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Zimbabwe 'will collapse in 6 months'

The Times
June 14, 2007

Jan Raath in Harare
Inflation is likely to bring Zimbabwe's economy to a standstill within six
months with the possible paralysis of President Mugabe's Government and
civil unrest, international aid agencies warned their staff yesterday.

The country's plight is likely to see Mr Mugabe introduce emergency rule,
said a group representing 34 organisations, including the United Nations,
the International Federation of the Red Cross and Oxfam.

The warning came as the country's consumer watchdog reported that the cost
of living for an average urban family had risen by 66 per cent last month.
In April inflation stood at a record 3,700 per cent.

The internal memorandum from the Heads of Agencies Contact Group is the
first evidence that international organisations are taking steps to prepare
for a collapse.

"The memorandum is talking about a situation where there is no functioning
Government or a total breakdown," said an agency official who asked not to
be named. "It is saying it is inevitable, not just a possibility. Our head
offices have to know. Not many people have experienced this kind of crisis."

The document says that inflation will continue to snowball. "Thus economic
collapse is expected before the end of 2007," it adds.

By that point the Zimbabwean currency will have become unusable and shops
and services will "substantially cease to function". This is likely to be
followed by "increased unemployment with concomitantly increased crime and
possible civil disturbances".

It says that "NGOs should ensure that their donors and national governments
are aware of current concerns." It points out that presidential and
parliamentary elections are due to be held by the end of March next year,
but adds: "If the country is unable to function, it is difficult to see how
these can be held."

"It can no longer be said that the health service is 'near collapse'," the
Zimbabwe Doctors for Human Rights said last week. "It has collapsed."

The memorandum says that member organisations are forced to pay their staff
weekly as price increases outstrip wages, and before long staff will have to
be given daily increases.

Mr Mugabe's reaction to the deepening crisis grows increasingly bizarre.
This week he presided over the handover of 925 imported tractors, 35 combine
harvesters and a range of other sophisticated equipment which cost $25
million (£12.5 million) of foreign currency. As far as it could be
established, the recipients are all politicians.

"Today we are proud masters of our political and economic destinies," he
said.

In crisis

80%: unemployment

£130: GDP per capita

-4.4%: growth

39: years life expectancy

700,000: people had homes and businesses destroyed by the Government in 2005

27: years with Robert Mugabe in power

$0: funds left for the Zimbabwean Army to pay for rations

Source: Times archives; CIA


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Bulls in Zimbabwe brave inflation and political turmoil

Financial Times

By Tony Hawkins

Published: June 13 2007 21:56 | Last updated: June 13 2007 21:56

Notwithstanding the world's highest inflation rate - by far - and the world's
fastest-contracting economy, the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange is booming, with
share prices trebling in real terms in just 22 weeks.

Earnings and growth fundamentals cannot begin to explain the 4,500 per cent
surge in the ZSE Industrials index since December 2006. Instead, analysts
cite three main influences - the market is drowning in liquidity as the
central bank prints money at a breakneck pace; the Zimbabwe dollar has
collapsed in the parallel (unofficial) market from Z$2,900 to the US dollar
at the start of the year to between Z$75,000 and Z$100,000 today, and the
ZSE is more casino than market as investors throw increasingly worthless
Zimbabwe dollars into penny stocks.

Consumer prices rose 55 per cent last month, according to official figures
leaked this week, taking the year-on-year inflation rate to 4,350 per cent.
With the authorities pumping literally thousands of billions of Zimbabwe
dollars into the economy in the form of subsidies to gold miners, tobacco
and maize farmers and to service the national debt along with higher wages
for public servants and the security forces, money supply is growing at an
alarming rate. Meanwhile, output is contracting rapidly leaving consumers
and investors little to do with their money other than play the technically
illegal parallel foreign exchange market or the ZSE. Brains Muchemwah,
economist at Genesis Investment Bank, estimates that in US dollar terms the
stock market is now up 38 per cent this year.

He says that a small investor can buy 176 shares in medical group Medtech
for the same price as a loaf of bread. And with the market poised to "go
through the roof", in the words of Tony Fisher, managing director of Tetrad
Asset Management, it is hardly surprising that a whole new class of
investors has discovered the stock exchange.

Yet ZSE investment re-mains a high-risk strategy. The key downside risks
include the probability that in the forthcoming supplementary budget due
next month, the finance minister will impose some form of short-term capital
gains tax or stock exchange turnover tax.

Then there is the government's Indigenization and Empowerment Bill - due to
become law by September - that will force foreign-owned companies, of which
there are many on the ZSE, to sell at least 50 per cent of their shares to
"black" Zimbab-wean investors. It is clear that having made this policy
decision in the hope of winning votes in next year's elections, the
government has no idea just what it is taking on or how it will implement
the scheme.

Perhaps the greatest downside risk is that when - rather than if - the
political bubble bursts, so too will the stock exchange. Those who believe
that political change will fire the starter's gun for rapid economic
recovery in Zimbabwe are underestimating the huge damage Robert Mugabe, the
prime minister, has inflicted over the past 10 years, which will take at
least a decade, if not a generation, to redress.

But for the time being, the bulls are in full control.


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Parliamentary committee says health delivery has collapsed

Zim Online

Thursday 14 June 2007

By Hendricks Chizhanje

HARARE - A Zimbabwean parliamentary committee on health and child welfare
says the nation's health delivery system has virtually collapsed with most
state hospitals and clinics barely able to offer meaningful services.

The parliamentarians spoke after touring Harare Central Hospital, Beatrice
Infectious Diseases Hospital and a council clinic in Harare's working class
suburb of Highfield.

The tour was meant to assess the impact of a recent work boycott by junior
doctors and nurses that was called off last week after the government
awarded them salary increments.

Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) legislator Blessing Chebundo, who
chairs the parliamentary committee, said state hospitals and clinics were in
an advanced state of decay and urged government to act quickly to save
lives.

"Things are bad and service delivery has virtually collapsed. Patients are
being turned away from hospitals. We need an overhaul in the manner in which
we are running these institutions," Chebundo said.

Chebundo said there was a critical shortage of life-prolonging
anti-retroviral drugs for people living with HIV and AIDS.

Health and Child Welfare Minister David Parirenyatwa, who is a member of the
parliamentary committee, could not be reached for comment on the matter on
Wednesday.

Zimbabwe's health delivery system, once considered among the best in Africa,
has virtually crumbled due to years of under-funding and mismanagement with
most patients at state-run hospitals receiving nothing more than pain
killers because there is no foreign currency to import essential medicines.

The crisis in the health sector has been worsened by a severe eight-year old
economic crisis that has seen inflation shooting beyond 4 500 percent, the
highest in the world.

The MDC and major western governments blame the crisis on mismanagement by
President Robert Mugabe's government. - ZimOnline


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IMF says no reforms, no rescue package for Zimbabwe

Zim Online

Thursday 14 June 2007

By Sebastian Nyamhangambiri in Berlin

BERLIN - The International Monetary Fund this week said it was "deeply
concerned" by economic crisis in Zimbabwe but ruled out an rescue package
unless Harare repays outstanding debt and implements comprehensive economic
reforms.

An IMF spokesperson interviewed by ZimOnline by phone from the German
capital, Berlin, described monetary policy measurers unveiled by the Reserve
Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) last April as ad-hoc and inadequate to break
hyperinflation cycle that has left consumers impoverished and the economy in
deep crisis.

"Recent ad-hoc policy changes will not resolve the crisis. Changes announced
in the April monetary policy statement fall far short of a comprehensive
package that would be needed," said the spokesperson from the IMF's
Washington headquarters.

Inflation - which shot to 4 530 percent in May and is described by President
Robert Mugabe as Zimbabwe's number one enemy - is the most visible sign a
deep economic recession that has left more than 80 percent of the labour
force without jobs and spawned shortages of food, fuel and foreign currency.

The IMF official, who said the Bretton Woods institution was ready to help
Harare to draw up a comprehensive policy package to address Zimbabwe's
economic ills, said such a package would include among other things
eliminating quasi-fiscal spending by the RBZ, liberalising the exchange rate
and lifting controls on prices of essential commodities.

She said: "A strong upfront fiscal consolidation, including elimination of
quasi-fiscal activities, would be a particularly critical element of a
successful stabilisation programme.

"Other main elements would include exchange rate unification and full
liberalisation of the exchange regime for current international payments and
transfers, liberalisation of price controls and imposition of hard budget
constraints for public enterprises."

RBZ governor Gideon Gono was not immediately available to respond to the IMF's
recommendations. Gono, tasked by Mugabe to lead efforts to revive the
comatose economy is known to prefer co-operating with the IMF.

However, Gono has rejected calls by the Fund to stop quasi-fiscal spending
and to liberalise the exchange rate, arguing that Zimbabwe was in a unique
situation that demanded unorthodox solutions.

The IMF withdrew balance-of-payments support to Zimbabwe in 1999 following
disagreements with President Robert Mugabe over fiscal policy and other
governance issues.

The Fund's withdrawal and Mugabe's chaotic farm seizures that began in 2000
have plunged Zimbabwe into an economic meltdown described by the World Bank
as unprecedented for a country not at war. - ZimOnline


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Former army boss says does not care if villagers do not vote for him

Zim Online

Thursday 14 June 2007

By Regerai Marwezu

MASVINGO - Former Zimbabwe Defence Forces commander Vitalis Zvinavashe has
told voters in rural Gutu North constituency he did not care whether they
voted for him because President Robert Mugabe would still appoint him to
Parliament.

A clause in the Constitution allows Mugabe to appoint a limited number of
individuals to the Houses of Senate and Assembly ostensibly to represent
minority and other marginalised groups. He has however used the
controversial clause to reward friends and supporters by appointing them to
Parliament.

Zvinavashe, infamous for issuing a threat on the eve of a presidential
election in 2002 to stage a military coup in the event of Mugabe losing the
poll, was elected Senator for Gutu North in 2005 after he left the army.

He stunned voters at Mupandawana rural business centre in the constituency
when he told them their votes had little with him being senator, saying even
if he lost re-election he would still be appointed to the House of Senate by
Mugabe because of his liberation war history.

Zvinvashe, who was elected senator on a ruling ZANU PF ticket, told bemused
villagers: "Even if you do not vote for me, I do not care because I know
President Mugabe will appoint me because of the role I played during the
war. Even if you do not vote for me the President will know what to do."

A spokesman for ZANU PF supporters in Gutu North, Kenias Magura, said they
had written to Senate President Edna Madzongwe to order the retired army
general to apologise for his offending remarks.

Magura said: "We have written a letter to the President of the Senate Edna
Madzongwe for him to come here and apologise or be dismissed from the
Senate. We voted him into power and how can he talk to us like that?"

Zvinavashe, a short tempered and straight talking fellow, yesterday said he
had no apology to make since he had only spoken the truth. "People might be
offended with my remarks but that is the truth. My role during the war
speaks for itself," he told ZimOnline.

While Zvinavashe's forthright manner could be because of his military
background, the utter disrespect for rural voters that is all too evident in
his remarks highlights the contempt ZANU PF often displays for the
villagers, who ironically are its most faithful constituency.

The late Simon Muzenda, who was vice president of ZANU PF and the
government, in 2000 once told voters in one rural constituency in Masvingo
province that even if the ruling party chose a baboon as a candidate, their
duty was to vote for the animal without ever questioning the party's
choice. - ZimOnline


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Manhunt for coup plotters

The Zimbabwean

*Army on high alert†† *Generals under house arrest
BY ITAI DZAMARA
HARARE
A massive dragnet has been cast all over Zimbabwe in a manhunt for senior
defence force officers alleged to have been involved in a foiled coup
attempt. The army has been put on high alert following what highly-placed
sources described as 'an increasingly dangerous situation'.
The Zimbabwean can reveal that Lieutenant Colonel David Matapo of General
Headquarters in Harare was the leader of a group of seven army and police
officers† arraigned before the courts last week and charged with treason
after being arrested at an office in central Harare.
It has also been confirmed by top officials that Deputy Commander of the Air
Force of Zimbabwe, Air Vice Marshall Elson Moyo, and Major General Engelbert
Rugeje from army headquarters have been placed under house arrest.
The sources say Mugabe and his henchmen "have discovered that there is a
network of army leaders with advanced plans to remove the regime".† Colonel
Ben Ncube is also reportedly being hunted after the CIO alleged that he was
involved in the coup plans.
"All army barracks have been put on high alert and the situation is
increasingly getting dangerous as the hunt continues," a senior official
said. "State security agents have been getting information through torturing
those arrested." Sources say the coup plans involved very senior army
officials, while other indicators† point towards the involvement of senior
government officials or former leaders of the defence forces.† Huge numbers
of small weapons, such as rifles, have been said to be missing from army
barracks and sources say investigations by state agents show they have been
found in the hands of the coup plotters.
The Defence minister, Sydney Sekeramayi, has continued to dismiss the coup
plot, saying arrests of soldiers guilty of misconduct were a daily
occurrence in the defence forces.† In addition to the top officials, this
paper is reliably informed that up to 150 middle and junior members have
been rounded up, with fears many of them could have been executed.
A combination of disgruntlement over poor salaries as well as the general
suffering of the nation as hyperinflation continues to choke Zimbabwe has
been attributed to the rising levels of unrest within the defence forces.
There have been reports that some senior army officials have given President
Robert Mugabe an ultimatum for him to either step down or they take things
into their own hands.


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Hot Seat - Williams, Mukasa and Hove

zimbabwejournalists.com

13th Jun 2007 23:57 GMT

By Violet Gonda

HOT SEAT INTERVIEW: Jenni Williams, Chenjerai Hove and Stan Mukasa

Broadcast on Tuesday 12 June

Violet Gonda: The discussion on the programme Hot Seat this week centres on the issue of talks and elections and whether or not there are alternatives to talks and elections. My guests on the programme are Jenni Williams, the co-ordinator of the pressure group Women of Zimbabwe Arise, Zimbabwean poet and writer Chenjerai Hove and Professor Stanford Mukasa, a political commentator. Welcome on the programme Hot Seat.

All: Thank you

Violet: Iím going to start with Jenni on the issue of the talks and also the elections that are scheduled for next year. What is the feeling on the ground on these two issues?

Jenni Williams: On the issue of an election, you know, as far as weíre concerned as members of WOZA and MOZA, and, just as ordinary Zimbabweans, to have an election in a climate where you are starving, where 4000 people are dying every day, is totally irrelevant. And, right now I donít know whether anyone is even pre-occupied or thinking or even looking forward to the day of any election and even thinking they will leave their homes for that day. So an election and even the discourse about an election is pretty irrelevant. We are just looking at how to survive today. On the issue of talks we have a little bit of a slightly different reaction because the situation; the cost of living, everything is just tough and so people are just saying: ďToday, how am I going to survive. Let me spend a little bit of today thinking about how we can put pressure to make this Mbeki initiative at least become something close to being genuine and, if donít do something like that, I know what will happen. It will be a repeat of the deals before, Lancaster House and others where politicians speak at a level that is totally irrelevant and then cut political deals in our name, and then we end up with nothing. So I have got to be able to have some voice, some recognition, some acknowledgement on that table if I might find that tomorrow will be a bit easier for me.Ē

Violet: And you were arrested in Bulawayo last week together with 7 other women and just on Monday about 150 WOZA women were arrested after they handed themselves in at the Filabusi Police Station. Now, your group has been holding demonstrations, or trying to, for inclusion in these talks. Are any of these demonstrations having any impact on the talks?

Jenni Williams: Well, I donít know if we actually want to be included in the talks. I think our role is more to project what should be on the agenda of the talks, and that is more what we are pre-occupied with. We do not think that sitting right directly there will be time well spent because our role is a watchdog role. We need to be on the sidelines pushing an agenda on and then making sure that those discussions and the discourse and the issues that we want addressed are addressed in the talks. If they are not addressed we then are still free and have that arms length role to be able to keep insisting and keep pushing and keep on making sure our issues are being more genuinely discussed. So I think that is our role as WOZA. We recognise that role, all our members understand it very well and thatís why we are able to mobilise them to keep active and to keep putting pressure.

Violet : And what should be on the agenda?

Jenni† Williams : It should be dealing with the socio economic crisis. We have our ten steps that we have recommended and in each of those ten steps, if they are progressively done, we will be able to have a better climate and then we will be interested in talking about an election. Until we get those ten steps addressed and until we have a better climate, until all the unjust laws have been repealed and until we have done an audit of the civil servants and disbanded the Law and Order, we wonít be able to have a climate where a truly free and fair election with one man/one woman one vote can be conducted and give us a now independent and fresh start for Zimbabweans.

Violet: The continued arrests and beatings of Opposition and rights defenders have left many to question the validity of the Mbeki led negotiations and also the participation of the MDC in the talks. Now, some ask how can we allow talks to take place while Mugabe is given free reign to put his violence and rigging machinery in place. What do you say to this?

Jenni Williams : Well, again, itís a matter of agenda and mandate. You know the MDC should actually be able to look at on what basis they will go into the talks and they should be able to envision and come up with the climate that they need for those talks to be conducted. If itís the freedom of all their members in custody, if itís a different environment, itís their agenda to press for that. We are not interested in pursuing their agenda or even a ZANU agenda. We are only interested in pursuing our agenda; that we need for what will be discussed when those talks take place. And, if Mbeki is to be a fair arbitrator and also a genuine mediator, he will also be pressing from his angle that those talks should be able to engage the issues that would make Zimbabwe liveable.

Violet : And, Mr Hove, what are your views on these talks?

Chenjerai Hove: I think the talks should be all-inclusive. By that I mean that it is no longer possible for political parties to deal with the situation in Zimbabwe . It is important that all interested parties should be included in these talks so that they donít seem to be pushing party political agendas. They have to be inclusive; everybody: WOZA, MDC, the constitutional movement, the youth, Lawyers for Human Rights, they must be included in these talks if they are going to be substantial talks.

Violet: But the Opposition has said that these other stakeholders would be included in these talks and this is just a preliminary stage.

Chenjerai Hove: Yes, yes, itís better to include everybody in the preliminary stage because you have to draft the agenda, you have to get all the items on the table which are coming from everybody and then you go on. Otherwise you canít take people or some other people on half way through the journey. So I think itís important that we realise that this is a national crisis which is political, social, economic and cultural. It must include everybody who has a stake in what we want to do for our country.

Violet: Now, some Zimbabweans say that this is dťjŗ vu and that they have seen this happen with ZANU and ZAPU, so how can the MDC ensure that they donít suffer the same fate?

Chenjerai Hove: Yes, the MDC has to be cautious thatís why I am talking about an all inclusive discussion table, because ZAPU went in as ZAPU and it was swallowed by ZANU PF. Now, if they went on as MDC, MDC now are going in as a minor partner in the discussion because ZANU will say ĎOh no, look, you donít have many seats in parliament, you are a minor partner, you donít have much negotiating powerí, which was the same with ZAPU. But if you include everybody else, the Churches, all the Womenísí organisations, Menís organisations, Lawyers for Human Rights, Women for Human Rights, then the risk of being swallowed by ZANU PF and put on the ZANU PF train will be less; will be reduced.

Violet: And also, Mr Hove, what about the situation on the ground right now that is worsening, so while people are talking about talks, Mugabe is carrying on with what heís always done for seven years especially, you know beating up opponents, arresting opponents. Now, shouldnít that be a precondition to talks, you know to stop the violence, to stop the arrests?

Chenjerai Hove: The violence definitely has to stop. I think Mr Mbeki, if he wants to be seen as a serious negotiator; facilitator, he should make sure that he clearly tells President Mugabe that this has to stop. You canít negotiate while you are killing the other negotiating partners, you are torturing them, people are being disappeared and being people are being imprisoned. So that violence has to stop and that negotiation table must include a lot of basic changes. The laws which have been made to safeguard Mugabeís power; ZANU PFís power; must be on the table and those have to be removed. Electoral laws, POSA; all those laws just make it impossible to have no violence in the country. So, if those are put aside and negotiations are done on that basis; a genuine basis. Because, if you look at what happened to Ian Smith, for example, it was one South African President who said Ďif you donít negotiate with the blacks in Zimbabwe, the consequences are going to be too ghastly to contemplate and this is exactly what Mbeki must tell Mugabe.

Violet: And now, Professor Mukasa, you know there are those who believe that Mugabe is using delaying tactics and that the MDC seems to be following his agenda and that itís becoming like a daily pilgrimage for the Opposition going to South Africa . Now, are there an alternative to talks and is the initiative becoming a waste of time?

Professor Mukasa : Yes, of course there are alternatives to talks but those alternatives are aimed at bringing pressure. Ultimately, any conflict is resolved at a conference table. The problem with the present talks is that Mugabeís agenda is likely to prevail simply because MDC does not have any bargaining power at all. You see, if you go to a conference table and you have nothing on your side to show that you are also strong, you are going to be swallowed up by the other personís agenda. Right now, I was talking to an MDC official the other day who said Ďwell, if you can suggest alternatives to participating in elections, let us knowí. You see thatís a tacit admission that we donít have any bargaining power because going to the conference table is tantamount to power politics. You know, people who sit and face each other across the table, each must have what I may call a stick, a power base which can make their demands credible and believable from the other personís perspective. When ZANU engaged in a dialogue with Ian Smith, it was against the background of each partner, each group, having a power base. Now, the power base for the MDC is obviously the civil society and what is needed now is to create that kind of environment that will make it clear; unequivocally clear; that he does not posses all the power. Mugabe, right now, is dependent on the military power he thinks he can wield at any time he wants to.

What MDC needs to do now is to link up with the rest of the civil society and make it clear to Mugabe that if he does not accede to the basic demands; demands like just social equities, you know, the basic necessities that Jenni talked about; the need to bring about free and fair elections, the need to bring back the Rule of Law, the need to bring back true democracy and the kinds of economic reforms that are needed to make Zimbabweans move forward and make Zimbabweans feel there is something for them in this post-colonial era. Unless MDC can marshal that power and strength; that power base, they are going as junior partners to the conference table with Mugabe. And, Mugabe can postpone the talks as much as he wants, and even if he were to come to the conference table, he is not likely to take those talks seriously because he has got so much confidence in this own power base.

And, one thing that must be recognised is that, the agenda for talks; according to Mugabe; is not to save Zimbabwe , but to save himself; to save himself from the kinds of prosecutions that could arise. Mugabe has lost interest in the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe , Mugabe has no vested interest in bringing back free and fair elections. He knows whatís going to happen to him. Free and fair elections are going to be a death knell to him politically and in terms of his career and his party. And, he knows what lies ahead for him if the Rule of Law is ever to return to Zimbabwe . So, he has a power base, namely the military, and because he does not believe that the talks as envisaged by the MDC and Mbeki and the International Community will work to his interest. He is going to hold out. He has survived for seven years now and he feels he can hold out indefinitely. So, what is needed right now, I wouldnít talk about alternatives to talks, I would talk about developing a power base in order to become a real force at the talks or to force Mugabe to move away from his agenda of self survival to the agenda for the survival of the nation.

Violet: But how do they do that exactly because some say both the Opposition and the general civic society have failed to develop meaningful rhetoric free programmes which would deliver tangible immediate outcomes. So, what suggestions can you give?

Professor Mukasa: Well, then you have to start asking yourself

Jenni: If I can also come in here?

Violet : Yes

Jenni Williams: The one thing that we recognise, if MDC definitely thought they had to go to a table with bargaining power and a power base, they would have consulted civic society; they would have gone to the communities. They have not done that. So the first thing that needs to be done, is that anyone who calls themselves a civic or political leader needs to re-examine their agenda and ask themselves whether they are in it for the long haul or they are just in it for personal enrichment and positions and the glory. If they are please its time for them to please step aside. We need people who are going to understand they must be in this for reform and a real transitional process and not a quick fix. If we then have those kind of people then those people will be more inclined to go and develop a power base, to go and engage people, to genuinely meet with WOZA, to genuinely meet with other mass based movements and say, OK, how can we now unite, how can we come together, what memorandum of understanding can we come up with and then we will go forward. That is the kind of solution but with the current crop that you have I donít know if those people even have the intention to respect someone enough to ask them what is it and how can we work together to have a power base and give us more bargaining power and that is the grade zero of the whole problem

Violet: Now Jenni still on that issue about consultation. Now as I said earlier, your group has been embarking on these demonstrations, but have you had any response from the MDC?

Jenni Williams : No, we donít engage with them, they donít engage with us, which is actually a very sad thing that I have to admit and itís the truth and so I donít mind. But I can tell you that the other problem here that is coming and that is not actually seen, is we who are in the communities, we understand, we hear the heartbeat of the communities, ZANU have already begun their election campaigning two months ago. MDC mustnít be surprised if an earlier election is called so that basically ZANU will present Mbeki with a fait accompli and that will be that. Where are MDC? Pre-occupied talking about talks; amongst themselves and not in a consultative process to develop a power base. And so, do you see where this is going?

Violet : Now Mr Hove, can you give us your thoughts. We know that there is in-fighting in the MDC and many people say that this is the reason that Mugabe continues to stay in power because the Opposition forces are fighting amongst each other. And now, as Jenni has told us, even within the civic society people are not, you know, consulting or working as one. What can you say about this?

Chenjerai Hove: Yes, I think the problem, one of the big problems we have in the country, which we have had for some time, is the factionalism. Zimbabweans are specialists in creating factions out of every organisation and that fragmentation is costly. That fragmentation is going to disrupt the whole democratic programme. Why shouldnít people and organisations be talking to each other about this, and say ĎOK, we want to get our act together, we go there together, we go there as a big power base to negotiate and we tell Thabo Mbeki that we have all these organisations, as what happened in South Africa, for example, the United Democratic Front which brought in the Churches, the different political movements, the Labour Unions, brought them together and they were a power base. They were very important for change in South Africa . Now we, in Zimbabwe , we tend to concentrate on very petty things and forget the bigger picture and that has cost us a lot at very crucial moments.

Violet: And what are your views on this Professor Mukasa? Because it seems Zimbabwe has become highly polarised and divided. How can these Opposition forces or rather pro-democracy be united? Or rather, is there a need for them to work together?

Professor Mukasa : Ok, two things first. One, some people have talked about the unity of Opposition forces into one anti Mugabe struggling mass. I donít necessarily subscribe to the physical unity. I think itís good for the Opposition forces to exist in their individual entities because those are the seeds for multi party democracy in future. What is needed is a common strategy. Let all the different parties in the civic society movement sort of be co-ordinated in their actions. So that when there is a ZCTU demonstration, let it not be a ZCTU demonstration, let it be a peoplesí demonstration. When there is a WOZA demonstration, let it not be a WOZA demonstration, let it be a peoplesí demonstration so that the fight for one becomes the fight for all. So, two strategies are needed here. One, and this is immediate and very important, is that the Broad Alliance which had been mooted some time in the past, it must be given an extra strength to co-ordinate the activities, so that when the ZCTU people are on strike everybody should participate. Just because the demonstration has been called by ZCTU, or by WOZA or MOZA it should not remain an exclusive activity of that particular agency. Everybody should join in. Thatís very very important.

And, when anybody is arrested, when anybody is victimised, whether itís in the ZCTU or the MDC or whatever, it should be a concern for all Zimbabweans. So it should be one fight for all. But, let the different entities exist in their own ideological enclave because that will give seeds. Those are the seeds for a multi party democracy once Mugabe is overthrown. If everybody was to unite under one party, you know, that will easily lend itself to the post Mugabe trend towards a one party type of political system.

The most important thing right now by way of developing a power base is that the Opposition movement must strategise. They must actually sit down and have a weekend seminar somewhere, it does not have to be in Zimbabwe, they can go to neighbouring Botswana, and sit down and say Ďlook here are some practical steps that we must take by way of developing a power base; a source of influence on Mugabe that will push Mugabe. Mugabe right now is dilly-dallying, Mugabe is taking his time, Mugabe is not serious about the talks because he knows the Opposition is so divided that they cannot come together to consolidate their strategies, they cannot co-ordinate their work. This is where the MDC needs to review their tactics.

In 1963 after the Sharpeville massacre, Nelson Mandela stood up and said Ďlook, we have tried all this non-violent and peaceful strategies and the time has come for us to ask ourselves very serious questions. Now, Iím not saying that the Opposition should engage itself in any violent activity, but they should from time to time be reviewing their strategies. One thing that amazes me and impresses me about WOZA is that they are very creative, innovative, they are always coming up with new strategies to beat Mugabe, and, they have been very successful. So let us learn from each other, you know, where ZCTU is looking at why their efforts have not been that successful, they should also learn from how the other groups has been successful.

Violet: But Professor Mukasa, why do you think these other groups have not picked up on those strategies that youíve talked about?

Professor Mukasa : That is the question that is the challenge now for these other groups. They should not be so stuck on saying like; I think it was Welshman Ncube who said it one time who said Ďlook we have no alternative but just to go on with the electionsí you know, agitating - when he was defending his decision to go to participate in the Senate elections. Now, thatís a defeatist attitude you know. The history of revolutions, if you are to study the history of revolutions, they never started successfully. The very first Chinhoyi battle that was waged by ZANU PF, all the members at Chinhoyi, they were all wiped out but they did not sit back and say Ďwell we tried it and we failedí. Some of the most successful revolutions had very poor starts Ė the regimes were so effective in wiping them out but they didnít sit back and say well we have tried the best thing is to talk to them. No.

Violet : Professor Mukasa, before you carry on and before I go to Jenni and Mr Hove, on the issue of elections that you have just talked about, what else can people do besides going to the elections?

Professor Mukasa: Well, what people need to do is to agitate for their rights. The elections are, in the present environment, the elections are not going to give people what they want. I mean since 2000 every single election has been rigged and we know it. You can be as sure as the sun comes from the east and sets in the west that the next elections are going to be rigged as well. So its foolishness just to keep on doing the same things and hoping youíll get results. I think the strategy now is to develop what I call a power base to be able to make it clear to Mugabe that if you donít accede to our demands we are prepared to go to the streets.

Some people have given up on mass action, I have not. And, I believe that the Zimbabweans will arise, and that they are able and that they are willing. And, in fact, if rumours are true, Mugabeís Security Chiefs have reportedly told him that the people are now ready and willing to overthrow him through mass action. Whether that is true or not we donít know, but the fact of the matter is that what is needed now is that kind of leadership that will mobilise the people; not the leadership that will just sit by the rivers of Babylon and just moan their failures and weep. But, we need leadership that are creative, that are very innovative, that are always constantly reviewing their strategies. If something did not go well in the past we have to sit down and ask Ďwhy did it not go wellí. I believe right now that the people of Zimbabwe are ready and willing and able to be mobilised into real demonstrations. I mean WOZA is a model, is a text book case that shows that people are ready and willing. What we need now is the kind of resolute leadership that will take that extra step and say Ďlook we have to show Mugabe by demonstrations, by what I call a civil disobedience campaign. It doesnít necessarily involve mobilising thousands of people onto the streets but there are many, many strategies that can be engaged in and that is what Mugabe is fearful of. Heís afraid that there will come a day when the Opposition movement will have that kind of a leader who will mobilise people into a systematic and purposeful civil disobedience campaign.

Violet: Let me ask Jenni about this. Why isnít this happening? You are on the ground and you mentioned the problems of the leadership, what really is the problem?

Why arenít these organisations, including your organisation, why arenít you all working together? Professor Mukasa talked about the MDC Opposition detainees that were in custody, and some of them spent more than 65 days in police custody and there were no demonstrations from any of the other organisations demanding their release. The WOZA women are always getting beaten or brutalised or arrested and we donít hear other organisations issuing statements condemning the arrests. Why is it like that?

Jenni Williams: Itís the fear of the baton stick, the baton stick syndrome, and I know it because I am actually amongst people and people fear very much when that riot policeman gets off his vehicle wearing his chamber pot helmet and he lifts his baton stick people fear that very much. And we do a lot of training to ask people to overcome fear and we recognise that we still now have to take another step in our training programme, in our curriculum development to try and find a way to train people to overcome the fear of that baton stick. That is number one, for us as WOZA.

But with other organisations and other political parties, they fear that time in custody. They donít want to be in the dirt, they donít want to have lice in their hair like Iíve currently got, and they fear all those sorts of things. But sometimes the things that you most fear are the things that you need to do if you want to be free, and we need to come to that stage where we realise that. But then, the other thing that also comes into play, and it needs a lot more discussion; it needs analysis examination is this issue of non-violence.

With us; as a non violent organisation; we are developing a worry, a concern when we are called by other organisations to join them in the streets and it is primarily because of our commitment to non violence. WOZA people are trained, we 100% endorse non-violence as the way that we are going to remove this violent regime. But, other organisations have not developed that commitment, have not developed that ability to be as brave to say, in response to your violence, I will sit down, in response to your violence I will hand myself in, in solidarity. They havenít got that and so it makes us very reluctant to join in with people who might respond violently and destroy a reputation that we have actually suffered five years to build.

There needs to be an understanding that non-violence is not your response to violence. Itís a sustained campaign of strengthening the psyche of a people who want to be more dignified. And if people start to recognise that and commit to non violence; I have been with Morgan Tsvangirai and Iíve asked him Ďcan you commit to non-violenceí and Iíve not gotten a clear answer. Iíve seen NCA demos do they commit to non-violence? No, we donít see that. ZCTU maybe they commit to non violence but thereís no sustained training and curriculum development that allows someone to say ĎI am a non violent human rights defender and because of that, under the United Nations as long as I maintain non violence and universality, I have that protection. And that will act like a shield to protect people so that they donít fear the baton stick as much.

Violet Gonda: And Iím going to pause here for this week but join us next Tuesday for the last part of this discussion with Professor Stanford Mukasa, Jenni Williams and Chenjerai Hove.


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Farm tools used to buy votes

The Zimbabwean

HARARE - President Robert Mugabe this week accused Britain of mobilising
international hostility against Zimbabwe and maintained his land grab was
highly successful and a source of pride for Zimbabweans.
"We knew we were right in taking our land," thundered Mugabe to his party
faithful at a rally called to donate farming implements to his loyalists.
"Through our unshakeable determination, today we are proud masters of our
economic and political destiny. The land should now be transformed into
hectares and hectares of maximum productivity."
Mugabe was speaking at a campaign rally where he donated more than 2 million
herd of cattle, 925 tractors, 35 combine harvesters, 586 disc ploughs, 463
disc harrows, 78 fertiliser spreaders and 71 planters to his supporters. The
move was widely seen here as a vote buying gimmick.
In 2000 when the land grab began, Britain offered £36 million for land
redistribution, but only once the occupations had ended. The money was
actually earmarked in 1998, but has been held back because London feared it
might be misused by Mugabe's political cronies rather than spent on the
rural poor.


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Mugabe sends opposition activists to jail, exile and the grave

The Zimbabwean

'Radio and television remain the exclusive propaganda tool of the Mugabe
regime'
HARARE - The screws are tightening on Zimbabwe's beleagured opposition - the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
The country's aged dictator, Robert Mugabe, has put tight controls on the
media, installed an efficient rigging mechanism ahead of elections, torn up
a democratic draft constitution, and sent opposition activists into jail,
exile or the grave.
Twenty-seven opposition activists have now spent a gruelling three months in
remand prison. Only one person in this group, Tsvangirai's top advisor Ian
Makone, has been released on Z$150 million bail.
The government has used the array of legislation at its disposal, including
tough security laws, to impose virtual martial rule. Rallies and
demonstrations remain banned - nine months away from crucial presidential
and legislative elections. The penalty for challenging established authority
can draw a penalty of up to 20 years imprisonment. Organising people to take
part in protests gets two years inside.
Against this background, the opposition is backing Morgan Tsvangirai, a
trade unionist, as a joint candidate in the presidential and parliamentary
election next March.
He has had a warm reception abroad - most recently at a meeting in South
Africa organised by pro-democracy group IDASA.
But it is wowing the dirt-poor rural areas, constituting 75 percent of the
Zimbabwe vote, that really matters. This is an uphill battle, given the
official harassment that cripples his campaigns in these areas and the
deeply entrenched patronage system. The opposition has no access to the
public media - which reaches these people. State-owned radio and television
remain the exclusive propaganda tool of the Mugabe regime.
The shrinking independent media, although nominally free, must overcome big
bureaucratic obstacles, including tough registration requirements with the
government-run Media and Information Commission.
Now a new law is targeting the only channel of information that the
government does not control - the Internet. The Interception of
Communications Bill will make it a criminal offence to discredit Zimbabwe's
standing abroad through any electronic medium. It also empowers government
to snoop on private communications, including telephone conversations and
e-mails.
Local geeks claim the authorities have bought software from China to block
opposition related content in e-mails or websites. has reciprocated with a
desperately needed loan, which has given the Mugabe regime a new lease of
life.
The opposition has also ratcheted pressure by threatening public protests.
Up until March 11, numbers taking part had grown each time. But with the
police now allowed to shoot demonstrators, coupled with an escalating wave
of State-sponsored terror, it is understandable that numbers have
predictably fallen.
Pro-democracy forces hope for a Ukraine-style revolution in Zimbabwe. It
could be a long wait. - Chief Reporter


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Kunonga's land grab: former 10-ton-club farm lies idle

The Zimbabwean

HARARE
An Anglican bishop closely associated to President Robert Mugabe and his
family has lain to waste a lush soya bean and wheat farm seized from white
farmer Marcus Hale at the height of the land grab here.
St Marnock's farm, which bishop Nolbert Kunonga has taken over, is located
15 kilometres from the stone-clad cathedral of St Mary's in central Harare,
Zimbabwe's capital, where he officiates.
A visit to St Marnock's at the weekend revealed a classic tale of the
disastrous effects the sullied agrarian reform programme. The Zimbabwean
found Kunonga's son reclining in the grabbed seven-bedroom farmhouse
overlooking a dam and what were once 2,000 acres of wheat and soya bean
fields, now abandoned.
This farm used to be one of the areas under the prestigious "10 ton club."
But now what remains are derelict fields with overgrown grass. Equipment is
locked away and there no agriculture taking place here, despite the fact
that the nation is desperately short on food.
Round about this time, back in the day when St Marnock's was still under the
management of the previous owner Hale, who studied with the Royal
Agricultural College in Cirencester, Gloucestershire, the farm would have
been teeming with green fields of a knee high soya bean crop and a winter
wheat crop.
The highly mechanized farm has been reduced to a wasteland, without
virtually nothing under irrigation. The machinery is all lying useless in
the sheds. And this year, no one has done anything about planting a crop for
this season.
Hale was kicked off his farm some months before the 53- year-old bishop took
it over.
Kunonga reportedly wanted the farm for property development because it was
close to Harare. But this has not taken place.
It is believed Kunonga was given Hale's farm by President Mugabe as a reward
for his outspoken support, a move that has sharply divided Anglicans in
Zimbabwe. The sycophantic bishop has mocked the president's opponents as
"puppets of the West".
Mugabe's policy of land seizures, which has plunged the country into its
worst crisis since independence from Britain in 1980, is largely being
blamed for a hunger crisis that threatens the lives of 4,1 million
Zimbabweans.


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NCA geared for rolling campaigns

The Zimbabwean

Over 500 Zimbabweans recently attended the first meeting of the National
Constitutional Assembly's South Africa desk.
NCA Coordinator Tapera Kapuya vowed to launch a relentless campaign on
Zimbabweans in SA to contribute to constitutional reform back home.
"We are geared to bring a democratic people driven constitution before
Zimbabwe's next elections are held, so we are moving at a faster pace and we
need the millions of Zimbabweans in this country to help," said Kapuya.
"The NCA is not affiliated to any political party hence everyone from any
political party who wish to contribute in bringing a democratic dispensation
is welcome to participate in these deliberations. We are geared for an
educational and mobilization campaign", confirmed a senior NCA official in
South Africa.
"Every exiled Zimbabwean is a victim of our current constitution which gives
executive powers to one man. All elections since 2000 have been marred by
rigging," lamented Gerald Moyo from Mabopane.
Demonstrations are expected all over the country starting with Petersburg
and Messina next week. - Trust Matsilele


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Zimbabwe can rebuild - here's proof

The Zimbabwean

It is amazing how fast a country can heal under the right hands. A return to
the economic prosperity of the mid-1990s, or even the early 1970s, may take
time says writer GEOFF HILL, but, he believes, Zimbabwe can come right.
'To achieve this, there must be freedom -- both political and civil, an end
to corruption, a new police force and space for the media to operate without
interference'
People often cite Mozambique and Zambia as examples of basket cases that
have been turned around, but I have not been impressed by either. The
Portuguese, for all their errors, turned Mozambique into a major producer of
cashews. They established world-class national parks and a good network of
roads and railways. The late Samora Machel destroyed all that.
His successor, Joachim Chissano, worked hard to undo the damage, but the
country still falls way short of its potential.
Zambia was dragged down by the bumbling one-party state of Kenneth Kaunda.
From 1992, his successor, Frederick Chiluba, corrupted what had been an
honestly incompetent public sector. President Levy Mwanawasa is doing his
best to make up for almost four lost decades since independence. By the end
of his term in 2011, we might see Zambia as a new model for Africa to
follow, but the jury is still out.
But, there are countries that serve as examples of what can be achieved in a
new Zimbabwe.
In 2004, I was in Kigali to report on the 10th anniversary of the Rwandan
genocide. It was my first visit to Rwanda. What a surprise!
It's easy to imagine that the 10 weeks of slaughter in 1994 were the time
when Rwanda collapsed, but the previous 32 years since independence from
Belgium had been a disaster. Colonial infrastructure decayed, roads washed
away, the forests were cut down. Rwanda quickly became a dictatorship with
few economic prospects. The media fell under state control and personal
freedoms withered.
In July 1994, Paul Kagame's forces overthrew the government in Kigali and
stopped the genocide. They took command of a failed state -- littered with
corpses. Today you would hardly know it. Call boxes work. Tarred roads link
all parts of the country, investment is growing faster than anywhere else in
East Africa, and the currency is stable.
As early as 2000, GDP had jumped by almost 50%. Rwanda is an easy place to
do business and probably the most crime-free country in Africa.
These are the decisive factors in the transformation wrought by Kagame:
depoliticising the police and public service; bringing talent home from
exile;
punishing corruption; creating a relatively transparent government;
fostering growth in the private sector; minimising demands for "local
ownership"; lifting most restrictions on foreign exchange; and healing old
wounds through legal trials for human-rights abusers.
These are all challenges that face Zimbabwe.
The other example is less known, but even more impressive. The former
British Somaliland achieved independence in 1960 and, a week later, joined
with Italian Somaliland in the south to create Somalia.
The marriage was a disaster, with southerners in Mogadishu dominating the
government. Under the one-party rule of president Siad Barre, festering
resentments culminated in genocide in the north of the country. When a coup
dislodged Barre in 1991, warlords took over the south, and the country
became partitioned.
Somaliland seized the chance to declare unilateral independence, on May 18
1991. To this day, no other nation formally recognises the government in
Hargeisa. But most countries accept their passports.
Somalilanders are rightly proud of their achievements. Whereas in Mogadishu,
capital of Somalia, you can barely move without finding your path obstructed
by an AK-47, the only rifles I saw in Hargeisa were in the hands of
soldiers. They were courteous, disciplined and well turned out.
As in Rwanda, the phones work and roads are reasonably good. Private capital
is pouring in, mostly from Somalilanders living abroad. Somaliland has a GDP
more than double that of Somalia, which is, geographically, four times as
large.
I was struck by the example of sound governance and administration in
Somaliland when I covered its general election of September 2005. If only
Zimbabwe could have an election like that -- with parties free to campaign,
a total absence of intimidation, daily newspapers and even a TV station in
private hands.
The achievement is especially striking, given the country's brutal history.
On the sandy banks of the Maroodijeex River that runs through Hargeisa, I
walked among thousands of human bones. These are the skeletons of men, women
and children gunned down by Barre's troops.
Today those war criminals have retreated south of the Somaliland border.
Unlike Rwanda, there have been few trials. The absence of justice leaves an
air of unfinished business. Zimbabwe too will have to bring the killers and
torturers to justice before lasting peace can be found.
Press freedoms are fragile. Earlier this year, Somaliland's leading
independent daily newspaper, Haatuf, was closed down and four of its
journalists jailed. Haatuf had published allegations of misuse of government
property by the president and his family.
The journalists were "pardoned" after an outcry by human rights groups, but
the incident has damaged the country's standing. Even so, political life in
Somaliland is more democratic than in many Africa states. Administration is
effective.
A new Zimbabwe can learn from these examples. There will need to be a return
of exiles and their money and a rush of new capital. To achieve this, there
must be freedom -- both political and civil, an end to corruption, a new
police force and space for the media to operate without interference. - C.
2007 Geoff Hill is bureau chief Africa for the Washington Times and author
of What Happens After Mugabe? (Zebra-New Holland)


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Cops recruit Green Bombers

The Zimbabwean

HARARE
The Zimbabwe Republic Police has recruited more than 3000 members of the
militia as a desperate measure to address staff shortages following massive
desertions and absconding by officers.
Sources within the police said that the militia were recently recruited
after Commissioner Augustine Chihuri had been issued with a government
directive to "immediately address the issue of staff shortage" ahead of next
year's elections and as the political situation remains tense.
Minister of Home Affairs Kembo Mohadi confirmed that "yes we have been
recruiting into the ZRP because we need the force to be prepared for any
situation". He claimed the recruitment was done from deserving members of
society.
Investigations have confirmed that most police stations across the country
have recently received the groups of Green Bombers and war veterans, with
some senior officers saying the new members didn't undergo sufficient
training required by the ZRP.
"We have recently received Green Bombers and war veterans and they are being
used mainly to contain volatile situations as well as do the spying tasks
within the force," said a senior official at Harare's Central Police
Station.
More than 5000 members of the ZRP, which was already under-staffed, have
left the force while many others have not reported for duty for long
periods. Mohadi described this as "a serious cause for concern".
Members of the police are leaving largely due to poor salaries with the
majority of them reportedly going to neighbouring countries where they even
accept to work as security guards. - Itai Dzamara


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Diamond geezer poisoned by party fatcats?

The Zimbabwean

BY OWN CORRESPONDENT
The late William Nhara, principal director in the President's Office, is
alleged to have been poisoned by a top former army general and senior Zanu
(PF) politician fearing that he was about to reveal information on illegal
diamond smuggling.
Nhara is thought to have inside knowledge of a syndicate involved in
smuggling diamonds and other precious minerals out of the country. He was
arrested early this year for attempting to bribe immigration officials with
US$700 meant for the release of a Lebanese woman, Carole Georges El Martini,
who had been caught trying to smuggle 10 000 carats of diamonds out of
Zimbabwe.
It is suspected that the arrest was as a result of a tip-off from a rival
group, allegedly linked to Emmerson Mnangagwa, Rural and Infrastructure
Development minister and close confidante of President Robert Mugabe. El
Martini was later released on a $Z21 million fine and has since fled
Zimbabwe.
However, weeks of investigations have revealed a link to the poisoning of
the late Nhara by senior Zanu (PF) and government officials. Nhara, dubbed
the 'Diamond Geezer' following his arrest, was out on bail after being
charged with attempting to smuggle diamonds.
According to a close family relative working as a senior diplomat at
Zimbabwe's mission in South Africa who cannot be revealed for security
reasons, an independent post mortem report showed that Nhara's cause of
death was from neurotoxin poisoning.
Government reports have suggested that Nhara, who passed away at St Annes
Hospital in Harare, was suffering from a kidney ailment.
"The post mortem report that we saw from the pathologist, which was a top
secret document, reveals that my cousin died from chemical poisoning," the
relative, who was part of a small group of relatives that was made to make
arrangements for the funeral together with Central Intelligence Organisation
officials said.
"I believe this arrangement was meant to cover for those involved in the
murder of William," he added.
Our investigations also reveal that Nhara, 47 at the time of his death, was
working as a front for a syndicate linked to retired army-generals Solomon
Mujuru and Claudius Makova when he was arrested at the Harare International
Airport.
Zimbabwe Defence Industries (ZDI) boss and former army general Arnold
Tshinga Dube's son Mthulisi has also been involved in diamond dealings on
behalf of his father.
Among others who are involved in illegal diamond mining are General Mujuru
with wife, vice-president Joice Mujuru, government minister Oppah
Muchinguri, and the First Lady, Grace Mugabe.
George Charamba, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information and
Publicity was the only high-ranking government and Zanu (PF) official who
attended the burial.
According to central bank governor Gideon Gono, Zimbabwe is losing US$40m to
US$50m every week through the smuggling of precious minerals. A Harare
magistrate and seven others were recently nabbed in the western town of
Mhangura where they were allegedly panning for gold.
Gold deliveries in 2006 were 10.96 tons, down from 13.45 tons, owing to a
combination of factors, including a lack of equipment, reduced exploration
and illegal trading and smuggling.
In January, authorities vowed to press on with a crackdown on illegal gold
and diamond miners. About 31 509 people have been arrested since November.
One miner died in the crackdown. Police have recovered 3.6kg of gold and 7
868 diamonds since the blitz was launched.


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The Untold Stories: State of the student movement in Zimbabwe

zimbabwejournalists.com

13th Jun 2007 21:18 GMT

By Zinasu

Zimbabwe National Students Union ( ZINASU) held an extra-ordinary General
Council meeting on Saturday the 9th of June 2007.The meeting was attended by
Student Representative Presidents of more than 40 Colleges and Universities
who discussed issues facing students in various institutions of higher
learning . Issue identification has become a new center of force in
politics.

The major problems facing students in Zimbabwe include the issue of bonding
of students to government for three years after completing their studies.
This is grossly unfair and unacceptable. Over the years the government was
sponsoring students and yet they never thought of bonding students .It is
only now when the government has failed to fund students that they now try
to implement this futile strategy. The students refuse to be bonded to a
desperate government whose only primordial instinct is to guarantee itself
cheap labour and misappropriate state resources with military discipline and
brutal efficiency. If this country is not a military state, ZINASU questions
the rationale behind bonding students to a non-existent contract.

The students condemn the deplorable diet that most colleges are offering,
usually cabbage with no cooking oil and students are required to bring their
own sugar and salt. ZINASU condemns the deplorable diets which are being
served in colleges which have become a recipe for diarrhea.† Further, the
colleges are now asking for a top up (between $700 000 and $800 000) outside
the gazetted amount. And yet the students on teaching practice are being
paid $66 000, a figure far less than the amount they need for transport
alone which is estimated at $200 000 per month. The University of Zimbabwe's
(UZ) Department of Education is demanding $250 000 as Teaching Practice Levy
and $1.2 million for the development of the project.† The majority of our
students are living under chronic and abject poverty to afford such enormous
amounts. It is unfortunate that under an African Black government, African
Black students, who are backbone of this country, can be reduced into such
objects of ridicule.

The incessant water and power cuts, coupled with broken down toilet cisterns
have turned our institutions of higher learning into both laughing storks
and health hazards .The students can hardly bath, read or use the toilets
.The environment has just become an aberration of a conducive learning
environment. All toilets at Mkoba Teachers College are not working; there is
no internet for students at Bondolfi Teachers` College, Chinhoyi University
of Technology, which the government claims to be the epitome of technology
has only thirteen working computers .As a result, students writing
examinations are forced to wait up to 12 midnight for their turn to access a
computer. At Mary Mount Teachers` College, the students are being forced to
pay computer levy when they have never used a computer. It remains a mystery
as to where Mrs. Matongo (the Principal of Mary Mount) is taking the money
to. Midlands State University is running with on empty water taps.
Electricity blackouts are affecting the functioning of boreholes. Students
at Gwebu Agricultural College and Mupfure College have gone for month
without eating beef despite the fact that they have farms with plenty of
cattle.

The University of Zimbabwe has resorted to buying satellite toilets because
normal toilets have broken down and have not been refurbished, Professor
Levy Nyagura, the UZ Chancellor will go down the annals of history as having
expelled more student leaders and activists in an independent Zimbabwe than
anyone else. Bindura University students of police studies behave like an
organized militia who harass and intimidate other students. This is in spite
of strict laws that prohibit fighting among students .lt is astonishing how
these militia elements have not been expelled after physically assaulting
students who are suspected to be protagonists of academic freedoms.

Professor Obert Maravanyika, the Vice Chancellor of Masvingo State
University who behaves like a 16th century Dictator was implicated in a
corruption dossier leaked from his university. There was no investigation
carried out .One English Lecturer is reported to demand sex from female
students in order to make them pass .Because of wrangle over the name of
Masvingo State University, to date no student has graduated from that
university. The Chancellor of all state institutions in Zimbabwe, Mr. Robert
Mugabe has allegedly refused to cap the students until the name of the
institution is changed to Great Zimbabwe University, a name associated with
one of the most spectacular failures of the government after the collapse of
another Great Zimbabwe University which was being run by Dr. Matarire, a
niece of the late Dr. Simon Vengesayi Muzenda .Dr Matarire had usurped the
university from the Reformed Church in Zimbabwe, with the ostensible support
of government, particularly the former Resident Minister and Governor of
Masvingo Mr. Josiah Hungwe .

At Masvingo Polytechnic, Engineering students were forced to go and help
construct houses under the government scheme dubbed Operation Garikai from
July to December 2006.The government paid no cent for the services rendered
by these student .Instead, they said student are now being required pay the
enormous sums like everyone else. Further, the students have been put on a
crush program to finish their program and go .It is unthinkable and
unimaginable that a Black government can be so cruel to its own children,27
years after independence .In this modern day time, such a philosophy is
worse than slavery and colonialism.

Way forward

In accordance with the resolution of the General Council, the students are
urged to DEFY the top up call from government. It is outside the gazetted
amount unaffordable. The students were never even consulted and the notice
was too short for students who are currently traumatized by hunger and
poverty.†† The food being served is not commensurate with the huge monies
that the government is demanding. The students are being given sadza with
cabbage without cooking oil and tomatoes. They are being asked to bring
their own salt.

The union demands an immediate meeting with Ministry of higher and tertiary
education to find an amicable solution to the crisis. ZINASU would like to
take this opportunity to warn the government that failure to find a solution
to these problems will only bring more animosity between the student and the
government and this will not help the situation.


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New bill targets diamond smugglers

The Zimbabwean

HARARE - Government has gazetted tough new anti-smuggling legislation
imposing prison terms for illicit dealers in precious stones.
The move aims to curb rampant smuggling of precious stones by diamond barons
who are flouting international trade regulations.
The Precious Stones Trade Amendment Bill, gazetted last Thursday, proposes a
mandatory prison term for the offence of unlawful dealing in or being found
in possession of precious stones. This change is seen harmonizing
legislation in the mining sector following law reforms imposing a prison
term on illegal dealers under the Gold Trade Act as amended in 2006.
The Bill also increases penalties for other offences; restates the offence
of transmitting precious stones by post, and re-introduces certain offences
removed from the Act in 2001 such as malicious planting of precious stones
on another person, making false statement for purpose of procuring a license
and cutting or polishing precious stones without a dealers' license.
Zimbabweans have been fingered in illegal cross border trade in precious
stones, especially diamonds, with a Kimberley Process Certification Team
ending a fact-finding mission in Zimbabwe last week.
Senior government officials and defense force generals have been implicated
in the illegal trade.


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CIO beefs up protection of chef's kids in SA

The Zimbabwean

The Zimbabwean Central Intelligence Organisation has beefed up its security
on senior government officials and their families in South Africa following
a recent assassination attempt on the daughter of a senior army official.
Laura Sibanda, the daughter of Zimbabwe National Army general, Major-general
Phillip Valerio Sibanda, was attacked by as yet to be identified individuals
in early May in Kwazulu Natal.
Laura is a psychology student at the Kwazulu Natal University and was
allegedly attacked at a nearby shopping centre.
A family friend studying at the same university says Laura suspects some
disgruntled Zimbabweans who have either worked as domestic workers for their
family who were fired without pay or some army officials trying to embarrass
her father into resigning.
According to Zimbabwe Society Students (Zimsoc) members, who were with her,
Laura had to seek medical attention at a private hospital as she had
received serious cuts and bruises.
It is understood that because of the recent attack, senior government
officials in Zimbabwe had now resolved to change the names of their children
for fear of further attacks.
Thousands of children of senior government and ruling party officials are
studying in South Africa, Europe and the United States following the
collapse of the education system in Zimbabwe.
At the Kwazulu Natal University, there are also a number of children of
high-ranking officials who include, another daughter of Gen. Sibanda,
Rachel.
Other students at the college are, Simbarashe Masoka, the son of agriculture
permanent secretary Ngoni Masoka; Jacqueline and Elinor Kundishora, the
daughters of Brigadier Kundishora and a nephew of President Robert Mugabe,
Hillary Mugabe.
Close government sources have established that the Zimbabwean government is
spending millions of South African rand per semester in beefing up security
of high ranked Zimbabwean elite's children in South Africa. - Own
correspondent.


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HRC a front to shield Mugabe - analysts

The Zimbabwean

HARARE - Constitutional Amendment No. 18, setting up the controversial human
rights commission, was finally gazetted last Thursday by President Robert
Mugabe's government.
The commission has been called a farce by its detractors, aimed at winning
votes for Mugabe, who is moving to soothe tensions over the emotive
Gukurahundi and Operation Murambatsvina issues. But proponents say it is a
brave attempt to come to terms with the wrongs of the past.
Whatever the truth, the human rights commission, comprising 16 commissioners
handpicked by Mugabe, has raised the stakes in the 83-year-old veteran
ruler's endgame. It will be empowered to investigate human rights abuses in
Zimbabwe.
Sources close to the developments said the commission would run a few public
hearings gathering evidence on Gukurahundi and Operation Murambatsvina in a
bid to pull wool over people's eyes.
The amendment comes as an independent legislator moves to table the
Gukurahundi Memorial Bill in Parliament in September, which demands a probe
into the Matabeleland genocide in the 80s and punishment for the
perpetrators.
The UN, which has been instrumental in the formation of the commission, has
been slammed for helping set up a structure that will be used by Mugabe to
escape international censure for his appalling human rights record.
Open Society Initiative of Southern Africa boss, Tawanda Mutasah, says
Mugabe wants to use the domestic human rights commission to pull out reports
tabled at the African Commission on Human and People's Rights and the
African Union detailing gross human rights abuses in Zimbabwe.
"He will simply say the cases are being investigated back home and there is
no need for a parallel process," said Mutasah


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Zuma worried about Zim media

The Zimbabwean

The African National Congress's vice president, Jacob Zuma said he backed
the World Association of Newspapers' president Gavin O'Relly's call for
press freedom in Zimbabwe.
This is the first time the ANC vice president has commented on the ongoing
Zimbabwean crisis that has left Mugabe with few friends.
Analysts say this is clear sign of a loss of support for the Zimbabwean
leader from fellow African leaders due to continued press repression,
harassment, torture and murder of journalists and media activists.
Zuma's comments have been welcomed by Zimbabweans exiled in South Africa.
Meanwhile the Pan African Parliament is on its way to Zimbabwe for
investigations into systematic attacks on journalists. - Trust Matsilele


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We are all Zimbabweans

The Zimbabwean

For the first time ever President Mugabe has acknowledged that members of
the opposition are, in fact, Zimbabweans. Speaking at a ceremony at which he
dished out farming implements to a favoured few, Mugabe made a few
conciliatory comments about the MDC, which drew applause even from the party
stalwarts. But then of course they applaud every word he utters.
"They are part of us in the entity we call the nation and no politics can
ever make them alien," said Mugabe, although it was not clear whether,
indeed, there were any MDC members in his audience.
This is a welcome departure from the norm, whereby Mugabe never fails to use
every public occasion, including national days, funerals and other
non-political events, to vilify the opposition.
We have always maintained that speeches made at state occasions should
emphasise the common values of Zimbabweans. We should celebrate our
diversity, and not resort to hate speech and incitements to violence against
those who may not agree slavishly with our viewpoint. This has never been
the case in Zimbabwe.
At this week's ceremony Mugabe reportedly said: "And therefore, that
realisation is very important - that there must be occasions (when) we must
be together." We couldn't agree more.
However, Mugabe went on to say: "After all, we eat together don't we." With
this we absolutely do not agree. Thanks to the dictator's vicious and
inhuman politicisation of food aid during the past decade and more, most
Zimbabweans are no longer able to eat at all.
It is this that makes his unctuous statements about unity particularly
distasteful and makes us wonder what he is up to now.
We are inclined to agree with Tendai Biti's analysis that the wily old
tyrant is up to no good - trying to create a smokescreen to divert attention
from his utter contempt for the Mbeki mediation process and his
determination never to allow democracy in Zimbabwe while he lives.
It is also proving extremely difficult to find any MDC members who have
actually received any of the giveaways.
If Mugabe means what he says he should be making every effort to engage the
MDC, and civic society, in trying to find a solution to our country's
problem.


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Letter from America

The Zimbabwean

Mugabe no longer Africa's hero
BY STANFORD MUKASA
WASHINGTON
In a dramatic replay of the storming of the Bastille, a notorious French
prison, on July 14, 1789, by the peasants, hundreds of members of Women of
Zimbabwe Arise last week confronted Mugabe's police at the Bulawayo central
police station in protest against the arrest of their leaders.
The reaction by the police in Bulawayo was predictable. They resorted to the
only language they knew - the language of violence that Mugabe has
boastfully made his trademark. But what the police did not know, or chose to
ignore, was the fact that the storming of the Bulawayo central police
station could well have sowed the seeds of a new revolution in Zimbabwe.
The action by WOZA activists showed clearly that Zimbabwe is now a tinderbox
ready to explode at any minute. The fact that WOZA had the courage to march
to the Bulawayo central police station and demonstrate showed how
Zimbabweans are slowly but systematically generating the courage of the
peasants that led to the French Revolution.
The event was a timely reminder for those who had written off mass
demonstration in Zimbabwe - beneath the people's resilience there is an
undercurrent of mass protest which could be unleashed at any time.
Even Mugabe is aware that the situation in Zimbabwe is now explosive. But he
is dragging his heels and will have to be brought kicking and screaming to
the conference table. Mugabe will do literary anything to sabotage the talks
with the opposition leaders, or to rig the next elections.
He has decided that he would rather fight than surrender through peaceful
free and fair elections. Of all the people, Mugabe knows he does not stand a
chance in hell in winning free and fair elections, even if he was
campaigning against a divided opposition.
One popular myth among many analysts is that Mugabe and Zanu (PF) enjoy the
majority support of the rural peasants. But without a rigged vote, no sane
Zimbabwean, whether in urban or rural areas, will cast a vote in favor of
them. Mugabe knows that for a fact. He would not resort to rigging
elections, especially in rural areas, if he was confident of victory.
He may have fooled himself into thinking that if he can control the
propaganda about being a victim of western sanctions and imperialism he will
sustain himself politically, especially in the eyes of Africa and the Third
World. But Africa is taking a second hard look at Mugabe.
African leaders may still have some remnants of adoration for their
perceived role of Mugabe in the anti colonial struggle. But the reality of
the Zimbabwean geopolitical situation is slowly hitting home.
The Daily Nation of Kenya recently hit back hard at Mugabe, calling him to
step down. A number of Kenyans felt Mugabe had abused his hospitality in
Kenya by insulting the Mau Mau. One Kenyan told me there was absolutely no
comparison between Mau Mau and Mugabe's chaotic land reform programme.
This rebuff came hot on the heels of another humiliation - Edinburgh
University's stripped Mugabe of the honorary degree awarded to him 20 years
ago. Not even the feeble reaction from the ministry of information could
hide the fact that this was a major blow to Mugabe's pride.
Like Idi Amin, Mugabe had always had a secret and personal admiration and
respect for Scotland. There was a rumour years ago he had bought, or planned
to buy, a castle in Scotland to serve as his retirement home.


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Mbeki mediation in tatters

The Zimbabwean

Mugabe arrogant - Aziz Pahad
HARARE - South African President Thabo Mbeki's mediation in the Zimbabwe
crisis is in tatters following President Robert Mugabe's contemptuous
gazetting of a constitutional amendment last Thursday giving his Zanu (PF)
party an undue advantage in the forthcoming elections.
Despite receiving a document from Mbeki's emissary last month detailing the
opposition MDC's demands for a new constitution before SA-brokered talks
resume, Mugabe last week went ahead with further amendments to the
constitution, a move that observers said betrayed his reluctance to
compromise on demands for a new democratic constitution.
SA deputy Foreign Affairs minister Aziz Pahad said at the weekend Mugabe's
latest move smacked of arrogance and urged robust action to rein him in and
force reform.
Pahad expressed concern about "the lack of urgency by the Zimbabweans,"
adding Mbeki should move with speed if he was going to report on any
progress at a meeting of SADC heads of state scheduled for end of June.
Constitutional amendment No. 18, which among other things sets up a
controversial human rights commission, and offers the legal framework for
electoral theft strategies that will be employed by government next year, is
set to be introduced in Parliament on July 9.
The constitutional amendment was gazetted a day after Labour minister
Nicholas Goche and Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa boycotted a scheduled
meeting in Pretoria between opposition deputies Tendai Biti and Prof
Welshman Ncube of the two MDC wings. Goche gave an excuse that he was tied
up with the International Labour Organisation business in, Switzerland while
Chinamasa simply unplugged his landline and switched off his cell phone.
Political analysts said Mugabe sees Mbeki's SADC mediation as an utter
nuisance which could become dangerous if allowed to linger for too long.
The amendment will shorten the term of office of the President from six to
five years and† make it run concurrently with the life of Parliament. If the
president dies in office or resigns, an electoral college will elect his
successor. Under the present conditions, a presidential election must be
held in 90 days to replace a dead president.
The amendment also increases the composition of the Senate and the House of
Assembly and changes the mandate of the Delimitation Commission, which
divides constituency boundaries.


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Apologise? We've given that up long back

The Zimbabwean

A person from another country tells of how the Electricity Supply Board sent
a letter to residents in her locality warning them a week before that there
would be a two hour cut in power on a certain day between stated hours. Even
then the people complained, 'how are we to make our morning tea?'
We have different expectations. But it would be nice to have just a word of
explanation, a word of warning so that we could plan and maybe a word of
apology. When this is suggested the response is, 'you must be crazy; don't
you know we've given up apologising long ago.' And, of course, it is true.
When did we last hear a convincing explanation of our economic woes? When
did we last have a scheduled plan warning us of power cuts on such and such
a day for such and such hours? A nation that gives up explaining, abandons
apologies, is on a fast track to losing its way completely.
If you ask the question: 'what are our leaders thinking? They are
intelligent men and women; they must know what they are doing,' what answer
do you hear? 'There is no logic in it any more. People are just scrambling
for what they can get for as long as they can get it. Tomorrow has been
cancelled. We just live for today.'
Some years ago a boat full of whiskey foundered on the shore of an island
off Scotland. All the islanders descended on the wreck and carried off
crates of whiskey before the owners could reclaim their cargo. When the
police arrived the islanders had hidden away their treasure and claimed
ignorance and innocence and soon a book celebrated the event appeared;
Whiskey Galore. At times it seems as though our leaders rejoice in power for
its own sake and the way they have found of making fortunes even if it is
from a wreck and they are just intent on enjoying that fortune for as long
as it will last.
But it seems so unbelievably irresponsible to build on sand and just wile
away the time while the 'whiskey' lasts. People are dying for lack of
medical treatment and now we hear that the UN says crop failures in the
southern provinces of Zimbabwe and the rapid erosion of incomes caused by
Zimbabwe's annual inflation rate . means that about '2.1 million people will
face serious food shortages as early as the third quarter of 2007. The
number of people at risk will peak at 4.1 million in the first three months
of 2008 - more than a third of Zimbabwe's estimated population of 11.8
million.'


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To vote? For what?

The Zimbabwean

ZAKA - It was 11 o'clock in the morning and heavy traffic was already
clogging Jerera Growth Point. Horns were honking, bus conductors shouting
and dust was flying everywhere. Yet the nearby polling station was cool,
clean and almost deserted. With the exception of five bored and idle
election officials sitting on desks, there was no one else in sight.
And this was at the height of polling day in a by-election called to replace
the late incumbent MP, Tinos Rusere last Saturday.† Zanu (PF)'s retired
brigadier general Livingstone Chineka won that poll with 11,152 votes to
1,117 for Nicholas Shanga of the United Peoples Party and 622 for Lameck
Batirai of the Zimbabwe People's Democratic Party. At least 50,000 were
registered to vote. The MDC boycotted the election.
The independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), which fielded 33
accredited observers in the by-election, reported that polling was
characterized by a low voter turnout and by mid-day, most polling stations
were deserted.
"The by-election was generally peaceful and calm," said an election synopsis
from ZESN. "ZESN is however concerned by the unusually high number of
assisted voters at some polling stations. Of note is Chigwagwa Primary
School where 68 out of 451 voters were assisted to vote. At Gumbu Primary
School 50 voters were assisted out of a total of 387 voters."
At a seedy bar at the growth point, no one seemed interested in polling.
Asked whether he was going to vote, a bar tender turned his wrinkled face
and stared in amazement. "To vote?" he asked. "For what? For Zanu (PF)?"
"The need for comprehensive and continuous mobile voter registration process
coupled with the mobile issuance of national identity cards cannot be
overemphasized if Zimbabwe is to achieve an inclusive and participatory
electoral process," ZESN said.


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John Makumbe

The Zimbabwean

'It certainly is time to take advantage of the disarray within the ruining
party'
It has been eight years since the crisis in Zimbabwe began in earnest.
Although trouble had been simmering all along, the real crunch came early
2000 with the violent state-sponsored white commercial farm invasions by
Zanu (PF) hoodlums and hired hands. Almost 200 people lost their lives
during the farm invasions and the June 2000 parliamentary elections. The
majority of them were farm workers and MDC supporters. A few white
commercial farmers were also killed for simply owning commercial farms.
Following this Zanu (PF)-sponsored lawlessness and the resultant breakdown
of the rule of law throughout the country, several Western democracies
imposed travel restrictions on elements within the tyrant's political party,
Zanu (PF). Matters came to a head in 2002 following Mugabe's massive rigging
of the presidential election, which Morgan Tsvangirai of the MDC had clearly
won. This deception only served to intensify the standoff that had begun in
2000. More names were added to the list of persons that were regard as
persona non grata in such countries as the UK, the USA, the EU, Australia,
New Zealand and Canada.
The question we need to ask ourselves is whether the travel restrictions and
other measures that were taken by Western democracies are still adequate in
terms of applying pressure on the tyrant to repent and reform his ways. The
results of the travel restrictions have been devastating to most of the
protagonists of authoritarianism in Zimbabwe, but I am of the opinion that
it is now time to make a paradigm shift and re-engage the dictator.
I am aware that several Western democracies will find it unpalatable to
resume discussions with the diabolical Mugabe regime at this point in time.
After all, they have openly stated that they do not recognise Mugabe as the
legitimate President of this country, and that is the correct position for
them to maintain. Nevertheless, it is necessary to find ways and means of
re-engaging the tyrant, at least, for the sake of the suffering people of
Zimbabwe.
In the light of the crawling SADC initiative on the Zimbabwe crisis, would
it not be appropriate for the EU, the UK, the USA and the Commonwealth to
devise their own strategies of re-engaging the dictator. Frankly, there is
little that is likely to emerge from the SADC initiative if there will be no
other positive pressure applied on Mugabe and his retinue of hangers on.
Some people are likely to ask why it is necessary to re-engage the dictator
at this time, and I can think of several good reasons for this. Indeed, in
the past the dictator has spurned all forms of engagement and dialogue, but
that was then. Today Zimbabwe is experiencing severe socio-economic
difficulties that should make any rational being want to seek for ways and
means of resolving these problems.
Secondly, whereas in the past the dictator's political party seemed to be
united and determined to stand strongly behind everything that the tyrant
did, things are rather different now, with as many as three, if not five
factions comprising Zanu (PF). It certainly is time to take advantage of the
disarray within the ruining (as opposed to ruling) party in Zimbabwe. It may
also be possible that the geriatric is now desperate for a face-saving
mechanism to enable him to turn over a new leaf.
Re-engaging Mugabe at this time may well be the best way of offering him an
opportunity to tactfully retreat from his disastrous pursuits. It is
however, very likely that the dictator will, once again, scoff at any
attempts to re-engage him. We all know that he has essentially become
impervious to reason, and is now probably the most selfish national leader a
country can ever be cursed with. But try we must, and there is no better
time than now.


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JAG Open Letter Forum No. 489

Please send any material for publication in the Open Letter Forum to
jag@mango.zw with "For Open Letter Forum" in the subject line.

JAG Hotlines:
+263 (011) 610 073 If you are in trouble or need advice,
†please don't hesitate to contact us - we're here to help!
+263 (04) 799 410 Office Lines

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Letter 1 - P. Mangwende

Dear JAG,

I cannot believe that this rusty CFU Nero machine is still limping along.
Rome burns with everything collapsing around us and they continue to play
their harp. The CFU is an organisation run by arrogant men who thought they
had people like Msika and Zanu PF in their pockets. Their arrogance blinded
them from the realities and now they wish to proactively work with a regime
that the whole nation despises. Is the picture becoming clearer? I doubt it.
They
want to work with the enemies of the people of Zimbabwe.

The reason why JAG was formed was because of the behaviour and the attitudes
of the CFU leadership. The CFU has and continue to be used by the regime for
it's own purposes and those Makabusi visionaries who run the CFU will never,
not in a 1000 years, be able to recover from the loss of confidence by the
majority of its past members. The CFU is a failure and an embarrassment. It
should disband and disappear into the past alongside Zanu PF.

Keep going JAG, you showed us the way.

P Mangwende

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Letter 2 - Idle Thinker

Dear Jag,

I sense some excitement about CFU Congress due in August.

If this is a serious Congress, I seriously suggest that the Congress
considers a resolution to be forwarded to the Honourable Minister of Foreign
Affairs - I gather he went to university with torture victim, Sekai Holland,
in Australia - that the CFU is concerned about Zimbabwe's international
isolation due to the behaviour of various politicians.

It also appears that Zimbabwe still has enormous talent from within, to make
serious changes for the better but this talent is largely sidelined and has
no authority.† Just an idle thought brings one to consider the likes of John
Robertson in terms of Economics, Eddie Cross who ran the CSC and the DMB at
one stage, or Brian Oldrieve who would be hard to beat in terms of the
simplest way to grow a mealie - and the list goes on and on.

But no, the Great Gideon Gono is the Very One who has all the answers - he
knows everything about fiscal policy!
He has been so successful at RBZ in the last five years!
Now he's turning to agriculture!

Holy Smokes!

Idle Thinker.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Letter 3 - Motoring Enthusiast

Dear Jag,

I am reliably informed that Genocidal Gabriel and Gleeful Gideon have gone
to a broad section of The Opposition and the New CFU and asked them:
"What's your price?"

"A Gonomobile!" they all shouted in unison at the prescribed moment! - with
ZBC and ZTV standing by of course.
I have to congratulate Gideon and Gabriel outright, on their thorough study
and understanding of their quarry - they are truly brilliant ecologists when
it comes to mujibas - flash a little cash and you have got them!

The press reports that Taylor Freeme, Mutambara, Rosenfels, Hawgood, Dollar,
Gasela, Olivier, Welshman Ncube, Gibson Sibanda, Khupe, Gonese, Vaughan,
Joubert and any more have all traded their soul to Zanu for a Gonomobile.
Exact details of who got which model are not out just yet but we expect a
brochure any moment showing the proud new Zanu drivers with their
Gonomobiles about to set off on a green revolution - under Zanu oustanding
tutelage, I assume.
This is a momentous occasion for agriculture in Zimbabwe.
I suggest it be used as the theme for the CFU Congress - "Gonomobilists
Unlimited."

Motoring Enthusiast.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Letter 4 - Eddie Cross

Dear Jag,

Diamonds in the sky.

Sometimes I feel sorry for people who do not live in the drier regions of
the world. In a place like Bulawayo we have zero humidity at this time of
the year and it can get pretty chilly at night, with wonderful clear blue
skies and mild temperatures during the day. In weather like this there is
also the temptation to stay indoors after dusk. If you have a fire of real
mopani wood, even more so! It is a mistake.

Last night for example, at about 19.30 hours my wife and I walked home under
a sky that was ablaze with stars. Venus was near setting in the western sky
and what a sight. It was so bright you could mistake it for a light in a
passing aircraft only it flashed and sparkled like a 100-carat space
diamond. Absolutely beautiful and free to all of us who occupy planet earth.
Right overhead was the Milky Way - spiraling across the night sky like a
splash of diamonds. No moon, no clouds, no moisture, just the black African
sky and the diamonds of space.

Sometimes I think of Africa in those same terms - beautiful, exotic but with
a backdrop of darkness that sometimes overwhelms us. I have often pondered
what it would mean to mankind if there were no stars, just black, empty
space going on into infinity. I am sure it would have profound
psychological implications - let alone the philosophical questions it would
pose! We would then be quite justified in asking how did we get here? Who
was responsible?† The possibility that there might be life somewhere "out
there" is always a consolation in a universe crowded with millions of
planets, suns and stars.

But we do have Venus and a plethora of other stars to keep us company and to
force us out into space in an attempt to find life elsewhere. When he was
President, Ronald Reagan had a programme under which he recognized
outstanding human achievement in the USA. He called those who were
recognised and rewarded under this programme Stars in the night sky of
America. I have always thought this was a great idea.

In any dark situation there are always stars that light up the sky and give
us hope that we are not alone. Stars that illumine their universe in a
unique way and in the process light up our world. Here in Zimbabwe we are no
exception. Last week I attended a small community meeting of 20 or so
individuals who have just taken a lease on 96 hectares surrounding two small
dams known as the "Hillside Dams". There they are intending to build a
restaurant, establish a botanical garden and aloe collection. They are also
going to put in fences and security and create a small game park. All work
carried out by volunteers and all costs met by donation.

In my sons church there is a remarkable woman who has taken it upon herself
to help the children's wards in the local hospital. With over 3 500 beds,
the hospital is a giant medical facility but being State owned and operated
is just about on its knees. The children's wards are freshly painted and
clean and every child gets a toy when they are checked in. Drugs are fully
available and supplied free of charge and nursing staff are assisted. All
wards have television and visitors from the Church pay regular visits to
children in the wards.† Another remarkable women in the same Church runs a
massive programme for the absolute poor and destitute in Harare. She helps
thousands in camps at various rubbish dumps on the periphery of the City,
has pastors
ministering to their spiritual needs as well as food and clothing. Whole
families are selected and sent out to a training farm where they are taught
farm skills and then settled on vacant land as small-scale farmers.

Driving into Harare after 400 kilometers of empty farms and abandoned
homesteads you suddenly find yourself looking at a string of three farms
where the fences are repaired, cattle graze the land and superb crops grown
on well-prepared lands. All three have housed their staff well and produce
milk on a large scale for the nearby City. How they have been able to remain
on their farms and keep going is a mystery to me - one day I will stop and
pull in to ask, but I already know that behind these islands of sanity and
prosperity are individuals who have just stuck it out and have shown
every determination not to give in and quit.

Of course there are many who do not contribute, many who in fact like the
dark because it suits their purpose. But those who do struggle against the
odds, who still plant trees and flowers and tend their lawns, they are
heroes in every way, bright stars in the night of our time. The marvel of
this process, is that in becoming stars in our universe, we discover light
always wins and that gives us hope.

It is really tough right now to give people hope and faith in the future
because things look so grim. We now know that Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube
were actually in South Africa waiting for the Zanu PF representatives to
pitch up for the meeting. They did not arrive and gave no apologies. On
Monday Zanu PF submitted their response to the request that they set out
their basic position. We have now had sight of that and I am told it
resembles the ramblings of a lunatic - I am not surprised, we have long
known this was an asylum with the inmates in charge.

The Zanu document in fact does not deal with any of the issues that are on
the table. They ramble on about "recognition of Mr. Mugabe as President" and
the suspension of "sanctions" as well as the well-known diatribe about the
MDC as a "violent Party". As if it would make one iota of difference to
anything if we did do those things! We do not control the standing of Mr.
Mugabe in international circles - he does. We do not control the imposition
of personal travel and financial restrictions on the 100 or so worst
offenders in terms of human and political rights abuse - those who control
visa regulations and money markets do. I think we have shown quite clearly
who sponsors political violence and intimidation in Zimbabwe - it is Zanu
who holds degrees in violence!

I really do feel sorry for these Zanu PF types - they know now that they are
really up against impossible odds. Their only way of avoiding the dip tank
is to stay outside the holding pens. Once they are in, the only way out is
either over the fence or through the dip. On the other side we wait with
expectation - we have all the ingredients for a national braai and
celebration that will make the record books. I already have picked out a
couple of fat, corrupt, lazy oxen to provide the nyama for my braai - I am
sure everyone else is equally ready.

I am waiting to see just what Mbeki is going to do next. He has no choice
now but to exercise leadership and get this process underway. The deadline
for the SADC leadership is the end of June and this time I am sure we are
going to see that cattle prod in action - all 10 000 volts applied in the
appropriate place.

But for all of you who are in my universe and are little spots of light
against the night sky, hang in there, you give hope to all of us and you
make this dark place a place of beauty.

Eddie Cross

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All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions of
the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice for
Agriculture.


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JAG Special Appeals Communique dated 13 June 2007

Email: jag@mango.zw : justiceforagriculture@zol.co.zw

JAG Hotlines: +263 (011) 610 073, +263 (04) 799 410.† If you are in trouble
or need advice, please don't hesitate to contact us - we're here to help!

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CANCER ASSOCIATION APPEAL

The astonishing thing is that they still offer this wonderful service today
under almost impossible conditions.

Eleven years ago I turned to the Cancer Association when I was stunned by my
diagnosis of breast cancer.† But that was a picnic compared to today when
the only radiotherapy machine in the country spends more time broken down
than working and many patients cannot afford chemotherapy.

Yet somehow the Cancer Association continues to meet the needs of cancer
patients.

This world class organisation holds its annual Street collection on 23rd
June in Harare and desperately needs your help cancer@mweb.co.zw

Thank you,

Jacquie Gulliver

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MALVERN HOUSE

Malvern House was built in 1969 in Umvukwes (now Mvurwi) by the local
farmers and businessmen, and was intended originally as a retirement home
for the local residents of the area.

In the last few years most of the farmers have moved away and the facilities
are now under utilized.

The complex consists of a large central building referred to as the
cloisters, which includes the reception area, lounge, library, dining room
and kitchen.† Accommodation consists of 9 double rooms and 7 single rooms al
with en-suite bath/shower and toilet.† The current all in charges for this
facility as at July 2007 are as follows:-

Cloisters†† (ALL FOUND)

1 room with bath and toilet for 1 person
$1,386,000
5 empty

2 rooms with bath and toilet for 1 person
$2,079,000
2 rooms with bath and toilet for 2 persons
$2,772,000

In addition there are 17 self catering cottages and 4 self catering flats on
the property, the rates for these are as follows:-

Cottages:-

2 empty

2 bedroom cottages
$42,000 per month
1 bedroom cottages
$31,500 per month
3 empty

Flats
$26,250 per month

Lock up garages are available at
$31,500 per month

Care Unit:-

There is also a highly rated 13 bed care unit with 24 hour nursing care:-

Long stay patients
$2,142,000 per month

Other Charges:-

Cottage and Flat Residents Meals at Cloisters†††††††††††††† $40,000
Guest Meals
$50,000
Guest Nights
$60,000

Al the above charges are payable in advance and are subject to regular
increases

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