Dark, acrid smoke now rises above
Victoria Falls gorge in place of the mist
The sight of the mist rising out of the Victoria Falls gorge,
said David Livingstone, was so beautiful that it stopped angels in their
flight. Last week, the dark, acrid smoke of burning homes billowing up on
the other side of the falls village, would have caused those angels to
hasten on their way in horror. In a nationwide purge that the government has
called Operation Murambatsvina, "unwanted" sectors of the urban population
were being targeted for relocation to rural areas, precipitating a
humanitarian crisis of enormous proportions. Victoria Falls, a tourist mecca
with a highly developed adventure industry and many elegant hotels, had not
been spared. Shacks, brick houses and spaza shops - most owned by
respectable citizens - were set alight in President Robert Mugabe's
"clean-up" campaign of "illegal structures". Two days earlier armed police
had moved into town; outsiders come to torch the homes of their countrymen.
They began at 3am in the coldest hour of a winter's night, ordering people
out of their beds, giving them scant warning before dousing their shacks
with petrol and setting them alight. Families, confronted by guns, stood
mutely in the township's dusty streets, gaping at the state-sanctioned
It didn't stop at shacks. Armed with a council plan, the
police began setting alight brick houses. When their owners protested that
they had paid for and been given the stands and building rights by the
council, police claimed they'd been illegally issued by a corrupt official
and had to be demolished. Spaza shops were next. Clustered along township
roads, they had been the economic lifeblood of hundreds of residents.
Throughout the country, urban people were being forced into the
drought-ravaged rural areas where there are high levels of impoverishment
and starvation. Yet there are few buses to take them and a chronic shortage
of fuel. The crackdown is being seen by most victims as a post-election
crackdown on Movement for Democratic Change supporters. At the elegant
Victoria Falls Hotel, an impeccably dressed waiter was clearly deeply
traumatised as he served pots of Tanganda tea to wealthy holidaymakers. "I
have to be here because I need this job," he lamented. "I've worked here for
eight years. But my house was burnt, my wife is on the street with our baby.
Where are we to sleep tonight?" He offered to take in a small digital camera
to try to get some shots, but if he'd been caught, the consequences would
have been dire. Armed police were everywhere and seemed jumpy and ready to
shoot. His anger, though, made him willing to take the chance, but it seemed
irresponsible of me to expose him to even further risk.
restaurant, the manageress was desperately worried about the furniture on
her stoep. "All night people were coming to me with their belongings.
They're from my church; I can't turn them away. They have nowhere to go,
nowhere to put their possessions. But now I hear that if the police see
furniture on your veranda they burn your house too. There was a lady with a
two-month-old baby with nowhere to go. And it was cold, so cold. If you have
two radios or two TVs, the police take one. They say you must be using
illegal money to buy them. If they find you with forex (US dollars, rands or
pounds) they take that too and tell you it is illegal to hold forex." The
forced removals are occurring against a background of severe food shortages
and unemployment levels in excess of 70%. In addition, Zimbabwe has one of
the highest levels of HIV in the world with around 25% of the sexually
active population infected. With the clampdown on information, it's
difficult to estimate the number of people evicted - estimates are between
250 000 and a million. Victoria Falls is the tourist centre of Zimbabwe and
both tour operators and hoteliers struggled to deflect questions from
foreigners about the billowing smoke and absence of local people in the
village. Some simply gave up trying.
"It's a bloody disaster,"
one operator told me. "How can we keep tourism going with this happening?
Next I suspect we're going to be raided for forex. You have to charge
foreigners in forex, but then you're supposed to run to the bank and change
it into Zim dollars. But you can't buy anything in Zim dollars. They're
cheaper than toilet paper and nobody outside the country will accept them.
If you don't hold forex you can't get spare parts for your vehicles or
replace broken equipment or even buy the sort of food that tourists expect."
People in Victoria Falls were confused by South Africa's failure to
intervene. There's even a wild rumour going round that the reason for
President Thabo Mbeki's lack of response is that he owns a number of diamond
mines in Zimbabwe. It's the only way people can understand his support for
Mugabe. On a beautiful drive through the winter-yellowing mopane woodland to
the Botswana border, a bus driver spoke about the destruction of his
community. "It's a war," he said. "When Zanu PF took over we thought we'd be
free. But it's the same government as before, only with black faces. We
haven't won our freedom yet. It still has to come. It will come. Everything
must end sometime... "
Bongozozo Last updated: 06/21/2005 03:16:22 ELECTIONS have come and gone.
Whether they were stolen or not the result still stands: ZANU PF is the
ruling party. NCA called for a boycott, ZINASU did the same, but the rabble
wanted MDC to participate.
We meet again in the background of a shrinking
democratic space. Every voice of resistance is being strangulated. When it
was MDC under siege others were smiling, now that the sword is on them they
are crying out loudly forgetting that only yesterday it was them who were
reluctant to fight the smaller devil that was insidiously developing fangs.
Everyone is now running to everyone in search of solace. This is a lesson to
us all-this is a war on everyone thus everyone has to be
The reason why we have failed is simple -- we have been
fighting sporadic uncoordinated battles with no will to amalgamate our
forces. We spent more time seated behind closed curtains articulating
problems that were obvious to all and sundry. We have been taking a
bourgeois's approach towards the struggle. We have co-modified the struggle
at the expense of our vision to realise a democratic Zimbabwe!
call these sporadic is because we have limited our objectives and sought to
pursue these without turning our heads towards other pressing and equally
important issues. NCA has blended itself as a force for a people-driven
constitution, ZINASU has limited itself to representing the interests of
students and students alone whilst MDC wants to get into power and probably
seek to make reforms from there. There are clashes of ideologies between
forces whose main goal at the end of it all is the same -- to restore
democracy in Zimbabwe.
Crisis in Zimbabwe coalition is shouting for
democratic space, NCA is shouting for democratic space, WOZA is shouting for
the same space, so is ZINASU and ZCTU. The question is why these
organisations need democratic space. If Mugabe lifts all those repressive
laws and allows NCA to consult freely, ZINASU and ZCTU to address students
and workers respectively without fear or victimisation what will be next?
Does it mean that NCA is just a pressure group pursuing a democratic
constitution only, does it mean that ZINASU is only interested in issues
pertaining to student affairs only. If given the space what will we do with
This is where we need to come clear; Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition,
NCA, ZINASU, ZCTU and other organisations are representative pressure
groups. In their objectives they do not seek to rule this country nor to
take part in the political governance of this country but to help in the
democratic transformation, which would allow them to function more
effectively and increase their relevance. MDC is a political party and not a
The difference between these organisations and MDC is
that they are pro-democratic forces in pursuit of isolated agendas with the
ultimate hope of helping in the realisation of a better democracy in
Zimbabwe whilst MDC is an instrument of implementation wanting democratic
space to enable it to participate in the political governance of this
country hopefully to attribute its existence to the will of the people. The
point here is that MDC needs ZINASU but ZINASU will need MDC at least as a
government for its continued existence and significance. What it implies is
that out of the vision to perpetuate the legacy of students` rights ZINASU
should not only sympathise with MDC but also support it especially in this
critical time. The same applies to other organisations.
It does not
help to pursue impulsive struggles for the sake of putting our names or the
names of our organisations in the limelight. The nerve shown by Dr Madhuku
to me is recklessness and a futile attempt to sustain relevance. What
Madhuku should realise is that he can never push for a democratic
constitution by himself alone. He needs the support of the people. In actual
fact we as intellectuals support the idea but the constitution might mean
nothing to a starving peasant down in Murombedzi. We respect Madhuku for
showing us that this despotic system can be challenged but NCA now needs to
broaden its activities and seek to orient everyone on the need and
importance of a democratic constitution but more importantly a democratic
government. That this can be achieved by primarily pushing for the current
government to adopt a new people-driven constitution or by bringing a
people's government into power. This applies for all other
MDC on its part should also mature and act responsibly,
wisely and sensibly. It is a blessing in disguise that it failed to take
power within five years of its formation otherwise we could be in a deeper
quagmire than what we are currently in. It is time they realise that they
are a political party and not a pressure group, whose main objective is to
rule this country and rule democratically. Upon recalling this, it should
then weigh all the possible routes to democracy.
everyone in MDC is interested in change. It is time to sacrifice those who
are not willing to sacrifice themselves for the purpose of the struggle. It
is time to restructure. To a peasant farmer in Chikombedzi, MDC is an
elitist party seeking to represent the interests of the rich only yet this
is not correct-at least from the party's view. There is need for democratic
accountability and collective responsibility for all the actions that the
party takes. It is not always feasible that everybody be consulted before
the party makes a decision but it is very attainable to inform everyone of a
decision taken. The party should desist from being an intellectuals` league
but bear with the majority of its supporters who might not be at an equal
academic footing with some of its leaders. Thus the party should not assume
that everybody grasps their arguments at a level similar to theirs. For
example, the RESTART PROGRAMME: not more than 10 % know about its existence,
its contents or even its significance. What MDC has failed is to bring down
for public consumption all those professional jargons, something that ZANU
PF has perfected to its advantage.
Secondly, discipline is an imperative
virtue that should punctuate the perpetual existence of any political party.
In as much as we are all part of the party, it does not follow that we have
the right to hold the party at ransom simply because we feel something has
not been done right. Democracy does not mean the freedom to infringe on
other people's basic rights as individuals. At the end of it all the desires
of the party should prevail over the needs and aspirations of individuals.
It is politically improvident that someone hires a bunch of youths to harass
other party members simply because of the need to consolidate political
power and relevance. Morgan Tsvangirai is challenged to bring sanity to the
Finally, there is too much idleness at the party. It is not too
late for the party to start embarking on a clear, precise and open agenda.
If the party is saying the elections were rigged are they going to reclaim
the elections? Right now MDC does not have the capacity to call for a
nationwide mass action or strike but if they work in earnest.
all the dedication and sacrifice that this requires very soon MDC would
replant the zeal and enthusiasm seen in years gone by. What people should
realise is that the party is going through a vital metamorphosis
characteristic of all movements serious on taking power -- some chancers
have to go while some new and dynamic voices have to be added. The same
happened to the Red Army, Mensheviks, PF-ZAPU and even ZANU PF of the
pre-independence era. Some people in MDC definitely have to go because they
have made a fortune; they have co-modified the struggle. A capitalistic
approach to the struggle brings with it mistrust and fear of loss. How can a
man with six PRADOs sacrifice himself for the benefit of a puny midget
treading the street with nothing to show of it to the world?
struggle is not yet lost, a man who fights and runs lives to fight another
day. A bend on the road is not the end of the road unless of course one
fails to negotiate the curve -- LONG LIVE THE STRUGGLE FOR
DEMOCRACY!! Tendeukai Bongozozo is former chairman of the University of
Zimbabwe Students Union
Zim clean-up moves to business Jun 20 2005
Harare - Zimbabwean officials said on Monday they
were extending a widely condemned drive involving the flattening of shacks
and homes dubbed "illegal structures" to business offices in Harare's posh
northern suburbs. "We are moving everywhere, including the northern
suburbs and some rural areas, everywhere where there is an illegal
structure, we will get there," Harare police spokesperson Whisper Bondayi
"We are targetting all illegal structures," he told AFP in an
Leslie Gwindi, the spokesperson for the Harare city
council, said the campaign would now focus on offices violating laws for
doing business in residential areas in the northern suburbs, where the
city's elite - including top politicians, businessmen and sports
personalities - live.
"We will be moving in to close offices in
undesignated areas in the northern suburbs," he said.
cannot stand aside and look while people run out of accommodation when
houses are being turned into offices," Bondayi was quoted by the state-owned
Herald newspaper as saying.
Hordes of armed police have gone on the
rampage over the past month in major towns across Zimbabwe, demolishing and
torching backyard shacks and makeshift shop stalls in a campaign that has
drawn global condemnation, including from the United States and
The operation has so far left between 200 000 and 1.5
million people homeless, according to the United Nations and the opposition
The double-barrelled crackdown, code-named Operation
Murambatsvina, which means "Get rid of trash", and referred to as "tsunami"
among urban dwellers, comes against a backdrop of worsening food and fuel
Over the weekend, the Harare municipality shut down
several office blocks that were considered "overcrowded, filthy and
unhygienic", according to the Herald.
On Sunday, armed police
used bulldozers to raze backyard structures and market stalls in the teeming
township of Chitungwiza, south of Harare, where some two million people
An AFP correspondent witnessed a woman throwing herself to
the ground, wailing "my property, my property," after police demolished her
former home in Chitungwiza's Saint Mary's quarter.
residents rummaged through debris to salvage broken pieces of furniture
while scores of families lined the streets with their belongings
contemplating their next move.
In other parts of Chitungwiza,
police ordered residents through a loud-hailer to destroy "all illegal
structures except the main house".
Truckloads of riot police
patrolled Chitungwiza's streets following reports that residents in the
township, an opposition bastion, intended to resist the
Chitungwiza, situated 25km south-east of Harare, was
created in the 1970s with a capacity for 30 000 people but its population
ballooned as it became a haven for Harare's working class.
township provided the venue for the launch nearly six years ago of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change, which has posed the stiffest
challenge to President Robert Mugabe since he came to power in 1980 when
Zimbabwe gained independence from Britain.
The demolitions in
Chitungwiza came a day after police started destroying shacks in Epsworth,
Harare's oldest shantytown.
Clean-up splits Zanu PF By Foster Dongozi and Vusumuzi
THE decision to destroy homes and flea markets around the country
has reportedly left Zanu PF divided, with some senior Central Committee and
Politburo members describing the locally and internationally condemned
exercise as an anti-people campaign.
More than 20 000 people have
been arrested during the blitz, while hundreds of thousands have been
displaced after their homes were destroyed. Senior Zanu PF officials have not
come out in the open in support of the brutal campaign because they are
concerned it could cost them potential votes in future elections.
Politburo member, who declined to be named, told The Standard
"What is going on is absolute madness. It does not make sense
to destroy people's homes and their sources of income when there is a lot of
poverty and suffering. That is why you have not seen any politician
supporting this madness."
Only President Robert Mugabe publicly
supported the campaign at a recent Zanu PF Central Committee
Kembo Mohadi, the Minister of Home Affairs, who heads the
police, has remained tight-lipped on the exercise, preferring to let senior
police officers, Edmore Veterai and the police commissioner, Augustine
Chihuri, at the forefront parrying criticism of the campaign.
Harare executive mayor, Sekesai Makwavarara, who defected from the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change after being elected on that
party's ticket has also been roped in to support the clampdown while other
mayors around the country have not been as vocal or enthusiastic about the
Mohadi was not reachable for comment last night.
campaign has also been castigated by veterans of the liberation struggle,
who are an integral part of Zanu PF.
Thousands of war veterans, who had
resettled themselves at different settlements around the country, had their
houses demolished by the government during the past four
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans' Association chairman,
Jabulani Sibanda who is also former Zanu PF Bulawayo provincial chairman
told The Standard that it was "unfortunate that the people who fought
tirelessly for the liberation of the country are being made to suffer at the
hands of a government that we put into power."
"This is not the first
time war veterans are suffering. If you know your history, you will remember
that our bases in Zambia and Mozambique were bombed but that did not kill
our fighting spirit. Our parents' homes were burnt, but that inspired us
even more," said Sibanda.
"During the war, we lost Herbert Chitepo and
Jason Ziyapapa Moyo, who were exploded to death. We also lost Ethan Dube who
disappeared, Josiah Tongogara, who died in an accident that is yet to be
detailed. We suspect there were some people in the struggle who were
eliminating them, and today some of them are in power. They are now
finishing us so as to remain undisturbed in furthering their mission, which
they got from the imperialists - to disturb the revolution," he said without
identifying the individuals.
In a statement, the Zimbabwe Liberators'
Platform (ZLP) council said some of the fallen heroes "must be turning in
their graves when their comrades and the people they liberated are
brutalised by a government borne out of a bitter liberation
"Obviously the operation is unlawful, brutal and insensitive
as it violates human rights and inflicts untold suffering on an innocent
population. Even the war veterans, who were used as cannon fodder by the
ruling Zanu PF party to invade farms in 2000, have also become victims. The
motive for the unprecedented action is unclear and misguided," reads part of
the ZLP statement released to The Standard.
The fiery Sibanda said
the government would not get away with murder, "as Zimbabwe has heroic
people who are prepared to die for a worthy cause. That is why we have a
Heroes' Acre, where such people lie.
"The heroic people are counting the
activities and damage being done and will definitely do something to fight
this hegemonic policy by a few individuals."
However, Zanu PF
stalwarts, Nathan Shamuyarira and Didymus Mutasa denied that Operation
Restore Order had divided the ruling party. "It's not true, those are lies.
We are strongly united in our efforts to make Zimbabwe a clean and safe
environment," said, Mutasa, the Minister of State for National
"The decision to embark on a clean up campaign was taken at
Cabinet level and right now I am in Chipinge, where the people are praising
us for the clean up campaign. You people at The Standard are always making
noise about the rule of law and when we use the law you make unnecessary
Shamuyarira said the campaign had the support of the ruling
He said: "The decision to embark on a clean up
campaign was adopted at both party and government level and we fully support
it. When food is sold in the open under unhygienic conditions, it could lead
to a lot of disease outbreaks. The people of Zimbabwe deserve a clean
environment. Many people are in support of the clean up except the MDC. The
stay away was a flop because the people of Zimbabwe are fully behind the
clean up exercise." Shamuyarira said.
Government fails to end fuel crisis By our own
DESPITE repeated assurances by the government that the fuel supply
situation will normalise "in a few weeks"; crippling fuel shortages continue
to be experienced countrywide.
Long winding queues of desperate
motorists searching for fuel have become a permanent feature of Harare,
again. Although motorists struggle to get the precious fuel, bulldozers which
have been destroying homes appear to be adequately supplied.
and Power Development minister, Mike Nyambuya, was very vague when he told
journalists, in Harare on Friday that his ministry was coming up with a
Petroleum Bill that is expected to "ensure long term measures" in the supply
He did not, however, address the immediate crisis, which has
left many commuters stranded all over especially in Bulwayo and
Players in the fuel sector were yesterday afraid to comment on
the absence of fuel, saying only the minister, Nyambuya could acomment,
suggesting this has become a security issue.
"I beg you please don't
ask me to comment on the fuel situation. I don't want any trouble with
anybody by talking about fuel," said a senior official in the fuel
Desperate Harare residents were yesterday battling to find
transport to and from their homes as most commuter buses were queuing for
the scarce commodity.
Many commuter buses are off the road after they
were impounded by the police during the ongoing clean-up campaign.
Police dodge questions on impounded goods By our own
POLICE have been less transparent in discussing the whereabouts of
goods worth billions of dollars that were confiscated from flea market
operators, vegetable vendors and hawkers as part of the clean up campaign
aimed at restoring order in the capital.
Only sugar, which was
impounded from vendors, has been publicly auctioned. Traders who spoke to The
Standard said they were unhappy with the slow pace at which their goods were
being disposed of.
Flea market owners who had their wares impounded said
they had not received their items back more than three weeks after the
police raids last month.
Some of the goods impounded by the police
include designer clothing.
One trader who declined to be named said: "The
goods were just thrown into trucks and it will be difficult for the police
to say which goods belong to who.
"I don't know if we are going to
get our goods back."
Other items that were confiscated included audio and
video cassettes, compact discs, shoes, jeans, cellphone chargers and other
Flea market traders, informal sector
manufacturers and tuck shop owners lost billions of dollars worth of goods
and property when police swooped on them during the blitz.
Madzinga, who lost his wares during the clean-up campaign, is a bitter
"After I failed to get a job in the formal market I decided to buy
and sell goods in the informal market but today I don't know what I am going
to do next. They have destroyed my source of income," Madzinga
Out of all the impounded goods only 30 000 tonnes of sugar
recovered from Mbare was publicly disposed of through a public auction at
the Mbare Magistrate's Court last week.
However police spokesperson,
Superintendent Oliver Mandipaka, said they had no legal obligation to tell
the public how they were going to dispose of all the goods they recover
during their operations.
"We are not under any single legal obligation to
tell people what we are going to do with exhibits. Everyday we recover
exhibits in our day-to-day operations," said Mandipaka.
said most of the goods were disposed of in terms of the law. "Most of the
flea markets owners who were operating legally were given back their goods
and they just paid fines," he said.
Mandipaka said they have several ways
of disposing of goods that they would have been recovered from
"Officers may be ordered to destroy all perishables a few days
after they are recovered and some goods are disposed of through public
auction," he said.
Mandipaka said the police were now more energised
and were determined to rid the country of all criminal elements.
are going to be more vigorous because we can not have a society where
everyone is corrupt. We are not going to stop this operation until
everything returns back to normal," Mandipaka said.
Zimbabweans had resorted to informal trading due to shrinking formal job
opportunities as a result of economic recession, largely blamed on Zanu PF
THE government, which throughout last year was praised for
maintaining surpluses in its treasury account with the central bank, has
been forced to print new money to finance an overshooting Budget deficit
after failing to extract about Z$6 trillion from local credit markets,
StandardBusiness has learnt.
In its 2005 national Budget statement
presented in November 2004, the government had budgeted a fiscal deficit of
5 % of gross domestic product (GDP), which at the time was projected to
surge from a 2,5 % shrinkage in 2004 to about 3,5 to 5 % this
year. Finance Minister Herbert Murerwa in his last Budget statement assured
the nation that the government would source from local credit markets the
Z$5 trillion budget deficit - about 18 % of the total expenditures for the
year amounting to Z$27,5 trillion - since offshore capital support was put
on ice because of international sanctions.
However, the resurgence in
hyperinflation, coupled with huge food import expenses caused by the
drought, plus the bloated new Cabinet that is fleecing unbudgeted money, has
effectively inflated by about 40 % the cost of running the State.
drought, which has buried hopes of a projected agriculture-led economic
recovery and positive real growth, also enmeshes Zimra in the same web of
financial crisis because its forecasted revenue collection target of about
Z$22 trillion is unlikely to be achieved.
This unforeseen economic
shrinkage and accompanying inflationary pressures have conspired to force
the real Budget deficit to leap to levels of more than Z$7 trillion, pushing
the State into a financial quagmire.
Official sources said the
government's current account with the RBZ has sunk into an overdraft
position of about Z$1 trillion against a statutory limit on advances to
government of about Z$1,3 trillion for the running budget.
Robertson told StandardBusiness the government has now resorted to borrowing
from RBZ money, which in actual fact, does not exist. Money borrowed from
the RBZ is repaid by printing new money and not created productively. This
tends to flood the economy with more money than the value of goods
Current statistics show that money supply growth has more than
doubled in the past year, yet the economy is shrinking and this is ample
evidence that more money is being printed ahead of developments in the
Said Robertson: "The government has already started
printing money. It is printing money to the extent that it has been allowed
to borrow from the RBZ. This money has not been created productively and
this means that the government is borrowing money that does not exist. There
are no goods to represent that money. Worse still, this money being borrowed
is not being used productively.
"The reason why the government is now
failing to borrow from the money market to finance its budget deficit is
simply that for a long time it pursued policies which reduced the savings of
the country by paying low rates on its borrowing instruments (TBs and
bonds). As a result, there is shortage of money in the market.
only realised this mistake at the end of last month, when they decided to
raise rates in order to encourage people to lend to the government. But then
the money the government hopes to borrow is simply not there. They forgot
that if you want money today, you should have saved yesterday."
Bloch, an economic critic, said the only emergency exit door open to the
government would be to cut on expenditure - which is unlikely given the
extended Cabinet (and the planned Senate) or to squeeze the already
crumbling private sector by increasing taxes.
The government is
trying to drive savings into the market at a faster rate by increasing TB
rates from about 90 % to a range between 130 and 150 % in a desperate effort
to stick to non-inflationary Budget deficit financing through conventional
market borrowing at the insistence of RBZ Governor Gideon Gono.
the policy decision to raise the deposit rates on long-life securities could
put hot charcoal under the feet of the cash-strapped government by
catapulting public domestic debt to uncontrollable magnitudes.
Inflation rise deals big blow to
govt's economic rebound By Kumbirai
ZIMBABWE'S economic turnaround nose dived
last week as inflation, which has been stabilising for the past eight or so
months, defied government expectations and rose to 144,4% in
Although the government and Reserve Bank
Governor Gideon Gono tried to play down the effects of Zimbabwe's
overheating economy, the reality is that it is proving very difficult to
tame runaway inflation because of rising prices of basic commodities and the
lack of hard currency to import fuel and other
essentials. Since he took office as Zimbabwe's third
Governor in December 2003, Gono has largely been credited for reining in
runaway inflation, which was once at 622,8% in January 2004 to 123,7% in
March 2005, and for tidying up the financial
But the consecutive surge including the
creeping in of more inflationary pressures in the past four months are
threatening his good work. Although in March inflation had surprisingly
softened from a February peak of 127%, a round of price increases effected
on almost all basic commodities soon after the March parliamentary elections
won by the ruling Zanu PF party, is fuelling inflation into the stratosphere
The steep increase revealed last
week by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) showed that the average cost of
goods and services rose by 13,1% - gaining 5,8% on the April rate of
The government, which tracks inflation each
month by measuring the price movements of a given quality and quantity of
goods and services, attributed the increase in large part to beverages, rent
and rates, meat, owing to a blitz on vendors. The upward effect mainly came
from non-food items.
The Consumer Price Index
(CPI), the most closely watched inflation gauge, indicates that Zimbabweans
paid sharply higher prices for food in May, causing inflation at the
consumer level to rise at its quickest pace in five
The surge in inflation, analysts say,
sounds a death knell to Gono's efforts to slay the inflation dragon
ominously snarling at the economy.
increase was in line with Zimbabweans' forecasts, economists and consumer
groups question the basis for the calculation. They feel the government
statisticians are ignoring the necessity for black market purchase of a wide
range of basics, unobtainable at the official
"Inflation will keep on going up. It is
not finished yet," said Tony Hawkins of the University of Zimbabwe's
Graduate School of Management. Hawkins says an imminent review of
electricity tariffs and fuel prices will fuel the rampaging inflation
He added: "How much longer can we hold
on to the fuel prices?" Hawkins said inflation would rise faster in the
OPPOSITION Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) legislators could have their June salaries and allowances
forfeited for boycotting President Robert Mugabe's address to Parliament,
The Standard has been told.
Sources within the
ruling party said they were contemplating taking the opposition's snub to
Parliament when it resumes on Tuesday (21 June), with the aim of blocking
their salaries. Forty-one MDC MPs and Jonathan Moyo
boycotted the opening of the first session of the Sixth Parliament of
Zimbabwe in line with the party's call on Zimbabweans to stay away from work
in protest against worsening social and economic
Mugabe's address coincided with a two-day
stayaway organized by the Broad Alliance, a civic grouping to protest the
ruthless destruction of homes and a crackdown on millions of informal
traders, sanctioned by the government.
have been offended by the MDC's move. So they will definitely move a motion
in Parliament to deal with them," said the sources.
But MDC secretary-general Welshman Ncube laughed off the threatened motion.
"We are definitely not intimated by any such tactics," Ncube
West ignores Mugabe rhetoric, offers
aid By Valentine Maponga
President Robert Mugabe's incessant anti-west rhetoric, developed countries
have continued to offer much-needed support to Zimbabweans to ensure that
they enjoy facilities which their own government cannot
Britain, the USA and their allies pour aid
worth trillions of dollars, which benefit millions of Zimbabweans despite
State-sponsored propaganda that western countries are against
Zimbabwe. One such country is Canada, which through its
Embassy, has been at the forefront of funding development projects among
rural communities by empowering the majority of the people to become
John Schram, the outgoing Canadian
ambassador to Zimbabwe, says he trained his sights on improving the lives of
rural communities from the day he arrived in the
Schram came to Zimbabwe in 2002 at a time when
diplomatic relations between Zimbabwe and Canada were
The disagreements centred mainly on issues of
governance but the ambassador maintains that links between the two countries
should be consolidated.
Speaking during an
interview with The Standard last week, Ambassador Schram said Canada had
committed more than 10,5 million Canadian dollars ($54,6 billion) over the
past three years for acquainting the less privileged with life skills, new
farming techniques, building water supply projects and launching small-scale
income generating activities.
"My feeling is that real
development has to start with the ordinary people in the rural areas and I
think we have helped a lot in equipping the less privileged with
life-surviving skills," Schram said.
He said in the
three years that he has been in Zimbabwe; he managed to commission projects,
which he felt were very critical for the well being of all the
The Canadians funded the construction of
bridges, water wells, schools and other projects that improved the lives of
many in the rural areas.
Schram said Canada funded
the establishment of irrigation schemes in the driest areas of Matabeleland,
Masvingo and Manicaland. The projects had improved and transformed people's
The ambassador admitted that political relations
were not at their very best: "I can't pretend to have made some impact on
the politics but we still talk of working together from the time Zimbabwe
was a member of Commonwealth, and when Zimbabwe was still a leader among the
Frontline States in the anti-apartheid struggle in South
Air Zimbabwe pilots quizzed over mbanje
find By Foster Dongozi
Zimbabwe cabin crew and two pilots were recently questioned and searched by
British police after a suitcase packed with marijuana worth US$50 000 (about
$1,75 billion on the parallel market) was discovered at Gatwick Airport
after the plane arrived in London.
witnessed the drama told The Standard that sniffer-dogs became "excited"
when the conveyor belt, carrying luggage from the Air Zimbabwe plane started
moving. "When the sniffer dogs started yelping as an
indication that they had sensed some illegal substances, police details
waited at luggage belt for the bag owner to claim the suitcase," said a
The source added that after nobody claimed the
suspicious suitcase, detectives working in the drugs squad seized the
suitcase and found that it contained marijuana compressed into
"The police in Britain reacted by questioning
and searching the cabin crew and its pilots before they were allowed to go,"
the source said.
A female employee with the airline
has been suspended on allegations that the suitcase laden with mbanje
belonged to her.
After the incident, The Standard
visited the Harare International Airport where police officers and sniffer
dogs were on the prowl, to crack down on drug
Attempts to obtain a comment from Air
Zimbabwe chief executive officer, Tendai Mahachi, were
Sobering drinkers moan as beer shortage bites By our own
BEER guzzlers who do not usually worry about shortages of basic
commodities like sugar or cooking oil, are now feeling the pinch as the
country has been experiencing shortages of both opaque and clear
The shortage of beer has led to the closure of some bottle stores,
while others are operating well below capacity. Brewers, Delta Beverages
confirmed the shortages but said: "all relevant stakeholders are working
together to find a lasting solution to the problem."
The few bottle
stores with beer are cashing in on the shortage by charging exorbitant
prices of up to $15 000 for a two-litre Chibuku"scud" and a pint of lager
instead of the $10 000 charged under normal circumstances.
Some of the
beer drinkers complain that those who have developed loyalty to specific
brands are being forced to take any brand available on the market.
difficulties in finding beer and when I found it at a bottle store at Makoni
Shopping centre it was well above the usual price. I no longer choose
brands. I take what is available on the market, " said a Harare drinker,
A snap survey by The Standard found that at most beer
outlets only one brand was available with the popular castle lager the most
Opaque Chibuku beer, which is popular with those in the lower
income bracket, is also in short supply and many drinkers have reportedly
resorted to brandy and other spirits like whisky or vodka while others have
turned to home - brewed beer.
Another Chitungwiza man, Henry Gwauya,
expressed concern over the shortages saying: "We can have a shortage of
basic commodities but beer has to be available to drown our
As a result of the shortage, most bottle stores were last week
closing as early as 5PM.
Harare bottle store owners with stocks of
beer said that they were travelling as far as Marondera to buy beer. A
bottle store owner at Taita shops in Seke, who spoke on condition of
anonymity, said he had raised his beer prices to compensate for increased
transport costs. "I buy fuel on the black market, so I have to adjust my
prices in line with the costs I incur," he said.
Clean-up leaves sculpture vendors stranded By Godfrey
THE latest model Jeep with a foreign registration number grinds
to a screeching halt at the 100 kilometres peg along the Masvingo-Beitbridge
road. A man, his wife and some siblings alight from the vehicle and head
towards a huge display of sculpture artwork beckoning prospective
Before reaching the stone carvers, scores of the highly skilled
artists rush to meet the newcomers in the hope of enticing them with their
own wares. Despite the entreaties, the man leads his family as they head
towards an appealing wooden Giraffe. He picks up the carving and engages an
old woman in what seems to be a price negotiation.
minutes of the exchange, the man hands out a wad of notes to the old woman,
leaving her with a wide smile on her face. The family then proceeds to buy
some pottery and sculpture pieces from different artists before returning to
their vehicle and driving off.
But gone are the days when Beatrice
Marunda (62) and scores of others like her could eke out a reasonable living
selling various artefacts on the side of the road. The widely condemned
Operation Murambatsvina has spilled into the robust sculpture industry along
the Masvingo-Beitbridge road, leaving a number of the artists without a
source of income.
Police raided the sculptors as the government continued
to clamp down in what it claims to be illegal activities despite having been
operating from these places for nearly two decades.
says she will have to return to arid Maranda in Mwenezi without any other
source of income. "I started making artefacts with my brothers about 40
years ago when I was only 20 years old," she said.
The old woman, clearly
distressed by the turn of events, said the money she earned from selling
carvings was enough to fend for her 71-year-old unemployed husband and some
grandchildren. "When the police forcibly removed us from our selling points,
they told us that we would never be allowed to sell along the road again.
There is now no hope for a better life for my family," she sobbed, tears
streaming down her cheeks.
But granny Marunda is not alone in her
predicament. Nineteen-year-old school drop out, Thomas Mabwe, a gifted
sculptor was also a victim of the clean up exercise. But Mabwe says he is
not accepting defeat and is prepared "to play cat and mouse games" with the
police if that is the only way he will sell his wares.
"This is the
only decent way I can earn a living and I will continue to go on the
roadside to sell my pieces. We have established ourselves here and are
earning enough to fend for our families,"he said.
Other victims of the
clean-up who spoke to The Standard accused the government of being
insensitive to their plight saying they could not understand what they must
do in order to survive.
'Private sector key to Africa's economic future' By our
ZIMBABWEANS desperate for investment and grappling with
maximising diaspora resources heard how the private sector and economic
development are assuming centre stage in the quest for a more sustainable
Jay Naidoo, a former South African government minister
and now prominent business personality, told the business community at The
Zimbabwe Independent Quoted Companies Survey and awards presentation last
week that Africa was at a cross-roads. Naidoo said attention was
increasingly being focused on the cost of doing business and the attraction
of foreign direct investment, including that from the diaspora.
said: "Investment in infrastructure and a better investment climate have
become cornerstones of regional and national economic strategies. One path
involves an African Renaissance, new relations with the outside world and a
more sustainable and dignified future."
A former Congress of South
African Trade Unions (Cosatu) general secretary, Naidoo said such a path
would reverse Africa's marginalization and begin to close the huge economic
and social gap that exists between most of Africa and the rest of the
"The other path," Naidoo said, "involves poverty, conflict and
continued decline. In other words, it means continued human insecurity,
misery, and lost potential."
Without strong leadership, especially in
the economic and business spheres, Africa would not find the right path.
Africa needed more determined leadership in order to bring about renewal,
innovation and the discipline of execution.
The leadership he spoke
of was not Africa specific. He said: "We must also acknowledge, however,
that we need leadership not only from within the continent, but also from
outside the continent. While a great deal can be done better within the
continent, there are major constraints that we face in the global context.
And we need new win-win partnerships with industrialized countries to break
down key barriers to our development.
"For instance, we need a more level
playing field in international trade, and in the application of
distortionary subsidies. In the absence of such a level playing field, it
will be very difficult for us to grow and trade out of poverty. We also need
to break free from the odious debt that prevents us from investing in our
people, infrastructure and strategic industries."
There are millions of
Zimbabweans in South Africa and the way towards peace, prosperity and
stability for future generations is in building on the existing regional
integration efforts and initiatives and a smart partnership that places the
interests of people above our vested economic interests, he
Naidoo said the recently launched Commission for Africa (CfA)
Report is playing an important role in bolstering the New Partnership for
Africa's Development (NEPAD) case, by pressing G8 countries to take action
as promised at the G8 Summit in Kananaskis, when the G8 Africa Action Plan
The multiple recommendations of the CfA report are
far-reaching and seek to unlock US$25 billion of additional finance for
Africa a year over the next five years, and US$50 billion over the following
five years leading up to 2015, the target date for the MDGs, Naidoo
Of the US$25 billion sought for the next five years, US$10 billion
is earmarked for infrastructure.
"... This is truly exciting as it
has the potential to dramatically alter the economic and business prospects
in our continent. It will reduce the cost of doing business, facilitate the
integration of markets within the region and draw in greater fixed
investment, from within, the diaspora and foreign sources," he
Development finance institutions in the region such as the African
Development Bank, the Development Bank of Southern Africa and national
direct foreign investment will be key in implementing NEPAD priority
programmes and CfA resources.
"They can intermediate much of this
additional finance in a manner that empowers Africans and builds their
institutions. The Development Bank of Southern Africa, which I chair, will
certainly work towards this possibility in collaboration with the SADC-wide
DF Network, which comprises national DFIs in the region. The establishment
of this DFI network was approved by the SADC Council at their October 2002
Meeting in Angola."
He said it was essential that African DFIs be well
governed and managed. Africa could not repeat the mistakes of the past,
which saw the collapse of many national DFIs.
Naidoo said sound
leadership and entrepreneurship, not only in the economic and business
spheres, but also in the political and social spheres, was central to
"There is growing evidence that we are in the midst
of a significant transformation in Africa, one that is changing not only the
way we do things in the political and economic spheres, but also the way we
relate to the rest of the world.
Winners of this year's most
successful public listed companies on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange were
judged by a team of analysts drawn from different stock broking and asset
management companies. The judging process picked winners by examining the
performance of companies in the financial year closest to December 2004,
with the cut off for reporting being 31 March.
Clean-up endangers PLWA's Aidswatch with Bertha
THERE is no doubt that "Operation Murambatsvina", also now being
derisively referred to as Tsunami - after the devastation that occurred last
year in parts of South East Asia - has caused untold suffering to many
Many people have been left homeless after their houses and
cottages, condemned as "illegal" by the government, were destroyed. Informal
traders such as furniture manufacturers, flea market traders and street
vendors have also been left without sources of income after they were caught
in the web of the operation. The clean-up operation last week spread to
rural areas and small towns such as Bindura, Murehwa and Seke leaving
thousands more displaced and the devastation is serious.
checks made by StandardHealth during the past few weeks have revealed a
serious humanitarian crisis because many of the displaced families have
turned destitute and are spending nights in the open where they are exposed
to the cold with no access to proper sanitation, medical care and health
At Caledonia farm, where displaced families in Harare were
dumped to await relocation by the government, conditions are overcrowded and
health experts say there is an urgent need for a clinic.
Bindura town, home to the country's first woman Vice President, Joice
Mujuru, displaced gold panners and their families have spent the last two
weeks - living like wild animals in the open with their newly born babies
and school-going children. There is need for urgent help for this mining
community in Bindura's Kitsiyatota area where a disease outbreak is
From an HIV and AIDS perspective, the situation at hand is
grave. The effects of the operation on People Living With HIV and AIDS
(PLWAs) and affected families is immeasurable.
Being far removed from
health facilities and living in the open with no access to proper sanitation
has left many of the PLWAs prone to disease, with no access to medical care
when they need it. While it is strongly recommended that PLWAs seek
treatment quickly for any opportunistic infections, the prevailing situation
has made this almost impossible.
It is feared many of the indigent PLWA's
who have been displaced lack the resources to relocate or seek alternative
accommodation. This, invariably leads to more stress and anxiety, a state of
mind which could quicken progression from HIV to AIDS.
The loss of
income for the informal sector, particularly vendors and flea market
traders, will no doubt increase women and girls' vulnerability to HIV
infection as some will be forced to resort to commercial sex to earn a
Human rights organisations are convinced that the government
has created a humanitarian crisis by forcing thousands out of accommodation
and not offering them an alternative.
The Zimbabwe Association of
Doctors for Human Rights (ZADHR) has said it "deplores in the strongest
possible terms" the ongoing operation that has left many families
"This brutal action by the government of Zimbabwe has
precipitated a humanitarian crisis against a background of severe food
shortages and 70% unemployment levels ... of particular concern to ZADHR is
the impact that this campaign is having on children and families infected or
affected by AIDS...," said ZADHR.
"This operation by the government
of Zimbabwe is a clear violation of international conventions including the
International Conventions on the Rights of the Child, the African Charter
and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, to all of which Zimbabwe is a
The effects of this operation, certainly has far reaching
consequences and is not good news for any HIV and AIDS activist. Human
rights organisations and those involved in Aids work should not only condemn
this operation but also move in to help and assist affected families
throughout the country as a matter of emergency.
Failure to do so
will be a great crime to humanity and a loss to all the efforts and great
strides that have been made on the AIDS front these past two decades. This
is an urgent Save Our Souls (SOS) message for the donor community. For
feedback and question email email@example.com
A series of fortuitous
circumstances could provide Zimbabwe the lifeline it desperately needs ahead
of next month's board meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF),
which could prove critical in determining the country's fortunes and
relations with international financial institutions.
A delegation from
the IMF is in the country for talks with the government ahead of next
month's IMF board meeting due to deliberate on Zimbabwe's future in the
fund. In February this year, the IMF postponed a decision on the expulsion
of Zimbabwe from the fund after promises from the Harare authorities that
Zimbabwe was willing to implement a wide-ranging and encompassing economic
turnaround programme. In April, the government bought time when it postponed
a planned visit by the IMF team, citing a cabinet reshuffle that resulted in
the former Ministry of Finance and Economic Development being divided into
two different ministries.
But over the past month, Zimbabwe has gone
out of its way to portray to the rest of the world and international
financial institutions such as the IMF, the World Bank and the African
Development Bank (AfDB) that it has the will and resolve to implement
genuine reforms; that these are on course and that there are results that
demonstrate the country's commitment to implement reforms.
Robert Mugabe seems to have set the tone and direction of the train of
events when he told the first session of the Sixth Parliament that Zimbabwe
was pleased with the greater part of the international community and that
international support had strengthened the government's resolve to
co-operate with fellow developing countries in the economic fields of trade
He said: "My government will continue to cultivate
these close relations as well as make more efforts to broaden this circle by
turning potential allies into friends."
The Reserve Bank Governor, Dr
Gideon Gono, in his recent Monetary Policy Statement spoke on international
relations saying as part of the turnaround programme, there was need for
Zimbabwe to continue working closely with regional and international
He said: "We also remain committed to the full payment
of all our debts to international creditors, which repayment programme is
already underway, and is expected to be stepped up as the foreign exchange
situation improves. We also reaffirm our commitment to working closely and
co-operatively with our multilateral partners who include the IMF, the World
Bank, the AfDB, as well as bilateral creditors within and outside the Paris
Club, who, over the years have been understanding to our foreign debt
But by far, the most determined of the government's actions
in its desire to deliver on its promises to the international community and
financial institutions, would appear to be the combined Operation Restore
Order/Murambatsvina. Although the government has vehemently rejected the
link, there is no denying the visiting IMF mission will be impressed by the
Harare they are seeing now and the impact of the clean up operation as it is
being rolled out to the farms and the areas where illegal gold panning had
become rampant and which the government says is bleeding the
Law enforcement agencies say that much of the precious mineral
is being sold on the parallel market, while some of it is being smuggled out
of the country.
According to police Assistant Commissioner Munyaradzi
Musarira, in charge of the operation, "A lot of gold is being sold on the
black market with some of it smuggled outside the country. This
haemorrhaging of the economy must be stopped."
The visiting IMF team
will no doubt be impressed by these determined efforts. But Zimbabwe must
have a guardian angel. To help the international lender's board when it
deliberates the country's future in the fund, the State-run Herald newspaper
quoted a senior World Bank official in Harare saying the World Bank had
"expressed its readiness to avail US$2 million towards economic development
According to The Herald, the funds will be channelled
towards "some of the economic turnaround strategies currently being
implemented in the country". It is difficult to see how the IMF board could
decide on action that could condemn Zimbabwe by expelling it from the fund,
after such recommendation.
But there will be other considerations that
are likely to persuade the IMF to give Zimbabwe another chance: the country
has enormous natural and human resources and potential for becoming a
significant regional economic powerhouse. However, in the meantime the total
impoverishment of almost the whole nation and the prevalence of HIV and AIDS
- one of the highest in the region - require international interventions
because Zimbabwe does not have the capacity to go it alone.
recent visit by the UN special envoy, Jim Morris, who is also the executive
director of the UN World Food Programme, and the US offer of assistance
suggest an international consensus on rescuing Zimbabwe from the brink of
A hurricane sweeps through Freedonia By Dumisani
A TRAGEDY foretold. A hurricane swept through Freedonia, leaving in
its wake large scale devastation - a wasteland. I have never, in the short
history of my life ever seen such destruction.
For many, what defied
logic was that the "hurricane" was the work of the cream of Freedonia.
Everything was being turned inside out and upside down. The trigger point had
been a lingering suspicion that the ostentatious lifestyles that Freedonians
lived were being financed from extra-legal activities.
I recall an
incident in which, one of the street population inhabitants, a mad man dived
into a huge drum used as a litter bin. He rummaged through it furiously like
a desert animal, scattering all its contents far and wide. What was
happening to Freedonia was something like that, but on a much wider
Freedonia had an international reputation because of its world
famous sculptures. Its major highways, and roads leading to and from the
airports were adorned with rows upon rows of sculpture pieces.
authorities raided the sculptors or any persons found offering these
artefacts for sale. The victims of this swoop were searched and required to
turn in the amounts they had been paid for their work, particularly by
foreign visitors. They were required to account for all the sales they made
to foreigners during the previous 12 months.
Next were the galleries
and any shops trading in cultural artefacts that targeted foreigners.
Authorities in Freedonia said there were many of these foreigners visiting
the country and the statistics said they should have left the country awash
with foreign exchange.
Then everyone who was seen driving a luxury
vehicle - and Freedonia had become a huge market for foreign vehicles - was
required by law to explain how they came about the resources to afford such
properties. This was particularly amusing because every top citizen of
Freedonia or anyone who thought they mattered wanted to show off their
prosperity by their love of foreign goods.
Many Freedonians watched
and wondered whether there would also be an audit of the foreign furnishings
that were found in the homes of the rich and famous in Freedonia.
Freedonians were good natured people. So they watched. Many hoped it had
nothing to do with them. So they waited to see how far it would go. They did
not have to wait long.
The authorities decreed that all homes would
be searched to establish whether people did not keep foreign exchange in
their houses and by so doing exacerbate the scarcity of the resource. That's
when Freedonians came face to face with reality. For a start they could kiss
goodbye to such niceties as personal privacy and rights of access to
properties. The distinction between a police State and one huge open prison,
passing off itself as a sovereign State became blurred.
decreed that any arrival - whether local or foreign - would henceforth be
required to strip, and be searched to ensure the State received all the
money they had brought with them.
Someone invited us to a huge outside
show - one similar to what used to be known as drive-in
"Fellow citizens," boomed a voice, "we present you the future of
We peered, but all we could see was this massive dark/black
square. Perhaps others understood it. I didn't.
PROFESSOR Jonathan Moyo, the vicious former information
minister has deserted his Tsholotsho constituency. Since winning the
parliamentary seat in March, he has not set foot in the constituency. This
has once again exposed him for what he is - an opportunist who wanted to use
the people of Tsholotsho to save himself from certain political
I have always maintained that Moyo is selfish and power-hungry.
All he is after is self-glorification. Remember how he claimed personal
responsibility for Zanu PF's victory in the two previous elections, yet it
was clear that victory by fair or unjust means was attained by Zanu PF as a
party and cannot be personalised no matter how vigorously the said
individual worked. No individual has ever claimed, and should ever claim
personal responsibility for Zimbabwe's independence. Moyo's latest
lawsuit challenging Zanu PF and two thirds majority is simply a gimmick to
hog the limelight. He is not the best person to tell the people what is fair
and what is not. Has he quickly forgotten how he contributed to violence in
the previous elections by creating animosity towards opposition party
supporters. That was uncivilised politics at its worst.
We will never
forget that dark era when he went about muzzling the Press, messing up the
public broadcaster; wasting billions of taxpayers' money organising all
those galas at the expense of the people.
I ask Moyo: Was it really
necessary to turn back the hands of time 50-60 years by adopting costly
totalitarian propaganda techniques that would no longer work evenfor their
original proponents like Joseph Goebels? His silly vision was to create a
supernatural nation that thinks the same way.
No Zimbabwean is in a
position to sympathize with Moyo not matter how vigorously he works to show
us that he is now against Zanu PF, except a handful of his subservient
praise singers like Stephen Ndlovu and Believe Gaule. Moyo should be told so
that he knows that all Zimbabweans are celebrating and breathing a sigh of
relief over his unceremonious exit.
Moyo will go down the annals of
history as a minister who lacked foresight and for needlessly pouring
vitriol on his perceived opponents. We have not forgotten his famous
shopping spree in South Africa and engineering massive unemployment of
journalists through the draconian regulations that he co-authored. We will
always remember his penchant for primitive propaganda, a highlight of which
was his claim that 70 000 people had attended a rally at White City stadium
which has a capacity of only 12 000 people.
My final analysis is that he
is heading for the precipice and his political prospects are doomed even
though he won the Tsholotsho seat. He might be an accomplished spin-doctor
and intelligent as some claim, but I don't subscribe to that
In Ndebele we say:Ubukhosi ngamazolo.(You are a king, but for a
period).This saying fits so well in Moyo's situation. Whoever coined it
appears to have had Moyo in mind.
The player who thought he was the
man of the match has scored a spectacular own goal. Let the play go on
What will it take for the UN to act on Zim
THE crisis in Zimbabwe unfolds and I am soon to be a part of
that unfolding sorry drama because I live in an" illegal shack" therefore I
am dirt, criminal and need to be cleaned up. I was, therefore, touched by
the statement of one United Nations (UN) luminary who estimated the number
of soon to be homeless at potentially millions.
That was very
perceptive of him and I shall thank him from under the cold wintry skies
sometime this week. But more seriously is this the best the UN can do in
this day, the 21st Century, when faced with the needless internal
displacement of hundreds of thousands of people? Come up with an estimate
then, sigh - sit back and say the best has been done? I am sure even The
League of Nations came up with an estimate of the number of Jews targeted by
Hitler's final solution. That didn't help six million of them as this UN
estimate won't help any of the millions of Zimbabweans at risk from this
Wake up UN! Have a conscience and make sense!
years down the line some UN functionary is going to come here and apologise
and say: "Yes, so much more could have been done but wasn't which is a
pity..." But unfortunately that isn't going to reach back into this day to
mitigate the suffering or provide warmth to the multitudes made
What does it take for the UN to act? Must we as a people, as
the human race, first erect a sky high monument of all the broken lives, the
suffering, the deaths and put atop it first the billionth victim of the UN's
ineptitude and indifference before it grows a conscience and becomes
relevant? We could also then call in our very own Koffi Annan at the end of
his term to commission it.
thought I would ever see such heartlessness especially during these trying
times and, worse still, such behaviour coming from our esteemed leaders. How
do they put up with their conscience when they see the most vulnerable now
having to sleep in the cold open?
Those men and women who claim to be
human and have access to the important people in central government and City
of Harare, please show us your humanity and say something. Common sense and
our common humanity make us want to protect the vulnerable, the defenceless
and the wretched of our society. tCould buy hose with a conscience, talk
to those important people - they should try to reason with them and a little
more time for the poor? Is this asking for too much?
Are they so tied
up with imporant business that they totally forget about women and children
sleeping in the open because their 'shacks' have been razed to the
I know we are still governed by humans and not machines. I know
most of us still remember what being poor and defenceless means. And I know
we still have a conscience that enables us to feel for others and to want to
Let's spare a thought for the poor for a second and
plead with those responsible for the currtent blitz on unauthorised
settlements to have pity on the women, children, sick, defenceless and poor.
Whatever their faults, they too deserve to live.
Do we need
foreigners to think about our poor and defenceless?
I think that rather than propagating wishful thinking, as a
voice independent of the government propaganda machine, you should be
dispelling the myth that domestic workers are receiving a monthly wage of
between Z$850 000 and Z$1 200 000 (your item on the infamous Chinotimba last
Sunday was the latest piece to refer to this).
Obviously some are,
but I believe the true facts to be that the majority of employers of
domestic workers simply cannot afford to reward them with such munificent
amounts and in particular, most pensioners cannot do so. In my case, as an
example, the lower figure is in excess of 10 times what I receive as a
monthly pension. In the case of a friend, he receives just .03% of Z$850 000
as his monthly pension, which were it sold that way, is enough to buy him
and his wife one slice of bread to share between them for the month. He is
thus only marginally better off than would be his housemaid, were he not
able (and willing) to scratch elsewhere in order to keep her.
own case, it goes without saying that for me to employ anyone on a wage that
is anywhere near meaningful, my already near valueless life savings have to
be progressively eroded and assets disposed of. This applies to most people
I know of in my age group.
No sir, relatively few domestic workers are
receiving the quoted amounts. Indeed, the truth of the matter is that many
of them have been dispensed with altogether, while in other cases, they are
being employed Chinotimba style at a wage far below the ones you give. I
suspect these instances would be in the majority. In my own case, my
worker's income is earned by employing him, with his full consent obviously,
on a fixed term hourly paid contract at the gazetted rate for his grade and
for as many hours as fit my own slender means. As a consequence he receives
nowhere near the contentious minimum wage.
Significantly, each one of
my friends and acquaintances who have not dispensed with their labour-force
altogether has necessarily adopted a similar compromise.
Hence, it is
a myth to blandly indicate that domestic workers are in receipt of something
they are, in the majority of cases, not. I know full well that in some
instances the wage has been found. I also know this position has been
reached only by the forfeiture of rations previously purchased for the
benefit of the worker concerned.
So government in its own inimitable
brand of wisdom, has, once again, not achieved what it unilaterally and
against professional (reportedly even Union advice), set out to
While on the subject, I cannot for the life of me see, when we live
in the trying times that we do, why a bunch of bureaucrats seek to impose
"solutions" on employers and their workers, which at the end of the day,
Surely, if any worker is prepared to be employed and
keep body and soul together at a level commensurate with the employer's
ability to pay, then that is not only mutually beneficial to both parties
but allows them to co-exist until such time, if it ever happens, that the
worker is able to improve his or her lot elsewhere. This is not
exploitation. It is common sense - something lacking in the bureaucratic
Hwange Colliery Company (HCCL) and China North Industries Corporation
(NORINCO) are still negotiating a proposed barter trade of
According to the barter deal, HCCL will cede coke and
coal for haulage trucks and earth moving equipment. The equipment from
NORINCO will be used by HCCL to increase the mining output of coke and
coal. John Nkala, HCCL's Marketing and Public Relations Manager, told
StandardBusiness the two parties were in negotiations working out the
modalities on how the two companies can progress in the barter
Nkala said the arrangement with NORINCO was still at a proposal
stage and would move forward if all the parties agree to the terms of the
arrangement. HCCL will work with Norinco as trade partners and progress to
joint ventures once discussions are concluded.
Nkala said HCCL has
been supplying coal to NORINCO's sister company FEZA mine in Democratic
Republic of Congo. The coal and coke from Zimbabwe would be used to fire
smelters in the DRC with the end products being shipped to
HCCL and Norinco signed a memorandum of understanding with
NORINCO last year in a move meant to increase the production of coke and
coal last year. Officials from the Chinese firm toured the mine in December.
HCCL is listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, London Stock Exchange and JSE
Zimbabwe now totally totalitarian sundayopinion with Tony
WHAT is happening in Zimbabwe right now is clearly a war of
attrition against a dejected people by a regime whose popularity is at its
Zanu PF's callous disregard for human life has become stuff
legends are made of. Those war veterans who have been caught up in the
ongoing mind boggling police operation should now be the first to admit that
our leaders' claims of as much as 100% disability during the War Victims
Compensation probe in the late 1990's, were valid. The law enforcement
agents have become a law unto themselves, only answerable to the Great
Leader. They get angry on his behalf. Public relations consists of words
like: "we strongly warn.we repeat. people must desist.we will not
No matter how right you are, you are always wrong. It sounds
Machiavellian, but that has become true of our government. Totally
totalitarian! In a normal situation, high-handedness would be used as a
last, not first, resort. They have become weapons of vindictiveness and
revenge, and have thrown all professionalism to the winds. The only thing we
have in common with them is our skin colour.
Where are the houses
they have built for those they have now rendered homeless?
latest action is like a husband who burns all his wife's clothes because
they are old, yet has not bought her a single shred of new clothing. They
have succeeded in making us prisoners of fear. No one dares criticize them -
they are the law. Anyone who dares criticise them must face the wrath of the
Ordinary citizens have been criminalised without even the need to
refer to law's golden rule: innocent until proven guilty. Hell, what the
BSAP could do, we can do better! Arrest first, investigate later. Gideon
Gono threatened to reveal the names of corrupt government officials (which,
by assumption, means he knows them), but he never did. Neither did the
police ask for their names.
George Orwell succinctly put it in the
last paragraph of Animal Farm:
"Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and
they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the
pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and
from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was
The law has been misused, occasionally with the compliance of
learned men of letters, to settle political scores. As far as Zanu-PF is
concerned, collateral damage is part of the game. The more casualties, the
The minister says people were warned. When? Can he stand up in
court and produce the evidence? How? Did the police go round the townships
with loud hailers asking people to close their flea markets, remove their
shacks or close down their tuck shops? Did they place notices in the media?
Did they put up posters?
No. They didn't need to. "The people knew
what they were doing was illegal"! And they knew the police were going to
Before the raids, Harare was colourful, bright and cheerful,
now it looks clean but grey, lifeless. Africa Unity Square eerily resembles
Since 1980, this "peoples'" government has done everything
that is humanely possible to make sure Zimbabweans never enjoy their
No. It is a fascist government that is there to
inflict maximum pain, trauma, uncertainty, fear, as a way of reminding you
who is in charge. It is a heartless government that has no compassion for
AIDS orphans who cannot afford to live in better accommodation because when
their parents died, they had no rural home or house of their own. No. It is
a cutthroat government which gives people a few hours notice in the middle
of a crippling fuel crisis or the biting cold of winter to "go back where
they came from" - a clear abuse of power. It is a shameless government that
has no known record of building houses for the people like Ian Smith did. It
is a government that is accountable to no one. We have become refugees in
our own country.
Thousands have been rendered homeless, jobless,
moneyless, nay hopeless - not that they had these in the first place. The
bright spark who thought up this monumental shindig deserves to be awarded
the Order of The Zimbabwe Ruins. Some of these shacks housed former
commercial farm workers, and some those who fled the war in the late
seventies and never went back.
Some of the affected families had children
writing "O" and "A" Level Examinations. Some of the destroyed shacks had
owners who were outside the country, probably buying goods for resale at
flea markets. When they come back, their lives can never be the same
Some of these shacks probably had people lying sick with AIDS or
TB. Some affected people sought accommodation near their workplaces to
minimize the transport costs spurred by a chaotic transport situation. Some
of the shack dwellers were family members who could no longer fit in the
main house. I know people who have lodged in the same shack since the
mid-eighties. And then someone crows and says the action was taken after
consultation with stakeholders! There's no telling how many will die or fall
ill due to stress. Those lucky to have rural areas will have to cut down
trees for firewood and building, further straining an already damaged
In one fell swoop, 2005 has become an annus
As the regime gets more vicious and desperate, it only
manages to become more unpopular. You can never force popularity on your
people. Period. To quote one sage: "Too much of anything is not good for
you." And the law of physics says that there is a reaction for every action.
The people's anger cannot remain motionless forever.
We have now come
to the stage where almost everything we do is now classified as unlawful.
Perhaps we should be thankful for the small liberties that we still have
left, like breathing, walking, flushing the toilet, or getting into new
clothes, for they could be taken away. Perhaps we should start living our
lives by the hour. Perhaps we should all have a suicide pact.
How many achievements against its people have our sovereign,
legitimate government notched up since Prince Charles uttered the immortal
words: "kuzvitonga"? Just when you think they have quenched their thirst for
wanton violence, they come up with new excesses. What did Ian Smith's
scientists really do to the minds of these people?
How low do we have
to sink before we finally realize that our situation is not normal? They say
a people deserves the government they get. I certainly don't deserve this
one. Our people's government has lost the plot, just like Ian Smith did when
he declared: "Never in a thousand years". The future, for many, is
Who will be next? No one is safe from this
Seeking shelter from the elements is a universal right, but
in Zimbabwe it has become illegal. Soon, it will even be illegal to
I am one person who genuinely believes that the current operation
is not the coup de grace of our suffering: There is worse torment to come.
As Tsholotsho MP Jonathan Moyo once said: "You ain't seen nothing yet."