Thursday 31 May 2007
By Sebastian Nyamhangambiri and Patricia Mpofu
BERLIN - The European Union (EU) will await the outcome of President Thabo
Mbeki's mediation effort in crisis-hit Zimbabwe before reviewing policy on
the African country, a top German government official said on Wednesday.
Germany holds the rotating EU presidency and will also host the G8 summit
Addressing southern African journalists on an exchange programme in Germany,
Dr Rolf Friedrich Krause - head of Pan Africa and Southern Africa in the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs - said Berlin, the G8 and EU were concerned
about the deteriorating situation in Zimbabwe but they would only decide on
what action to take once Mbeki concludes his mission.
Krause said: "We are glad that SADC (Southern African Development Community)
has owned up and took a position unlike in the past when it used to say it
is a domestic issue. SADC has a role to play. After Mbeki has come up with
the SADC findings and recommendations, (the) EU will come with a policy on
Krause's statement came after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said worsening
human rights abuses in Zimbabwe called for SADC leaders to act.
Mbeki was last March asked by SADC heads of state and government to lead
efforts to resolve Zimbabwe's eight-year political and economic crisis by
facilitating dialogue between Mugabe's government and the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party.
Earlier this month, Mbeki said preliminary talks between Mugabe and the MDC
were going on very well but refused to divulge further details saying doing
so would prejudice the negotiations that were still at a delicate stage.
The EU and the United States accuse Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and
his government of violating human rights, disregarding the rule of law and
The Western countries have imposed visa and financial sanctions against
Mugabe and his top officials as punishment and have threatened to tighten
sanctions after Zimbabwean police brutally assaulted main opposition leader
Morgan Tsvangirai last March.
Mugabe, who has publicly defended the police for beating up Tsvangirai,
denies the Western charges against his government and claims sanctions have
destabilised the economy, punishing ordinary citizens instead of himself and
his top officials, who are the intended targets.
Meanwhile, MDC leaders Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara are in South
Africa allegedly to lobby Mbeki on the eve of the South African leaders'
closed-door discussions with British Prime Minister Tony Blair on the crisis
Tsvangirai and Mutambara, who lead rival factions of the MDC, left Harare
for Pretoria on Tuesday.
Sources said it was not immediately clear whether the Zimbabwean opposition
leaders would also be able to have direct talks with Blair who leaves office
on June 27 after more than a decade in power.
Blair, who was in Libya yesterday, is expected to arrive in South Africa
today for a two-day official visit to Pretoria, part of his farewell tour of
Blair hinted before leaving the UK at the weekend that he would hold
intensive discussions on Zimbabwe with Mbeki. - ZimOnline
Thursday 31 May 2007
By Tsungai Murandu
HARARE - Zimbabwe's economic and political crisis came under the spotlight
at a Southern African Development Community (SADC) ministerial meeting in
Tanzania amid reports SADC is proposing setting up a team of regional
experts to assist Harare out of its economic crisis.
Authoritative sources privy to the Dar es Salaam meeting of the SADC
Ministerial Troika of the Organ on Politics, Defence and Security
Co-operation said the situation in Zimbabwe was among the issues discussed
during the meeting held from 25 to 26 May.
"The ministers agreed that the region must continue with the diplomatic
initiative to resolve the Zimbabwean crisis, noting that a solution must be
found soon to the impasse between the rival political parties," said a
senior official in the Zimbabwe Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who asked not
to be named.
South African President Thabo Mbeki was last March tasked by SADC to mediate
between Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU PF party and the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party.
This followed an extraordinary summit of SADC leaders held in Tanzania at
the end of March to discuss the deteriorating political situation in
Zimbabwe and two other southern African countries.
The extraordinary summit was necessitated by the international outrage
following the brutal assault on MDC leaders by Zimbabwean police in March
that left Morgan Tsvangirai, head of one of the MDC factions, severely
The SADC ministerial meeting came amid reports that the SADC executive
secretary Tomaz Salomao had completed his final report on a rescue package
for Zimbabwe's economy.
Salomao's proposal would include the creation of a secondary foreign
exchange market for Zimbabwe and the assembling of a team of experts from
the region to help the country out of its economic mess.
The sources said some of the proposals such as the secondary market for hard
currency had already been implemented by Zimbabwe's central bank.
The analysts are viewing the new "Drought Mitigation and Economic
Stabilisation Scheme" introduced by Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor
Gideon Gono last month as the Zimbabwe government's response to the creation
of the secondary market.
Under the scheme, Zimbabweans can sell their foreign currency to the RBZ at
an exchange rate of 15 000 Zimbabwe dollars to the United States greenback.
The official exchange rate remains at 250 local dollars to the US
Thursday 31 May 2007
By Regerai Marwezu
MASVINGO - Two ruling ZANU PF party rallies called to garner support for the
party's candidate in next month's by-election in Zaka East constituency
flopped this week after supporters snubbed the rallies alleging the
candidate was imposed on them against their will.
Vice-President Joice Mujuru and ZANU PF national chairman John Nkomo were
scheduled to address the rallies in support of Livingstone Chineka, a
retired soldier who is representing the ruling party in the June 9
Mujuru was to address the first rally at Gumbo business centre in the
constituency on Sunday while Nkomo was to address the party's supporters at
Muchibwa business centre on Wednesday.
Both rallies were cancelled at the last minute as only a handful of party
supporters turned up for the events. Senior ZANU PF officials postponed the
rallies to next week to allow them time to mobilize the party's supporters.
"We have to postpone this rally to Thursday next week (June 7) because we
cannot address these few people," said a visibly dejected Nkomo after the
cancellation of the rally.
Sources within the ruling party said ZANU PF supporters were not happy with
Chineka's candidature alleging that senior party officials had imposed the
former soldier on them.
The sources told ZimOnline that the party's supporters had wanted Happison
Chakona who was disqualified from running in the party's internal elections
to choose a candidate for the by-election.
Masvingo's ZANU PF provincial spokesperson Retired Major Kudzai Mbudzi
confirmed that the two rallies had flopped.
"We did not organise advance teams to mobilise people to come for the
rallies that is why they failed to take place. However next week, everything
will be in place and we expect a huge gathering," said Mbudzi.
Chineka will lock horns with Sheila Zenga of the United People's Party and
Lameck Batsirai of the little known United People's Democratic Party in the
by-election that is being boycotted by both factions of the main opposition
Movement for Democratic Change party.
The by-election was called to fill a seat left vacant following the death of
ZANU PF legislator Tinos Rusere last February. - ZimOnline
Thursday 31 May 2007
By Wayne Mafaro
HARARE - The Zimbabwe Sugar Association (ZSA) has said the country faces a
severe shortage of sugar this year because of uncertainties on former white
farms brought about by the government's chaotic land reforms.
Addressing Parliament's portfolio committee on industry and trade on
Tuesday, the ZSA said sugar production in Zimbabwe is set to decline further
from 585 000 tonnes recorded before the land reforms in 2000 to 442 000
tonnes this year.
The sugar association said yields per hectare will fall to only 37 tonnes
per hectare, down from the 120 tonnes recorded before the violent land
reforms seven years ago.
"Yields per hectare will decline to about 37 tonnes per hectare this year
because of various reasons chief among them the land reform programme. The
land issue has still not been solved and this will affect production," the
sugar producers said.
"The delay by government to issue leases to farmers has caused uncertainty
and given that farmers must make investment for long periods, no one is
willing to take the risk because of the uncertainty.
"You cannot expect a man to pump his lifetime savings into the crop when he
is not sure if he is going to be on that farm for six months," the
The sugar association said while it was struggling to meet local demand, it
still had regional and international quotas to fulfill.
Zimbabwe supplies about 1 500 tonnes of sugar to the European Union and also
supplies the product to Namibia and Botswana under the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) Protocol.
Zimbabwe has faced severe sugar shortages over the past seven years after
the government parceled out giant sugar estates in the south-eastern parts
of the country to new black farmers as part of its controversial land
The land reforms also knocked down food production by 60 percent resulting
in a quarter of Zimbabwe's 12 million population depending on food handouts
from international food relief agencies.
Sugar is among a host of basic foodstuffs that are in critical short supply
in Zimbabwe that is in its eighth straight year of a bitter economic
recession described by the World Bank as unprecedented for a country not at
war. - ZimOnline
ZENIT - The World Seen From
Archbishop Cites Years of Terror and Brutality
BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, MAY 30, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Though international
attention is recently focused on strife in Zimbabwe, the archbishop of
Bulawayo says that the terror in that southern African country is nothing
Archbishop Pius Ncube, in an interview with the magazine Inside the Vatican,
said that President Robert Mugabe has been using the army to inflict
brutality for years.
The 60-year-old archbishop, speaking of the years before his episcopal
ordination, said: "The 5th Brigade of Mugabe was killing innocent
civilians -- this amounted to more than 10,000. Some of these people were my
"Estimates are that between 10,000 and 20,000 innocent civilians had been
killed. Some of these people were over 70 and 80 years old, which shows how
merciless the dictator Mugabe is."
In April, the bishops of Zimbabwe published a pastoral letter called "God
Hears the Cry of the Oppressed." The letter pointed to Mugabe as the cause
of the country's crisis.
Archbishop Ncube said: "It was imperative that such a letter be issued. The
situation of the people was becoming worse and worse.
He added that after the letter's publication, the regime increased efforts
to frighten priests, though "the intimidation of clergy has been on going
for a long time."
"We were told: 'You keep to the Bible, to religious affairs, don't comment
on political matters. If you want to come into politics, then give up your
religious garb, and be a politician and then we will deal with you
properly,'" Archbishop Ncube continued.
Source of hope
The archbishop affirmed that Benedict XVI has offered key support: "In 2005,
the bishops of Zimbabwe had their 'ad limina' visits to Rome.
"At that time I spoke with him for a good 25 minutes explaining to him the
human rights abuses in Zimbabwe and asking him for his prayers and support.
"On Easter Sunday he quoted our current letter and spoke of the need to
support African development."
"There is a lot of prayer in Zimbabwe right now," Archbishop Ncube said,
"the praying of the rosary, night prayers to Our Lady for the country."
"In Bulawayo, we have no cloistered convents, but in Harare there is a
convent of cloistered Carmelite nuns," he added. "They are the powerhouses
when it comes to prayer, and I have invited some Carmelites to come over to
my diocese to assist in this."
By Carole Gombakomba and Jonga Kandemiiri
30 May 2007
Resident doctors at state hospitals in Harare on Wednesday said they would
launch a new strike on Thursday if Zimbabwean health authorities did not
meet their demand for an increase in pay to Z$70 million (US$1,400) a month.
Hospital residents were out on strike for some 10 weeks from last December
to this February. At that time they were demanding demanded monthly wages of
Z$5 million and the government offered packages between Z$900,000 and Z$2
But junior residents said they have only received between Z$17,000 and
Z$252,000 a month, while some of them have not been paid at all. They added
that they face high commuting costs because the accommodations at hospitals
The doctors notified the government two weeks ago of their intent to strike.
Hospital Doctors Association President Amon Siveregi said that if the
government is serious about improving the health care system, it should
meet their demands as they are failing to make ends meet, due to high
transport and general living costs.
Inflation in Zimbabwe ran at a 12-month rate of around 3,700% in April.
Siveregi told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that
junior and senior residents in Harare and Bulawayo are also demanding higher
allowances and car loans of at least US$3,000 to be paid in hard currency.
Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Bank and Allied Workers Union said it has given the
banking industry and government 14-days notice of a strike because employers
have not raised salaries by 165% as recommended by an arbitrator earlier
The union said employers have proposed to raise the wages of the lowest paid
staff, who now earn Z$86,000 a month, but not the salaries of higher paid
employees who earn as much as Z$1 million a month, or about US$20.
Union Vice President Peter Mutasa told reporter Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's
Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that he considered it highly unlikely that labor
officials would meet with banking industry representatives before the
two-week notice period expires.
With only 10 months to go before Zimbabwe holds decisive presidential and
parliamentary elections, Robert Mugabe has perfected his tactics of
brutalising the opposition.
The ruling party, Zanu (PF) faces yet another stiff challenge from the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), and they have drawn all the
daggers out to ensure that there is no even playing field for the MDC.
A visit to Harvest House, the MDC headquarters along Samora Machel Avenue in
Harare's city centre, reveals an almost deserted place.
Because of the high level of abductions and kidnappings of the ruling
party's perceived political opponents, MDC activists and leaders going in
and out of the building are on high alert in an increasingly dangerous
Because the political atmosphere has become very a tense, with the dreaded
members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), Zanu (PF) youth
militia (Green Bombers), and other state agents indiscriminately pouncing on
perceived political enemies, there is very little activity going on in the
Police have raided the MDC headquarters more than a dozen times over the
past three months, and has conducted nocturnal raids on homes of leaders and
activists in collaboration with Zanu (PF) militia.
War veterans have recently been recently rejuvenated by Mugabe in his battle
for survival and they have been sanctioned to carry out all kinds of dirty
tactics against political opponents of the Zanu (PF) government.
On the streets of Harare, restive Zimbabweans wonder about tomorrow as
inflation continues to stalk the once-prosperous southern African country,
pushing prices of basic commodities beyond the roof on a daily basis.
Just like on the stairs and corridors of Harvest House, fear grips the
streets and suburbs of Harare as well as other towns and cities.
These images are emblematic of the ongoing scheme by Zanu (PF) to paralyse
and incapacitate the opposition ahead of next year's elections, and
President Robert Mugabe has mastered the art of doing just that.
"The regime is employing a cocktail of sinister tricks in order to
incapacitate us," MDC secretary general, Tendai Biti said.
"Raids at our offices have been done specifically to destroy our
administrative backbone while key members of the party have been arrested.
The party is struggling with huge costs of providing welfare to members in
prison and in hospital."
A total of 22 members of the MDC are languishing in remand prison and have
been denied bail on several occasions facing charges of orchestrating
Biti recently said when launching the party's campaign lobbying for the
release of the political prisoners that the opposition party was also
feeling the heat financially.
They made an appeal to well-wishers for donations.
Professor Elphas Mukonoweshuro believes the Mugabe regime is all out to
destroy the opposition whilst pretending to be preparing for a free and fair
election next year.
"This is all aimed at destroying the vibrancy of the opposition in the run
up to the election, and then try to portray an image of normalcy during the
order to have them passed as being free and fair," he said.
Leader of the other faction of the MDC, Arthur Mutambara, said in addition
to this "nefarious plot" by the ruling party, there is also another agenda
to divide the opposition. "There is another agenda to divide and rule us
that is why we are
committed to forming a coalition that will end this Mugabe regime. Currently
the opposition is under siege from an increasingly paranoid regime and the
we can counter that is pulling towards one direction as the opposition
parties." - Own correspondent
BY ITAI DZAMARA
Government has set up a team comprising members of the Zimbabwe Republic
Police (ZRP) and militia (war vets and green bombers) to move around major
towns and cities to shop owners who charge above the gazetted prices.
Government sources revealed that a recent cabinet meeting of the beleaguered
Mugabe regime resolved to establish the force in the hope that retailers and
supermarkets would be intimidated into reducing prices. Minister of
Industry and International Trade, Obert Mpofu confirmed to The Zimbabwean
this week that "government is taking all necessary measures to deal with the
problem of prices being increased without justification".
"It is lawful for government to make sure that consumers are protected from
the wanton price hikes and the law has to be put in place for those behind
this to be arrested," Mpofu said.
Prices of basic commodities have been increasing on a daily basis as
inflation continues to stalk the economy, giving headaches to the Mugabe
regime, which blames non-existing sanctions.
"It was resolved that a force comprising youths and police must go around
the country arresting those behind the price increases and that must
commence soon," a government official said.
Manufacturers said the move would lead to worse shortages and more shop
closures. They are increasing prices because of the production costs they
incur in a situation where services and requirements such as electricity,
water, fuel and other costs are soaring due to hyper inflation.
"We will have no option but to close shop," a manager at a supermarket in
Harare said. "The problems are starting from the top but you have government
wanting to pretend as if it is us creating all this out of nowhere."
HARARE - Wearing a bright knitted cardigan and surrounded by maps, charts of
volcanoes, rainfall patterns and his pupils, Geography teacher Henry
Chimbiri of Mukai High School in Highfield seems an unlikely enemy of the
Last week, Chimbiri was fired from the teaching service for daring to stand
as the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) candidate for Mt Darwin in the
forthcoming crunch 2008 Parliamentary vote.
The permanent secretary in the ministry of Education, Stephen Mahere dusted
up a 2005 case against Chimbiri, charging him with breaching teaching
statutes when he stood as MDC candidate in the 2005 legislative poll. He
lost that election - mired in shocking poll fraud - to Saviour Kasukuwere of
"Please be informed that, in terms of Section (1) (b) of the Public Service
Regulations (Statutory Instrument 1 of 2000) as amended, I found you guilty
of misconduct on the allegations that you contested in the 31 March 2005
Parliamentary Elections for the post of Member of Parliament for the Mt
Darwin South Constituency without authority of Head Office and the Public
Service Commission," read Chimbiri's dismissal letter from the Education
Chimbiri is contesting his dismissal in the Labour Court arguing it was
defective because it was based on an old piece of legislation that had been
repealed in 2001.
Chimbiri asserts the dismissal is null and void as the regulations quoted by
the permanent secretary in his dismissal letter have been replaced by a new
piece of legislation (Statutory Instrument 58 (A) of 2001) which allows all
civil servants (except those in the Attorney General's office, judiciary,
army and police) to contest and hold political office at any level of
governance in Zimbabwe.
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe provincial chairman Jacob Rukweza
said Chimbiri's official harassment was the tip of an iceberg in an intense
State-sponsored crackdown against teachers, branded opposition loyalists by
government for agitating for better pay.
Across Zimbabwe, said Rukweza, teachers were finding themselves targets of
intimidation as President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu (PF) party fights to
cling to power. Reports abound of teachers being beaten and threatened by
activists who accuse them of encouraging support for the main opposition
party, the MDC.
One secondary school teacher from Madziwa, north-east of Harare, told how
six youths wearing Zanu (PF) T-shirts had beaten him with iron bars and
whips. At least two other schools in Mashonaland suspended classes after
raids by Zanu (PF) supporters.
The teachers' traditional position as polling agents during elections and
educators of the disaffected young explains why Mugabe sees them as a
threat. Mugabe himself is a teacher by profession.
Zanu (PF) Youth secretary Absalom Sikhosana said recently university
lecturers such as human rights activists Dr Lovemore Madhuku and Dr John
Makumbe were polluting the minds of students and should be fired. - Chief
Zimbabweans have been failing to get bread from supermarkets following the
drastic scaling down of production by bakeries faced with dwindling supplies
of flour as well as viability problems.
Most supermarkets in towns and cities have not stocked any bread since
Monday this week and there were reports of zero production at bakeries.
Bakers are pushing for an increase in the price of bread in order for them
to cushion themselves from hiked increased prices of flour from the millers.
Prices of a standard loaf of bread currently range between Z$9 000 and Z$12
000. Government gazetted the price of a loaf of bread at Z$900.
"We are operating at deficits and most of us are feeling the effects," a
source within the Zimbabwe Bakers Association said. "We either have to
increase prices accordingly or just close shop, both of which are unpleasant
This comes amid reports that the country is running out of wheat. But the
minister of agriculture, Rugare Gumbo, has denied this and insisted the
country has enough. "It is not true that the country has insufficient wheat
for its needs. The problems affecting availability of bread are to do with
what we have always been complaining about, and that is businesses out to
sabotage the economy," he said.
Shortages of wheat have affected the country over the past couple of years
since the Zanu (PF) regime destroyed the agricultural backbone through its
chaotic land reform programme embarked upon after violent land seizures of
2000. Formerly the breadbasket of the region, Zimbabwe has had to rely on
imports of wheat and other grain to feed its population.
Other basic commodities such as maize meal and sugar are also scarcely
available on the official market and very expensive on the black market. -
HARARE - Desperate Zimbabweans have taken to sleeping overnight at
supermarket alleys in the city centre so they will be first in line when
sought-after sugar goes on sale each morning.
The queues are just one outgrowth of Zimbabwe's worst economic crisis since
President Robert Mugabe came to power 27 years ago. A foreign currency
squeeze that began even before bands of squatters began seizing white-owned
farms has cut imports, causing shortages of oil and other raw materials.
The prime sugar-plantations seized from conglomerates in the lowveld by
so-called war veterans have been laid to waste by ill-equipped resettled
farmers, critically crippling the sugar industry in Triangle and Hippo
Valley estates, jointly owned by SA mining giant Anglo plc.
Lush rolling green fields of sugar cane in the lowveld have been reduced to
stunted maize fields by squatters who laid siege to the properties. The new
farmers have dismally failed to grow sugar cane - an expensive crop grown
under irrigation - grounding cane haulage trucks in the lowveld. Commercial
banks have rightly refused to advance loans to the new farmers, rejecting
the defective 99-year lease collateral.
There is now concern that shortages could spread to other staple foods such
as bread and milk, even though foreign loans and revenue from tobacco
exports may prevent the exhaustion of foreign currency reserves for several
weeks. The disastrous land reform has also hurt the dairy industry and
devastated the entire agriculture sector, with critical shortages in wheat
and maize. Supplies of bread and milk are intermittent.
The sugar producers are also complaining over the regulated price of sugar,
which they charge is way below the cost of producing sugar. Government
alleges the sugar association is causing "artificial shortages" of table
sugar by diverting raw sugar to production of caster and baking sugar, whose
price is not regulated.
"We're creeping closer to the day when we will no longer be able to buy
basic things," said John Robertson, a Harare-based economist. "We're talking
about a matter of weeks."
With spiralling consumer prices and industrial stagnation, the economy's on
course to shrink at least 8 percent this year, while unemployment has jumped
to about 80 percent from 45 percent seven years ago and inflation has hit a
record 3,700 percent - the highest in the world.
The occupation of more than 4,000 white-owned farms by government allies and
associated violence that has killed at least 15 people has reduced
agricultural output, which accounted for 40 percent of exports. The
state-sponsored terror campaign targeted at the opposition is also scaring
off foreign visitors. Tourism, which accounts for 5 percent of the economy,
is drying up, and many tour operators are closing, according to the
Zimbabwean Tourism Authority.
We have all been talking and hearing about these talks. A lot of questions
arise. Firstly, we would like to know exactly what South African President
Thabo Mbeki, Tanzanian President Kikwete and our SADC brothers and sisters
want to achieve by their mediation.
Is their role to bring about a new government without any political,
economic and social reform? Or is their objective something more meaningful?
To establish themselves as genuine mediators, they should secure the
cooperation of the present government in allowing the transitional process
to go ahead without interference and press them to step down from office to
allow for an effective transition. We shall continue to pressure them to do
this, thereby paving the way for a Zimbabwe where all Zimbabweans can enjoy
equality and live with dignity.
What is our role as ordinary Zimbabweans, carrying the heaviest burdens and
finding it impossible to survive?
Our role can be described in this way. We know where the fireplace is and
that there is a pot boiling. We have not been consulted about what is to be
cooked and who is to eat the meal when it is ready. While waiting to be
called to the table to share the meal, we are busy collecting firewood and
bringing it to the fireside so that those currently doing the cooking see it
and put it in the fire.
If the fire starts to go out, it will be our firewood that is used to light
it again so that the pot can keep boiling. When the meal is cooked we will
demand a place at the table to share in the meal cooked with our firewood.
If the meal is badly cooked, we will refuse to eat and ask them for a better
recipe. And just a reminder that mothers make the most memorable meals!
We can go further to say that those mediating the talks, and the politicians
involved, should be thinking of the following ingredients if the meal is to
be delicious and enjoyed by all Zimbabweans:
1.Violence, in all its forms, should be stopped to allow for a transitional
process that can begin the healing process.
2.An all-stakeholders' conference should be convened with the following
participants: all political parties, non-governmental organisation,
churches, labour, business, youth and women all meeting on an equal basis.
Their agenda is to devise a transitional process consisting of putting in
place an interim authority and outlining a process of constitution making.
The interim authority should undertake the following:
3.Assume legislative power; repeal oppressive legislation against freedom of
expression and assembly such as the Public Order and Security Act (POSA) and
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA). We also call
for an end to the selective application of other laws.
4.Conduct an audit of civil servants, the judiciary and law enforcement
agents as to their professional and non-partisan conduct. Offenders should
be sent to
re-training/community service or for prosecution. The youth militia should
be disbanded and the defence forces should be confined to barracks for
5.Begin the process of re-engaging the international community with a view
to rehabilitating the economy aimed at job creation.
6.Carry out a land audit to lay the basis for a permanent and equitable
solution to land reform, while promoting immediate resumption of food
7.Initiate a constitution-making process, including a plan for transitional
justice, consulting all Zimbabweans both at home and abroad.
8.Take the resulting constitutional and transitional justice proposals to a
referendum supervised by Southern African Development Community (SADC).
9.Prepare for elections, including reconstituting the Registrar General's
department, preparing new electoral laws, appointing an independent
electoral commission and delimitation commission to prepare an electoral
roll and prepare for the election. We will be saying good riddance to
Tobaiwa Mudede and his crooked systems.
10. Ensure elections are conducted according to the SADC protocols and under
international and regional supervision with international and local
observers. The interim authority will then hand over to the winners of the
BY CHIEF REPORTER
'In the centre of Matobo district lies Bhalagwe concentration camp, occupied
as late as 1987 as part of Robert Mugabe's campaign to crush the rival
liberation movement, Zapu'
MATOBO - Amid the squalor in Matobo, it is a "common secret" that there are
dire consequences at attempts to oppose Zimbabwe's ruling party. Either you
are starved to death, brutalised, sexually assaulted or viciously tortured.
Villagers here say the terror campaign they have witnessed over the past few
weeks evokes memories of the grisly 80s events in the south west of
Zimbabwe. Then, 20,000 were killed for daring to oppose Zanu (PF).
So, Lovemore Moyo - who was two weeks ago voted incumbent Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) national chairman, replacing the late Isaac
Matongo - knows he faces a formidable challenge, retaining his seat as the
opposition candidate in Matobo in the Parliamentary elections due next
March. Not only is his personal safety threatened by the ruthless ruling
party but the minds of his constituents are filled with fear over the
escalating State-sponsored terror that has now spilled into the rural areas.
"We do not want to think of what happened here. I myself witnessed beatings,
rapes and brothers being made to fight one another. Those memories, we
suppress them because they bring forth a lot of unanswered questions and
suspicions," said the 42-year-old financial adviser.
In the centre of Matobo district lies Bhalagwe concentration camp, occupied
as late as 1987 as part of Robert Mugabe's campaign to crush the rival
liberation movement, Zapu. Local people have demolished some of the camp
buildings where the worst atrocities were committed on thousands of people,
but several are still standing, like grim monuments to fear. There are
unmarked graves containing an untold number of bodies.
Now, says the MDC, President Mugabe is unleashing the same intimidation
tactics he used in Matobo and the rest of Matabeleland on the country as a
whole, murders, beatings and "re-education camps". At least three people
have died since March 11 and 600 have been abducted and viciously tortured
not just MDC staff and supporters, but also teachers and other influential
figures in rural areas.
According to Moyo, there are strong parallels between the 1980s massacres in
Matabeleland, commonly known as the Gukurahundi (the spring rain that washes
away the chaff of the winter season) and Zanu (PF)'s current intimidation,
aimed at securing power for another five years.
"They are saying they will bring back Gukurahundi and the tactics are
exactly the same. They attack and kill, they ransack places to find party
cards and campaign material just as they did against Zapu," he said.
There are differences between Zapu and the MDC. Zapu had its own armed
liberation movement, Zipra. Together with Zanu's military wing, Zanla, it
fought a long war to end white rule in 1980. Zipra's main base was in
Matabeleland, the kingdom of the Ndebele people. Zanu, however, which was
strongly supported by Mozambique, drew its support from the Shona people of
Mashonaland, of whom President Mugabe is one.
When Zanu wanted to crush Zipra in the mid 1980s, it could claim dissidents
with arms caches were destabilising the country. Such was Zanu's fear of its
former liberation ally that President Mugabe renewed states of emergency in
Matabeleland every six months between 1980 and 1990 enforced by its special
terror unit, 5 Brigade, trained by the North Koreans.
The MDC, on the other hand, is a young party, formed only in 1999 and born
out of the churches and trade unions. It is multi-racial and multi-ethnic.
"It is great," said Moyo. "The leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, is Shona but the
vice president Thoko Khupe is Ndebele and we have whites among our
membership, too. I am from Matabeleland and I am the national chairman. The
party is truly representative, which is important, because there is strong
discrimination in Zimbabwe against the Ndebele people."
Zapu was subsumed into Zanu after an accord was reached at the end of
Gukaruhundu in 1987 between Mugabe and the late Joshua Nkomo. Today,
Zimbabwe's three million Ndebeles are divided.
"People are hungry for change, especially the young voters," said Moyo. "But
Ndebeles are quite conservative. Our tradition is to be ruled by a royal
family, and we gave Dr Nkomo the position of a king. It takes a while to win
the support of Ndebele people but once you have, they are loyal and
Moyo, who hails from Matobo, stands a very good chance of retaining his
seat. He knows his constituency inside out and its 115,000 population:
commercial farms in the north and a national park; two-thirds of people
living on poor drought-prone communal lands; heads of families working in
South Africa; zero infrastructure; clinics without drugs or doctors; no
libraries and bad schools.
"It has always been hard for us. The communal lands are of the poorest
variety and the people there know the meaning of famine. And central
government has no interest whatsoever of supporting this area." They also
know the meaning of Gukurahundi, he said, and are living in fear and
uncertainty about their future.
President Mugabe, apparently locked in denial, has dithered to pay
compensation to families of those who died, though the government has never
acknowledged how many were killed, nor issued death certificates for those
But Moyo is dismissive: "What is compensation? It cannot bring back a
mother, a sister or a brother. What we will build is a national shrine to
all those people who died because they were Ndebele, loyal to Dr Nkomo or
Zapu." The MDC also has plans for a truth commission which will help secure
the victims' place in Zimbabwe's history.
As yet, the Matabeleland massacres have not been properly recorded and mass
graves are still being discovered. Only one study, called Breaking The
Silence, drawn from information gathered by rural Catholic missionaries,
provides a real insight. The chapter on Matobo in the report by the Catholic
Commission for Justice and Peace makes chilling and gut-wrenching reading.
It describes Bhalagwe as "the most notorious" concentration camp, where
5,000 people were detained at any one time. Here, digging graves was a daily
chore and 5 Brigade played sadistic torture games with the men, women and
children who were incarcerated for weeks or months on end.
Young women were taken as "wives" by the soldiers. Others were raped, with
sticks. It was here that a woman, in 1983, was made to eat the flesh of her
dead child. Men had their testicles bound with rubber strips and beaten.
Some were made to push vehicles with their heads, then beaten for bleeding
on government property.
An MDC official who declined to be named, speaking from his office in
Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second city, said he had his own memories of the terror
of the 1980s when he was active in Zapu. But he is optimistic that the MDC
supporters will not be cowed.
"Our candidates and supporters are being targeted. But I think Zanu (PF)
realised too late how powerful the MDC has grown. The horse had bolted
before they started to try to rein it in."
BY ITAI DZAMARA
Members of the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and the police tried
to force MDC youths to denounce and desert their party and publicly claim
responsibility for acts of terrorism.
Some of the opposition youths, arrested while holding a meeting at the MDC
headquarters in Harare at the weekend and later released without charge,
told The Zimbabwean that CIO members and police officers had played 'good
cop, bad cop' with them in an effort to get them to turn against their
They were intimidated through various forms of torture and enticed with
offers of money.
MDC spokesman, Nelson Chamisa, confirmed that party youths were subjected to
savage treatment, which he said was now common practice by state security
agents in dealing with the opposition.
"Our members are being tortured and forced to denounce the party, to defect
and to admit that they have been involved in political violence," Chamisa
One of the youths said: "They took us through a lot of interrogation, at the
same time beating us to admit that we were involved in petrol bombing and
other acts of violence. We were also told that if we told the truth in front
of journalists we would be given money and recruited for national youth
training rather than continue being in the MDC, which was likely to lead us
Police spokesman, Oliver Mandipaka, denied these allegations.
A wave of petrol-bombing has recently rocked the country, and the state has
been accused of stage-managing the incidents in an attempt to justify its
crackdown on the opposition.
Members of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) are increasingly disgruntled
because of the empty promises from government for quarterly salary increases
and more desertions are affecting the force.
The Zimbabwean has established that the ZRP had promised its members
quarterly salary increases but nothing has been done as the second quarter
comes to an end. Many police officers are either absconding duty to try
other means of earning income or deserting to leave the country, mainly for
"We were promised quarterly salary reviews but have not received any
increase since the one early this year, which was backdated to last year," a
member of the force said. "It is a matter of getting the opportunity and
most of us will certainly jump on any slight chance to move on to something
The Zimbabwean saw a salary slip for May which showed that an officer of the
rank of constable is earning Z$340 000 including transport and other
allowances - not even enough for transport for a month with commuter fares
now ranging between $10 000 and $15 000.
That situation forces most members of the ZRP to engage in corrupt
activities during their conduct of duty.
"They are turning down resignations and therefore most officers are just
absconding from duty or deserting without official absence from duty. Most
ZRP employees are going to South Africa," an officer from Harare Central
Police Station said. Home affairs minister Kembo Mohadi said that the issue
of salaries for ZRP employees was being looked into. "We are looking into
that issue and there must be a way forward soon," he said.
Meanwhile, levels of disgruntlement within the army are also increasing over
low salaries and sources say there have been threats of a coup from the
middle and lower levels of the force. - Itai Dzamara
Zimbabwean minister Patrick Chinamasa must apologise publicly to Zimbabwean
human rights activists and the African Commission on human and peoples'
rights for issuing threats says Gabriel Shumba, the Executive Director of
Zimbabwe Exiles Forum and ACT-Southern Africa
While attending the 41st Session of the African Commission on Human and
Peoples' Rights, ZEF and the Anti-Corruption Trust of Southern Africa
(ACT-Southern Africa) witnessed unfortunate incidents in which Chinamasa
insulted human rights activists and a retired judge of the High Court of
Zimbabwe, Michael Majuru.
"The minister used derogatory, abusive and contemptuous utterances against
Majuru and other human rights defenders from Zimbabwe. The incident was
witnessed by the Zimbabwean Ambassador in Ghana, the Permanent Secretary of
the Ministry of Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, David Mangota, senior
dignitaries of the African Commission and other countries as well as members
of Civil Society Organisations. The Minister labelled the former judge
'scam', 'skunk', 'rubbish" among other insults. He also publicly said that
he is the one who offered him a job as a judge and he feels 'betrayed' since
the former judge decided not to agree with his government's ideology," says
a statement from ZEF.
"Chinamasa accused us of working towards regime change in Zimbabwe and
issued many threats. We are of the view that these threats by the Minister
are calculated to intimidate human rights organizations and to instil fear
and insecurity into the persons concerned and the organizations they
Shumba and Majuru are complainants against the Government of Zimbabwe in
Communications that are being heard by the Commission at its 41st session. -
A Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operative was thoroughly beaten at
the Central Methodist House in Johannesburg last week when he allegedly
stole a laptop containing some important information about Zimbabwean
refugees and asylum seekers, who fled the country as a result of political
persecution by the Zanu (PF) regime.
The man and his SA accomplices, who stay at the Methodist House, ran out of
luck when Verryn instructed the church security personnel to close all doors
leading out of the building before a body search was instituted.
They smashed the windows of the church building in a spirited effort to
escape with the laptop and flash drive diskettes.
The disgruntled refugees, who had earlier on spent the whole night awake
whilst the search was being conducted, took the law into their own hands and
started bashing the four South Africans, who later mentioned that they had
been assigned by a Zimbabwean CIO operative to steal the laptop.
The four, whose names could not be released for fear of being further
victimised by angry mob including other members of the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) later revealed to the security that the CIO
operative from Zimbabwe was behind the theft of the laptop and had given
them money to gain entry into Verryn's office and steal the laptop.
The matter was reported to Hillbrow police. However, Verryn dismissed the
CIO operative issue arguing that the four culprits behind this were South
African nationals whose motive could not be established by the time of going
to press. - CAJ News
HARARE - Fresh attacks on white-owned farms in Zimbabwe by self-styled war
veterans were reported weekend despite official pronouncements by President
Robert Mugabe that the land reform was a '"done deal."
About 20 veterans swooped on four farms in the Mvurwi area, northeast of
Harare, beat farm workers and forced them to sing songs praising President
Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu (PF) party, a spokesman for a local farm support
group told The Zimbabwean.
Clashes between veterans of the 70s independence war occupying new farms and
ex-farm workers refusing to vacate farm compounds were reported in Chinhoyi.
The ex-workers are unwilling to work for the new farmers because "they pay
In Matabeleland North militants seized a game ranch from white farmer Dave
Jourbet, evicted tourists from a lodge at the site and indicated they were
laying siege to the farm.
Despite a High Court interdict ordering the eviction of the settlers, police
staunchly refused to enforce the order.
"The situation is still the same, they have brought in more men into the
farm and they even ordered me to create more room in my cottage as they said
they were expecting more personnel to come in next week," Margaret Joubert,
the wife of Dave Joubert one of the farm directors was quoted by newswire
In another incident near the central town of Zvishavane, a farm worker and
two guards carrying the payroll for a local farm were ambushed by suspected
veterans, the spokesman said.
The driver was assaulted but managed to drive away with the money. The
guards were chased into the bush. "We are concerned about the safety of the
two guards," the spokesman said.
The Zimbabwean on Friday visited five deserted farms in the area where the
few remaining farmhands said acts of intimidation were continuing.
The militant government supporters say they are invading white-owned farms
on land they say was stolen by British colonists in the former Rhodesia.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said that attacks on
farms were disrupting the harvesting of key crops. Opponents accuse Mugabe
of provoking the land crisis to intimidate white farmers and other
The worst economic crisis since independence has fueled support for the
labor-backed MDC ahead of harmonised elections, expected next March. The MDC
is seen as the biggest threat to Mugabe's hold on power since he led the
nation to independence in 1980.
LUKOSI - Elder Samuel Munkuli squints out over the drought-wasted landscape
that has been home to his people for generations - and now threatens to
become their tomb.
Solitary figures wander the wilted fields, hacking at the bone-dry soil with
hoes in an attempt to coax a winter harvest that is already far too late.
May is normally a month of plenty in Zimbabwe, as farmers harvest their
crops ahead of the chilly winter. But this year, rural granaries are as
empty as the dusty urban shop shelves, and the government has declared 2007
a drought year because of the desperate shortage of food in most of the
southern African country. Nowhere is the crisis as severe as the already dry
provinces of southern Zimbabwe.
"We managed to get only a few melons," said grey-haired Munkuli, wiping his
brow. "The rain was not fair, so we couldn't harvest anything. Now we go for
sometimes a week without food," he said. Munkuli says the cattle are
beginning to die, and that there is not enough to eat.
"There is no water," he says pointing at a bone-thin cow weak of hunger. And
if, as for the past three years, the rains don't come? I see only death," he
Munkuli's wife spends the days scavenging for berries and wild fruit in the
nearby mountains. He sometimes sells a chicken alongside the highway that
passes 100 meters outside his village, but that money only buys enough maize
meal to last a few days, and he is running out of chickens.
"If we can find (maize meal), we don't make the thick sadza, we just make a
thin porridge so the mealie meal can last another day," one neighbour said.
Most people in the villages in Lukosi district, about 130 kilometres east of
Victoria Falls, said they were relying on relatives, friends and neighbours
to survive - hoping that some distant cousin working in a city or overseas
will send home money or food to share with the village.
"Now we are waiting for the neighbours, to see if they find some food. We
are living communally, to make sure no one is dying," said Ruth Ndlovu, who
was using her cooking pots for stools as she had nothing to put in them.
Even in these rural areas, people have heard of government plans to import
maize by swapping it for sugar. But everyone in this cluster of villages
thinks they know why no food is coming to them - politics.
"Those areas where the imported maize is going, is where the people voted
for the government. That is why we are not getting food," Ndlovu said. "Last
time when the maize was brought, it was said it was only for the ruling
party supporters - the war vets, the army. Sometimes if shops manage to get
mealie meal, it's only 10 bags. When the maize is disbursed, they say it is
only for Zanu (PF), not for MDC supporters, and they make sure it does not
Voters in southern Zimbabwe turned out strongly in favour of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the March 2005 parliamentary
elections. Most of the people in these provinces are from the Ndebele
minority, and none of them have forgotten the ruling Zanu (PF)'s bloody
1980s campaign to wipe out "dissidents," which left thousands dead or
During that campaign, church groups accused the government of using the army
to block food deliveries and to destroy food supplies during the 1984
drought. The memories have left a suspicion of President Robert Mugabe
that's hard to erase in this region, especially after the violence-wracked
campaign that saw hundreds of people - mainly opposition supporters -
beaten, abducted or otherwise intimidated, according to rights groups.
Aid agencies, however, are trying to respond to the crisis without getting
entangled in the political drama. The UN's World Food Program (WFP) has
intensified its emergency food deliveries in the drought-torn province,
despite donor fatigue.
The political crisis and international dissatisfaction with Mugabe's
government have overshadowed the growing humanitarian problems. UN officials
here fear the famine will act as a catalyst for other health problems, not
the least of which is HIV, the deadly virus that has infected one in four
Zimbabwean adults. Other diseases like malaria and cholera can also take
hold as malnutrition spreads.
If international assistance does not come, villagers in Lukosi have resigned
themselves to scavenging and hoping they survive to see better rains next
"We are just waiting to see if next year there is some rain. In the
meantime, we just eat wild fruits, berries, some baobab fruit. And we rush
to the highway to see if someone is getting down with some maize," Ndlovu
HARARE - Zimbabwe's leading opposition party is likely to boycott next
year's elections because the Mugabe regime is steadily eliminating any
chance of a fair vote.
Leaders of the opposition MDC said privately the opposition party would only
contest the joint March 2008 presidential, parliamentary and senate poll if
President Mugabe adopted political reforms, including establishing an
independent authority to oversee the voting.
A High Court ruling last week declaring that President Mugabe was not
legally bound to the Grand Baie charter, a protocol by SADC leaders pledging
to abide by newly drafted guidelines for transparent elections with full
participation by all citizens, has betrayed government's reluctance to abide
by the charter.
Opposition sources said the MDC was eager to exhaust all domestic remedies
before endorsing the boycott decision.
Last Thursday's decision by the MDC to file a Supreme Court application
challenging the constitutionality of sections of the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission Act, was part of this plan.
MDC secretary general Tendai Biti told a press briefing last week that it
was premature to announce a boycott as his party wanted to give the
mediation efforts by South African President Thabo Mbeki a chance.
Dr Lovemore Madhuku, who heads the National Constitutional Assembly, a civic
organization, said a boycott was a very risky move if it was not followed up
with real political action on the ground.
"They are expecting that Mugabe cares about whether they participate or
don't participate," said Madhuku, who is helping organize a petition
demanding democratic reforms. In fact, he said, Mugabe "is likely just to
say that this boycott shows they are irrelevant." - Chief reporter
Government has wholly withheld May salaries for hundreds of striking nurses
at state hospitals, defying repeated warnings about the potentially
devastating impact of the prolonged industrial job action that has caused
unnecessary deaths at health institutions over the past four weeks.
Angry nurses at Harare Hospital on Monday confronted hospital CEO Jealous
Nderere demanding an explanation why their salaries had been docked. They
had been handed pay slips with Z$0,00 net pay.
Nurses said they had no qualms with government withholding their May
salaries because they stayed away from work but took great exception to the
move by the Salaries Service Bureau to withhold their transport and housing
allowance back pay as well as their night duty allowance which they earned
way before the strike commenced. The move smacked of foul play, said angry
When the stay away began four weeks ago, government agreed to increase the
nurses' housing allowance from $32,000 to $138,000 and their transport
allowance from $53,000 to $169,000 - backdated to February.
With a basic salary of $111,000 - which is enough to buy only a 10kg bag of
mealie meal - nurses now rank among the worst paid professionals in
The Zimbabwean understands Government has also signed a memorandum of
understanding with several African countries, barring them from recruiting
nurses from Zimbabwe. Nurses are leaving in droves for greener pastures in
Australia, United Kingdom, New Zealand but the clearing process had been
made cumbersome by the government, which was eager to curb further brain
drain. - Chief reporter
HARARE - The Zimbabwe government blew a staggering Z$10,7 billion in
unbudgeted funds last month bankrolling a massive 500 percent increment on
war veterans' monthly tax-free gratuities.
The move is widely seen as a ploy to mollify the restive ex-combatants
likely to play an instrumental role during Zanu (PF)'s campaigns for next
The increment, made last month, has raised eyebrows as it has not been
gazetted in any of the statutory instruments published recently in the
Government Gazette. Normally, such a review is supposed to be published
under pension reviews in the official Gazette.
The 55,000 war veterans on government payroll had their monthly allowance
increased by $196,000 last month, backdated to March. This increment
represents an unbudgeted extra monthly expenditure of Z$10,7 billion in the
2007 fiscal year.
Official sources said government would sustain the pay out through a
supplementary budget likely to be unveiled this month.
Before the adjustment, each war veteran was taking home $50,000 monthly. The
monthly gratuities have been hiked to $244,000. Investigations have revealed
that last month war veterans took home $384,000 mainly as backpay - a
pittance given the Poverty Datum Line is now pegged at $1,7 million.
The Zimbabwean understands the increment was gazetted by Labour and Social
Welfare minister Nicholas Goche and Finance minister Samuel Mumbengegwi. It
will be drawn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
The war veterans have played a key role in helping Mugabe retain power over
the past three general elections by unleashing an orgy of violence against
The increment comes as government announces the establishment of a formal
reserve force of war veterans with official State funding. The law that will
reorganize the war veterans has been published in the Government Gazette
under the name "Defence (War Veterans' Reserve) Regulations 2007."
"It is clearly a strategy by the Mugabe regime to oil all the institutions
of violence that he so badly needs to disadvantage the opposition,"
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) spokesman Nelson Chamisa
The payment of $50 000 gratuities to each of the 55,000 war veterans, nine
years ago, sent the Zimbabwe dollar crashing to a then all time low against
major currencies on what came to be known as 'Black Friday' in November
That huge payout of largely unbudgeted funds gobbled $4 billion - a huge
amount back then - fuelling inflation. The tax free lump sum of $50,000 was
to be followed by $2,000 monthly payments which were increased in 1999 to
$5,500 and many times subsequent to that.
Apart from the gratuities, war veterans also receive an annual education
allowance , free medical attention at government hospitals, and burial
allowance when a family member dies. They are also entitled to 20 percent of
the land acquired by the government under the chaotic land grab.
Zanu (PF) has plans to use farm-style invasions as well as legislation to
nationalise foreign-owned businesses and mines in the second phase of the
jambanja that began in 2000.
The Mugabe regime is preparing a piece of legislation, the Indigenisation
and Empowerment Bill, that will empower it to take over the majority
shareholding in all foreign-owned companies, a move observers say will be
the final nail in the coffin of Zimbabwe's economy, reeling under
hyper-inflation and the effects of mismanagement and corruption.
Zimbabwe's neighbour and one of its leading trade partners, South Africa,
stands to be the worst affected by the latest of the regime's measures to
cock a snook at international community and buy votes by pretending to bring
economic empowerment to the people.
"Indeed, the bill is being worked on and will soon be presented to
parliament for consideration. We want to reverse the situation whereby the
country's economy is controlled by foreigners," said justice minister,
Economic development minister, Silvester Nguni said the bill would empower
government to takeover 51% shareholding in all foreign-owned companies.
The chaotic land invasions of 2000, purported to be giving land to the
people, were in the same vein and have resulted in mass unemployment and
starvation and the collapse of the once-prosperous agricultural industry.
As has been the case with the land jambanja, the beneficiaries of the new
law will be the usual Zanu (PF) fat cats and hangers on, on whom Mugabe
depends for his continued survival. They are already squabbling over the
MDC secretary general, Tendai Biti, said the new jambanja would "further
isolate the country and the effects would be dire".
Independent economist, John Robertson believes that "the government would be
doing nothing but pressing another self-destruct button because investors
will simply back off or pack and go".
The 200 or so British-based companies in Zimbabwe, including Standard
Chartered and Barclays, BP, Rio Tinto and BAT are likely to be targeted
first, followed closely by international conglomerates such as Unilever,
Shell and BHP.
"As has been the case with agriculture, land, electricity and water
supplies, etc, the takeover by Zanu (PF) of mining and industry can only
lead to disaster," say economic observers.
The Zimbabwean economy has endured 50% shrinkage during the past 15 years.
Inflation has reached unprecedented levels and is expected to go beyond
5000% by year-end. - CAJ News/Own correspondent
HARARE - The governing Zanu (PF) party is moving to clampdown on all
broadcasts of music critical of President Robert Mugabe's government on
national radio, while propping up "patriotic musicians" sympathetic to the
The Zimbabwean understands six groups sympathetic to the Mugabe regime this
week attended a "workshop" at the Zanu (PF) headquarters to discuss stepping
up a propaganda offensive through music.
The workshop was attended by senior ruling party officials.
Plans to rope in musicians into the ruling party's campaign strategy was
reportedly made by a Central Committee task force formed to ensure a Zanu
(PF) victory in the March 2008 vote.
Among musicians who attended the workshop were the dreadlocked Andy Brown,
spentforce Zexie Manatsa, Tambaoga of the "Blair Toilet" claptrap, Cde
Chinx, LMG Choir and Elliot Manyika, who is also the Zanu (PF) political
The taskforce leading the battle of hearts and minds constitutes Zanu (PF)
spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira, his deputy Steven Chidawanyika, General
Vitalis 'Gava' Zvinavashe, Harare businessman Tendai Savanhu and Manyika.
Zanu (PF) has reportedly agreed to bankroll production of "revolutionary and
patriotic music" propping up the ruling party and caricaturing the
The songs will be given generous airplay on the government-owned ZBC. The
meeting has also agreed to dust up propaganda songs such as Nora, Sendekera,
Toilet, and all the jingles and have them play on 30 minute intervals on
The Zimbabwean was unable to independently verify reports that billions had
been set aside for the project. The task force reportedly agreed that the
forthcoming elections would be tougher than previous ones and that the MDC
posed the greatest threat to its 27-year reign. As a result, there was need
to expose the weaknesses of opposition parties and make Zanu (PF) stand in
Footage of slaughtered soldiers and bombings of camps during the liberation
struggle will also be broadcast on State television ad nauseum ad infitum
and corresponsing pictures of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai receiving
a cehque from whites will also be bombarded on views.
"The party will make use of readily available media such as the party
government papers, ZBC (both radio and television) and the Zimbabwe
Information Service," said one of the workshop resolutions.
Zanu (PF) will also insert full page adverts in local papers ridiculing the
HARARE - A desperate Zimbabwe government has recalled retired teachers and
granted amnesty to hundreds discharged due to misconduct as the shortage of
Over 4,500 teachers have left the profession since the beginning of this
year due to poor pay and working conditions, according to the Progressive
Teachers Union of Zimbabwe.
Now teachers discharged due to various offences have been granted amnesty by
Education minister Eaneas Chigwedere.
Only those fired on allegations of rape and murder would not be considered.
The massive brain drain of tutors has mainly been spawned by poor salaries.
Qualified teachers earn $490,000 while temporary teachers earn $296,000.
Tutors on teaching practice are earning a shocking $20,000.
This, at a time a basic household now needs a food basket worth $1,7 million
monthly, according to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe.
The appalling salaries have quickened the brain drain with many tutors
skipping the border to take up jobs in neighbouring countries that are
totally unrelated to their area of competence. Reports suggest teachers have
taken up jobs in Botswana and South Africa as security guards, gardeners,
housemaids, cellphone vendors and even herdsmen.
The result has been massive understaffing at mainly government schools,
which has impacted negatively on the general quality of education in
BY JOHN MAKUMBE
The SADC initiative for the resolution of the Zimbabwe crisis faces numerous
hurdles that could derail the whole process if they are not effectively
dealt with speedily. It is obvious that although so far all the parties seem
to be co-operating with Thabo Mbeki's team of negotiators, there is little
enthusiasm about the dialogue process. In fact, there is considerable
scepticism about the whole exercise. One major obstacle is that the process
is currently shrouded in secrecy, with only some selected members of Zanu
(PF) and MDC being privy to the goings on in that regard.
This secrecy is assumed to ensure the success of the talks between the two
major players. It is my considered view that this expectation is quite
unsound and dangerous. Political parties on their own cannot adequately
represent the interests of society as a whole. The exclusion of civil
society and the churches, business, women, youth and professionals creates
the usual risk that what the two political parties may agree on may be found
to be grossly inadequate, if not unacceptable to the generality of the
people of Zimbabwe.
The second obstacle is the continuing repression that Zanu (PF) and the
state's coercive apparatus are waging against the MDC, the churches and
civil society. The beatings, illegal arrests, abductions, torture and
murders just have to stop if the dialogue process is to be given a chance to
For example, the MDC headquarters at Harvest House was raided again last
Saturday and several members of that party were arrested and detained for no
specific reason. These arrests and illegal detentions are going on
throughout the country on a daily basis. We all know that the primary
objective of the dictatorial Mugabe regime is to weaken the MDC so that it
will not be effective in the Mbeki led dialogue process. The folly of this
sort of thinking is astounding. The truth of the matter is that rather than
weaken the MDC, these illegal acts are merely strengthening that party and
making it even more popular with all progressive forces both inside and
outside the country. It is amazing how dictators never learn from past
The announcement that local government elections will be held throughout the
country next January is yet another obstacle to the success of the dialogue
process. For Zanu (PF) to plan to hold local government elections in January
is essentially to assume that the status quo will still be obtaining with
regard to the legal framework or the Constitution of Zimbabwe.
The need for a new and democratic constitution for this country will
obviously be one of the crucial points of negotiation in the dialogue
process. Zanu (PF) is desperate to establish the political temperature
before the synchronised parliamentary and presidential elections 2008. With
the economy disintegrating at a rate faster than a Chinese tractor, Zanu
(PF) fears that by January 2008 that party will be so unpopular that even
some of its own staunchest supporters will vote against it. But to schedule
the local government elections for January is clearly to indicate that Zanu
(PF) has no intention of making the dialogue process succeed. MDC beware.
A further obstacle is that, although Thabo Mbeki has insisted that there
should not be any preconditions to the dialogue process, Mugabe is demanding
that the MDC should recognise him as the legitimate president of Zimbabwe.
This stupid precondition should be rejected from the outset. To recognise
Mugabe as president of Zimbabwe is to legitimise the illegitimate.
It is akin to validating the stolen 2002 presidential election, and the MDC
should desist from such action. Sadly, Thabo Mbeki himself recognises the
dictator as the legitimate head of the Zimbabwe state. The MDC must,
nonetheless maintain their position, that Mugabe is an impostor who lost the
election in 2002 but claimed that he had won it. The truth has to remain in
place. These obstacles to the dialogue process are, however, not
insurmountable. Every effort need to be made to ensure that the dialogue
process succeeds, against all odds.
BY CHIEF REPORTER
HARARE - A delegation from President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zanu (PF) party
and another from the two wings of the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) is expected to fly to South Africa next week to hammer out the
ground rules for talks between the ruling party and the opposition.
South Africa President Thabo Mbeki - SADC's point man in resolving the
deepening Zimbabwe crisis - has said he has been embarking on what he has
termed "confidence building measures," gleaning demands from the different
sides before talks resume.
The Zimbabwean understands that a ruling party delegation comprising Justice
minister Patrick Chinamasa and Labour minister Nicholas Goche will meet
opposition members of parliament, Tendai Biti and Welshman Ncube of the two
MDC wings at a lake resort near Pretoria for another round of secret
talks-about-talks facilitated by SA negotiators.
Next week's meeting will be the second following earlier tripartite talks
held in Tshwane almost three weeks ago. Since then, Mbeki has dispatched at
least two delegations to Harare in a bid to get the two sides talking in an
effort to break Zimbabwe's political logjam.
Mbeki is expected to brief his counter-parts on the progress, or lack of it,
at the next SADC heads of State meeting scheduled for the end of June.
Diplomatic sources said the SA delegations have largely been following up on
conditions put forward by the two MDC wings to Mbeki on April 11. The two
MDCs - which spoke with one voice - demanded the cessation of violence, a
new constitution, the reinstatement of the right to vote for millions of
Zimbabweans in the diaspora, impartial management and policing of the 2008
poll, before the talks resume.
The MDC also wants the secrecy of the vote to be guaranteed, elections
audited with a reputable audit firm such as Waterhouse Coopers or DeLoitte
and Touche. The opposition party has also demanded that they be granted the
right to freedoms of expression, assembly and expression. They have also
demanded access to the public media and a liberalisation of harsh media
They also demand that Zanu (PF) should stop using traditional chiefs in its
election campaigns, and that the election be open to all international
Mbeki has followed up on the opposition demands, dispatching last month a
team of his top aides, led by Local Government minister Sydney Mufamadi, for
private talks with Mugabe and his two deputies Joice Mujuru and Joseph
Another delegation led by SA Foreign Affairs Director-General Dr Ayanda
Ntsaluba, was in Harare last week for private talks with Foreign Affairs
staff and other cabinet ministers.
Mugabe has reportedly told Mbeki that the MDC first recognise him as the
legitimate head of State even before talks resume. But the MDC has rejected
this pre-condition charging it cannot recognise Mugabe as legit when he
assumed the presidency through an election he clumsily stole.
While Mbeki has imposed a blanket media blackout around the talks as a
ground rule, officials said there was little progress in efforts to get
Mugabe talking to the two MDCs.
A senior Zimbabwean government minister appeared to torpedo hopes of the
talks progressing when he told The Zimbabwean that Mugabe would never accept
the MDC's central demand for a new constitution.
"The president's position is that his government will simply reject these
rigid conditions, in particular those congruent to Western demands. I can
assure you that he won't accede to the conditions," said the minister, who
spoke on condition of anonymity.
South African newspapers have been reporting President Thabo Mbeki's anger
at the failure of two Zimbabwean cabinet ministers to attend a scheduled
meeting with opposition MDC representatives in Pretoria two weeks ago.
Justice minister Patrick Chinamasa and labour minister Nicholas Goche
reportedly rushed to South Africa - Chinamasa from an AU meeting in Accra
and Goche from his desk in Harare - after Mbeki complained. It is not clear
whether Mbeki raised the issue with Mugabe himself when the two failed to
arrived for secret talks to prepare for Zimbabwe's elections in March 2008.
Mbeki was appointed by the Southern African Development Community as a
mediator to resolve the Zimbabwean crisis, and has to report back on his
progress next month. His spokesperson Mukoni Ratshitanga said on Sunday:
"If it concerns the Zimbabwean dialogue process we are not commenting on it.
We will not engage in the media about whatever talks are happening."
"This shows that the Mugabe regime is not serious about talks," said a
political commentator. - Staff reporter
The United Nations has designated June 26 as the International Day Against
Torture in support of torture victims around the world. Throughout the month
of June The Zimbabwean will publish a series of articles to emphasize the
importance of the right to personal dignity and security of all individuals
around the world, guaranteed within the Universal Declaration of Human
What language do we speak?
BY CHENJERAI HOVE
'Elections are a time for verbal abuse and excessive profanity by the
Many years ago, as I worked for Mambo Press in Gweru, I had the privilege to
meet Benson Ndemera, then Governor of the Midlands. That was the time of the
'dissidents', and I was innocently coming from Ascot Stadium where Dynamos
had played a draw with Pisa Pisa, Gweru United.
There had been so much violence in Mutapa Township that when I drove into
the township with my two children to collect our domestic worker, we were
besieged by a massive crowd of youths, threatening to kill us. I explained
that I had come to collect the woman who took care of the children.
'Is she Shona or Ndebele, and if she is Shona, what is she doing staying in
a Ndebele township?' they asked, armed with sticks and pangas.
'No, she is Ndebele,' I said, humiliated in front of my children who sat
terrified in the back seat of the car.
And I was interrogated, put through a kangaroo court as to why I dared
employed a 'dissident' in my house, to take care of Shona children. The
youths forced me to drive to where the woman lived with her parents, and
then they started interrogating her, beating her with sticks. Me and the
children could not take her with us, and she did not ever come home to
collect her belongings. Only God knows her fate!
These were the first Green Bombers, led by Benson Ndemera, Governor of the
Midlands, who had been a ruthlessly violent Muzorewa man in the Gokwe area,
my home district during the late 1970s. The scars which Ndemera left in the
Gokwe are still alive in the memories of those who lived through the
Then on the Monday I decided that I should go to see the Governor to express
my concerns bout this reckless violence.
I asked Ndemera about what was happening and the justification for it, and
he was very open to me, in his brutal language: 'The only language Africans
understand is force. If you try to discuss with them, you will not succeed,'
I was saddened. To think that this Muzorewa man had become more Zanu(PF)
than some of us who had been in the midst of the ZANLA forces area!
Border Gezi was not the inventor of the Zanu(PF) violence and torture. It
was Benson Ndemera who later died in Parirenyatwa Hospital as a born-again
Christian, haunted by the corpses he had delivered to the national
But the tradition of Zanu(PF) violence did not start with Ndemera or Border
Gezi. So many tragic stories are told of how Robert Mugabe, little known
that time, forcibly ascended to power in Mozambique after escaping through
the assistance of Edgar 'Two-Boy' Tekere and the late Rekayi Tangwena.
Tragic tales which, if we had had our own Truth and Reconciliation
Commission, would have made many relatives of the survivors cry hot tears.
In the war zones, villagers labelled 'sell-outs' and 'witches' died sad
deaths, and I was there to witness some of the most gruesome atrocities
inflicted by the ZANLA forces as well as the Rhodesian army. Both armies
would not want to hear of anything like the Truth and Reconciliation
Commission of South Africa. Not at all! They know what they did.
And President Mugabe, as Prime Minister from 1980 to 1987, did not bother to
dismantle Ian Smith's machinery and technology of torture. Even the
inherited hangman, torturers, the CIO Chief, Ken Flower, were asked to stay
on, including senior torturers from the Selous Scouts. Some of them even got
better paid jobs with companies for clearing landmines which they themselves
had planted to kill innocent villagers and ZANLA and ZIPRA guerrillas!
When President Mugabe talked about his 'degrees in violence' during the
student demonstrations in the late 1980s, he meant it. The ruling party has
never shifted its language from persuasion to peace. Elections are a time
for verbal abuse and excessive profanity by the President.
I can swear that President Robert Mugabe is the only national leader I can
remember who exudes with boundless linguistic 'insult' and profanity in the
world. There is no 'foul' word he has not used to insult the legitimate
opposition. Despite having been educated at a Catholic mission school,
Kutama, he has no space in his imagination for the language of decency in
political campaigns and discourse.
Until such time that Mugabe realises the need to use the language of peace
and persuasion during election campaigns, we will still have these broken
bodies, political corpses and a violent police force which arrests the
complainant rather than the accused. Young people, the Border Gezi crop,
will continue to flood our hospitals with torture victims, cripples and all
for the sake of a few shiny coins.
I have come to believe that it is only the politically desperate who use
violence for political ends. Otherwise we still have to ask the President
what kind of 'a man of the people' he is who uses so much violence against
the very same people he claims elected him.
My father used to find peace fishing and everything seemed right with the
world. He used to fish the waters of Lake Kariba. He would sit for hours
getting all his rods set up. I can still see him sitting on the houseboat,
his fingers entwined in fishing line, skilfully knotting the line for each
hook and sinker, as we moved through the water, the wind blowing, snapping
the canvas, dispelling our cares and the heat of the harbour.
That is how I like to remember home, and my father. They are tied together,
forever, for as long as I remember. My grief for my father and my homeland
are forever linked. The parallel between my father's failing health and
courage ran alongside the collapse of the country.
Like my relationship with Zimbabwe, my relationship with my father was hard,
painful and disappointing. I was let down a great deal by my father and I
carried a good deal of anger at the way things were between us. But
something happens when someone dies and my anger turned to sadness as I
realised that I would never be able to make things better. He died before I
could say good-bye, before we could make things right. I feel like that
with my country, the powerlessness has turned to sadness.
His life-blood was tied to Zimbabwe and I saw his spirit slowly die within
him as he watched the country and his life fall to ruins - the two so
My memories are breaking down, fragments remain, smells, sounds, feelings.
For better or worse these are our lives, as white Zimbabweans. White,
privileged, and oh yes, the plague upon Africa, aren't we the whole reason
for all the pain and hardship in the country? How long does it take to
forget? When will the blame stop and the healing begin?
Zimbabweans living abroad are infamously labelled 'When we's' We reminisce
about the 'good old days'. Some say we should move on and let things go.
I have been thinking about this for some time, considering the different
points of view of both groups of people and have come to realise that our
stories are all we have left of our dying culture. Our culture, along with
our families and communities, has been destroyed. As white Zimbabweans we
are no longer welcome in our own country and the life we once knew is
disappearing. It is hard to know where we fit in anymore. We don't feel
that we fit in foreign countries. We talk differently and dress
differently and are always thinking back to the lives we had in Zimbabwe.
We hold on so tightly to those memories because that is all we have left,
and it is hard to let go of something that was so good.
Maybe we do reminisce too much about the past, maybe we need to let go more.
But it is not that simple, so much of who we are is tied up in those
memories and who will we be if not Zimbabwean?
I believe if you held my heart up to your ear you would hear the sounds of
Africa beating there. Every fibre of me aches for my home for the people
who are left, for the sadness and despair.
The gap between my home in Zimbabwe and my home in England, widens the more
chaos and madness prevails., and it is now a gapping canyon. How will I
ever bridge the two? Can I ever go back? And my memories of my father that
are so connected with Zimbabwe feel like they are disappearing.
So I now live in a foreign land and my story is like so many. For whatever
reason you leave your homeland, there is heartache. No matter how happy the
Nothing but perseverance, determination and the right attitude will help you
to settle, integrate and feel home in a foreign land. I am grateful that I
have the opportunity to live in England. It is a country pulsating with
opportunity and people, too many people. But nothing seems to be able to
heal the wounds of deserting my home and turning my back on everything I
I store up all my memories, I store them in a treasured place, because
eventually that is all I will have left - and they cover me like a blanket.
Several Zimbabwean writers and publishers are featured at this year's
Hay-on-Wye Book Festival.
On Saturday 26th May, Peter Godwin talked about his new work When a
Crocodile Eats the Sun. An anatomy of Mugabe's Zimbabwe plummeting into the
abyss, and an exploration of his own secret ancestry, Godwin's memoir is a
compelling and deeply moving journey of personal discovery.
The following day, Godwin participated in a discussion with Times Literary
Supplement editor Peter Stothard and writer Tinashe Mushakavanhu on White
Man in Africa - Evelyn Waugh's Scoop and Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness.
The Literature in Wales stand at the Festival will focus on literature links
between Wales and Zimbabwe on Thursday 31 May and Friday 1 June. Writers and
publishers from the Short Writings from Bulawayo project, including Owen
Sheers and Tinashe Mushakavanhu, will be available to talk to anyone
interested in Zimbabwean writing, particularly on the Friday.
Wales Arts International and the British Council, Zimbabwe have been
involved in promoting creative writing in Zimbabwe for several years.
Several of the writers published in the Short Writings from Bulawayo series
also participated in the British Council Crossing Borders Creative Writing
Project in Zimbabwe. Wales Arts International helped support Literary Arts
at the Intwasa Arts Festival koBulawayo in 2006 by bringing Welsh poet and
author Owen Sheers to read from his work and to facilitate a workshop for
up-and-coming Zimbabwean writers, including Mushakavanhu.
Owen Sheers' poem Drinking with Hitler was also included in the collection
Short Writings from Bulawayo III. British Council, Zimbabwe, have helped
Bulawayo publishers 'amaBooks to attend the Hay-on-Wye Festival and further
exchanges are planned.
On Saturday 2 June Doris Lessing talks to the Festival Coordinator Peter
Florence about her latest novel The Cleft, which imagines a mythical society
free from men.
The Hay-on-Wye Book Festival continues to Sunday June 3.
For further information on the Festival, visit www.hayfestival.com, for more
information about books from Bulawayo, email email@example.com.