ZIMBABWE CONSERVATION TASK FORCE MEDIA AND
ASSESSMENT TRIP - 11th APRIL TO 14th APRIL 2003 COMPILED BY
FRIDAY 11th APRIL I left Harare with Brian
Hungwe, an SABC TV reporter and Davis, the camera man and set off for
Chiredzi. When we got to Chivhu, we turned off and travelled along the
Gutu Road. From Chivhu, we drove for approximately 300 km to Chiredzi and did
not see a solitary animal even though we passed several game ranches and
conservancies. Most of the game fencing had been vandalized, the wire
obviously utilized to make wire snares. We passed hundreds of plots
occupied by settlers who had destroyed the surrounding vegetation in order
to plant maize which was in a sorry state due to the fact that this is a
low rainfall area. Several of the plots were actually on the game ranches
SATURDAY 12th APRIL
We met Gerry Whitehead of
Whitro Ranch, part of Chiredzi Conservancy. Gerry has been evicted from
his ranch but we asked him how many animals are left on his property since
the land invasions and he gave us the following figures:
PRIOR TO LAND INVASIONS NUMBERS REMAINING Eland 200 12 Wildebeeste 450 -
500 50 - 55 Zebra 120 35 Impala 500 - 600 120 Nyala 30 0 Giraffe 60
9 Waterbuck 65 - 70 9 It was estimated that 75 - 80% of the animals
on conservancies countrywide are now dead at the hands
That afternoon we received information that
the remains of a wildebeest had been found and 2 poachers had been
arrested so we went to investigate. The poachers were interviewed by the TV
During the interview of the poachers, a truck came down the
narrow strip road, laden with Africans and household goods. We stopped them
and discovered that they were farm workers who had just been evicted
from their home by war vets so they were also interviewed. They had no
idea where they were going as they were now homeless.
We visited Gary and Theresa Warth of Wasara Ranch, part of
Chiredzi Conservancy. Gary and Theresa are expecting to be evicted any day
now. They are currently co-existing with 831 settlers, 436 of whom are the
settlers' children. 84 013 metres of wire has been stolen from their game
fencing since December 2001 and their wildlife which was previously
abundant, is almost non existent. The only animals we saw at Wasara were 2
tame elephants which Theresa is training, a small family of warthog and one
Gary told us that the poaching is seasonal. The settlers
prepare their fields, plant, then poach while waiting to reap and then eat
the crops with the poached meat. This increases in winter until the
cycle begins again. If the season is poor as in a drought year, the
poaching will start earlier and be more intense.
We then left the
Chiredzi area and proceeded to Mike Clark's place in Mwenezi which is on the
Beitbridge Road, 114 km from Beitbridge.
Mike took us on a round trip through the Nuanetsi Conservancy,
approximately 200 km on dirt roads. Throughout the whole trip, we literally
did not see one live animal. Mike told us that 2 years ago, the same roads
on which we were travelling were actually a hazard because there was so much
wildlife there that if you didn't keep your attention firmly focused
on the road, you stood a good chance of hitting an animal.
stopped at the game ranch of Lawrence Nicholson in Mateke Hills where the TV
crew filmed the remains of a zebra and a giraffe which had been caught in
snares. There is so little wildlife left, that it was even difficult to
find dead animals, let alone live ones.
We made our way back to the
Beitbridge Road and paid a visit to Sam and Janet Cawood of Kleinbegin Ranch
in Bubi. Sam and Janet are also co-existing with war vets. Kleinbegin is
part of the Bubye River Valley Conservancy and Sam and Janet started their
safari operation there in 1966, building up and protecting their wildlife
for the next 30 years. They gave us figures of how many animals they started
with, what the numbers had increased to by March 2000, and how much is
left now. It must be noted that through breeding, the numbers increased
significantly by March 2000 in spite of the fact that some animals were
lost to predators such as cheetah, leopard and lion and others died during
the drought periods.
ANIMALS KILLED IN 1966 IN MARCH 2000 IN
2003 Giraffe 105 135 5 Eland 175 412 0 Zebra 30 72 15 -
20 Wildebeeste 36 85 25 - 30 Kudu 250 885 10 Impala 275 470 50 These
figures show that Kleinbegin has lost 95% of its wildlife to poachers in the
past 2 years.
In addition to game ranching, Sam was also doing cattle
ranching. He was particularly upset about an area of 130 hectares which he
kept free of cattle and wildlife. The purpose of this was to allow the
natural grasses to grow for cattle fodder. There are 3 types of grass
which grow naturally and are very valuable in cattle fodder. These are
Panicum Maximus, Cenchris and Eurochloa. Through the years, he would reap
this grass and pack it into bales and store it. During the drought periods
when there was no grass growing for the cattle to feed on, Sam would bring
out his precious bales of fodder and his cattle were never affected by the
drought. He saw his cattle through 5 drought periods by doing
Now, however, the war vets have ploughed up his 130 hectares of
grass and destroyed it. They have planted their maize there which doesn't
even germinate because this area is not suitable for maize, being a
low rainfall area.
CONCLUSION The devastation we witnessed on this
trip was heartbreaking. I can't see any hope for our country unless we
have a change of government soon. When we formed the Zimbabwe Conservation
Task Force, it was with the intention of assisting National Parks
to minimize the poaching before it was too late but with no law and order
in place, and the government actually encouraging the slaughter, it is
impossible to fight something of this magnitude.
Herald Reporter UNITED States Assistant Secretary
of State Mr Walter Kansteiner was recently humiliated by Zimbabwe's High
Commissioner to Britain Cde Simabarashe Mumbengegwi when he called for a
regime change in Zimbabwe at a meeting convened by the Africa Royal Society
Although Mr Kansteiner's formal address focused on such issues
as promotion of private sector involvement in Africa's development especially
in trade, democracy, transparency and conflict resolution, he was later asked
what the US was going to do in regard to the situation in Zimbabwe.
Kansteiner responded by saying that there was no democracy and respect for
human rights in Zimbabwe.
He said his government wanted to see the
country start a political process whereby the present Government was replaced
by a transitional government, leading to free and fair elections.
Kansteiner said the US would accept the outcome of that process regardless of
who would have emerged winner.
It was after his response that Cde
Mumbengegwi asked him whether he was aware that his government had angered
the world by ignoring international opinion by its involvement in the
domestic affairs of sovereign states.
On the question of democracy in
Zimbabwe, the High Commissioner reminded Mr Kansteiner that the 2000
parliamentary elections were unanimously ruled free and fair by all observers
including those from the European Union and the United States.
last year's presidential election, more than 15 regional and international
observer groups ruled the election free and fair. The one isolated adverse
report, which came from the Commonwealth, has since become totally
discredited," said a source that attended the meeting.
On the question of
human rights, the High Commissioner reminded Mr Kansteiner the US and the
EU-sponsored resolution on human rights in Zimbabwe was heavily defeated at
the United Nations Human Rights Commission in Geneva.
This was the
voice of the only international human rights body set up by the United
Nations, which Mr Kansteiner conveniently chose to ignore.
On the issue
of democracy, the High Commissioner said the US Assistant Secretary of
State's allegations were rejected by Sadc, Comesa, AU, ACP and Non-Aligned
Mr Mumbengegwi also asked Mr Kansteiner when the US was going
to listen to the voice of the international community.
Commissioner's remarks were greeted with applause.
The address by Mr
Kansteiner was aimed at galvanising support against Zimbabwe ahead of his
visit to South Africa and Botswana.
However, South African President
Thabo Mbeki has already hinted to Mr Kansteiner that Africa was not prepared
to have foreigners dictating how they should govern themselves. President
Mbeki recently said that Zimbabweans were capable of solving their own
He said foreigners should not say wrong things about the
continent in order to further their own interests.
Reporter THE European Union has given 102 vehicles, electrical equipment and
five million euros to the World Food Programme to strengthen Zimbabwe's
response to the current food shortages.
Another 40 millions euros were
said to have been set aside and could be accessed any time.
despite the deteriorating relations between some European countries and
The donation was handed over to the World Food Programme on
It included 102 4x4 Nissan vehicles with high frequency mobile
radios, 40 high frequency radio base stations, 22 rub halls (for extended
delivery food storage), 700 tarpaulins (plastic sheets), 68 desktop
computers, 106 lap-top computers, 20 fax machines, 54 printers, 54 power
surge protection units, 20 photocopiers and 12 solar panels.
vehicles would be used to strengthen the capacity of WFP's
implementing partners to respond to the humanitarian crisis in the
Head of the European Union in Zimbabwe, Ambassador Francesca
Mosca said the organisation would continue assisting the people of Zimbabwe
for as long as it was necessary.
"In spite of better rain the country
is still in need of humanitarian assistance and the EU is ready to continue
its support for the people of Zimbabwe hit by the crisis, the decline of the
economy and the HIV/Aids pandemic," she said.
She said her
organisation's priority was to assist people in need.
in need is our priority as the European Community. To us this is substantial
and concrete expression of European solidarity towards the millions, who have
suffered because of the food crisis in Zimbabwe," she said.
added that the donation was meant to boost the capacity of the WFP to deliver
aid to the most vulnerable.
Providing the organisation's implementing
partners with office equipment, technical support, training and
transportation assistance was seen as improving the efficiency and
effectiveness of food distributions.
The WFP deputy director Mrs Gawaher
Atif received the donation.
"Our implementing partners, non-governmental
organisations, are our link and front line support to millions of people who
receive food donated to WFP by the international community.
generous donation by the EC will help to strengthen distribution
and monitoring capacity of the NGOs we work with to provide hungry people
with basic food supplies," said Mrs Atif.
Since February 2002, WFP had
distributed more than 340 000 tonnes of food in Zimbabwe to five million
Forty-eight districts out of the country's 57 were
Harare - The trial of Zimbabwe's main opposition leader Morgan
Tsvangirai was set to resume in Harare on Monday against a background of
widening political and economic tensions in the southern African
Tsvangirai, the leader of the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) has been charged with plotting to assassinate President Robert Mugabe
ahead of last year's presidential elections, which Mugabe
Tsvangirai denies the charges, alleging he was framed by
Mugabe's government. If convicted of treason, he faces the death
"It (the trial) is going to resume tomorrow," Tsvangirai's
lawyer Innocent Chagonda told AFP on
'The will of the people shall
prevail' The high-profile trial of Tsvangirai began amid a blaze of publicity
in February and was adjourned nearly eight weeks later in March, when
Harare's High Court went into recess.
Two other top MDC officials
stand accused with Tsvangirai: Welshman Ncube, the party's secretary general
and Renson Gasela, the shadow agriculture minister.
testify on Monday for the prosecution was one of the policemen involved in
investigating the alleged treason plot - the fifth of 11
The state's main witness, Canada-based political
consultant Ari Ben Menashe, has already testified.
The treason charges
arise from a barely audible video tape of a meeting Tsvangirai held with Ben
Menashe in Montreal in December 2001. Ben Menashe alleged that Tsvangirai had
asked him at that meeting for assistance to "eliminate" 79-year old Mugabe.
But Tsvangirai's lawyers allege that the consultant deliberately tried to
entrap the opposition leader.
Tensions between the MDC and Mugabe's
ruling Zimbabwe African National Union - Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF) party have
increased in the last two months.
The MDC staged a widely-followed
two-day strike in March to protest alleged misgovernance, and then supported
a second stayaway called by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) last
That strike was called to protest a hike in petrol prices of more
than 200 percent.
Tsvangirai and the MDC have warned there will be
further strikes. The MDC has been placing full-page advertisements in the
private press stating: "The will of the people shall prevail".
opposition leader has also however said he is willing to meet with Mugabe and
the ruling party to chart a way out of Zimbabwe's current political
Last week, three African leaders - Thabo Mbeki of South Africa,
Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria and Bakili Muluzi of Malawi - came to Harare for
talks with Mugabe and Tsvangirai in a bid to break the political
Mugabe appeared shortly after the talks to say that Tsvangirai
must accept him as president before any inter-party talks could resume,
something the opposition leader is unlikely to do.
The 51-year old
former trade union leader has refused to accept Mugabe's victory in the March
2002 presidential polls, and will challenge it in court.
This week the
MDC filed an urgent court application to force the High Court to set a date
for the long-awaited election petition.
At a rally Sunday in the
country's second city of Bulawayo, attended by an estimated 20 000 people,
Tsvangirai urged thousands of party supporters to take to the streets in
support of his demand for a re-run of last year's presidential
"What the MDC wants to do is for people to go on the streets in
numbers. And if we go on the streets (President Robert) Mugabe will know it's
over for him," Tsvangirai said.
He did not set a date for the protest.
"The dates for the mass action will be announced soon," he said. -
Air Zimbabwe, one of whose planes
had to make an emergency landing to refuel in Lusaka, Zambia, yesterday
morning, has only three days' supply of Jet A1 fuel
The national airline might have to
ground some of its planes if it does not receive deliveries by
Air Zimbabwe spokesman David
Mwenga told The Daily News that the airline's fuel stocks were running
He, however, denied that the plane
that made an emergency stop-over in Lusaka yesterday, delaying passengers,
had run out of fuel.
Mwenga said the
Harare-bound flight, UM767 from London, had been diverted to Lusaka to refuel
to enable it to fly to Johannesburg.
said Air Zimbabwe had opted to refuel in Lusaka to conserve the low stocks in
"You have to understand that we
are facing severe fuel shortages in this country. But it is absolutely not
true that the plane had run out of fuel," he
"We wanted to use the same plane to
go to Johannesburg.
"But since we did not
have enough Jet A1 here, it had to divert its route to Lusaka for
Zimbabwe is facing a severe
shortage of liquid fuel, stemming from a serious foreign currency squeeze
that has adversely affected the country's industry and
The crisis has also crippled the
public transport system.
in a desperate move, has asked banks to source foreign currency from the
parallel market at whatever rate to ease the
Mwenga said the
national airliner, which is already operating below capacity because of a
decline in international and domestic travellers, had enough stocks of Jet A1
fuel to last between two and three days.
The Air Zimbabwe spokesman said the parastatal had no indication as
of yesterday when it might next receive
"We have enough stocks for two
to three days. Fuel companies would be in a position to say when the next
deliveries of Jet A1 will come,"
He said there was little
the airline could do once stocks ran out but to wait for
deliveries. Meanwhile, passengers on Flight
UM767 yesterday said they had been delayed by about two hours in the Zambian
capital while the plane refuelled.
plane, which left London at 1930 hours on Saturday, was scheduled to land at
Harare International Airport at 0630hours.
However, it arrived about two hours late after the diversion to
Frustrated passengers who were
on the flight yesterday said the pilot had told them that the plane would not
reach its destination unless it refuelled in
"The pilot said the landing was
unavoidable as the plane had run out of fuel," said a passenger who phoned
The Daily News and identified himself only as
"It was a very risky decision
which the pilot made to take off at Gatwick International Airport when he
really knew that there was not enough fuel to take the plane to its
destination. What if Zambian authorities had refused to refuel that plane? We
would be still stuck in Lusaka."
Mwenga said British aviation authorities would not have allowed the plane to
depart London if it did not have enough fuel to reach
He said the airline was very much
aware that it had inconvenienced passengers and their waiting relatives and
"But they must not get down to
tarnish the image of Air Zimbabwe by saying we risked the passengers' lives,"
"While we delayed these people by
about two hours, only a mad pilot with about 200 passengers aboard would take
off if there were not enough fuel stocks in the
"It is normal in the aviation
industry that planes divert routes and make stop-overs to
"But it has been a long time since
we diverted any flight."
THE liquidity crisis in
Zimbabwe's financial sector could erode confidence and contribute to the
collapse of local financial institutions, analysts have
The country has been hit by a
shortage of notes in the past few months, which some banking sector officials
say is the result of Zimbabwe's foreign currency squeeze, which has made it
difficult for the Reserve Bank to import special note
But central bank officials this
week attributed the note shortages to the hoarding of cash by the public and
illegal foreign currency dealers.
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe officials said more than $200 billion could be in
the hands of the public and the illegal
The shortage of notes has
contributed to long queues at automated teller machines, which are often
unable to supply bank customers with
Some banks have also been forced to
tell customers in their banking halls that they cannot supply them with money
because they have insufficient notes.
Local analysts told The Business Daily that this could adversely affect the
public's confidence in Zimbabwe's financial institutions, because they could
not understand why sound banks would not be able to supply
The analysts said this could result
in some customers holding on to their cash instead of depositing it with
banks, because they were afraid they might be unable to withdraw the money
when they needed it.
A decline in deposits
would affect bank earnings, the analysts said, affecting their
Some economists said the plight
of local financial institutions could be compounded by Zimbabwe's worsening
foreign currency shortages, which they said were also affecting banks'
They pointed out that those banks
whose profits had been augmented by trading on the lucrative parallel market
for foreign currency would be hit by the tightening of exchange
Analysts say regulations
requiring exporters to lodge 100 percent of their earnings with the central
bank and those banning bureaux de change have contributed to a decline in
hard cash inflows on the parallel market.
Economic commentator Jonathan Kadzura said: "Banks have traded on
the parallel market for a long time and have cheated the public that they
are doing well at the expense of good corporate
"But now the greenback is no
longer there and banks are left behind and subsequently their services alone
cannot sustain the appetite
Analysts said it was
necessary for the central bank to intervene to stem note shortages before
they affected the stability of Zimbabwe's financial
Banking officials say the panic
withdrawal of notes has worsened shortages, as has the hoarding of cash for
some of the money was being used on the parallel market for foreign
"Because of corruption, people
are keeping money in cash and the money is going to the parallel economy,"
said National Economic Consultative Forum spokesman Nhlanhla
It was not possible to secure
comment from the Reserve Bank on its plans for resolving the crisis because
central bank officials have not responded to written questions from The
However, the Reserve Bank
is said to have this week ruled out printing more money against a background
of declining economic activity.
said printing money would fuel inflation, which rose 228 percent in the year
to March and is expected to reach 500 percent before the end of the
The analysts said the timely
intervention of the central bank would avert the collapse of several
Kadzura said: "It
would appear that the problems reflect the inability of the bank to conduct
its role efficiently and effectively."
TWO stock thieves last week
stunned the court when they asked the presiding magistrate to grant them bail
so that they could go home and dig the money they hid in a hole before their
Collen Dehwe, 40, and Charles
Chiimba, (age not given), made the request soon after they were each slapped
with an effective six-year jail term after being convicted of stock theft by
Harare magistrate Judith Tsamba.
and Chiimba said they wanted to go to their communal homes because nobody
would find the hidden money, but Tsamba rebuffed their request and asked them
to write letters to their relatives informing them of the whereabouts of the
However, the duo will effectively
serve one year after Tsamba suspended 36 months from their sentence for five
years on condition of good behaviour. Two years were further suspended on
condition that they pay restitution to the owner of the stolen beasts before
Prosecutor Janet Haruperi
alleged that on 20 April, the complainant discovered that there were four
beasts missing from the stock he had just received from his
He then asked Dehwe, who was
his herdboy and was responsible for keeping these cattle, but Dehwe assured
him that all the cattle were there.
alleged, the complainant then checked his records and, in the slaughter
books, he discovered that there was the name of Chiimba who had slaughtered
two beasts on 31 March and was paid an amount of $502 000 by a certain
On further investigations, the
complainant discovered that Chiimba allegedly slaughtered two other beasts
and was paid $454 000 by the
Chiimba was then arrested
and he failed to give a satisfactory account of how he got the four beasts
and there were no records of any permit shown to Dehwe confirming that he had
received any stock for slaughter
Furthermore, Chiimba went
to confess that he had been used by Dehwe to act as if he had sold these four
beasts to Koala Butchery and in return was promised a share from the proceeds
of selling these cattle by Dehwe.
beasts were valued at $952 579 and nothing was
THE police in Malawi last week
arrested and deported seven Zimbabweans in connection with a scam in which
Zimbabweans are allegedly forging Malawian travel documents in order to
emigrate to the United Kingdom
Malawian citizens do not
require visas when travelling to the UK.
passport officer at the Malawian High Commission in Harare, who refused to
give his name, could not be drawn into discussing the circumstances leading
to the arrest of the Zimbabwean nationals.
"We have a new passport system which we have just completed and it
is impossible for one to steal another person's passport," he
He said the embassy's switchboard
was jammed with telephone calls from people concerned about the issue of the
new passport system and of Zimbabweans attempting to beat the United
Kingdom's stringent visa regulations by travelling on Malawian
Embassy sources said Luke
Kabwe, Brain Dube and Jonathan Charakupa were allegedly arrested and
interrogated by David Kwanjana, an immigration officer in Malawi, after they
applied for passports with forged
The identities of
the other deportees could not be
During the interrogation,
Kwanjana reportedly detected that the trio was not fluent in the Malawian
vernacular languages of the districts they had entered in the passport
use Malawians to fill in the applications declaring them as their parents in
their desperate bid to get passports to travel to
In an interview with The Daily
Times of Malawi, Bryson Bendala, Malawi 's immigration spokesman, said the
information that the Zimbabweans entered on their passport application forms
was suspect and the police intervened.
"Apart from their poor accent, information entered on their application
forms, as regards to ages and appearances, raised suspicion and they were
eventually arrested," Bendala said. He said the seven were fined and ordered
to leave Malawi.
CONFUSION marred a Mashonaland
West Zanu PF provincial executive meeting in Chinhoyi on Saturday after the
party failed, for the third time, to come up with a candidate for the Makonde
by-election. Five new candidates declared their interest to run in the
A source who attended the meeting
yesterday said the party would convene another meeting tomorrow - the fourth
one - after seven candidates, including journalist Kindness Paradza and
President Mugabe's nephew, Leo Mugabe, declared interest in the
The seat fell vacant after the death
of Dr Swithun Mombeshora, the Minister of Higher and Tertiary Education, in
March. President Mugabe is still to announce the date for the
Mombeshora had stood on a
Zanu PF's ticket in the 2000 parliamentary election after the party had
It was argued when
Paradza was a journalist on The Financial Gazette, his tone of writing was
not in line with Zanu PF and government's
"It seems factionalism in the
province has raised its ugly head again," said the source. "We thought
the race would be between Paradza and Mugabe. And we thought by consensus we
would have a candidate on Saturday, but we now have to convene another
meeting possibly this week after five new candidates declared their interest
at the weekend."
Other contestants are:
Artwell Seremani, Fanni Chikomba, Douglas Tendai Mombeshora, Emmanuel Chisvo
and Lahliwe Murefu, the only female candidate in the
Philip Chiyangwa, the party's
provincial chairman yesterday confirmed that a candidate was not chosen on
Saturday but dismissed allegations that confusion reigned after five new
candidates declared their interest.
situation is still under control," said
Seremani's candidacy is
reported to have caused sharp discontent among the Mashonaland West Zanu PF
stalwarts who want either Mugabe or Paradza.
THE country's acute fuel
shortage has seriously affected water supplies in the Nyamandlovu District of
The aquifer that
serves the area depends largely on diesel engines to draw water from
boreholes and deep wells for human and
Since the start
of the fuel crisis, some residents, including schools and clinics near the
Nyamandlovu business centre, have been getting water from the nearby
Nyamandlovu railway station.
Railways of Zimbabwe authorities recently stopped them by effectively
blocking all taps, saying that water was flowing towards the railway line and
could endanger trains.
Casper Moyo of
Muntu Farm said that they use a diesel engine but due to the current fuel
shortage, they have tasked villagers to look for diesel to get the engine
Villagers get water from communal
tanks, drawn from boreholes and wells by diesel-powered
"This is not healthy because
people just dip their cans without first washing them," said
Joseph Makhosana of West Junction
said, because of the shortage, they were now having to walk for more than 3km
to get water. He said local people recently asked their councillor to source
funds to sink at least two boreholes for the area but they were still
awaiting a response.
Similo Ndiweni of
Nyamandlovu centre said residents get water from one borehole at the centre,
but the water was muddy and unfit for
SMUGGLING of basic commodities
has reached alarming levels at the Sango border post in Chiredzi, amid police
reports that goods worth over $100 million have been impounded since January
The once dormant border post
has become a hive of activity as hundreds of people scramble to cross into
neighbouring Mozambique to sell
The police said they had
increased manpower at the border post.
an operation termed Bvisa Chipfukuto (remove the pest), the police here said
they impounded sugar and other basic commodities worth about $20 million
destined for Mozambique where there is a ready
"We have increased our patrols at
the border post in order to deal with the situation," a police spokesperson
said. "Goods worth over $100 million were seized as people tried to take them
out of the country."
Farmers' Union (CFU) has also alleged that cattle worth over $100 million
have been smuggled out of the country into
In an earlier interview, Mike
Clarke, the CFU regional spokesman said the beef industry is on the brink of
collapse as stock theft continues to rock most commercial farms in Mwenezi
"We will have to import the
breeding herd because the situation is getting out of hand," Clarke said.
"Smuggling of beef into Mozambique is now the order of the day and the
country's beef industry is on the verge
THE MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai
says his party is mobilising its structures for the "final push" in the
struggle for the removal of Zanu PF and the establishment of democratic
governance in the country.
At a separate
rally in Harare, other MDC leaders called on the residents to brace for a
mass demonstration against Ignatius Chombo, the Minister of Local Government,
Public Works and National Housing, to force him to quash his decision to
suspend Harare Executive Mayor, Elias
Addressing an estimated 20 000
people who thronged the White City Stadium in Bulawayo, Tsvangirai said the
party would soon announce a date for mass action
against the government, which he said will
take the form of street protests.
past three years Zimbabweans have made many sacrifices in the fight for
democracy. Some have been killed, others have been arrested or imprisoned.
The time has come for everyone, including the suffering Zanu PF members, to
get ready to make the final push and finish this business. When we call on
you to come out, everyone, except for the sick and elderly, should come out
and take for the streets," said Tsvangirai, to deafening applause from the
He said the MDC would not fail to
govern the country because they had a record through their Members of
Parliament and executive mayors who were governing several
Although he did not give an exact
date for the mass action, Tsvangirai 's deputy, Gibson Sibanda, said the
action was "just round the corner".
statement was reinforced by the party's secretary-general Professor Welshman
Ncube, who said the MDC was aware that "democracy could not be achieved by
just sitting at home".
On the inter-party
talks pushed by Presidents Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, Bakili Muluzi of
Malawi and Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Tsvangirai said the party would not
back down and withdraw the court challenge against the legitimacy of Mugabe's
victory and recognise him as head of
Said Tsvangirai: "Mugabe is saying
that we should recognise him as president and withdraw our petition before he
talks to us. We will not do that. Our position is that the talks should be
unconditional and we communicated that to the three
"This country is going through
the most difficult times because of Mugabe and his cronies, we cannot allow
him to dictate any conditions for talks, if there are going to be any talks
at all. The Lancaster House negotiations that brought independence would not
have succeeded if Ian Smith had been allowed to set conditions. They were
held while war, which was the only pressure Smith understood, continued. That
is what we are going to do. We will not shoot anyone but use the power of the
people to effect change," said
Meanwhile, addressing about 8
000 residents in Budiriro, Harare, Job Sikhala, the St Mary's MP said people
must turn out in their thousands to support
"Business must grind to a halt
when the decision to fight Chombo's interference into the affairs of the
Harare City Council by suspending Mudzuri is announced," Sikhala
He said Chombo was only an
individual without the power to force Mudzuri out of his office as if he
"Mudzuri was suspended
because his performance underscored what the MDC-led government would do when
elected into power and he was performing well where successive Zanu PF-led
councils failed," Sikhala said.
know that Mugabe cannot contain the anger residents have about Mudzuri's
Mudzuri told the gathering
that he would quit if they decided that he did not measure up to the
"If residents do not want what I am
doing as their mayor, I can leave council," he said. "The churches,
residents, business and industry must come up with their committee to pass a
verdict on my performance as mayor.
police have chased me away from meetings intended to discuss problems such as
the refuse collection system and the water crisis, but they have escorted
Chipangano, the Zanu PF vigilante group into town, to demonstrate against
FORTY-SIX of the 200 women who
defied the police by taking part in the Mother's Day commemoration in
Bulawayo on Saturday were arrested and detained for more than five hours at
the city's central police station.
placard-waving demonstrators had defied a police order denying them
permission to hold the celebrations, which were held peacefully in Harare
where the police told the women to remain within the confines of Africa Unity
Perpetua Dube, a Bulawayo lawyer
who represented the protesters, said her clients were arrested while in a
procession but were later released after paying a $3 000 admission of guilt
The women carried placards some
which read: "Enough Is Enough, We Want Our Rights, Love Us, Respect Us and
Allow Us Our Dignity As Mothers Of The Nation, Our Families Need Peace - Stop
Violence, Rape And Torture."
carried brooms to "sweep away the dirt that has accumulated in Zimbabwe". The
Movement for Democratic Change expressed solidarity with the women and lashed
out at the government for being repressive and insensitive to gender
"The MDC unreservedly condemns the
arrests of women who took part in a march to celebrate Mother's Day in
Bulawayo on Saturday," Paul Themba-Nyathi, the MDC spokesman said in a
"The decision by the police to
arrest women for observing a day which is commemorated by millions of other
women worldwide demonstrates the repressive regime's insensitivity to gender
Dube said it was disturbing that
women could be arrested while commemorating internationally recognised
occasions earmarked for them.
criticised the police saying they had maintained a hard line stance on women
by arresting them when celebrating similar events in
In February, a number of
women were arrested and assaulted by anti-riot police during commemorations
for Women's Day and Valentine's Day.
very disturbing that women can be arrested for no apparent reason other than
celebrating an international day recognising their existence and importance
on earth. If they can be arrested just like that, then the purpose of
Mother's Day diminishes and the occasion becomes irrelevant. It is actually
baffling, to say the least, why the police behaved the way they did," Dube
Jenny Williams, the Women of
Zimbabwe Arise spokesperson, said the civic group had decided to hold the
commemorations a day before Mother's Day to register their concern over the
escalating and widespread women rights abuses in the
"We were simply saying we want
enough respect as we are subjected to all kinds of torture and humiliation in
this country. Our rights are not observed at
"Zimbabwe has to understand that the
struggle for independence came and passed, but the struggle for women
emancipation continues. We are oppressed, and it's time we voiced our concern
and said enough is enough," Williams
In Harare, about 800 women from all
walks of life converged at the Africa Unity Square on Saturday where they
displayed placards, sang, danced and prayed for peace, love and
Paurina Mpariwa, the MP for
Mufakose, on Saturday said this year's Mothers' day was more of a "cry" than
a "celebration" as the economic climate was not conducive for women to
"Zimbabwean women cannot enjoy
themselves because there is no peace, they are being battered, there are
shortages of basic commodities, therefore it is really difficult for all
mothers to celebrate and enjoy themselves when they cannot fend for their
children," Mpariwa said.
She said unlike
in the good old days when children and fathers would spoil their mothers on
such a big day, it was now a thing of the past due to the harsh economic
conditions Zimbabweans were facing.
"Mothers however are the most affected because they have a responsibility of
fending for the family," said Mpariwa.
justification for year's pay on 42 days'
5/12/03 7:41:03 AM (GMT
Speaking on Short Wave Radio Africa
last week, Harare North Member of Parliament Trudy Stevenson (MDC) said that
when the current Parliamentary year closes later this month, in a 52-week
year, Zimbabwe's Parliament will have sat for a total of 42
How do the leaders of our country
expect to resolve Zimbabwe's massive problems in only 42
I would have thought it would have
taken every single one of those 42 days to just try and resolve the food
crisis, the results of which grumble in our bellies every
Without even trying, I can name
nearly a dozen life-sustaining food items which are either non-existent or in
critically short supply right now in our country - maize, flour, bread,
sugar, oil, margarine, milk, baby milk powder, cereals and
If Zimbabwe's Parliament took just
one of these items per day and tried to work out why it is no longer
available and what they are going to do about putting it back on our shelves,
then I would feel they have earned their annual salary and all the perks that
go with it.
Once these problems were
resolved perhaps the parliamentarians, could have spent one day discussing
what to do about the fact that for the past three years we have been short of
petrol and have now literally ground to
They could have given another
day to diesel, another to paraffin and another to
Once these problems had been
discussed, our MPs could perhaps have spent one day talking about how people
are supposed to find the money to pay the outrageous fares now needed to get
to work, if they are lucky enough to have a
Parliamentarians could have allocated
another four days to talking about and resolving the complete collapse of
Zimbabwe's health service.
They could have
given one day to finding out why multiple thousands of doctors, nurses,
physiotherapists, specialists and laboratory technicians have fled the
Another day discussing the fact
that just over half of the country's population - the women - can no longer
even keep themselves clean during their monthly cycles because there is no
cotton wool or sanitary wear for women to buy on Zimbabwe's
At least one parliamentary
sitting could have been spent talking about the fact that all of our hundreds
of rural clinics have nothing more than paracetamol to offer their
They could have asked each other
how diarrhoea, malnutrition, virus infections, tuberculosis and broken limbs
can be resolved with a mere painkiller.
They should have given at least one day to discussing how we are going to
stop the wildfire spread of Aids; how we are going to improve the lives and
nutrition of people infected with Aids and what we are going to do about over
a million Aids orphans and hundreds of child-headed
How long should have been
allocated to discussing
I would suggest
at least five days.
One for teachers'
totally unrealistic salaries, another for how the cost of school uniforms,
books and even ball-point pens has become completely
The other two days could
have been spent on just what exactly has happened since the suspension of the
Cambridge examinations, the massive scandals and corruption within the
Zimbabwe School Examinations Council, the chaos with lecturers' salaries at
the University of Zimbabwe and how university students are prostituting
themselves to buy food and books.
talking about these four issues could have accounted for 17 days, leaving
another 17 to discuss and resolve the fact that eight out of every 10 people
are unemployed; over 300 000 farm workers are homeless and destitute;
inflation is over 230 percent; 3 million Zimbabweans are in exile in other
countries and that vast proportions of the population are selling even the
clothes off their backs in order to just
Instead, the precious 42 days of
Parliamentary sitting were spent changing the laws to grab land and to
oppress people, denying looting diamonds from the Congo, denying anarchy and
arguing about if murder, rape and torture are human rights abuses or
As Zimbabwe dies on its feet,
precious time was wasted by ministers telling about aerial flights from which
they saw lush fields of non-existent food; ministers insisting that Britain
is trying to re-colonise us, or ministers shouting and pushing out their
chests, insisting that they are not engaged in "liaisons" with members of the
opposite sex in the South
These 42 days have
been a national disgrace and our parliamentarians have clearly forgotten how
they got to sit in those red leather chairs and who pays them to be
Look to your conscience, Mr
Minister, because we have had enough of being used and
IT WAS magnanimous for
President Bakili Muluzi of Malawi to invite the MDC leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, to Lilongwe to discuss the way forward for Zimbabwe, which is
stuck in a political and economic
Coming together, they say, is a
beginning. It is a foot in the door. What is more important is for both
Tsvangirai and President Robert Mugabe to reach a workable agreement so that
the suffering in Zimbabwe comes to
If Tsvangirai's travel
restrictions are relaxed or lifted, the MDC should seize this opportunity and
travel to Malawi with a mission to save the nation whose economy is now in
Tsvangirai's travel documents
were seized along with those of two other senior MDC officials, Welshman
Ncube, the secretary-general, and Renson Gasela, the shadow minister of
agriculture, who are all on trial for allegedly plotting to kill
The opposition leadership should
consult their supporters and map out a new strategy because sticking to tough
demands might not yield
The demands made by
the MDC are justified. But because politics is a game of wits, the survival
of the nation must never be put at risk. The MDC must make it clear to Muluzi
that Mugabe's rigid stance is selfish and will never lead the country out of
Mugabe insists that the MDC
should first recognise him as an elected and legitimate Head of State before
he can engage in any dialogue. The MDC, which is challenging in court
Mugabe's re-election as President last year, says there should be no
conditions for talks.
should seriously consider the idea of a transitional government, even for up
to one year, while preparing for a fresh election to be supervised by an
independent body such as the United Nations.
Is it not interesting that Zanu PF and
ZBC have accused nearly everyone of supporting the
organisations, urban dwellers, industrialists, non-governmental
organisations, teachers and other civil servants and, most recently, the
banks have all been accused of backing the
If all these organisations and
people truly support the opposition, then who supports Zanu PF? If the ruling
party has no support from all these groups and people, this could tell us a
big story about all the elections conducted since
Someone at Dead BC should surely
have the brains to figure this out.
A WORKMAN whose only tool is a
hammer, is counter-productive; he sees every task as requiring some
He cannot make even a simple
table because it is practically impossible to hammer a table into
One has to have other requisite
tools for measuring, cutting, planning and chiselling for a table to be
President Robert Mugabe compares
well to a workman whose tool kit contains only one
All problems that continue to
afflict the country have not been attended to because in his entire workshop,
there is only one tool - violence.
despite its continued use by the government, violence has proved beyond any
grain of doubt to be a non-effective panacea for our
The country has sunk into the
morass because the diversity of problems could not be solved by the violent
application of fear, pain, injury or death to
Many a time Mugabe has clenched
his fist and violently punched the air, but the problems, like cancer,
continue to sap the once
He also has on
numerous times tightened his face and sworn by his late mother, sadly though,
to no improvement in the degradation of the socio-economic
State-sanctioned violence has
been applied so much that it is an open secret that the government no longer
has any conscience. Its conscience went away without official leave a long
time ago and none in the so-called "war cabinet", including Mugabe himself,
ever bothered to trace it.
It was flushed
away together with bath water.
slogan, "Zanu ndeye ropa" (Zanu is a bloody party), the Zanu PF government
has made every effort to live true to its
The bombing of The Daily News
printing press and offices, and that of the privately-owned radio station,
Voice of the People, confirm that even non-personae are not immune from the
Dialogue is as far removed from
the government as olive oil is from the
Violence is the government's second
nature as evidenced by its continued use of the term "Chimurenga"
During the dark era of the
chaotic land grab, all the government-controlled media was awash with "Chave
Chimurenga" (It's now time for war) advertisements, clearly conveying the
message that to all intents and purposes, violence is its trump
That the government thrives on
violence is a myth only to the very cynical - what with High Court judges and
many other lower-ranking judicial officers quitting the Bench, teachers,
mainly those based in the communal lands, seeking transfers or resigning, and
political opponents gone scary? Violence is as close to the Zanu PF
government's heart a Romeo is to
The mediatory role being
played by Presidents Thabo Mbeki, Bakili Muluzi and Olusegun Obasanjo can
easily be a wild goose chase if they do not take into consideration the
government's adoration for violence.
crucial for the honourable presidents to understand that beneath the designer
suits worn by government representatives at the talks, lie hearts and minds
of architects of many gruesome injuries and deaths whose victims' only crime
was holding divergent political views.
breakthrough can only be realised by urging (sorry, urging is
an inappropriate term), by compelling the government to desist from
its practice of violence.
brutality with which the government treats its opponents, the only reason why
Mugabe trails Ugandan former President Idi Amin on the list of dictators is
that the former has not yet added cannibalism to
As members of the
Commonwealth troika, Mbeki and Obasanjo reduced themselves to caricatures of
an ancient African tribesman by embarrassingly siding with their counterpart
amid his daylight deviancy.
surprising to see them mistaking the hound for the
Their blind loyalty cost them
several kilogrammes of respect
Hopefully, this time
around they are wise enough to know that a long-handled spoon is a
prerequisite when one has a date for lunch with
With Zimbabwe on the verge
of total collapse, the glossing of Mugabe's intransigence is a dire threat
the three presidents have to confront and tackle
It is high time Mugabe was put on
the leash and made to toe the line of good
The global village we now live
in has no room for one who wants to "keep his Zimbabwe" for his own inflated
President George W Bush will go
down in the annals of history as a man with zero tolerance for tyrants and
His swift and decisive action
in dealing with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein once and for all in spite of
worldwide protests clearly demonstrates the type of world leader that he
The President of the United
States of America has one more task staring at him in the face - free the
long-suffering people of Zimbabwe from an evil and brutal
Given the insignificant
weaponry of Zimbabwe, it will be a few days' work to get the ordinary man,
woman and child truly liberated and free from an oppressive dictatorship,
repression, intimidation and state of hopelessness in our truly beloved