Last night I listened to SW Radio at
18.30 hrs. For those who are not familiar with SW Radio this is a small radio
station broadcasting out of London on short and medium wave to Zimbabwe. For
many of us the slot from 18.30 to 19.30 hrs has been a lifeline of news about
what is happening in Zimbabwe. This is the time when they flight their
nightly "Newsreel" programme.
At first I thought there was no signal,
but then I was able to pick it up - a faint signal right next to what sounded
like a muffled roar. We were able to hear the first 20 minutes or so and then
it simply became impossible to make out the voices over what was a continuous
stream of noise.
SW is being jammed - very professionally - by
transmitters located at the Gweru transmitters of the Zimbabwe Broadcasting
Corporation. I understand the equipment comes from Iran and has just been
This just another example of the war on the media being waged
by the Zanu PF led regime in Zimbabwe.
Yesterday the Supreme Court
finally handed down its judgment a year after they had sat to consider the
banning of the Daily News. The Daily News was established 4 years ago in an
effort to open up the newspaper industry and allow greater freedom of
expression. It rapidly attracted some of the brightest minds in the industry
and was soon outselling its State controlled rivals across the
They faced threats of many kinds - vendors were beaten up and
the copies of the paper burned. The presses printing the paper were blown up
with military explosives on two occasions and the staffs were threatened. An
assassination attempt was made on the editor.
Then finally the regime
decided that these piecemeal approaches were not sufficient and the Minister
of Justice brought out a new draft Bill - the innocuously sounding "Access to
Information and Protection of Privacy Act." In fact this was simply an Act of
Parliament designed to close down any media - electronic or written, which
was in any way a threat to the Regime. The Daily News was at the top of that
list, as was the local initiators of SW Radio.
SW went on to establish
itself outside the country - the Daily News did not have that option. They
were soon closed down and have been fighting the new legal restrictions ever
since. This fight has cost its sponsors many hundreds of millions of dollars
in legal and other costs. Because of their determination the Daily News
remains ready to go within 48 hours of being allowed back on the
So when we heard that the SADC States were going to see to it
that the elections on the 31st were going to be free and fair - we assumed
this meant that the regime here would allow the Daily back on the streets.
When it was leaked that the Supreme Court was going to rule in favor of the
Daily this reinforced our feelings. But it was not to be - yesterday the
Courts ruled that the original banning order was not right and that the Daily
News should have been licensed. Then they sent the decision back to the same
body that originally banned the Daily News and has just banned another
The war on the media does not end there - any employee of the
State controlled media - 7 newspapers and 4 radio stations and the sole
national TV station, who shows any signs of independence or professionalism
is immediately fired or worse. These people live in constant fear for
their jobs and careers. The weekly Financial Gazette - long a critic of the
State was quietly taken over by financial interests close to the ruling
The only other independent weeklies that remained operating are
the Standard on Sunday and the Independent on Fridays. These are expensive
and have a limited circulation and have been very careful not to step outside
the invisible boundaries that mark regime media restrictions.
regime has threatened Botswana for its perceived support for the independent
radio broadcasts that are coming into Zimbabwe. The main ones being SW Radio
- now broadcasting on medium wave via a regional facility and the Voice of
America Studio 7 broadcasts each evening for one hour in
The propaganda machine is massive and constant. All
media references to the activities of the MDC are negative and hostile. The
position of the ruling party is constantly portrayed and all news and current
affairs programming is treated as a political campaign tool. Any positive
coverage of the MDC - such as the MDC campaign launch, which was covered at
the start of this campaign - has an electrifying effect on the
Even in the commercial printing industry there has been a
campaign to limit MDC activity. The company Daily Print, in Bulawayo was
firebombed when it was discovered that they were printing for the MDC. Since
then all commercial printers report visits by the CIO and threats that there
will be retaliation if they accept work from the MDC.
I do not know
how you would interpret this situation? Thabo Mbeki says that this is not an
impediment to a free and fair election. I find that an astonishing claim. How
does he expect the MDC to address the issues and campaign if they are
virtually totally excluded from the media, except in a negative
The election on the 31st simply cannot be regarded as being free and
fair. It will be a carefully orchestrated display of election fraud
and manipulation by a regime that came to power on the back of a global
campaign to win one man one vote for Zimbabwe. South Africa and her
regional associates will be associated with this exercise and will be to
blame if Zimbabwe continues its slide into anarchy and human
††††† More Groups Excluded From Observing Zimbabwe Elections †††††
By† Tendai Maphosa ††††† Harare ††††† 17 March 2005
organizations are joining the list of those not invited to observe the March
31 parliamentary elections in Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions is one of the latest cases of a group not getting an invitation to
observe Zimabwe's elections.† Announcing the invitation of 29 local
organizations he described as non-partisan, Justice Minister Patrick
Chinamasa said the ZCTU which is the umbrella body of trade unions in
Zimbabwe is, " too partisan and too active a player in Zimbabwean politics
to be trusted to act as an observer."
Mr. Chinamasa, who was quoted in
the state-controlled daily newspaper, The Herald, also accused the ZCTU of
being too close to the Congress of South African Trade Unions, COSATU.† Late
last year a COSATU delegation on, what it called, a fact-finding mission to
Zimbabwe was deported from the country less than 24 hours after its
arrival.† Another delegation was refused entry into Zimbabwe this
The labor body has expressed concern at the plight of Zimbabwean
workers and the human rights situation in the country.
invited is the Electoral Institute of Southern Africa.† The organization has
observed 20 electoral processes in the Southern African Development
Community region during the past seven years.
In a statement from its
South African base, the body said it had communicated its intention to
observe the election to the Zimbabwe foreign ministry, but no reply has been
forthcoming.† It said even if an invitation was to come now, it would turn
it down in the interest of professional and credible observation of
Still waiting for a call from Harare is the South African
Council of Churches, which says it has applied for accreditation.† Its
secretary-general, Molefe Tsele, told VOA that having civil society
observers reassures voters about their safety and gives them confidence in
the process.† He described the absence of external observers as
Meanwhile, the main opposition party, The Movement for
Democratic Change, MDC, has said it will interact with the delegation of the
African National Congress, South Africa's ruling party, but not with the
South African government observer group.
The MDC had earlier said it
would not deal with any of the South African observer missions after
accusing the South African government of prejudging the election by saying
it would be free and fair.
The MDC argues the election process in
Zimbabwe is still heavily tilted in favor of the ruling Zanu-PF.
For Zimbabwe, Peaceful Vote, but Is It Fair? By MICHAEL
WINES and SHARON LaFRANIERE
Published: March 18,
FILABUSI, Zimbabwe, March 13 - If this is an outpost of tyranny,
it was not immediately obvious in this one-road backwater buried in
Zimbabwe's hilly southwest flank.
In a clearing amid donkey carts,
rafters-high scrub and at least 3,000 peasants, Zimbabwe's sole political
opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangarai, delivered a throw-the-bums-out
harangue aimed at crucial parliamentary elections later this
After 25 years of rule by President Robert G. Mugabe's party, the
Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, "the money you are using
presently is as good as old newspapers," he cried. "The grain silos are full
of cobwebs. There is no harvest this year."
It was a civics-book
image of what Mr. Mugabe, 81, promises for the elections on March 31,
possibly his last as president: an honest campaign to rebut accusations that
he has devolved into a dictator. When Mr. Tsvangarai last campaigned three
years ago, government-run youth gangs routed supporters with clubs and party
members lost homes and even lives to midnight arsonists. On this day, the
police briefly detained a few slogan-singing supporters, but otherwise stood
But there is a vast difference between an obviously peaceful
election and a fair one. And with two weeks left to a potentially defining
moment for Mr. Mugabe, there is mounting evidence that the raucous
campaigning masks an expansive effort by his party to rig the
Both independent analysts and members of Mr. Tsvangarai's party,
the Movement for Democratic Change, or M.D.C., cite growing barriers to a
fair ballot. They say that polling places are scarce in opposition
strongholds; that two in five enrolled voters are suspect; that Zimbabwe's
vast, mostly anti-Mugabe diaspora is barred from voting; that the 8,500
election observers are limited to those, like Russians and close African
allies, who are likely to rubber-stamp a government victory. Most Westerners
are excluded from witnessing the vote.
Foreign journalists are
effectively banned from Zimbabwe under threat of arrest (though many enter
the country as tourists). Government-run media are heavily biased; broadcast
interviews with opposition figures mysteriously drown in static. There is a
dearth of independent judges to rule on election complaints. Election
oversight is split among a bevy of commissions largely staffed with Mr.
Most important, perhaps, the government controls the
biggest incentive to undecided voters: the distribution of almost all
emergency food in a nation where, agricultural experts say, 4 people in 10
are unsure where to find their next meal.
Given such advantages,
"they probably believe they have won the election and that creating freer
conditions on the immediate eve of the election will not hurt," said
Reginald Matchaba-Hove, chairman of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network, a
coalition of pro-democracy groups. "The assumption on Mugabe's side is that
he will get a two-thirds majority in the parliament anyway."
daylong tour of Zimbabwe back-country between Bulawayo and Harare, the
capital, candidates for both ZANU-P.F. and the opposition were seen
beseeching crowds at groceries and liquor stores. In the mountainous
chrome-mining region near Zvishavane, rival candidates were also seen
handing out bags, apparently stuffed with corn, from automobiles plastered
with their posters.
The police were evident, but none interfered with
"Our campaigns are going freely," said Albert Ndlovu, the
M.D.C.'s provincial organizer for Mashonaland West, a rural province of 1.2
million in north-central Zimbabwe. "There are pockets of violence here and
there. But generally, we would say it is a bit quiet."
Many here see
Mr. Mugabe's loosening of the reins as a calculated gamble by someone
supremely confident of victory. Of the 150 seats in Parliament, ZANU-P.F.
holds 98, including 30 whose occupants are government-appointed and are not
being contested. The M.D.C. has a bare 51 seats, down six from the last
election. To gain control, the party would have to win an additional 25
seats - an impossibility, most here say.
[No access to the rest of the
article without subscribing.. B]
††††† What on earth are South Africans to read into the
extraordinary behaviour of Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana, leader of
the South African government observer mission to Zimbabwe's March 31
††††† He had barely landed in Harare when he was declaring
that everything was set for a free and fair election. His astonishing
comments came even before the observer mission had started assessing the
realities in that country.
††††† It seems a safe bet to assume that
Mdladlana had already had made up his mind (or, dare we suggest, had his
mind made up for him).
††††† Then along came Mbulelo Goniwe, head of the
South African parliamentary observer mission, also making positive noises
about conditions for a free and fair election.
††††† Mdladlana has
also given other indications of his shining objectivity by not allowing a
Democratic Alliance member of the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) delegation to ask questions at a meeting with the Zimbabwe Council of
††††† "I don't know you," he snapped when MP Dianne
Kohler-Barnard tried to ask a question of the ZCC.
surprisingly the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the Zimbabwean
opposition party, subsequently cancelled a meeting with
††††† The nett effect of the obvious bias towards the
despotic Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF party has been to discredit the South
African missions and to cast this country in a poor light.
also makes a mockery of the ideals espoused by the African Union and, closer
to home, SADC. And not to mention the impact on South African President
Thabo Mbeki's brainchild, the New Partnership for Africa's
††††† Most distressingly, the entire affair suggests a
selective approach to human rights by the South African government.
African National Congress is presenting a unified front on the March 31
elections in Zimbabwe, but behind the scenes there is increasing debate in
the ruling party about how to deal with the political and economic crisis
north of the Limpopo.
††††††††††† Controversy has intensified in South
Africa and Zimbabwe since Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana, who heads
the government's observer mission, reportedly told Zimbabwean state radio
and television on Monday that all was in place for a free and fair
††††††††††† President Thabo Mbeki and Minister of Foreign
Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma have made similar remarks in recent
††††††††††† But many in the ANC are increasingly uncomfortable
with the approach of the government and the party. They include members of
the South African Communist Party - a robust critic of President Robert
Mugabe's Zanu-PF in recent months - and others with no specific association
with the left of the tripartite alliance.
††††††††††† "We are a bit
dismayed by the statements of some of those representing South Africa,
particularly the minister of labour. It seems to be an exceptionally
partisan and ill-informed statement, and we hope the South African
government will speak to him about it," said SACP deputy secretary general
Jeremy Cronin, a member of the ANC's national executive
††††††††††† "We believe it's extremely unlikely that there
can be any effective compliance with SADC [Southern African Development
Community] protocols in this election.
††††††††††† "The South African
and SADC observer missions need to state very accurately what happens so
that we don't undermine the protocols. That there will be non-compliance is
obvious. That should be noted, not simply to say whether the election is
free and fair, but to say what should be done
††††††††††† The government and the ANC's approach, two
senior ANC officials told the Mail & Guardian, is premised on the belief
that Zanu-PF will win the election, that the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change is too unstable and inexperienced to lead Zimbabwe's
reconstruction and that new leaders in Zanu-PF must be identified and
††††††††††† "Even if Zimbabwe complied fully with all the SADC
guidelines, Zanu-PF would win - not by such a big margin, but they would
win," said one MP who was party to foreign policy
††††††††††† "In a sense the hope has been that Zanu-PF would
get 66%, so that in constitutional reform you have to deal with one party
and push one party in the right direction," another official
††††††††††† However, party insiders say there is deepening concern
over the failure of attempts to drive change.
††††††††††† "There is
consensus that Zanu-PF has gone seriously wrong - no one denies that. The
real debate in the ANC is where the change will come from. Some feel that
still, somewhere in Zanu, there is the capacity to stabilise and turn around
Zimbabwe - perhaps by tapping recently marginalised figures like Emmerson
††††††††††† Mnangagwa, the Speaker of Parliament and Mugabe's
former close ally, is out of favour because he is seen as a rival for party
leadership. As head of state security in the 1980s he presided over the
massacre of at least 20 000 people in Matabeleland - the heartland of
opposition to Mugabe - by the notorious 5th Brigade.
South African intelligence agents in Zimbabwe, it is suggested, aimed to
identify alternative centres of power in Zanu-PF.
††††††††††† But the
repeated failure of efforts to nudge Zimbabwe toward negotiated transition
has created deep scepticism about this strategy in some
††††††††††† "[The SACP] reading is that the government is
trying to lock the major stakeholders in Zimbabwe into a transitional
process involving negotiations, legislative reform and transition ultimately
to a freer election. That has been scuppered by Zanu-PF and its insistence
on the March 31 date," said Cronin.
††††††††††† One veteran ANC
back-bencher said he felt the same way about government policy on Zimbabwe
as about being forced to vote for legislation legalising abortion. "The
president says unconscionable things about Zimbabwe and we can't say
anything about it," he said.
††††††††††† "Certainly there's no solution
that doesn't involve Zanu-PF cadres," argues another MP, "but I'd have
serious doubts about the capacity of the leadership to address anything
other than their own short-term interests. The real energy has to come from
outside the party.
††††††††††† "They need not another flawed election,
but a transition to democracy."
††††††††††† Government spokesperson
Joel Netshitenze said after Wednesday's Cabinet meeting that no one should
prejudge whether the election will be free and fair.
Netshitenze said the South African government delegation would try to
intervene where "concrete instances" of concern arose.
††††††††††† This week, confusion still surrounds how the
observer missions sent by the Southern African Development Community (SADC),
its parliamentary forum and the South African government would
††††††††††† Members of the parliamentary forum delegation were
initially told that they had not been invited to observe the elections, but
they had struck a deal, according to South African
††††††††††† "They will nominally form part of the South
African government delegation, but they will be free to travel around
unencumbered by South African or Zimbabwe officials," a person involved in
arranging the trip said this week.
††††††††††† However, the
delegation's official spokesperson in Zimbabwe was not available to confirm
the terms of the arrangement.
††††††††††† At least two delegates - the
Democratic Alliance's Dianne Kohler-Barnard and Roy Jankielson had been
given only 10-day visas, which would expire before the March 31 election
††††††††††† "I'm not sure whether they are trying to make sure they
can chuck us out of the country before the 31st, or what, but our embassy is
trying to sort it out," Kohler-Barnard said from Harare on Thursday
††††††††††† Meanwhile the SADC delegation appeared to be in some
disarray. As of Thursday only eight members - three from Mauritius, and five
from South Africa - had arrived.
††††††††††† Kohler-Barnard said they
were struggling with communications, and it wasn't clear what their schedule
††††††††††† "[Minister of Minerals and Energy] Phumzile
Mlambo-Ngcuka has arrived to lead the group, and of course she's more than
up to sorting things out, but right now I don't know what we are going to
††††††††††† She said Membathisi Mdladlana - the head of the South
African delegation - had prevented her from asking questions during a
meeting with the Zimbabwe Council of Churches.
††††††††††† "He just
said 'I don't know you' and wouldn't take any of my questions." - Nic
The BBC is standing by the football
commentator Stuart Hall after his comment that white Zimbabwe cricketers
should "black up" and his calling President Robert Mugabe a "witch
doctor". Hall was speaking on Radio Five Live's sporting panel show Fighting
Talk. Asked by the presenter Christian O'Connell which team he would like to
see make a comeback, he chose Zimbabwe's cricket team, which has been thrown
into chaos by claims of racism and a boycott by its leading white
"The average life expectancy is 33 so if you are not dying from
Aids, malnutrition, starvation, deprivation or stagnation, don your
flannels, black up [and] play leather on willow," he said
Mugabe as captain and witch doctor, imagine him out at Lords casting a
tincture of bats' tongues and gorillas' gonads ... Give cricket a shot in
the bails it needs!"
Hall's fellow panellists, who included the
broadcaster Danny Kelly and the Guardian's boxing correspondent John
Rawling, appeared stunned. O'Connell said: "Let's have a break for the news
so we can all think about our careers."
Hall, famous for his
outspoken views and colourful language in match reports, also defended
footballers' right to use foul language. "Your average 10-year-old can
instruct you in oral or anal sex," he said.
A BBC spokeswoman said it had
received no complaints from listeners. Two people had complained about a
reference Hall made to Travellers elsewhere on the programme.
have had no complaints from listeners in response to these specific comments
made by Stuart Hall," she said. "On this programme guests often say things
which are lively and provocative but we believe our listeners recognise
these comments are satirical banter."
President remains anxious to counter claims that he benefitted
from the death of Zimbabwe's Nelson Mandela.
By Trevor Grundy in
London (Africa Reports: Zimbabwe Elections No 16, 17-Mar-05)
years ago on the morning of March 18, Herbert Chitepo - leader of the
Rhodesian liberation movement ZANU - was assassinated when a bomb planted in
his Volkswagen Beetle exploded outside his home in Lusaka, the capital of
The murder of Chitepo - whose remains were found inside the
car, which was blown onto the roof of his house by the force of the blast -
happened during one of the darkest periods of Zimbabwean liberation
politics, when a comparatively unknown ZANU militant, Robert Mugabe, was
trying to topple the incumbent 51-year-old leader.
Chitepo's death, there was extensive bloodletting between ZANU's ethnic and
ideological factions. Mugabe emerged as Chitepo's successor, and he went on
to become prime minister and then president of independent Zimbabwe - posts
that Chitepo would perhaps have filled had he lived.
The question of who
killed Chitepo has never faded away in Zimbabwe, and is whispered
incessantly in the beer halls and village courtyards.
There has been no
closure on the death of Zimbabwe's lost leader, and while it is dangerous to
ask about it, even today's schoolchildren take the risk, as Dr Terence
Ranger, an expert on Rhodesia/Zimbabwe and a retired professor of race
relations at Oxford University, told IWPR.
"Last time I spoke to
secondary schoolchildren in Zimbabwe, the headmaster rather foolishly said
that I could answer any questions about history," he said. "A dozen hands
shot up. They all wanted to know who killed Chitepo."
public, historians and opposition politicians would also like to know who
was responsible for the murder of Chitepo, Rhodesia's first black barrister
who served for a while as the first African Director of Public Prosecutions
in British-ruled Tanganyika.
Some claim that they know the
David Martin, an Africa correspondent for the UK's Observer,
claimed in his book "The Chitepo Assassination" that the murder was arranged
by Rhodesian prime minister Ian Smith, Zambian president Kenneth Kaunda and
South African president John Vorster. They are said to have seen Chitepo and
his militancy as an obstacle to their Machiavellian ruses and he therefore
had to be removed.
Martin said a Scotsman was recruited by agents of
Ian Smith in Salisbury, now Harare, to carry bomb parts into Zambia and blow
Chitepo away. Martin said he had written the book to "rest the spirits that
have remained disturbed for a decade".
But Martin's claim is
dismissed by many others, including Chitepo's widow, Victoria.
July 2001, and after 16 years of silence, Victoria claimed that her
husband's murder was an internal ZANU job, and demanded unsuccessfully that
his killers be brought to justice. Her plea followed statements by Kaunda
that Chitepo's ZANU opponents, not Rhodesian agents, were responsible for
Veteran nationalist James Chikerema, who with Chitepo
was one of the founding members of ZAPU liberation movement before ZANU
split away, has another theory about his death.
" I knew Chitepo for
years. He was murdered by [Josiah] Tongogara and the Karanga mafia," he
Tongogara was the commander of ZANU's guerrilla forces in exile at
a time of dangerously high ethnic tensions within the movement, between
Chitepo's Manyika clan of the larger tribal Shona grouping, and Tongogara's
"I saw Tongogara soon after Chitepo had been killed,"
said Chikerema. "We were at State House [in Lusaka] on that morning of March
18. I said to him, 'You are a murderer. You will never get away with this.'
Then I reached for my gun but the Zambian police got hold of me and stopped
me. There would have been a shoot out there and then."
Tongogara reacted to this, Chikerema said, "He was frightened. He looked
sheepish and guilty."
However, until the day he died in a mysterious car
crash on Boxing Day 1979, Tongogara - long seen as a charismatic alternative
to Mugabe as leader of Zimbabwe - always denied involvement in the
No autopsy results or photographs of Tongogara's body were ever
released, leading to further speculation . A CIA briefing two days later
described Tongogara as a potential political rival to Mugabe because of his
"ambition, popularity and decisive style". On the same day, the US embassy
in Zambia issued a statement saying, "Almost no one in Lusaka accepts
Mugabe's assurance that Tongogara died accidentally. When [our] ambassador
told the Soviet ambassador the news, the [latter] immediately charged
The stories and the theories about the assassination of
Chitepo, regarded by many ZANU fighters as their Nelson Mandela, whirl
around to this day and have the complexity of an Agatha Christie
While there are some who believe Mugabe himself had Chitepo
killed, Chikerema doubts this. Nevertheless, the murder shaped contemporary
Zimbabwe and allowed Mugabe to move from being a background player to
leader. It is he, who by force of personality, has shaped Zimbabwe over the
past 25 years and no one will ever know how the nation might have fared
under President Herbert Chitepo.
Mugabe, anxious to eradicate all
accusations that he benefitted from the death of Chitepo, has introduced a
widely criticised "patriotic history" in all Zimbabwe's schools, colleges
and universities designed to prove that there was total ZANU unity under
Mugabe's inspired leadership during the 1972-79 struggle for freedom. Loyal
"historians" have been hired to write a torrent of books and articles
proving that divisions among black nationalists were always created by
But Mugabe still fears Chitepo's enduring legacy, just as he
fears that of Tongogara. Indeed, Mark Chavunduka, editor of the independent
Standard, was arrested and tortured in 2001 for writing that Mugabe was
haunted by Tongogara's ghost.
Throughout Mashonaland there is a
legend that when Chitepo's remains were brought from Lusaka and reburied at
Heroes Acre, on the outskirts of Harare, a white bird flew at the face of
Mugabe, who ducked and cried out in fear. And throughout Chitepo's home
province, Manicaland, in the Eastern Highlands, the people dismiss the
official version that Smith's white agents murdered their most famous
In the villages of Manicaland, songs are still being sung calling on
Chitepo to rise from the grave and lead Zimbabwe.
The remains of the
dead Chitepo and Tongogara today lie close to each other in Heroes Acre, the
full stories of their mysterious deaths untold. And, ironically, Mugabe may
join them there one day.
Author and broadcaster Trevor Grundy worked in
Lusaka in 1975 for the Financial Times and the BBC and was the first
reporter at the scene of the assassination of Herbert Chitepo on March 18,
Unicef call to donors as
disease kills one in eight under-fives
Andrew Meldrum Friday March 18,
2005 The Guardian
One in eight children in Zimbabwe will die before
the age of five, the highest mortality rate in the world, according to
figures published yesterday by the United Nations Children's Fund
(Unicef). It said that child mortality had risen sharply in the country since
1990, when one in 12 children died.
About 70% of deaths were due to
Zimbabwe has the world's fourth highest level of HIV/Aids - 24% of
the total population of 12m is infected - but is getting very little
international assistance to help overcome it, the Unicef executive director,
Carol Bellamy, said.
Speaking in Johannesburg, she appealed for
increased aid to Zimbabwe, saying the the world "must differentiate between
the politics and the people" of the country.
She said: "Every day
children in Zimbabwe are dying of HIV/Aids, every day children are becoming
infected, orphaned and forced to leave school to care for sick
"The global generosity towards tsunami victims was inspiring,
but it has dried up for Zimbabwean children who are facing a deadly crisis
Acknowledging that donors were reluctant to give significant
funds to Zimbabwe, because of the allegations of corruption and state
torture, she said: "Look for other ways to make a political point, but don't
take it out on Zimbabwe's children, they are the ones who are
In addition to the rising rate of child deaths, Zimbabwe has
a million children - one in five - orphaned by Aids.
In 1990 it had
one of Africa's best healthcare systems. But in recent years the government
has reduced the health and education budgets and channelled the funds to the
army and its internal security network, the central intelligence
The big donors have declined to fund its healthcare
programmes, in contrast to their generous funding of neighbouring
The three major Aids donors - the US, the World Bank and the
Global Fund - have largely shunned Zimbabwe.
"In southern Africa, the
area most affected by Aids, the average donor spending per HIV-infected
person is $74 (£38). In Zimbabwe the amount is just $4," Ms Bellamy
The collapse of Zimbabwe's health was also highlighted last week by
Africa Fighting Malaria, which came to different conclusions.
than calling for increased funds which the government might divert to
political ends, it urged President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and other
regional leaders to encourage Mr Mugabe to reform.
It argued that
Zimbabwe's increased incidence of malaria, Aids and other infectious
diseases was in danger of becoming a problem for the whole
Dumisani Muleya, a commentator in the Zimbabwe Independent,
was also sceptical of Unicef's approach.
"The Global Fund and others
have expressed concern that money donated in the past was not put to good
use and did not have significant impact on targeted areas," he
He pointed out that the Zimbabwean National Aids Council was
notoriously corrupt and ineffective.
"Zimbabwe's health crisis is
largely a result of the government's own policies," he said.
lack of government funding means no books and no drugs. Now the Mugabe
government wants the international community to solve the problem that it
"It also wants to control disbursement of those
"You cannot be a beggar and a chooser at the same
"The State is like a tree. The roots are agriculture, the
trunk is the population, the branches are industry, the leaves are commerce
and the arts; it is from the roots that the tree draws the nourishing
sap.....and it is to the roots that a remedy must be applied if the tree is
not to perish."
1: RE: REPLY TO 'Anonymous', received 16.3.2005
RE: 'It's painful when done to you'
painful indeed, specially when one is so hung up on the past like you. What's
happening in Zim today is complete proof that no one ever learns from
history, everybody points a finger and no one accepts any blame. No one
disputes that your forefathers have suffered, but they are not the only ones.
Persecution, disease, poverty, racism have afflicted many former generations
of various races. That's the way it used to be, that's all I can tell
A long time before the 1800 and before your forefathers were
'discovered' as such, my ancestors were battling each other's tribes in a
place called Europe today. You have to keep things into
2: JAMMING OF SWRadioAfrica - Query, received 16.3.2005
We're trying to get info out about where to find us
now that we're being jammed. I don't know if it's possible or appropriate but
could our info go on your newsletter?
If not is it possible to send it
out separately as a mass mailing?
The poor listener is really battling so
the more available info the better. For the forseeable future the following
We know they have two strong jammers, one weak one. We're
trying to make it difficult for them.
Regards Gerry SW
JAG Hotlines: +263 (011) 205 374 If you are in trouble or
need advice, ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† please don't hesitate to
contact us - ††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† we're here to help! +263
(04) 799 410 Office Lines
Block of townhouses in the avenues is
looking for an honest, reliable and hard working gardener who knows his
business well. The right person will be offered free accomodation, light and
water and a competitive salary.
AUSTRALIA - DIESEL MECHANIC, received 14.3.2005
To Who It May
We have had a couple of responses to the Mechanics Position that
was advertised.† The position is still open and are looking forward to
anyone else that is interested in the position.† We would preferrably like
a mechanic in the fields of truck, tractor or dozer mechanics.
situated about six hours inland (west) of Brisbane (Queensland). Roma has a
population of round 7000 people and is mainly has Oil, Gas, beef and wheat
industries.† I would prefer a married man for this type of work.
let me know if you require any further information.
Police watch as villagers are force-marched to Mugabe
rallies Fri 18 March 2005 ††††† MANICALAND PROVINCE - Police stood by as
violence flared up here as ruling ZANU PF party and President Robert Mugabe
and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai began a blitz on the province to
garner votes barely two weeks before the March 31 election.
ZANU PF activists and the controversial government-trained youth militias
beat up suspected supporters of Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party and force-marched entire villages to rallies addressed by Mugabe
††††† The President on Wednesday addressed rallies in Chipinge,
123km south of the provincial capital city of Mutare and at Marange, about
40 km from Mutare. Mugabe yesterday also addressed a rally at Chigodora, a
rural business centre on the outskirts of Mutare. Tsvangirai descends on
††††† Before Mugabe's rallies at Marange and
Chigodora, a ZimOnline team tracking the President witnessed people
suspected of backing the MDC being harassed and beaten up by ZANU PF
††††† At Chigodora, our news crew saw, ZANU PF activists and
youth militias reportedly bussed in from Mutare scouring surrounding
villagers ordering everyone to attend Mugabe's rally. MDC officials in
Manicaland province said people were similarly attacked and force-marched to
Mugabe's rally at Chipinge.
††††† "The harassment started at the
weekend when word filtered that Mugabe was coming here," a visibly
frightened villager here at Chigodora said.
††††† Police spokesman Wayne
Bvudzijena could not be reached for comment last night on why the police,
who since the beginning of the year have arrested both ZANU PF and MDC
activists for political violence, stood by while opposition supporters and
ordinary villagers were being harassed here. Mugabe's spokesman George
Charamba could also not be reached for comment on the matter.
MDC Manicaland provincial spokesman Pishai Muchauraya said his party was
going to raise the harassment of its supporters with various election
observer missions that have now arrived in the country.
is worrying is that it has become a pattern that our supporters are harassed
whenever Mugabe addresses a rally here. It then seems to us as if Mugabe
himself endorses such election violence," he said.
††††† At yesterday's
rally at Chigodora, Mugabe criticized the local community for deserting him
and ZANU PF when they voted for the MDC and Tsvangirai in the 2000 and 2002
††††† "What has happened to you revolutionary Manicaland?"
Mugabe rhetorically asked. He continued: "Why have you turned your back
against me for the MDC and the whites? Have you forgotten that you
contributed the most to the liberation struggle?"
along the border with Mozambique, which served as the rear base for Mugabe's
ZANLA guerillas during Zimbabwe's 1970s war of independence, bore the brunt
of that brutal war.
††††† But the province has appeared more sympathetic
to the opposition out of the five provinces dominated by Mugabe's Shona
speaking tribe. The southern Matabeleland provinces inhabited by the Ndebele
tribe largely back the MDC.
††††† Another villager who spoke to
ZimOnline after the rally, gave an insight into why some here might have
turned their back on Mugabe. He said: "Politics of the liberation struggle
is not good enough when the belly is empty." - ZimOnline
MDC complains to SADC over role of military in poll Fri 18
March 2005 † HARARE - Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party has raised concern with Southern African Development Community
(SADC) election observers that the military, known for its strong loyalty to
President Robert Mugabe, will run the country's upcoming
††††† SADC observer mission head Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka told
journalists in Harare that the MDC had also complained that it was being
denied fair access to public radio and television in violation of a regional
protocol on free and fair elections.
††††† The opposition party,
which insists the political playing field is still heavily tilted against
it, also protested that it was being denied free access to the voters' roll
to be used in the March 31 poll, according Mlambo-Ngcuka.
(MDC) also raised concern over access to the voters' roll and that most
returning officers had been recruited from the army and police,"
Mlambo-Ngcuka told journalists in Harare yesterday.
Mlambo-Ngcuka, who is also South Africa's Minerals and Energy Affairs
Minister, said the ruling ZANU PF party had emphatically denied the
opposition claims during talks between the party and her
††††† The SADC chief observer said the MDC had also complained
to her mission about statements by South African government observer mission
chief, Membathisi Mdladlana, that the election will be free and
††††† But she said her mission had refused to interfere or act as
an intermediary between the opposition party and Pretoria's observers. The
MDC has refused to meet Mdladlana and his observer delegation accusing them
of prejudging the ballot and only concerned with legitimising victory by
Mugabe and ZANU PF.
††††† Under the SADC protocol signed by regional
leaders including Mugabe last August, independent commissions must run
elections while electoral laws and processes must be fair and transparent.
All contesting parties must have equal and fair access to state-owned radio
and television, the only means to reach out to voters in remoter parts in
most SADC countries.
††††† The Zimbabwe election is viewed as a test of
whether SADC will hold Mugabe to the regional elections protocol. The poll
is being held under intense international scrutiny amid concerns that it
might not be free and fair.
††††† But Mugabe has invited SADC and its
member states, Russia, China and African friendly developing countries and
organisations to officially observe the poll. The European Union, United
States and SADC Parliamentary Forum, who all criticised Mugabe's
controversial re-election in 2002 have been barred from the
††††† Mlambo-Ngcuka said her mission's final report will be
based on daily reports drawn from its activities and will focus on "whether
prevailing conditions and the conduct of elections gave the citizens of
Zimbabwe a chance to vote freely and fairly." - ZimOnline
Mugabe undermining Electoral Court, say lawyers Fri 18
March 2005 † HARARE - A scathing attack by President Robert Mugabe this week
against the newly established Electoral Court will only help undermine the
independence of the court and the judiciary at large, constitutional lawyers
and the opposition have said.
††††† The Electoral Court was set up
earlier this year to adjudicate on all electoral disputes. Section 64 of the
Electoral Act does not allow appeals against the court's decisions. Mugabe
on Wednesday publicly lambasted the Electoral Court Justice Tendai Uchena,
describing his decision to allow jailed opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) party legislator, Roy Bennett, to contest the upcoming election
††††† The President said the government will appeal against
Uchena's ruling and ordered his ZANU PF party to ignore the court ruling.
University of Zimbabwe constitutional law lecturer Lovemore Madhuku said
Mugabe's utterances were inflammatory and disrespectful of the
††††† "Mugabe was not a party to the court application so why is
he interfering with court decisions which do not involve him directly? This
is unconstitutional and can lead to his impeachment," said Madhuku, who is
also chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly that campaigns for a
new and democratic constitution for Zimbabwe.
††††† Prominent Harare
lawyer and former Law Society of Zimbabwe president Stenford Moyo, described
as "unfortunate" statements against the Electoral Court attributed to
††††† Moyo warned that use of intemperate language against judges
and the courts, "may undermine the independence and authority of the
judiciary to the detriment of the due administration of justice and
observance of the rule of law."
††††† "One can only express the hope
that an appropriate intervention by the Chief Justice, Attorney General and
Minister of Justice will take place in order to minimise the negative impact
of the remarks on the due administration of justice," the respected Moyo
††††† In a surprise judgment, Uchena postponed the election in
Chimanimani, where Bennet wants to contest, to allow the opposition
parliamentarian time to campaign.
††††† Bennett is in jail after
ruling ZANUN PF party members used their superiority in numbers to commit
him to prison for violently shoving Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
during debate in Parliament last May.
††††† Nomination Court officials
had turned down his nomination papers for Chimanimani, where he is sitting
Member of Parliament saying he could not contest an election from jail. -
Commission failed to educate voters, says pressure
group Fri 18 March 2005 † HARARE - The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC)
has done little to educate voters on their rights ahead the country's
month-end parliamentary election, according to a report by the National
Constitutional Assembly released yesterday.
††††† Voter education had
taken place in only 25 percent of the constituencies that were sampled, the
NCA said in the report.
††††† The NCA is a coalition of churches, human
rights and pro-democracy groups, women's organisations, opposition parties
and the students and labour movements. It campaigns for a new and democratic
constitution for Zimbabwe and is opposed to the holding of the March 31 poll
saying a new constitution is needed first to ensure a truly free and fair
††††† The NCA report reads in part: "Voter education is
extremely low, only 25 percent of the constituencies sampled reported voter
education taking place, and in those constituencies where voter education
has taken place, this has usually been by the political parties. . . it must
be stressed that voter education is now under the control of ZEC, and
reports to date suggest that it is seriously deficient in this aspect of its
††††† Under new electoral laws, only the government-appointed
ZEC is permitted to carry out voter education. But the commission hastily
appointed at the beginning of the year lacks resources or enough staff to
carry out a nationwide campaign to educate voters.
††††† Before the
new regulations, non-governmental organisations had carried out most voter
††††† Besides the lack of enough voter enlightenment, the
political playing field remained uneven rendering a free and fair poll at
the month-end impossible, NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku said during
presentation of the report to representatives of diplomatic missions in
††††† "The report is based on what is happening on the ground
and not what one says from Pretoria. Unless South Africa would want us to
believe that the irregularities pointed in this report are acceptable in
Zimbabwe and not in South Africa and elsewhere," Madhuku said referring to
claims by South African President Thabo Mbeki that Zimbabwe's election will
be free and fair. - ZimOnline.
Supreme Court yesterday reserved judgment in an appeal against a High Court
ruling denying bail to the Minister of Finance and Economic Development
Chris Kuruneri. Sitting as an appeal court, the Supreme Court heard
submissions that the lower court's judgment delivered by Justice Charles
Hungwe last month was contradictory. It also heard that Kuruneri would be
brought for trial next month. In dismissing Kuruneri's application for bail,
Hungwe said the minister could not be trusted because he held dual
citizenship-Canadian and Zimbabwean However, Kuruneri's lawyer George
Chikumbirike said Hungwe's judgment was contradictory, in that the one
delivered orally was different from the written one, which the Supreme Court
was relying on. As a result, he added, the judgment had resulted in two
contradictory statements, one noting that the finance minister had been
detained for a long time without being brought to trial, which compels
release, and the other to the contrary. "The judgment which we listened
to is not the one which came as the written one. Unfortunately, I am afraid
that I may not be able to prove my case as the verbal judgment was not on
tape," said Chikumbirike. The lawyer also added that the High Court judge had
misdirected himself as he dealt with the issue of dual citizenship, which
was not before him. Further, he argued, previous judgments had ruled that
dual citizenship was not the issue at hand. Prior to that, the court had
to adjourn for more than four hours as the appeal judges, Chief Justice
Godfrey Chidyausiku and justices Florence Ziyambi and Luke Malaba had been
supplied with the wrong court records. This resulted in the judges initially
thinking that they were presiding over an appeal of Justice Chinembiri
Bhunu's judgment as opposed to Hungwe's. Morgen Nemadire of the Attorney
General's Civil Division appeared for the State. Kuruneri has been in
remand prison since last April on charges of foreign currency
externalisation and holding dual citizenship. The minister has another
constitutional case before the court in which he is contending that the
State's delay to bring him for trial was in violation of his rights. It
was supposed to be heard yesterday but his lawyer opted for it to be decided
when the appeal case has been concluded.
From Our Correspondent in Bulawayo issue date
THE decision by the Ministry of Local Government, Public
Works and National Housing to freeze rate and tariff increases proposed by
the Bulawayo City Council in its 2005 budget will seriously affect the local
authority's service delivery, a senior council official said
yesterday. Addressing journalists at the bi-monthly Bulawayo City Council
media briefing, the city's treasurer Middleton Nyoni said the move by the
government had forced council to review its operations. Nyoni said that
while the council had proposed a $775 billion budget to the ministry for
approval, the government instructed council to peg its fiscus at $469
billion against an estimated expenditure of $515 billion, leaving it with a
deficit of $46 billion. "As the public might know, we came up with a budget
of $775 billion that was formulated after wide consultation with various
stakeholders throughout the city of Bulawayo. "We wanted to ensure that
the budget was people-oriented and that is what we did exactly until we sent
the budget for approval by the ministry," Nyoni explained. He added that
the council was shocked to find out that the ministry could not
approve the budget and were instead told that it had been revised
ZANU PF held two
campaign meetings at Chirundu Sugar Estate and at Chirundu Business Centre
in Kariba constituency.† The party's provincial chairman, John Mafa,
politburo member Ignatius Chombo and its candidate for the constituency
Jonathan Shumbayaonda Chandengenda addressed the meetings. The three urged
the people to rally behind Zanu PF.† They chronicled the achievements of the
Zanu PF government as well as articulating the party's election's
Zanu PF candidate for Shamva
Nicholas Goche held three campaign meetings on March 14 at Mupfure,
Mufurudzi, and Nyarukunda. Addressing the meetings Goche narrated the Zanu
PF government's achievements since independence. He promised that the
government would embark on a massive irrigation programme in rural
areas. Goche declared that the government would not allow anyone to starve
and urged people to keep grain reserves in normal seasons to avoid the
begging syndrome. He donated 10 tonnes of maize, $32m towards youth
projects, refurbishment of the local Salvation Army and Catholic churches,
as well as 200 bags of cement towards projects at Mupfure Primary and
Zanu PF held a series of
meetings in the province on March 14: New-way Hotel in Goromonzi addressed
by Herbert Murerwa; and Murehwa District Council offices in Murehwa North,
addressed by David Parirenyatwa. Other meetings were held at Caledonia Farm
in Seke addressed by Phinias Chihota; Wiltshire Farm, Mbowe Business Centre,
Majumba Business Centre, Machoyi Cattle Sales pens, Charter Estates
Headquarters, all in Chikomba, addressed by Tichaona Jokonya; and at
Chiparahwe farm and Igava country club in Marondera †East addressed by
Sydney Sekeramayi. The general theme in the addresses centred on the
articulation of the party's manifesto and the exposure of the MDC as a front
for imperialism.† The MDC was castigated for inviting sanctions against the
country, for championing imperialist interests and for harbouring intentions
to return land to former white owners.
PF candidate for Hwange East Thokozile Mathuthu addressed three rallies in
the constituency at Mwemba Hall, Chunga, and Mosi-oa-tunya Secondary
School. In her address at Mwenda Hall, Mathuthu blasted the MDC for
failing to develop the constituency since 2000. She called upon people in
the constituency to unite and vote overwhelmingly for Zanu PF. She told the
meeting that despite the fact that Jacob Mudenda was suspended from the
party, he was still giving her moral
The MDC held a rally at Gate
Business Centre in Chimanimani constituency.† Prosper Mutseyami, the MDC
Provincial vice-chairman and the party's candidate Heather Bennett addressed
the meeting. †In his address, Mutseyami applauded the Sadc guidelines and
principles governing the conduct of elections for affording the MDC an
opportunity to campaign freely. Bennett charged that the Zanu PF
government incarcerated her husband Roy Bennett for his commitment to
bringing democratic change to Zimbabwe.† She appealed for the electorate to
vote for her.
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai on
March 14 addressed two rallies in the province at Ntepe Business Centre in
Gwanda constituency and at Dulibadzimu Stadium in Beitbridge
constituency. In his address Tsvangirai articulated the MDC manifesto and
promised to compensate all victims of the Gukurahundi era if the MDC is
voted into power. Still in the province, the party's candidate for Matobo
constituency Lovemore Moyo held a campaign rally at Dewe Business Centre.†
In his address, Moyo appealed to the electorate to vote for the MDC for a
Aaron Chinhara addressed two rallies
at Muchakata Business Centre and Simba Business Centre in Gokwe on March 13,
whilest another rally at Drefontein Mission in Chirumanzu constituency was
held the following day. On the same day a rally was held at Chapewa Business
Centre in Zhombe addressed by MDC secretary General Welshman Ncube. †In
his address Ncube accused Zanu PF of lacking new ideas and was instead
blaming Tony Blair for all the country's difficulties. †He acknowledged
that the government had complied with Sadc electoral guidelines adding that
the MDC would only blame itself if it lost the election.
Harare City Council has blamed the current water shortages in some
residential suburbs in the capital and surrounding towns on a technical
fault at its Morton Jaffray Water Treatment plant. A statement from the
city's public relations department on Wednesday read in part: ".due to a
technical fault at the Morton Jaffray Water Treatment Works, water shortages
and poor pressures are being experienced in some areas". Areas affected
by water shortages include the high-density suburbs of Mabvuku and Tafara
and dormitory towns of Norton, Chitungwiza, Ruwa and Epworth. Some
residents in Mabvuku and Tafara have gone for five days without water as
city fathers continue to grapple with the problem. Harare has been facing
water shortages since last year due to its antiquated water treatment
plants and failure to procure water treatment chemicals abroad timeously as
a result of scarce foreign currency. The government has since directed the
Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) to take over the supply of water
to Harare and its satellite towns due to the incessant problems Harare City
Council faced in providing a regular supply of clean water to
Zimbabwe Electoral Supervisory Network has raised concern over the failure
by the government to invite a significant number of international civic
groups to observe the parliamentary election to be held on March 31. ZESN
chairman, Reginald Matchaba-Hove told a press conference on Tuesday that
government had invited groups that were unlikely to produce adverse reports
on the elections. "Out of the external observers, there are very few civic
groups. They have invited mainly countries, parliaments and other government
institutions, while many civic groups like the Sadc Parliamentary Forum,
which has done a lot of work on electoral reforms have been left out,"
Matchaba-Hove said. He added: "Governments will always make their statements
but they will always do them in a diplomatic manner. We have said that we
would have wanted more civic groups to observe the elections." The
government barred the Sadc Parliamentary Forum from observing the elections
saying it was not in the structures of Sadc. The grouping produced an adverse
report of the highly controversial 2000 parliamentary elections that Zanu PF
narrowly beat the then nine-month-old MDC. Government invited observers
from at least 32 countries with Russia being the only European country that
was invited. Besides the international civic groups, government also invited
29 civic groups that it deemed "non-partisan" and excluded the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) because it was alleged to be too partisan
and political. In a statement inviting the local observers on Tuesday the
Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, Patrick Chinamasa
said: "In extending invitations to observe the forthcoming general election,
a principle that I have had to observe is not to invite organisations which
already have biased and preconceived ideas about the outcome of the
elections to be held on March 31 2005." He added that because of that
reason, the ZCTU had not been invited to be part of the
observers. Matchaba-Hove also mourned the delay by the government in inviting
local observers saying this would give them little time to observe
adequately the pre-election period. He, however, welcomed some of the
electoral reforms that have been initiated, but said they were more
comfortable with having one constitutional body running the
elections. Currently the Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC), the
Delimitation Commission, the Registrar General and the recently established
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) run elections.