Zimbabwe: Minister says government "will do all it can" to fund
January 1, 2003 7:42pm
and power development minister, Comrade Amos Midzi, says he is confident the
government will do all it can to provide the necessary financing for fuel
imports to ease fuel shortages in the new year.
Comrade Midzi said the
problem of foreign currency will continue to be experienced in the country
for some time until the economy improves. He, however, said he is confident
that the government will try its best to ensure that his ministry gets the
Fuel supplies continue to be erratic throughout
the country and this has affected travel plans for the new year, holiday for
On Monday National Oil Company of Zimbabwe, NOCZIM, pumped
out more than 1.3m litres of petrol throughout the country. Out of this total
Harare received 776,000 litres, Bulawayo 280,000, while the rest of the
country got 430,000 litres.
Zimbabwe has suffered intermittent fuel
shortages since 1999 after NOCZIM credit lines were cut over a 9bn dollars
[currency not stated] debt which has since been cleared. The country has been
experiencing irregular fuel supplies, owing largely to foreign currency
shortages. Declining export earnings have also added to the
Libya has renewed a 360m US dollar financing facility for Zimbabwe
to cover the importation of fuel for another year. The facility would
deliver quarterly tranches of 90m US dollars as part of a trade investment
and fuel supply agreement.
Zimbabwe needs about 40m US dollars of fuel
imports each month.
Source: ZBC Radio 3FM, Harare, in English 1100 gmt 1
Reporter A showdown looms between the Harare City Council and members of the
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association over a decision by the
city fathers to reverse an earlier resolution that gave preferential
treatment to the former fighters in the allocation of residential
The decision, which was passed by council at its last general
meeting, will affect war veterans and landless people who were allocated 100
stands in Crowborough North.
City spokesman Mr Cuthbert Rwazemba
declined to comment on the issue yesterday, but a council official said the
department of housing and community services had been instructed to demolish
"The council is sticking with its earlier decision and
wants those people at Crowborough North to leave. The area has been reserved
for residential purposes and is meant for people on the housing waiting
list,'' said the official who declined to be named.
However, a member
of the war veterans at Crowborough North said no one was going to
"We have not received any communication from the city fathers
regarding the latest development and, therefore, we will not move.
fact, moving out of the area is completely out of question because we are
busy constructing our dwellings,'' he said.
At their last meeting,
councillors resolved to suspend all policies which accorded preferential
treatment in the provisions of goods and services to the public pending
confirmation of such policies or adoption of new ones.
It also resolved
that relevant heads of departments affected by such policy report to an
appropriate committee of council for confirmation or review.
of housing and community services, Mr Numero Mubaiwa, had reported that the
Crowborough houses were now ready for allocation and was seeking ways from
council of treating the 100 stands which had been reserved for war
The Education, Health, Housing and Community Services Committee
expressed the need to abide by the resolution which reversed the decision to
allocate land to war veterans.
The decision was then adopted by the
general council meeting.
The latest development comes barely a month
after a number of council workers were injured by landless people in Budiriro
while trying to demolish illegal structures in the area.
Sport and politics must unite against the Mugabe
regime By Kate Hoey (Filed: 28/12/2002)
I have always thought the
maxim that sport and politics should not mix is a nonsense. Unfortunately, it
is because too many sportspeople have believed this myth that governments
have been able to get away with putting sport at the bottom of the league
when setting their funding priorities. Sport has never been able to influence
with the same success as the Arts. This is rather ironic because when I was
minister I found sport was riven with back-stabbing and constant infighting -
much more so than in the House of Commons.
Nevertheless, the maxim has
been used by politicians when considered expedient. As a result, when it
comes to difficult decisions in sport, particularly those with a moral
dimension, government can avoid the issue by proclaiming the mantra, 'nothing
to do with us'. So far that is what they have done over the Cricket World Cup
in Zimbabwe. The current Minister for Sport, Richard Caborn, has resolutely
stuck to the line that it is up to the International Cricket Council to make
the decision over whether Zimbabwe should host the early stages of the
Tim Lamb, chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket
Board, has added his words of wisdom: "The ECB are not a political
organisation and do not take decisions on that basis."
the chief executive of the ICC, was keen to ensure we had no illusions about
his organisation. He answered all questions by insisting that the ICC "simply
did not make political judgements - they are for politicians." So politicians
do not interfere with sports administrators' decisions and sports chiefs do
not meddle with politics.
To me, that cop out is not good enough when
dealing with the ECB's decision to support the ICC's decree that the six
matches in Harare and Bulawayo should go ahead in February.
I was part
of the student generation who sat down to protest against the South African
cricketers playing against England in the 1970s. We felt strongly that the
system of apartheid in that country was repugnant. We wanted a boycott of
everything to do with the regime. Boycotts can work, especially if they are
part of other international sanctions.
So far Zimbabwe's suspension from
the Commonwealth and the European Union sanctions have been fairly patchy. To
allow a Zimbabwean team to take part in the Commonwealth Games in July was
wrong and sent out a signal that condemnation of President Mugabe's regime
The message which will be sent out worldwide if England
play their World Cup match in Harare is that Zimbabwe is a normal functioning
country. This is patently untrue. It is a country where nothing is normal.
The shortage of basic food stuffs is acute in both rural and urban areas.
Half the population - more than six million people - are starving or on the
verge of starvation. The country is grinding to a halt with everything in
short supply except violence, disease and death.
pressure is needed to make Mugabe account for his despotic misrule and sport
can help make that happen. A boycott of the Cricket World Cup has happened
before - Australia refused to play in Sri Lanka in 1996 and still reached the
At the ICC press conference announcing the decision to stick with
Zimbabwe, Speed expressed his hope that the country would reap benefits from
the tournament. Can someone in his position really be so naive? Of course
there will be financial rewards - that seems to be the reason for holding
World Cups - but does anyone other than the apologists for Mugabe think that
the money will go anywhere but the pockets of the dictator?
about other countries with undemocratic governments, is the cry when a sports
boycott is suggested. Yes, there are many terrible regimes in the world, but
that does not mean we should do nothing. As the former colonial power Britain
has a particular responsibility for Zimbabwe. For the English team to refuse
to go would be a huge morale boost for all the brave men and women who are
struggling for freedom.
I understand the pressures on the cricketers.
They are professionals and it is a World Cup. However, I cannot believe that
if they really think about what playing in Zimbabwe would mean that they
would choose to go. Any decision not to play would be made much easier if a
lead was given by the Prime Minister. I would urge him to leave the war room
and the maps of Iraq for a short while and concentrate on the tragedy of
Zimbabwe. Not a penny need be spent.
All he needs to do is make a
statement that it is not possible for sport to be played where human rights
have been so violated. He could refer to the thousands of white farmers who
have been forced off their farms, now sadly left barren and
He could remind us of the 900,000 black farm workers who have
lost everything and have been reduced to foraging for food. Then he could
tell us that he would not play cricket in a country where tyranny rules and
ethnic cleansing is the norm.
It is not too late for the ECB to
understand that sometimes even they have to face up to their wider
responsibilities. Sport and politics should unite and tell the evil Mugabe
that the English cricket team will not be a propaganda weapon for his odious
regime. They should not go.
Streak's straight bat fails to
convince By Owen Slot, Chief Sports
JUST when it seemed that the message was
getting across that Zimbabwe is not such a splendid place at present, up pops
Heath Streak again to disabuse us of the notion. "I think things should go
ahead," he said yesterday in an interview with the BBC World Service. "I
believe the security of the team coming here is perfect. We are looking
forward to hosting those matches." This is the same Heath
Streak - the one who is captain of the Zimbabwe cricket team - who made the
startling comment in August that "there are no problems in Zimbabwe".
Particularly startling that one, given that four days earlier his father,
Dennis, had completed 72 hours in a prison cell for disobeying instructions
to hand over three quarters of his farm.
astounding, too, that Streak should be dealing in such opinions when members
of his team are beginning to find their voice and speaking out against their
country's role as host to six World Cup matches starting next month on the
condition of anonymity. Even that is an act of some bravery, given that the
voice they have found is in opposition to President Robert Mugabe, the patron
of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU). "The game has to stop," one
But who exactly is being brave here? And what exactly
does anyone really mean? I spent half an hour on the phone to Dennis
Streak yesterday, the last five minutes of which were taken up rewinding
through his words and working out exactly what he said and what could be
published without him losing that final quarter of his land,
It is clearly no fun being opposed to the Government in
Zimbabwe right now, but neither is being a Mugabe puppet. The opposition to
Mugabe may be oppressed, but it is hardly flattened. After first giving
the infamous thumbs up to his country in August, Heath Streak fell like a
stone from a stratospheric peak of popularity and he was the target of
a considerable hate campaign, the exact details of which his father
was particularly loath to share. You simply cannot be too careful. And it
cannot have been too easy for Streak to have gone back on the record
yesterday, making public an allegiance to the status quo.
Those who know Streak have been less quick to condemn him. They question what
deal-making might have been done. Some kind words, Heath, and the family
keeps that final quarter. Who knows? The words he used could hardly have been
more careful. Studied closely, they are by no means a jolly old pat on the
back for his chum at the presidential palace. Asked what exactly had happened
to his father, he said: "Unfortunately, Dad was picked up and spent the
weekend in town."
What is certain is that when you are
captain of the national cricket team and you step outside the party line you
will not be in office very long. Remember Stuart Carlisle? Captain of
Zimbabwe early last year, a little too forthright and opinionated and now not
captain, not in the national squad, not even in his provincial team. And why
has Alistair Campbell, another former captain, not been picked in the World
Cup squad? It was an eccentric decision to drop him if it was based on
So even though Streak Sr, a former cricketer who was in
the national team with Duncan Fletcher, spent three days in prison as a guest
of the patron of the ZCU, he is entirely supportive of cricket, the hosting
of the World Cup and his son. "I lost out back in the Rhodesia days because
of sanctions," he said. "So I know what it is like to be isolated
from international sport. We didn't have Test status then, but maybe we'd
have got it earlier. When I retired, Zimbabwe cricket was
"I don't believe politics should play any role in
sport. I've been surprised by the recriminations that have followed Heath.
Quite often they have come from people who didn't realise we live on a farm.
He's now been targeted by a group called Zim-Activism, the kind of people who
think the only way to bring the Government down is to oppose everything. I
do discuss this with Heath. Heath likes to concentrate on cricket matters,
but as a captain he has a role to play and he believes he is duty bound to
talk about these things."
After retiring as a player,
Streak Sr went on to be manager of the national team. He is now skipper of
the Zimbabwe lawn bowls team, which is a less stressful position from which
to lead the country than that occupied by his son.
issue that recurs for the England cricket team is, if they do end up playing
their match in Harare on February 13, would Nasser Hussain et al shake hands
with Mugabe? Tim Lamb, the chief executive of the ECB, has already talked
about the necessity of having talks with Hussain about it. He has refused to
rule out the handshake with Mugabe and that, in itself, has made a back-page
headline. The Daily Mirror's front page on Tuesday was a photo montage of
Hussain and Mugabe, their hands mid-shake, with the screaming headline
"Howzat!" So if this is the intensity of the issue for the England team,
imagine what it is like for the Zimbabweans. Rumours abound that there are
players who want to snub the presidential handshake, there have been
discussions about it and the deal apparently is that either the whole team is
in on it or no one is.
And when the World Cup is played,
there is a biography of one member of the squad to be published that contains
revealing opinions and revelations. The book is in cold storage until more
sane times prevail because if it came out now the player's future would be
jeopardised. Do not expect sales to be too big in Zimbabwe. In fact, under
the present regime, do not expect the book to be sold there at all.
I have nearly finished reading DARK STAR SAFARI by Paul Theroux, and although
it is long and sometimes a wee bit tedious it is one of the most realistic
and honest books about Africa that I have read. Here is an extract from it, a
longer version of which you can find at http://books.guardian.co.uk/departments/travel/story/0,6000,804668,00.html - it gives a good idea of what he found on his journey from Cairo to
the Cape. I recommend it. Barbara
The African world I got to know was
not the narrow existence of the tourist or big-game hunter, or the rarified
and misleading experience of the diplomat, but the more revealing progress of
an ambitious exile in the bush.
In Malawi I began identifying with
Rimbaud and Graham Greene, and it was in Africa that I began my lifelong
dislike of Ernest Hemingway, from his shotguns to his mannered prose. Ernest
was both a tourist and a big-game hunter. The Hemingway vision of Africa
begins and ends with the killing of large animals, so that their heads may be
displayed to impress visitors with your prowess.
That kind of safari
is easily come by. You pay your money and you are shown elephants and
leopards. You talk to servile Africans, who are generic natives. The human
side of Africa is an afternoon visit to a colourful village.
the sorts of travel available in Africa, the easiest to find and the most
misleading is the Hemingway experience. In some respects the feed-the-people
obsession that fuels some charities is related to this, for I seldom saw
relief workers who did not in some way remind me of people herding animals
and throwing food to them, much as rangers did to the animals in
drought-stricken game parks.
Fearing the draft, I had joined the Peace
Corps and been sent to Nyasaland, an African country not yet independent. So
I experienced the last gasp of British colonialism, the in-between period of
uncertain changeover, and the hopeful assertion of black rule. That was
lucky, too, for I saw this process at close quarters, and African rule,
necessary as it was, was also a tyranny in Malawi from day
[I met] a Malawian, Dr Jonathan Banda, a
political science teacher at Georgetown, in Washington DC. He had left Malawi
while quite young, in 1974, had travelled and studied in various countries
but had finished his PhD in the United States. He had just come back to
Malawi and he was disappointed by what he saw.
"It is dirty - it's
awful," he said. "The people are greedy and materialistic. They're lazy, too.
They show no respect. They push and shove. They are awful to each
I asked him about charities and aid agencies - the agents of
virtue in white Land Rovers. What were they changing? "Not much - because all
aid is political," he said.
"When this country became independent it
had very few institutions. It still doesn't have many. The donors aren't
contributing to development. They maintain the status quo. Politicians love
that, because they hate change. The tyrants love aid. Aid helps them stay in
power and it contributes to underdevelopment. It's not social or cultural and
it certainly isn't economic. Aid is one of the main reasons for
underdevelopment in Africa."
I walked to the house I
had once lived in. The now-battered building had once lain behind hedges, in
a bower of blossoming shrubs, but the shrubbery was gone, replaced by a
scrappy garden of withered maize and cassava at one corner. Tall elephant
grass had almost overwhelmed it and now pressed against the house. The
building was scorched and patched and the veranda roof broken. Mats lay in
the driveway, mounds of white flour drying on them - except that falling rain
had begun to turn it to paste.
To someone unfamiliar with Africa the
house was the very picture of disorder. I knew better. A transformation had
occurred, an English chalet-bungalow turned into a serviceable African hut,
not a very colourful hut, even an unlovely hut. But it was not for me to
blame the occupants for finding other uses for the driveway, or chopping the
trees up for firewood, or slashing the hedges, or growing cassava where I had
I sketched out my theory that some
governments in Africa depended on underdevelopment to survive - bad schools,
poor communications, a feeble press and ragged people.
poverty to obtain foreign aid, they needed ignorance and uneducated and
passive people to keep themselves in office for decades.
"The NG0s pull
out the teachers," Jackson said. "They offer them better pay and
That was interesting - the foreign charities and virtue
activists, aiming to improve matters, coopted underpaid teachers, turned them
into food distributors in white Land Rovers, and left the schools
December 20, 2002 Posted to the web December 27,
THE banning of foreign media organisations
from operating in Zimbabwe by denying their foreign crews and reporters leave
to enter the country or refusing to renew the work permits of those already
here is a miscalculation that draws strength from naivety and a deep sense of
wanting to be seen to be doing something by the minister responsible. The new
policy typifies a government not normally associated with the truth and eager
to drum up a "patriotic" excuse for a blatant blockade of news in the
While the official line is that foregn media houses in the mould
of CNN, BBC, AFP etc must employ local journalists to cover news for
them, government is aware this is not always possible for a myriad of
reasons, especially with regard to the electronic media. Common sense
dictates it is not always necessary to have a reporter for every country in
the world. One reporter in most organisations can cover as many as 10
countries on their own. Basildon Peta who works for the Independent newspaper
group is a good example. He is currently covering 14 countries in the
Southern African region alone. In a country like Zimbabwe which rewards
laziness, corruption and over-staffed institutions, maybe such myopic
thinking from "Rocket Scientists" is acceptable.
There is also the
skill factor, especially in broadcasting, that has to be considered. I had
the good fortune of working with CNN journalists Jeff Koinange and Charlayne
Hunter-Gault during the March 2002 presidential election.
through the CVs of the two is like going through a hall of fame.
They personify talent. Jeff Koinange was with Reuters Television from
1995-2001. From 1999 he was its Chief Producer covering 15 African countries
and overseeing the coverage of 24 nations. In 1999 he was a finalist in the
Prix Bayeaux for the coverage of the war in Sierra Leone. He holds a Bachelor
of Arts degree in Broadcast Journalism from New York University. He has
covered notable events like the hijacking of an Ethiopian Airlines plane,
the overthrow of Mobutu Sese Seko, the assassination of President Kabila,
the election of Thabo Mbeki and the war in Sierra Leone.
Hunter Gault joined CNN from National Public Radio where she was Chief
Correspondent in Africa. She worked 20 years for PBS. She began her career as
a reporter for the New Yorker, then became anchor for WRC-TV in Washington.
She worked for the New York Times for 10 years. She has won two Emmy awards,
two Peabody Awards and Amnesty International's Media Spotlight Award. In 1986
she was awarded the Journalist of the year award from the National
Association of Black Journalists. These are two journalists who have covered
real news and have the experience in reputable news organisations that
enabled them to knock on the CNN door and be accepted.
Try to imagine CNN
or BBC making a decision on which journalist from ZBC to employ to replace
the two. Looking at the options, we have the inaudible Freedom Moyo, pompous
Reuben Barwe, mistake-laden Supa Mandiwanzira, over-zealous Makhosini
Hlongwane or the ever-shallow Happison Muchechetere. Better still, why not
employ Mr Mass Communication himself, Dr Tafataona Mahoso? You can clearly
see the propositions would be in order if we were recruiting characters for a
The ZBC in its new bastardised mandate is no longer a viable
breeding ground for broadcast journalists to build international reputations
simply because it is innocent of any professionalism. Zimbabwe's Alice
Chavunduka is an anchor for CNN because a professional establishment, the
SABC, honed her raw skills to international standards. There are a lot of
Zimbabwean journalists who have the talent to emulate Alice but will never
get that exposure and experience because of the ZBC's sterile productions
resulting from a naked monopoly and bootlicking station managers who can't
even lie convincingly.
Reporting on the commissioning of boreholes,
tomato prices at Mbare Musika market, fictitious crises in the opposition,
and speech and function reporting is hardly the stuff that will ignite
international interest in our journalists.
Jonathan Moyo's handling of
the media shows he is green behind the ears on how it works. People plucked
from classroom situations, ie teachers and lecturers like Moyo and Mugabe,
usually exhibit a patronising attitude as they tend to think everyone around
them is a student needing guidance at every turn. Most journalists who have
met Moyo will testify that he loves to lecture on how the media should work.
Teachers make good dictators, I always joke, they simply turn the whole
country into a classroom, the chalk becomes a gun and the blackboard a burial
Whoever told Mugabe that "political scientists" like Moyo
necessarily make good politicians might as well have told him donkeys have
horns. Inevitably the print media in Zimbabwe has assumed the mantle of torch
bearer and has helped put our journalists in the limelight.
chose to major in broadcast journalism given our prevailing environment is a
choice I have to stomach for the rest of my life. The misfortune though has
moulded me into a better person. At college I used to fantasise about being a
television celebrity like Reuben Barwe (ZBC's Chief Reporter) but now realise
I would need to be moving around with a gun to protect myself from
dissatisfied viewers nauseated by Zanu PF's propaganda.
It is quite
obvious, Jonathan Moyo, the unelected Junior Minister realising the
incompetence of his department to counter international coverage of
his party's evils, merely sought to shoot the messenger and the message in
one fell swoop. The ban however has merely fuelled demand for news on
Zimbabwe (they love creating black markets), and government via Moyo's
naivety has denied itself an equal platform to respond. Nobody outside a zoo
believes anything the ZBC, the Herald and the other motley crew of
pseudo-independent papers broadcast or publish.
- Lance Guma is a
Zimbabwe-based freelance journalist and former secretary-general, Harare