugabe jets off to Libya to pursue discussions about fuel supplies
in the wake of countrywide shortages.
9 July - MDC denies there had been a resumption of talks between itself and
the government. Talks between the two parties were aborted in April 2002
when the MDC refused to withdraw its court action over the presidential
29 July - UN launches a Consolidated Appeal for Zimbabwe, requesting US $114
million to help feed 5.5 million people.
30 July - Mugabe orders ruling party officials with multiple farms to
relinquish all but one within two weeks.
22 August - Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa announces a supplementary
budget of Zim $700 billion (about US $850 million) to resuscitate the
country's ailing economy.
25 August - The government gives an assurance that the World Food Programme
(WFP) will remain in control of humanitarian food distribution, despite a
controversial new policy directive that stipulates local government
officials and traditional leaders will be responsible for both beneficiary
registration and distribution.
27 August - Energy and Power Development Minister Amos Midzi deregulates the
procurement of petroleum products.
1 September - MDC consolidates its grip in urban areas after winning the
majority of executive mayoral posts and local council elections. In two key
parliamentary by-elections, the MDC wins Harare Central in the capital,
while ZANU-PF takes the rural constituency of Makonde.
2 September - The government requests that the UN's RRU closes its
provincial field offices, which coordinate and monitor the use of
donor-funded humanitarian aid.
11 September - The anti-government privately-owned Daily News and its sister
newspaper the Daily News on Sunday, are shut down by the police for
operating without a license after the Supreme Court rejects an appeal by the
papers' publishers challenging AIPPA.
18 September - The Daily News wins a court victory allowing it to resume
publishing, after police twice raid its offices and confiscate equipment.
The court rules that sections of AIPPA under which the paper is banned are
20 September - Vice-President Simon Muzenda dies. The veteran nationalist
was aged 80
25 September - Government and WFP sign a Memorandum of Understanding
reaffirming that WFP food aid will be distributed on the basis of need
alone, and that WFP can operate as before with food aid distributed by NGO
9 October - Police swoop on ZCTU activists gathered in the capital to
protest high taxes and soaring inflation.
16 October - The Commonwealth's Don McKinnon reiterates the call for
Zimbabwe's ruling party to negotiate with its political rivals. He says
"dialogue and national reconciliation" are necessary before the country can
22 October - Members of the pro-democracy National Constitutional Assembly
gather in Harare's city centre to lobby for a new constitution. They are
arrested and detained overnight.
23 October - State hospital doctors go on strike. Doctors who earn between
Zim $263,305 and Zim $807,735 per month (about US $330 and US $1,000 at the
official rate, US $48 and US $147 at parallel market rates) want their
salaries hiked by 8,000 percent. Nurses also say they will not return to
work until the government responds to their pay proposals from last year.
24 October - Human Rights Watch releases a 51-page report "Not eligible: The
Politicisation of Food in Zimbabwe" alleging that MDC supporters are
sidelined by ZANU-PF officials and village headmen during the distribution
of GMB food.
24 October - The Administrative Court gives the government-appointed Media
and Information Commission until 30 November to register the Daily News, or
the court would deem it to have been registered.
25 October - The Daily News returns to the streets with an eight-page
edition headlined "We're back!". Police shut down the paper and issue
warrants of arrest for the directors.
27 October - The chief executive and three directors of the Daily News turn
themselves into the police and are charged for publishing without a license.
31 October - The government forms a special taskforce of nine cabinet
ministers to clamp down on the foreign exchange black market.
4 November - The High Court reserves judgment on the petition by the MDC to
have the results of the March 2002 presidential elections annulled.
6 November - The presidential land review committee says the "fast-track"
agrarian reform programme has redistributed far less land than has been
claimed in a process dogged by administrative shortcomings and interference
17 November - The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) reports a total of 173 cholera
cases in Kariba (Mashonaland West) and Binga (Matabeleland North) with 26
A Save the Children-UK (SCUK) survey of households in the northwestern
Zvimba district indicate that newly resettled communal farmers and former
commercial farm workers are in desperate need of humanitarian aid.
18 November - More than 50 labour and pro-democracy activists are arrested
as they assemble to protest alleged rights abuses and price hikes.
19 November - The UN launches an update of its Zimbabwe appeal, urging
donors to provide the outstanding amount of US $109 out of the original
appeal of US $114 million.
25 November - Nigerian President Obasanjo tells journalists that Mugabe will
not attend the December CHOGM in Abuja.
25 November - Nurses join doctors in another strike for higher wages,
deepening the crisis of the public health system. Public hospitals in Harare
and Bulawayo are forced to close wards.
1 December - ZANU-PF's Ishmael Mutema wins Kadoma central by-election. The
constituency fell vacant following the death of Austin Mpandawana of the
3 December - Cholera outbreaks claim the lives of about 40 people. SCUK
warns that if the disease spreads to urban and former commercial farm areas
it could be disastrous.
4 December - The IMF initiates procedures to expel Zimbabwe over the
country's failure to meet its debt obligations.
5 December - ZANU-PF holds its annual conference in the southern city of
Masvingo, but rules out any debate on the issue of a successor to Mugabe.
7 December - Zimbabwe pulls out of the Commonwealth after the organisation
indefinitely extends the country's suspension. It was originally suspended
over its governance record and the controversial presidential elections.
11 December - FEWS NET reports that the number of Zimbabweans needing food
aid next year is expected to rise to over 6 million, beyond the original
estimate of 5.5 million.
12 December - UNICEF warns that Zimbabwe's humanitarian and economic crises
could dramatically reverse its impressive post-independence education gains.
18 December - Mbeki arrives in Zimbabwe for talks with Mugabe on the
country's political and economic crisis. He also meets briefly with
19 December - The Daily News wins a court decision allowing it to publish
pending a Supreme Court hearing.
21 December - MDC's national conference calls for talks with ZANU-PF to
agree a transitional constitution that would establish conditions for free
and fair elections. Tsvangirai warns that mass action could be used to force
the party to the negotiating table.
22 December - Lack of donor funding forces WFP to halve its December cereal
ration to more than 2.6 million hungry Zimbabweans.
30 December - The government announces that 200,000 hectares of land (about
400 farms) have been recovered from multiple farm owners by the Presidential
Land Implementation Committee, which was set up to implement the
recommendations of the Presidential Land Review Committee.
Ex-Premier's Daughter Loses Zimbabwe Passport Battle
Veteran human rights activist Judith
Todd accused President Robert
Mugabe’s government today of stripping the rights of foreign descendants,
saying she had lost a long battle with authorities to obtain a Zimbabwe
Todd, the Zimbabwe-born daughter of former prime minister Garfield
Todd, has clashed repeatedly with Mugabe’s government over its human rights
and democracy record.
In 2002, Todd won a prolonged court battle for a one-year temporary
passport to attend a memorial service for her father in London.
But Zimbabwean officials have refused to renew the passport, arguing
she is a citizen of New Zealand, where her father was born. Todd says she
never took up New Zealand citizenship.
Having exhausted legal avenues in Zimbabwe, Todd said she was now
reluctantly claiming New Zealand citizenship so she could obtain a passport
to travel for business and political purposes.
About two million Zimbabweans, mostly descendants of migrants from
neighbouring countries, are in a similar situation, she said.
She accused authorities of being “intent on wiping out the citizenship
and voting rights of any Zimbabwean of whatever colour or background thought
to be against the ruling party”.
Mugabe has accused white Zimbabweans and “totemless aliens” of being
at the core of opposition to his 23-year rule.
Mugabe’s government has clamped down on dissent, arresting opposition
leaders and shutting down the country’s only independent daily newspaper,
The Daily News, of which Todd is a shareholder.
“Frankly, I am worried not only about my own well being, but about
every person who is living in this country,” Todd said. “I think the next
year will probably see an unleashing of viciousness that we haven’t yet
Garfield Todd, the former prime minister of Southern Rhodesia, as
Zimbabwe was then known, led a reformist government from 1953 to 1958. He
and his daughter were outspoken supporters of Zimbabwe’s independence, and
both were detained under the reactionary rule of Ian Smith.
From: Judith Todd
Date: Wed Dec 31, 2003 12:54:30 p.m Africa/Harare
Subject: The calculated theft of our birth rights
My dear friends,
You will find attached an update on my present status regarding
citizenship and a passport.
With my best regards to you and hope for the salvation of Zimbabwe from
the perilous evil of the present -
31 December 2003
This letter is for general information and there is no copyright.
30th December 2003
THE CALCULATED THEFT OF OUR BIRTH RIGHTS
from Judith Todd
I was born in Zimbabwe in 1943. In 2001 Zimbabwe's Registrar-General of
Citizenship, Tobaiwa Mudede, refused to renew my passport. Along with his
master and fellow Zezuru tribesman, Robert Mugabe, Mudede was intent on
wiping out the citizenship and voting rights of any Zimbabwean of whatever
colour or background thought to be against the ruling party, ZANU PF. It
is estimated that this has affected a minimum of 2 million Zimbabweans, and
perhaps even as much as 25% of our population.
My late father Garfield Todd was one of the first affected. Stripped of
his citizenship by Mugabe/Mudede just before our last Presidential
elections in March 2002 his name was put on the special list supplied to
all polling stations of those NOT ALLOWED TO VOTE, even if they had been
citizens for decades, even if, like him, they had been a Prime Minister and
a Senator, and even if their names were still on the current voters' roll.
In May 2002 our High Court ordered Mudede to treat me as a citizen by birth
of Zimbabwe and to renew my Zimbabwe passport. Instead he appealed against
the High Court ruling to the Supreme Court which, like the voters' rolls
and citizenship records, was being cleansed. He reluctantly issued a
temporary passport of one year's duration in which he pre-empted any
judgment by the Supreme Court by declaring that I was a permanent resident
of Zimbabwe, thus not a citizen.
On 27 February 2003 in an agonisingly confused and confusing judgment the
Supreme Court found that I was a citizen of both New Zealand and Zimbabwe
and concluded: "For the avoidance of doubt, the respondent has two days,
from the handing down of this judgment, within which to renounce her New
Zealand citizenship in accordance with the New Zealand Citizenship Act. In
the event of her failure to do so, she will lose her Zimbabwean citizenship
by operation of the law." I managed to do what was ordered, painfully
participating in what I knew to be a charade.
The New Zealand authorities subsequently responded by saying that they had
received my application on 28 February 2003 for renunciation of citizenship
but that this application could not be processed as I had never laid claim
to New Zealand citizenship. In other words, they could not help me to
renounce what I did not have.
My temporary passport expired in July 2003 and I was stranded in Bulawayo
with no citizenship and no travel documents. My lawyers took the matter,
and now the response of New Zealand, to the Minister, Deputy Minister and
Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Home Affairs on the grounds that
obviously the Supreme Court had erred in finding that I was a citizen of
New Zealand. My lawyers were then given the impression that there had been
a conference of all those officials on this matter and that Mudede had been
instructed by his superiors to recognise my citizenship of Zimbabwe and to
issue a passport to me forthwith. If so, Mudede treated his superiors with
contempt - as he routinely does the Courts of Zimbabwe - and totally
ignored their instructions.
Instead, he turned to his personal lawyer, Simplisius Chihambakwe, who has
had the final say, for now. The Supreme Court had told me to do something
which I had done, and it did not mention any consequences of success or
failure. But Chihambakwe, on behalf of his client Mudede, has written my
lawyers to state that as far as they are concerned the matter of my
citizenship/passport ended at the Supreme Court and any problems arising
thereafter, such as me not having any New Zealand citizenship to renounce,
are not their concern.
So at length I have turned to New Zealand, applied for citizenship and a
passport and received this thoughtful and generous response from Gary
Basham, Acting Manager of Citizenship, Department of Internal Affairs.
"This has obviously been a difficult decision for you to make ...... we
are strongly aware of the importance of citizenship and what it means to
those who are faced with surrendering their current citizenship, or indeed
for those who are currently stateless. I hope that, registering your status
as a New Zealand citizen and receiving a New Zealand passport will provide
you with the security you are currently lacking, and provide you with a
sense of attachment to New Zealand."
This letter is simply an update for everyone but I do also want to take
this opportunity to express my profound gratitude to all concerned with
Zimbabwe's Test Case Committee and especially to Eileen Sawyer, Bryant
Elliot, David Coltart, Washington Sansole for fighting so hard and
fearlessly on my behalf and for so many others. Thank you!
My New Zealand passport should arrive by courier on 31 December and then I
shall take it to the appropriate Government department to have stamped in
it that I am a permanent resident of Zimbabwe. This means that when I
travel I won't have to apply for a visa to come back home. Then, all being
well, I shall fly to Capetown on the afternoon of 31 December where you
will find me at this same email address or C/O Malcolm King, P. O. Box
27206 Rhine Road 8050, Sea Point, Capetown for a few weeks or months.
With best wishes to all my friends for 2004 - Judith Todd
always had a nagging feeling that for all their propensity to
liberal values and civilised norms, these people are dirty. In fact, they
are filthy and recklessly uncouth and actually barbaric" - Information
Minister Jonathan Moyo, after his shopping spree in South Africa was exposed
very sorry for the staff of the Daily News" - Information Minister
Jonathan Moyo, after refusing The Daily News a publishing licence
"We are not going to be going around the African continent removing
governments." - SA President Thabo Mbeki
"My brother, comrade Mugabe, and his Zanu PF
must realise the world is
changing in the direction of democracy. Laws that don't benefit the people
should be scrapped" - Malawi’s Bakili Muluzi in December before CHOGM
"If leaders on the continent do not do more to convince President Robert
Mugabe to respect the rule of law and enter into a dialogue with the
political opposition, he and his cronies will drag Zimbabwe down until there
is nothing left to ruin" - United States Secretary of State Colin Powell
"There are others who are apologetic about our
nationalism….those who fear
to be complete Africans, hesitate to express solidarity with us" - Robert
Mugabe, after a lack of support for him at CHOGM
"I am sad that we South Africans declared that the last elections in
Zimbabwe, though not free were yet legitimate. That is distressing semantic
games" - Archbishop Desmond Tutu
"My heart simply bleeds for my country" - Archbishop Pius Ncube
Hunger stalks Zimbabwe as crisis worsens
By John Reed
Published: December 31 2003 4:00 | Last Updated: December 31 2003 4:00
Zimbabwe's hungry season has arrived with this month's onset of fitful
In Bimha, a village about
140km south of Harare, rural dwellers clad
in their Sunday best unloaded sacks of European Union-donated maize next to
a shop front advertising coffins for sale.
The United Nations World Food Programme, which co-ordinated the
distribution, gives priority to groups such as the terminally ill,
single-parent families and what it calls "child-headed households" - minors
orphaned by HIV/Aids who are raising their siblings.
Lois, a 10-year-old with her six-year-old sister in tow, was among the
people collecting rations in Bimha this month. Her father died in 2000 and
her mother this year, bequeathing the girls a vegetable garden from which
they eke sustenance.
The WFP is targeting 4m of the most vulnerable Zimbabweans for food
aid, but estimates that up to 5.5m need help. The C-Safe consortium,
grouping the Care, Catholic Relief Services and World Vision charities, is
feeding another 400,000 people, but will increase numbers in the months
preceding the southern hemisphere's harvest.
Zimbabwe's plight is not unusual for Africa, where the WFP also runs
large feeding programmes in Ethiopia and Angola. But it marks a sharp
setback for a country that once boasted some of the continent's best social
services and grew enough crops in most years to feed its neighbours.
Now it is feeding up to 45 per cent of the 12m population at some
point of the year, compared with about 20 per cent of Ethiopia's 66m people.
Angela Tseriwa, queuing for rations, recalled her region's bumper harvests
of pumpkins and cereals in years past. "We never thought this would be
happening," she said.
President Robert Mugabe has blamed the food crisis on drought. Three
years of poor rainfall in southern Africa have taken a heavy toll on
Zimbabwe and its neighbours, with this year's harvest 85 per cent below
normal in Bimha's district of Chikomba.
Yet whereas food production is rebounding in countries such as Zambia,
Zimbabwe's shortages are worsening. The state's Grain Marketing Board, once
an important artery for food distribution, is nearly bankrupt because of
Zimbabwe's economic crisis, making maize scarce and expensive.
The government's land reform programme, under which more than 4,000
commercial farms have been seized since 2000, has contributed to the
collapse in food production.
Despite government pledges to assist them, many of those settled on
the land lack the seed, machinery, draught animals or knowhow to grow crops.
Hunger is spreading to urban areas, with poor city dwellers cutting
meat from their diets and reducing from three meals a day to two or one.
Compounding the problems caused by government policies, illnesses related to
HIV/Aids - the infection rate is an estimated one in three adults - kill
about 3,000 Zimbabweans a week.
The disease has put thousands of rural orphans in relatives' care and
rendered some farmers too weak to work. Clophas Mahaingahawe, a chronically
ill farmer collecting food rations in Bimha, said he was "not energetic
enough" to plant or plough, and missed last year's harvest.
In Zimbabwe, the WFP gives adults corn-soya blend because it is
nutritious and easily digested by sick people. But the WFP has had to halve
its monthly allotments of maize from 10kg to 5kg per head this month due to
a shortfall in donations.
Donors led by the US and the European Commission's EuropeAid have
pledged $98.7m (€79m, £55.6m) for Zimbabwe this year, or half the $197m the
WFP is seeking. One UN official, requesting anonymity, warns of a "major
pipeline break" for food aid next year if donations do not resume.
Foreign countries' fatigue with Zimbabwe's worsening political
crisis - and its impact on the food supply - may be to blame. In September
the government issued a directive on non-government organisations that gave
local councillors a leading role in deciding who would get food aid. The UN
and NGOs later negotiated a memo of understanding with the state which they
claim precludes political interference in food distribution.
But aid officials privately acknowledge that the incident, coupled
with Zimbabwe's seemingly intractable political stalemate, may have deterred
some donors. "This is a government-made crisis, and [Mugabe's] recalcitrance
is not endearing him to the international community," said one.
Break the silence
Jonathan Katzenellenbogen has written an excellent piece, Time is
running out for SA's quiet diplomacy (December 29). He reports the "intense
displeasure" of South African churches and trade unions over SA's policy of
quiet diplomacy towards Zimbabwe.
He points out that, "Quiet diplomacy has widened Mugabe's options to
say no to talks, no to early retirement, and no to an early election".
Mugabe will try and stick around till the end of his term, still five
years away in 2008, hoping to ensure that his successor can win an election.
SA, a democracy, must make clear that no political party, not even Zanu
(PF), has a "liberation" right to rule forever.
Mbeki's quiet diplomacy has been silent as far as Zimbabweans and
South Africans are concerned since it has denied open information to those
most hurt and interested in a democratic solution. It has caused great
unease about Mbeki's real values.
The crucial issue now is that quiet diplomacy does not lead to the
privilege that Mugabe, heading an illegal regime, can name the date when he
goes and when Zanu (PF) feels ready to fight an election. Mugabe must go now
and the constitutional requirement that a presidential election follow
within three months must be enforced. The danger is that SA is being drawn,
through its ineptitude over Zimbabwe, into a blatant interference in
Zimbabwe's affairs, granting Mugabe a privileged election.
When Mugabe first failed to keep promises made to Mbeki, some three
years ago, Mbeki did nothing.
Every parent knows better. When a child fails to undertake an
agreement or keep a family rule, you re draw that line as openly as possible
and add clearly stated sanctions if there is any further transgression.
Moreover, one goes back publicly to the initial promises and demands
that they be undertaken.
After causing what experts have called "genocide" within SA over
HIV/AIDS, Mbeki's inability to deal with Mugabe does call into question his
fitness to lead the country.
Dr Norman Reynolds
Dec 31 2003 06:41:31:000AM Business Day 1st Edition
31 December 2003
After 2003 trust politicians at your peril
OPINION: HOW many politicians do you know?
Real politicians, men,
women who make their living from politics -national or local?
Politics is not a profession, although one dictionary describes it as
"science and art of government".
The same dictionary concedes that "politics is a dirty business" is a
common reference to this so-called art.
You have never heard people say, routinely, that "journalism is a
dirty business" - tough, yes, but dirty?
There are other people who prefer to call politics "the oldest
profession", relegating prostitution to "the second oldest profession".
So, which came first here - the chicken or the egg and which the
chicken, which the egg?
While you mull over that conundrum, let us accept that the art of
government would not be much of an art if it were not loaded with
politicians, which many people might say is the tragedy of it all.
If the art of government consisted of priests, nuns and monks and
other such sworn celibates, there would not be so much dirt in it, would
Unfortunately for humankind, we are stuck with politicians in the art
of government. I some times wonder if Picasso or Michaelangelo would have
called politics an art.
I also wonder if the Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni, decided on
his "movement" kind of politics because he was disgusted with politicians
not to ever think of them as artists or artistes.
Perhaps he himself did not start off as a politician.
So, what creatures inhabit his weird, controversial and suspiciously
autocratic system of government without political parties and hence without
My theory is that Museveni is having trouble with the Lord's
Resistance Army in a part of his country because even they cannot accept
that their country is being run by strange, political eunuchs who still
steal public funds with the same impunity as politicians in other countries
But to know a politician can be quite a challenge. Do you know them
enough to vote for them on the basis of their honesty and integrity? Or only
on the basis of their ethnic affinity with you? Or on the basis of their
good works in the past?
Zimbabweans must be in something of a quandary as they contemplate
their political future, as presumably to be decided in the next general
election in 2005.
In 2003, they put up with shortages of everything. They put up with
the arrogance of Zanu PF, a party which kept telling them everything was
fine as long as they believed in the land reform programme.
One poilitician, a former member of academe, Jonathan Moyo, was booed
when he made snide references to The Daily News management. His audience of
young people did not believe he meant the remark as a joke, but they laughed
at him for saying what he did.
If he thought they were laughing with him, rather than at him, then
there is a tragedy brewing here.
But the impunity with which the ruling party illustrated its arrogance
was sometimes quite breath-taking.
Enoch Kamushinda, for instance, was paraded on public television as an
example of an indigenous tobacco farmer doing as well as any of the white
farmers kicked off their properties in the murderous campaign of 2000.
Kamushinda owns a commercial bank, is a real estate baron and is
connected with the government-owned Zimbabwe Newspapers (1980) Limited media
If the naive among us believe that all this is totally unrelated to
his success as a tobacco farmer, then we must be the same people who believe
that Philip Chiyangwa's spectacular rise in business owes little or nothing
to his political career in Zanu PF.
Or that Gideon Gono, the new governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe,
would still have reached this pinnacle of success in the cut-throat world of
banking even if he never flown anywhere with President Robert Mugabe, the
president and first secretary of ZANU PF.
Gono announced that the bearer's cheques would be phased out by
December 2004. Fair enough. But he also announced that he would re-engage
both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank in talks to bail out
his government from the consequences of its fiscal profligacy.
But will they be willing to talk to him, as long as his boss, the same
ZANU PF supremo, insists they are part of the grand imperialist plot hatched
against his country by Britain and the United States?
What if they make certain demands before giving him a cent? Can he
guarantee future foreign investors the sanctity of their private property?
Would he be willing to reverse the abuses of the past few years in
this regard? What would happen to the alleged "irreversible" nature of the
bloody, chaotic, corrupt land reform fiasco?
The IMF and WB officials, while publicly admitting they made mistakes
in the past in demanding almost impossible conditions before lending the
poor countries their money, still have to account for every cent.
This is especially urgent in the case of Zimbabwe, whose government
has such an appalling record as a bad debtor Gono himself would not lend
them any money if he personally owned a bank, not the so-called Jewel Bank,
which is ultimately owned by Mugabe's government.
This same Mugabe is considered by many the quintessential, consummate
politician who learnt his lessons from the writings of that great Florentine
philosopher of 1527, Machiavelli, whom some have called the Father of Dirty
Mugabe has been in power for almost 24 years. In that period, he and
his fellow politicians in ZANU PF, have reduced Zimbabwe to a
poverty-stricken, non-developing country now begging the world for food to
feed its people.
Why the people would want his bunch back in 2005 must be a question
only the spirit mediums of Chaminuka, Nehanda and Kaguvi can answer...if
they haven't joined ZANU PF.
Zimbabwe pay rise row sparks threat to strike
HARARE Another public service strike is looming in Zimbabwe, following a
lengthy dispute with the government over low pay increases in a country
where inflation is rampant.
The Zimbabwean government has awarded public servants a 250% pay rise far
less than the galloping rate of inflation and referred to an arbitrator
their demand for a larger salary increase. The increases demanded by public
servants are less than half those recently awarded to Zimbabwean President
Robert Mugabe and his cabinet ministers.
The southern African country, struggling with a severe economic crisis which
Mugabe's critics blame on government mismanagement, has seen inflation
rocket to more than 650% one of the highest rates in the world. Zimbabwe has
had several strikes this year as unions say the soaring prices, from food to
transport, are making everyday life impossible.
Public Service Commission officials yesterday confirmed a report in the
state-owned Herald newspaper that the government had increased public
servants' salaries 250% and their housing allowances 100%.
Public service unions had earlier demanded a pay hike of at least 600%,
similar to that awarded to Mugabe and members of his cabinet.
"The government has resolved to implement a salary increment of 250% across
the board whilst the process of [abrupt end of item]
Re: A Look at Zimbabwe: A Visit and Subsequent Thoughts - published on
To the person who was obviously hell-bent on justifying why he
is no longer
living here in Zim and whose advice to all of us is to "Jump!" ..... if we
don't stay here and we all jump, who is going to make the change or rebuild
the future????? Stay in your comfortable world my friend, be sure not to
call yourself an ex-Zimbabwean because you have absolutely no capacity to
see the wood for the negative trees.
Ours is a Zimbabwe which is fundamentally home in every sense of the word.
ask, if your football team is losing do you walk off the pitch with five
minutes to go? No, you stay with the team and give it your everything until
the whistle blows .... no matter the outcome. One of the worst feelings in
the world is to look back on your life and know that you could have made a
difference ... I and so, so many of us (black, white ... across the board)
have dug our heels in and decided that a man should die where he is born
(Nelson Mandela) .... until God himself decides that I need to "Jump" ... I
will be here contributing, struggling on a daily basis but with my friends,
my family and my country men around me and we are an awesome team.
I am sorry I never met you during your stay .... we could have spoken and
seen a different Zimbabwe! I suggest you dedicate the same amount of
and time to analysing the society within which you live now .... I'm
certain it's not a pretty picture .... because the lens through which it is
being seen is distorted. This is my reality - that one day Zimbabwe will
flourish once again ... perhaps I won't get to see it in my lifetime ... but
I am busy planting the seeds so that one day my children will be able to
have the wonderful, fulfilled and happy foundation to life that I had.
Now, get an attitude and in so doing, get a life. You don't live here ....
send me your analysis of where you're living now and I'll send you my
Panic Grips Banking Sector
The Herald (Harare)
December 31, 2003
Posted to the web December 31, 2003
Leonard Makombe And Maria Mudimu
THE honeymoon could now be over for some banks who have been posting
billion-dollar profits, with a number of them now said to be selling assets
amassed over the past few years to maintain the required liquidity levels as
enunciated in the new monetary policy.
Investigations have shown that all is not well in the banking sector as most
of these banks have suddenly found the going tough.
There has been an unprecedented panic in the banking sector amid fears that
some of the newly established banks, the so-called nouveau-riches, are
expected to either go under or be placed under curatorship if the liquidity
Sources within the banking sector said the new monetary policy sounded the
death knell for the industry's "bad boys".
One commercial bank is believed to have sold all its foreign currency
reserves on the black market in a bid to raise cash to improve its liquidity
"We have a situation whereby one financial institution bought around 20 posh
cars from a foreign car dealer and a lot more from a local car assembling
plant but they have now been sold as the bank wants to have its liquidity
"The announcement of the new monetary policy has sent shock waves throughout
the financial services sector and at first people thought it was only the
asset management companies which were going to be affected, but it has
emerged that other big players could be in trouble," said a source in the
It had become characteristic for financial institutions, particularly banks,
to buy some of the latest and posh cars in tandem with the huge profits they
were making, albeit through illicit means.
Some were also investing into other assets such as houses and there are
allegations that one of the banks had also bought thousands of bricks from a
local brick manufacturer for speculative purposes.
While it is prudent to come up with such mechanisms to sail through under
hyper-inflationary environments, it is the source of the funds which makes
the whole exercise imprudent.
These banks were alleged to have abused the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe's
liquidity support and diverted funds to non-productive and speculative
The liquidity support now attracts penalties leaving the banks with no
option but to seek salvation from the interbank borrowing, whose rates were
at a record 800 percent last week.
Most of the commercial banks have been hit hard by the new monetary policy
announced mid this month.
Those not affected were said to have strict treasury departments, which made
dealings in foreign currency impossible.
Some analysts have pointed out that the new monetary policy has lifted the
veil off the huge profits, which have been made by financial institutions
over the last three years.
The huge profits running into billions of dollars have gone against the
grain of the performance of the entire economy, which has been contracting.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Dr Gideon Gono told financial
institutions, when he announced the monetary policy, that banks' overnight
accommodation would be limited to "lender of last resort" function of the
Banks were told to cover their positions through intra-day repurchase
"With effect from January 1 2004, banks in short positions will be required
to provide justification for seeking overnight accommodation," said Dr Gono
when he announced the monetary policy.
Police Smash Cattle Rustling Syndicate
December 31, 2003
Posted to the web December 31, 2003
POLICE in Gweru have smashed a cattle-rustling syndicate that has been
terrorising farmers around the city in the past few months resulting in nine
suspects being nabbed by last Friday.
Farmers in the Midlands province had lost cattle worth nearly $800 million
of between August and November this year.
The officer-in-charge of Gweru Rural Police Station, Inspector Shadreck
Mam-ombe said the first two suspects were caught selling meat at Kudzanayi
"Police manning the terminus became suspicious when they saw meat being sold
from travelling bags and questioned the two, who admitted to stealing cattle
from a nearby farm," he said.
The suspects revealed to the police that there were two other gangs
operating in the area.
The two, who were arrested selling meat at the terminus on Friday, he said
led the police to a house in Southdowns where three other members of the
gang were caught cutting the meat into pieces meant for sale at Kudzanayi
The suspects confessed that they killed a cow at Willow Run Farm. The cow
was valued at $1 million, he added.
On Saturday, police acting on a tip off from members of the public arrested
four other members of another gang for allegedly stealing five head of
cattle from Long Cliff Farm. The cattle are valued at $9 million and they
have not been recovered.
Insp Mamombe said the thieves took advantage of the ready market at
Kudzanayi Bus Terminus where food vendors bought the meat for low prices for
He said to avoid carrying the whole carcass, the thieves would cut large
pieces and stash them in bags.
Police have intensified the fight against stock theft, he said.
"We have mounted road blocks on all roads leading into the city
officers are thoroughly searching all bags," he said.
Insp Mamombe said members of the public should stop buying meat on the
streets as this encouraged cattle rustling and is also a health hazard.
Some Nurses Resume Duties
The Herald (Harare)
December 31, 2003
Posted to the web December 31, 2003
NURSES at some referral centres in Harare have resumed duties in compliance
with the Government's order for them to return to work.
A visit to Harare Central and Parirenyatwa Hospitals by The Herald yesterday
revealed that some nurses had returned to work and were attending to
patients. The large number of nurses who have returned to work was at Harare
At Parirenyatwa Hospital, nurses could be seen attending to patients at the
referral centre's casualty department.
Health professionals from the uniformed forces and student nurses were
assisting the available health staff at the referral centres. However,
striking junior and middle-level doctors continue to defy the Government
directive to return to work.
Hospital Doctors Association president Dr Phibion Manyanga yesterday said
the doctors had not reported for work because they were still to receive a
written undertaking from their employer, the Public Service Commission, over
On December 16, the PSC ordered striking junior and middle-level doctors and
nurses to return to work before December 19 or face termination of their
contracts. The PSC said it was common law that an employer would not retain
an employee's job position when they have discontinued their duties.
In an interview yesterday, the PSC secretary Mr Ray Ndhlukula said the
majority of striking doctors and nurses in the country had returned to work.
"We have not dismissed any of the health professionals who are on strike,"
said Mr Ndhlukula.
The major hospitals most affected by the strike are those in Harare and
Bulawayo. Health workers at hospitals in other parts of the country briefly
went on strike before returning to work.
Junior and middle-level doctors went on strike in October demanding a
monthly salary of $30 million.
Nurses also went on strike since last month demanding a review of their
In Zimbabwe, Malnutrition's Effect On People With HIV/AIDS
31 Dec 2003, 18:14 UTC
Food shortages throughout Zimbabwe continue to put people at risk
malnutrition. But for those suffering from H-I-V and AIDS, malnutrition can
More than two and a half million people in Zimbabwe face malnutrition after
food rations were cut in half. The United Nations World Food Program says
rations were cut because of insufficient donations from the international
community. This harsh reality for Zimbabweans is even worse for those living
with H-I-V and AIDS. A lack of food weakens the immune system and therefore
makes it easier to catch an infection. Francesca Erdelmann of the World Food
Program in Southern Africa, says malnutrition could trigger a quicker
progression from H-I-V to AIDS.
"Our fears are that with malnutrition, visible or invisible malnutrition
among adults, we may find that the disease is progressing much faster from
H-I-V to AIDS for example. Now, this is not a very visible progression that
you see within a few days for example, but it’s definitely something that
over time will have a major impact on the ability of the adult population to
be productive and to also be able to care of their children for example, and
especially also part of the elderly population."
While food shortage is a major problem, Ms. Erdelman says the problem goes
The lack of AIDS drugs is also part of the crisis. All this in a country
where over thirty percent of the population is infected with H-I-V/ AIDS.
"If we consider that many of the people who are infected with H-I-V/ AIDS
also do not have access to the relevant drugs for example, and even those
who do have access to the drugs, if they don’t have access to proper food,
we’re not so sure that the drugs will actually have the required impact. So
all these things are somehow inter-related."
Experts do not see an end to Zimbabwe’s food shortage in the near future. As
a result, H-I-V/ AIDS support groups are working to provide food to those
with the disease.