July 26 2009 at 08:15AM
By Peta Thornycroft
Harare - In a wry moment, South African farmer Louis Fick says his
pigs deserve a bravery medal.
The pigs, about 1 000 of them, are regularly starved, and Fick can do
nothing to help them or help himself and feels abandoned by the land of his
He is chairman of a group of white South African farmers in Zimbabwe,
a few of whom are still on small portions of their land.
Others are living in poverty in urban areas in Zimbabwe and some have
fled back to South Africa, or emigrated, mainly to Australia and New
On behalf of the group, Fick is in regular contact with the South
African embassy in Harare, and says he is always politely received.
And yet, nine years into the persecution of white farmers, he feels
"terribly let down" by Pretoria.
"We were told to wait after one election, then another, then another
then wait for (South African President Jacob) Zuma, then wait for the
inclusive government to be sworn in, or settle down, but each time nothing
happened, and it just gets worse and worse," said Fick.
Fick's pigs regularly suffer from lack of food, because the Deputy
Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, Edwin Mashingwani, decides when
and if food can be delivered to the animals.
Mashingwani seized about 98 percent of Fick's small farm about 130km
north of Harare, but has allowed Fick's 55 worker families to remain.
Fick was one of 13 South African farmers who, along with 65 Zimbabwean
white farmers, won their case at the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) Tribunal, to be allowed to remain on their land, or what is left of
A few weeks ago, the tribunal ruled that Zimbabwe was in "contempt"
for defying the judgment it delivered in late 2007.
Neither SADC personnel in Botswana, including executive secretary
Tomaz Salomao, nor SADC leaders have made the obvious comment that Zimbabwe,
which signed up to the formation of the tribunal, is in contempt of it and
therefore also the founding SADC Treaty.
The South African embassy in Harare has met the farmers as a group
once, for several hours, and says it sends diplomatic notes to Zimbabwe's
Ministry of Foreign Affairs when its farmer citizens' rights are abused.
Fick runs his piggery by cellphone calls to workers, and rents
accommodation in Harare.
Farmer Erica van der Merwe lives in the same district. She cannot farm
at all and is regularly harassed by the Zanu-PF "beneficiaries" of her farm,
but is allowed to live in her homestead.
Dirk Visagie, near Chegutu, in the midlands of Zimbabwe, has been left
with a few hectares of his farm and is under constant pressure to leave, day
Peter Henning, a sugar farmer in hot Chiredzi in the south-east,
cannot go home because there is a warrant out for his arrest.
Digby Nesbitt, a crocodile farmer in Chiredzi, is also caught up in
the court process and is hounded by a senior policeman, Edmore Veterai, who
was at the first secret meeting in Nkayi, Matabeleland, last April when the
post-election violence against the then opposition Movement for Democratic
Change was planned.
The South African ambassador to Zimbabwe, Professor Mlungisi
Makhalima, said he was on his way to a meeting and would call back later in
the day with a comment.
One South African farmer, Crawford von Abo, turned to the courts for
compensation from the South African government in 2003 and was awarded
R80-million, but the government appealed the ruling.
"It looks as if we will have to go the same route as Von Abo, but it
costs a lot of money," said Fick.
Zimbabwe's contempt of the tribunal has been referred to the next SADC
heads of state meeting, which is scheduled for Kinshasa next month, but may
have been postponed until September.
Several farmers are applying for valuations of their farms every week
to prepare to go to the tribunal, as more and more are forced off their
Earlier this year, when slightly more than half of those still left
had been forced to leave, registered valuers assessed that the Zimbabwe
government owed the farmers more than $3-billion (about R24-billion) to
compensate them in accordance with the Land Acquisition Act.
As far as can be established, only two white farmers have been given
99-year leases for their farms - Piet Rautenbach, brother of Zanu-PF
favourite Billy Rautenbach, and Brink Bosman, both in northern Zimbabwe. -
Independent Foreign Service
This article was originally published on page 18 of Cape Argus on July
25 July 2009
By NEVER CHANDA
HARARE - Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai has called for a truth and
reconciliation commission to probe cases of human rights abuses dating as
far back as the pre-independence era and touching on the highly emotive
Gukurahundi massacres which claimed more than 20 000 lives. (Pictured: Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai)
Tsvangirai reiterated the stance by his Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
that perpetrators of the 2008 political violence had to be brought to book
and that the truth about those who were behind the deadly attacks that cost
the lives of more than 200 people last year.
"There can be no truth without justice. And no justice without truth," said
Tsvangirai who himself has been a victim of partisan security forces since
2000 when the MDC was formed.
Zimbabwe witnessed some of the worst political violence last year after a
parliamentary election that was won by the MDC while Tsvangirai defeated
President Robert Mugabe in a parallel presidential election but with fewer
votes to avoid a second round poll.
In a bid to ensure Mugabe regained the upper hand in the second round vote,
Zanu (PF) militia, war veterans and security agents unleashed an orgy of
violence and terror across the country, especially in rural areas most of
which became no-go zones for the opposition.
The MDC leader later withdrew from the 27 June 2008 run-off poll because of
the violence which was won by Mugabe unopposed.
Tsvangirai told delegates to a meeting to launch Zimbabwe's national peace
days in Harare on Friday that Zimbabweans had suffered many phases of
trauma, upheaval and conflict and that any attempt at national healing
should go beyond the 2008 atrocities and stretch as far back as before the
country's independence in 1980.
"We must look back resolutely to the pre-independence era, the
post-independence Matabeleland massacres and the more recent political
violence that has torn at the fabric of our society. Many of our people have
suffered under each of the phases of our evolution to the Zimbabwe that
exists today," said Tsvangirai.
At least 20 000 innocent civilians form the Ndebele ethnic minority were
reportedly killed in the early 1980s during a bloody counter-insurgency
drive by the army in the southern Matabeleland and Midland provinces.
Mugabe - who some say personally ordered deployment of the army's North
Korean-trained 5th Brigade in Matabeleland and Midlands ostensibly to stop
an armed insurrection against his rule - has called the killings an "act of
But he has never personally accepted responsibility for the civilian murders
or formally apologised.
The Zimbabwean strongman has also not yielded to calls by human rights
groups for his government to compensate the victims of the brutal army
operation popularly known as the Gukurahundi massacres.
In his address to the same gathering, Mugabe did not refer to the
Matabaleland massacres or the need for restorative justice for victims of
violence. Mugabe used his address to call on Zimbabweans to end political
violence and said his party was committed non-violence.
"There are still reported cases of political violence and these must stop,"
Mugabe said. "We will commit members of our party in observation of the
principles of non-violence. You should not succeed through violence but the
efficacy of your political theory and your campaign," he added.
Revisiting the emotive Gukurahundi atrocities could, however, open up old
wounds and jeopardise chances of a fragile coalition government formed by
Mugabe and Tsvangirai five months ago.
Mugabe has conveniently avoided raising the issue fearing a backlash from
disgruntled Ndebele members of his divided Zanu (PF) party - all in hope of
maintaining a fragile 1987 Unity Accord he signed with the then PF Zapu led
by the late Joshua Nkomo.
The Ndebele group within Zanu (PF) has long been disappointed by what they
see as the apparent sidelining of their region from national development
Tsvangirai cautioned against retributive attacks against those fingered as
behind the atrocities, hinting on a possible amnesty for the perpetrators of
public violence and other atrocities.
"There can be no room or tolerance for retribution as retribution
perpetuates the cycle of oppression and suffering," he said.
He urged Zimbabweans to learn from the experiences of other countries that
have gone through similar processes of national healing, notably South
Africa which successfully conducted its process through an independent Truth
and Reconciliation Commission.
"In examining how best to heal our nation, we must learn not just from our
past, but from the examples of our other countries and other nations that
have undergone similar trauma and have sought to unite their nation through
truth, justice and forgiveness," he said.
Amnesty for senior Zanu (PF) officials and other people behind last year's
political violence has been an emotive issue since Tsvangirai joined Mugabe
and Arthur Mutambara of a splinter MDC faction in the coalition government
Security chiefs and Zanu (PF) chefs have tried to derail the unity
government unless there are guaranteed immunity from prosecution.
They do not want to face the courts and fear that exposure of their crimes
could threaten ill-gotten assets such as farms.
Mugabe declared July 24-26 as a period to promote national healing in
Saturday, 25 July 2009 20:08
BULAWAYO - Zanu PF is involved in another fire-fighting exercise in
Bulawayo province hardly a year after a new executive was put in place to
replace officials who defected en masse to the revived Zapu.
Insiders last week said a delegation from the party's headquarters
will be in the city this week to investigate resurgent factionalism in the
party which has been thrown into disarray.
The problems intensified last weekend after some district
co-ordinating committees held a meeting in Makokoba where they resolved to
pass a vote of no confidence in provincial chairman Isaac Dakamela.
The DCCs accused Dakamela's executive of corruption and mismanagement
of the party's affairs, which they said was driving Zanu PF into
Former provincial chairman and war veterans' leader Jabulani Sibanda
who is at loggerheads with politburo members from the region has also been
drawn into the leadership wrangle.
Some Zanu PF members are still loyal to Sibanda and are said to be
campaigning for his return to party structures.
Sikhanyiso Ndlovu, a politburo member leading Zanu PF's restructuring
in Bulawayo confirmed that members of the commissariat will be visiting the
But he denied reports that their mission was to avert the looming no
confidence vote saying the team would also visit other parts of the country
to assess the state of the party.
"It is not true that they have been dispatched to come and deal with
the Bulawayo problems alone," Ndlovu said.
"This is a routine party exercise as we prepare for the congress in
"We have to go to congress with proper structures and this is a
He also dismissed the vote of no confidence move in Dakamela blaming
it on "malicious malcontents who are bent on dividing the party".
Ndlovu said: "There are no divisions within the party and there is
progress on the ground regarding party structures.
"The executive is working flat out to ensure that the structures are
The previous Zanu PF provincial executive led by McCloud Tshawe left
in December last year to join Zapu under the leadership of former politburo
member, Dumiso Dabengwa.
The former ruling party has played second fiddle to the Movement for
Democratic Change in successive elections since 1999.
BY NKULULEKO SIBANDA
Saturday, 25 July 2009 19:40
ZAKA North MP Ernest Madavanhu last week became the fifth
parliamentarian from the MDC-T to be convicted in recent months in a move
analysts say is calculated to erode the party's majority.
Madavanu's conviction on corruption charges also intensified
controversy over the perceived selective prosecution of MPs from Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party by President Robert Mugabe's loyalists.
The legislator was accused of diverting agricultural inputs meant for
rural farmers under the military-led Operation Maguta/Inala.
Five more MDC-T MPs, Hega Shoko (Bikita West), Edmore Marima (Bikita
East), Tichaona Maradza (Masvingo West), Hamandishe Maramwidze (Gutu North)
and Ransome Makamure (Gutu East) are awaiting trial on similar charges.
Blessing Chebundo of Kwekwe Central is also in serious danger of
losing his seat because he faces allegations of raping a minor.
Two MPs, Shuah Mudiwa of Mutare West and Mathias Mlambo Chipinge East,
have already been suspended from parliament after they were jailed for
The MDC-T said it "is concerned by the continued persecution of its
MPs, officials and party activists. The suspension of the two MPs is a
well-orchestrated move by some elements to whittle down the MDC's majority
Constitutional lawyer Lovemore Madhuku said it no longer needed an
analyst to tell the mounting arrests and convictions of MDC- T MPs were part
of a well-calculated plot to weaken the party.
Tsvangirai's party wrestled control of parliament from Zanu PF for the
first time since Independence when it won 99 seats in the 210-seat House of
Assembly during last year's harmonised elections.
The party had four more seats than Zanu PF.
"It is very clear that there is a selective application of the law,"
Madhuku said. "There are more crimes committed by Zanu PF MPs than those of
"It is an open secret that some Zanu PF MPs were behind last year's
political violence but no one has been convicted."
The MDC-T says more than 200 of its supporters were murdered while
thousands were tortured and displaced during the violence largely blamed on
Zanu PF militants.
Scores of MPs from the former sole ruling party were also implicated
in the abuse of the inputs scheme but none have been convicted so far.
"Anyone is bound to suspect that there is political competition behind
the arrest of the MDC-T MPs because of the struggles happening in the
government of national unity at the moment," says Takura Zhangazha, a Harare
based political analyst.
He said a political solution such as the speedy resolution of the
outstanding issues by the Southern African Development Community (Sadc)
might give the MPs who are under siege a reprieve.
Zhangazha said the MDC-T might also refer the matter to the Joint
Implementation and Monitoring Committee (Jomic) - an inter-party organ
charged with enforcing adherence to the GPA - although the body is seen as a
A review of the GPA by the three parties - Zanu PF, MDC-T and MDC-M -
is also due as set out in the September 15 agreement, which says its
viability will be assessed every six months.
Since the formation of the unity government in February, the MDC-T has
been calling for the removal of Attorney-General Johannes Tomana from office
because of his open bias against the party.
Tomana speaks openly about his allegiance to Zanu PF but on Friday
told the state media that his political affiliation did not cloud his
judgment when discharging his duties.
"My job is to ensure that criminals are brought to book and I should
not let people off the hook with impunity," he said. "My obligations are not
going to stand or fall on the attitudes of politicians.
"These are people who are trying to hide behind politics to settle
their scores. They are blaming me for being Zanu PF."
Sadc will arbitrate in the dispute between Zanu PF and MDC-T on
whether Tomana and Reserve Bank governor Gono must remain in office
following the implementation of the GPA.
BY KHOLWANI NYATHI
Saturday, 25 July 2009 19:33
BULAWAYO - A man who was shot five times by one of Zanu PF chairman
John Nkomo's workers two months ago is now demanding US$2.5 million from the
veteran politician as compensation for the injuries he suffered.
Patrick Masunda was attacked at Jijima Lodge, which is at the centre
of a long-running ownership wrangle pitting his brother, Langton, against
A war veteran, Eddie Sigoge, employed as a security officer at Nkomo's
Lugo Ranch in the Gwayi Conservancy in Matabeleland North was arrested in
connection with the case.
Patrick's lawyer, Vonani Majoko of Majoko and Majoko Legal
Practitioners, last week said his client suffered "pain, shock,
disfigurement and loss of amenities in life" as a result of the shooting.
"Our client had to be hospitalised at great cost and expense and he
still needs further treatment," Majoko said in a letter of demand sent to
"In acting as he did, Eddie Sigoge was acting in the course and scope
of his employment with yourself thus rendering you vicariously responsible
for his conduct and deeds."
Majoko said the firearm used in the attack was registered in Nkomo's
name and the Minister of State Responsible for National Healing never
reported the deadly weapon as missing.
"The only inference to be drawn is that you armed your security
officer with the firearm and it must have been within your contemplation
that the firearm was to be used as it was," the lawyers said.
The lawyers said if Nkomo failed to respond within seven days they had
instructions to sue him for US$2.5 million or for a "revised sum".
The former Minister of Lands and Resettlement has lost a string of
cases where he tried to have Langton Masunda evicted from the safari lodge
on the disputed boundary of their neighbouring farms.
Langton believes he was the real target of the shooting on the night
of May 9 as he also spots dreadlocks like his brother.
On Friday, Nkomo refused to comment on the matter. His lawyers
Dube-Banda, Nzarayapenga and Partners were not immediately available for
BY NKULULEKO SIBANDA
Saturday, 25 July 2009 19:30
POLITICAL leaders from Matabeleland want devolution of power to the
They argue that centralisation of government has resulted in the
marginalisation of other regions in the country.
Speaking at a two-day national vision conference in Harare recently,
the leaders said central government was plundering national resources for
the benefit of a few selected provinces.
They warned that affected regions would "drift away" if their own
resources continue to benefit and enrich other provinces.
The leaders were however quick to point out that they were not fanning
tribalism but just elaborating "facts of life and concerns of people in
They said the current arrangement where power is concentrated in
central government in Harare has resulted in the marginalisation of not only
Matabeleland but other regions, such as Manicaland, Masvingo and the
Midlands, as well.
Interim Zapu chairperson Dumiso Dabengwa, a former cabinet minister in
President Robert Mugabe's previous administration, said the practice of
concentrating political power was "old-fashioned" and counter-productive.
He said national resources should not only benefit certain parts of
the country at the disadvantage of others.
"People want devolution of power to the provinces," Dabengwa said.
"The practice of concentrating power in one office is out of fashion.
"If we don't do that (decentralisation) our districts will drift from
each other and the regions will plunder their own resources - like what is
happening in Marange."
However, diamonds in Marange in Manicaland are not being looted by
locals alone but by senior Zanu PF officials in central government, police
and the army, according to a recent report by Human Rights Watch, an
international human rights watchdog.
Dabengwa's comments were also echoed by Enos Nkala, a former Defence
minister again in Mugabe's previous governments.
Nkala claimed that he had been sent by the people of Matabeleland to
call for decentralisation of power in the country.
He said Matabeleland lagged behind in development due to
"I have been asked by the people of Matabeleland to present this
point of view. This is what they want," Nkala said.
He said provinces must have their regional governments with the
autonomy to run their own affairs.
Nkala said that mineral resources, wildlife and revenue from regions
such as Masvingo, Manicaland, the Midlands and Matabeleland were being
plundered to build sky-scrapers in Harare instead of benefiting local
"If you look at it, you will notice that the majority of the people
who work at Hwange are not from the area. Why not employ the local people?"
Federal Democratic Union (FDU) leader Paul Siwela is also on record
saying his party was founded on the principles of devolution underpinned by
the creation of a state in Matabeleland based on the 1894 boundaries.
The party believes that devolution of power would promote national
cohesion and in the long run, national development by effectively dealing
with issues at local levels.
University of Zimbabwe political lecturer Dr John Makumbe lauded the
concept of decentralisation, saying "it is the way to go".
He said the call for decentralisation of government was prompted by a
lack of development in all provinces other than the three Mashonaland
provinces and Harare.
"Those calls are legitimate and correct," said Makumbe. "They are a
response to lack of development in other areas of the country. It is a
reaction to the consequences of dictatorship under Mugabe."
Makumbe said the provinces were bound to make better use of their own
resources and revenue they generate because they knew their needs and
There have been complains that central government does not allocate
enough resources for development in Matabeleland.
They cite the poor state of the road network, lack of industrial
development even soon after Independence in the region.
Also on the list of complaints is the Matabeleland Zambezi Water
Project, a programme started decades ago to provide water to Bulawayo but
has since stalled because of lack of funding.
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
Saturday, 25 July 2009 16:58
THIS could be the answer to farmers' pleas.
After years of haggling over producer prices with authorities, farmers
can breathe a sigh of relief if plans by a local firm, MScEX, to set up a
commodities exchange comes to fruition.
The commodities exchange, which is at an advanced stage, has been
given the green light by two commercial banks that have promised to avail
US$2 million, MScEX chief executive officer Norbert Mavunga said on
A commodities exchange is a platform where buyers and sellers of
agriculture commodities meet.
Besides giving producers an opportunity to sell their crop, a
commodity exchange provides farmers with an opportunity to access funding
for the next agricultural season.
Through the Warehouse Receipt Act, producers can take their produce to
the warehouse, have them weighed and graded before they are given a
With a receipt, the producer can trade their produce on the commodity
exchange or wait until the market prices rise.
Alternatively, producers can use the warehouse receipt as collateral
to access loans from financial institutions.
"This mechanism (commodities exchange) should provide and protect
producers (farmers) against prejudiced pricing while protecting buyers and
traders against the risk of physical delivery once a product has been paid
for," Mavunga said.
Zimbabwe tried the commodities exchange before and abandoned the plan
following the introduction of restrictions on maize and wheat trading.
Under the Zimbabwe Agricultural Commodities Exchange trading of
agricultural produce was conducted but the noble platform was discontinued
when government gave the Grain Marketing Board monopoly to buy wheat and
The monopoly was removed in February when government liberalised the
market to ensure competition needed to drive the economy.
Mavunga said with the backing of financial institutions, the
commodities exchange is now set to roll out in October.
A meeting with Finance Minister Tendai Biti has been scheduled for
tomorrow (Monday) while a similar indaba was held with the Securities
Commission on Friday, Standardbusiness was told.
Biti has been championing the setting up of the commodities exchange
to provide a platform where farmers can sell their produce and get the
maximum out of it.
The pricing of agricultural products has been a raging issue over the
past years with farmers saying the prices offered fail to stimulate
For instance, a tonne of maize sells between US$170 and US$380 per
tonne, a range farmers say is too little to recoup their costs.
This has led farmers to hold onto their crops at a time the country is
fighting to build grain reserves.
Mavunga says the commodities exchange is the answer to prices wrangle
as the market corrects itself in terms of pricing and availability.
Zimbabwe's agricultural sector is up on its feet having been decimated
by the chaotic land reform programme that caused disruptions on the farms.
The new breed of farmers have been found wanting as they lack the
skills and capital and as a result the country has become a net importer of
Despite the introduction of cheap funds by the central bank to
stimulate production, farmers found it easier to use the money for
speculative purposes other than agriculture due to the skewed pricing.
BY NDAMU SANDU
Saturday, 25 July 2009 19:43
AS Zimbabwe prepared to celebrate three days of peace and national
healing last week, MDC-T activist Ebba Katiyo was writhing in agony,
battling life-threatening injuries inflicted by Zanu PF supporters a few
Katiyo was on Wednesday discharged from a private clinic in Harare
where she had been admitted after being severely assaulted on two occasions
inside two weeks, for supporting a "foreign-funded" political party.
Medical records show that the 31-year-old MDC-T activist suffered
chest, head and rib cage injuries.
"I was called by the village headman, who is also my uncle, for a
public meeting at his homestead. I was asked why I continued to support the
MDC-T," Katiyo told The Standard last week.
"After the meeting he asked youths to beat me up. I was attacked all
over the body."
Before Katiyo could recover from the assault, she was summoned back
for a second beating.
"Again, I was assaulted all over the body this time with sticks,
booted feet and clenched fists," she said fighting back tears.
The activist was plucked from the jaws of her tormentors after the
MDC-T sent a rescue team following a distress call.
Katiyo is one of the hundreds of MDC-T activists who have suffered
under a new wave of political violence that has enveloped the country
despite calls for peace and reconciliation by the inclusive government.
The MDC-T, civil society and political analysts said the fresh
disturbances will scupper efforts by the unity government to promote peace
in the country.
From Friday to today the country observed a programme to promote peace
and national healing ahead of a more extensive reconciliation process still
But reports of rising tension among political rivals across the
country were pointing to a return to the dark days that preceded the aborted
June 27, 2008 presidential run-off election.
It is estimated that over 200 MDC-T supporters were murdered during
last year's violent elections which failed to produce a decisive winner
between President Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai.
Areas believed to be Zanu PF strongholds are the most affected, human
rights groups say.
These include Mashonaland East, Central and West provinces as well as
parts of Masvingo and Manicaland.
Traditional leaders, known for their sworn allegiance to Zanu PF,
have also been fingered in the new acts of intimidation and violence.
MDC-T member Sabina Murinye of Zimuto in Masvingo was forced to pay
R80 and a chicken to the village head for "allowing" party members to chant
her party's slogans at her daughter's funeral.
In another incident, the MDC-T said Chief Nemarunda in Masvingo
demanded R30 from its supporter, Patricia Maposa, after she had reported a
case of arson.
Last month, Josphat Chidhindi, another MDC activist from Muzarabani,
nearly lost an arm after an attack by known Zanu PF supporters whom he
wanted to serve summons for looting his property during last year's
There are fears of increased violence after reports that Zanu PF has
deployed youth militia and war veterans to campaign for the adoption of the
Kariba draft constitution.
Zanu PF led by President Robert Mugabe is forcefully campaigning for
the controversial Kariba draft while Tsvangirai says Zimbabweans must be
allowed to draft their own constitution.
In previous elections, Zanu PF has used war veterans and its militia
to harass, intimidate and kill MDC-T supporters.
MDC-T spokesperson Nelson Chamisa said the on-going political violence
flew in the face of the government's efforts to reconcile the nation divided
by years of violence.
The violence, he said, was compounded by a systematic attempt by
Mugabe to reduce the party's majority in parliament.
So far five MDC-T legislators have been convicted of various offences
and four others are on trial on fraud charges stemming from their alleged
abuse of government's farm inputs programme.
The party said it was concerned that "prompt justice" was being
applied only to its officials although "known murderers" linked to Zanu PF
have never been questioned by the police.
"We are also worried about the victimisation of MDC MPs with the
political intent of eroding our party's dominance in parliament," Chamisa
said. "This is a worrisome development."
Other than the arrests of MDC-T MPs, said Chamisa, the beatings,
torture and intimidation by Zanu PF militia were a threat to the coalition.
"The deeds of yesteryear mischief and deficit of acts of goodwill
continue to be the language of the day," Chamisa said.
Chairman of the Organ on National Healing, Reconciliation and
Integration Minister John Nkomo urged all political parties to condemn
political violence to ensure peace and stability in the country.
Sekai Holland, who represents the MDC-T, said efforts were being made
to ensure peace.
"Yes, incidents of violence are taking place. . .because the
mechanisms of ending violence are still being put in place. We are having a
drizzle, not the thunderstorms of last year," she said.
The organ will roll out a programme throughout the country to promote
peace and reconciliation.
The three days were set aside by Mugabe last week to foster peace and
Restoration of Human Rights (ROHR Zimbabwe) said for peace to prevail,
the state should be totally transformed into a safe haven for everyone.
It said Mugabe cannot be the "agitator of violence and define peace at
the same time, as if he holds the rod of making the rules as he goes along".
ROHR demanded that Zanu PF must demobilise its militia, which it said
were still active.
"Known perpetrators of violence must face the law regardless of
political affiliation and rank in society," the group said.
The organisation encouraged people to wear black attire during the
three days to remember those who lost their lives, property and homes in the
political violence that preceded last June elections.
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
Saturday, 25 July 2009 19:24
I love Ghana.
If I had to choose an African country other than Zimbabwe, as my home
it's fair to say Ghana would have little, if any competition.
Perhaps it's the fascination of a one-time visitor. Perhaps it is
judgment that is clouded by the comfort of being a passer-by; by the beauty
of being a visitor who often is accorded kindness, something that often
fades the longer you stay among your hosts.
That is possible, but even my interactions with most Ghanaians outside
Ghana persuade me that they are a good and cultured people. I would happily
live among them.
A couple years ago, when Ghana celebrated 50 years of independence, I
wrote in these pages about my first and only trip to that beautiful country
on the West African coast.
I wrote about the warmth the people of Accra exuded; about the
atmosphere which made it so easy - it was like I had been transported to an
old country that I had once lived in centuries ago. It reminded me of
Zimbabwe in many ways; a Zimbabwe that now existed in memory.
It brought back a lot of memories but it also gave a glimpse of some
of the pain that runs through every part of the continent.
I have always found a strong connection between my country and Ghana.
Perhaps it's the maternal connection. For this is where Zimbabwe's original
First Lady, Amai Sally Mugabe was born and raised.
I did not know much about her but I think she was a good woman. For
sure, she looked and sounded like a good woman. She had a certain aura
around her and seemed to always have a permanent smile.
We knew her not for her beautiful costumes but for the love that she
showered upon so many children.
She did not have one of her own but you wouldn't have known, for she
was always surrounded by happy kids. Our then Prime Minister Robert Mugabe
had been a teacher in Ghana and here he had found himself a beautiful wife.
As I walked the streets of Accra and spoke to the cheerful men and women
that I met, I couldn't help but notice a little Sally in most of them.
They were happy to have me, a brother from Zimbabwe and many
remembered the Sally connection. Even in death she remained a uniting point;
someone whom diverse people from different sides of the continent could
relate to and talk about with fondness. Few are so blessed whether in life
or in death.
But I also had some painful moments on that trip. This was the first
Sub-Saharan country to gain independence in 1957. Yet what I encountered in
the suburbs, beyond the smiles and cheerful welcome were many sad stories of
a people whose circumstances could only be described more kindly as
"challenging". Here in Accra you came face to face with the plight of a
whole continent that had escaped the yoke of colonialism in the last half
I spoke to Ghanaians who gave various versions of their history. They
are a proud people; this is the land of the legendary Ashanti Empire, a
favourite subject during my history lessons in high school.
I learned of the turmoil that the nation went through in its early
years. In 50 years it had seen it all - almost everything that every other
African country has gone through or will go through - one-party rule,
military rule, failed attempts to institute democracy and finally, the
present beautiful phase of peaceful multi-party democracy.
On reflection, Ghana almost encapsulates the evolution of the
continent - the challenges, trials, errors and successes, of the
post-independence era. No wonder US President Barack Obama recently chose it
as his first proper African destination.
Five years after my visit to Ghana, nothing has happened to diminish
my affection for that country. If anything, looking at the continent's
political landscape, Ghana seems to have turned a corner.
The ordinary men and women may still be struggling economically but
the country has at the very least managed to tame, for now, the one
institution around which chaos grows in most African countries: the
The last three elections demonstrate that it is possible in Africa for
the election to be a facility through which people can successfully make
free choices and that the incumbent does not have a divine right to remain
in power at all costs.
Former President Jerry Rawlings was the last of the military rulers
but by 1992 he had been re-born, leading Ghana for two four-year terms under
the 1992 Constitution. That two-term requirement was observed.
The seminal election of 2000 was won by John Kufour, the opposition
leader, beating John Atta Mills, the man representing former President
That this was accepted was a big positive in the life of Ghanaian
politics; an important step in its evolution from a country formerly subject
to the rule of force as opposed to the rule of law. It gave hope that even
a ruling party can lose an election and accept the result.
And so it was that for eight years, Ghana was ruled by the former
opposition and the former ruling party became the new opposition.
It was not easy but it worked. It was moment of pride when a fellow
student and colleague during our days at Warwick University, Ben Kunbour
returned to Ghana as an MP on the opposition benches.
In 2008, at the end of his last term Kuffour stepped down and his
party's candidate Nana Akufo-Addo contested the election. The main rival was
Atta Mills, who had unsuccessfully contested the last two elections against
The election was close and it went to the Run-off stage where again
the result was very close. Atta Mills, of the opposition won the election by
a very a small margin: 50.23% to 49.77% for Akufo-Addo.
Atta Mills become President of Ghana - at the third attempt,
fulfilling the old adage, if at first you don't succeed, try, try and try
So, in effect twice there has been a reversal of fortunes for the
ruling party in Ghana - the ruling party between 2000 and 2008 is back again
Conversely, the opposition between 2000 and 2008 is back in power as
the ruling party. And, incredibly, all this has been accepted and Ghana is
This is a phenomenon that one would normally observe in the older
democracies in Western Europe and North America.
Even South Africa, which has done well to uphold elections, is yet to
be seriously tested: that is, it is yet to get to that point when the ANC
faces a more serious threat to its position as the ruling party.
Ghana tells us that it is possible for the election to mean something
to the voters. It tells us that it is possible for leaders to be decent
enough to accept defeat, in the same way that they welcome success.
It tells us that losing an election is hardly the end of the world; it
educates us that there is life for a political party and its politicians
after losing an election; that it is always possible to make a come back.
The last time I wrote about Ghana I finished with the following words,
"One day, I hope to return to Ghana. I hope to see the finished
Tetteh-Quarshie Roundabout (an extraordinarily large roundabout that was
then under construction).
I hope to sit down and chat to the good men and women at the
chop-bars of Accra. I hope to talk to a new generation of leaders, ready to
take on the challenges that the next 50 years present. . .I hope that in 50
years time, the men, women and children of Nema (an old and dilapidated
residential area in Accra) will be smiling and laughing in more comfortable
I still have those hopes for that beautiful country. And I am pleased
that they seem to have found a comfortable and smooth road after the first
50 tumultuous years. As it happens, Ghana has recently discovered that it
has black gold within its borders - I hope, unlike elsewhere in Africa, this
substance fuels growth and not corruption, wars and deprivation for the
ordinary people. I hope it is a blessing, not a curse.
And when I say so, I also have my own home, Zimbabwe, in mind. We are
travelling a similar road. But I hope we won't have to wait 50 years to
appreciate that the election can be true agent of political change; that
people can contest elections freely and fairly and that winners and losers
can live peacefully side by side, doing their business and waiting to
contest another day.
We were fortunate to have Amai Sally Mugabe; the Ghanaian girl who
became a Zimbabwean mother - I hope we take a few lessons from that
beautiful land on the West coast of Africa. One day, I shall return.
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
BY ALEX MAGAISA
Saturday, 25 July 2009 19:18
ZIMBABWEANS expect a second Constitutional referendum by July 13,
The last one resulted in voters rejecting a draft backed by
government, then it refusing for years afterwards to give effect to the
people's right to write their own Constitution.
The road taken then was a dead-end.
Debate now is focused on whether the process the parties agreed on
last year to produce a new draft for this referendum (R2010) is
"people-driven" enough. It's to be led by MPs. Many fear MPs won't listen to
what the people want. Those fears are founded on prudence and experience:
Elected MPs may claim to represent their constituencies generally; but
they face a conflict of interest in writing rules to decide their own future
All 150 MPs were in the 400-strong Presidential Constitutional
Commission of 1999. When writing its Draft the PCC certainly ignored many
key elements of its own report entitled What the People Said; yet few - if
any - of the MPs protested then at disregarding what they had found their
people wanted; and Parliament's composition when its Draft is decided can be
Some lawmakers are clearly intent too on allowing a single unpalatable
alternative again - a YES/NO choice calculated to force voters to accept
this time whatever the politicians want to offer. They plan to give the
public only a "Heads I win, tails you lose" choice.
After all three IPA parties agreed on the Article 6 pro
cess and a Bill for the 19th Amendment, a Memorandum was added to
their agreed Bill by the outgoing government. It says if there's another NO
vote, Zimbabwe must revert to rule without an inclusive government,
(basically to the Lancaster Constitution after its first 18 Amendments).
As a Memorandum is never voted on, we don't know yet if all MPs
support that stance. All we know is that they have not yet provided any
other alternative. A referendum without a genuine alternative frankly is a
waste of time and money.
At the 2010 referendum, people can never be told their sole
alternative to any lawmakers Draft is an old law that all have agreed needs
replacement, one so patently unacceptable.
All the murders, impunity and other abuses since our first Referendum
have already shown how desperately we need institutional reforms here. L18
was especially disastrous, with no check or balance to stop a violent
manipulated election in 2008; nor to avoid our economic collapse, needless
loss of 4 000 lives in a preventable cholera outbreak, or our chronic food
shortages, deliberately made worse for political ends by banning relief food
for months while 2 million people (including 500 000 children) who depended
on that to live.
We cannot know yet the full human costs under L18 but voters must be
allowed a real choice at the 2010 referendum instead of the option only of
returning to that.
Basic human rights rules lead to the same conclusion. No single man or
group can claim a sole right to write a draft constitution and submit it to
the electorate. Others are equally entitled to gather views, reach
conclusions on what people want, then seek a verdict from voters on whether
they have listened carefully enough or not. Popular endorsement can only
come now from popular support, not from lawmakers denying voters a real
Our legislators must also realise that returning to L18 will not
discharge Zimbabwe's duty under many treaties to recognize and protect
universal human rights. L18 is a 1979 Order by Britain's Queen, amended
often but by government alone. A return to it via a NO vote will inevitably
violate the people's recognized right to write their own Constitution. L18
can never be imposed on the nation by default.
Its contents also violate the treaties in numerous ways. Many basic
rights that must be prot
ected in our law now under these treaties - including dignity,
equality and most socio-economic rights - are not even admitted to exist in
L18. The Police and Armed Forces are entirely excluded from certain human
rights - like liberty, and rights of expression & to property etc. Rights
for others have so many exceptions eroding them that only a fraction of the
full right is left.
Torture is permitted if a President declares a state of emergency. The
full list of L18's violations of international human rights law is very
long; and each such violation also violates multiple further treaties
regulating multinational bodies.
Thus it is clear that Zimbabwe must now aim to move permanently away
from L18; and that AU, Sadc, Comesa, the UN and other organisations that
have pledged to uphold the rule of law and human rights must ensure that
Zimbabwe does in fact now do that.
As Zimbabwe's government can't keep L18 as sole default alternative to
an official Draft, it must allow other alternatives.
It cannot keep the sole right to proffer a Draft, with voters allowed
no other real choice.
To argue that only one Draft can be put to a popular vote at a
referendum also harks back to disgraced habits like having just a single
officially-approved candidate in an "election".
*Sheila Jarvis is a Board Member of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights
and a lawyer in private practice
Zimbabwe's electorate cannot be dictated to now by prescribing that
all real choice must be made beforehand by a few. It does not need to be
patronized in that way. Picking one party or candidate with a basket of
policies from among others at an election is a familiar task here. Choosing
one "candidate constitution" over any others will be little different.
Frivolous contenders can be avoided as they are in elections, i.e. by
requiring a reasonable number of nominations for any proposal first, plus a
deposit that will be forfeit if a fixed percent of the popular vote is not
received at the poll.
Some fear split votes could lead to a new Constitution supported only
by a minority; but that can be handled like a race here for the Presidency -
by allowing a run-off vote when needed. Zimbabweans usually opt to
consolidate however behind serious contenders, rather than wanting to waste
a vote on one with only an outside chance. A run-off should be possible, but
is unlikely to be needed after any well-run referendum.
Proposals that voters vote on separate clauses to avoid any dead-end
are well intentioned, but unworkable for good reasons. Just imagine the time
needed for polling - and the recounts! Not to mention a risk of
contradictory clauses. Individual parts are considered best in meetings
first, in the same way as parliaments may consider each clause in a Bill.
At present we are being asked to walk down another potential
no-through road, a constitutional trap. MPs, particularly in the House, need
to respect our basic rights instead - and use their ability to change the
Referendum Act to allow a real choice this time from among any Drafts that
might be sufficiently well supported and nominated.
At present too MPs have another reason to do so: the inconvenient yet
undeniable truth that RG Mugabe has not signed into law the full 19th
Amendment the parties agreed upon and all the MPs passed, and sent for his
signature expressly "without amendment".
Unauthorised illegal cuts were made to House Bill 2 of 2008 after that
Through unprecedented action by the Attorney-General's Office, 18 of
the 36 pages in the MPs agreed Bill were deleted before the rest was signed
by RG Mugabe as President, sealed, and gazetted as an Act of Parliament.
Three of the Bill's four new 'Transitional Provisions' and Schedules
were removed, including all legal provision for any constitution-writing
process to be controlled by MPs, and for any Draft Constitution emerging
from Parliament to go to a referendum by July 2009.
As those agreed Transitional Provisions and Schedules are not yet
enacted into law, the President has kept legal control under the Referendums
Act of 2000 over whether any referendum is held at all, and if so when, and
over what question will be put to voters.
As happened for our first Referendum, the President thus still has
final say over any future Draft before that may be put forward to a public
While the AG's Office and Minister Patrick Chinamasa reportedly said
the 18 pages were deleted to save paper when gazetting the Act and because
their agreed contents were meaningless, I have no doubt that the unilateral
cuts were made primarily to keep control over the referendum in the
The agreed 19th Amendment is required by the IPA. It is meant not just
to legitimize Mugabe staying in office but to also ensure MPs control the
new constitution-writing process, after Presidential control in 1999 just
led to a dead end.
Whether Mugabe knew of the cuts when he signed is unknown. All parties
must undo the AG's interference for many reasons, not only to protect their
They must know this. The fault can be rectified merely by a
Presidential assent to the full Bill; so this extra obstacle to voters
enjoying any real choice in next year's Referendum might soon fall away.
Others difficulties however will remain, until the Referendum Act of 2000 is
amended to bring it into line with fundamental rights.
We can understand why so many people are worried by all the flaws
[original and added] in the MPs process; but a focus now only on trying to
fix those flaws is misplaced.
Ensuring all lawmakers accept the voters' right to enjoy a free and
real choice in the 2010 referendum would provide all with a safer cure,
avoiding any constitutional trap.
So whether you support the MP-led process or not, you should also be
supporting anyone who wants to assert their own right to have free and real
choice next year.
How can any MPs object to ensuring a free choice in R2010? If they
really do plan to listen to the people when they finalise their Draft this
time around, how can they fear a defeat in that referendum? Why should THEY
worry about voters having a real choice?
BY SHEILA JARVIS
Saturday, 25 July 2009 19:15
WHEN the University of Zimbabwe was first closed in 2007, the major
reason was that the halls of residence had become uninhabitable and the City
of Harare's Health Department was concerned about the risk of disease
The second reason for the closure of the institution, which has not
been highlighted, was the issue of remuneration of teaching staff.
Next month the institution is set to re-open. What defies logic is
that the primary causes of its closure remain largely unattended. It begs
the question: What was the administration doing about addressing the
original causes all these months and whether it should be taken seriously?
The single achievement of the current administration over the past
half decade has been to preside over the spectacular collapse of this once
eminent institution of higher learning in the country.
UZ has demonstrated unparalleled failure to rise to the occasion and
respond to the challenges confronting the institution. It needs urgently to
craft creative responses.
Last week UZ announced that it would be re-opening in the first week
of August. However, there will be no campus accommodation for students,
while lecturers' pay has gone up by 55%. An academic staff member at the
university will require anything between four and eight months of their
"salaries" in order to afford the fees if they have children attending the
The new Minister of Public Service was until a few months ago a
lecturer at the university. Much is therefore expected from him to resolve
the issue of staff salaries at the institution and a dozen others in the
UZ has more than 10 000 students. Three-quarters of these come from
outside Harare. They will be forced to seek accommodation outside the
campus. In an era where the majority of workers receive an allowance of
US$150 a month, the administration at UZ is creating an unnecessary problem.
Its actions smack of insensitivity to the plight of students.
The intervening period should have been used to address the problems
that led to closure in the first place. This fragmented approach only serves
to worsen the condition students find themselves in. It will be equally
frustrating for lecturers who will have to deal with their own unmet demands
and the compromised performance of students.
Local and international organisations that rallied to Zimbabwe's
rescue at the height of the cholera crisis last year would have been more
sympathetic to the predicament of the institution if the issue had been
highlighted in time. It is difficult to understand the thinking behind the
decision to re-open UZ when clearly it is not ready and when students are
unable to move into the halls of residence.
Unicef assisted in drilling boreholes because it is aware of the
health imperatives of the population on the campus.
One of the problems at UZ is that the extent of the collapse has not
been adequately articulated to quarters that would normally be sympathetic
to such causes.
The Council at UZ is supposed to advise the administration on the best
course of action in running the institution. It would be useful to learn how
a body that is made up of eminent leaders drawn from various sectors of
society has advised the institution on the best way it can move forward. If
what UZ announced is their advice, then there is a much bigger problem out
Not enough effort was made during the intervening period to ensure the
country's oldest institution of higher learning received the support it so
desperately needs to recapture its famed past.
No to US$600 UZ Extortion
Saturday, 25 July 2009 19:08
I am a student at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) and I am livid at
being asked to pay between US$400 and US$600 in tuition fees when there is
no accommodation as the institution is meant open on August 3, 2009.
Do not call me a "born-free". Where in the world will my parents get
that much? I used to attend college on an empty stomach and lived on a
shoe-string budget, now this?
Franklin D Roosevelt said "necessitous men are not freemen". If unfree
then it is an undemocratic situation. And if not democratic then it is
tyranny. This social evil has characterised Zimbabwe's educational sector.
From the toddler in pre-school, through the primary and secondary
school pupils, and all University and college students we have all been
victims of this injustice.
But above all, it has been a struggle for our parents: the ordinary
workers and peasants who have had to cover up for the evils of this system.
The more one thinks about it, the more one realises that the cry
cannot be limited to the University of Zimbabwe. One might be excused if
they then swear eternal hostility to unilateral decision-making as the
Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, Dr Stan Mudenge and UZ
Vice-Chancellor Professor Levi Nyagura have done on the university's fee
It took them forever to get to a unilateral decision to re-open the
University of Zimbabwe.
This duet once threw out 4 000 students out of residence on July 9,
2007. Certainly, they have not changed their undemocratic conduct and
These fees are retrogressive for national healing. They fester on
already open wounds for the sin of having to add a year on every student's
academic chart. A year, because the university has been effectively closed
for a year. It would have been proper if Nyagura stepped down.
The institution of the Vice-Chancellor has become the symbol of
students' problems and Nyagura features as the perpetrator.
Maybe he is a victim of circumstances. But I think just like Gideon
Gono, Augustine Chihuri, Constantine Chiwenga, Paradzai Zimondi, Happyton
Bonyongwe, Johannes Tomana, Patrick Chinamasa, Happison Muchechetere, George
Charamba, Jonathan Moyo and others, together they have through their actions
in contemporary history successfully transformed themselves into public
They all share one commonality in that they are simply extremely
unpopular. Maybe they should just go! It angers me that one person can hold
the 13 000 UZ population to ransom, just as that small "clique" can hold a
whole nation of 14 million Zimbabweans hostage.
Last but indeed not least, the Chancellor (President Robert Mugabe) is
the acme of all wrongs. He runs the whole chaos and what a fiasco it has
UZ, Mount Pleasant
Homes Above Airport road
Saturday, 25 July 2009 17:18
I was startled to hear families interviewed on television saying they
had been given 30 days in order to vacate their houses because of the
proposed expansion of the Airport road ahead of 2010.
I hope all the rights organisations are not asleep. Where in the world
does someone get a 30-day eviction notice without compensation being
discussed? This is the kind of arrogance we must learn to deal with
decisively so that who ever is behind this projects is taught a lesson that
people too have rights.
The cost of constructing the new road must factor in the cost of
compensation to the families that are going to be displaced.
The company that won the tender for construction or the person
commissioning them must agree with the families on acceptable compensation
and then give them notice. We have all along known that there was going to
be 2010 next year. The fact that nothing was done in time is no fault of the
families now being ordered to vacate at the drop of a hat.
Ordinarily they should have been offered alternative accommodation or
monetary compensation. People must begin to stand up to such abuse.
Gono Must Account for his Many Sins
Saturday, 25 July 2009 17:10
THE recent revelations that Gideon Gono, the Governor of the Reserve
Bank, had written to President Robert Mugabe recommending that businessman
Mutumwa Mawere should be given back his businesses were very worrying since
Gono was at the forefront of having Mawere's persecution on allegations of
externalisation of foreign currency.
Mawere had to flee Zimbabwe in order to avoid arrest although he, all
along supported by other Zimbabweans, had pleaded his innocence.
But Gono would have none of this and used his powers as Governor of
the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to have Mawere hounded out and stripped of his
Although it is refreshing to hear Gono advising Mugabe that Mawere
should be allowed to reclaim his assets, it is also very worrying to note
that the same Gono has been at the front of persecuting bankers, businessmen
and the ordinary people by using quasi-political programmes to run the RBZ.
Hundreds of people have been forced to flee their country as Gono
went on a rampage to have these people arrested on flimsy charges.
Scores of high-profile business people and bakers have been arrested
on Gono's orders and some spent months in prison only to have their charges
dropped due to lack of evidence.
Worse still, millions of Zimbabweans have been made paupers after
Gono continued to print the Zimbabwe dollar disregarding calls that this was
People died from curable diseases while others had to spend sleepless
nights hungry as they failed to get money from banks because of Gono's abuse
of the RBZ and the banks.
After all this, one begins to understand and appreciate calls by the
MDC formations and other progressive forces that Gono should resign in the
interests of the nation.
Gono says Mawere should be given back his companies in order to
restore international investor confidence in the country.
But he should also resign in the interest of shoring up international
investor confidence as he is one of the prime reasons why the international
financial institutions and investors are unwilling to invest in the country.
Gono has caused unnecessary problems and it is high time he was shown
Saturday, 25 July 2009 17:10
THE National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) proposed draft constitution
available last week shows the hypocrisy of the NCA.
Their proposed draft constitution using such words as "natural
difference or condition", "marginalised group", plus the open definition of
marriage plus "artistic" licence opens the door for gays, homosexuals, same
sex marriages, pornography etc.
This was neither the people's nor delegates wishes at the
All-Stakeholders' Constitutional Conference held by the NCA on December 1,
It seems that the NCA has its own mission and is not following the
Harare residents Alarmed by Council Threats to Sue
Saturday, 25 July 2009 17:10
THE Combined Harare Residents' Association (CHRA) is alarmed by the
position that has been taken by the City of Harare to issue letters of final
demand to residents who have not paid their bills.
The move is being met with strong opposition from residents who
believe that the Council does not have any justification to demand money
from residents when little efforts are being made to improve service
delivery in Harare.
Moreover, residents also believe that the City of Harare should have
carried consultations with residents first to find out why they were failing
to honour their bills rather than threatening them with legal action.
Residents have voiced concern on the state of service delivery as
opposed to the amounts of money which they are required to pay. It defies
logic for Council to make threats to residents when the Council itself is
failing to improve service delivery with the money that residents have been
paying in rates so far.
Residents in the Northern Suburbs of the city pointed out that they
have paid their bills faithfully to the Council in spite of the fact that
they have not been getting any municipal services. City roads continue to be
littered with huge potholes; most shopping centres (especially in
high-density areas) are surrounded with piles of uncollected refuse;
recreational and sanitary facilities have not been maintained and they have
become unusable and dangerous.
Shopping centres like Areno (Kuwadzana), Kamunhu and Makwavarara
(Mabvuku), Makomva (Glen View) and Budiriro 2 have become an eyesore due to
the piles of garbage that have been there for months.
Moreover, residents have also argued that the amounts being demanded
by the City of Harare are unaffordable. Most residents earn an average of
US$100 a month and yet the City demands as much as US$88 for rates while
water bills range from US$35 to US$60.
These bills outweigh the average monthly income that Harare residents
Combined Harare Residents' Association
Water supplies have been extremely erratic and residents do not
understand why the Council is charging so much money for non-existent
services. In law, when two parties enter into a contract, if one party does
not deliver their end of the bargain the contract is null and void. What
case does the City of Harare have against residents to whom they have not
kept their end of the bargain?
CHRA is cognisant of the fact that residents should pay for the
services that they get but the City of Harare should step up efforts to make
things happen in the suburbs of Harare. The current situation has created a
lot of mistrust between residents and the City of Harare. Residents are
withholding their money because they believe that Council is not being fair
by demanding money for non-existent services.
The fact that Council is awarding its personnel hefty salaries at the
expense of quality municipal service delivery also leaves a lot to be
desired. There is a need for the City of Harare to engage in dialogue with
residents and hear their side of the story so that good working relations
between Council and residents can be created.
It is the right of residents to get quality and affordable municipal
services. Residents have the right to demand value for their money.
Combined Harare Residents' Association