the Eye of the Storm
If you have ever been in a real hurricane,
the eerie feeling when a sudden silence and quiet descends in the midst of it
all can be quite disconcerting. Sometimes it feels a bit like that here. The
economy is spiraling downwards (minus 12 per cent this year the third year in
a row of declines in total output), food stocks are zero and we will shortly
face famine for the first time in our history. The political crisis intensifies
every day with threats and worse from the government against all its perceived
enemies the private press, the opposition, the independent businessperson.
Even a death threat against yourself from the military.
If you have had your eyes on the storm all
around you, if you suddenly find yourself in the center of it all and there is
peace and quiet, its seems unreal. But is it? This past weekend I had to make up
a double bunker bed for a grandchild. My son and his wife are expecting their
third child and a bedroom had to be vacated to make way for the new baby. The
two girls they already have are moving in together and a bed was
I had cut a large Cyprus tree down in the
garden a year ago and put that through a local sawmill, dried the timber myself
and then had a local co-operative make up several items for the house. The
double decked bed was one of those items. The timber was hard and smooth and has
made three items for the family that will last a lifetime. We took the bed up to
Harare and when there the family went out for a picnic in the local botanical
gardens. It was a beautiful day clear blue skies, cool and the gardens were in
prime condition. We romped with the kids and had a wonderful meal
There is something very special about a
grand daughter. I think these two are the cutest little things this side of
Philadelphia. Its all about family and belonging to each other. Lying on the
grass with the two kids astride my chest, you really wonder is this the center
of a storm, which will engulf us all in a short while? Or is it a part of the
storm that we can all enjoy for a short interlude before we go back into the
fight to stay alive and to ensure they have a future free of the fear that we
have had to live under for the past three years. Life in Zimbabwe is not all
violence and hunger and many of us do live in the center of the storm that rages
about us largely unaffected and enjoying very normal lives with family and
We had some late rain the other day 110
mm in this part of the world, which is normally very dry. This triggered a flush
of late season grass growth, which the cattle and wild life are now enjoying.
The impact on the garden was spectacular and the Msasa trees have had an early
flush of new leaves. Just after the rains I was driving back to Bulawayo from
the Lowveld and the storm was just receding. It was about 5 in the afternoon and
the sun shone through the clouds, bathing the whole veld with that very special
light at the end of the day in Africa. I thought, this is what it is going to be
like when this storm is over cool, clear skies, a vista where you can see
forever across the empty bushveld and the promise of green grass for the
For many living here, sometimes we lose
our perspective while the storm rages. All we see is the rushing wind, the trees
bending and the rain pouring down. Storms are necessary, or we could not live
and grow what we need. They also come to an end and then we have that smell of
the freshly watered soil and the promise of better days with sunshine. It is
vital we do not lose that perspective, because its always true and we can depend
on time delivering that experience to us just like the joy of having grand
children who think its fun to sit on your chest in the sun.
Bulawayo, 22 May 2002
I wondered whether you could put this transcript of a radio programme that
was recently aired on SAFM (radio station in South Africa) on your web site - it
is quite long but is very interesting. The presenter is a person called
Patricia Glyn - the programme 'Patricia's People' and in the programme she is
interviewing Meryl Harrison from the Zimbabwe SPCAs.
Transcript of : "Patricia's People"
Broadcast on SAfm :
16-May-2002 Presented by: Patricia Glyn Transcript Title : Transcript of
Guests/Reviewers * Meryl Harrison PATRICIA:
Hello from PG. I'm glad you could join me today because I think you'll
find my guest quite awe-inspiring. Meryl Harrison has been on the programme
before, talking about the work she does for the Zimbabwe SPCA, but it was brief
and I got many requests for more news of her activities. Well, she's just been
here in Johannesburg to judge a couple of dog competitions, so I spent a morning
in her company, hearing about the difficult and dangerous things she does to
rescue animals from that country's invaded farms and rural areas. But before we
roll tape, could I ask you please to have pen and paper ready for the end of the
programme when I'll give details once again of SAfm's efforts to raise funds for
Meryl and her team through the Blue Cross Challenge in August. We really need
your help in this so, as I say, pens to the ready. But first - the first
question I put to Meryl, which was to ask her to please describe the emotional
cost of doing what she's been doing for the past two years . . .
I must admit I'd be lying if I didn't say I haven't been affected by the
work I've been doing. Last week, before I went to Guruve, I got up, got into my
uniform and sat on the end of the bed, and thought, "I cannot face another farm,
another day of tense negotiations."
And also for the two black inspectors who
come with me, it's taken its toll on them too. I notice when we... We've got
it down to a fine art now: we know what job we have to do. On the way out there
we're always very quiet. We don't talk. But on the way back, when we've got
the animals in the back of the truck, we're chatting away and perhaps joking
about some of the things that have happened. But as far as... Yes, it's taken
its toll on me. I'm sure I'm more intolerant of people; I'm more ratty. And
more tearful, definitely.
You've just had an angina attack. Is that related to your work? It must
Well, my doctor said t o me the worst thing for tachycardia (sp?) was
stress, and I noticed that on my notes she'd put down "Stress +++"
so I think
that says it all. [WITH A LITTLE LAUGH] PATRICIA:
Why are you alone in doing this work for the SPCA up there?
Well, I have to say it's quite a specialised job.
something we've only been doing for about 18 months. It was when I first saw
the first footage of those dogs that were beaten at Redulphia (sp?)
a year ago, and I thought there must be a role for the SPCA somewhere in this
nightmare. And I don't know that any other SPCA has handled this sort of thing,
so there were no reference books or manuals on how to rescue animals from a farm
that's been invaded.
So we literally flew by the seat of our pants to start with. We made a few
mistakes, I'm sure. But gradually, with each rescue, I think we're becoming
more efficient. We know the sort of things that will upset the war vets. We
always liaise with the police; we always have an escort - even though they say
there's actually no problem there, we still take a police escort. We always let
the war vets on the ground know what we're all about, what we're doing there.
So we set certain parameters as we go along.
And there's no doubt about it:
the black inspectors who come with me do get intimidated, and I tend to find
myself having to do most of the talking.
But Zimbabwe's quite a big country. Are you on the road for like eight
hours, rescuing pets, driving home and then getting into the car the next day
and doing another six hours? What is a day like for you?
Well, that's roughly how it goes. We're doing about two to three a week,
and most of them - in fact, 99% of them - have been in Mashonaland West, Central
and East. Some of them are getting closer to Harare. We did one recently on a
flower farm which was only 20km from Harare. But the two that we did the day
before were Guruve, which took us over two hours to get there. Now, once you've
got there, you then have to start dealing with the police, and that can take
twenty minutes or it can take us over two hours to get a police escort. Then
getting to the farm... Once you arrive, you have to negotiate with the war vets
on the ground.
What does that entail?
First of all, you have to see the base commander, and very often they're
not around. And the others - the war vets and the settlers
- dare not make
any decisions about letting you on until the base commander comes. So
invariably you have to - as we did last week - lean on a tractor tyre and while
away the hours. And then, in the case of this particular farm, we had to wait
for 'the book' - which is where usually I have to write up what I'm doing there,
give my telephone number... Most of the war vets in Zimbabwe have my cell-phone
number now! [BOTH LAUGH A LITTLE] So one rescue can take the best part of the
day. And in that case we still had another farm to go to for two
Are some of them very scary, these negotiations? Are you threatened a
Not necessarily during the negotiations. In one case in particular
which has been in the press, it was Waltendale Farm, owned by the Cartwright
family - initially when we got to the main gate - we had the police with us - we
got in on the explanation that we'd come to get the six dogs and two cats which
had been at the house for a week. But once we got up to the son's house and I
used the buzzer for his gate to open, then they were very upset.
Where had I
got the buzzer from? - And I said, "Well, the farmer brought it to the SPCA."
And the response was, "Oh, you're a friend of the farmer's." And this always
creates problems. I was accused that day of being Cartwright's sister.
So it's always tension if we have the keys, and on this particular occasion
we got the dogs out. We had them in the back of the truck and were about to
leave and a huge crowd came up the road, which included the Chairman of the Land
Committee - we usually have to see them as well - and also the local MP for
Marondera West. And he demanded that I hand over the keys of the house because
he wanted to occupy it that day. I obviously resisted for as long as I could,
and then they had locked us in and would not open the gates, and then they had
said in Shona - which I didn't understand at the time
- that I would be
assaulted if I didn't hand them over.
So you can imagine how I felt driving back to Harare, thinking "How on
earth am I going to tell these people I've handed the keys of their house
over?" But they were extremely nice about it. And, as they said, if they want
to get into a house to loot it, they can; they don't have to have the keys. So
keys are always a problem.
Before we get to the kind of thing you've seen on the animal front, it must
be very eerie, surely, to go into people's farms and homes which have been long
It's very eerie and also depressing. You walk through people's houses and
their whole lives are trampled and squashed and smashed on the floor, from
squashed Christmas decorations to smashed photographs of graduations or weddings
And also the farm compounds are so depressing. On many farms
we've been to they are just eerily quiet. Maybe just a couple of chickens left
behind. Doors swinging open. No fires burning. As you approach the farm very
often you will see the farm workers - and in the case of the Careys' farm in
Merondera the farm workers were all sitting at the side of the road in the
pouring rain, with all their belongings, being kicked off by war veterans, and
they have nowhere to go.
And the dogs and the cats? Have they been left in the houses
for weeks on end in some cases?
Yes. The longest we had was Buddy, a Boerbull cross, and Tokolosh, the
18-year-old cat. They had been in the house for
18 days. We went in
expecting to find especially the dog dead, and when I got into the house we
could hear Buddy barking from the bedroom, and the war vet said to me, "It's a
miracle, it's a miracle!"
She'd been drinking from the toilet and had very
cleverly also torn a bag of dog-meal open. So the two of them had survived that
way. But that was the longest.
Have a lot of them been the victims of cruelty and beatings from the war
Yes. Probably one of the worst was Nandy, who we rescued, a little
Australian blue-heeler, a very precious little dog to all of us. I found her in
the shower of a house that had been looted, ransacked and burnt. She'd been
looted along with all the household goods but, being a bright little girl, two
days later she made her way back to the house. And she must have been
devastated, because obviously the family had gone, all the possessions had gone,
and so she curled herself up in the shower. I walked into the house and just
stuck my head around the shower - there was no door or curtain or anything, and
they had lifted up a lot of the tiles - and there was Nandy lying there,
absolutely traumatised out of her wits. Her jaw was broken. The vet who
treated her said there wasn't an inch of her body that hadn't been bruised. But
she's an amazing little dog and she pulled through.
It can't be easy to catch cats when you've got screaming mobs behind you.
No, cats are a major problem. [WITH A LAUGH] One of the funniest incidents
was a cat called Tigger who had been on his own without company and without food
for about six days. I thought, "Oh, he'll be so pleased to see me." And he was
sitting up in the rafters, and I called him, and he was kneading away and
purring his head off, and he wouldn't come down. So I stood on a chair and got
a fish we'd taken with us and I was waving this at him, and he just carried on
purring and kneading away. And then I put a trail of fish across the floor - up
to where I was sitting with the cage - and it took us about an hour to catch
him. But eventually he decided, "Okay, I've had enough", and probably thought
it was getting a bit boring! But cats are a major problem. And one thing we've
learnt is that if there are dogs and cats to get we go in and try and catch the
We're talking today to Meryl Harrison, Zimbabwe SPCA's amazing animal
rescuer. Meryl, can we talk a little bit about livestock? I think I'm right in
saying your lowest day in the last
18 months has been with livestock and not
with domestic animals.
Yes, Patricia, this was the pigs out at Beatrice, and this was a nightmare
in so many ways logistically, because we felt so helpless. For SPCA to try and
move in the region of
800 pigs is just impossible. I did manage to get the
farmer to hire two enormous trucks with trailers. When we got there the war
vets were extremely hostile, and the settlers, and refused. In the end, to cut
a long story short, after hours of negotiating with the police, who were very
helpful as well, I then paid them out of my own pocket and they agreed that they
would load all the sick ones. And I thought maybe that would be better, because
there were some that were so thin. So we loaded 84 and then suddenly they said,
"That's it. You're not having any more." And I said, "But you promised us two
trucks and two trailers loads," and they said, "That's it - 84 or nothing." And
you've seen the photographs - unfortunately they were just living
Eventually a butcher, who'd taken the first lot of pigs, arranged
for another truck to go. Again they were limited, though, so probably about
50-100 were just left to starve.
Is it not so that some of the living were feeding on the carcasses of the
Yes, very much so. It was absolutely horrific. In the end I tried
dragging out some of the carcasses but they broke up in your hands, so what I
did was just left the living pigs out: at least they could forage around on the
grass until we could save them.
It was a horrific sight that I shall probably
What else have you seen?
We've seen cattle hamstrung. That has been awful.
We've seen, on one of
the farms close to Harare, two dairy calves that had been bludgeoned to death
with hammers and just thrown onto the compost heap. It wasn't as if they were
beaten because they wanted them for food. Last week we had a beef calf which
was about eight weeks old. He was axed nine times in the back and had to be
These are some of the horrific sights we've seen.
Also horses. I think a lot of people here in South Africa know about
little Merlin, a very special little guy. We've rescued a lot of animals from
this particular farm in Featherstone.
The one problem was the horses. Again,
we needed a substantial horse-box.
Eventually the farmer went in under cover
of darkness and managed to get five of his horses out which had been confined to
an area with very little grazing - and what there was, a lot of it had been
And with Merlin, I shot round there first thing in the morning, and he was
the most pathetic sight - a little chestnut foal, approximately two months old.
He'd been caught in a snare which had obviously broken off but it had gone right
through to the spine on one side and the trachea on the other. His mother had
no milk. He just stood there - his head hanging down - with absolutely no will
The stallion had been shot with a .22 through the nose. He's recovering.
But little Melin is out with Thoroughbred Trust now, with Jill Munn (sp?). He
was on three bottles of milk a day but his mother's milk has now come back.
He's charging about like a two-year-old. He's one of our success stories.
Meryl, we've heard a couple of incidents of people barricading themselves
in their houses of late. I think one was a very elderly couple, and there was
another one. Are you involved in those cases?
Yes, we are. In fact, all the cases that have drawn the attention of the
media with farmers, the SPCA has been involved in. And in the case of the
Baileys, the elderly couple, they realised that their little fox terriers who
were barricaded in with them... Every time they let them out, the settlers hit
them with catapults, stones and so on. So they were having a tough time. So
they got a message to us through their relatives to ask if we would go and
uplift them. They kept the little bitch for company.
The war vets accompanied me down to the house and then they were quite
clever... While I went to the front door to speak to Mrs Bailey they actually
went and hid. I think it was to make sure I didn't pass her anything and she
didn't pass me anything. And she opened the door, undid all the bolts, and she
said to me, "Would you come in?" And I replied, "I don't think we'd better,
because we're being watched." And she said then that they'd been there for 35
days. I said to her, "Everybody sends their love.
We're all rooting for
[AT THIS POINT MERYL BREAKS DOWN IN TEARS] It seems such an inadequate
thing to say. Anyway, we got the dogs off.
But then, unfortunately, Mr
Bailey had a fall about four days later and broke his femur, so he was
And then the other family that had been barricaded there in West Nicholson:
they have 11 Boerbulls, which is a lot of dogs to feed.
We were asked to take
food in for the dogs only. I did offer to uplift some of them but the farmer
said no, that as a family they were sticking it out, and the dogs were part of
the family. So we strictly only took in food for the dogs, although obviously
it was tempting to put something in for the farmer. I had to negotiate with the
police and the base commander that it would be a one-off because otherwise they
said SPCA could be seen to be prolonging his stay, and they want him out.
And after I'd got back to Beit Bridge, Mr Wheeler phoned me and asked when
I could bring the next lot, and I had to say "Sorry, that was a one-off."
They've since asked me again if I'd take food in for the dogs and I had to say
no. We have to stick by our word if we're to continue doing this job. We had a
very sticky time on that farm because we were allowed in by one of the war vets
who hadn't checked with the base commander - and this is typical of what can go
wrong. When we got to the house we started offloading all the dog food, and
this particular war vet said, "No, no, that's far too much. You can't."
Anyway, we talked, and explained that Boerbulls eat a lot, and he accepted
We left the farmhouse and going back down the road the two base commanders
leapt out and screamed at the police as much as us, and said we hadn't been
given permission. In the end the police explained what we do - our work, that
we work with donkeys and the community - and I ended up dishing out medicines
for their goats, their donkeys, their dogs, and dog-biscuits and so on.
so they had a different perspective of our work. And I know that if I had to go
back to uplift the dogs - not to take food - those base commanders would
probably allow us to do so.
Well, is this not going to be a lot of your work in the future?
got people now on the land with livestock, but they don't know how to care for
them. Is that not what you're going to be actively doing soon?
I couldn't agree with you more, Patricia. This is why I believe SPCA has
to stay focused. We've got to keep hanging in there.
Because we're going to
be needed more than ever.
And, yes, they've used donkeys, sure. Draught
power is used more than anything else in the communal areas. There's no
tractors. Even if they were donated tractors they don't have the money for the
diesel. So draught power is what rural farmers use. And we've got to be there
to help them.
There's no doubt about that. There'll be a whole new breed of
people using animals that maybe they don't know how to look after.
What's interesting, in talking to one of the vets in Harare last week, she
said she gets a new black dog-owner as a client every day of the week - which is
great because most of the dogs that we're re-homing now are to black families,
and they're eager to learn the right way to look after them. So there is hope.
But at the moment things are pretty grim.
Well, I understand that where things are very grim is in the wildlife
front. I get various statistics coming through. I know this isn't your
specific field of expertise but can you give us an idea of what's happening, for
instance, with the black rhino at Bubiana.
Well, there has been a slight breakthrough. I know that recently...
not sure whether it's six or eight armed guards were sent down and those were
authorised by Vitalis Chidenga (sp?), who is a good guy. He's Deputy Director
of National Parks, and he went down there for three days, and I believe he
summed up the situation and has placed some armed guards there. So that gives
everybody a bit of breathing space. But that's just a temporary solution.
I've also heard from some of the e-mails I've received that people don't
feel they're getting the support they deserve from international conservation
bodies. Is that your impression?
Oh, very much so. The silence is deafening, it really is. We can't
believe that this total decimation of our wildlife is going on.
everybody? All the big organisations who are involved with wildlife, they must
know - with the Internet these days, everybody must be aware of what's going
on. And we're not able to do much ourselves from within Zimbabwe, so we're
looking to everybody else out there to help us, to help the animals.
Well, we discussed this last time; I think people feel slightly guilty
supporting animals when the human crisis up there is what it is. But perhaps it
bears repeating that you are absolutely alone in supporting the animals in
We are the only welfare organisation for animals, and after all there are
over 700 for people. I would like to stress that we haven't just rescued white
farmers' animals, we've rescued black farmers' animals as well. One farmer up
in Rushinga - a black farmer - had her smallholding padlocked so she couldn't
get in to feed her pigs or even her dogs. And I'll never forget - unfortunately
the same situation - some of the pigs had eaten the others. But out of the 18
we rescued 6, and the joy on her face when she came into Harare's SPCA and saw
her 6 pigs - I think it did our morale a lot of good too.
Now, as you know, some of us are going up to do this mad, ludicrous,
abominable Blue Cross Challenge to help you raise funds in August, and I've got
my listeners waiting to help you, I know.
But I think we need to know whether
we're going to be safe doing that race - 500 km from the lowest to the highest
point of the country. Will we be safe?
Yes, Patricia. I know Colin Anderson and all the organisers wouldn't dream
of even letting you cross the border if they didn't think you'd be safe. I
mean, it's not going through any farmlands.
It's beautiful countryside. I
went for the first three days - I went with the walkers last year. Well, they
toddled down the tarmac
- I went ahead and treated donkeys and waited for
them to catch up with me. It's the most beautiful scenery, and the people are
very friendly. You're not going through any of the 'hot' areas, put it that
way. So it's safe.
That was the voice of Meryl Harrison, Zimbabwe SPCA's brave campaigner.
I'm sure, like me, you are humbled to hear of her efforts to save that
beleaguered country's animals, and I hope that with the help of SAfm you'll get
involved in raising some much needed money for her.
Now, as we've just discussed, and as I've mentioned on the programme
before, along with whomever with come with me I'm going to do the Blue Cross
Challenge from the Save River Valley to the summit of Mt Nyangani near
Troutbeck, between the 4th and the 17th of August. We walk or run - guess which
I'll be doing! [LAUGHING] - roughly 50km a day for two weeks, with a couple of
rest days in between. You can either do this 500km light or heavy infantry.
Heavy entails carrying your own backpack. Again, guess which I'll be doing!
You basically camp at the side of the road each night - and, of course, you need
someone to come with you for back-up along the road, to give you your water and
so on every 10km, but I'm sure we can share our back-up vehicles and personnel.
Then there's a cycle division:
the cyclists leave a week later, that's on
12th August, but they finish on the same day as us, and most people prefer to do
the challenge this way - cycling. I wonder why! The cyclists have 5 daily
stages and the distances vary between 68km and
158km per day.
Now, I'm told - and I have spoken to many people who've done the Blue Cross
- that it's a complete blast, and unparalleled for the camaraderie that
characterises it. You will be safe, as you've just heard, and if there's any
sign of trouble then the organisers will cancel the race. But I think it's
wonderful that you're walking or cycling in this marvellous scenery and that
you'll also be raising money for the Zim SPCA.
So what I need from you, dearly beloved listener, is the following.
you want to come and do this with me, would you please phone me on (011)
714-4628 this afternoon, or indeed whenever, but I will be at my desk all of
this afternoon. Also if you know how I can disseminate this information to the
major cycling and ultra-distance running clubs of South Africa - because I'm not
too au fait with them - could you also please ring me on 714-4628?
have now received all the pamphlets and the information, and can distribute it.
I'm thinking, for instance, of those mad but wonderful people who do the Washie
race in the Eastern Cape.
But if you have absolutely no intention whatsoever of doing such a
ludicrous thing as walking 500km, please - pretty please - would you sponsor me,
or us? SAfm has set up a bank account at First National Bank in Braamfontein
into which you may put your donations. I'm told you don't have to worry about
the branch code number because that is built into the account number these
days. And that account number is 62005421128. Make your cheques payable to
SAfm and do not forget - this is important - to put your name and your telephone
number on your deposit slip. Because if you donate more than a thousand Zim
dollars - which is about R104 - you'll be entered, at the end of the race, into
a draw which has prizes such as white-water rafting, balloon rides, elephant
rides, etc. Of course, I'm not expecting everyone to donate over R100 at all -
every rand counts. If you didn't get any of this down, try and remember my
telephone number, and call me this afternoon, okay?
So much for the animals, but I'd like to share with you the reports I'm
getting from the human rights organisations up in Zimbabwe.
They make for
scary reading, and I'm trying to get someone to speak about them on this
programme. What's emerging is a pattern now of systematic torture with
specifically-designed instruments. Torture that is probably taught through
in-service training to the militia, the youth militia, Zanu-PF supporters, the
police, the army... Lots of beatings, particularly on the soles of the feet,
electric shocks, burnings and mock drownings, as well as cases of sexual torture
- mostly involving women but there's an increase in the number of men involved
also. And age doesn't seem to protect anyone. There have been cases of people
over 80 years of age. Latest estimates put the number of farm workers displaced
75 000, displaced rural people at 69 000, and now some
74% of the
population - that's about 12,5 million people - are living below the poverty
I can point you in several directions - as I have done before - if you want
to get involved in any way in easing this humanitarian crisis on our borders, so
phone me on Johannesburg
714-4628. I could go on and on but time is running
out. Meryl talked there about the rhino at Bubiana, but those elsewhere are
being poached as I speak, as are thousands and thousands of other wildlife
species in Zimbabwe's conservancies, so lobby the wildlife body of your
If you want to read some of the painful and inspiring and poignant stories
coming out of Zimbabwe then I can highly recommend a book called 'Voices of
Zimbabwe'. I know a lot of you are readers. It's 'Voices of Zimbabwe', which
is a collection of stories simply told in prose and poetry, and everyone gets to
tell his or her story, including war vets, farm invaders, then also commercial
farmers, of course; there's an environmentalist, a Catholic priest, a young MDC
supporter who was beaten up for his affiliations.
It's all there.
supporters as well. 'Voices of Zimbabwe' is by three authors but just remember
the first, which is Glyn Hunter. And IBS has copies of the book waiting if you
telephone them on Johannesburg
888-1407. I really got a handle on that
crisis by reading what black Zimbabweans have to say in this book, so if you'd
like to get that handle too, get hold of it through IBS.
More than ever I thank you for listening today and I look forward to your
calls and your input, please, on the Blue Cross Challenge with SAfm. Good-bye
for today from Patricia Glyn.
-------------------- TRANSCRIBER'S NOTE:
Apologies for any names that might have been spelt incorrectly but, working
from an audio cassette, one does not have access to the printed word, and errors
may therefore occur.
Daily News - Letters
Moyo's intellectual flip-flop will
5/23/02 9:33:36 AM (GMT +2)
to share with you and your paper, the following spell-binding
excerpts from a
gripping text on the topic:
"Decentralisation and Civil
"The concept of civil society has three definitions:
civil society as
free association; civil society as self-organisation; and
civil society as
Civil society as free
association presupposes the existence of free
associations such as political
parties, trade unions, non-governmental
organisations and church groups which can
empirically be shown to be free
from the control of the state.
Civil society as self-organisation
exists where the public, or
political community as a whole, is able to
organise itself and co-ordinate
its activities without the control of the
Civil society as political community is when the political
is composed of an ensemble of free associations which have the
organisational capacities to co-ordinate their activities and
determine or influence the type, sequence and development of state
In the final analysis, the author arrives
at the inclusive definition
of civil society as
. . . a political
community capable of accommodating a variety of
individual and associational
interests within a pluralist, or at least
multi-centric, social framework in
search of a greater common (public)
Imagine my horror
when I discovered the originator of these most
inspiring words, namely -
Moyo, JN 1996: From Political Liberalisation to
Democratisation: A Governance
Program Strategy to Support Civil Society in
Africa, a paper presented at a
Workshop on African Initiative held on 17-21
July, at Windsor Lake Victoria
Hotel, Entebbe, cited in Apolo Nsibambi (ed);
1998 Decentralisation and Civil
Society in Uganda: The Quest for Good
Governance, Fountain Publishers Ltd,
Kampala, pp 7)
Am I right or am I wrong? Is this the Moyo I think
it is? Fortunately,
my disbelief quickly turned to optimism. If this really
is the work of our
Moyo, then there is hope for the future. Given his
dexterity at "moral and
intellectual flip-flops", we can expect another
flip-flop, when the time comes. Then Moyo will use his
matter, only this time in favour of the civil society he now
so much vigour.
Unfortunately, because we have
not yet arrived at that point where
"the political community (is) capable of
accommodating a variety of
individual and associational interests within a
pluralist . . . framework"
(Moyo 1996), I cannot allow my real name to be
made public for fear Moyo's
government might develop an unhealthy interest in
Daily News - Letters
History is consistent with the fate of
5/23/02 9:32:31 AM (GMT +2)
with great sadness that we once again had to witness helplessly
denial of the wish of the people of this country to choose their
President and secure a better future for Zimbabwe.
events of 9 and 11 March must go down as one of the darkest
moments in the
history of this country.
We have witnessed some of the most
primitive and brutal methods being
employed by a regime determined to rule
over a country yearning for a new
dispensation which could have ushered in a
free democratic society with the
promise for a prosperous, united and
The people of this country showed remarkable
courage, patience and
great insight in turning out in their thousands to vote
for this new
Unfortunately, this dream of a new
Zimbabwe was cynically dashed by a
heartless and ruthless regime, which has
the misguided notion that it owns
the people of Zimbabwe and that it alone
can decide how far the people can
go in terms of deciding their
Having failed to fool the people by flooding the State
media with cheap jingles about land, constant bleating about
to recolonise the country, the use of specially trained
militia and other
State-sponsored terrorists to harass, torture, abduct and
people, this regime finally struck the last blow to any
democratic principles by abducting opposition polling agents
at some polling
stations in order to ensure that subversion of normal voting
The question that one must ask is: Why hold the
if the government does not believe in giving the people
of this country a
choice? The answer must lie in the regime's desire to be
accepted by the
international community as a modern civilised government with
enlightened and learned retinue of ministers.
Unfortunately for this regime, most of the civilised world has woken
the fact that they have always been shown a facade masking a regime
Stone Age mentality.
The pseudo-intellectuals who are constantly
waffling in an attempt to
justify the unjustifiable are really doing a great
disservice to the
ordinary people of this country and to the real
intellectuals who would like
to use their knowledge and skills to build a
A lot of people are now casting serious doubts
about the academic
claims of some of our so-called doctors and professors.
For what most of us
have heard from their mouths is nothing but a show-off
and an attempt to
trash everyone else who does not agree with them. This is
the very opposite
of a genuinely educated person.
I have had
occasion to rub shoulders with intellectual giants and I
tell you their input
in any conversation or discussion was always uplifting,
and yet they were
humble enough to know that they do not have all the
answers and they
respected other people's point of view.
No genuine intellectual
would establish and sustain a public medium
which churns blatant lies and
distortions without allowing other people to
make comments or challenge some
of those most ridiculous statements
appearing on our screens.
What's more, no genuine intellectual could fail to see that no sane
could swallow the trash that is often spewed from the
One good thing to come out of this sad
set-up is the realisation that
for people to make positive contributions to
society, it is not enough for
them to have paper qualifications.
They must have love and respect for other people. In addition, they
individuals who uphold high moral and ethical principles.
I fail to
find any of these attributes among any of our leaders in the
government. They have the misguided notion that having some
qualifications makes them superior beings capable of manipulating
thoughts and denying them the rights accorded to every human being
Human Rights Charter of the United Nations.
denied the people the right to craft their own constitution,
which would have
placed this country among the most enlightened in the
world. They have
shamelessly sown seeds of ethnic hatred and manipulated
institution to further their own narrow-minded interests,
paralysis in the health, education and housing sectors.
of individuals and the delivery of justice have also not
Sadly for this regime, the people's demands are loud and
They want genuine freedom and full human rights, the rights and
enjoyed by all people in the civilised world. They are not interested
being governed by an illegitimate and paternalistic regime.
People want a leadership that has the vision to unite our people in
ensure peace, so that the energy of the nation can be directed
creating a happy and prosperous society.
No amount of posturing,
deceit or repression is going to extinguish
this burning desire to build this
History has taught us that in the end the people will
those who delight in inflicting pain and suffering on other
people will not
escape the fate suffered by other dictators and their
supporters. In this
regard history has been consistent.
Is Mugabe's cup of iniquity not yet
5/23/02 12:55:44 AM (GMT
I HAVE been down memory lane this weekend, re-living the
between December 1997 and February 1998 when Zimbabwe virtually came
halt as its people exercised their power through well organised
effective mass protests over the rising cost of living and the
misrule by the present regime.
Spontaneous mass action and
food protests organised by the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU)
brought the country to its knees.
Business virtually came to a
standstill countrywide whenever the union
called for protest action as people
for once refused to accept nonsense from
spirit in operation during that time was that of resilience and
the year 1998
was indeed the Year of People's Power.
Never before had I seen so
many people resolved to say No to any form
of abuse coming from this
Even attempts to introduce the War Veterans' Levy were
midstream by the ruling ZANU PF party as people seethed with anger
showed that they were in no mood to accept this from President Robert
To me, in 1998 Zimbabweans reached a point
of political maturity that
was amply demonstrated by the mass action of
ordinary citizens to register
things have not changed for the better since then. In
fact, life has become
even more difficult for the man in the street and
Zimbabweans have been
subjected to more misrule and abuse of power by the
Unlike in 1998, this time we have just folded our hands
as if it is business as usual.
To be honest, the
nonsense that we have grown to accept from ZANU PF
and its administration now
One wonders whether Zimbabweans have been reduced to
In fact, it is not too cruel to say it appears as if we have
Must we continue to live in abject
poverty until somebody evokes the
spirit of 1998 for us to once again say
enough is enough?
Mugabe's weekend declaration that he is
determined to crush any form
of political protest from the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), though, leaves one question that needs
an honest answer.
Is Mugabe's cup of iniquity not yet
Given the history of the man's determination to crush his
opponents and perceived enemies by whatever means, the answer is a
It is clear that Mugabe's cup of iniquity will only
be full after
crushing the MDC by whatever means necessary because that is
the nature of
His weekend statement sums it up and
the atrocities committed in
Matabeleland in the early 1980s, where thousands
of innocent lives were lost
just to bring a handful of so-called dissidents
to book, bear testimony to
what Mugabe is capable of doing.
his address to ZANU PF youths over the weekend, Mugabe said the MDC
warned that his party "comprises people who have gone to the
school of war
"They (the MDC) will be dealt with effectively and
there won't be any
nonsense about that anymore. If called upon by the demands
of the situation
to do something, we will do it effectively," he
An interesting dimension to the speech was that Mugabe
opportunity to thank the service chiefs for the first time over
infamous statement that they would not have saluted opposition leader
Tsvangirai if he had won.
What is more revealing is the
timing of the "thank you" to the service
chiefs and the warning to the MDC
and its supporters.
Can one draw any similarities with the
Matabeleland atrocities? Is
Mugabe's cup of iniquity not yet full? I am
afraid I smell more blood.
But one of my colleagues has always
argued that it is doubtful the
army would mow down half a million people if
they were to march to Mugabe's
Munhumutapa offices or his residence and camp
there until the ZANU PF leader
Wheat stocks to run out in July
5/23/02 12:52:15 AM (GMT +2)
consumption driven by maize shortages has left
Zimbabwe with only six weeks'
worth of wheat stocks, raising fears of flour
and bread shortages from the
beginning of July if the government does not
urgently import 200 000 tonnes
of wheat, farmers said this week.
They said although Zimbabwe last
year harvested one of the largest
wheat crops in recent history, enough to
last until the next harvest is on
the market in November, demand for the crop
had risen from 30 000 to 40 000
tonnes a month because of severe maize
The shortages have forced many people, especially in
urban areas, to
substitute bread for mealie-meal, a staple food for the
An official with the Cereal Producers
Association this week said
meetings between the organisation and the
state-controlled Grain Marketing
Board (GMB) had revealed that Zimbabwe's
wheat stocks would run out in six
Union (CFU) president Colin Cloete said: "The
wheat stocks that we have will
take us up to July this year and we need to
import more wheat to cover the
period between July and October, when the
next harvest is
He added: "I am not aware whether the government has
started to import
Farming industry officials said
the winter crop being planted at
present would be harvested in October but
the crop would only be ready for
consumption one month after harvesting
because it had to mature in the
This would mean that
between July and October, Zimbabwe would have no
wheat stocks unless the
government imports supplies.
The imports will have to be secured
from Argentina and Australia
because wheat from the United States of America,
the largest exporter of the
crop, is more expensive.
It was not
possible this week to ascertain from GMB acting chief
executive Joan Mtukwa
whether the parastatal has made arrangements for wheat
However, farmers said looming wheat shortages would be worsened by
instability in the agricultural sector caused by the land
spearheaded by ruling ZANU PF supporters and by the
controversial fast-track land reform programme.
Disturbances in the commercial farming sector, which produces 90
Zimbabwe's wheat, have made it difficult for 60 percent of
producers to plant their crop this year.
Cloete said the farmers'
problems were being compounded by amendments
to the Land Acquisition Act,
which were rushed through Parliament three
weeks ago and which allow white
farmers only 45 days to cease farming
who face imprisonment or fines for flouting this
legislation, will be
confined to their houses for another 45 days before
they leave their
The CFU president said the amendments meant that wheat
not plant their crop because the 90-day period stipulated in
would lapse while their crop was still in the
He said: "If you plant it (winter crop) now, the 90-day
period will be
up while the crop is still in the ground and the farmer will
everything. My hope is that the government will come up with a statement
what the farmer can do because you cannot plant a crop and leave
The government insists that farmers resettled
under its programme will
this year plant 32 000 hectares of winter wheat,
only 8 000 tonnes short of
Zimbabwe's annual wheat demand.
commercial farmers, who plant 55 000 hectares of wheat every year,
is over optimistic. The newly resettled farmers have only prepared
hectares of land for wheat.
Cloete said: "We see some people trying
to grow (wheat) but we are not
seeing anything in the region of 30 000
hectares. We have seen only 3 000
hectares of land being prepared by the
newly resettled farmers."
FinGaz - Comment
Have hard lessons finally been
5/23/02 12:32:26 AM (GMT +2)
IT IS ironic
that the Zimbabwe government, after two years of
dithering, has finally
decided to act against farm invaders and other unruly
elements who took
advantage of its suspension of the rule of law to become a
We welcome the belated crackdown, but it is now a case
of too little
too late, with the country having paid dearly in both human and
terms for a senseless war whose scars will take years to heal, if at
Scores of innocents have been brutally murdered or maimed for
hundreds made homeless in their own country and many others subjected
horrifying forms of torture.
The nationwide seizure of
productive farms has left millions of
Zimbabweans facing starvation in a
country which once helped feed most of
southern Africa, and the whole fabric
of its agriculture, the economic
locomotive, threatened with
The international community upon which the country
depended for vital
aid has voted with its feet, infuriated by the violence
across the land and
the mayhem which accompanied the farm seizures and the
government's own land
Indeed the international
community has gone a step further to impose
sanctions on the Zimbabwean
leadership, completing Harare's total isolation
from the rest of the world,
with signals flashing on the horizon that much
worse is yet to
It is clear that the sanctions, despite the brave face put on
government, are beginning to have a sobering effect if Zimbabwe,
finances are in a parlous state just when life-saving international
is needed, is to pull through the latest chapter of its man-made
If this hard lesson has indeed been learnt - better late
than never -
the crackdown on lawlessness must be unrelenting and be seen by
all to be
just this and not a window-dressing exercise aimed at postponing
resolution of a long-running problem.
Judging by the record
of some actions of President Robert Mugabe's
administration in the past,
Zimbabweans will this time be following the
clampdown on anarchy with more
than just passing interest: they want to see
that Mugabe means real
The crackdown must specifically not spare the senior
chefs of the
ruling ZANU PF who took advantage of the nation's turmoil to
farms wherever they wanted, well after such seizures had
All who committed crimes of any nature
under the guise of this or that
government programme, including the so-called
Third Chimurenga, must face
the full force of the law, with the state showing
as much zeal and
determination in prosecuting the offenders as it is doing
scribes accused of false reporting.
this is happening, the government must come to terms with
the nation's anger
over the disputed March presidential election.
threatening the opposition MDC with tough action over the
vote, Mugabe would
do well to cobble up a face-saving political deal which
recognises his deeply
compromised position, otherwise more turmoil could
revisit the already
No amount of talking down or wishing off the MDC's
erase them, not least because most of the world also believes
the ballot was
If it will take a re-run of the
presidential ballot to ease the
palpable high tension gripping the country,
so be it. It is time Mugabe took
bold and painful decisions for the sake of
War vets, ZANU PF MPs on list of new farmers
5/23/02 12:20:48 AM (GMT +2)
SOME of the
prominent Zimbabweans allocated prime farming land under
model A2 scheme include:
War veterans' leaders Joseph Chinotimba
(part of Pimento Farm,
Mashonaland Central); Patrick Nyaruwata (Nalire,
Mazowe); Mike Moyo
(Mayfield, Masvingo); Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede
Mashonaland Central); Electoral Supervisory Commission chairman
Nzuwa (Stella, Mazowe); retired army commander Solomon Mujuru
Alamein in Beatrice); former ZANU PF legislator and member of
Vivian Mwashita (Watakai); Matabelend South Governor Stephen
Ranch, Beit Bridge/Mwenezi); and Deputy Health Minister David
(Rudolphia, Mashonaland East).
Others are David
Chapfika, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Mutoko
(The Groove, Goromonzi);
the three Chief Charumbiras (Mkwasine, Masvingo);
MP Mzarabani Nobbie Dzinzi
(Dendere, Centenary); MP Saviour Kasukuwere (part
of Pimento Park,
Mashonaland Central) and Deputy Youth Minister Shuvai
Junior members of the feared Central Intelligence
so-called war collaborators, war veterans and government
officials in charge
of the land redistribution exercise have also been
allocated some of the
prime farming land under the scheme
Harare, UK clash over beef imports
5/23/02 12:16:51 AM (GMT +2)
Department of Veterinary Services this week dismissed
warnings by British
authorities that meat from Zimbabwean cattle that are
over 30 months old may
pose a slightly higher risk of bovine spongiform
encephalopathy (BSE) than
other imported beef sold in that country.
Vet Services director
Stuart Hargreaves said the Food Standards Agency
of United Kingdom (UK),
which included Polish and South African beef in its
alert, had no basis for
He said Zimbabwean beef was "exceedingly" safe from
BSE, or mad cow
disease, which the Department of Vet Services has regularly
"We have written to the agency expressing
our severe concern about the
basis on which the report was made," Hargreaves
told the Financial Gazette.
"We sent information to the European Union in
June 2000 for BSE assessment
but to date we have no (information on the)
outcome of the assessment."
In a report last week, the UK's Food
Standards Agency said: "Meat from
Polish, Zimbabwean and South African cattle
that are over 30 months old may
pose a slightly higher BSE risk than any
other legally sold beef.
"No risk assessments have been carried out
in South Africa or
Zimbabwe. The agency is asking the EC (European
Commission) to expedite risk
assessments for Zimbabwe and South Africa. It is
also raising its concerns
about Polish BSE controls with the
The EC has already conducted risk assessments and
classified Poland as
likely to present a BSE risk after the country's first
BSE case was
confirmed on May 2 2002.
The agency said although
the amount of beef imported from Poland,
South Africa and Zimbabwe was very
low, major retailers in the UK were
already acting to protect the public
after it held discussions with them.
There have been no UK imports
of beef from Zimbabwe since last August
due to an outbreak of foot-and-mouth
disease in Matabeleland. But UK trade
statistics for 2001 indicate that
London imported 41 tonnes of beef from
Poland and 29 tonnes from South
It was not possible to establish how much of the beef was
over 30 months old.
Meanwhile, veterinary officials
from Malaysia and Libya are expected
in Zimbabwe next month to assess the
country's meat processing facilities
prior to the introduction of
long-awaited beef exports to the two countries.
veterinary officials from Libya, who were supposed to
have arrived at the
beginning of this month, were now expected in June and
exports to that
country, which were expected to kick off in May, would now
begin after the
He said Libya and Malaysia would become the prime
Zimbabwe's beef because of stringent entry requirements into
Botswana agency calls for Zim vote re-run
5/23/02 12:12:50 AM (GMT +2)
BULAWAYO - The
Botswana Centre for Human Rights, known as Ditshwanelo,
has recommended a
re-run of Zimbabwe's disputed March presidential election
before the end of
the year, citing gross irregularities in the manner the
In a report shown to the Financial Gazette this week,
the group -
which monitored the election as part of the southern
non-governmental organisa-tions' delegation - said the poll
by President Robert Mugabe was not free and fair.
The Gaborone-based organisation said the ruling ZANU PF and the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) should immediately
into meaningful dialogue to address ongoing human rights violations
Zimbabwe while the regional and international community came up with
for a fresh election.
"Civil society regional institutions
such as SADC (Southern Africa
Development Community), OAU (Organisation of
African Unity), the
Commonwealth and the European Union (must) explore the
possibility of making
substantial contributions towards the holding of repeat
before the end of 2002," Ditshwanelo said in its
"We observed 24 polling stations in three constituencies in
province of Mashonaland. Ditshwanelo noted that all factors necessary
facilitate a free and fair election were absent, including the effects
the numerous and unexpected changes to the electoral laws. These
caused much confusion among both the voters and the electoral
These changes resulted in voters being turned away
stations because they had gone to the wrong constituency and
denied the right to vote because of a reduction in the number of
stations and the registrar-general's delay in implementing a court
extend voting hours in Harare and Chitungwiza.
Ditshwanelo said Zimbabwe's presidential poll was not free and fair
of the failure by law enforcement agents to impartially apply the
government's refusal to allow civic bodies to engage in voter
political violence and intimidation, particularly against MDC
prevention of the MDC from campaigning freely and delays in
supplementary voters' roll.
The group becomes one of several
foreign organisations which have
declared the ballot not free and fair and
called for a re-run. ZANU PF has
rejected such calls, saying the vote was
Uneasy calm returns to Mash Central
By David Masunda Deputy
5/23/02 12:12:06 AM (GMT +2)
MOUNT DARWIN, Mashonaland
Central - The illegal road blocks have largely
gone in Mashonaland Central
province, home to ZANU PF's notorious "Border
Brigades" blamed for unleashing
extreme terror in rural areas during the
hotly contested March presidential
The Financial Gazette over the weekend toured parts of the huge
province, one of the most violent places in Zimbabwe in the
run-up to the
presidential election, only to find that the road blocks have
And gone with them are the rag-tag armies of former
guerillas and party
youths who sealed the province off from the opposition
and the private media
and made life hell for visitors unfortunate to get
caught at the roadblocks.
Villagers pointed out a spot where the war
veterans, the ZANU PF youths and
the "chimbwidos' - young female party
supporters - had camped for weeks
before and after the election
controversially won by President Robert
Besides the tall tree
left standing whose leaves must have provided
much-needed shade in this dry
and hot region, nothing much is there to show
what might have happened, good
or bad, at the secluded spot in this sparsely
populated part of the
The only evidence that there was much life here once, apart
from the bruised
tree, is the dusty ground obviously cleared for more space
as human beings
jostled with the scraggy vegetation that dares to survive
even in such a
Someone with military experience,
however, must have planned the camp. It
was strategically located to allow
for the perfect ambush because while a
vehicle's approach can be heard miles
away, the driver would not suspect any
danger in such seemingly serene
As during our previous visit to the province, at the height of
the war of
attrition between supporters of ZANU PF and those of the
for Democratic Change, we kept our presence secret and
The reason was twofold: to protect friendly
villagers we came across and our
generous hosts, and to steer clear of
trouble from extremely suspicious
village party youths who might become
irritated by our probing.
Based from previous experience, it was clear
that the villagers now talked
more openly and freely if they did not suspect
we were from the "vile"
We had also planned the trip
meticulously. Our cover - were we ever to be
confronted but thankfully that
never happened - was to pretend to be
well-heeled Harare business executives
out for a weekend drive into the
That paid off because
many of the villagers opened up and it became clear
that the war veterans and
the party youths had deserted the camps because
either their mission had been
completed or hunger was creeping in.
One villager remarked that "who was
going to continue feeding them at the
camps when the people themselves are
struggling to eke out a living in this
Driving to and
from Mount Darwin through Bindura and Mazowe, it is clear
though that the
situation on the farms remains as desperate as ever, if not
is easy to see what farm has been taken over by the so-called "new
through the government's fast-track land reform programme or
confiscated from its white owners by the war veterans, the
senior ZANU PF officials.
One way to tell is to check whether there is
much activity at the farm.
Minimum activity or the sign of grass burning, as
is popular with
subsistence farmers, is a sure sign that the commercial
farmer has left the
property and it is now in the hands of the new
If one were still in doubt, casual inquiries would be met with
that the farm now belonged to this or that "chef", ZANU PF
euphemism for a
Cabinet minister or senior party official.
No loot found in Swiss banks
5/23/02 12:11:10 AM (GMT +2)
officials say they have so far failed to locate any
hidden loot that might
belong to blacklisted Zimbabwean government
officials, including President
A senior official in the Swiss government this week
told the Financial
Gazette that while it might still be too early to trace
some of the
suspected hidden loot, the Swiss banks were finding it difficult
any money or assets that might belong to the listed
Switzerland joined the 15-nation European Union
earlier this year to
slap sanctions on Mugabe and 19 senior members of his
ruling ZANU PF after
the veteran Zimbabwean leader was accused of stealing
the March presidential
Mugabe says he won the ballot
fairly and has repeatedly said he does
not own even "a cent" outside Zimbabwe
nor any foreign properties. He has
challenged the EU to freeze any money they
might link to him.
The Swiss official, speaking from Berne, said
the banks were also
checking if there had been any suspicious movements of
large amounts that
could have been disguised by the Zimbabweans after the ban
Besides Mugabe and almost all his service chiefs,
include Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge, Home Affairs
Minister John Nkomo,
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo and Mugabe's special
An EU official this week clarified that
the ban on the 20 did not
necessarily extend to their children who might be
at European schools or
universities because each host country dealt with
Britain to review Zim humanitarian situation
5/23/02 12:10:31 AM (GMT +2)
government, which has contributed about 10 million pounds
($800 million) to
ease Zimbabwe's food crisis, is to review the country's
humanitarian situation, according to Valerie Amos, junior minister
Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
Responding to questions in the
House of Lords on Tuesday, Amos said
Britain had already contributed six
million pounds to United Nations'
agencies for Zimbabwe and last September
had injected four million pounds
into a supplementary feeding
"The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) and the World
Programme are currently assessing the regional food security situation,"
said. "There will be a conference in Johannesburg in June to consider
"We are concerned about the situation of ordinary people in
and we shall review the humanitarian position."
said the British government was also concerned about human rights
Zimbabwe, political violence, the Zimbabwean government's
journalists, the economic crisis and its impact on
"It has been estimated that about seven
million Zimbabweans, about 60
percent of the population, may be dependent on
food aid by the end of the
year," she added.
An official in the
United States embassy in Harare this week said
Zimbabwe, which has
experienced slow donor response to appeals for food aid,
would in the next
few weeks receive 7 500 metric tonnes of fortified corn
and 1 000 tonnes of
corn-soya bean mix worth US$5 million ($275 million)
from the American
government, which has already contributed US$27 million
($675 million) in
Meanwhile, in response to queries about Zimbabwean
officials and their spouses being allowed to travel to Europe
European Union ban, Amos said the officials' spouses were not
covered by the
"The noble Lord (Blaker) was
right to suggest that current EU
sanctions do not apply to spouses and
children," Amos said. "The General
Affairs Council (of the EU) will clearly
wish to return to that. It will
discuss Zimbabwe at its next meeting in
ZANU PF abandons 'Green Bombers'
5/23/02 12:08:45 AM (GMT +2)
THE ruling ZANU PF party has
abandoned hundreds of youths it trained to help
President Robert Mugabe
secure a controversial sixth term by failing to
absorb them into the army and
the police force as promised, it was
established this week.
from the Border Gezi National Service Training Centre in Mount
spoke to the Financial Gazette in Mazowe at the weekend, said
they were now
idle after the presidential election and promises from ZANU PF
of jobs in the
security services had vanished.
Most of them speaking on condition they
are not named for fear of reprisals,
they accused the ruling party of using
them to spearhead its violent
campaign and then dumping them after Mugabe had
The youths, trained in bursts of three months each in Mount Darwin
centres, said only a handful of their fellow recruits were absorbed
national police force.
"We were needed in the run-up to the
election but now we are just roaming
the streets and we have not been given
the jobs that we were promised at the
beginning," said Joshua Chibururu, one
of the "Green Bombers", as the youths
are known in high-density
Several others interviewed in and around Mazowe backed his
But David Hurungudo, the national youth service deputy director
Ministry of Youth Development, Gender and Employment Creation, denied
there had ever been an arrangement to get state jobs for the graduates
"There was no arrangement of that sort. The national
youth service programme
is not a recruitment ground for jobs in the security
procedures have to be followed when individuals seek
employment in those
institutions," Hurungudo said.
He said the youths
were merely taught the history of Zimbabwe and its
economic problems to
inject a sense of patriotism during their training.
More than 5 000
youths undertook the three-month training course conducted
late last year and
just before the election under the government's national
Graduates were taught military tactics and political lessons on
as well the history of Zimbabwe with an emphasis on ZANU PF's
in the 1970s independence war.
Their instructors were
drawn mainly from serving and retired senior army and
police officers and
former freedom fighters.
The youths were mainly deployed in rural areas
and high-density suburbs
throughout Zimbabwe, where they spearheaded ZANU
PF's violent campaign
against supporters of the opposition Movement for
Most of the youths in Mashonaland Central, home of the
service programme, complained that they were now idle
and left to roam
aimlessly in the streets of Mount Darwin and
Other militias have since appealed to the government for
treatment to get land to farm under the fast-track land reform
Zimbabwe, in its fourth year of a grinding economic recession,
unemployment of more than 60 percent and nearly 80 percent of its
lives below the poverty line.
It is understood that the
government has also shelved its ambitious plans to
open more national service
training camps for youths by next month.
Top farms grabbed
By David Masunda Deputy
5/23/02 12:01:47 AM (GMT +2)
ruling elite, including the two vice presidents and
relatives of President
Robert Mugabe, has taken over most of the top
commercial farms under the
government's fast-track land reforms, it was
A list compiled from the government's own advertisements in
media and reports from commercial farmers shows that among those
benefited from the model A2 scheme meant to create the new
are Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku, army commander
director of prisons Paradzayi Zimondi and even
broadcaster Reuben Barwe.
Justice Chidyausiku and three others will
share the 895-hectare Estees
Park farm in Mazowe/Concession which sources
this week said was already
being pegged and demarcated into four
Barwe, chief correspondent of state-run Zimbabwe
Corporation (ZBC), was given the 830-ha Sunnyside Farm in
Vice President Joseph Msika has been allocated part of
Umguza Block in
Nyamandhlovu that belongs to the state's Cold Storage Company
counterpart Simon Muzenda is said to have taken over Chindito and
farms in Gutu.
Muzenda however is understood to be in
"cordial negotiations" with the
farmers to compensate them for their assets
reputed to be worth more than
Mugabe's sister -ZANU
PF legislator Sabina Mugabe - plus his
brother-in-law Reward Marufu have also
benefited from the model A2
of Parliament Sabina Mugabe is the owner of Gowrie Farm
in Norton while
Marufu, a brother to First Lady Grace Mugabe, has been given
Leopard Vlei in
Glendale, Mashonaland Central.
Others who have also been allocated
land on some of the country's top
farms include Police Commissioner Augustine
Chihuri, his deputy Godwin
Matanga and police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena; war
veterans' leaders Joseph
Chinotimba, Mike Moyo, Andy Mhlanga and Patrick
Nyaruwata, and governors
Obert Mpofu, Peter Chanetsa and Josaya
Bvudzijena this week said he had applied for Mabubu Farm in
turned it down after its allocation to him was announced in the
because he preferred the 35- ha farm he had acquired in the meantime
Koodoo Hill in Banket.
He admitted he was already chopping
down trees at Koodoo because he
was preparing for the summer
"I did not take up the one I was allocated at Mabubu because
already been allocated another plot at Koodoo which I am now preparing
the summer crop," Bvudzijena told the Financial Gazette.
Several ministers in Mugabe's Cabinet including Samuel Mumbengegwi,
Sekeramayi, Herbert Murerwa, Swithun Mombeshora, Elliot Manyika and
Goche have also been accorded priority in the allocation of the
Security Minister Goche is listed as the new owner of
Mashonaland Central; Education's Mumbengegwi got Irvine Farm in
Mombeshora (Ormeston, Lions' Den); Sekeramayi (Maganga Estate,
Murerwa (Rise Holm, Arcturus) and Manyika (Duiker Flats in
Among those who have benefited from the
fast-track exercise criticised
internationally for lack of transparency is
television broadcaster Supa
Mandiwanzira, ZBC's Admire Taderera and scores of
former ZANU PF
legislators, senior army officers, ministers' wives and their
permanent secretaries, diplomats and business people sympathetic
to ZANU PF.
Western nations have refused to back Mugabe's land
they allege the land redistribution exercise is only
of the veteran Zimbabwean leader.
reforms have been blamed for triggering wanton violence on farms
of the country's 1970s war of independence and land-hungry
supporters of the
governing party, as well severe food shortages which have
left millions of
Zimbabweans threatened with starvation.
About 250 white commercial
farmers out of about 4 500 have fled
Zimbabwe since the violent seizures,
which have largely gone unpunished,
began in earnest in February
Another 250 have been chased off the farms since the
presidential election despite a government directive that they be
days to vacate properties listed for resettlement.
spokesman for the Commercial Farmers' Union this week said the
supported the model A2 land reforms as long as they were legal and
Illegal settlers stay put on Mat farms
5/23/02 12:07:51 AM (GMT +2)
BULAWAYO - The
Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) yesterday said no
illegal settlers had been
removed from farms seized in Matabeleland despite
government assurances it
was forcibly removing those who occupied farms
after March 31
"The invaders are still there," said CFU Matabeleland
representative Ben Zeitsman. "We have not received word of them
removed in Matabeleland.
"We are keeping our eyes and ears
open to see and hear if they are
being removed. So far, there's no change in
the entire region."
The government last week ordered all provincial
land committees to
remove illegal occupants of farms seized after the March
31 2001 deadline to
allow farmers to carry out their agricultural activities
More than 12 000 illegal settlers are said to have been
farms in Masvingo in the past two weeks, although other local
have suggested that some of the invaders have defied the
Farmers in Matabeleland this week estimated that about 12
settlers were camped on their properties, although they stressed
were still to do a proper survey on the number of the
They said no illegal settler had been removed from
including those owned by blacks who the government says it
wants to empower
through its land reforms.
Some invaders are
insisting that the government should first identify
before sending the police to drive them out of the
land they have
The invaders warn of serious clashes with law enforcement
they are hurriedly thrown out of the farms. The government has said
those being removed from unlisted farms will be given alternative farms
90 000 jobs lost as 700 firms close: NGO
5/23/02 12:05:42 AM (GMT +2)
ABOUT 700 companies
closed down in Zimbabwe in the past 18 months,
throwing 90 000 workers out of
their jobs, according to the human rights
non-governmental agency Amani
The statistics are contained in a report compiled by Amani
Mashonaland branch titled The Presidential Election and the
Period in Zimbabwe, which was issued this week.
The report examines human rights abuses and political violence before
after Zimbabwe's March presidential poll.
It noted that most of the
companies which had collapsed under the
strain of Zimbabwe's economic and
political crisis - a total of 500 - had
triggered the loss of 10 000 jobs in
the past 12 months alone.
The Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries
has already said that 400
companies closed down in 2000.
Industries which have shed staff in the past 18 months include
where 5 000 jobs were lost in the past 12 months, and
agriculture, where at
least 70 000 have lost their jobs since 2001 because
of the seizure of
commercial farms by ruling party supporters.
Amani Trust said: "The
farm invasions have resulted in large numbers
of farm workers being put out
of work and made homeless. At least 70 000
farm workers have been put out of
work over the last 18 months, and together
with their families they have been
"If the current land invasions and accompanying
continue, it could result in about one million farm workers and
families becoming internally-displaced persons."
non-governmental agency said political violence and Zimbabwe's
crisis had resulted in the exodus of middle level black
reduction or suspension of aid by the international
community and had
contributed to food shortages.
It recommended an international
investigation of human rights abuses
in Zimbabwe, the reform of the police
service to promote accountability and
effectiveness and regional and
international action to foster judicial
"The Zimbabwean government should review legislation
to repeal or
amend those laws that are unconstitutional or violate human
"The Zimbabwe government should
ratify the Convention Against Torture
ZBC workers threaten strike
5/23/02 12:05:10 AM (GMT +2)
WORKERS at the
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) have threatened
to go on strike as it
emerges that the state broadcaster is broke and
planning to axe several
ZBC insiders this week said the workers had given the
which has been reeling under a severe financial crisis caused by
advertising revenue, until tomorrow to address their complaints or
Among issues concerning workers is the
corporation's failure to submit
medical aid and other monthly contributions
collected from its workers.
Some of the workers have been slapped
with hefty interest charges on
their mortgage bonds with building societies
after the ZBC continuously
failed to process stop orders for its
"The corporation is broke after weaning itself off a
number of key
advertisers and increasing the size of the workforce," one
The ZBC pulled the plug on advertisers earlier this
year and has since
then faced a severe financial crisis.
government has said advertisers must not be allowed to hijack the
whose duty, it says, is that of serving the interests of the
euphemism for articulating the government's viewpoint.
could be obtained from ZBC board chairman Gideon Gono or
executive Jennifer Tanyanyiwa this week.
But the insiders said a
board meeting was held this Monday at which
the issue of the workers'
grievances was discussed.
It is understood that management was
taken to task over decisions,
particularly those taken under former chief
executive Alum Mpofu, which were
made without the board's
"The meeting was frosty, with members of management being
task on why, for instance, they went on a recruitment spree at a
corporation had no money," said a management source who attended
According to the source, speaking on condition
of not being named, the
number of ZBC employees has grown from about 600 in
August last year to more
than 900 now.
"The planned job action
by the workers could therefore be aimed at
pre-empting the possible job
losses," the source noted.
The corporation, soon to face
competition from new players being
introduced by the government, has also
been rocked by the resignations of
resignation is that of the corporation's head of television
Matonga, who will be leaving the ZBC at the end of the
is also understood that the corporation's chief operating officer,
Chitapi, and several other senior executives have also
NGOs fear crackdown looms
By Nqobile Nyathi
5/23/02 12:18:50 AM (GMT +2)
democracy and human rights non-governmental organisations
(NGOs) fear they
may be facing a mounting threat from the government in what
week said could be part of attempts to clamp down on
dissenting voices in the
Representatives of the NGOs, which act as watchdogs of
human rights in Zimbabwe, say they are increasingly being
"subversive" elements and "anti-government" by government
officials and the
state-owned news media.
Amid a crackdown on
journalists and members of the public who have
fallen foul of legislation
that discourages criticism of the government, NGO
officials say their
organisations have witnessed a resurgence of interest in
their activities by
state security agents in the past few weeks.
Tony Reeler, head of
the Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum, a grouping
of organisations working in
the field of human rights, said: "Before the
(March presidential) election,
there was a discussion among organisations
that make up the forum and a very
large number of them had had some kind of
harassment from the police, whether
as organisations or individuals.
"This seemed to have disappeared
in the post-election period, but it
seems to be returning. We had threats
passed on to us from a very credible
source that the Human Rights Forum was
about to be raided by the police."
He said Amani Trust, which is
part of the Human Rights Forum and works
with victims of political torture,
had already been visited in the past two
weeks by police officers who had not
made their agenda known to the
Some Amani Trust
officials have been asked to present themselves to
the police, while others
have been visited at their homes.
The NGO, which has been accused
of "working hand in hand" with the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), has come under fire from
the government for alleging state involvement
in political violence prior to
the June 2000 parliamentary election and
before and after the disputed
Amani Trust and
the Human Rights Forum have in the past two years
regularly compiled reports
on political violence which they say is
perpetrated mainly by ruling ZANU PF
activists against MDC supporters and
has claimed more than 50 lives while
displacing at least 20 000 people from
attempting to get some comment from the police as to why they
are doing this,
but so far we have been unable to get any understanding as
to why we are
getting this kind of attention," Reeler said.
official of Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) in
Bulawayo was last
week interviewed by the police about a public meeting held
early this month
and executives say this is not the first time they have
been quizzed by state
TIZ director Andrew Nongogo said: "What has
happened to a large extent
has to do with POSA (Public Order and Security
Act) and the public meetings
"Initially, you are
required to advise the police that you are holding
a meeting and once you
have done that, they can send their security agents
to attend the
"We have had situations at TIZ when after public meetings,
security agents phone and ask what happened at the meeting, I don't know
they would have forgotten to send someone. We've had calls where they
'you're planning a meeting, who's attending that meeting?'"
However, police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena this week said he was not
a police crackdown against NGOs nor of an investigation of
He told the Financial Gazette: "I'm not aware of a
investigate individuals for having committed an offence and if
they are from
NGOs, we don't have anything against them (NGOs).
"But should a member belonging to any NGO commit an offence, we are
bound to investigate these individuals."
But NGO officials said
their main concern were rumours suggesting that
the government was working on
legislation that could curb their activities
in the same way legislation has
been used to hamper the private Press and
curb freedom of expression and of
The fears have been raised by government statements
saying many NGOs
had exceeded their mandates and are dabbling in opposition
Two weeks ago, Home Affairs Minister John Nkomo warned
government would crack down on NGOs involved in "subversive
were "actively involved in undermining the nation's internal
Reeler noted: "The threats have been made time and time
again and more
recently by Minister Nkomo, but I don't have any information
that this is
anything but rhetoric. I don't know why the government would
want to do that
because we have no political position.
with human rights issues, irrespective of who is involved. In
that we issue, we have said the government is not doing
enough to prevent
human rights violations and we will continue to say that
if we feel enough is
not being done. They think that's anti-government but
that's an erroneous
Analysts said if the government was working on legislation
to rein in
NGOs, it might seek to establish over all NGOs the kind of
enshrined in the Private Voluntary Organisations Act
Human rights and democracy NGOs, most of which came into
1990, were established as trusts and do not fall under the Act,
the government to scrutinise the operations of organisations,
and even deregister them or remove their
Nongogo, who is also the spokesman for civil society
in Zimbabwe, said: "I think what the minister is seeking to
do is to bring
all those organisations registered as trusts under the Act so
that he can
have power over them.
"He can literally decide at
any time that you are not operating under
the rules and shut you down. This
would make things impossible, especially
for those who are critical of the
He said this would adversely affect a large number of
many of which have been responsible for promoting critical
Zimbabwe, especially at crucial times such as the February 2000
on a new constitution where the country rejected a flawed draft
after a massive civil society education campaign.
"What these organi-sations have managed to do is promote a culture
critical discourse," Nongogo pointed out. "You can't run a country
silencing critics, you silence critics by doing what is
"Shutting down criticism is being a lot like the king who
clothes and people were so afraid to criticise that no one told him he
naked. This is the sort of situation they (government) are trying to
in this country."
University of Zimbabwe political
science lecturer Elphas Mukonoweshuro
added: "This is part and parcel of the
government's comprehensive assault on
dissenting voices or voices that appear
to be dissenting from what ZANU PF
considers to be the final truth, which is
that it's ZANU PF and ZANU PF
alone that should determine Zimbabwe's
"This is the kind of thing that has been targeted at people
in the past two years, which is to smell out all clusters of
thought and, if possible, reduce this nation to what may be
heads, people who always agree with ZANU PF.
problem with this government is not realising that NGOs are
suffering in areas where it doesn't have the resources. What
it is trying to
do is turn this nation into a vast hostile camp against
itself and if it's
successful in doing that, no amount of repression will
keep the nation quiet.
It will burst at the seams."
Air Zim starts paying off debt
5/23/02 12:09:40 AM (GMT +2)
AIR Zimbabwe has
started paying off a debt of US$28.6 million owed to
an American bank which
had threatened to sell off two of the national
airline's aircraft to recover
the money, airline sources said this week.
The sources said Air
Zimbabwe two weeks ago made a US$5 million (about
$225 million at the
official exchange rate) payment to the Export-Import
Bank of America and is
frantically trying to make other payments before the
end of this
The US$5 million payment follows threats by the US-based
guaranteed the purchase of the airline's two Boeing 767 aircraft
in 1989, to
seize the planes after the airline had defaulted on
Air Zimbabwe board chairman Livingstone Gwata this week
discuss what arrangements the airline had put in place to clear
the debt but
confirmed that something was being done to settle the
"All we can say now is that the airline is alive and
Arrangements for payment are now in place, but as a board, we cannot go
details about that. I can assure you that no aircraft is going to be
taken away," Gwata told the Financial Gazette.
sources said negotiations between the bank and the Zimbabwe
shareholder of Air Zimbabwe, had resulted in the extension
by two months of
the debt's clearance deadline and a new payment schedule.
of the new payment schedule were not immediately available,
but the sources
said the US$5 million payment was part of this deal.
had been in default to the Export-Import Bank for almost
18 months since the
government passed the debt to the airline to pay off in
December 2000. The
government had earlier paid about US$200 million for