|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
CHIEF Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku was
yesterday unable to grant an
interdict sought by the Media and Information Commission (MIC) barring
Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) from publishing its newspapers,
saying a Supreme Court judge sitting in chambers had no jurisdiction to
issue such an order.
In addition to the barring of the two ANZ titles, the Daily News and
the Daily News on Sunday, the MIC also wanted the appeals before the court
consolidated into one case and an order directing the registrar of the court
to expedite the hearing of the matter.
The hearing of the MIC application continues today.
Addressing MIC lawyer Johannes Tomana, Chief Justice Chidyausiku said:
“You have the right to approach the courts to consolidate the appeals. They
“I believe you are not really entitled to the interdict that you seek.
“It is so untidy to deal with these matters piecemeal. I am sure this
is what has caused this confusion. That is why it is important to
consolidate all the issues and the appeals be heard as one case.”
ANZ legal adviser Gugulethu Moyo said that in today’s hearing lawyers
for both the MIC and ANZ would make submissions as to when the consolidated
case could be heard.
Moyo said: “It was determined that the best way to proceed was to
consolidate all the cases between the ANZ and the MIC in order to avoid
“What will happen if the matters are consolidated is that the appeals
by the MIC against the Administrative Court decisions and the preliminary
point on whether or not ANZ still has ‘dirty hands’ in the constitutional
case will be heard all at once.”
ANZ challenged the constitutionality of some sections of the Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) in the Supreme Court.
But on 11 September 2003, the Supreme Court, sitting as a
constitutional court, ruled that it would not hear the matter because the
ANZ had approached the court with “dirty hands” by not registering.
Chief Justice Chidyausiku said the Supreme Court’s ruling on 11
September 2003 which ruled that the ANZ was operating outside the law still
In his submissions, Tomana said his applications sought to clarify the
position at law of the cases so that the rule of law was not jeopardised.
“There is confusion in our media,” Tomana said. “The principle of the
rule of law demands that a law be applied without discrimination. The laws
of this country, under Section 66 of AIPPA, state clearly that no mass media
house can operate without being registered with MIC.
“The situation that obtained between the time the Supreme Court made
the ruling that the ANZ was operating outside the law still stands. What has
to happen is that that ruling has to be complied with until that law has
been ruled unconstitutional.
“From 11 September until 22 January there has been compliance but the
violation of the Supreme Court ruling started on 22 January when the ANZ
published against the ruling of the same.”
He said the ANZ should refrain from operating a mass media service and
should comply with the country’s laws.
But Chief Justice Chidyausiku, who heard the matter in chambers, said
a judge sitting in chambers could not issue the interdict sought by the MIC
but had no problem with the appeal for the consolidation of the cases
pending before the courts.
“The judgment of this court has not yet been set aside by itself,” he
said. “After payment of registration fees to the MIC and the submission of
the receipt to the Supreme Court registrar, the registrar responded saying
the matter was not whether or not ANZ had complied.
“The rightful thing that should have happened should have been to come
back to court to have the decision made as to whether there was compliance,”
He said the judgments of both the Administrative Court and the High
Court had no effect of suspending the Supreme Court rulings.
Chief Justice Chidyausiku said that it was the basis upon which the
police acted when they moved into ANZ premises.
Mordecai Mahlangu represented ANZ.
1 000 rights abuse cases reported last
HUMAN rights violations
persisted in Zimbabwe throughout last year
with more than 1 000 cases of abuses that included murder, rape, kidnapping
and torture recorded during the 12-month period, according to a report
released this month by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum (ZHRF).
The ZHRF, which groups together pro-democracy, human and civic rights
groups in the country, cited State security agents, the ruling ZANU PF and
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) parties as some of the
perpetrators of human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
According to the ZHRF 559 Zimbabweans were unlawfully arrested while
782 other citizens were denied their right to freedom of expression
guaranteed by Zimbabwe’s Constitution.
Another 77 people received death threats and 496 people were tortured
while four reportedly disappeared during the period under review.
In the month of January alone there were 60 cases of unlawful arrests
and 77 cases of people being displaced from their homes because they
belonged to a particular political party.
The ZHRF, which monitors political violence and human rights abuses in
the country, said voters were subjected to violence and intimidation in a
bid to influence their choice during a by-election held in the Mashonaland
West town of Kadoma last November.
“The prospects for a free and fair electoral environment had already
been dampened by violence that prevailed in the area prior to the election.
“In another incident, Kennedy Chivambe, the ZANU PF chairman for ward
11 (Kadoma) was reportedly stoned and injured by two MDC youths while having
a beer at Waverly Shopping Centre.
The assailants were reportedly moving around with the MDC candidate
for Kadoma Central constituency,’’ the report read in part.
It further said an MDC supporter only identified as TZ was reportedly
abducted by suspected ZANU PF supporters, stabbed with a screwdriver on the
left arm before he was further assaulted with a log.
During the same period, an unnamed MDC ward leader in Marondera was
allegedly chased away from his home and had his house allegedly burnt down
by ZANU PF supporters.
“Incidents of political violence continue to be reported from various
parts of the country. The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum continues to
condemn organised violence in all its forms.
“Of major concern is the continued reportage of violence surrounding
elections in the country.
“The Human Rights Forum calls upon the government in partnership with
its citizens to cultivate a violent-free society,’’ the ZHRF said in the
There have been media reports of alleged violence by ZANU PF
supporters and war veterans against suspected MDC supporters in the campaign
for the Gutu North by-election scheduled for next week.
Retired Air Marshal Josiah Tungamirai of ZANU PF and Crispa Musoni of
the MDC are battling it out for the seat left vacant following the death of
Vice-President Simon Muzenda in September last year.
Tsvangirai says sought Mugabe exit package
OPPOSITION Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party leader Morgan
Tsvangirai yesterday said his party engaged the Canadian political
consultancy firm Dickens and Madson to arrange a power sharing agreement
between the MDC and ZANU PF that would also include an exit package for
President Robert Mugabe.
Tsvangirai denied charges that the November 2001 meeting at the
Dickens and Madson headquarters in Montreal, Canada, was to arrange the
assassination of Mugabe.
Under cross-examination by acting Attorney-General Bharat Patel, the
opposition leader conceded that he referred to the elimination of Mugabe
during the surreptitiously video-taped meeting.
But he said by using the term elimination he was referring to
excluding Mugabe from a presidential election that was to be held after the
setting up of a transitional government.
“Dickens and Madson were going to ensure that an exit package was
going to be worked out for President Mugabe thus eliminating him from the
election,” Tsvangirai said.
Asked what he meant when he said in the video-tape there would be a
crisis if Mugabe was eliminated, Tsvangirai said: “President Mugabe has been
in power for 23 years and how can you say that an unceremonious departure by
him would not be a crisis.”
The video-tape forms the basis of the treason charges against
He said the meeting also discussed how a new government led by the MDC
would work together with a ZANU PF majority in Parliament. Under the new
dispensation, chiefs would be recognised while governorship would be
The State’s case is that Tsvangirai hired Dickens and Madson, a
political consultancy firm led by Ari Ben-Menashe to arrange the
assassination of Mugabe ahead of the 2002 presidential election.
The trial continues today with Patel cross-examining Tsvangirai.
MDC dismisses Herald story on monetary policy
THE opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) party yesterday
dismissed as “malicious and unfounded” claims by the state-controlled Herald
newspaper that the initial success of monetary policy measures being
implemented by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono had
thrown the MDC into confusion, forcing it to revise its economic policy.
Tendai Biti, the Harare East Member of Parliament who also chairs the
MDC Economics Committee, yesterday told the Daily News that the lead story
in yesterday’s Herald headlined “Gono report stings MDC”, was totally false.
“That is absolutely rubbish for the Herald to claim that we have
changed our economic policy and have drafted another new document. Nothing
of that sort has ever happened.”
The Herald reported that after Gono unveiled his economic policy late
last year, the MDC revised its economic policy and has prepared a new
document with the aid of an economic consultant.
The State-owned paper also claimed that the MDC policy was not
original, but was a copycat of the Government policies, institutions and
Biti said they prepared the document well before Gono was appointed
the RBZ governor and that their document was original contrary to what the
Herald was suggesting.
Said Biti: “This document was ready by August last year, well before
Gono was appointed governor, and contrary to what this paper is saying we
have not prepared any new document.”
He said the MDC Economics Committee had to send the document to
different party structures for it to be approved before they could launch
Biti said they sent the document to the President’s Economics Council,
the party’s National Executive, the National Executive Council and the
National Conference, hence the delay in its launch.
The legislator said contrary to what the Herald said, the document was
prepared by the MDC Economics Committee and each committee member was given
a specific section to work on.
“In the committee, we do not have any headmaster we work with as being
alleged and we have never consulted any embassy as we were preparing this
economic policy as being alleged by the Herald,” said Biti.
He said it was absurd for the Herald to say that there were
disagreements within the MDC, with some senior members worried that the
clampdown in the financial sector would catch up with them as they were
involved in foreign currency dealings.
“The problem with the Herald is that they want to own Gono. However,
they should remember that Gono is there to serve everyone – he is not for
the ruling ZANU PF party only,” said Biti.
The MDC economic policy named Reconstruction, Stabilisation, Recovery
and Transformation policy will be launched tomorrow by the MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai at the Harare International Conference Centre.
MDC activist awarded $800 000 damages
HIGH Court judge Justice Charles Hungwe has
awarded close to $800 000
in damages to John Mukondwa, a Hwedza Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
activist who was shot by a policeman in February 2002.
Lawyers for Mukondwa said they had originally asked for $1.2 million
in damages, but had accepted the judge’s decision.
The matter was handled by Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum lawyer Godfrey
Mupanga, assisted by Harrison Nkomo.
Nkomo told The Daily News: “Initially, we had claimed $1.2 million for
damages, pain and suffering, including medical expenses, but the judge
awarded us $785 150, which we accept.”
He added: “The police should pay our client, who might be permanently
Kembo Mohadi, Home Affairs Minister and Police Commissioner Augustine
Chihuri were cited in the case as first and second respondents respectively.
The allegations, as laid out in Mukondwa’s summary of evidence in Case
Number 6707/02, are that on the night of 26 February 2002, a Constable
Dzvairo from Hwedza Police Station visited Mukondwa’s home.
He was in the company of ZANU PF youths identified as Chikudza, Igai
Chikumbirike, Bernard Makwarimbe and Mafondwe.
An unidentified person also accompanied the group, which demanded to
search Mukondwa’s house for MDC campaign material for the 2002 presidential
election, controversially won by President Robert Mugabe.
Mukondwa said he attempted to flee from the group, but Dzvairo
allegedly fired about three shots, injuring the MDC activist in the right
Nkomo said it was ironic that after shooting Mukondwa, the police
charged him with malicious injury to property to “justify their unlawful
According to court papers, Mukondwa reported the shooting incident to
the police on 27 April after he had been treated at a private hospital in
Before beating up and shooting Mukondwa, Dzvairo and his companions
visited another MDC activist, Willias Muzoronga, who was handcuffed and
beaten up before being forced to lead the group to Mukondwa’s home.
However, before knocking at Mukondwa’s home, Muzoronga screamed and
alerted Mukondwa of the risk to his safety.
But the group forced its way into the house, overpowered Mukondwa and
handcuffed him, before taking him to their campaign base, where they
tortured and threatened to kill him.
After his ordeal, Dzvairo force-marched the complainant to Hwedza
Police Station, where he was charged with malicious injury to property.
Mukondwa’s mother, Anacke Mukondwa, told the court that on the night
the incident took place, she heard noises at her son’s house, but did not
know if her son was present at the scene.
“After a while, I heard more than three gunshots and the group walked
away noisily,” she said, according to court papers.
“The following morning, I told the headman about the incident, but no
action was taken. Instead, the ZANU PF youths came to collect the gun
cartridges. I later discovered that my son had been shot and I went to
Harare where he was being treated.”
Nkomo said Justice Hungwe castigated the police for acting in a manner
inconsistent with their duties and responsibilities.
“The judge condemned the behaviour of the police, particularly in the
handling of this case,” Nkomo said. “He was clear in court that the police
had shown total disrespect to the judiciary because of the refusal by some
senior policemen to appear before him to give evidence during the hearing.
“He told the police that they needed to investigate cases first before
arresting anyone and questioned how a normal policeman could lead ZANU PF
youths in violence instead of being at the police station awaiting reports
from the public.”
Talks must focus on protection of civil liberties: Sikhala
THE Centre for the
Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (Ceretov)
yesterday said dialogue between the ruling ZANU PF and opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) aimed at resolving Zimbabwe’s crisis should
prioritise constitutional reforms that would guarantee civil liberties and
protect citizens from torture.
In statement to the Press, Ceretov chairman Job Sikhala, who is also
an MDC legislator, said: “Constitutional reform is the beginning and the end
to our crisis. Any form of reforms in the country that are not
constitutional are unacceptable to the torture survivors in our country.
“Any political settlement in our country among political parties,
especially ZANU PF and the MDC, that does not include constitutional reform
as the leading light is dead before it begins.’’
Sikhala’s statement followed media reports last week quoting
Presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Olusegun Obasanjo saying that
President Robert Mugabe has now formalised dialogue with the MDC.
The MDC, which has in the past denied similar claims by Mbeki, refuted
suggestions by the South African leader that it agreed to formal talks with
Sikhala, together with four other MDC activists, were last year
allegedly tortured by suspected state security agents for allegedly burning
down a ZUPCO bus near Highfield.
Church leaders in line of fire
During the 1970s Zimbabwe’s church leaders were
accused of being supporters of president Robert Mugabe and his guerrilla
Church leaders are once again in the line of fire: this time for
co-operating with an “international conspiracy” to oust Mugabe.
However, church leaders who voice their concerns about human rights
abuses, deny these allegations.
Zimbabwe university political scientist, Professor Elphias
Mukunoweshuro, says attempts by these leaders to facilitate dialogue between
political parties and at finding solutions in the worsening political
crisis, stem from their conciliatory task to ease injustice and suffering.
“The church has a role in protecting the suppressed and it should take
a leading role in any kind of society by expressing its concerns about
In the period preceding independence in 1980, churches were persecuted
and threatened with violence by the regime of the then-prime minister Ian
A bomb explosion at the time at the Catholic Church’s Mambo Press in
Gweru is still imprinted in the memory of people as one of the worst
atrocities of that war.
Catholic leaders including Bishop Douglas Lamont had been imprisoned
by the Smith regime and subsequently deported on charges of conspiring with
the guerrillas. Other church leaders simply vanished.
At the time, Mugabe praised church leaders, asking the church for its
That same church is now constantly under fire, accused as opposition
supporters and acolytes of the West.
Mugabe’s critics, including Catholic Bishop Pius Ncube, are harassed
and have been detained by police for questioning.
Ncube is in the forefront of human-rights issues and, despite threats,
he perseveres in his criticism of Mugabe’s human-rights abuses.
Zimbabwean churches’ latest initiative is to try to facilitate
dialogue between the most important opponents in the crisis – the ZANU PF
party and the Movement for Democratic Change.
The Rev Trevor Manhanga of Upper Room Ministries and bishops Patrick
Mutume and Sebastian Bakare of the Catholic and Anglican churches,
respectively, have had several talks with Mugabe and opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai with this aim in view, to no avail, however.
In fact, state-controlled media have accused the churches of
They have been berated and ordered to “relinquish their MDC
membership” otherwise ZANU PF would not take them seriously.
Church leaders insist they don’t belong to any political party and
that threats would not hinder their attempts at bringing the two parties
together, says Manhanga.
“The problem in our country is not between Tsvangirai and Mugabe, it
has now spiralled down to grass-roots level. We have spoken to both leaders
at their levels, hoping the peace and reconciliation process can start with
“We are concerned about the suffering endured by the people and we are
asking everyone involved in the dialogue process to put Zimbabwe first, and
ahead of their selfish agendas,” says Manhanga.
Despite their emphatic denial of being involved in party politics,
Zanu PF Legal Secretary and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa insists that
church groups are a front for the opposition.
“Self-interest is driving them. They are MDC activists in religious
collars.” Chinamasa insists churches should be denied a role if talks
between the MDC and Zanu PF get underway.
MDC secretary-general Professor Welshman Ncube says his party
appreciates churches’ efforts to try to facilitate dialogue.
“The church should set moral standards and integrity. The government
has neglected these issues. The church should not stop exposing government
abuses of the kind the Bible talks about,” he says.
Church leaders have been unable to present a united front over the
crisis in the country. In fact, it appears churches are vying for God’s
blessing for their viewpoint.
Civil rights organisations and the opposition are complaining that
churches have woken up late as to the gravity of the crisis facing the
The Rev Henry Chiromo of the Baptist Church admits to a “period of
confusion”, claiming his church now wants to be a role player.
“A kind of deadlock has been reached where people want to talk about
themselves and not to each other.
“Mugabe and Tsvangirai each represent their own followers.
“We would like them to get together and put the interests of the
country first,” he said.
EU to inject $180 billion into Zimbabwe health system
The European Union is
this year expected to spend close to US$30
million (Z$180 billion) to help improve Zimbabwe’s underfunded health
The head of the European Commission (EC) delegation to Zimbabwe,
Francesca Mosca, said in a statement in Harare last week the money would be
taken from a US$69 million fund committed to Zimbabwe for the period 2000 to
“The programme’s purposes are to support people’s increased access to
affordable quality health services, mainly by ensuring the continued
availability of safe blood and the supply of essential drugs for the
prevention, treatment and control of HIV/AIDS and other communicable and
non-communicable diseases,” said Mosca.
She said priority areas would be the fight against HIV/AIDS.
“The European Commission sees the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Zimbabwe as one
of the biggest socio-economic problems facing the country,” she said.
The EC would support a national AIDS conference to be held in June,
and part of the money would also go towards assisting non-governmental
organisations involved in the fight against HIV/AIDS and malaria.
The cash injection would improve crumbling infrastructure and
dilapidated equipment at the country’s hospitals. “A lot of the equipment at
hospitals and health facilities needs repairs or replacement,” said Mosca.
Meanwhile the European Commission on Monday signed an agreement with
the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to support a five-year
project for improving livestock productivity in the region.
“This project seeks to contribute to poverty reduction in the SADC
region through increased productivity and trade flows in the traditional
livestock sub-sector of the SADC member states,” said SADC executive
secretary Prega Ramsamy.
The US $9.2 million project, the Promotion of Regional Integration in
the SADC Livestock Sector (Print), is designed to strengthen the work of the
SADC’s Food Agriculture and Natural Resources Directorate.
The directorate promotes regional integration and sustainable
livestock production, and co-ordinates strategies on animal disease control
and human resource development.
Part of the Print initiative involves the creation of a Livestock
Information Management System within the SADC secretariat, headquartered in
Botswana, which will help with policy development and risk assessment for
both the public and private sectors.
According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation,
sub-Saharan Africa has one of the fastest growing human populations in the
world, coupled with one of the lowest per capita consumption rates of
Average annual per capita meat consumption in Africa is 11 kilograms,
less than half the developing world’s average of 26.4 kg.
Improvement in the supply of meat and milk depends on an increase in
livestock productivity, which remains generally poor across the SADC region.
The technical support provided by Print aims to help build the
national capacity of livestock services staff to assist rural producers, as
well as providing the framework for tackling highly contagious animal
diseases such as foot-and-mouth.
“This animal health disease has caused, and is still causing, great
problems in this region, and constitutes a big threat to a viable and
productive livestock sector, which in many countries is an important
contributor to the economy,” said Claudia Wiedey-Nippold, the head of the
European Delegation in Botswana.
Parents must speak up now
PARENTS cannot afford to be passive while the government
fight it out over fees. That would be criminal and prejudicial to the future
of millions of Zimbabwean schoolchildren, who deserve the best education the
country can give them.
It is true that school fees and levies have been rising steadily in
the past year, with some schools said to be charging as much as $7 million a
But it is crucial that all stakeholders examine why schools have been
forced to increase their fees virtually every term.
There can be no doubt that inflation – which is unsustainably high at
598.7 percent – is the major reason why education is now so expensive that
many parents are considering keeping their children out of school.
Because of inflation, wages have been forced up, so has the cost of
water, power, communications and other materials necessary to maintain a
well-run educational facility.
Food has become unaffordable for most families, but boarding schools
must provide enough for the children in their care.
For many schools with boarding facilities, the fees they demand are
inadequate to provide the nutritional diet that all children deserve.
Schools are battling to meet these and many other costs so that they
can operate effectively, and it is, therefore, unjustified to conclude that
they are profiteering at the expense of struggling parents.
That is not to say that parents have themselves not been hit hard by
Zimbabwe’s economic haemorrhaging.
Most parents’ wages have not kept pace with inflation in the past four
years, making it almost impossible for many people to meet the rising cost
of food, accommodation, transport and other necessities from what they earn
There are no easy solutions to the crisis in the educational sector,
but the options for parents are fairly clear cut.
Parents can choose to maintain the highest standards of education for
their children, or they can become party to the government’s crackdown on
schools that have raised fees without permission from the Ministry of
That will result in these facilities being forced to revise their
increases or even being shut down, as the Education Ministry indicated
This will take some of the pressure off parents, but their children
will pay the price as schools find themselves unable to afford the materials
and services necessary for the provision of a quality education.
Private school teachers will most likely join their counterparts in
the public sector in leaving the country to seek better pay and working
conditions elsewhere. School buildings and grounds will become even more
run-down than they are now.
Libraries without books will become the norm, as will classrooms with
broken desks and chairs, or no chairs and desks at all.
None of this is conducive to a good education and morale among
schoolchildren will be at its lowest.
It is, therefore, in the best interests of parents around the country
to become proactive and to refuse to accept the crisis management that has
contributed to the decline in Zimbabwean education, once highly rated in
It is time for parents to demand that the government stops tinkering
with the symptoms of a deep-seated problem and begin tackling its
Forcing schools to seek permission before raising their fees and
blindly looking to the government to keep a lid on educational costs will
not solve anything.
Rather, parents must demand a sober fiscal policy, respect for human
rights and the rule of law to convince the international community that
Zimbabwe is putting its house in order and can be trusted with foreign aid.
There can be no half measures in ensuring that children have the best
education, and parents must refuse to be fobbed off with less than what
their children deserve.
Pretending all is normal, manageable
AS we bury the 35-year-old father of three,
nobody mentions, but
everybody knows, why he died so early. Nobody asks what fate might await the
Everybody knows why the 29-year-old single mother of two, only
recently returned from “Unit K” (United Kingdom) so sick she needed a
wheelchair at the airport, had her life cut short. But we are all far too
polite to say so.
Roads are no longer passable in Mbare because of uncollected refuse.
We just walk in another street. Nobody makes any fuss about it.
We celebrate all feasts and go to all parties and sing all new tunes
as if nothing had happened. No one admits that we can’t really afford it,
that hiring a bus costs millions, that our living standard has slumped so
much so that we have hardly enough for sadza and vegetables.
We are told that even if you are found to be HIV positive life will go
on: just change your lifestyle, avoid stress, eat healthy food, take your
medicine, “get real”, “make your own choices”. Live (and die) in cloud
How can anyone avoid stress in a situation where people automatically
join any queue and only afterwards ask what the queue is for? Who can afford
special diets when the most basic foodstuffs are scarce?
Medicines? What medicines? Even when the doctors are not on strike,
who can buy what they prescribe?
Chipo wants to marry Tonderai. It would be the most rational thing in
the world to be tested for their HIV status. But then – what if Chipo tests
negative and Tonderai positive? Is she still going to marry him?
The truth will make you free – and miserable! To know the daunting
truth and act on it is the rational thing to do, but most of us can’t face
it, they just don’t want to know. Better take a chance and hope for the
best. “Maybe I am lucky!”
“My husband died five years ago. I know I am HIV-positive, I was
tested. I have to provide for my children. So far I am feeling alright, but
the time will come . . .” She is speaking in a plain, matter-of-fact tone.
It takes courage to face the truth. Crowds panic and run. Strong
individuals resist. They have the courage to walk alone, follow their own
insights, make their own decisions.
There is a faith dimension in their lives, and from that perspective
it is not the end of the road, and they are not really alone.
The country is gravely ill. It can no longer feed itself. It can no
longer offer its children a workplace and security in the community. It has
lost the confidence of the young who leave in ever greater numbers. People,
apparently of the same country, live nevertheless on different planets.
Dialogue has been shelved while party leaders are preoccupied with the
Old leaders bury more and more of their own generation. But they never
bother to inspect a cemetery to see
that most recent graves are of people born in the 1960s and 1970s.
“AIDS? What about it? The minister of health takes care of that. Is he
not doing a fantastic job?” As a matter of fact, what can he do?
Poverty and hunger have now joined forces with AIDS, and that is a
lethal alliance. AIDS you can fight. AIDS plus hunger means definite defeat.
Hunger is not dealt with by one ministry. It is the result of years of
mismanagement involving everybody. Only a radical change of direction of the
whole government can make a difference to that.
That is the tragedy. They pretend everything is normal. Things run
their course. There is somebody in charge of everything. In the meantime,
they can play their games as usual.
Their power games in the champions league to see who comes out tops.
In their 70s and 80s, but still playing games.
Their grandchildren, already dead and buried, have not reached that
age, but they have not noticed, they keep playing games, deadly serious, as
if it really mattered. Which it doesn’t, of course: it will not be long
before they join the heroes.
For the time being, however, the old men keep playing their blaming
games (imperialism, neo-colonialism and so on) and naming games (eg Tony
Blair, hardly innocent, possibly foolish, but really not responsible for our
children running away, or dying).
They even play high-risk, deadly games. They play with our lives. Play
politics even with the starving who are near death.
Decide who is to live and who is to die. Give food only to “reliable
cadres”. Allow only government agents to distribute the life-saving grain.
Deny import licences to political suspects.
Instead of forgetting all silly games and single-mindedly working for
the survival of all, every Zimbabwean man, woman and child. But the
obsession with playing those power games will not go away.
What will ever make them sit up and face the truth? That there is mass
poverty and starvation and death for which they are responsible, they
themselves and nobody else.
Will anyone have the enormous courage and say: “Yes, we did it. We
failed to provide. We were blind. But it is not too late. Let us start now.
"Even if it costs us position and power. Even if it is the last thing
we do . . .”
But they will not do that. They will pretend that all is normal. All
is manageable, even without knowing the whole awful truth. They mean somehow
to muddle through. Until the end. Their end.
But not ours. We no longer pretend or trust good luck. We want to
know. And take it from there.
By Fr Oskar Wermter SJ
Sunday Times (SA)
Mugabe in SA to pay lobola
Wednesday January 28, 2004 06:57 - (SA)
HARARE - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has
acknowledged he had flown to
South Africa at the weekend, saying it was to help a nephew with traditional
The president told a gathering at a memorial service for his first wife,
Ghanaian-born Sally Hayfron, who died in 1991 of a kidney ailment, that he
was "very fit" and only travelled to South Africa for family business.
He was responding to South African media which had reported his visit was to
seek medical treatment after a vomiting fit.
Mugabe said he had gone to help his nephew Johnson Ngwenya pay the bride
price for his traditional marriage.
"I flew on Saturday and I met the family and the bride," Mugabe said.
The bride's family wanted cows but were prepared to receive cash in lieu of
"I had a few rands with me, so I paid 5,000 rands (700 dollars).
"That's all I went to do," said the 79-year-old leader.
He denied that he was ill.
"I am very strong, I am very fit, and I thank God for that capacity," he
"I have no doctors (in South Africa), all my doctors are here in Zimbabwe
and I move around with my own doctors," he was quoted as saying by state
Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba earlier said : "The president is as fit
as none of his detractors can ever hope to be in a lifetime."
Mugabe's second wife, Grace, his former secretary, is almost 40 years
younger than him.
Don't tour Zimbabwe: Downer
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer has urged Australian cricket authorities
to cancel plans for a tour of Zimbabwe in May.
Mr Downer said while he had security fears for cricketers, his main concern
related to the political implications of such a visit.
"We'd rather it didn't go ahead, obviously the Zimbabwe government would be
pleased if it did," he told Melbourne radio 3AW.
"It would send the wrong message to Zimbabwe ... it would send the wrong
message to South Africa."
However, Mr Downer said the final decision about whether the visit should go
ahead would have to be made by cricket authorities.
"They will have to make a decision in the end and we will leave the decision
to them," he said.
Chingoka hurls verbal bouncer at 'sanctimonious' England
Zimbabwe chairman vents his anger
Wednesday January 28, 2004
Peter Chingoka does not do rants. He has no need to, for his sotto voce
delivery carries the authority of a lawyer's brief and, on occasions, can
sound as sinister as Peter Lorre's.
But last night the chairman of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union, perhaps realising
that his battle is a forlorn one, gave added colour to his invective against
the England and Wales Cricket Board, calling it "sanctimonious".
"Waiving rules", "double standards", "wriggling out" and "creating a
smokescreen" were other phrases chosen by Chingoka to express his increasing
frustration as he comes to terms with the probability that the ECB will
cancel this winter's scheduled tour to his country, despite his desperate
emailed letters to the 18 county chief executives this week.
He was anxious to explain his decision to write to each county. "I had to
put it to them so they could get a full view and so that they could
understand, totally, where we're coming from," he said. "I also wanted to
remind them of their responsibilities."
But with the 16 members of the ECB management board due to meet tomorrow to
discuss the controversial "Framework" document written by their corporate
affairs chairman Des Wilson, and with a decision not to tour expected to be
made at the end of next month, Chingoka's quiet fury is very evident.
"Of all the cricket boards, only the ECB believe they are so sanctimonious
as to make judgments on other matters," he said. "All the others mind their
own business as sports people and leave the politicians to deal with the
Chingoka, angered by Wilson's argument, sounds genuinely bewildered that
issues such as morality and politics have been allowed to enter the debate.
"I wrote this letter to the counties because we are in a climate where
things are no longer straightforward. Take the matter of that internal
document [Wilson's], which was released to the media before it had been
discussed by the full ECB board.
"That's an internal matter for the ECB. But it is a matter of courtesy among
the cricket fraternity that we share these things before going to the
media - especially on such a sensitive and important matter as this.
"The report is irrelevant because the ECB themselves know they are bound by
International Cricket Council policy. We are an apolitical organisation and
every decision should be made in that climate. That document is a unilateral
declaration by the ECB that they are a political organisation. They have
become political judges, bringing in moral and political issues when we are
supposed to be apolitical.
"There appears to have been a waiving of rules on the part of the ECB in
order to create a smokescreen to wriggle out of their commitment to tour.
There are so many double standards. Your athletes, footballers, swimmers,
tennis players and other sports play people from different cultures and
countries all the time."
Nor is Chingoka impressed by the British government's nudge in the direction
of aban donment, with the foreign secretary Jack Straw's observation that
conditions in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe had deteriorated.
"The old saying that 'it's not cricket' no longer seems to apply. What has
happened to words like 'integrity', 'honour' which have been associated with
cricket, of fulfilling one's obligations?"
In England there is widespread bewilderment over the ECB chairman David
Morgan's March promise to tour Zim babwe. Chingoka is determined that the
promise will be kept or that English cricket will pay dearly for its
After the debacle of last winter, when the ECB appeared, at best, shifty and
amoral, Wilson has raised the level of the debate. But not according to
Chingoka, who added: "Touring revenue is the lifeblood of any Test country.
We gave England their lifeblood when we toured last summer and I expect
England to give us ours, as they promised they would."
England ready to pay $1m to Zimbabwe
Mike Selvey and David Hopps
Wednesday January 28, 2004
The England and Wales Cricket Board will offer up to $1m in compensation to
the Zimbabwe Cricket Union should England not tour there in October. The
possibility will be discussed at tomorrow's meeting of the ECB's 16-strong
management board. The final decision will be deferred until the end of
The ECB hopes the level of compensation (£565,000) will head off any calls
by the international cricket community for stronger action, possibly through
the courts. Speaking yesterday, the chairman of the ECB, David Morgan,
confirmed the offer of financial aid as a possibility but only one of
several options open to them.
"We are going to use February to negotiate with the ZCU and ICC
[International Cricket Council]," he said. "We need to know all the impacts
that might be made by cancellation. We are looking at compensation but also
at the possibility of playing in a third country or merely postponing the
tour." One solution, given that England are due to tour South Africa after
Zimbabwe, is to offer to play the matches there.
The cost to the ECB would be less than had it been a tour of, say,
Australia, where television rights are astronomical compared with those for
a tour of Zimbabwe.
ECB executives will have to answer some tough questions before the tour is
called off, however. County representatives, who make up almost half the
16-strong management board, will press for more information on six potential
sticking points before committing themselves to supporting the tour's
Though most remain largely supportive of the ECB's shifting position, there
is irritation at the secretive manner in which Des Wilson, chairman of its
corporate affairs and marketing advisory committee, drew up his initiative
published last week. It was not discussed at the management meeting in
December, leaving many members to learn of its existence from the media.
The dispute might be with Zimbabwe but it is the potentially malign
influence of India, in the person of its board's president Jagmohan Dalmiya,
which management board delegates most fear.
Dalmiya has long accused England of outdated colonial posturing and any
decision to withdraw India in protest from a three-match one-day series next
September before the Champions Trophy could cost the counties £4m. But that
prospect must be unlikely.
Even if India do not withdraw next summer, they can use an English
withdrawal from Zimbabwe to their own political advantage within the ICC.
Australia, traditionally England's greatest ally, are distancing themselves
from England's policy on Zimbabwe and one of Steve Waugh's last
pronouncements as captain was to proclaim an Indian series as arguably
superior to the Ashes.
However much Morgan may say he has developed good personal relations with
Dalmiya, the Bengali is a political animal whose aim remains to promote
India by whatever means as the world centre of cricket.
There is also concern in the counties as to the assurances Morgan offered
Zimbabwe when he visited Harare after the World Cup to guarantee their
commitment to tour England last summer.
Another issue that remains from last year's World Cup is the level of
penalty the ECB must pay the Global Cricket Corporation, the TV rights
holder, for cancelling England's match in Zimbabwe, which has yet to be
finalised but currently stands at $2.5m (£1.4m). The ECB had hoped to settle
at a figure below £1m but a number of management board members are concerned
it could rise if England are seen to repeat the behaviour.
Delegates also want a stronger assertion from the government that they
should boycott Zimbabwe. They will have been cheered by Chris Mullin, a
foreign office minister, telling the Commons yesterday the government would
"prefer" England not to tour.
Though representing a step up from Jack Straw's letter to the ECB last week,
it still falls short of the what would be required to invoke force majeure,
the only reason the ICC would accept for cancellation beyond issues of
safety and security.
Delegates believe the government will not go any further for fear of losing
African Commonwealth votes in the race to win the 2012 Olympics.
Munya's mates look to future
By DANNY ROSE
THE mates of a Hobart foreign student who is behind bars launched a fighting
fund to raise $20,000 yesterday.
It has emerged that 25-year-old Zimbabwean Munya Chiraramiro had little
choice but to leave the country.
His close friends John Davies, 22, and Bill Castley, 21, of Hobart, said the
fund would not prevent Munya's return to Zimbabwe within days.
But it would decide when the final-year commerce student could return to
complete his studies.
"Munya's options at the moment are very limited," Mr Davies said yesterday.
"He is going to be deported.
"The best case scenario now is that Munya will be granted a bridging visa
for 48 hours, which will allow him to leave the country on his own terms."
Munya was detained by the Immigration Department in the Hobart Remand Centre
a week ago, after confusion over his rights to work under his existing
His student visa was void months ago because he was unable to pay university
fees, due to the plummeting Zimbabwe dollar.
Mr Davies said Munya must cover his outstanding university fees before he
will be granted another student visa.
The outstanding fees also meant there was little chance of successfully
appealing Munya's deportation order, he said.
"He has to be returned to Zimbabwe," Mr Davies said.
"At which point he will immediately re-apply for a student visa, so he can
re-enter Australia and finish his degree.
"That is of vital importance to him."
If a formal deportation occurred, Munya would face thousands of dollars in
extra costs and a possible three-year ban on re-entering Australia.
Mr Castley said he visited Munya at the Hobart Remand Centre yesterday.
"He is a very cheery guy and he is remaining as upbeat as can be," he said.
Munya's plight has drawn more than 60 calls of support from across the
state, including Hobart's restaurant sector where Munya worked.
Donations to the fighting fund can be made at any branch of the Bass and
Equitable Building Society.
More Zim investors come to Botswana
1/27/2004 11:56:40 PM (GMT +2)
BULAWAYO: The Botswana Export Development and Investment Authority
(BEDIA) has said about 10 Zimbabwean companies, most of which are textile
firms, are finalising the modalities for their investments in Botswana.
relations manager of BEDIA, Shandukane Mpoloka said
although the majority of the Zimbabwe companies are in the textile sector,
some deal with professional services such as information technology and
If the deals are finalised, the companies, which Mpoloka refused to
name for fear of jeopardising ongoing talks, would pour in millions of pula
They will join a number of Zimbabwean firms that already have business
interests in Botswana.
The companies that already have a presence in Botswana include Econet
and finance houses such as Kingdom Financial Holdings, Barbican Holdings and
African Banking Corporation.
Mpoloka said the prospective investors are now in the process of
finalising details with authorities in Gaborone after a long period of
More Zimbabwean companies are spreading their investments to countries
in the Southern African Development Community region to hedge against the
economic downturn in their country.
The envisaged investment in Botswana by the companies further
highlights growing trade and investment relations between Zimbabwe and
Botswana, a few months after reports that Watercare Tswana is in the process
of establishing a joint venture company with Zimbabwean urban councils.
The joint venture firm, to be known as Watercare Zimbabwe would enable
town and city councils in Zimbabwe to import water treatment chemicals from
Botswana under flexible payment terms, thus circumventing persistent foreign
currency shortages they are facing.
Mpoloka said Botswana offered a range of benefits to foreign
investors, explaining that they enjoy free repatriation of profits,
including dividends and capital, a competitive corporate tax regime of 15
percent for manufacturing companies and 25 percent for other sectors of the
He added that the highest tax bracket for personal income deductible
is 25 percent.
Another investment incentive offered is that products manufactured in
Botswana enter the lucrative European Union market both duty and quota free
in terms of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement.
Apart from the European markets, he said exporting companies in
Botswana have ready access to the Southern African Customs Union market
comprising South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland.
Kaseke apologises for chaos at airport
From Robson Sharuko in SFAX , Tunisia
THE Warriors Trust have apologised to all the fans who were left stranded at
Harare International Airport last Friday night amid chaotic scenes as
supporters battled to get seats on the Air Zimbabwe flight taking them to
the Nations Cup soccer finals.
Warriors' Trust acting chairman Karikoga Kaseke issued the public apology
after scores of fans were left stranded at Harare International Airport.
Instead of the 120 supporters who were supposed to be flown on the plane,
only a handful managed to make the trip after the majority of seats in the
allocation of 76 seats for the football delegation ended up being taken by
Four national team players who had been extended a late invitation to come
here and see the matches -Eddie Mashiri, Cephas Chimedza, Sageby Sandaka and
Zvenyika Makonese - were also left stranded at the airport.
About 40 Zifa councillors made the trip to this country and after the
calculations had been done only 17 seats had been left for the supporters
Kaseke bemoaned the treatment of supporters and said the events at Harare
International Airport were a disgrace and should not be repeated in future.
"When we treat our supporters as if they are objects then we are doing
things the wrong way and we regret what happened at Harare International
"This flight was largely for the supporters but only a handful are here
because of the politics that is in Zifa right now.
"Zifa were asked by Air Zimbabwe to confirm their travelling list by
Wednesday so that the airline could plan for the trip and see how many
passengers could be taken to London.
"But Zifa did not confirm their list and by Thursday morning Air Zimbabwe
had no option but to start selling their seats to passengers who were going
to London because they feared that they could end up taking an empty plane.
"By the time that the Zifa list got to Air Zimbabwe they had already sold
120 seats for their London route and what that means was that the football
delegation now had to fit into the remaining seats.
"With all the Zifa councillors going we had a big problem of where to fit in
the fans and this was further worsened by the fact that the list from Zifa
was changed again by board member Francis Zimunya.
"Some people on the original list were removed and there was also the
problem of the two factions representing the supporters and how we were
going to handle their fans.
"Even journalists who were supposed to have come here to cover the
tournament for the big newspapers back home had been removed from the list
and replaced by others who wrote good things about Zifa.
"We had to change all that and it was not easy and we ended up delaying the
plane and leaving a number of fans behind," said Kaseke.
The Warriors Trust boss said they were now looking at the possibility of
sending another plane load of fans here this week and urged those who might
be interested to contact the Civil Aviation Authority Offices in Harare.
"We have to do something about the fans who were left behind and if it means
getting another plane here then we will do so.
"In the mean time I urge all the fans who might be wishing to come here and
watch the Cameroon match to contact our offices."
Kaseke, who paid for his trip here, said the Warriors Trust would again
review the selection criteria being used to choose the flying delegation.
"What we have seen is that there is a lot of politics at play here and there
is need to urgently address that issue."
Meanwhile a total of US$250 000 meant for use by the Warriors' Trust here
ended up in Air Zimbabwe coffers.
Kaseke said the money had been approved by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe for
use by the Zimbabwe delegation here.
However, acting Zifa chief executive Lazarus Mhurushomana, who also failed
to make the trip on that Friday night, is understood to have banked the
money in Air Zimbabwe's account instead of having it transmitted here.
ZIMBABWE: 'Cheaper to die than to get treated' as health system fails
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]
BULAWAYO, - When Jasper Simalie suffered from severe
complications two years ago, his family had no reason to fear for the worst.
They had their hopes pinned on Zimbabwe's affordable health care service,
which enjoyed the reputation of being one of the best in Southern Africa.
And it delivered. After two months' recuperation, Simalie returned to his
job with one of Zimbabwe's leading cement manufacturers.
The condition returned to haunt him last year, and this time the family made
frantic but futile efforts to find affordable treatment. Simalie's illness
forced him to stay at home for three months. He was retrenched, and left
with only enough money to pay his way back to his rural home in the
northwestern province of Binga.
He has been bedridden for the past eight months. "For the pain I feel, I
wish I had died two years ago. Eight months of suffering is worse than all
the pains of a lifetime. If I had the money, I would seek private medical
service and buy myself the necessary drugs. But I don't," he told IRIN.
Hospitals, according to Simalie, "are now a place to die - they refer
everyone to a filthy deathbed under a hardworking but underfunded home-based
Simalie's predicament mirrors that of many other Zimbabweans, suffering as a
result of public health sector inefficiencies. The astronomical increase in
the cost of private and public services has aggravated the situation.
Plagued by a scarcity of drugs, dilapidated medical equipment and persistent
strikes over poor remuneration by health sector professionals, the public
health care system is on the verge of collapse. Over the past two years,
people have been forced to turn to private medical practitioners for
services no longer offered by government clinics and hospitals.
The last straw came this month when private medical doctors increased their
consultation fees. General practioners hiked their rates from an average of
US $5 to US $13 per consultation, while specialists began charging up to US
$32. Doctors cited an official inflation rate of around 600 percent as the
reason for the increased fees, and stopped accepting medical aid schemes,
demanding cash upfront.
State hospitals also raised their consultation fees this month, while public
sector clinics in Bulawayo, the country's second city, now charge US $2 per
consultation - last year they were charging only 28 cents.
Drug suppliers, feeling the pinch of the high inflation rate, increased the
cost of drugs by 1,000 percent in October last year - 500 ml of children's
cough mixture rose from 12 cents to US $1.80, while a full course of common
antibiotics now costs around US $11. A month's supply of antiretrovirals to
control HIV cost more than many people earn in a year.
Pharmacy managers and health consultants say inflation cannot be ignored in
a sector that relies heavily on imports, and foreign exchange is hard to
"At this rate, no ordinary Zimbabwean worker can afford to buy drugs at
these prices. But, as drug retailers, we have no choice but to pass the
increases on to the patients," said a manager with one of the city's major
Isaiah Shoniwa, the secretary-general of the Zimbabwe Medical Wholesalers
Association (ZIMWA), said price increases in the drug sector were
unavoidable because importation costs had risen by the same margin of 1,000
percent. "We find the cost of importing drugs highly prohibitive. In fact,
most of us are not sure if we will remain in business because of the costs
involved," Shoniwa said, adding that another hike was imminent this year.
Bulawayo residents who spoke to IRIN said health care was now well beyond
their reach. "There is no way - one cannot afford health care services in
Zimbabwe. The government hospitals have no drugs. In the rare instances when
deliveries are made, there are no nurses or doctors to attend to patients.
The poor can only die silently at home," said Patience Mpofu.
Private doctors interviewed by IRIN defended their rates. "Inflation has not
stabilised - so why should I charge less? If there is no business I can
simply close the surgery and relocate to other countries, rather than try to
beat government in offering expensive services at subsidised rates," said
He confirmed that several private doctors with surgeries in the low-income,
high-density suburbs of Bulawayo had either closed down or relocated because
there was no business, and medical aid societies were out of the picture
because of the impasse over consultation fees between doctors in the
Zimbabwe Medical Association (ZIMA) and the National Association of Medical
Aid Societies (NAMAS).
Doctors had rejected as "meagre" a 200 percent increase in consultation
fees, pegged at US $7, proposed by the medical aid societies, he pointed
out. "Medical aid cards will remain irrelevant as long as NAMAS does not
want to accept the 400 percent increase we have already effected."
Government attempts to bring order to the country's health sector have been
characterised by threats to invoke sections of the Public Health Act. When
drug retailers increased the cost of medication, the government threatened
to introduce price controls.
The government resorted to similar measures when a strike by doctors and
nurses paralysed the public health sector last year. The doctors were
demanding a monthly salary of US $8,305, which Minister of Health Dr David
Parirenyatwa described as "black market inspired".
In response, the minister threatened to invoke the Health Services Act, and
proposed a health services commission that would define health care
professionals as providers of an essential service who could not go on
Phibion Manyanga, president of the Hospital Doctors
Association, scoffed at
suggestions that the commission could prevent future strikes.
"The fate of the patients in this country will depend on whether the
government will understand the need for reasonable remuneration for
employees in the public health sector. Whether it is set up or not, that
commission will not stop inflation, so industrial action will be embarked
upon whenever it becomes necessary. Besides, the professionals still have
the choice of resigning if the conditions of service violate their right to
reasonable remuneration," said Manyanga.
Julia Mpofu, a 45-year-old bedridden tuberculosis patient at Bulawayo's
Thorngrove isolation hospital gave her assessment of the health care system:
"It has become cheaper to die than to get treated."
Zimra officers picked up
POLICE yesterday picked up some Zimbabwe Revenue Authority officers in
connection with circumstances surrounding the importation of some of the 33
vehicles impounded from ENG Capital Asset Management.
Although it could not be established how many Zimra officials had been
picked up, investigations were expected to widen and law enforcement agents
were keen to interview officials from the Central Vehicle Registry.
It is suspected that some of the vehicles impounded from the ENG directors —
Nyasha Watyoka and Gilbert Muponda — had either been fraudulently registered
"We can confirm some Zimra officials have been picked up for questioning and
are assisting police with investigations," a Zimra public relations official
The official could however, not shed more light on the matter.
But The Herald understands that some Zimra officials were suspected of
having assisted in the fraudulent importation of some of the vehicles.
Some of the vehicles impounded from Watyoka and Muponda bore similar
registration plates while their chassis numbers also reflected signs of
having been tampered with.
Police were also keen to establish why the CVR had proceeded to register
some of the vehicles without the mandatory police clearance.
Officers from the police Vehicle Theft Squad yesterday indicated that they
had not cleared the bulk of the ENG vehicles found registered by the CVR.
It is understood that while the CVR was aware of such regulations, they
sometimes cleared vehicles without following laid down procedures.
Police spokesman Inspector Andrew Phiri, confirmed it was not proper for
vehicles to be registered without police clearance.
"Unlike the police, CVR does not thoroughly investigate vehicles. All they
do is computerise simple information concerning the vehicle, disregarding
whether or not the vehicle was tampered with," Insp Phiri said.
A VTS official said apart from CVR, there were many other offices involved
in the saga that police are willing to investigate.
Investigations were also expected to cover some leading garages and car
It is still not yet clear whether some of the vehicles were tampered with
before or after ENG bought them.
In other cases, police were eager to interview original owners of the
vehicles bought by ENG.
Officials from Quest Motors who inspected BMW vehicles confirmed most of the
vehicles’ identification numbers were not original.
Watyoka and Muponda were arrested early last month after they failed to pay
investors their money amounting to over $61 billion.
They have since appeared in court and were remanded in custody.
Decongest rural areas: Made
Rural areas need to be decongested and chiefs are concerned that most areas
are still overpopulated, the Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural
Resettlement, Cde Joseph Made, has said.
He said chiefs would now play a major role in the allocation of land as the
Government continues with the land reform programme.
"Chiefs are still concerned that the people are not being given adequate
land and in most areas we still have overpopulation," Cde Made said.
"We need to continue with decongestion and the chiefs will play a big role."
Cde Made was speaking to journalists after meeting several diplomats
accredited to Zimbabwe on Monday.
Chiefs have been instrumental in the resettlement of A1 farmers on farms
adjacent to communal areas.
The Government has emphasised it would not give people land far from their
original homes as that would disrupt societies.
Cde Made said the Government would continue acquiring land for resettlement.
He said the enemies of the State had not stopped de-campaigning the
"The land war is far from over in terms of what our detractors want to see,"
said Cde Made. "I must emphasise that the enemy is still out there."
Cde Made said what was now needed was to focus on issues relating to crop
and livestock development.
He said farmers should start focusing on the next season.
"What is very important is that we must focus on the coming season," said
Cde Made. "We must plan for the winter crop and the tobacco crop and the
farmers must keep on going.
"I will be meeting the farmers to talk with them."
Cde Made said the two farmers’ organisations — the Zimbabwe Farmers Union
and the Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union — were the most important key
players in agriculture.
"It is the farmers that count first. The farmers are the people on the
ground who spur us on. We are there for them and together we are in it."