Moses Mudzwiti Published:Jul 16, 2009
ZIMBABWE'S cash woes are expected to be laid bare today when Finance
Minister Tendai Biti presents his mid-term budget to parliament.
With a civil servants' strike looming, Biti is expected to announce
improved benefits for state workers.
At present, all civil servants earn the same - a paltry US100 (R812) a
In February, when the unity government was formed, Biti said the country
needed more than 8-billion to revive its battered economy.
But few pledges from international donors have translated into actual cash.
Today, the finance minister will give an assessment of the performance of
the unity government against its agreed action plans.
He will tell parliament how little money, if any, is in the kitty.
Pressing demands include food aid and agriculture inputs for winter crops.
Electricity supplies remain wholly inadequate. Hospitals are still in need
of medication and funds to pay staff. Water supplies have improved slightly,
but the levels are still nowhere near adequate.
Civil servants have already made it clear they are ready to down tools if
Biti cannot find the money to increase their salaries.
The manufacturing sector has not been able to up production from current
lows of about 10percent. Limited capital injections and regular power cuts
were blamed for the status quo.
Unemployment remains high at more than 90percent, and there is a shortage of
by Simplicious Chirinda Thursday 16 July 2009
HARARE - Zimbabwe's largest political pressure group, the National
Constitutional Assembly (NCA), said on Wednesday it was embarking on a
parallel process to produce a draft constitution for the country after
disagreeing with the government on who should lead the writing of the
The NCA said it would work with the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)
and Zimbabwe National Students Union (ZINASU). The national labour and
student movements are also opposed to the unity government of President
Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai leading the
constitutional reform process.
"The NCA with the special support of ZCTU and ZINASU will convene the second
people's convention on Monday 27 July, 2009. Our agenda is to get a genuine
process that will give our country a democratic constitution," NCA chairman
Lovemore Madhuku told journalists in Harare.
"At the convention we will launch under the banner of 'Take Charge' and
thereafter take it to all people in the country," said Madhuku, adding that
the convention will be attended by 3 500 likeminded Zimbabweans with the
deep convictions that the constitution making process must not be led by
The NCA is a coalition of several civic society groups and smaller
opposition political parties. The group has for years campaigned for a new
and democratic constitution for Zimbabwe.
The group and its labour and student partners have been traditional allies
of both Tsvangirai and Deputy Premier Arthur Mutambara's MDC parties.
But a potentially costly rift has emerged between the allies after the
former opposition MDC parties agreed with President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF
party to put Parliament in charge of drafting a new constitution for
Without control of Parliament, the NCA will not be able to make its draft
constitution into law. However, the NCA's move could prove a devastating
moral and political body blow on its former MDC allies should the
government-drafted charter turn out to be defective or less democratic than
the one produced by the civic coalition.
The NCA, ZCTU, ZINASU and the MDC - then a single party led by Tsvangirai -
successfully mobilised Zimbabweans to reject a government-sponsored draft
constitution in 2000.
The divisions in the alliance could weaken the MDC's capacity to wring
concessions from Mugabe and ZANU PF during the writing of the new
Mugabe has said any new constitution should be based on a draft constitution
secretly authored by the MDC and ZANU PF on Lake Kariba and known as the
Critics say the document leaves largely untouched the wide-sweeping powers
that Mugabe continues to enjoy even after formation of a power-sharing
government with Tsvangirai and Mutambara.
Zimbabweans hope a new constitution will guarantee human rights, strengthen
the role of Parliament and curtail the president's powers, as well as
guaranteeing civil, political and media freedoms.
The new constitution will replace the current Lancaster House Constitution
written in 1979 before independence from Britain. The charter has been
amended 19 times since independence in 1980. Critics say the majority of the
amendments have been to further entrench Mugabe and ZANU PF's hold on
power. - ZimOnline
by Patricia Mpofu Thursday 16 July 2009
HARARE - The state has summonsed prominent human rights lawyer Alec
Muchadehama for trial on charges that he connived with court officials to
have a group of political activists unlawfully released from jail.
The development comes barely two weeks after a magistrate's court declined
to place Muchadehama on further remand on the same charges, citing lack of
evidence to suggest the lawyer could have committed the alleged offence. But
the court said the state could summons the lawyer for trial if evidence
The order to appear in court issued on Tuesday indicated that Muchadehama,
who is representing several members of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's
MDC party facing charges ranging from banditry to terrorism, would be
jointly charged with a Harare High Court clerk - Constance Gambara.
According to the summons, Muchadehama is to appear in the magistrates' court
on July 28.
The court papers say that on April 17 this year, Muchadehama and Gambara
connived to defy a court order by Justice Chinembiri Bhunu and unlawfully
released MDC activists Kisimusi Dlamini, Gandhi Mudzingwa and freelance
photographer Andrison Manyere from Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison.
The state says Muchadehama and Gambara caused the release of the three MDC
activists when permission to appeal against their admission to bail by
Justice Hungwe had been granted, thus by that act both the accused were in
contempt of Justice Bhunu's order.
The MDC activists that Muchadehama is said to have caused to be released
from custody are out on bail and have appealed to the Supreme Court to have
their case dismissed alleging that state security agents tortured them in
order to extract evidence from them. - ZimOnline
by Andrew Moyo Thursday 16 July 2009
HARARE - The militant Progressive Teachers' Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ)
yesterday declared it would take its demonstrations over salary increments
to President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's offices
after an attempt by protesting members to meet Public Service Minister
Eliphas Mukonoweshuro failed on Monday.
PTUZ president Takavafira Zhou told ZimOnline that they felt Mugabe, a
former teacher, would understand their grievances more than any other person
in government but they would have to approach the PM before staging
demonstrations at the veteran leader's offices.
Zhou said about 200 teachers demonstrated in Harare on Monday under police
"We went to the Public Service Commission but because they had already heard
that we were coming they all disappeared leaving only secretaries manning
offices," said Zhou, adding that the protesting teachers were insulted by
"They asked us why we behaved as if we were the only one in need of money."
The PTUZ leader said: "We have discovered that Mukonoweshuro has renounced
his responsibility and is not prepared to entertain us. So we have resolved
that demonstrations will now target the President and the Prime Minister's
offices. We will start with the PM's office. If nothing is done we will go
to the President's office, one of the first successful teachers in
Teachers have been battling to get the government to review their current
earnings from the US$100 monthly allowance that government pays all its
workers to US$454, embarking on a Friday class boycott and threatening to
intensify the action if government fails to address their concerns.
Last week, the PTUZ staged demonstrations in several cities but were blocked
by the police in Mutare, Gweru, Kwekwe and Chinhoyi, where they filed High
Court petitions to have the police action declared null and void.
The courts were still looking at the applications, according to Zhou.
"We have filed High Court orders in these towns because police prevented
teachers from demonstrating, even after initially approving our
applications. There was a 75 percent success, 75 percent school closures
were registered in these areas. In Harare we will be demonstrating next
week," the PTUZ president claimed.
He said 150 PTUZ members had downed chalks in Masvingo, 130 had not gone to
work in Bulawayo, 145 teachers were participating in the demonstrations in
Chinhoyi and 85 teachers had gathered for the demonstrations in Kwekwe
before police said they could not go ahead.
Demonstrations could not take place in Harare because the PTUZ felt there
were so many programmes going on at the time, including preparations for the
Education Minister David Coltart told ZimOnline last week he had received
reports of the demonstrations in Bulawayo but he had not heard of any
reports in other parts of the country.
Coltart has in the past met teachers' union leaders to urge them to be
patient as the government tries to mobilise resources from donors to improve
salaries and working conditions.
On Monday last week the largest union representing teachers in the country,
the Zimbabwe Teachers' Association (ZIMTA), threate
www.chinaview.cn 2009-07-16 07:22:43
HARARE, July 15 (Xinhua) -- Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai has won Spain's Cristobal Gabarron Foundation award for Lifetime
Achievement (2009) for his message of reconciliation to the world and his
fight for democracy.
He beat 17 other nominees from Italy, Mexico, Portugal, Russia,
Spain and the United States to land the international award that honors
people or organizations that "have been outstanding in reaching achievements
that are an example to humanity".
The announcement that Tsvangirai had won the award was made last
Friday and presentation will be on October 9 in Valladolid, Spain, a
statement from Tsvangirai's party the MDC said on Wednesday.
The award is named after famous Spanish painter Cristobal
A panel of judges for the Lifetime Achievement Award category
settled for Tsvangirai "because he is a statesman for history to remember".
He launched a message to the world from Africa, a message of reconciliation
and of the fight for democracy, the judges said.
"Tsvangirai is an example of personal and political generosity, a
beacon of hope for all of Africa. The whole world must lend its support to
his striving for excellence and to the dignity of the people of Zimbabwe,"
they added in their citation.
15 July 2009
By Natasha Hove
BINDURA - Five war veterans and their families who were allocated plots
under the Zanu (PF)'s 2000 land grab have been served with eviction notices
because they now support the MDC.
The five, Fanuel Musona, Gift Lemon, Lyson Reason, Gift Mhembere and Lazarus
Malunga, received plots at Foothills farm in Bindura in 2000. For the past
nine years they have built homes and families on the land. But they have
now, together with fellow settlers around the country, become victims of
Zanu (PF) zealots who accuse them of turning against the liberation war
movement that allocated them the plots.
MDC Foothills chairman, Collen Langton, confirmed the eviction notices
the five war veterans were issued after they were made to appear Chief
Negomo of Chiweshe village on charges of turning against President Mugabe's
"Though they are still residing at the farm, the fate of whether they will
evicted or not in is in the hands of the village court. The five are being
told that they will be evicted because they now support the MDC. They have
been told to go to the MDC to look for land," said Langton in an interview.
The charges against the five war veterans are believed to be led by the Zanu
(PF) District Chairman Jacob Chiripanyanga for Foothills Farm. He refused to
comment saying the issue was before the village courts.
15 July 2009
By STAFF REPORTER
HARARE - Six Zanu (PF) governors will lose their jobs next month - Cain
Ginyilitshe Mathema (Bulawayo), David Karimanzira (Harare), Christopher
Mushowe (Manicaland), Titus Maluleke (Masvingo), Thokozile Mathuthu
(Matabeleland North) and Angeline Masuku (Matabeleland South).
Legal experts said the party was delaying the appointments as it was scared
of losing Senate seats in Parliament. Provincial governors are ex officio
members of the Senate.
Zanu (PF) has dilly-dallied since February with the excuse that the new
governors will not be sworn in until towards the end of August when the
departing governors complete one year of their two-year contracts.
As four of the five MDC governors-designate are already Parliamentarians,
three in the House of Assembly and one an elected Senator, they will
relinquish their constituency seats in order to take up their ex officio
seats, causing another four vacancies, three in the House of Assembly and
one in the Senate, to be filled through by-elections.
Tsvangirai has appointed governors for Bulawayo - Seiso Moyo, Harare - James
Makore, Manicaland - Julius Magaramombe, Masvingo - Lucia Matibenga, and
Matabeleland North -Tose Sansole.
Mutambara has not yet named a governor-designate.
"The greatest impact will be on party numbers in the Senate," said legal
expert Val Ingham-Thorpe. "Numbers of elected Senators are fairly even at
present: Zanu (PF) has 30 seats, MDC-T 24 and MDC-M six, giving the combined
"Of nominated and ex officio Senators, Zanu (PF) has 16, which will change
to 10, MDC-T four, which will change to nine and MDC-M two, which will
change to three; thus the combined MDCs' current six will go up to 12.
"Assuming that the MDCs will vote together, this means that in the Senate
Zanu (PF) would only have a majority if the 18 chiefs vote with them, which
has been traditional while Zanu (PF) was the exclusive governing party."
15 July 2009
By Mxolisi Ncube
. villagers threaten to fight back
JOHANNESBURG - A raging land dispute in the Jibhi communal land of
Tsholotsho, Matabeleland North, is threatening to turn nasty as villagers
early this week declared war on a local businessman. (Pictured: Gibson
Ndlovu addresses fellow villagers at Bruma.)
Villagers who spoke to The Zimbabwean accused the businessman, Vuka Sibanda,
who comes from Somnene village on the Tsholotsho-Plumtree boundary, of
fencing off a vital portion of their land and declaring it his private
property. Sibanda, accused of being a Zanu (PF) loyalist, owns
Tsholotsho-based Vukuzenzele trading stores, where he has a general dealer,
a butchery and a grinding mill.
According to the villagers, the land dispute began about two months ago,
when the businessman visited their area in Jibhi village and offered local
traditional leaders beer in exchange of fertile land in their village. The
five headmen, George Nkezo, Micah Tshabangu, Soul Ncube, Kheva Ndebele and
Lameck Mpofu, refused. Sibanda then threatened to take over the land
forcibly, claiming that he was connected at the top.
"Simultaneously, his father was going around the area showing people an
outdated map demarcating Plumtree and Tsholotsho and claiming that they were
buying our land," said Stanely Ndlovu, a spokesman for the villagers, most
of whom are currently working in Johannesburg.
"A few weeks later, Sibanda came back with fake receipts, claiming that he
had bought our land, and began to fence it off. He enclosed the only
boreholes that we have."
The villagers said that Sibanda also enclosed their cattle's grazing land
and where they fetched firewood, claiming that all that area was his and
declaring that whoever touched it would die.
"He had a local traditional healer - Zenzo Sibanda from the Bhubhude area,
who followed behind spraying some herbs on the fence with a flywhisk and
declaring that whoever touched the fence would die of evil spells. "At some
of the homesteads, his fence went through the centre, dividing people's
houses, with some inside and others outside his fence," added Ndlovu.
The businessman is also alleged to have employed more than 10 men from
Lupane, to terrify the locals and guard the land, which he has now declared
his farm. Sibanda is also alleged to have threatened to come back and fence
off the villagers' fields, which he would turn into an irrigation area. In
an effort to have the dispute resolved amicably, they wrote a petition to
the local councillor, Alois Ndebele (Zanu PF), the chief and the Tsholotsho
District Administrator. "But nothing positive came out of that as they all
seem to be on Vuka's side," said Ndlovu.
They suspect this could be a campaign of retribution against them for their
continuing support for Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC, adding that
the DA, Mbewe, has been avoiding their calls ever since they handed over a
petition in his office early last month. Two weeks ago, some of the South
African-based villagers went home and cut down the fence during the night.
But the police, driving Sibanda's Jeep, are said to have raided 250
villagers and abducted the headmen, all over 70 years of age. They were
detained at the businessman's shop for days, before being taken to Figtree
police station, where they were also detained for some days.
Two uniformed police officers from Tsholotsho are now said to have been
assigned to guard Sibanda, while also continuing to issue threats to
villagers, who have been left with no water and firewood sources. Early this
week, about 40 South African-based villagers held a meeting in Bruma,
Johannesburg, where they vowed to fight for their land.
"We suffered a lot under white rule, under Gukurahundi and now there is
another small Gukurahundi in our area, this cannot be," said Tshabangu. "We
want Vuka to know that he will only get that piece of land upon our dead
bodies. We cannot allow our elderly to be exploited by someone just because
he is very rich and is connected, never.
"We are calling on the authorities to intervene and stop this land dispute
before it gets nastier, because we will do everything in our power to retain
our land that this man is trying to steal from us."
15 July 2009
HARARE - More than 50 journalists are facing arrest for "undergoing military
training" in Zambia to topple the Zimbabwean government. CIO and CID
operatives have informally quizzed several journalists, urging them to 'come
out in the open' about their participation in military and surveillance
training. These frivolous charges are reminiscent of those brought against
human rights activist, Jestina Mukoko, and some MDC members accused of
recruiting people for military training in Botswana.
"I was accosted by a stranger outside my house when I was going to work
recently. He asked why journalists had been receiving military training in
Zambia. I said I was not aware of any journalists who were receiving
military training. He was very intimidating. He said he was aware that I had
received military training and he asked me to clear myself by writing a
report on who organised the training. I am now afraid for my life," the
Survival skills misunderstood
However, The Zimbabwean can reveal that far from receiving military
training, a group of journalists received basic training in covering
conflict-sensitive areas. The workshops were held in Mutare and Lusaka,
Zambia in March 2009. The training was provided by the International News
Safety Institute (INSI) whose mandate is to provide journalists throughout
the world with survival skills while on assignment.
Subjects covered included basic safety training including home and office
security, surveillance awareness, controlling bleeding and burns, covering
riots, treating broken bones and the prevention of infectious diseases. All
participants received first aid medical kits including water treatment and
Another journalist told The Zimbabwean that he had received a threat from a
female detective at the Law and Order Section of the Zimbabwe Republic
"The officer who is known to me said she had seen my name on a list of
journalists who had undergone military training in Zambia. She said
investigations were still ongoing and warned me that it would be in my
interest to make a true report of what subjects we covered during the
military training. I told her that all we had done were basic survival
skills while on assignment and I pointed out to her that safety was very
important to journalists because of the nature of their job."
15 July 2009
By Paul Ndlovu
BULAWAYO - Nkayi district hospital has been operating without an ambulance
for two years. The hospital is the largest referral centre, servicing 14
other clinics in the district. Due to the absence of an ambulance, patients
cannot be transported to other referral centres when necessary.
A visit revealed that the hospital was using a twin cab instead of an
"The only ambulance that used to service the hospital and the other 14
clinics in the district broke down two years ago and nothing was done to
repair it. After that we started using the twin cab as our ambulance, but it
is not very convenient for that type of work. We therefore call upon the
Ministry of Health and Child Welfare to come to our rescue," said an
employee at the hospital.
The employee said that other problems facing the hospital included power
cuts. The absence of electricity was affecting the supply of water to the
district as the pump would not work. This has put patients and staff at risk
of contracting disease.
15 July 2009
By Chief reporter
HARARE - Zimbabwe is sinking into an abyss of corruption, crime and greed,
with the triple threat spawned by deepening hardships fuelled by the cash
crunch. More and more Zimbabweans are making ends meet on the edge of the
law, and a small clique has become highly successful by what is called
"kujingirisa" in slang or "running around and stitching things together".
The phrase covers everything from hard work to pick-pocketing, and from
money-changing to importing scarce basics. Criminal activity and corruption
arising from economic hardship is dignified by the euphemism "ari ku
Zimbabwe's five-month-old inclusive government has acknowledged that the
country has been hard hit by the scourge common to many countries on the
world's poorest continent. Under the Global Political Agreement, GPA, the
three parties are mandated to create an Anti-Corruption Commission.
Parliament was sitting this week to select commissioners who will sit on the
corruption watchdog. Its terms of reference would include, among other
things, investigating cases of corruption with a view to bringing the
culprits to book. The independent commission has also been given the
exclusive mandate to prevent and combat corruption at all levels of
government and institutions.
The global political agreement says the new government is "determined to
build a society free of violence, fear, intimidation, hatred, patronage,
corruption and founded on justice, fairness, openness, transparency, dignity
and equality." But analysts say dealing with graft will be no stroll in the
park, given how entrenched in corruption the entire political system is.
Some of Zimbabwe's "survival vices" have emerged as tragi-comic, others have
earned grudging admiration for creativity. But the almost widespread
top-level corruption involves rigging of commercial bids and issuing of
preferential treatments to individuals and organizations based on tribe and
Beggars and the jobless have turned commodity shortages into an industry by
importing basics and charging desperate consumers almost four times the
actual price; some prostitutes offer their services to motorists spending
the night in their cars as they wait for fuel at petrol stations, others got
filthy rich through a practice called "burning money" yet others were
engaged in "changing money."
After the collapse of the vice after the official authorisation of
dollarisation, some enterprising Zimbabweans have now responded to a
resultant severe shortage in Rands by hoarding the South African legal
tender and selling it for a fee.
The Zimbabwe chapter of the corruption watchdog Transparency International
says the country is now classified as one of the most corrupt in the world,
ranked 157 last year from 130 in 2006 in a "corruption perception index".
"Our recent survey shows that over 80 percent of Zimbabweans believe
corruption is rising as a result of the economic crisis, and that because of
hardships even those who want to stay on the right side of the law are
breaking some laws as a matter of survival," said an official with
Transparency International Zimbabwe.
"There is a culture of survival vices taking root." Fuel, currently in
critically short supply, is found on the black market, in most cases at
exorbitant prices as compared to the regulated official price. Those who
sell fuel informally deny they are charging extortionate prices, arguing the
rates reflect a market where they are forced to fork out a premium in bribes
to suppliers and producers.
Police raid the black market every now and then. But while they have noted a
big rise in crime - from bank robberies, house breaking to robberies - they
have no figures yet. Just last week, Barclays Bank in Bulawayo was robbed by
gun-toting criminals. The previous month Kingdom Bank was raided. And the
robberies are being attributed to dollarisation.
In addition to corruption and crime, Zimbabwe political analysts say the
country has been hit by another scourge - greed.
They point to primitive accumulation in government by the ruling elite at a
time of record-drawing economic implosion and mass starvation. And at the
centre of that plunder matrix is the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, which was
used as a conduit of State pruning by well-heeled government officials and
other gravy train hangers-on.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
The government has been accused of protecting the rich and powerful after it
refused to prosecute bodyguards for the daughter of Zimbabwe President
Robert Mugabe over their alleged manhandling of two journalists.
On June 8 the Department of Justice decided not to prosecute a police and an
intelligence officer serving as minders to Bona Mugabe for the assault of
Sunday Times journalists Colin Galloway and Tim O'Rourke outside her Tai Po
home February 13. Mugabe's daughter is a student at City University.
In a separate incident in January, Mugabe's wife Grace was granted
diplomatic immunity from prosecution after allegedly punching Hong Kong
photographer Richard Jones near the Kowloon Shangri- La where she had been
Director of Public Prosecutions Grenville Cross told a Legislative Council
panel yesterday that the bodyguards, Mapfumo Marks and Manyaira Reliance
Pepukai, had acted reasonably having a genuine concern for the younger
The two journalists had approached the doorstep of the Tai Po residence
intent on delivering a letter and conducting interviews before being
forcibly removed to the adjacent unit.
According to Cross, the bodyguards were concerned about the two strangers
who approached unannounced, and whose shifting purpose for the visit and
refusal to produce identification led to their manhandling. One suffered
Chairman of the Hong Kong Bar Association Russell Coleman told lawmakers th
e decision not to prosecute did not impact freedom of the press.
However, legislators were unconvinced Mugabe's minders had exercised sound
judgment in their use of force in the February incident.
Democratic Party lawmaker and solicitor Albert Ho Chun-yan said a
bodyguard's perception of a threat was subjective and could be abused.
"The decision gives rise to ambiguity that bodyguards could take action and
injure ordinary citizens whenever they are carrying out security works," he
Democratic Party legislator and solicitor James To Kun-sun said: "If that's
the case, in the future ordinary citizens have to make a detour once they
see wealthy people around."
Civic Party lawmaker Margaret Ng Ngoi-yee said: "I don't see any evidence of
the journalists trying to attack the person of Miss Mugabe or trying to
break into the house or attacking anyone with their cameras." A police
investigation into whether the bodyguards had work permits is underway.
15 July 2009
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says Zanu (PF) used the ZBC to
broadcast "laughable lies" that the MDC, students, labour and other civic
activists disrupted the constitution conference.
"The rowdy and violent scenes that brought the constitutional proceedings to
a standstill took place in front of cameras," read a statement from the MDC.
"These scenes are on record and footage is available showing Zanu (PF)
senior members Saviour Kasukuwere, Patrick Zhuwawo and Joseph Chinotimba
leading the mayhem. The three are certainly not and will never be MDC
The party said it had no political interest in disrupting the
constitution-making process, whereas Zanu (PF) had every reason to want to
avoid a people-driven constitution "since they were resoundingly rejected by
the people of Zimbabwe on March 29, 2008".
"The Zanu (PF)-induced chaos is obviously meant to derail the
process and to prevent the people of Zimbabwe from writing their own
constitution," said the party.
"Zanu (PF) has not only walked out, but disrupted a roadmap clearly defined
by SADC and the AU as the only route to having legitimate leadership in
publicly declared war against the people of Zimbabwe who want a constitution
themselves and for themselves." The MDC is now urging the Southern African
Development Community and the African Union to immediately intervene.
THE Central Methodist Church in central Johannesburg, refuge for hundreds of homeless foreigners, has also become a safe haven for opportunistic criminals.
Bishop Paul Verryn, who oversees the church, concedes he has a problem on his hands.
Sowetan was guided around hidden corners of the church by a man who identified himself as Gideon.
Walking along corridors to the basement he warned us to watch out for a group we passed. He identified them as cellphone thieves.
“Many people have fallen victim to these gangsters but are too scared to tell Verryn,” Gideon said.
“These gangsters engage in criminal activities outside and then come here to hide. No one challenges them because everyone is too afraid.”
The dark nooks and crannies of the cavernous church are such that even by day I would have felt unsafe without Gideon.
He said the gangsters we passed were called the Sowetans. They spent most of their days hanging around the stairs at the back of the church, out of visitors’ sight.
Residents said the Sowetans seldom bothered them in the church and conducted most of their activities outside. Some of the gangsters are South Africans.
Verryn said he knew about the gang and had on several occasions tried to rid the church of the criminals.
“The police arrest them but we find them in the building again,” Verryn said. “I don’t understand it.”
He said he had an agreement with the police to patrol the church at least once a week because criminals used it as a safe haven.
“Criminals are not welcome in the building,” Verryn said. “Once there were people charged with rape in the church and the police opposed bail because of this problem.”
Talk Radio 702 reported yesterday that one resident had recently been stabbed in the chest and similar incidents occurred frequently.
It is clear criminals find rich pickings among the defenceless, homeless migrants and refugees at the church.
“Things are clearly not getting better in Zimbabwe,” Verryn said.
15 July 2009
By The Editor
If President Robert Mugabe is serious about the government of national
unity, the time has now come for him to ditch those who are opposed to it
and work with those who are willing to join him in a truly inclusive
His comments after the disruption of the Constitutional Conference on Monday
are most welcome:
"We feel disturbed and we have a sense of abhorrence of what happened,"
Mugabe said. "Don't forget that we are coming from different political camps
and there is always a pull back...but this must not stop the
Knowing Mugabe as we do, we suspect these are mere crocodile tears. But, for
the sake of our beloved Zimbabwe, we are always prepared to give him the
benefit of the doubt.
He can easily prove his sincerity by one simple act. He should sack his
minister of youth, Saviour Kasukuwere, and his nephew Patrick Zhuwawo, a
deputy minister, who reportedly entered the conference chamber leading a mob
of drunken Zanu (PF) youths.
While we earnestly hope Mugabe will do this, we very much doubt that he
will. In the absence of any clear signal from him to the contrary, we will
be forced to conclude that a nudge is as good as a wink and his loyal thugs
will continue to wreak havoc throughout the country - according to plan.
Since the constitutional reform process got underway, it has been dogged by
problems - all of them emanating from Zanu (PF). Their MPs wanted the whole
thing delayed. Then they wanted more money. Then they wanted the Kariba
Draft to be adopted as the new constitution.
At the same time, party thugs throughout the country ratcheted up the
violence against MDC supporters, terrorising teachers, forcing youths to go
for indoctrination, evicting former war vets who had begun to support the
MDC and generally causing chaos.
In addition, the police, partisan as ever, have been harassing MDC
supporters and arresting their MPs on various trumped-up charges. And yet,
at the conference on Monday - where they were needed to restore order - they
stood by like spectators and didn't lift a finger.
Perhaps most telling of all was the walkout by senior Zanu ministers Patrick
Chinamasa and Emmerson Mnangagwa as the crazed party youths entered the
conference centre. Neither of them made any attempt to take the microphone
and exert their undeniable authority to restore order.
JULY 16, 2009
A change in land policy would wreak havoc on the economy.
By MARIAN L. TUPY and MICHAEL KRANSDORFF From today's Wall Street Journal
"The road ends here," reads a makeshift sign in the middle of the highway
connecting Bulawayo with South Africa. For many miles, the once busy
commercial artery between Zimbabwe's second largest town and its main market
has simply ceased to exist. Motorists have to wind their way on an
improvised gravel path through the open bush. All along the route, they can
observe once productive farms lying abandoned and once productive farm
workers scavenging for food.
The dilapidated state of infrastructure and widespread poverty are the
results of the destruction of property rights and the rule of law by the
government of Zimbabwe. Yet South Africa's new Minister of Land Reform and
Rural Development, Gugile Nkwinti, clearly has not been to Zimbabwe in
recent years. Speaking in parliament late last month, he announced that the
ANC government would scrap its current "willing buyer willing seller" land
redistribution policy, which allows the government to acquire land only at a
market price and only with the consent of the land owner, and replace it
with "less costly, alternative methods of land acquisition." The new policy
will almost certainly include some form of land expropriation that could
spell disaster for the South African economy.
South Africa's current land problems hark back to colonial times, when
native lands were expropriated from their rightful owners, usually without
compensation. The 1913 Natives Land Act preserved some 87% of the country's
land for the exclusive use of the white minority. Since coming to power in
1994, the ANC government has made land restitution and redistribution its
priorities. The government aims to transfer 30% of commercial agricultural
land to black South Africans by 2014. As of today, only 5% of the land has
actually been distributed.
The ANC has blamed the failure of the current land distribution policy on
high prices and obstinate farmers. Some land has appreciated in value
because of foreign investment in game reserves and real estate. Such price
appreciation should be seen as a sign of investor confidence as well as a
source of much needed foreign capital.
According to Mr. Nkwinti, however, "It shouldn't be a situation where we
can't get land because it's too expensive because it's owned by Americans,
by Germans, by other Europeans and people outside this country, and not
Africans. . . ." "To redress [the] imbalances of the past," Mr. Nkwinti
continued, "the government must have enabling laws that can allow the pace
and the price of land acquisition to be in the hands of the state, rather
than in the hands of the seller."
But land redistribution has failed not because of a faulty policy, but
because of the ANC's own incompetence. The land reform bureaucracy has a
reputation for inefficiency and lack of delivery. Since 2005, it has not
been able to spend its own budget. In 2006, there were 1,000 vacancies in
the Department of Agriculture and Land Affairs. It is well-known that the
lack of skills and capacity in government are partly a result of the
politicization of the civil service and affirmative action.
Even when the government has succeeded in distributing land, much of it has
ceased to be economically viable. According to the government's own
statistics, some 50% of land reform projects have failed. A once thriving
potato farm in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands is now a makeshift soccer field. A
former tea estate in Magoebaskloof in Limpopo has become an overgrown
forest. The list goes on.
Many of the new land owners have no farming or management skills. They have
nothing invested in the land because the government gave them their farms
for free after buying the land from the original owners. Furthermore, the
uncertainty over the future of farmland has led to a fall in agricultural
production. There was, for example, a 7.3% fall in maize plantings in the
2008-09 season. And that was at a time when food prices were soaring.
A policy of expropriation and restriction on private land use will only
aggravate the decline of South African agriculture. The weakening of
property rights in the agricultural sector will raise questions over the
government's commitment to defend property rights in other parts of the
economy. That will discourage new investment and thwart the much needed
A new approach to land reform in South Africa requires privatization, not
expropriation. Some 25% of South African land is owned by the government.
Some of it belongs to nature reserves or is of a low agricultural quality.
But no serious attempt has been made to determine the viability of the
government land for redistribution. Fifteen years after the ANC took over,
only one-third of state land has been audited.
Land expropriation does not lead to justice or prosperity. As the case of
Zimbabwe shows, it is a road to economic destruction. South Africa must turn
back now before it is too late.
Mr. Tupy is a policy analyst at the Cato Institute's Center for Global
Liberty and Prosperity. Mr. Kransdorff studies at the Harvard Kennedy School
in Cambridge, Mass.
July 16, 2009
By Geoffrey Nyarota
THE leaders of Zimbabwe's Government of National Unity, the leaders of SADC
and AU as well as the international community all agree that the Global
Political Agreement must be implemented as a matter of priority and as
matter of our country's national survival.
For some reason real, meaningful and progressive movement in this regard has
so far remained tantalizingly elusive.
For this totally unsatisfactory state of affairs the two major players in
the government of national unity, President Robert Mugabe and Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai, each in his own peculiar way, are largely to blame.
Despite the assertions of those within the GNU, including the President and
Prime Minister, that real progress is being made, it is clear there are
forces that are determined to fight to preserve a totally unacceptable
political status quo'. Monday's fiasco at the beginning of the
All-Stakeholders Constitutional Conference was a dramatic reminder of this
The immediate appeal by both the President and Prime Minister for calm and
the calls for unity, with the President going as a far as to assert that the
government would "not brook any further nonsense", were most welcome.
While it constitutes a clear departure from normal practice, the President's
reaction is, however, hardly reassuring, given the current lethargy in the
implementation of the GPA and given the impunity with which the rule of law
has on previous occasions been breached.
For all intents and purposes Zimbabwe does not have any meaningful law and
order regime, as enshrined in the Constitution and as defined in the
comprehensive definitions that cover all aspects of the GPA. Both Zanu-PF
and both MDC parties are signatories to the GPA, a document whose
implementation is formally guaranteed by both the SADC and the African Union
Those who walk in the corridors of power are anxious to assure us that
meaningful progress is being made and while the President and Prime Minister
urged those attending last week's investment conference in Harare that now
was the time to invest in Zimbabwe - and indeed it should be - the concerns
of potential investors are legitimate and need to be addressed in the
interests of progress and national development.
Yes, there are some signs of progress. Supermarkets and shops that stood
empty and forlorn only a few months ago now have stock on their shelves and
the presses at Fidelity Printers, which ran day and night while printing
worthless Zimbabwean dollars, have finally been silenced. Meanwhile,
sterling efforts are being made to revive the education and the health
sectors and kick-start government and local government departments, as well
as implement food distribution and other humanitarian aid programmes.
However, this is but tinkering unless and until there is wholehearted
agreement and commitment to and support for the full implementation of the
matters clearly outlined and signed in the GPA.
The MDC leaders should, however, guard against prematurely patting
themselves on the back, always mindful that when they set out to challenge
Zanu-PF's dictatorship in 1999, the shops were fully stocked and the schools
and hospital were fully functional.
So the re-opening of schools, while commendable, was certainly not on the
original MDC agenda of action. Restoration of full democracy and the
concomitant upholding of law and order were certainly on that original
Unless and until investors can be convinced that law and order finally
prevail, that their investments and assets will not be summarily seized as
continues to be the case in some sectors, that our leaders are serious about
uniting a nation that stands divided by the continuing biased and partial
behaviour of the security forces, the judiciary and the state-owned media,
practical solutions and sustainable investment will not be easily
Both Mugabe and Tsvangirai cannot afford to overlook or underplay these
issues without exposing our long-suffering nation to continued risk or
While Zimbabwe needs billions of dollars in investment capital to revive the
economy, no capital investment is necessary to underwrite the climate of
political tolerance, press freedom and judicial impartiality which are a
prerequisite for the government of national unity to achieve its desired
For example, without genuine media freedom and a free flow on information
and ideas, the just launched constitution-making process will not achieve
the required level of success.
The Prime Minister's recent tour of the United States and European capitals
met with mixed success. The idea was, however, commendable in principle, for
purposes of re-establishing relations with the international community. The
former Mugabe government had become largely ostracized on account of the
belligerence of its foreign policy and its intransigence at home.
Many observers find it surprising, however, that after the extensive
international travels that marked Zimbabwe's formal re-engagement with the
wider international community, the Prime Minister has not yet made any
effort or planned a courtesy visit to Pretoria to personally brief President
Jacob Zuma on the situation in Harare.
A one-to-one meeting would accord the South African President an opportunity
to come to terms with the very clear and consistent messages he was given
about the continuing need for the GPA to be fully implemented. Such briefing
by Tsvangirai would be totally without equivocation in seeking to appraise
Zuma on the major obstacles being encountered in seeking to implement all
the terms of the GPA.
The Prime Minister should embark on a similar initiative at the regional
level. It is the SADC that, with the mandate of the AU, presided over the
negotiation and the signing of the GPA, whose process of implementation has
become a cause for consternation.
President Zuma must be more involved in seeking a final solution to the
ongoing crisis in his formal capacity as the current chair of SADC. By the
way, he holds this position only until the end of this month when the baton
passes on to President Dos Santos of Angola, a long-standing ally of
That the Prime Minister recently remarked that there was no need to involve
the SADC and that the GNU was working things out on its own was clearly an
act of wishful thinking. Such a false sense of security about the prospects
of the GNU resolving outstanding issues without external intervention throws
up genuine concerns about likely misconceptions in the cloistered confines
of the upper echelons of the GNU.
The shocking realities on the ground tell their own tragic story.
After all, given the continuing and flagrant breaches of the GPA, the
present unsatisfactory arrangement will have to be referred to SADC and
perhaps even to the AU as its co-guarantors, however much the President and
Prime Minister may claim otherwise.
The Prime Minister must recognise the leading role of South Africa in the
region and the apparent wish of the South African government to reaffirm its
ongoing commitment to its neighbour. While meaningful international
relations are crucial, Zimbabwe needs its regional allies now more than
ever, not least because they insisted the GPA be signed and implemented.
Furthermore, indications are that the new South African administration is
more ready to play a constructive role than has previously been the case.
The Prime Minister, more than the President, needs to be proactive in
seeking to test the waters? He must demonstrate that he and the MDC have now
overcome their original suspicion of the SADC leadership, which suspicion
was understandable at the time.
Above all, Messrs Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara must also demonstrate
that at all times they seek to fulfill or satisfy the aspirations and
expectations of the long-suffering people of Zimbabwe ahead of their own
Zimbabweans urgently need and deserve better than the current political
charades, such as those witnessed on Monday at the Harare International
Conference Centre. The madness that descended on that august conference
venue is not the Zimbabwe that sacrifices were made and lives lost during
the liberation struggle.
President Mugabe must finally drill in the heads, especially of the war
veteran community, the message that no one citizen of our country is more
Zimbabwean than another.
We fought for equality and equality we must have.
Regarding the JAG communique 7/14/2009....What the hell is wrong with the
MDC? I thought they would help the farmers. The MDC should fight back or
the new government should fight back and get rid of the invaders and
lawbreakers. I think its tragic. Just know that people in the USA are
aware of your situation.