31 May 2008
A senior military officer in Zimbabwe is quoted as calling on the country's troops to vote for President Robert Mugabe in the upcoming presidential runoff election against opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.† With voting due to take place in less than four weeks (June 27), violence is continuing and tensions are rising.† The U.N. children's fund says the situation in Zimbabwe has displaced up to 10,000 children.† Peta Thornycroft reports for VOA, a prominent member of the opposition party says his family was beaten.
|President Robert Mugabe greets party supporters on his first rally since the elections, in Shamva about 100 kilometres northeast of Harare, 29 May 2008|
The state controlled daily,The Herald, quoted the army chief of staff, Major General Martin Chedondo, as saying that all soldiers should vote for President Mugabe or quit the army.
The paper quotes him as saying, "Soldiers are not apolitical.† We have signed and agreed to fight and protect the ruling party's principles of defending the revolution."†
He claimed that the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was attacking supporters of the ruling ZANU-PF party.† The Movement for Democratic Change says 50 of its supporters have been killed and thousands more beaten since the first round of voting March 29, and that the attackers have often been in uniform. Human rights groups blame the government for the violence, which the government denies.
|Morgan Tsvangirai delivers a speech in Harare, 30 May 2008|
Calls to police for comment were not answered.
Much of the violence has been in rural areas, and residents living near Zimbabwe's sugar estates in Chiredzi, in southeastern Zimbabwe, said they were attacked by armed men.
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) said this week that it estimates 10,000 children have been displaced by political violence in Zimbabwe. It says many aid agencies report restricting aid to children, due to the general uncertainty and what UNICEF describes in a statement as "threats" or "requests to do so by authorities."
The MDC won a parliamentary majority in the March elections, and party leader Morgan Tsvangirai won more votes than President Mugabe, but not the majority needed for an outright victory, meaning a second round of voting was required.
Zimbabwe's Election Commission announced Friday that all domestic observers have to be re-accredited for the second round voting. The independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network said many of its 9,400 observers live too far from the major cities of Harare and Bulawayo to get accredited before the June 27 poll.
There are expected to be about 300 foreign observers for more than nine-thousand polling stations.
13:44 GMT, Saturday, 31 May 2008 14:44 UK
Zimbabwe's army chief has told soldiers they must leave the military
if they do not vote for incumbent President Robert Mugabe in next month's
Chief-of-staff Maj Gen Martin Chedondo said soldiers had signed up to
protect Mr Mugabe's principles of defending the revolution, state media
"If you have other thoughts, then you should remove that uniform," he
Gen Chedondo was speaking at a target-shooting competition outside
Harare, the Herald newspaper reported.
Zimbabwe's generals have in the past vowed never to support the main
opposition candidate, Morgan Tsvangirai, if he is elected in the 27 June
"Soldiers are not apolitical; only mercenaries are apolitical," said
the general. "We should therefore stand behind our commander-in-chief."
He said the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) was being
supported by Britain and its Western allies in a bid to regain "imperialist"
influence in Zimbabwe.
Earlier, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa accused the intelligence
services of the UK and the US of acting as a sinister third force to
undermine the ruling party's revolution.
He said an opposition victory in the run-off vote would reverse the
gains of the revolution and destabilise the country.
Gen Chedondo said troops were being deployed across the nation to help
police control political violence before the presidential election second
The army denies reports by human rights groups that soldiers have been
involved in instigating attacks on government opponents since the first
round of voting on 29 March, which saw no overall winner emerge.
The MDC says more than 50 of its members have been killed and
thousands more forced to flee their homes since the first round.
Most of Zimbabwe's generals are veterans of the conflict that led to
independence in 1980.
12 minutes ago
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's state-owned television said on Saturday two
ruling ZANU-PF party members had been shot dead by suspected opposition
supporters in a rural district that has been gripped by political violence.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) denied any involvement
in the shooting.
The MDC says more than 50 people have been killed in election-related
attacks since March, blaming elements within ZANU-PF for the bloodshed.
President Robert Mugabe says MDC supporters are responsible.
The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) said two ruling party members
were shot dead on Friday in rural Mutoko district, one of ZANU-PF's
strongholds about 140 km (85 miles) east of Harare that has witnessed
several cases of political violence in the aftermath of March 29 general
"Suspected MDC supporters shot and killed two ZANU-PF women's league members
in Mutoko ... raising fears that they could have been targeted as the MDC
intensifies its campaign to intimidate ruling party supporters," ZBC said,
adding police had confirmed the shooting and were investigating.
There was no immediate comment from the police.
MDC spokesman Nelson Chamisa rejected the charges saying "that is a lie."
"Where will our people get guns. That is utter rubbish," he told Reuters.
Chamisa said police in Hwange and Victoria Falls town in western Zimbabwe
had earlier stopped MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai from addressing his first
rallies since his return from South Africa last week.
The MDC leader is trying to galvanize support across party lines as he
prepares to face Mugabe in a June 27 presidential run-off election.
Tsvangirai won a first presidential poll in March but fell short of the
margin needed for outright victory.
The opposition and rights groups have accused Mugabe and his officials of
trying to intimidate opponents ahead of the vote. They also fear that his
government will rig the results of the poll, as it is accused of doing in
Mugabe and Tsvangirai say they are confident of victory.
"I spoke to him (Tsvangirai) and he told me he was prevented from holding
the rallies. The police told him that they were instructed that rallies
would be held after the runoff," Chamisa said.
(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by Ralph Boulton)
With the country's Reserve Bank unwilling, or unable, to pay the country's
gold miners in foreign currency for a least a part of their output,
Zimbabwe's once proud and big gold sector could be set for a further
Author: Tawanda Karombo
Posted:† Saturday , 31 May 2008
Things have fallen apart for Zimbabwe's troubled gold miners after the
country's Central Bank has failed to pay the gold firms the foreign currency
component for gold remittances dating as far back as October last year.
In a development that has been denounced by gold mining sector players, the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) has begun settling dues of the gold miners in
local currency, saying if the gold miners wanted to be paid in foreign
currency, they had to wait "eternally" until the central bank had raised
This effectively means that illegal gold dealings and smuggling will once
again become rampant and dominant while the amount of bullion delivered to
the Central Bank will decline as the gold producers move to cushion
themselves against Zimbabwe's skyrocketing inflation.
Over the past month, illegal gold dealers have flooded the country's mining
towns in a bid to buy the metal at a relatively lower price for re-sale in
South Africa and Namibia for a better return, leaving the country clutching
at straws. This will also mean that the country - which has the potential to
become a competent and reputable gold producing nation - will not benefit
much from surging world prices of the precious mineral.
The gold miners are paid part of their receipts in local currency, while a
percentage is paid for in foreign currency but "payment for this component
has been scotched by the central bank for the moment," said an authoritative
The move to defer the foreign currency component payment, sources say, will
result in output of gold declining further as the gold miners will be left
with no capacity to "import critical inputs, which require foreign currency"
for their procurement.
In his monetary policy statement on April 30 this year, Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor Gideon Gono said gold mining companies should take
advantage of the new exchange rate regime by claiming their receipts in
Zimbabwe dollars.† If they insisted on receiving their money in foreign
currency, Gono said, they could wait until the RBZ had mobilized enough
foreign currency reserves.
Essentially though, what the Central Bank governor - who has previously
clashed with the government over the country's controversial indigenization
law - was saying is that the lender of the last resort did not have the
foreign currency to pay the gold mining firms.
The gold miners - battling to stay afloat and operational as they are - were
left with no choice but to flock to the central bank to demand their
payments in the local currency which has been reduced to just a mere piece
The scheme is however reported to be beneficial for small-scale gold miners.
The more organized and bigger mines did not want the Zimbabwe dollar.
Rather, they wanted the foreign currency portion of their payments to buy
spares, chemicals and other inputs. "If you are paid in the local currency
at the going rate today it will be much less in value tomorrow, or maybe
half that value in a week," a source said.
A mining company executive agreed: "That (Zimbabwe dollar) arrangement only
works if you want to pay for something immediately but most mines, except
under exceptional circumstances, would require payments in foreign
††††May 31 2008 at 11:30AM
At the present rate of devaluation, the Zimbabwe dollar will hit a
billion to one US dollar this weekend.
Try looking at the numbers: US$1 = Z$1 000 000 000. But remember that
Zimbabwe slashed three noughts off the currency in August 2006, so the real
numbers are US$1 = Z$1 000 000 000 000. Or R7.50 = Z$1 000 000 000 000! But
perish the discarded noughts! Thank goodness they have gone.
Since the beginning of May, the Zimbabwe dollar has devalued 243
percent, or saying it another way, it lost about 70 percent of its value. In
So, on Monday, a billion Zimdollars equals R15.
But R15 in Zimbabwe doesn't buy what it does in South Africa.
The supermarkets with South African groceries - and there are hardly
any locally manufactured groceries any more - charge about four times what
those same goods cost in South Africa.
So an anorexic chicken cost four billion Zim dollars, or R60, last
Monday. Goodness knows what happened since then as the market and inflation
are galloping towards the finish line when the Zim dollar will be abandoned
In southern Zimbabwe, many, many people already trade in rands, and
people in the cities regularly quote prices in US dollars.
Until three weeks ago the Zim dollar devalued on a weekly or monthly
basis and relatively slowly over the last eight years of the financial
This is what happened in May, the winter of Zimbabwe's greatest
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe temporarily liberalised the foreign
currency market to attract some forex into its bare coffers. It had stripped
corporate foreign currency accounts in January and February to pay for the
elections and Zanu PF's campaign.
Now it needs to put some of that foreign currency back in those
accounts to pay for the presidential run-off on June 27.
It could not persuade anyone to bring their forex into the system when
people were offered 20 times less for their rands than the rate currency
dealers were paying on the street, even if those deals have always been
RBZ governor Gideon Gono is the largest buyer of forex from the
street, but he has protection.
He prints extraordinary amounts of currency, then goes to the streets,
buys up forex, and settles his most urgent accounts, Eskom for example.
Every time he does that the rate of the Zim dollar moves down a bit
and inflation pushes up a bit
So now the rate of exchange at commercial banks is nearly, but not
quite the same as on the streets.
The banks, by way of bureaucracy imposed by the central bank, are not
nearly as efficient as street traders. So while Gono is attracting some
forex, the largest amount is still being traded on the street.
The banks often haven't enough local currency to pay cash for the
forex offered and the official rate still lags a few points behind what
street traders are paying,
This temporary liberalisation has produced an astonishing rise in
inflation, powered by the staggering increase in import duties.
Before the liberalisation import duty was calculated at the official
exchange rate of Z$30 000 to US$1, ridiculously out of step with the rate on
the streets, but it did keep a curb on inflation.
Now duty is calculated at what is called the interbank rate, the new
liberalised rate set by commercial banks on a willing buyer willing seller
basis. So there has been a nearly 250 percent increase in duty on imported
It sent hyper inflation into the stratosphere - one million, two
million percent, who knows?
Almost every item for sale is imported, as the manufacturing sector
was largely destroyed during the price freeze of nearly a year ago.
The impact of this sudden rush of fantastic price increases forced
Gono to allow a basket of groceries, mealie meal, cooking oil, sugar, flour,
washing powder etc to be imported duty free.
Prices now change in supermarkets, for example, every two or three
days. It means that the new hundred million dollar note is now obsolete.
Gono had to rush to import more paper from his German suppliers,
Giesecke & Devrient in Munich, (where he reportedly spends about 600 000
euros a week) and came up with a new suite of notes called Agro Cheques with
values of five, 25 and 50 billion Zim dollars.
The Agro Cheques have started appearing in supermarket tills and at
Agro Cheque is another name for the bearer cheque which took over from
traditional Zimbabwe currency when it became useless about five years ago as
inflation hit three digits.
A 50-billion Zim dollar bearer cheque was worth R750 last Monday, but
will probably have halved in value this coming Monday.
Accountants say by the time of the presidential run-off - in four
weeks - it will cost five billion Zimbabwe dollars for one US dollar.
This week chickens in the deep freeze of a major supermarket in an
upmarket area where many shoppers earn in foreign currency were laying hens,
which had been killed off because there is no stock feed.
There is no stock feed because Zimbabwe doesn't grow enough maize to
feed a quarter of its population, let alone make stock feed.
And the inflation and duty mayhem this May, means importing stock feed
from South Africa would make a dozen eggs stupidly expensive.
Presumably the anorexic chickens from the battery farms will be next.
Another absurd figure: the minimum wage for a Zimbabwe worker last
Monday was the equivalent of a litre of Coke.
So where is it going? Who knows? This is record breaking stuff. There
are no precedents anywhere in Africa for this.
It is part of the madness of Zimbabwe. Part of the madness which sent
so many Zimbabweans to seek what seemed, until two weeks ago, a more
sensible life in South Africa. - Independent Foreign Service
This article was originally published on page 8 of Pretoria News on
May 31, 2008
Morgan Tsvangirai has risen from working in a mine to becoming the symbol
of resistance to repression in Zimbabwe. A charismatic speaker, he is a brave man - constantly running the risk of
arrest or assassination since emerging several years ago as President Robert
Mugabe's first credible challenger since the 1980s. As the leader of Zimbabwe's opposition, he has been brutally assaulted,
charged with treason and routinely labelled a "traitor". A year ago, the world was shocked to see pictures of his injuries after
police beat him after arresting him for taking part in a prayer meeting which
they said was illegal. President Mugabe said the veteran trade unionist "deserved" his treatment for
disobeying police orders. But even some of his supporters - mostly young, urban residents - say he has
been outmanoeuvred by Mr Mugabe and his allies. 'Dictator' His chances of unseating Zimbabwe's long-time leader were dealt a blow in
2005, when Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change split into two
factions. Some of Mr Tsvangirai's closest allies accused him of behaving like a
dictator. The two factions are fielding parliamentary candidates against each other in
the 29 March elections after failing to reach a deal and the rival faction is
backing former Finance Minister Simba Makoni in the presidential poll. The eldest of nine children, Mr Tsvangirai left school while a teenager to
help support his family. Mr Mugabe snootily calls Mr Tsvangirai an "ignoramus" because of his humble
background and lack of education. He once told me that his strategy to unseat the president was to wait while
Mr Mugabe mismanaged the economy to such an extent that he was forced out of
office. This long-term, passive view has, so far, steered the country away from civil
war but has not seriously perturbed the authorities. The economy is among the worst in the world but Mr Mugabe's grip on power
shows no sign of loosening. Truncheons Just before the 2002 presidential elections, a mysterious video tape emerged,
which allegedly showed Mr Tsvangirai discussing how to assassinate Mr Mugabe
with a Canadian consultancy, Dickens and Madson. The head of the consultancy, Ari Ben-Menashe, used to work as a lobbyist for
the Zimbabwe Government and he calls Mr Tsvangirai "stupid" for even speaking to
him, let alone allegedly discussing killing the president. Mr Tsvangirai was acquitted, but for 20 months he had the possibility of a
death penalty hanging over his head. He was charged with treason a second time in 2003, after calling for mass
protests to oust Mr Mugabe. These fizzled out under the force of police truncheons. In September 2000, he told a rally of his Movement for Democratic Change: "If
Mugabe does not go peacefully, he will be removed by force." The 56-year-old eldest son of a bricklayer says this was not a threat of
armed rebellion but a warning of popular discontent. These treason charges were deemed unconstitutional but he does have a
tendency to open his mouth before considering the consequences. Revenge The catalyst for Mr Tsvangirai's transformation was his career in the trade
unions. He used to be an official in Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party. As Zimbabwe's economy declined and workers' living standards plummeted, the
ZCTU took an increasingly political role. When Mr Mugabe tried to raise income tax to pay pensions for veterans of the
1970s war of independence, a ZCTU-organised nationwide strike forced him to back
down. In apparent revenge for his part in defeating Mr Mugabe and the war veterans,
a group of men burst into Mr Tsvangirai's office, hit him on the head with a
metal bar and attempted to throw him out of his 10th floor window. This was a foretaste of the war veterans' campaign of violence ahead of
elections in 2000 and 2002, which led to the deaths of more than 100 MDC
supporters. Contradictions Buoyed by its initial victory, the ZCTU held further strikes against the
government's "economic mismanagement". But Mr Mugabe stood firm and after intense debate, the ZCTU helped establish
the MDC in September 1999. Its nationwide structures were crucial in helping the young party campaign
for the June 2000 parliamentary elections, in which it won 57 seats - the best
opposition showing in the country's history. Despite its foundations in the black working class, Mr Mugabe says the MDC is
a puppet of white farmers and the UK government. And, before they lost their land, many white farmers did support, campaign
for and help finance the MDC. The state-controlled media never tires of reminding voters that Mr Tsvangirai
did not participate in the guerrilla war against white minority rule. As a former miner and unionist, his heart is social democratic. He used to blame many of Zimbabwe's economic woes on the IMF's structural
adjustment programme. "The IMF are devils," he once told me. Now, he is working closely with industrialists who argue that market forces
should be left to solve Zimbabwe's economic problems on their own, without
minimal government interference. Morgan Tsvangirai is now waiting to find out if he will have to confront
these issues as president.
BBC News Online
Morgan Tsvangirai has risen from working in a mine to becoming the symbol of resistance to repression in Zimbabwe.
A charismatic speaker, he is a brave man - constantly running the risk of arrest or assassination since emerging several years ago as President Robert Mugabe's first credible challenger since the 1980s.
As the leader of Zimbabwe's opposition, he has been brutally assaulted, charged with treason and routinely labelled a "traitor".
A year ago, the world was shocked to see pictures of his injuries after police beat him after arresting him for taking part in a prayer meeting which they said was illegal.
President Mugabe said the veteran trade unionist "deserved" his treatment for disobeying police orders.
But even some of his supporters - mostly young, urban residents - say he has been outmanoeuvred by Mr Mugabe and his allies.
His chances of unseating Zimbabwe's long-time leader were dealt a blow in 2005, when Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change split into two factions.
Some of Mr Tsvangirai's closest allies accused him of behaving like a dictator.
The two factions are fielding parliamentary candidates against each other in the 29 March elections after failing to reach a deal and the rival faction is backing former Finance Minister Simba Makoni in the presidential poll.
The eldest of nine children, Mr Tsvangirai left school while a teenager to help support his family.
Mr Mugabe snootily calls Mr Tsvangirai an "ignoramus" because of his humble background and lack of education.
He once told me that his strategy to unseat the president was to wait while Mr Mugabe mismanaged the economy to such an extent that he was forced out of office.
This long-term, passive view has, so far, steered the country away from civil war but has not seriously perturbed the authorities.
The economy is among the worst in the world but Mr Mugabe's grip on power shows no sign of loosening.
Just before the 2002 presidential elections, a mysterious video tape emerged, which allegedly showed Mr Tsvangirai discussing how to assassinate Mr Mugabe with a Canadian consultancy, Dickens and Madson.
The head of the consultancy, Ari Ben-Menashe, used to work as a lobbyist for the Zimbabwe Government and he calls Mr Tsvangirai "stupid" for even speaking to him, let alone allegedly discussing killing the president.
Mr Tsvangirai was acquitted, but for 20 months he had the possibility of a death penalty hanging over his head.
He was charged with treason a second time in 2003, after calling for mass protests to oust Mr Mugabe.
These fizzled out under the force of police truncheons.
In September 2000, he told a rally of his Movement for Democratic Change: "If Mugabe does not go peacefully, he will be removed by force."
The 56-year-old eldest son of a bricklayer says this was not a threat of armed rebellion but a warning of popular discontent.
These treason charges were deemed unconstitutional but he does have a tendency to open his mouth before considering the consequences.
The catalyst for Mr Tsvangirai's transformation was his career in the trade unions.
He used to be an official in Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party.
As Zimbabwe's economy declined and workers' living standards plummeted, the ZCTU took an increasingly political role.
When Mr Mugabe tried to raise income tax to pay pensions for veterans of the 1970s war of independence, a ZCTU-organised nationwide strike forced him to back down.
In apparent revenge for his part in defeating Mr Mugabe and the war veterans, a group of men burst into Mr Tsvangirai's office, hit him on the head with a metal bar and attempted to throw him out of his 10th floor window.
This was a foretaste of the war veterans' campaign of violence ahead of elections in 2000 and 2002, which led to the deaths of more than 100 MDC supporters.
Buoyed by its initial victory, the ZCTU held further strikes against the government's "economic mismanagement".
But Mr Mugabe stood firm and after intense debate, the ZCTU helped establish the MDC in September 1999.
Its nationwide structures were crucial in helping the young party campaign for the June 2000 parliamentary elections, in which it won 57 seats - the best opposition showing in the country's history.
Despite its foundations in the black working class, Mr Mugabe says the MDC is a puppet of white farmers and the UK government.
And, before they lost their land, many white farmers did support, campaign for and help finance the MDC.
The state-controlled media never tires of reminding voters that Mr Tsvangirai did not participate in the guerrilla war against white minority rule.
As a former miner and unionist, his heart is social democratic.
He used to blame many of Zimbabwe's economic woes on the IMF's structural adjustment programme.
"The IMF are devils," he once told me.
Now, he is working closely with industrialists who argue that market forces should be left to solve Zimbabwe's economic problems on their own, without minimal government interference.
Morgan Tsvangirai is now waiting to find out if he will have to confront these issues as president.
Saturday 31st May 2008
Dear Family and Friends,
The winner and loser of Zimbabwe's March Presidential election have begun
campaigning for confirmation of their positions in a second round of the
Mr Mugabe, who lost in the first round, says that people voted with their
stomachs and not their minds on March 29th. Mr Mugabe's new campaign is so
far focussing on apparent plots by the British, Americans and people he
calls their allies and puppets whom he says are trying to re-colonise
Zimbabwe. These new colonisers, who are, by the way, not entitled to vote in
the coming election, are also to blame for the dire situation in the
country. Mr Mugabe said: "There might be grievances about prices, food
shortages and non-availability of basic commodities. These are being caused
by sanctions and food shortages are a result of drought."
Mrs Mugabe, speaking in Shamva alongside her husband this week, was even
more forthright in her comments. Mrs Mugabe said: "Even if people vote for
the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai will never step foot inside State House. He will
only get to hear about what it looks like inside State House from people who
have been there. Even if Baba (Mugabe) loses, he will only leave State House
to make way for someone from Zanu PF."
Ordinary Zimbabweans, meanwhile, are facing the coming poll in a state of
shock and disbelief. Everywhere you go people have accounts of terror and
horror to relate about events that have taken place in the last two months.
Tales of burning, running, hiding, broken limbs, abductions and murder. The
MDC say that in the past six weeks 50 Zimbabweans have been killed in
political violence and more than 25 000 have been displaced.
MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai and the winner of the March 29th Presidential
election, said on his return to the country : "They [the Government] have
beaten themselves into serious rejection by the people of Zimbabwe." Mr
Tsvangirai described the situation in Zimbabwe as 'tragic' and said the
nation is :"in a state of despair."
For the past three weeks while the world's cameras have been upon attacks on
foreigners in South Africa, mayhem has been going on almost un-noticed
behind the curtain in Zimbabwe. Zimbabweans want a change to this dreadful,
crushing way of life, what they need now, is to believe in themselves and to
believe that they can effect that change.
Until next week, thanks for reading, love cathy.
Shameful distortion of history – Nehanda was never ZANU
Recently, while desperately campaigning in Mashonaland Central, fighting for
his political survival (his very last fight), outgoing President Mugabe said
that Mbuya Nehanda would not be amused to see people of Mazowe and Bindura
voting for the MDC because that’s where she hailed from.
I’m not sure whether this was just mere politicking, a serious and genuine
ignorance of history, gross disregard of facts, political “blasphemy” or old
age taking its toll. I would forgive Grace for such utterances owing to her
well known academic shortcomings. For our interim President Mugabe, it only
means one of; amnesia, gross political desperation or he genuinely believes
that we are uninformed or as forgetful as he may have become.
When did Nehanda ever become a card-carrying member of ZANU PF? Isn’t it
that the first uprising was in the 1890s? Who doesn’t know that ZANU was
formed in 1963? At the age of 40, with 28 years experience of ZANU PF
misrule, brutality and classical economic destruction, I am not too young to
be fooled that† Nehanda, Chaminuka, Mzilikazi or Lobengula were either ZANU
or ZAPU. These were leaders that did not belong to any political party that
As ZANU PF desperately tries to win the run-off (which it will lose if it’s
free and fair), they should not sink so low as to despise, besmirch or
degrade monumental icons like mbuya Nehanda. Now that Chitungwiza is
dominated by MDC, must we, therefore, conclude that Chaminuka was also an
MDC member? Please, in your quest for power, do not distort historical facts
that are there for evereyone to see. Historian Chigwedere, where are you?
Chete masabhuku haawanzi kuverenga mapepanhau zvikuru epa internet so you
may have missed this classical lie by one of your own.
Sat May 31, 11:59 AM ET
HARARE (AFP) - Hundreds of women converged on a stadium on the outskirts of
Harare on Saturday to pray for peace ahead of the country's tense
presidential run-off amid mounting political violence.
"As we pray today there are some fellow Zimbabweans who are hiding in
mountains afraid to come down fearing that they may be surrounded and
attacked," Tawona Mtshiya, vice-chair of the Evangelical Fellowship of
Zimbabwe, told a crowd drawn from various denominations.
"In our situation in Zimbabwe today, a solution can only come if we pray to
The prayer service was organised by a group called the Zimbabwe Women's
National Prayer Task Force, which is seen as politically neutral.
Zimbabweans go to the polls on June 27 for a second-round presidential
election between President Robert Mugabe, who has led the country since
independence in 1980, and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
Tsvangirai fell just short of an outright majority in a first round of
voting on March 29 while his party wrested control of parliament from
Mugabe's ZANU-PF in a simultaneous legislative poll.
The period since the original polling day has been marked by a steady rise
in political violence which Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) says has seen more than 50 of its supporters killed by pro-Mugabe
Mugabe blames the opposition for the violence, which he has denounced as
Vicky Mpofu, coordinator of the prayer task force, called on women to hold
regular prayer and fasting in their respective churches for an end to the
"Women have a chance to speak out against violence because naturally we are
peacemakers and also among us women are secretaries for Robert Mugabe,
Morgan Tsvangirai and Simba Makoni," Mpofu said.
"Let us use every opportunity to talk and pray about peace in our beautiful
nation. We don't want any more bloodshed, even the blood of animals. We pray
that the spirit of violence is destroyed."
Tsvangirai launched a scathing attack on Mugabe's rule on Friday, saying a
nation rich in natural resources had become an embarrassment to the whole of
In a self-styled state of the nation address to lawmakers from his party,
Tsvangirai also vowed there would be no amnesty for perpetrators of
political violence if he takes power from Mugabe after the run-off election.
Zimbabwe's economy has been in meltdown since the start of the decade when
Mugabe embarked on a controversial land reform programme which saw thousands
of white-owned farms expropriated by the state.
A spiralling inflation rate, officially put at 165,000 percent but thought
to be many times higher, has frightened off investors as has a new bill
which requires locals to own a 51 percent stake in all firms operating in
A one-time regional breadbasket, Zimbabwe now experiences regular shortages
of even the most basic foodstuffs such as cooking oil, sugar and maize.
Mugabe's government has in turn blamed the country's problems on a limited
programme of sanctions imposed by the West after he allegedly rigged his
"When you have direct and indirect sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe you cannot
expect our economy to operate normally," Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
told reporters at the Zimbabwean embassy in Pretoria on Friday.
Africa News, Netherlands
† Posted on Saturday 31 May 2008 - 08:00
† Munyaradzi Mugadza, AfricaNews Reporter in Harare, Zimbabwe. Photo: Daniel
† What will happen if Tsvangirai wins the Presidential run off as defiant
Grace Mugabe says Mugabe will not leave office if he loose.
† The first lady Amai Grace Mugabe said President Robert Mugabe will never
leave his office if the trailblazing opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai
wins the historic Presidential run off scheduled for June 27.
† The first lady clad in party regalia told a legion of forced Zanu PF
supporters that the dreadful Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party will
not have the opportunity to rule this country under certain conditions and
many Zimbabweans who are desperate for change posed a question that what
will happen after the June 27 if Morgan Tsvangirai wins the run off
† "Even if people vote for the MDC, Morgan Tsvangirai will never step foot
inside State House," she said while donating trivial goods to the victims of
political violence perpetrated by the Zanu PF loyalists to intimidate and
force the electroplate to vote for Mugabe in the presidential run off.
† "He will only get to hear about what it looks like inside State House from
people who have been there. Even if Baba [Mugabe] loses, he will only leave
State House to make way for someone from Zanu-PF."
† Since the March 29 harmonized election, the opposition claims that more
than 50 of its supporters have been killed in the current orgy of violence
especially in the rural areas. The first lady’s remarks really contradicts
outgoing minister of rural amenities and Zanu PF’s election strategist
Emmerson Mnangagwa who said President Mugabe will leave office if he looses
in the coming presidential run off.
† Mnangagwa dispelled all the rumours doing the rounds that the military
junta would stage a coup if President Mugabe looses in defiance of the
† “We are very, very confident we will win this election,” Mnangagwa said.
“We have lost before. In February 2000, we lost and accepted defeat. If the
President loses, we will be the first to go on national television to say we
accept the verdict of the people. He is a very principled hero.”
† “You can see how mature we are. Once ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission)
announces the result and the President has lost, I am the chief election
agent, I will go to him and say, ‘Mr. President you have lost’, straight. We
brought democracy. We must defend it.”
† Just like the first lady, Minister Mnangagwa was quick to point out that
never in the history of Zimbabwe again will ‘they allow the Tsvangirai who
is allegedly being sponsored by the west to rule the country. Addressing
thousands who gathered at the party’s headquarters for the launch of the
election manifesto, President Mugabe said “never, never, ever will we allow
Tsvangirai to rule,” adding that it would be tantamount ton decolonization.
Monsters and Critics
May 31, 2008, 14:29 GMT
Johannesburg - Police in South Africa on Saturday said the number of people
killed in xenophobic attacks that have swept through the country has risen
'This has raised the earlier toll of 56 dead. A total of 670 have been
injured,' police spokeswoman Sally de Beer said, adding some of those
injured had died in hospital.
The Johannesburg-based Saturday Star newspaper reported that a leaked police
report showed that at least five people were killed in further attacks on
foreigners - mostly African migrants - this week.
The newspaper said police information contradicted information from the
government. The police report on developments from Monday to Friday also
showed that 41 foreigners were injured and 107 properties had either been
looted, attacked or burnt in 86 xenophobic incidents across the country,
according to the newspaper.
The attacks by locals on migrants from places such as Zimbabwe, Mozambique,
Somalia, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Pakistani, Indian and Chinese began in
Johannesburg's impoverished Alexandra township some three weeks ago.
Hundreds were injured in attacks and rapes and tens of thousands, fearing
for their lives, fled to neighbouring countries or emergency shelters.
Parts of Gauteng Province where Johannesburg is located, and the Western
Cape, where the city of Cape Town is located, have been declared disaster
Authorities plan to set up special courts in the Western Cape to hear the
cases of people charged with harming or threatening foreigners and looting
Almost 20,000 foreigners fled their homes in and around Cape Town last week,
many seeking shelter in mosques and churches.
About 150 foreigners, meanwhile, returned to their homes in an area
north-west of Johannesburg on Saturday following xenophobic attacks, the
Sapa news agency reported quoting police.
'We have held several meetings with the community, and they have accepted
the foreigners back,' police inspector Brian Dlamini said.
Unlike in many of the affected areas, their homes had not been torched.
Tens of thousands of foreigners have returned to their home countries, some
with the assistance of their governments, since the attacks began.
Johnny D. Symon
May 31, 2008
I watched the final of The Eurovision Song Contest last Saturday night, not
because I was looking for entertainment, for if that was the case I would
have wasted my time, I watched the show to determine if the annual
vote-for-one's-neighbors formula still held, and indeed it did. The
organizers insisted that those who voted should not vote for their own
country, but chances are that most of them did. The Spanish vote placed
Rumania high on the list, as it has for several years. Russian satellites
chose the Russian trio of the Stradivarius player, gold medalist ice skater,
and screech and squawk the tonsil tickler, Dima Bilan.
†And as Eurovision songs go, this winning number was not too bad, I was more
interested in the theatrics; Why use a Strad? And why should we see a skater
prancing around and around the singer? Was this grounded in metaphysics, or
was it grounded in anything? Did the Strad player represent old traditional
Russia, and the singer it's modern go-getting counterpart? And if this were
so, what did the skater represent? Well I guess that if he represented
anything at all, he might as well represent one of Poot's fully laden
nuclear bombers that's buzzing round and around the coast of Guam each and
every day, and many other places besides, the only difference being that the
skater leaves tracks in the ice, whereas the bomber leaves tracks in the
sky, either one I guess is simply a flight of fancy ... or prancy.
The Irish contestant failed to reach the final, and this was not because the
song was a turkey, it's because the singer was a turkey (puppet that is.)
The Spanish performer looked like Roy Orbison without the shades, but he
didn't sing like him, which rendered him at the end of the night in 16th
place. My own personal favorite was "Mor ve ÷tesi," a rock band from Turkey,
and not a turkey from Ireland. I thought they were excellent, and they came
close to victory in the final.
The Republic of San Marino failed to reach the top, but still rates as the
oldest independent State in Europe, so old that not even the KGB's Romano
Prodi was around when it was established (way back in 301 A.D. to be exact.)
The United Kingdom's offering was pretty good, I thought, yet it came joint
last. Germany was nowhere, nor was France, and that's where there's a
developing pattern. As Europe grows, taking in many nations from the East,
even Russia, the once powerful and world-class ruling States head down to
the bottom of the pile. Positive discrimination for failed nations leads to
a rebalancing of world power.
Another major element behind the fall and fall of once powerful world-class
nations, is the UN's Decolonization Program. Zimbabwe was once called
Rhodesia, and back in 'desia days the British ruled. It's economy was
powerful and stable and it was a net exporter of goods, but when the Brits
handed it back everything went wrong, and today Zimbabwe can rightfully take
it's place as one of the world's worst run nations. The disaster is on such
a great scale that it adversely affects most of the surrounding nations,
including South Africa, which also used to be a colony that, when handed
over, soon began on a downward trend; unemployment is well over 40 percent,
inflation is on the up and up, and violent crime is arguably the highest in
But watch out, it ain't cool to reveal all the bad stuff going on in those
countries because it's only cool if those countries are run by white folks,
otherwise it's not newsworthy. But the problem with this philosophy is that
if we ignore the antics of bad leadership, just because they're black, we
may in part be to blame for all the suffering of the common people there.
There's a tendency in some to brand others as racist, while ignoring the
fact that some of us attack on a greater scale Big Whitey.
I seem to spend more time hitting out at bad Whities, and you know
something? It's more fun. I stuck pins into Gordon Brown last week, and GW,
together with Tony Blair, and earlier on in this week's scribblings I'm
having some fun on Romano Prodi, yet none of them are black. In fact Romano
Prodi is neither black nor white ... he's Red. And over the past few years I
reckon that 95 percent of my hits were Whiteward, which leaves me in an
awkward position because had I been black, I could have been branded racist,
but since I'm white, the tag don't apply.
But the evils most Africans face, who find themselves governed by inept and
wildly corrupt leadership, cannot be explained away with the racist
argument. It's simply due to despotic loons hell-bent on feathering their
own nests, and building their own kingdoms, who care little about their
people's welfare, and much about their own.
Sharon Stone caused a stir at the Cannes Film Festival this week when she
remarked that China's disastrous earthquakes were a form of retribution for
the treatment China's dealt out to Tibet. I understand where Sharon's coming
from here, and it's standard fare. Maybe some poor Africans are left
wondering what they did wrong to deserve the hell dished out by Robert
Mugabe, and many good folks living in line of fire in hurricane alley might
be wondering the same. Or maybe those who lived through the great quake in
San Francisco, or those who were headed down to a watery grave in the
Titanic. And possibly some in the Twin Towers, on point of death, would have
tried to find that little something in their life's conduct that led them to
this terrible end. And when good folks in New Orleans began to float, maybe
some of that floating time was devoted to try and figure where they went
Millions of men, women, and children perished at the hands of Nazi Germany,
and I feel sure that few of them deserved it.
"I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race
is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong,
neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to
men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill;
but time and chance happeneth to them all.
For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes
that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that
are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men
snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly
— Ecclesiastes 9:11,12
And I reckon that the answer to all troubles highlighted above, can be
explained in the above verses, "time and chance happeneth to them all." The
wrong place at the wrong time, and we've all been there. Pearl Harbor, the
London blitz, the Munich Olympics, and many more are part of mankind's time
and chance synchronicity.
But time and chance works the other way round also. For those who engineered
WW1 were permitted at war's end to retire happily ever after. Germany did
not have to foot the bill for all that death and devastation, which left it
free and easy to plan and build for it's next world takeover attempt 20
years later. Then at war's end, 1945, Germany began yet again to rebuild
it's economy, and head on out to the 21st Century. But something is sore
lacking in Germany's history, from 1914 to the present day, and that is the
concept of Divine retribution in action! For if China's earthquakes and
floods can be attributed to it's treatment of Tibet and it's peoples, how
much more should Germany expect a Divine hand slap. And why, therefore, is
it still waiting?
Well, I reckon time and chance kept Germany off the Divine hook, and time
and chance, together with a highly evil and greedy nature, has elevated our
present-day contingent of evil despots to remain on cloud 9 for so long. And
the fact is that history's full of accounts of bad guys living rich and long
lives, lives that left a trail of death and destruction behind them, and
Divine retribution their sole and remaining portion.
"To Rome said Nero: "If to smoke you turn
I shall not cease to fiddle while you burn."
To Nero Rome replied: "Pray do your worst,
'Tis my excuse that you were fiddling first."
— Orm Pludge
†Our scant few years of entry into the 21st Century displays a wide and
varied world leadership, hell-bent on fiddling when all else is burning.
China's leadership did not fall beneath the rubble, though many of their
people did, and the Chinese government's treatment of Tibet rates low in
comparison to the evils they exact on their own people. Child slave labor is
wide and prevalent. It's treatment of female babies is most notable and
historic. Sadly, we have to remind ourselves that many find themselves in
the wrong place at the wrong time, though seldom do evil perpetrators fall
by their own sword. Their time and chance, no doubt, is reserved for the
hereafter. The world's common people can never grasp the helm, they all were
born of time and chance, whereas globalist-minded leaders have full control
of the listing ship. They know what's right, but they always choose Left.
From the madness behind the League of Nations concept, right through to the
United Notions, the fools on the hill try to avert the synchronicity of time
and chance, and yet many of those leaders claim to be Christian, yet stand
in defiance of their own Lord who said:
"And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars,
be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be;
but the end shall not be yet.
For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom
against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes
in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles:
these are the beginnings of sorrows."
— Mark 13:7,8
"For such things must needs be," can be rendered "all those things are
necessary," so why fight it?
I guess the moral of the story is this. There's no real justice in this
world, and most of the evil falling upon it falls on the innocent, from the
still-born or aborted child, to the 8-year old dying of cancer, on and up to
earthquake and flood victims, and victims of terrorism. It's all through
time and chance, and seldom has it been earned.
†Needless to say, this year's Caligulam Vitae Award, yet again, goes to
Vladimir Putin. He gets it for the second year in a row because, simply put,
no one else came close to qualifying for it, and the reasons are simple. To
receive the Caligulam you must first be super intelligent, and evil on a
world-wide scale. Robert Mugabe's evil efforts are merely regional, and his
IQ is lower than a gnats. Thabo Mbeki of South Africa is more stupid than
evil, yet his people still suffer, many of them are old enough to remember
and savor the grand old days of yore, in spite of their racial low points.
And Hugo "Bozo bottled" Chavez is no more than Poot's Western puppet,
especially in respect of the price and availability of crude oil.
The Poot does indeed stand alone as the world's most evil dictator, and
though he's stepped down from the top job, he's still at the Russian helm.
Last year he planted a Russian flag on the seabed in the Arctic Circle, then
ordered a restart to the cold war nuclear bomber flights over our very own
territory, and last year also more journalists bit the dust. His ability to
fool all of the world's leadership all of the time will go down in history
books as "that's all she wrote."
Contact Johnny D. Symon at email@example.com
Published May 31, 2008 In Letters
I refer to the discussion led by Ramprakash entitled ‘Guyanese should be
wary of Western vilification of ‘Third World’ leaders’ (SN, 8.5.08).
According to Mr Ramprakash, the disaster in Zimbabwe and other African
countries now is a result of the colonial system. The same thought is shared
by Frank Fyffe (‘Zimbabwe’s problems stem largely from a ruthless colonial
legacy’ SN, 22.5.08) who parrots what Ramprakash states, without offering
any meaningful arguments to support this warped view. Mr Ramprakash claims
that “nobody knows enough of the current events in Zimbabwe either to pile
all the blame on Mugabe or to exonerate him completely.” This is only true
if one decides to ignore the evidence about the collapse of Zimbabwe. I
intend to highlight five disasters in Zimbabwe for which Mugabe could be
held responsible in the last twenty-eight years.
First is the well known genocide of 1982-86, the infamous Gukurahundi.
Mugabe’s Korean trained fifth brigade was dispatched to ‘deal’ with the
opposition in Matabeleland and Midlands provinces, strong-holds of ZAPU,
then led by Joshua Nkomo. According to a report by the Catholic Commission
for Justice and Peace (CCJP), close to 20 000 people were killed, with
hundreds of thousands displaced and property destroyed. This report, which
was supposed to make this brutal action known to the world in the early ’90s,
was suppressed by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference which did not want to
“open old wounds.” Mugabe himself acknowledged this in a passing comment
when he said “It was a moment of madness.” For Ramprakash to trivialize the
mass graves as “unconvincing… just a few bricks arranged in a square shape,”
is just denying the facts. This shows the extent of Mugabe’s brutality that
denied decent burial to the victims of such willful killings. Why not set up
an independent and transparent commission of enquiry to clear the dust
surrounding this phase in the history of the country?
The second disaster came after Mugabe’s loss in the 2000 referendum.
Mugabe immediately dispatched the so called ‘War Veterans’ to invade farms
owned by white farmers and any opposition members. Invasion involved not
only invading the farm, but looting, killing and destroying the farming
system in the process. Labourers were dismissed and farms given to party
supporters, ministers and party sympathizers. Most of the people who got
farms have no basic knowledge on how to manage even a small vegetable
garden. To claim that Zimbabweans have been settled on productive farms is
but a total fabrication of the truth. There is multiple farm ownership by
most of the powerful politicians in the ruling party and church leaders
loyal and sympathetic to the ruling party. What does it help to say we
claimed back land from white farmers, when most of the land is in the hands
of a few men and women with political muscle? The majority of people who
deserved land are still landless. The programme was employed as a political
gimmick by Mugabe after losing the referendum.
The third disaster: Mugabe sits on a clandestinely corrupt government. His
ministers and powerful supporters have ripped the country of her wealth. In
1987, there was the famous ‘Willowgate’ scandal that involved most of his
ministers buying cars at a subsidized price and selling the same cars at
exorbitant prices. When this scandal was reported in the public media, one
of the senior ministers, Maurice Nyagumbo committed suicide. None of the
other named ministers and political heavyweights were investigated. Rather,
the reporters that brought the scandal to light were arrested, tortured and
subsequently died. To question who bankrolls the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC – government in waiting) would attract questions about who has
been bankrolling ZANU PF all these years. A case in point:
One Chris Hardy, owner of Mashonaland Holdings, with mining and construction
businesses in Zimbabwe donates at every party congress, hundreds of beasts
to feed participants. He is white. Is there anything wrong with that? Is he
a party member or just a sympathizer? A few kilometres from the capital,
there is the Zengeya farm owned by a white family. The farm has not been
invaded, the reason being they are sympathetic to the party and make
donations to the party and party members, even for the President’s birthday
which has been turned into a national event. Is this not corruption glaring
us in the eyes?
The war in the Democratic Republic of Congo is the fourth disaster we have
had to endure in the last ten years. When Laurent Kabila was under threat
from rebels, he called for help and Zimbabwe responded swiftly together with
Angola. Kabila was not legitimately elected, but was a rebel who seized
power. Mugabe thought this war would end in two months. Millions of US
dollars that were not budgeted for found Zimbabwean troops in their
thousands flooding the DRC to defend an illegitimate government. Why did
Zimbabwe respond to Kabila’s call so swiftly? Most of Mugabe’s lieutenants
have mining interests in the DRC. The mineral wealth of DRC has been looted
by Zimbabwean senior army personnel, and they are living large because of
this war. Zimbabwe had to defend the illegitimate government in DRC because
our political leaders had mining investments there.
The fifth disaster is Operation Restore Order of 2005 that saw the malicious
destruction of homes and people’s means of living, a disaster that remains
hard to defend. This was an exercise which came exactly a month after Mugabe’s
party lost most of the parliamentary seats in towns and cities.
The government decided on ridding the towns of “illegal citizens dealing in
illegal businesses.” People who had used their ingenuity to eke out a living
through selling wares and home projects became the target of the government.
Homes were destroyed, and so were indigenous industries.
Thousands of people were left homeless, and with no means of subsistence.
This was a catastrophe that led Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of
United Nations, to send an envoy led by the Tanzanian Anna Tibaijuka, to
investigate and make recommendations; the recommendations were dismissed by
Zimbabwe truly developed after independence, with schools, social centres,
health centres and the applauded universities, as Ramprakash would have us
believe. But most of these structures are white elephants, with no personnel
or resources to run them efficiently. People are leaving the country in
thousands – leaving schools with no teachers, health centres with no nurses
or doctors, and universities with under-qualified or no lecturers. Do we
still have to count that as development? Do we pride ourselves on saying we
have an educated nation when the educated people are scavenging in foreign
lands, scouring for ‘leftovers’ to feed families back home? With three
million in South Africa, one million in the United Kingdom and hundreds of
thousands in other countries, Ramprakash still wants us to believe that
these are the effects of colonialism and not mismanagement by Mugabe?
Mugabe has failed the nation, which was a beacon of hope soon after
independence; he has militarized parastatals and has made dubious
appointments to high posts of people affiliated to his party. If Mugabe is
right, as Ramprakash wants us to believe, then close to five million
Zimbabweans in exile and the remaining seven million suffering in the
country are wrong! Everyone is wrong save for Mugabe? For the sake of
justice, The Hague is the best place for Mugabe, before he finds harbour
with the friendly Chinese. To blame colonialism for such disasters is just
to perpetuate the mismanagement of nations like Zimbabwe.
Clyde B. Chakupeta