CFU deplores renewed attacks on farmers By Savious
BULAWAYO - The ruling Zanu PF government has resumed acts of
violence, threats and intimidation on the few remaining farms still occupied
by white commercial farmers in the country, according to the Commercial
Farmers Union (CFU).
The development comes a few months after Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) Governor Gideon Gono called for synergies between the
new farmers and experienced white commercial farmers in order to revive the
horticultural sector. In a statement made available to The Standard, CFU
president, Douglas Taylor-Freeme, deplored the ongoing seizures of farms and
evictions saying that the government should bring to book the perpetrators
of the "latest beatings".
Only a week ago, a farmer in Middle Sabi
district was severely beaten by assailants who are yet to be arrested. Two
others were also assaulted.
"Throughout the Land Reform Programme,
farmers have been subjected to constant harassment, abuse, threats, loss of
property and equipment, and at the inception, loss of life.
numerous appeals to law enforcement authorities to put a stop and
investigate these incidents, they continue unabated.
said Government had on many occasions indicated that the land reform
programme had been completed yet forced evictions, seizures and threats have
"The union calls upon government and law enforcement agencies
to bring an end to this senseless violence, threats and intimidation, and
appeals to them that the perpetrators of the latest beatings be apprehended
and brought to book," Taylor-Freeme said.
He noted that there was no
respect for Court Orders made either by the High Court or the Administrative
Court of Zimbabwe and urged the government to ensure that farmers were left
to do their work unhindered.
"In order to achieve this, it is necessary
for the government to put an end to these senseless incidents, to stabilise
the agricultural sector, and ensure that every farmer is given an equal
opportunity to contribute towards enhancing national
Councils face huge lawsuits By Caiphas Chimhete and
LOCAL authorities face massive litigations from
aggrieved residents after they failed to follow proper urban planning
procedures when they demolished thousands of housing structures countrywide,
The Standard has established.
The authorities who have to respond to
lawsuits, which may run into several billions of dollars, yesterday
distanced themselves from the controversial operation, which has left nearly
a million people homeless. They told The Standard that the government dragged
them into the operation when "Operation Murambatsvina" was well underway,
seeking to legitimise the demolitions which were attracting widespread
On Friday, the Minister of Local Government,
Public Works and Urban Development, Ignatious Chombo, announced the
suspension of the internationally condemned operation, as the exercise moved
in to low density areas.
The abrupt suspension of the demolitions was
yesterday being linked to government fears of massive lawsuits from the
well-to-do, who know their rights and can financially mount and sustain
Already, several lawsuits have been filed against the
Harare City Council and local authorities in Goromonzi, Norton, Bulawayo and
Sources in the local authorities yesterday said city fathers were
wary of the impending legal battles after they were forced to join the
operation by the police without giving the affected people a 30-day notice,
as stipulated by section 32 of the Regional Town and Country Planning
"An enforcement order is first supposed to be served on the person
carrying an illegal activity to stop within a period of 30 days. If the
offending party does not take action, only then can the authority move in to
correct the anomaly," said a senior Harare City Council official, who
conceded that the local authority bungled.
The official said the
council was forced to join the operation four days after the police had
started the so-called "clean- up" as the government sought to lend
"credence" to the exercise.
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR)
public interest litigation lawyer, Rangu Nyamurundira, confirmed that the
organisation was handling litigation cases for a number of co-operatives and
individuals, whose properties were illegally demolished in Harare, Goromonzi
Nyamurundira said: "In some cases, people were removed from
their properties when they had valid leases with the council or local
government, which is illegal."
Bulawayo executive mayor, Japhet
Ndabeni-Ncube, yesterday confirmed the council had been dragged before the
courts. "We have been dragged to the courts by some of the affected people
and we are just waiting for the day. Right now, I can't give a comment on
the operation because we have a case before the courts," Ndabeni-Ncube
Sisal Zvidzai, the executive mayor of Gweru, said his council was
forced to join the operation by Chombo two weeks after police had started
demolishing structures and chasing vendors from their stalls.
weeks after the exercise began, were we summoned to Harare by Chombo and
ordered to co-operate with the police. We had our own methods of dealing
with the situation not this heartless manner," Zvidzai said, urging
residents not to sue council but police.
However, Alois Chaimiti, the
executive mayor for Masvingo said although they had not received any
lawsuits, the council needed a lot of money for
Percy Toriro, president of the Zimbabwe Institute of
Regional and Urban Planning and Harare's principal town planner, expressed
concern at the manner the controversial operation had been carried
He said it was improper to destroy all structures, including garden
and temporary structures that were not on the city council plans, as the law
SA IS set to grant cash-strapped Zimbabwe a substantial
line of credit, following the visit to SA of a high-level Zimbabwean
delegation last week, and amid growing signs that Harare faces expulsion
from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Sources said yesterday
that the Zimbabwean delegation met with Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and
Reserve Bank governor Tito Mboweni, and that the country was likely to soon
obtain a credit line for electricity, petrol and food. It was unlikely the
amount involved would be anything close to the R6,5bn mentioned in weekend
The critical shortage of foreign exchange comes at a time
when new international pressures on the czountry could mount once the report
of the United Nations (UN) secretary-general's special envoy, Anna
Tibaijuka, into the wave of mass evictions over the past two months, is
With only China among the five permanent UN Security Council
members not expressing outrage over the evictions, it is increasingly likely
the issues will be taken up at security council level.
Last week MPs
from the ruling Zanu (PF) party protested for the first time in parliament
about the critical petrol shortages.
Banking sources said that Zimbabwe
was likely to receive a credit line from SA that will be in the hundreds of
millions rather than billions of rand.
The sources said that under the
arrangement it was likely SA will directly pay state-owned power utility
Eskom and South African petrol distributors and grain millers for
It is not known if SA has insisted President Robert Mugabe talk to
the opposition MDC as a condition for the line of credit. The finance
ministry was unavailable for comment yesterday.
delegation's visit came days after Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
met Mugabe and his deputy, Joyce Mujuru.
There has been mounting
speculation that SA has been toughening its position on Zimbabwe, but no
statements suggesting a shift away from "quiet diplomacy" and efforts to
bring Zanu (PF) and the main opposition party to the table.
African Union chairman, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, is keen to set
up a panel to deal urgently with the Zimbabwean political crisis.
issue of Zimbabwe's possible expulsion from the IMF is not on the board's
agenda for this week. But speculation is high that Zimbabwe could be facing
expulsion for its noncooperation.
In what is understood to be a plea
for help and effort to forestall any attempt to take the country to the
security council and expel it from the IMF, Mugabe is to visit Beijing soon.
Mugabe has had a stated "look east" policy since the European Union and the
US ascribed pariah status to his regime.
But in return for its
extensive economic aid, Beijing has insisted on large mining and other
concessions. China could be Mugabe's last ally to forestall his country
being taken to the security council now that Russia has condemned him as a
In the face of accusations that it is preventing more
forceful international action in the Darfur province of the Sudan, Beijing
could pay a heavy price if it were to protect Zimbabwe on the security
Pressure grows on Zimbabwe head By Martin
Plaut BBC News
Pressure is mounting on
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe to reverse the policies of slum clearance
that have left hundreds of thousands homeless. A group of South
African church leaders is returning to Zimbabwe on Monday, having met
President Thabo Mbeki.
And a UN report is due shortly on the
government's destruction of homes.
Mr Mugabe says the
demolitions and evictions, which the UN says have left 250,000 people
homeless, are part of a bid to fight crime and clean up cities.
The pressure for a change in Zimbabwe's policy is
growing by the day.
On Sunday night Dr Anna Tibaijuka, the director
of the UN's housing organisation, will be flying to New York to brief the UN
on her visit to Zimbabwe earlier this month.
on the policies of the Mugabe government, which have left so many without
homes in the middle of winter, is likely to be debated by the UN later this
The arrival on Monday of South African church leaders, fresh
from meeting Mr Mbeki, will also step up the pressure.
the South African press is correct then it is economic difficulties that are
really twisting Mr Mugabe's arm.
He is reportedly seeking a
multi-million dollar loan from Pretoria, to stave off expulsion from the
International Monetary Fund.
Zimbabwe owes the Fund over $300m.
With almost all the country's foreign exchange now going to pay for food
imports, after a disastrous harvest, there is nothing left over to repay its
The question, as ever, is whether South Africa will be
willing to bail out its northern neighbour, and if it does, what changes in
policy Mr Mbeki will extract from Mr Mugabe.
5 Bulawayo students injured by riot police By Adrian
BULAWAYO - Five students were seriously injured on Monday when armed
anti-riot police broke up a peaceful demonstration over late payment of
grants and deteriorating conditions at the Bulawayo Polytechnic campus. More
than 2 000 students took part in the demonstration.
students, three males and two females, were taken to the United Bulawayo
Hospitals, where they were treated and later discharged. Bulawayo Polytechnic
SRC secretary general, Briton Gudhlanga, said the students' union was
surprised by the attack on the peaceful demonstration.
they subsequently put the demonstration on ice to allow the authorities to
address some of the issues raised by the students.
Pneumonia, TB: leading killer diseases in Harare By
THE five leading causes of deaths in the capital city, Harare,
during 2004 were pneumonia, tuberculosis, HIV-related cases, gastroenteritis
and cardiovascular conditions, according to the annual report of the city
Released last week, the report says of the 17 365
deaths registered at the Harare District Office during 2004, 24.9 percent
were caused by pneumonia. Tuberculosis was the second highest cause of
deaths, claiming 18 percent of total number of people who died in the
capital last year. HIV-related cases accounted for 11.2 percent of the deaths
recorded last year, with gastroenteritis and cardiovascular diseases,
claiming 7.6 and 7.4 percent respectively of the number of deaths recorded
According to the report, the highest proportion of deaths of
42.4 percent occurred in the 25 - 44 year age group.
population census reported that the capital had 1 632 000
The report says that there was an increase of 2.9
percent in the number of new TB cases notified, rising from 9 620 in 2003 to
9 643 in 2004.
Of the nearly 352 000 repeat visits for chronic
conditions, 74.2 percent were for tuberculosis treatments.
Harare suburbs are listed as having the highest notification rates in the
capital. These are (in order of ranking) Mbare (1 039.1 per 100 000
population), Mufakose (830.6), Highfield (721.5), Glen View (712.8), Glen
Norah (622.4), Kuwadzana (585.6), Budiriro (571.1), Dzivarasekwa (496.6),
Warren Park (454.7) and Mabvuku (249.4).
Dr Lovemore Mbengeranwa,the
Harare City Director of Health Services, said the notification rate of 1 039
per 100 000 for Mbare was "excessively high and worrying".
"TB spreads more in overcrowded conditions with poor ventilation and these
conditions are prevalent in the suburb. Authorities may need to move people
from Mbare and relocate them to properly planned and built dwellings if the
menace was ever going to slow down. We also need to double our efforts in
the control of TB in this suburb.
"The notification rates in nine of the
top 10 suburbs are well above 400, whereas the benchmark for high disease
burden is at 300."
He said the city had experienced a shortage of doctors
during 2004 and that this had also affected the department's capacity to
diagnose and treat TB both in local clinics and the medical examination
Mbengeranwa said: "There was also a lot of clerical work
currently done by nurses in the TB outpatients. These same nurses were
expected to do a lot of consultation and review of patients as well as
dispensing of drugs. The establishment at the medical examination centre was
increased by creation of two clerk posts. It was hoped that this would
improve service provision."
The increase in the number of TB patients
over the years had necessitated decentralisation of clinics to initiate
treatment although the Wilkins Infectious Diseases Hospital TB clinic was
launched, it was hampered by lack of staff.
Cases of malaria
decreased almost by half from 702 in 2003 to 368 in 2004, with the report
noting that the cases were all imported.
Sexually transmitted diseases
recorded a decrease from 53 532 in 2003 to 49 706 in 2004, while there were
no cases of cholera reported.
However, Mbengeranwa says residents in
general were dissatisfied with the standard of services delivered for refuse
collection and the supply of water.
"These problems were aggravated
by the shortage of manpower and erratic fuel supplies, making it impossible
to have regular and timeous refuse collection. There were critical shortages
of water in Tafara and Mabvuku for most of 2004. Institutions such as
schools suffered most from the introduction of water rationing," he
The erratic refuse collection resulted in dumping of refuse at
almost every available space in both high and low density residential areas,
industrial and commercial areas. The dumping resulted in fly and rodent
infestation and smells from dumped refuse.
Mbengeranwa said: "This
impacted negatively on the quality of the environment while putting the
health of the residents at risk to infectious diseases outbreak. The
situation was further exacerbated by the introduction of the so-called
'controlled water rationing', which was introduced by the city during the
course of the year as a result of mechanical breakdowns that were being
experienced at the water purification works.
"Institutions which suffered
most from the 'controlled water rationing' exercise were medical
institutions, educational institutions, crèches, industrial and commercial
institutions to the extent that some of the institutions had to
'voluntarily' close down until such a time water supplies were made
But he said the city's biggest social problem and challenge
was in seeking solutions to the provision of affordable housing.
highlighted in previous reports, proliferation of backyard shanties for
human habitation constructed with various assorted materials resulted in
overcrowded and unhygienic living conditions. This tended to strain
Policeman killed in 'Murambatsvina' By
BULAWAYO - The widely condemned "Operation Restore
Order/Murambatsvina" has claimed the life of a young police officer, The
Standard can reveal.
Sergeant Elliot Dehwe (31), who was
stationed at Tshabalala Police Station in the country's second largest city,
died at the United Bulawayo Hospital (UBH) on 4 July from injuries sustained
when a wall he was destroying collapsed on him. He was buried at
Muhati village under Chief Mashayamombe, Mhondoro district, in Mashonaland
West province two days later.
Kembo Mohadi, the Minister of Home
Affairs, yesterday described the death as "unfortunate" but referred
questions to Bulawayo Metropolitan Police Provincial Commanding Officer,
Senior Assistant Commissioner Lee Muchemenyi, who confirmed Dehwe's
Muchemenyi said: "They were pulling down an illegal
structure in Old Magwegwe and the wall collapsed on him (Dehwe). He died at
the UBH and has since been buried in Mhondoro."
He added that a
civilian, Sylvester Sibanda, who was assisting the police during the
demolition, also sustained a fractured leg during the tragedy.
"We took him to the hospital, where he received treatment and police paid
the medical bills for him," said Muchemenyi.
He said a board of
inquiry was still looking into the circumstances under which a civilian
became involved in the "operation".
Dehwe, who joined the law
enforcement agency in 1996, is survived by his wife, Sanelisiwe Sibanda
(29), and two children, Takunda (4) and Tanatswa (2).
stricken widow told The Standard that she could not comprehend how her
husband came to be assigned duties under "Operation Murambatsvina".
oElectoral materials withheld, tampered with THE Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) has stopped inspecting ballot boxes used in the 2002
presidential election after discovering that Registrar General Tobaiwa
Mudede had not handed in all the material as ordered by the High Court and
that some ballot boxes had been tempered with.
comes several days after the expiry of the 10-day limit set by the High
Court for Mudede to turn in all the material to the court. The MDC,
which is challenging the election of President Robert Mugabe in the
controversial elections, says the ballot boxes contain clear evidence that
the elections were rigged.
Under the Electoral Act, political
parties can inspect voting materials in the presence of the court officials
in order to verify the disputed results. This process has, however, been
delayed by Mudede who defied seven court orders to bring the ballot boxes to
the court for the exercise.
Mudede only brought the material
last month after he was found to be in contempt of the court. His two-month
jail term was wholly suspended on condition that all the voting materials
were brought in within 10 days and that he pays a $5 million
David Coltart, the MDC secretary for legal affairs, said on
Wednesday his party could not go ahead with the inspection of the boxes
since more election materials were still arriving.
seven ballot boxes from Rushinga Constituency, which arrived on Tuesday,
were found to have been tempered with. Their seals were broken.
copy of the certificate of the delivery of ballot boxes at the High Court
dated 12 July 2005 obtained by The Standard shows that the High Court
received seven boxes with broken seals.
The copy signed by High
Court Registrar Macduff Madeza reads in part: "I certify that I received the
aforementioned boxes with all seals broken."
Coltart said the
examination and inspection of the ballot boxes was expected to start on
Monday 11 July 2005.
"Prior to this and at the specific request to
the registrar general we gave them the list of the first 10 constituencies
that we wanted to inspect and examine and the first on that list was
Rushinga," Coltart said.
"It is abundantly clear that the registrar
general did not fulfil the conditions set out in the High Court order that
he brings to Harare all the ballot boxes within 10 days. The 10-day period
stipulated by the order has long since expired and consequently the
suspended sentence automatically comes into effect," Coltart
The MDC secretary for legal affairs also noted that the fact
that some of the boxes had not been delivered within the stipulated 10 days
and were only brought in Wednesday demonstrates their claims that the
elections were rigged.
Morgan Tsvangirai the MDC president, who
addressed a press conference last week, said the problems of Zimbabwe would
be further compounded as long as the judicial system remains
"The rate at which the government is obstructing our
cause indicates that our challenges are not frivolous but are based on
facts. The reason why we have this political impasse in this country is that
the government is illegitimate," Tsvangirai said.
utility ZESA Holdings will rope in investors from Iran and China in an
ambitious bid to raise US$2,09 billion for energy security
StandardBusiness learnt last week that the investment, to come
in the form of loans, will be used to increase the power utility's energy
supplies to 12 974 GWh by 2010 and boost energy supplies ahead of power
outages in the southern region in 2007. The new investment project is on
a five-year phase up to 2010.
The move will result in 1,3 million
customers from both urban and peri-urban areas connected while 800 000 will
be connected in rural areas.
Analysts see the ambitious venture as
contingent measures ahead of power outages in the southern region in
As of 2004 energy supplied by the power utility was 10 199
The investment is the second since independence after the 1982 to
1987 period when U$1,130 million was invested for energy security with
supplies of 7 932 GWh.
The investment programme include generation
projects plus coal mining and transmission valued at US$800 million. Under
the project ZESA will expand Kariba Power Station by two units with a value
of US$200 million. ZESA is working with Iran in the venture.
power utility is also working with China for the expansion of Hwange Power
Station by two units.
The project is valued at US$600 million and will
include coal mining.
ZESA also intends to work on CBM and transmission
projects valued at US$337 million and, other transmission projects and
distribution projects with a combined value of US$619 million.
power utility has so far signed US$183 million with developers of other
transmission projects (US$40 million) and distribution projects (US$143
ZESA will also look for US$45 million investment in heavy
engineering for the manufacture of new engineering equipment for the
generation and transfer of power.
Power telecommunications need an
investment of US$22 million.
The power utility is seeking an investment
of US$207 million in Expanded Rural Electrification Programme (EREP) and
Electricity End Use Infrastructure Development (EEUID) say
ZESA corporate affair manager Obert Nyatanga confirmed the
Nyatanga said the power utility was finalising
discussions with Iran and China for the expansion of Hwange and
"By the end of the month we would have finalised signing the
agreement and project contracts," Nyatanga said.
Nyatanga said that
there were other investors who were willing to inject money in ZESA's other
projects but "we are working project by project".
"We are already under
contract for transmission and distribution projects with the Chinese,"
Nyatanga said the power utility was exporting tobacco and
cotton to offset the US$110 million Chinese debt incurred during the rural
Tobacco exports to China are envisaged to
rake in US$15 million. Cotton exports to India will contribute US$4 million.
The proceeds will be used to pay a loan secured from China National Aero
Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC).
started in April. Nyatanga said 2500 hectares was under tobacco and ZESA was
targeting to put 7500 hectares under tobacco in the 2005-2006 season.
months after Associated Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) made another fresh
application for a licence, the publishers of the closed The Daily News and
The Daily News on Sunday are yet to get a decision from the Media and
Information Commission (MIC).
Sources at ANZ last week revealed that
authorities were working towards resuming operations once the Tafataona
Mahoso-led commission granted them a licence. "Everything is now in order
and offices have already been allocated at Chiedza House. If we get the
licence the papers will immediately be back on to the streets," said an
official at ANZ.
The Standard has been told that the MIC board met last
month and took a decision to grant ANZ an operating licence, which is yet to
be signed by the commission chairman, Tafataona Mahoso.
however, not be verified as Mahoso was not available for comment. On
Thursday and Friday, staff at the MIC offices kept saying Mahoso was in
meetings while his mobile phone went unanswered. No one else could comment
on the report.
ANZ chief executive officer, Samuel Sipepa Nkomo, said
they were still waiting for the MIC's response. "Our papers' preparedness
depends on us getting the licence and as soon as we get the reply we will
issue a statement. Right now I am confident that we are going to get the
licence after we gave them (MIC) all the information they required," Nkomo
He added that most of their computers were still in police custody
but they would be able to get them if granted the licence.