|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Washington - A Boeing 727-100 cargo plane seized by Zimbabwe at
international airport is not an American aircraft contrary to claims made by
Zimbabwe's government, a US State Department official said on Monday.
"It's not a US plane. It is not a US registered aircraft right now," the
official said on condition anonymity.
Zimbabwe Home Affairs Minister Kembo Mohadi said on Monday that a
US-registered aircraft, carrying military equipment and 64 suspected
mercenaries, had been impounded by the Zimbabwe authorities on Sunday.
The State Department official here said the mystery aircraft was not
US-registered and had not been carrying any US nationals.
"It is not a US government or a US commercial aircraft as far as we know. I
understand that at one point back in the 1970's someone may have owned it in
the US but it hasn't been a US aircraft since the early 80's," the official
"I have no idea who owns it. There is no US citizen on board," the official
said as the mystery over the plane's ownership and crew continued to deepen.
From ZWNEWS, 8 March
Zengeza militia attack
militia invaded the venue of an opposition rally in Zengeza, the MDC
said yesterday. The rally was planned to launch the opposition campaign for
the by-election to be held in the Zengeza constituency, east of Harare, on
27 and 28 March. The militia attacked MDC party members who had been
preparing the venue, seriously damaging two vehicles. Six people were
reported to have been injured, and equipment was stolen. The MDC said that
the militia then moved around the area in vehicles attacking anyone seen
travelling to the rally. There have been numerous reports n recent weeks
that Zanu PF militia have set up bases in Zengeza, including one near a
police station. In Bulawayo yesterday, police arrested three women at a
meeting of the NCA. The three, Patricia Khanye, Magadonga Mahlangu and Jenni
Williams, are all members of a women's protest group, WOZA. WOZA had been
planning church services and protest marches today to mark International
From ZWNEWS, 8 March
One 19 June 2000, a week
before the parliamentary elections, Patrick
Nabanyama was abducted from his home in Nketa, Bulawayo by war veterans.
Nabanyama was the polling agent for the opposition candidate for the
Bulawayo South constituency, David Coltart, who was subsequently elected to
the seat. Nabanyama has not been seen since his abduction, and it is feared
that he was murdered. The war veterans, whose identities are all known, were
arrested in 2000 and charge with kidnapping. In 2001, the State changed the
charges to murder. One of those accused, Cain Nkala - then chairman of the
war veterans in Bulawayo - protested himself innocent of murder, and there
were strong indications at the time that he was threatening to reveal who,
at a senior level, had ordered the kidnapping and subsequent disappearance
On 6 November 2001, Nkala
himself was abducted from his home in
circumstances very similar to Nabanyama's abduction. The police began an
urgent investigation, and on 11 November several MDC workers were arrested.
That evening, vice president Msika appeared on state television accusing
Coltart of being behind the disappearance of Nkala. Simon Spooner, Coltart's
campaign manager, was arrested the next morning. He subsequently spent five
weeks in solitary confinement. On the morning of 13 November, two of the MDC
workers who had been arrested - Khethani Sibanda and Sazini Mpofu - were
shown on state television "indicating" to the police the place where Nkala's
body had been buried. On 15 November, a private aircraft in which Coltart
was travelling from Harare to Bulawayo was forced down, and Coltart and the
pilot were detained for some time by armed police and members of the CIO.
Coltart and his family were forced to leave their home after threats that it
would be attacked.
The following day, a mob of Zanu PF militia, led by a
former Zanu PF cabinet
minister, Dumiso Dabengwa, who had lost his Bulawayo seat in the 2000
parliamentary elections, and escorted by police, marched through the streets
of Bulawayo. The MDC offices in the city were burnt down. The fire brigade
was prevented by the mob from attending the blaze. MDC supporters
retaliated, clashing with riot police and setting fire to a building
belonging to a senior Zanu PF official, Sikhanyiso Ndlovu. Another Bulawayo
opposition MP, Fletcher Dulini-Ncube, was arrested. He was held in atrocious
conditions, denied treatment for his diabetic condition, and as a result
later had to have one of his eyes surgically removed.
May 2002 the remaining war veterans who had abducted Nabanyama were put
on trial for murder. In court, their defence was that while they had
kidnapped Nabanyama, they had then handed him over to Nkala. Since
Nabanyama's body has never been found, since Nkala was dead, and since there
was no other evidence linking them to Nabanyama's murder (as opposed to his
kidnapping) they were acquitted. They were never again charged with
kidnapping Nabanyama. In February 2003, the trial began of the six - Sonny
Masera, Fletcher Dulini-Ncube, Army Zulu, Remember Moyo, Kethani Sibanda,
and Sazini Mpofu - accused of the murder of Cain Nkala. They maintain that
the evidence against them was extracted under duress and torture by the
police. There was a trial-within-a-trial to determine the admissability of
this evidence in the main trial. Judge Sandra Mungwira determined that the
evidence is inadmissable. In her judgement, she labelled some state
witnesses as liars, others as patently unreliable, and the state's evidence
as a whole as a work of fiction.
ZIMBABWE: Urban food insecurity rising - new assessment
JOHANNESBURG, 8 Mar 2004 (IRIN) - Nearly 2.5 million urban Zimbabweans are
food insecure according to a recent urban food security assessment, an
increase of 1.4 million people above an estimate made in April 2003.
The report by the Zimbabwe Vulnerability Assessment Committee (ZIMVAC) after
their first nationwide urban survey, revealed that about 72 percent of the
urban population were below the poverty line, a figure that had nearly
doubled since 1995.
The assessment was conducted in September and October 2003, in collaboration
with the Southern Africa Development Community.
It found that households headed by the elderly or only one income
contributor, usually living in high-density suburbs, were most likely to be
"More than half of the households headed by orphans, widows/females, the
elderly and the unemployed were found to be food insecure - as well as
nearly one-third (31 percent) of ex-farm worker households who relocated to
urban areas after being displaced from the former commercial farms during
the government's "fast track" resettlement scheme," the ZIMVAC assessment
Runaway inflation was seen as the main reason for deteriorating living
conditions in urban areas. In September last year, the annual rate reached
456 percent and has since climbed to 623 percent.
Soaring inflation has had a particularly debilitating effect on urban wage
earners because increments lagged far behind the cost of living. While
prices rocketed, industrial minimum wages remained unchanged at Zim $47,000
per month, enough to cover only around 5 percent of monthly expenditure.
High unemployment levels also undermined the ability of households to buy
the available food, the assessment showed. Other factors affecting urban
households were increasing school fees and utility charges.
Given an estimated maize and small grain production of 1.0 to 1.3 million
metric tonnes, Zimbabwe is expected to have a cereal gap of between 500,000
mt and 800,000 mt. But despite the significant deficit, few urban households
thought the ongoing drought and food shortages were significant problems.
Urban families usually purchased most of their maize from the more expensive
parallel markets, rather than the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) where prices
are lower but supplies rationed.
To cope with the rising cost of maize, almost 50 percent of households
interviewed had borrowed money to buy food, "substituting less preferred
foods for maize, or reducing the number of daily meals", the report said.
"Nearly one-third of all households (nearly all of them poor or very poor)
cut back their expenditures on health, education, transportation, and water
and electricity in favour of food," the ZIMVAC found.
In its latest report, the Famine Early Warning System (FEWSNET) highlighted
that ensuring adequate food supplies to urban areas presented a considerable
challenge, because the majority of rural farmers would be reticent to sell
their stocks, given their recent memories of three consecutive poor seasons.
Thus, the level of grain deliveries to the GMB was likely to be low, FEWSNET
Following the VAC assessment, Zimbabwe's government was called upon to make
"fundamental macroeconomic reforms" to lessen the economic impact on urban
ZIMVAC said food aid programmes and safety nets targeting the poor and very
poor where they lived were also needed, particularly in neglected urban
The number of people going hungry in Zimbabwe has outstripped earlier
projections, with 7.5 million of the country's estimated 11.65 million
population expected to require food aid in the next few months.
Government's Far East Export Drive Suffers Major Setback
March 5, 2004
Posted to the web March 8, 2004
THE government's export drive in the Far
East has suffered a major setback
after its Singapore Expo Centre closed down because of mounting operational
It also emerged this week that most of the business deals signed between
Singaporean and local businessmen had failed to take off due to lack of
commitment from the Zimbabwean side.
The Singapore Expo Centre, officially opened by President Mugabe two years
ago, closed in December because the promoter, Metropolitan Bank, was facing
escalating maintenance costs.
Metropolitan Bank chairman Enock Kamushinda, a major architect of the Asian
initiatives, confirmed in an interview on Wednesday that the centre had shut
down in December.
"We shut it (the Singapore Expo Centre) sometime in December due to mounting
costs. We are going to incorporate that into the one in Malaysia. But we are
still in business," said Kamushinda.
Kamushinda denied claims that he used the Malaysian Expo Centre to persuade
the host government to give him a banking licence. Kamushinda got the
licence around July last year.
The Zimbabwe Independent is reliably informed that the Expo Centre in
Malaysia could also have been shut down. But Kamushinda said the Expo had
only been moved to new central offices.
"We want to make it a one-stop shop. That is why we are centralising the
centres," he said.
Despite Mugabe's many business trips, trade between Zimbabwe and the Asia
Tigers remains minimal. An agreement between with Malaysian business people
to build a TV/DVD assembly plant in Zimbabwe has not been implemented. There
are now fears that the agreement might fail to take off.
The Independent understands there has been no progress despite numerous MOUs
signed with Malaysia for various business proposals. Malaysia is understood
to have agreed to construct a PC assembly plant and an egg production
facility. These are yet to be implemented due to lack of commitment from the
Malaysian government and the local businesspeople.
Zimbabwe's foray into the Far East is part of the Asia/Africa Investment
Technology Promotion Center launched as a Tokyo International Conference on
African Development (Ticad) initiative last year.
The programme is funded by the government of Japan and implemented through
the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation headquarters in
The South/South initiative under the Ticad programme envisages closer
co-operation between African countries and South East Asian economies in the
areas of trade and investment.
Mugabe has for the past three years promoted investment and trade with South
East Asian countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand but there has
been very little to show for it.
Japanese ambassador to Zimbabwe Tsu-neshige Liyama last week said he was
happy with Zimbabwe's progress under Ticad. He said Ticad was not just about
trade and investment but was a replica of New Partnership for Africa's
"The concept is the same," said. "It is a twin of Nepad. We support the
Nepad concept because it is a sister programme of Ticad. Ticad is Nepad made
in Japan," he said.
Makamba Has Two Valid Zimbabwean Passports
April 6, 2004
Posted to the web March 8, 2004
Former Telecel chairman James Makamba possesses two valid Zimbabwean
passports and yesterday, he was brought to court from remand prison to
testify on the discovery.
Makamba's lawyers asked their client to testify after they said the
investigating officer, Assistant Commissioner Gora, had indicated to the
court that police would press fresh charges against Makamba for possessing
The businessman, who is also a Zanu-PF Central Committee member, was
arrested more than three weeks ago on allegations of externalising billions
His defence team made up of Mr Godfrey Mamvura, Mr Joseph Mafusire, Mr
Thakor Kewada and leader Mr Sternford Moyo, all of Scanlen and Holderness,
said there was no need to keep Makamba in detention because a case has not
been found against him.
The businessman was brought to court after police said they had discovered
that Makamba had two Zimbabwean passports and they could level fresh charges
Makamba, who arrived at the High Court dressed in a grey business suit
escorted by plain clothes and armed policemen in the afternoon, agreed that
he was in possession of two Zimbabwean passports.
He said the older passport, which was issued to him in 2001, was already
full but he still travels with it because it had multiple United States and
British visas that were valid for five years.
"The passport as you can see has been cancelled by the authorities and it is
not true that I use two passports.
"I cannot use that passport on its own anywhere in the world," said Makamba.
On the issue of operating several bank accounts outside the country, he said
he had a Nedbank account in Sandton, Johannesburg with about R5 000 and a
Bank of Ireland account with about 25 000 British pounds that was donated to
his family by the late Lonrho boss Mr Tiny Rowland.
"I used to be a consultant for Lonrho on a global basis and during that
time, I became close to Mr Rowland and that money was donated for the
benefit of my family," said Makamba.
Mr Chengetai Gwatidzo of the Attorney-General's Office asked Makamba to
explain the circumstances that led to his arrest and subsequent conviction
Makamba said he came back from abroad with new clothes and a small radio
that he forgot to declare at Customs and he was arrested and fined $300 and
He said if granted bail, he would not abscond because he owned a house in
Kambanji valued at $2 billion and six other properties valued at about $15
billion, apart from running supermarkets in the country.
Said Makamba: "I employ at least 500 people, I am a farmer, former chairman
of the ruling party in Mashonaland Central province and, my family is here."
He said he did not own any property outside the country but for the past
seven years had been interested in properties abroad as a hobby to see how
much they cost on the market.
Mr Moyo suggested that Makamba could deposit a bail of $40 million with the
court, security in immovable property, surrender travel documents and report
to Borrowdale Police Station.
"We are talking here about a man of substance in this country and
suggestions that he had multiple passports is trying to mislead this court
for unjust detention of my client," said Mr Moyo.
He said the investigating officer should be charged of perjury and contempt
of court because he was trying to derail the bail proceedings to justify the
unnecessary detention of Makamba.
Mr Gwatidzo contended that a magistrate court has already remanded Makamba
and that on its own proved there were reasonable grounds to suspect that he
committed an offence.
He said Makamba was looking for houses to purchase outside the country and
the likelihood that he would abscond if granted bail was real.
"Telecel, where he was chairman, has since been convicted of similar charges
of illegally externalising foreign currency and investigations are still in
progress, so he can not be released on bail," said Mr Gwatidzo.
Justice Alphas Chitakunye would decide on Monday whether Makamba should be
granted bail or not.
The businessman this week challenged the constitutionality of the recently
gazetted Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) (Amendment of criminal
Procedure and Evidence Act) Regulations of 2004 under which he was placed in
Under the anti-corruption regulations, courts are prohibited from granting
bail to persons charged with laundering of proceeds of crime,
externalisation of foreign currency and other crimes related to trade in
grain, gold and other precious stones.
Police Mount Siege On NMB Directors' Homes
March 7, 2004
Posted to the web March 8, 2004
POLICE have cut telephone lines to the
homes of the four NMB directors they
accuse of externalising $30 billion in foreign exchange, as fresh details
emerged on events leading to the directors' flight to London last week.
The Standard has established that police cut the phone lines in an attempt
to stop the four from contacting their families, who police sources say are
now being kept under keen surveillance and being closely trailed by police
Police spokesman, Wayne Bvudzijena, however denied knowledge of the moves,
but said police were still seeking the directors' extradition to Zimbabwe.
CID Chief Superintendent Nicholas Mhene, who is heading the investigation,
could not be reached for comment.
NMB Deputy Managing Director James Mushore and fellow directors Otto
Chekeche and Francis Zimuto, fled to London last week after police announced
on radio and television that they were after them. Bank chief Julius Makoni
was already in England for over a month.
Authorities accuse the four of externalising foreign currency through the
United Kingdom-based money transfer company LTB.
"As far as I know, NMB simply received and paid out Zimdollars. Any trade in
forex was done between LTB and several other banks," Mushore told The
Standard on the telephone, presumably from London, on Friday.
Mushore said the NMB directors would not return to Zimbabwe until police
made public the exact laws which they are alleged to have flouted.
Asked whether skipping the country would not undermine their claims of
innocence, Mushore said they had made the decision to flee in the light of
the controversial Presidential Powers (Temporary Measures) Amendment of
Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, which denies bail to those accused of
Mushore would not be drawn into making any further comments regarding the
matter or the events that led to their sensational escape from the law.
News that police were after the four came three weeks after NMB suffered a
strange robbery at their Kwame Nkrumah Avenue headquarters, first reported
by The Standard.
Intruders broke into the offices of the four directors on the night of
February 6, and removed computer hard drives from their computers. Other
personal valuables such as mobile phones and jewellery were left virtually
Investigations by The Standard last week revealed that the burglary occurred
only weeks after NMB dismissed a manager from its IT division, Reginald
Magejo, accusing him of forging a bank statement in order to acquire a visa
to the UK.
Magejo, it is alleged, used Chekeche's bank statement in his visa
application, substituting Chekeche's name on the statement with his own.
"After officials at the British embassy contacted the bank for confirmation,
it was established that the bank statement in question belonged to
Chekeche," a source revealed.
Magejo was subsequently denied the visa. NMB bosses also attempted to drag
Magejo before a disciplinary hearing, but he quit the bank before any action
"He warned the NMB directors before he left that he would bring down the
bank, saying he knew a lot," our source said last week. NMB, the sources
revealed, reported the forgery to police and also reported Magejo's alleged
Magejo was arrested the following week, but was immediately released,
reportedly after Mhene's intervention. Bvudzijena however yesterday denied
knowledge of the matter and Magejo could not be located for comment.
On February 23, police opened investigations into NMB's dealings with LTB.
After being questioned by the police, Mushore reportedly called RBZ Governor
Gideon Gono, who - according to Mushore - had at an earlier meeting approved
NMB's business links with LTB.
On February 29, Makoni wrote to Gono, despairing at police action against
the directors' families and authorities' support for unconstitutional laws.
"We simply do not understand why existing statutes dealing with exchange
control infringements cannot be used and interpreted for such allegations,"
says the copy of the letter Makoni wrote to Gono.
*Meanwhile, Kingdom Financial Holdings Limited (KFHL) founder and deputy
chairman Nigel Chanakira has denied media reports that he is on the run for
allegedly illegally externalising foreign currency.
Speaking from his base in South Africa, Chanakira said the report carried in
Thursday's edition of The Tribune stating that he had fled the country and
was headed for the UK was incorrect
Don't Rush Into Mass Land Re-Distribution, Warns MDC
March 8, 2004
Posted to the web March 8, 2004
ZIMBABWE'S main opposition party has warned Namibians not to rush into a
popular and emotional mass land distribution programme.
William Bango, envoy of the president of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), Morgan Tsvangirai, was in Namibia last week to deliver a message from
Tsvangirai to Congress of Democrats leader Ben Ulenga.
"I think what Namibians should do is to go to Zimbabwe and study what has
happened there before rushing into this," Bango said, responding to a
question during a breakfast talk in Windhoek.
"Wholesale empowerment" programmes were "bound to fail unless they are
underwritten by massive international" financial support, he added, saying
mass empowerment had failed in Mozambique, Tanzania and Uganda.
"If you are going to empower such a large number of people, you need such
empowerment to be underwritten by the international community, otherwise you
will live to regret it," he said.
The mere announcement of wholesale expropriation caused farm owners to stop
building up and developing their farms.
He said the land issue was emotionally loaded in Zimbabwe but its misuse had
brought misery to the country.
Productivity had slumped drastically and more people than officially
estimated would need food aid in the next two to three years, said Bango.
The mishandling of the land reform programme had caused many Zimbabweans a
lot of misery - something they had not imagined 10 years ago.
Zimbabweans had reached a "debased" level: "they sleep in railway stations,
they sleep in toilets. We are at our most humiliating level. Zimbabweans
used to go on holiday."
Asked what role Namibia could play to help solve the political crisis in
Zimbabwe, Bango said the MDC wanted his country's neighbours to insist that
President Robert Mugabe and his regime allow free and fair elections to be
held according to Southern African Development Community's "norms and
Swapo is a close ally of the ruling Zimbabwe African National Union
Patriotic Front (Zanu PF).
Bango did not meet any Swapo or Government officials.
Top Judges Forced to Quit
The resignation of Zimbabwean High Court Justice Moses
late February may not at first glance appear to be cause for concern over
the independence of the country's judiciary. But as the eighth top judge to
step down since 2001, amid public threats from government officials, it
becomes evident that Zimbabwe's once vaunted judicial system is being
brought under the thumb of President Robert Mugabešs regime.
Mr Chinhengo cited personal reasons for retiring, but
in Zimbabwe's legal fraternity say he stepped down from the bench because of
considerable threats of violence allegedly from the Mugabe government.
Mr Chinhengo was the most experienced judge at the
together with judge president, Paddington Garwe. He was appointed to the
High Court by Mr Mugabe in 1996 after occupying various positions in
In the High Court, Mr Chinhengo had
established a fine reputation for
well-considered and impartial decisions. But from the governmentšs point of
view he had been a thorn in its side, ruling against it in several high
profile cases. He declared the invasions of white-owned farms illegal and
ordered police to move Mr Mugabešs supporters off the properties. After that
Mr Chinhengo ordered a member of parliament from the ruling Zanu-PF party to
quit a farm that he had seized.
In January 2002 Mr Chinhengo ordered the
Mudede to hold the Harare mayoral elections or face jail for contempt of
court. Mr Mudede had repeatedly postponed the mayoral elections, apparently
because the government rightly feared that the city would vote in a
candidate from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
In August 2002 Mr Chinhengo ruled in favour of the
Independent newspaper, saying that it had the right to report that the
Minister of Information was being tried in Kenya on charges of allegedly
embezzling $100,000 from the Ford Foundation, his former employer in
These judgements and others infuriated the
Mugabe government. Mr
Chinhengo was widely respected by many because he did not take a choice farm
during the land seizures. It has been widely reported that several other
judges in the High court and the Supreme Court have received farms.
Mr Chinhengo was the second judge to step down
in February, following
the resignation of Michael Majuru, the president of the Administrative
Court. Mr Majuru faxed his resignation letter from South Africa, where he
had fled because of fear of government retaliation. He had earned the wrath
of the Mugabe government because he had given a ruling that permitted the
Daily News to resume publishing.
fled to South Africa in November. He was constantly harassed
while in Zimbabwe by cabinet ministers and politicians who threatened him in
his office, according to close friends. Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa
denied there was any government pressure and said that Mr Majuru resigned
because of ill-health.
In October, Mr Majuru ruled that the state-run
media commission, which
issues the licences required by newspapers and journalists in Zimbabwe, was
'improperly constituted' because all its members were officials of the
state-owned press. Consequently, he revoked the commission's ban on the
Daily News, the country's only independent daily newspaper. The government
ignored the orders and appealed against the ruling. Mr Majuru was due to
consider it but was forced to stand down after the Herald, a
state-controlled newspaper, alleged that he had boasted to a relative that
he intended to rule against the Government. The allegation was denied by Mr
After Mr Majuru stood down in the Daily
News case, Judge Selo Nare
heard the arguments. When he was about to deliver judgment in January, a
letter purportedly signed by members of Mr Mugabe's war veterans threatened
him and his family with 'serious suffering' if he ruled against the
Government, according to legal sources. Mr Nare defied the threats and
backed The Daily News.
Justices Chinhengo and
Majuru were the latest 'in a long series of
competent judges who have been intimidated by the regime for doing their job
properly,' said David Coltart, Secretary for Legal Affairs for the MDC.
Zimbabwe's judges have
been under growing pressure from the government
to produce rulings that suit Mr Mugabe. At first, in March 2001, Justice
Minister, Patrick Chinamasa, said he wanted to get rid of white judges
because of their alleged bias towards white farmers. But now the government
appears to insist that all judges must toe the Zanu-PF line.
There are other examples of government
intimidation of judges. In
January 2003 police arrested Benjamin Paradza, a High Court judge, after he
ordered the release from custody of the MDC's Mayor of Harare, detained for
addressing a residents' meeting.
Last June allegations of a 'racist' judgment against
Blackie were dropped nine months after he was arrested, held in police
cells, denied food and paraded in a pick-up truck. Mr Blackie had ordered
that the Justice Minister be arrested for contempt of court.
Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay was forced into early
retirement in March
2001 after receiving several threats of violence. At one point ruling party
militants stormed the Supreme Court, chanting 'kill the judges'.
It is well documented that Zimbabwe's legal
privately-owned press and civic organisations face severe intimidation and
violence from the Mugabe regime. The police have become a highly partisan
authority intent on harassing government critics. In this climate the courts
have been the only place to turn to for the protection of legal rights. As
more independent judges resign, the further erosion of the rule of law in
Zimbabwe is set to accelerate.
column is provided by the International Bar Association. An
organisation that represents the Law Societies and Bar Associations around
the world, and works to uphold the rule of law. For further information,
visit the website www.ibanet.org
Pungue River Floods Dondo And Nhamatanda
Agencia de Informacao de
March 8, 2004
Posted to the web March 8, 2004
At least 600 hectares of crops have been inundated in the districts of Dondo
and Nhamatanda, in the central Mozambican province of Sofala, by flooding of
the Pungue river, reports Monday's issue of the Maputo daily "Noticias".
The Sofala provincial public works directorate warns that continuing
rainfall upstream may lead to a further deterioration of the situation
within the next few hours. A further rise in the level of the Pungue could
flood the main road from Beira to Zimbabwe some time on Monday, forcing an
interruption in traffic.
A multi-sector team visited the area on Sunday, and learnt that the river
burst its banks on Friday night, flooding a number of villages and planted
The situation worsened on Saturday, when the hydrometric station, at the
bridge over the river, measured the height of the river at 6.4 metres at
18:00 hours. The river was found to be rising about eight centimetres every
five hours, nearing the flood alert level of 7.5 metres.
The provincial authorities are preparing to dispatch monitoring teams to the
critical areas on Monday, to assist the local residents in case of need. A
Red Cross team has also been positioned in the area.
Sofala provincial public works director Cristovao Forquia warned drivers to
be particularly careful on the road to Zimbabwe, particularly at night,
because of the possibility of a sudden change in the situation.
Local business people were also put on the alert to keep their goods in safe
areas, away from areas susceptible to flooding.
Meanwhile, the National Meteorology Institute (INAM) says that cyclone
"Gafilo", in the Indian Ocean, may reach Madagascar within the next three
days, which may affect navigation in the Mozambique Channel.
The chief of the INAM Analysis and Weather Forecast department, Mussa
Mustafa, described "Galifo", with winds that reached about 300 kilometres
per hour on Saturday, as the strongest cyclone reported since "Eline", in
2000, which wreaked havoc in Madagascar and in central Mozambique.
IMF to Meet With MDC
Zimbabwe Independent (Harare)
March 5, 2004
Posted to the web March 8, 2004
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) will sell its
revival programme to the visiting International Monetary Fund (IMF)
delegation expected in Zimbabwe on March 17.
The economic blueprint - Reconstruction, Stabilisation, Recovery and
Transformation (Restart) - was launched in January.
A senior IMF official based in Washington Doris Ross will lead the
delegation. MDC secretary for economic affairs Tendai Biti said the team,
which will be conducting its annual Article IV Consultations, had requested
a meeting with the opposition party.
"They have requested a meeting with us and I'm sure they will talk about our
economic revival programme Restart since it is the current revival
programme," he said. "They will raise the issue of the state of the economy,
Gono's monetary policy and our prognosis of it both in the short and
The IMF executive board in June 2003 suspended Zimbabwe's voting and related
rights having determined that the country had not sufficiently strengthened
its cooperation with the financial institution in areas of policy
implementation and payments.
Zimbabwe has been in arrears with the IMF since February 2001.
As of end of May 2003, Zimbabwe's arrears to the financial institution
amounted to US$233 million equivalent to about 47% of the country's quota in
In December last year the IMF took a hard-line stance against Zimbabwe, for
compulsory withdrawal of its membership because of its failure to pay its
dues on time.
Announcing his monetary policy statement, Gono said RBZ would engage and
cooperate with the donor community who would be asked to support Zimbabwe
with balance of payment, lines of credit, foreign direct investment and
other technical assistance considered key and necessary to the country's
Analysts say the coming of the IMF delegation and its meeting with the
opposition was a step towards reviving relations between Zimbabwe and
multi-lateral financial institutions.
During the procedural visit to Zimbabwe, the team is set to also meet the
RBZ governor and senior management at the bank, Ministry of Finance, labour
and the business community.
MDC Youths to Protest for Electoral Reforms
March 5, 2004
Posted to the web March 8, 2004
AS debate rages in the MDC on whether or not to participate
in next year's
parliamentary election, the party's youth wing has resolved to stage
protests demanding electoral reforms.
Opposition MDC national youth chairman Nelson Chamisa revealed in an
interview on Wednesday that the youth league's national executive had at a
recent meeting endorsed party leader Morgan Tsvangirai's position calling
for electoral reforms.
Chamisa said the push for electoral amendments could only be
"democratic means of protest" considering the hard-line stance of President
Robert Mugabe's Zanu PF in engaging the opposition.
Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa last week said there would be no
electoral amendments ahead of the poll scheduled for March. Chinamasa said
elections would be held under the current system and alleged that the MDC
Tsvangirai has said although consultation in the party continues over the
issue of next year's election, the party position is to demand electoral
amendments. He said the MDC would contest the election only under a set of
minimum conditions that could guarantee a free and fair election.
"We subscribe to the party position that we should contest next year's
election but only after amendments to the electoral system that create
minimum conditions for a free and fair election," Chamisa said.
"But it is incumbent upon us as the youth movement in the party to actively
campaign for electoral amendments. We have therefore resolved to stage,
starting soon, peaceful protests until the regime agrees to amendments."
The Kuwadzana legislator said the youth league would have to defy repressive
laws designed to close the democratic space.
"Our challenge is to disobey the instruments of repression meant to close
the democratic space and to enable Zanu PF to rig elections. We have to go
the (Lovemore NCA chairman) Madhuku way of disobeying laws such as Posa and
engage the regime head-on," he said.
"The masses are agitated and disillusioned," Chamisa said. "We have to make
Mugabe shift his position."
Chamisa, who was on a tour of neighbouring countries recently, said the MDC
youth wing had been mobilising members and colleagues in Sadc countries.
"We are coordinating international pressure and have already planned to have
demonstrations staged in countries such as South Africa and Botswana
simultaneously with our own protests in order to engage regional leaders in
this democratic struggle," he said.
'Mugabe Trying to Divide MDC' - Tsvangirai
March 5, 2004
Posted to the web March 8, 2004
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai has accused President Robert
Mugabe of trying
to divide his party along ethnic lines.
Tsvangirai said in an interview that Mugabe was trying to drive a wedge
between MDC leaders from Mashonaland and those from Matabeleland for
"The whole strategy is to divide the MDC along regional lines.
He wants to
say 'you Ndebele guys come and let's talk' in order to divide our party," he
"But it's a non-starter because our leaders from Matabeleland know they are
national leaders and not regional barons. We can see through his political
In a pre-recorded interview with state television last week, Mugabe said the
opposition MDC comprised "very shallow" and some "well-disposed" people who
have got depth.
"What I might say is that there are some good people in the MDC, some
well-disposed persons who look at things differently from how Tsvangirai
looks at them," Mugabe said.
"I didn't know, it's unfortunate that the depth of understanding and
appreciation of some of the members of the MDC is very shallow. Those of
them with deeper depth are the ones who would want discussion and we
encouraged those to discuss with our own people, progressive ideas."
Mugabe said talks were problematic because those with "shallow ideas" in the
MDC were resisting "certain conclusions" of those with depth and "this is
However, Tsvangirai said Mugabe wanted to clinch another Unity Accord by
dividing the MDC. He said his party would resist manipulation on ethnic
"They are trying to create imaginary division in the MDC but we are closing
ranks in light of those purported differences," he said. "He wants to divide
the party through Unity Accord II and move forward on his own terms."
Tsvangirai dismissed as fabricated recent state media reports that MDC
secretary-general Welshman Ncube wanted to resign over the selection of a
candidate for the forthcoming Zengeza parliamentary by-election.
Ncube himself said that was false. He said such stories smacked of "divide
and rule tactics".
MDC officials say there have been attempts by Zanu PF since the 2000
parliamentary election to use primitive ethnic manipulation to undermine the
MDC. They say this strategy lies at the heart of unsubstantiated claims that
Ncube wants to oust Tsvangirai from party leadership.
Those who believe in ethnic jugglery, the MDC says, think the claims that
Ncube wants to depose Tsvangirai will alienate voters in Mashonaland from
Law Society Slams Act
Zimbabwe Standard (Harare)
March 7, 2004
Posted to the web March 8, 2004
The Law Society of Zimbabwe says the newly enacted Presidential Powers'
Amendment of Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act is blatantly unjust and
unconstitutional and infringes on the basic human rights of individuals.
In a statement, the Law Society of Zimbabwe President Joseph James said the
holding period for accused persons under the Amended Act was a grave attack
on basic human rights of an individual as enshrined in the Constitution.
James described paragraph (a) of the regulations, which stipulates that even
if there is no prima facie case an individual must be detained for a period
of seven days without bail, as unconstitutional.
"This is a grave attack upon the most basic fundamental rights of an
individual, that is the right to liberty and this right is enshrined in our
constitution. Everybody is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty; it
is blatantly unjust and unconstitutional to deprive an individual of his
liberty when there is no prima facie case against him," James said.
The government has amended the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act in its
efforts to deal with corruption and rampant economic crimes in the financial
and business sectors.
"Our courts have stated and reiterated that it is wrong and unlawful for law
enforcement authorities to arrest and investigate later and this is
precisely what this legislation is allowing," said James in the statement.
The Amended Act further states that if there are prima facie grounds for the
arrest of an individual, the individual must be detained for a minimum of 21
days and during this period the individual cannot be granted bail by any
Zim women activists arrested
08/03/2004 15:12 - (SA)
Harare - Three women activists were arrested while they were distributing
pamphlets advertising a Women's Day march in the second city of Bulawayo, a
lawyer representing the three activists said on Monday.
Perpetua Dube said her clients, Patricia Kanye, Magondonga Mahlangu and
Jenni Williams, were arrested on Sunday for distributing pamphlets to
advertise the march marking International Women's Day.
"They were kept in custody yesterday (Sunday) to prevent them making
arrangements and organising the demonstration today," Dube said.
She said the pamphlet called on women to march in Bulawayo and the capital
Harare to push for a new constitution in the crisis-hit southern African
The trio have not been charged, but police may invoke strict security laws
against them for "communicating false statements", Dube said.
The three activists are members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) which is
active in the two main cities and whose activists are vocal critics of
Part of the statement by Woza that landed the three activists in trouble
said that "the Constitution of Zimbabwe is being gang-raped.
In Harare, around 100 women, some with babies strapped to their backs,
marched peacefully on Monday, singing and waving placards and wearing
distinctive white scarves.
One woman carried a placard thanking the Zimbabwean police "for protecting
women against abuse".