|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Time running out for Mugabe?
Reports of Robert Mugabe's political demise have been greatly exaggerated on numerous occasions.
As the situation in Zimbabwe has gone from bad to worse to disastrous in recent years, Harare has been rife with rumours that he will shortly be leaving office, due to ill-health or political pressure.
So far, he has outlived many of the rumour-mongers.
But maybe, this time is different.
The government now admits that serious action is needed to revive the economy.
Annual inflation is running at an estimated 228%, three-quarters of Zimbabweans do not have a job and half the population needs food aid.
The government has tried to improve living standards by controlling prices but this has only led to shortages and black markets for everything from foreign currency and fuel to sugar, cooking oil and the staple food, maize meal.
So now the authorities are looking for alternatives.
But "Bad economy is bad politics" as Malawi's President, Bakili Muluzi, says he told Mr Mugabe during Monday's talks.
The political stand-off must be ended in order to kick-start the economy.
This is presumably why Mr Mugabe recently raised the possibility of his retirement.
He pointedly said that his land reform programme was now complete. He has previously said that he wanted to remain in power until he had redistributed Zimbabwe's farms from whites to blacks.
Just a few hundred white farmers now remain on the land, from some 4,000 in 2000.
For the first time, he also raised the possibility of meeting opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai - a man he usually dismisses as a "sell-out" and "British stooge".
Government spokesmen insist that Mr Mugabe, 79, has no intention of stepping down until the next elections, due in 2007, but these denials have not silenced the speculation.
Mr Muluzi said he, along with Presidents Obasanjo of Nigeria and Mbeki of South Africa, had not urged Mr Mugabe to resign but had just pointed out the severity of the situation.
Reading between the lines, it seems that Mr Mugabe may well be looking for a way out.
So what comes next?
The African leaders say they just want to get Mr Mugabe's Zanu-PF party to talk to Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Both sides are keen to resume talks, which were suspended last year.
But Mr Mugabe wants the opposition to first recognise his 2002 re-election.
This could be an attempt to put Zanu-PF in pole position when it comes to choosing his successor.
Alternatively, Mr Mugabe may be trying to bring the MDC into a Zanu-PF dominated government of national unity.
The MDC has strong support from both the international community and Zimbabwe's business sector.
Their recognition of his government may be enough to restore some confidence in the economy.
But the MDC insist that Mr Mugabe step down and then a transitional government, with them as equal partners, be established to oversee new elections.
Mr Mugabe would presumably prefer to hand over power to a chosen successor from within his own party who would guarantee him a peaceful retirement.
Mr Tsvangirai has promised that the man who led Zimbabwe to independence in 1980 would enjoy immunity for any crimes he may have committed in recent years.
But this does not seem to be enough for Mr Mugabe.
Or maybe it is not enough for his Zanu-PF lieutenants who have been waiting for many years for their turn in the sun.
These are the issues which will come up if and when dialogue between Zanu-PF and the MDC does eventually start.
Until these political questions are solved, the economy will continue to worsen, making life even more difficult for the ordinary Zimbabweans both sides claim to represent.
Zvakwana Newsletter #23 - The way
of truth and love has always won
May 02, 2003
When I despair, I remember
that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have
been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end,
they always fall -- think of it, ALWAYS.
~ Mahatma Gandhi
Join WOZA (Women of Zimbabwe Arise) Mother’s Day March
The time has come to put our house, Zimbabwe, in order so we will carry grass brooms to symbolise sweeping away the dirt that has piled up. We demand freedom of expression and the right to meet and discuss issues. POSA must be cancelled! Our families need peace. Stop violence, rape and torture. Restore law and order!
Time: 10am sharp
Venues: Harare - Africa Unity Square, and Bulawayo - City Hall Car Park
Come dressed to walk. Police have been notified.
Contact WOZA: Jenni 011 213 885 or Getrude 011 411 842
The MP for Harare Central, Mike Auret has resigned from parliament due to ill health, so a by-election is due. If you live and vote in Harare Central constituency, please make sure you are still on the voters' roll. You can inspect the Voters' Roll and register at the following places:
Admiral Tait Primary School
Alex Park Primary School
Avondale Primary School
Beit Hall - Tomlinson Depot
Belgravia Sports Club
Belvedere Primary School
Blakiston Primary School
David Livingston Primary School
Mount Pleasant Primary School
YOU NEED TO:
YOU WILL NEED ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:
TOMORROW - WEDNESDAY MAY 7th - IS YOUR LAST CHANCE TO CHECK.
Please do not miss this
opportunity to exercise your democratic right.
Please forward this e-mail to anyone you know in Harare Central.
If you have any difficulties in inspecting or registering, please contact the Zimbabwe Election Support Network - firstname.lastname@example.org
The suspension of the unanimously elected Executive Mayor of Harare, Elias Mudzuri is yet another example of the mugabe regime getting the shake shakes. These sorts of desperate actions only signal the heralding of mugabe and his cronies exit from power. At this time strategic civil disobedience campaigns are being organised to show chombo and the cabinet of clowns that the residents of Harare will not accept their action.
Messages of support can be emailed to Mudzuri at email@example.com or write to him c/o your local district office. You can use the sample letter provided by Combined Harare Residents' Association (CHRA). You will find it at the end of this newsletter or on our website www.zvakwana.org
Please also visit our web site and download the Petition to Reinstate the Mayor. Print this document and gather as many signatures as you can.
Just two days before Workers’ Day, Zimbabwe's state-owned post office dismissed 2 800 workers " for failing to report for work during the illegal three-day Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) stayaway." Although these workers have now been reinstated, if civil servants previously believed that they were one of the few groups immune to mugabe’s tactics then they must now think again. It is clear that there is no group that is safe from zanu pf and it is high time that we become united in our total condemnation of the mugabe regime.
Let us remember Lovemore Matombo’s recent words:
"(Workers) should grow in the confidence that if they stand firm their demands will be heeded."
His eyes are see-through.
Through them I see
a yawning empty bread bin
a fridge stands
by its chilling emptiness
a stove, cold,
sits huddled in a corner
finds nothing to warm up
for mice swept the pantry
before seeking refuge
in refuse pits
in the neighbourhood.
Cockroaches left jackets
on hangers of webs
bills are forming
a small mound
on a formica table.
Yet - whenever I ask
How he is doing
'Fine. And you?'
~ Julius Chingono, Zimbabwean poet
We know that stayaways prove to be a very destabilising occurrence not just for the ruling party but also for all the businesses struggling to keep operating. It is clear that small businesses are close to extinction. However the foundation for this extinction was first moulded by the mugabe regime through economic mismanagement and unrealistic trading conditions. We must be careful about who we blame for the situation we find ourselves in.
Employers should recognise that the average Zimbabwean worker is starving and at the end of their rope. It is not the worker who demands a living wage and who abides by the call for mass stayaways who should get penalised. Their demands and actions are understandable.
Now, more than ever before it is important that the private sector, and the men and women leading industry, are united to remove the cancer that is the mugabe regime.
Zvakwana has been interviewing many people on the street during the past few weeks. All the time it is said that there is only a few dollars left at the end of each month after having to pay transport costs.
Security guards at a hotel in Harare city centre receive $20 000.00 per month. Transport costs grab away $16 000.00 of that wage. What can anyone do with $4000.00 per month. NOTHING!
Meanwhile inside this five star hotel that proudly displays the portrait of the illegitimate squatter mugabe, a cream tea is costing 6.5 thousand. Meanwhile a worker helping to keep this establishment running is left with $4000 to survive on each month.
Living wages NOW. mugabe out NOW!
Obasanjo, who travels around the African continent speaking big ideals on democracy has just been re-elected in Nigeria amid a great deal of controversy. Let us remind you that the Nigerian Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence for Amina Lawal, condemned for the crime of adultery on August 19th 2002, to be buried up to her neck and stoned to death. Her death was postponed so that she could continue to nurse her baby. Execution is now set for June 3rd.
Telephone your protest to the Nigerian Embassy in Harare: 253900-4
Or fax them on Harare:
Or write to them: PO Box 4742, Harare
Visit this link and send the Nigerian govt. a protest email: http://www.nigeriaembassyusa.org/contact.shtml
The Executive Mayor Eng E. Mudzuri
c/o The District Officer
Re: Suspension of the Executive Mayor
I wish to express my support for you as elected mayor of the City of Harare.
I strongly protest your suspension by the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Housing.
The Minister claims that he is acting in the interests of the residents and that he has consulted us. I reject both assertions.
The Government refused to hold elections for the post of Mayor and it was our association, Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) that compelled the Government to hold the elections.
I appreciate that the Executive Mayor has tried to carry out his duties despite constant interference from the Minister. Council has been denied access to funds for capital projects and attempts to rid the municipality of incompetent employees have been frustrated. Your efforts to engage the public have resulted in not only your arrest but the arrest of residents who sought to bring their issues to your attention.
I call upon the Minister to immediately rescind the order for your suspension and to stop interfering with our democratically elected Council.
Yours in support