Mon Jun 1, 2009 11:33am GMT
By Nelson Banya
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe needs $719 million in urgent humanitarian help
in 2009, as the country struggles to attract Western aid in an attempt to
emerge from a decade of economic collapse, the United Nations said on
The southern African country suffered economic implosion, pushing inflation
to a record 231 million percent last year in June, leaving nine in ten
people without a job, and a cholera outbreak that killed more than 4,200.
But the formation of a new unity government by old foes President Robert
Mugabe and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai in February has raised hopes
that the once vibrant economy may begin to recover.
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Zimbabwe, Agostinho Zacarias, and
Zimbabwe government officials jointly appealed to foreign donors to provide
funding to meet the humanitarian needs.
"It is imperative that all partners, particularly donors, buttress the CAP
(Consolidated Appeal Process) and generously provide financial support to
the implementation of the programmes contained in the current revision if
the humanitarian community is to meet the current objectives," Zacarias
Zacarias said aid agencies had last November initially put the country's
humanitarian needs at $550 million. The figure had now been raised because
of growing needs in the sectors of agriculture, health, education, food aid
and safe water.
Donors had provided 45 percent of the initial requirements as of the end of
Zimbabwe's Red Cross and its partners said last week the country was on the
brink of having 100,000 cholera infections, highlighting the decay in water
and sewage infrastructure.
The UN says six million Zimbabweans have limited or no access to clean
water, more than half the population may require food aid this year, while
44,000 children under five years need treatment for acute malnutrition.
The new unity government has formulated a 100-day plan, seeking to revive
the economy and set targets for political reforms in a bid to convince
donors to release funding.
"Consequences of a protracted economic meltdown and lack of agricultural
inputs for the 2008/9 agriculture season, compounded by the collapse of
critical social services, continue to place the country in a situation of
structural emergency," the UN said.
Zimbabwe says it requires $8.3 billion for full economic recovery, but
Western donors are pressing the country on wider reforms, including opening
up the media, reversing nationalisation laws and an end to farm invasions.
By Lance Guma
01 June 2009
The MDC used a national conference over the weekend to call on the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) to convene an extraordinary summit, to
tackle the outstanding issues plaguing the coalition government. Over 1000
party delegates converged on Harare for the first national conference since
the MDC entered into the shaky coalition government with ZANU PF.
Spokesman Nelson Chamisa told Newsreel on Monday that delegates resolved
that Central Bank Governor Gideon Gono and Attorney General Johannes Tomana
must step down in the national interest. With district and provincial
reports being submitted and debated, the delegates agreed that both Gono and
Tomana had 'poisoned the economic and human rights situation in the country.'
Since SADC and the African Union acted as guarantors to the deal, the MDC
now want them to intervene and resolve the impasse.
In other resolutions the MDC vowed it would re-engage civil society groups
in the constitution making process and that 'a genuinely free and fair
election must be held at the conclusion of the process.' The party also said
the country needed a legal framework to help deal with the plight of victims
of political violence. Party delegates were also critical of what they felt
was the slow pace of media reforms, high tariffs from state owned service
providers and the deployment of army personnel in the villages.
Commenting on ongoing political violence and persecution, Chamisa told us
the party urged Finance Minister Tendai Biti to ensure government did not
fund any youth militia structures as these promoted violence. The party also
demanded that the National Security Council, that had been established to
replace the notorious Joint Operations Command, 'must meet urgently in terms
of the law.' There are reports Mugabe is refusing to sign the National
Security Council bill into law and in the meantime the JOC continues to
The MDC resolutions clearly sought to draw a line between the party and the
government. Tsvangirai for example told delegates 'the MDC is in government
but we are not the government. These are the limitations in a marriage of
convenience. Those in government will tell you this government is walking on
a thin thread.' The Prime Minister has over the months drawn criticism for
defending Mugabe too much, at the expense of his own credibility. Over the
weekend however his party was not so diplomatic.
Meanwhile Tsvangirai is set to make his first overseas trip by going to
France at the end of June. French Junior trade minister Anne-Marie Idrac,
who is visiting Zimbabwe, extended the invitation after praising Tsvangirai
for his work in the unity government.
1 June 2009
Nothing to fear in plan, say SA economists
ZIMBABWE could start using the rand as its currency this year. The country's
finance minister, Tendai Biti, said his ministry was exploring three options
and a "decision would be made by the end of the year".
"One of the options is to join the rand monetary union. We will also
consider continuing with the [current] regime of multiple currencies or
bring back the Zimbabwean dollar and redenominate it either with the rand or
the US dollar," he said.
Economist Dawie Roodt said South Africans should not be concerned if
Zimbabwe adopted the rand.
"I'm very much in favour of such a move. People assume that the rand could
go the same way as the Zimbabwean dollar, but that simply won't be the
Biti's comments come after ex-President Kgalema Motlanthe suggested in
February that it would be a "practical" move for Zimbabwe as part of their
economic recovery plan under its coalition government.
The idea was hailed at the time by economists. However, such a move would
take away Zimbabwe's powers over its monetary policies. It also means
Zimbabwe's interest rates and inflation levels will be the same as South
Biti said: "Any such decision depends on the performance of the economy -
that would be the ultimate deciding issue."
He said there were signs of "stability" with the country expecting a growth
rate for the year of 6 percent. Zimbabwe recorded a -1.1 percent inflation
rate in April.
Just last month Biti announced that Zimbabwe would be receiving 400-million
in credit lines from several African countries.
Chris Hart, an economist at Investment Solutions, said adopting the rand was
"an important step in terms of Zimbabwe's recovery".
"It effectively imposes a fiscal and monetary discipline with the Zimbabwean
economy functioning on a basis where it does business that is more
competitive on an international basis."
He said it could be "painful initially because, among other things, our
interest rates will be linked to theirs and they will have to cut back
However, it would "put their economy on a stronger footing" in the long
Roodt said the only downside would be that, in the short term, South Africa
would probably have to lend Zimbabwe rands to kick-start any switch-over.
"We can either provide them a loan or they can earn it. The latter is
probably best as then we don't have to run any major risk."
Last week the African Development Bank announced a short-term emergency
recovery programme in Zimbabwe. The bank called for greater "foreign
assistance" and an injection of private capital to resuscitate the economy.
Announcing the strategy that would cover the next 19 months to December
2010, the bank said it had "eliminated the quasi-fiscal activities of the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and introduced cash budgeting, spending only what
it receives in revenue".
1 JUNE 2009
LAWYERS VINDICATED ONCE AGAIN AS
MUCHADEHAMA IS REMOVED FROM REMAND
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) welcomes the removal from remand of
its member and prominent human rights lawyer, Alec Muchadehama, in a ruling
delivered at around mid-day on Monday 1 June 2009.
Magistrate Catherine Chimanda granted Muchadehama's application for refusal
of further remand after determining that the State, represented by
Prosecutor Tapiwa Kasema, had failed to show any reasonable suspicion that
he had committed the alleged offence. The Magistrate also found that the
State had failed to prove that Muchadehama had an intention to commit the
Magistrate Chimanda said the State's evidence tendered in court did not
prove that Muchadehama caused High Court Registry officials to unlawfully
cause the release from custody of his clients, Kisimusi Dhlamini, Gandi
Mudzingwa and Andrison Manyere. She further held that if Muchadehama
intended to defeat or obstruct the course of justice he would not have
communicated with and notified Chris Mutangadura of the Attorney General's
Office in writing that he was seeking the release of his clients due to the
lapse of the 7-day period in which the State was supposed to file its appeal
but which it had failed to do.
However, Magistrate Chimanda dismissed the defence's application for the
recusal of Attorney General, Johannes Tomana, and his law officers from
handling the matter.
The defence lawyers had argued that neither Tomana nor any of the law
officers in the Attorney General's office could be both the complainant and
the prosecuting authority in the case due to the inherent conflict of
interest that this raises. Furthermore the defence lawyers had also told the
court that the Officer in Charge, Law and Order, Chief Inspector Henry Dowa
had confirmed to Muchadehama's lawyers that the Attorney General had lodged
the complaint which led to Muchadehama's arrest.
The Magistrate ruled that there was no real merit in the defence's
application as the Attorney General can "in some matters stand as
complainant and prosecutor". She stated that if the defence lawyers had
requested her to refer the matter to the Supreme Court for a constitutional
challenge she could have granted the application.
By Violet Gonda
1 June 2009
Prominent human rights lawyer Alec Muchadehama was on Monday removed from
remand by Harare magistrate Catherine Chimanda. The lawyer was arrested on
May 15th for allegedly 'conniving' with Justice Chinembiri Bhunu's clerk, to
facilitate the release of his clients, abductees Chris Dhlamini, Gandhi
Mudzingwa and Shadreck Andrison, on bail. He was accused of doing this after
the State had been given leave to appeal to the Supreme Court against the
granting of bail.
The lawyer was facing charges of obstructing the course of justice, but on
Monday Magistrate Chimanda dropped the charges, saying the State had failed
to provide enough evidence to show that the accused committed the offence.
Muchadehama said: "We had applied for two aspects, namely that the Attorney
General (AG) could not prosecute me because he was an interested party,
because he was both the complainant and the prosecutor. And the other
application was that I was not supposed to be placed on remand in the first
place because the facts which the State was alleging did not find a
reasonable suspicion that I had committed an offence."
Magistrate Chimanda ruled in his favour, noting that the lawyer had handled
the issue of his clients bail transparently and had written a letter to the
Registrar, copied it to all concerned stakeholders and had checked at the
Supreme Court and found that 'no notice of appeal had been filed by the
State.' The magistrate also noted that it is possible to differ on the
interpretation of a section of the Criminal Evidence and Procedure Act, over
the issue of the 7 day time frame (notice) period, but she said that can
hardly be perceived to have created an offence.
The magistrate added that if Muchadehama had wanted to obstruct the course
of justice, it was doubtful that he would have chosen to communicate his
intended action to the AG's office. She however dismissed the second
application by the defence on the issue of the AG assuming both roles of
being the complainant and the prosecutor in the same matter.
Constance Gambara, the clerk to High Court Justice Chinembiri Bhunu, was
also arrested over the same issue. She was released from remand prison
together with her nine month old baby recently, but it is unclear if charges
against her have also been dropped. Muchadehama said he wasn't sure about
the status of her case, but believed she was still on remand as the State's
version of events keep on changing.
"Sometimes they say I connived with the judge's clerk and then they change
it to say I caused their (clients) release when I knew that leave to appeal
had been granted, then they change again to say that I misinterpreted a
section of the Criminal Act. Then they change to say I knew what the seven
days pertained to. So I really don't know whether they are sticking to that
story that I connived with the judge's clerk because that simply did not
happen. I am not sure what is happening there but I cannot say what the
State's story is in regard to what her allegations are, but I understand
they pertain to criminal abuse of office. I do not know in what way because
I did not address any letter to her. I addressed the letter to the registrar
of the High Court."
Meanwhile, next week the trials of the MDC and civic activists abducted from
their homes last year will begin. Muchadehama said MDC activist Concillia
Chinanzvavana and three others will be heard on the 8th June; MDC officials
Dhlamini, Mudzingwa, Manyere and four others on the 29th June; followed by
the group with civic leader Jestina Mukoko on 20th July. They are all
accused of plotting to overthrow the former ZANU PF government. They deny
"The biggest worry in this case is that our clients are the victims. So we
have victims in the dock while the perpetrators of actual crimes, the people
who kidnapped and tortured our clients, are out there. Some are actually
coming to purport to be witnesses to the violations of our clients' rights.
So these are the issues that we will be raising in court," their lawyer
June 1, 2009
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE - The Morgan Tsvangirai-led Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
party has asked the inclusive government to smoke out Zanu-PF militia and
so-called ghost workers from government's payroll.
The MDC also asked government to stop the continued deployment of military
personnel into the countryside which it says is perpetuating a sense of fear
within the rural population.
The MDC is also keen to see the convening of the National Security Council,
among other concerns, to address issues that have seen the military chiefs
refusing to recognize its existence in the inclusive government.
Party secretary general Tendai Biti told journalists at a media conference
at the end of an MDC annual conference Sunday afternoon that his party was
frustrated by the lack of "paradigm shift by a few individuals" in state
This was in apparent reference to the country's powerful service chiefs who
continue to ignore the new political dispensation that has ushered in an
executive premiership among the top echelons of government.
The MDC said the enactment of laws to support the transitional agenda and
the convening of the National Security Council must meet urgently in terms
of the law to remedy the situation.
The MDC also called on SADC, brokers of the inter-party agreement, to
immediately convene an Extra-Ordinary Summit to iron out outstanding issues
still affecting the progress of the new political dispensation.
A deadlock on the status of Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono
and Attorney General Johannes Tomana is chief among them. The two were
appointed by President Robert Mugabe last year in violation of the Global
The MDC said it noted the divisive effect of the Gono and Tomana conflict
and called on the two to resign in the national interest.
"The key conference resolution is that SADC must move as a matter of urgency
to address these issues," Biti said.
The MDC said it was "appealing to the conscience" of both Gono and Tomana to
consider resigning in the national interest.
President Mugabe, Zanu-PF politicians in government, the service chiefs and
war veterans have all declared they will not allow the two to leave their
According to the MDC, the political environment was still not conducive for
any political activity among parties.
"The transitional government must move very quickly to address the
legislative reform," Biti said.
"There is no doubt that the legislative reform would look at issues to do
with reform of our Electoral Act, laws that restrict proper freedom of
assembly and association in Zimbabwe key of those reforms is the
"The conference resolved that a genuinely free and fair election must be
held at the conclusion of the constitution making process."
The MDC also said it was concerned with the plight of political violence
victims and the absence of a legal framework for the programme of national
healing or transitional justice conference.
To this, the MDC said the inclusive government must "vigilantly address"
Meanwhile, Speaker of Parliament and legislator for Matobo North
constituency was appointed substantive chairman of the party following the
death of former chairman, Isaac Matongo, in 2007.
By Tichaona Sibanda
1 June 2009
Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai is reported to be deeply concerned with the
delay in implementing the issues agreed to, in the Global Political
Tsvangirai's spokesman, James Maridadi, said the Prime Minister was expected
meet Mugabe on Monday for their weekly meeting and was expected to raise
these issues once again.
'Yes its true the Prime Minister intends to raise these issues with the
President in his meeting,' Maridadi said. Two weeks ago, Tsvangirai told
journalists in Harare that the three party principals had managed to iron
out a number of outstanding issues but that 'the process was slow and
Last month Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara finally agreed on most of the
outstanding issues still facing the unity government. But these agreements
have still not been implemented. There is also the remaining problem of the
irregular appointments of Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono and Attorney
General Johannes Tomana - issues which Mugabe has made clear he will not
The agreements reached included the fact that Mugabe would retrench six
provincial ZANU PF governors that he appointed. The Prime Minister said the
new governors from the MDC would be sworn in "at the soonest of opportunity.'
Mugabe also agreed to swear in Roy Bennett, the national treasurer of the
MDC and Tsvangirai's nominee for the post of deputy agricultural minister.
Bennett is likely to be sworn in at the same time with the governors.
Our Harare correspondent, Simon Muchemwa told us the delay in implementing
the GPA issues was now being felt by ordinary citizens. He said people were
blaming the current shortages of cash on Mugabe's reluctance to speed up the
'People are frustrated and they know aid will not come in unless there are
visible reforms on the ground. There is an outcry that GPA delays are taking
the country backwards,' Muchemwa said.
Revamping the economy and persuading skeptical foreign donors and investors
to help is the top priority for Tsvangirai. But none of this will be
achievable until Mugabe shows he is genuinely prepared to relinquish power.
BUHERA, June 1 2009 - Teachers from both secondary and primary schools
in Buhera and Bikita districts are reportedly demanding ten kilograms of
maize from each student per month to supplement their salaries, it has been
Most teachers spoken to say they were now accepting groundnuts,
sorghum and rapoko whose quantity equals ten kilogramme of maize or USd2.
However, parents said they have no option but to give in to teachers'
demands, who have since threatened to go on strike if the government
continues to ignore their call to increase allowances.
Jameson Mureriwa, who has four Children at Changamire Primary School
in Buhera, said he is struggling to meet demands by the teachers.
"I am having serious problems raising 40kgs needed for my children
every month because if I continue pumping out such huge amounts of maize
every month, I will be begging for food four months down the line.
"We did not get a bumper harvest here and there is no way we can
continue paying teachers from our granaries," said Mureriwa.
Peter Muvhunzi, whose child is in grade seven at Mumbijo Primary
School, urged the government to urgently address teachers' plight.
"As parents, we feel teachers have a genuine cause to complain.
However, we are not the rightful people to solve this problem. I think the
government should hurry to address teachers' problems. Our agreement with
teachers is just a temporary measure.
"No parent wants their child to lose a teacher especially at this time
of the year when the students should be preparing for exams," he said.
Some parents said they have no option because, unlike their urban
counterparts, cannot afford private tutors.
"Teachers are the only people who can help our children. Unlike their
urban counter parts who have private tutors, our children solely depend on
these teachers so we can not afford to let them go on strike when we can
prevent that," said Tafadzwa Musarurwa.
Meanwhile, Takavafira Zhou of the Progressive Teachers Union of
Zimbabwe (PTUZ) president said his organization is already moblising
teachers to gear up for a strike since the government is delaying to come up
with 'a reasonable' salary for teachers.
"We are already finishing up the logistics prior to the strike. We
cannot continue working when the government is failing to quickly address
our problems. The USd100 allowance is very little and we can not let our
members continue to work for such peanuts," said Zhou.
Bruce Sibanda, AfricaNews reporter in Harare, Zimbabwe
Senior army officials in Zimbabwe have told their commander in chief
President Robert Mugabe that they are now afraid to review parades at army
barracks as they risk being shot. A crisis meeting with Mugabe on Thursday
at the Defence Forces Headquarters revealed that there is growing
indiscipline among the junior ranks.
"Army commanders are now afraid to review parades saying junior solders
are plotting to kill them, so they sort guidance from their commander in
chief Mugabe," said an army source at the headquarters.
Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) Commander, Constantine Chiwenga, Zimbabwe
National Army (ZNA) Commander, Phillip Valerio Sibanda, Air Force of
Zimbabwe (AFZ) commander, Air Marshal Perrence Shiri, and his Number Two,
Air Vice-Marshal Henry Muchena were reported to have attended the meeting.
Chiwengwa is said to have pleaded with Mugabe to sort out the welfare of
members of the uniformed forces saying: "We are sitting on a time bomb."
"He told Mugabe that it would not be surprising if one was shot at while
reviewing a parade," said the source.
Indiscipline was said to be particularly rampant among young officers who
are said not to be happy with the US$100 that they are being paid by the new
It was recommended that service firearms should be withdrawn from members
of the security forces. Sources say is to limit the prospect of a mutiny.
At the height of political disturbances last year, a group of soldiers
went into the streets of Harare and ransacked shops while beating members of
the public indiscriminately.
June 1, 2009
By Gift Phiri
HARARE - Constitutional reform lobby group the National Constitutional
Assembly (NCA), is reported to be in the red and owing over R100 000.
Weekend reports suggested that the NCA has had its funding switched off
after its major financier refused to bankroll a parallel constitution making
The Bulawayo-based government-run Sunday News newspaper claimed to have
documents revealing that the NCA, founded in 1997, was saddled with debts to
organisations and individuals amounting to more than R100 000 ($12 680) in
staff salaries, rentals, fax, internet, phones and transport fees.
The NCA has denied that it is in the red but admitted that it had gone
through a bad patch recently.
The newspaper claimed that international humanitarian donor organisation,
Open Society Institute of Southern Africa (OSISA), which it claims is the
major sponsor of the NCA, had refused to bankroll the civic organisation,
sparking an internal revolt in its South African office over outstanding
Efforts to verify this information with OSISA boss, Tawanda Mutasah, were
Mutasah was a founder member of the NCA in 1997 together with now Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, human rights activist Brian Kagoro and current
NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku.
Mutasah now heads the southern Africa division of the George Soros-funded
The Sunday News reported: "NCA's donors are reportedly getting scared of
funding the organisation, especially after realising that the inclusive
government in Zimbabwe already had a structure in place for the writing of a
new democratic constitution.
"According to documents at hand, the civic outfit does not have its own
office in SA and is lodging at the offices owned by the Action for Conflict
(also known as Action) and Transformation and Zimbabwe Solidarity Forum
(ZSF). The offices are situated at number 141 Commissioner Street, Kine
Centre, Suite 1801 in Central Johannesburg.
"Investigations, also confirmed by documents, have proved that the NCA owes
Action R90 000 - being money for rentals, printing, fax, Internet and salary
advances that were made to its disgruntled staff members."
NCA spokesman Maddock Chivasa, in thinly veiled remarks, insinuated that the
Sunday News story was planted by the NCA's creditors, Action, which is said
to be owed R90 000 by the NCA.
"As NCA we believe that those we owe can only get their money from us not in
newspapers," Chivasa said, admitting the NCA's indebtedness.
"We have confidence that those we deal with are people of integrity. We hope
if there are problems they will be able to come to our offices to settle any
issues with us."
The Sunday News claimed it sought but could not find anyone from the NCA to
comment on the allegations made against the NCA in the story.
But the newspaper quotes Tiro Dipudi, the Operations Manager for Action in
South Africa as reportedly saying: "We can confirm that the NCA is sharing
offices with Action and Solidarity Forum and we are also in constant
communication with the NCA Harare about financial arrangements.
"These discussions are positive. Should you require any more information,
please contact NCA Harare."
Chivasa said the NCA was confident that its office in Johannesburg was doing
a lot of work to campaign for a genuine democratic people-driven
constitution. He denied reports that the Johannesburg office had been
downsized to two workers and eventually closed.
"Zimbabweans in South Africa will continue to enjoy the services offered by
our office in Johannesburg," Chivasa told The Zimbabwe Times.
"As NCA, our office in South Africa once had difficulties to get funding, so
as a result we accrued debts in terms of salaries and payments for other
"But as NCA, we do not see that as being broke or abnormal; it's the way
that NGOs and most civic organisations operate.
"We depend on donor funding and when we do not have resources we can accrue
debts that we later pay when we get money. We have already got some funding
for the South African office and we are in the process of paying our debts."
The NCA, which spearheaded the successful campaign against a new
constitution in February 2000, which gave President Mugabe his first ever
electoral defeat, says it has already begun mobilising Zimbabweans to reject
any draft constitution produced by the inclusive government.
The four-month old coalition government between President Mugabe, Prime
Minister Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara says it has
initiated an all-inclusive process of constitutional reform.
The government process will be spearheaded by a parliamentary select
The process is expected to last 18 months by which time a new democratic
constitution must be implemented, which will also include a time frame for
new elections at some point to be conducted in terms of the new
The process will include civil society in a peripheral role, something that
has touched a raw nerve between government and the NCA.
The NCA, which has dubbed its campaign "Take Charge" has vowed to oppose the
so-called Kariba Draft penned on September 30, 2007 by six politicians from
the three main political parties on a houseboat on Lake Kariba which
parliament wants to use as a working draft.
The NCA has already pointed out what it says are shortcomings in the current
process and has, to some extent, made parliamentarians think long and hard
about the use of the Kariba draft as the working constitutional draft.
Article 6, of the power-sharing agreement signed on September 15 in Harare
between President Mugabe and the two MDC leaders states that parties will
embark on a "new, democratic and people-driven constitution".
Zimbabwe has not had a popular constitution since gaining independence from
Britain in 1980, following a protracted liberation struggle against the
rebel Rhodesian Government of Ian Smith.
The country has been operating with a constitution signed at Lancaster House
in Britain in 1979. The current constitution has been amended 19 times since
1980, and critics say the changes have helped to entrench Mugabe and his
Zanu-PF party's stranglehold on power.
HARARE, June 1 2009 - The Media Institute of Southern Africa Zimbabwe
chapter (MISA-Zimbabwe) has released a test run of a drama performance on
the imperative need to transform Zimbabwe Broadcasting Cooperation (ZBC)
into a genuine public broadcaster, in Kwekwe and Gweru.
The drama is part of a campaign to ensure that the transformation of
ZBC leads to the attainment of a Public Service Broadcaster (PSB) which is
independent from any interests.
The humorous play features six characters; Professor Marashike (panel
chairperson), Professor Mupererwi (panelist), Doctor Chiura (panelist),
Doctor Mahoto (in attendance), Marcus (producer), Nicole (assistant
"The six character cast, titled Dzimbabwe chronicles how ZBC has been
literally reduced to a political party public relations department which
featured some political party sympathisers given a free rein to propagate
political messages contrary to the need for the broadcaster to air the views
of the public," said MISA Zimbabwe in a statement.
Gweru, advocacy committee chairperson Zerrubabel Mudzingwa, defined
the performance piece as, "a fine depiction of how ZBC has been behaving
post the independence era against the aspirations and dreams which the
people of Zimbabwe yearn to see being portrayed on television."
MISA-Zimbabwe's national Vice-chairperson Njabulo Ncube argued that
the people of Zimbabwe are the genuine stakeholders of ZBC and should have a
say on the direction which the broadcaster should sail through. He
castigated the levels of state interference on how the broadcaster operates
and the continued imbalance of portal of different political parties in the
"The overall gist of the play captures how the four characters,
Professors Marashike, Mupererwe and Doctors Chiura and Mahoto were given the
latitude to bequeath themselves outright announce in defining who is a
genuine Zimbabwean and who is not?
"The panel appears on the national television reciting tied and
exhausted mantras of lampooning the then opposition, the Movement of
Democratic Change (MDC) and glorifying the hegemony of the ruling party Zanu
PF before the establishment of the inclusive government as the
'super-patriots'. Those who do not fit in the 'defined' parameters of
patriotism were caricatured as agents of western imperialism," said MISA
The drama group acknowledges the ray of hope brought by the inclusive
government and maps the way forward by calling upon the broadcaster to be
tolerant of divergent views and the need to end divisive polarisation both
within the media and the nation at large.
MISA-Zimbabwe said it would soon take the play country wide to give
the public a chance to engage with the artists on how best ZBC could be
transformed from being a state broadcaster into a genuine public
1 Jun 2009
Poverty and AIDS are combining to create desperate conditions for children
in many of Zimbabwe's orphanages, says Musa Chibwana, a Progressio worker.
Visiting the Mbuya Nehanda children's home, outside Harare, recently, Musa
met nearly 100 children surviving on meagre rations provided by dedicated
staff who themselves have not been paid for many months.
While there he met 12-year-old Chipo, whose story is typical. She said that
when both her parents died, she turned to her aunt for help.
"My aunt started to beat me with electric cables. When she could not look
after me any longer she told me to leave the house and go to the beer hall
where the men drink. But the police found me and brought me here."
Sheila Kaseke, who has run the orphanage for the past 23 years, says they
are relying on 'well wishers' for much of their food supplies. "We tried our
best to plant maize in the field, but we did not have any fertiliser, which
means the crop is not very good and our tractor is broken."
She adds: "Some of the children are here because their parents have died
from AIDS. We think there are HIV+ children here, but we have not been able
to get them tested. When children fall sick we take them to the main road in
a wheelbarrow and try to hitch a lift to the nearest hospital several miles
Progressio's Musa Chibwana is seeking funding and other support for the
staff and children, as well as seeking to help dozens of similar
institutions through his work with the Zimbabwe National Council for the
Welfare of Children.
Says Musa: "We can make a massive difference to this home. With the right
support this orphanage could be running really well by the end of this year.
But there are many institutions that need support."
"Clearly, significant changes in the country's political and socio-economic landscape have occurred since January 2009," the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Zimbabwe, Agostinho Zacarias, said at the launch on 1 June of the revised Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) 2009 in the capital, Harare.
The need to revise the CAP, the most important tool for raising resources for humanitarian action, had become apparent by early March, when the initial appeal for US$550 million had ballooned to around $719 million needed to support the key areas of agriculture, health, education, food aid and safe water.
A country-wide cholera outbreak and a spike in food insecurity during the lean season had "aggravated an already difficult socio-economic environment of hyperinflation and collapsed basic social services," the CAP said.
Six million people had limited or no access to safe water and sanitation; 1.5 million children required support to access education; 800,000 people were in need of food aid, and 44,000 children younger than five years needed treatment for severe acute malnutrition.
Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga, Minister of Regional Integration and International Cooperation, said the government recognized that "the social-economic situation in Zimbabwe would have deteriorated to levels that could easily have lead to social unrest" without the support of the international community.
The revised CAP comes at a time
where Zimbabwe has moved into a new context, not only politically, but also
socially and economically
The formation in February 2009 of the Inclusive Government - comprising President Mugabe's ZANU-PF, and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change - led to the Short-Term Emergency and Recovery Programme (STERP), which had "paved the way for the country's rehabilitation," the CAP said.
While the CAP is a strictly "humanitarian" financing tool, and thus traditionally restricted to short-term emergency needs, the revised version tried to bridge the gap between humanitarian and development work in the new Zimbabwean context. "Essentially, the revision reflects a combination of new opportunities and deepening needs," the document noted.
Previous appeals had underlined the need for assistance in water and sanitation, health, education and protection, but "most sectors continued to suffer from lack of support - it is from there that the concept of 'humanitarian plus' activities emerges in this revision, including activities that are transitional in nature, but which ... are considered time-critical and life-saving."
Misihairabwi-Mushonga noted: "This revised CAP takes into cognizance the expressed need for Zimbabwe to move from the humanitarian-support stage to the recovery stage - 'Humanitarian plus' simply means Zimbabwe is no longer a country in crisis but a country in recovery."
The CAP document was less optimistic: "In spite of the positive impact of the humanitarian response and initiatives by the Inclusive Government, the international community remains relatively cautious."
It is uncertain whether the revised CAP will translate into more funding; at $246 million the initial appeal was still only 45 percent funded by the end of May, and more than half that amount was carried over from 2008, with an aditional 18 million coming from money available in the UN Central Emergency Response Fund. Actual funding to the CAP was therefore only 17 percent, compared to 25 percent at the same time a year ago.
The STERP, too, remains underfunded. Of the $18.4 billion required until the end of 2009, by April African governments had pledged only $400 million in credit lines.