Wednesday 22 November 2006
MASERU - Zimbabwe's unstable political and economic environment
continues to cast a spooky shadow on efforts at attaining deeper regional
integration in southern Africa.
The country's deteriorating situation, marked by a seven-year-old
economic crisis and rampant cases of human rights abuses, was again on the
menu as ministers from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) met
here last week for regular consultations with their counterparts from the
Diplomatic sources privy to the discussions, held under the aegis of
the SADC-EU Ministerial Double Troika, said the unresolved Zimbabwe question
returned to haunt the southern African leaders, with the EU questioning the
region's seriousness at creating strong democratic institutions.
Led by regional powerhouse, South Africa, the SADC member states have
adopted a policy of "quiet diplomacy" under which they have refused to
publicly condemn President Robert Mugabe's repressive policies.
Western governments and Zimbabwean human rights groups say quiet
diplomacy has only helped protect Mugabe from criticism for stealing
elections and violating human rights.
"The EU openly showed its frustration with the lack of progress in
reining in President (Robert) Mugabe and feel that the region can do more to
make a difference in that country," said a senior SADC official who declined
to be named because he was not authorised to disclose details of the
discussions to the Press.
The source noted that there is growing frustration with Zimbabwe
within SADC itself although regional leaders appeared still unable to summon
enough courage to challenge the 82-year-old Zimbabwean leader.
He said the EU challenged SADC to urgently find a solution to the
crisis in Harare before the entire region is plunged into chaos.
In a communiqué issued after the Maseru meeting, SADC "indicated its
continuing support to Zimbabwe in finding solutions to improve the situation
and underlined the need for continuous constructive engagement with the
Republic of Zimbabwe."
The region is eyeing a Free Trade Area by 2008 and a Customs Union two
years later, both of which could remain pipe dreams as long as the situation
in Zimbabwe is not normalised.
Both targets are premised on the attainment of macroeconomic
convergence, including having single-digit inflation in two years' time.
Zimbabwe's inflation rate is currently the highest in the world at 1
072 percent in October. Analysts, including the International Monetary Fund,
projected that the rate would go past the 4 000 percent mark by the
end of 2006. - ZimOnline
Wednesday 22 November 2006
MASVINGO - At least 15 opposition polling agents in last month's rural
district elections in Bikita district are in hiding after they were attacked
by war veterans who accused them of causing ZANU PF's loss in the area.
ZANU PF trounced both factions of the main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) in the elections but lost five wards, among others
countrywide, in Bikita in the southern Masvingo province.
The loss of the wards did not go down well with the war veterans in
Masvingo triggering a backlash against the opposition supporters.
Aaron Chiwore, one of the displaced polling agents told ZimOnline
yesterday that the war veterans were beating up and harassing MDC polling
agents in the area.
Narrating his ordeal, Chiwore said "The war veterans came to my home
at night and threatened to set the whole homestead on fire.
"They accused me of being a sellout and took turns to beat me up in
front of my family. I left my home that very night and up to now I am afraid
to go back because they might come again."
Police in Masvingo confirmed that post-election violence had gripped
Officer commanding Masvingo province Assistant Commisioner Charles
Makono said: "We have heard several reports of political violence in the
district. At the moment no one has been arrested, but investigations are in
The MDC and human rights groups have often accused President Robert
Mugabe's ZANU PF party of using the war veterans to beat up opposition
supporters to remain in power.
ZANU PF spokesman Nathan Shamuyarira could not be reached for comment
on the matter.
But the ruling party has in the past rejected charges of political
violence against MDC supporters saying the charges were trumped up to
tarnish the image of the government. - ZimOnline
Wednesday 22 November 2006
MASVINGO - Six police officers were on Sunday arrested in Masvingo
town in southern Zimbabwe after they allegedly seized fuel from illegal
dealers and later sold the commodity on the thriving parallel market.
According to sources within the police in Masvingo, the six whose
names could not be immediately verified, seized 200 litres of fuel from
illegal dealers on the Masvingo-Beitbridge highway.
But instead of taking the fuel to the police station, the police
officers freed the illegal dealers and mounted an illegal roadblock during
the night where they were selling the commodity.
Officer commanding Masvingo province, Assistant Commissioner Charles
Makono confirmed the incident to ZimOnline yesterday.
"It is true that six of our officers were arrested over the weekend
for selling seized fuel on the black market. We are going to charge them
with corruption. They are going to appear in court soon," said Ass
Zimbabwe has grappled a severe fuel crisis over the past six years
which has seen most garages around the country going for weeks on end
without any supplies.
But the commodity is readily found on the illegal parallel market
where a litre is costing as much as Z$2 000, which is five times more than
the official price.
Police officers are among the lowest paid civil servants in Zimbabwe
with a junior officer earning about $27 million a month, an amount which has
forced some police officers to resort to crime to supplement their meager
salaries. - ZimOnline
By Blessing Zulu
21 November 2006
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono has continued to face
questions about his institution's purchase of 70,000 tonnes of sub-standard
fertilizer from an obscure South African company, dealing another setback to
Parliament's committee on lands has summoned Gono and Agriculture ministry
Permanent Secretary Simon Pazvakavambwa to answer more questions. Gono was
recently called on the carpet on the subject before Vice President Joyce
Mujuru and the National Economic Recovery Council she chairs, and an
extraordinary cabinet meeting presided over by President Robert Mugabe.
Following those two high-level meetings, Gono declared he had satisfied the
cabinet and went on the offensive, accusing unnamed cabinet members of
trying to smear him ahead of the ruling ZANU-PF party's annual conference
Acting Chairman Edward Mkhosi of the lands committe told reporter Blessing
Zulu of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that although Gono has been grilled at
the highest levels, his committee is determined to get to the bottom of the
Though it is not yet clear how much damage to next year's crops has been
caused by the fertilizer - some of which was distributed to farmers -
founding president Morgan Tsvangirai of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change has predicted another failed harvest and blasted the
government for "corruption and inept planning."
Tsvangirai said the country was witnessing a "classic case of bungling:
inadequate or fake seed, sub-standard fertilizer, heavily subsidized fuel
which is being diverted to the black market and shoddy preparations for the
(agricultural) industry's revival." He said such mistakes in previous years
have led to current severe food shortages.
Tsvangirai called on the Mugabe government to end the political and economic
crisis with an overhaul of the constitution and a round of free and fair
By Carole Gombakomba & Chris Gande
21 November 2006
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe appears to have shot itself in the foot in
moving last month to shut down money transfer agencies. The interbank
foreign exchange market data show a 17.7% decline in hard currency sales
from September to October, when they totaled US$13.5 million, and a 10.5%
fall in forex purchases to US$15.3 million.
Economists attribute this contraction in foreign exchange trading volumes
within the Zimbabwean banking system to the crackdown on the money transfer
Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono ordered 16 transfer agencies to halt
operations early last month, accusing the private companies of engaging in
"deviant behaviour" in directing funds from Zimbabweans abroad into the
local currency black market.
Economist Isaac Kwesu of the graduate school of management at the
University of Zimbabwe told reporter Carole Gombakomba of VOA's Studio 7 for
Zimbabwe that the closure of the transfer agencies along with a slump in the
value of the Zimbabwe dollar and a dearth of foreign direct investment were
all factors at play.
In Bulawayo, meanwhile, the availability of hard currency has tightened for
another reason: ruling party youth militia known as the Green Bombers have
launched an offensive against black market currency traders, virtually
The ZANU-PF militia have focused efforts on a downtown area where forex
dealings are so common local residents call it the World Bank.
Sources said the youth militia were being paid generously by the central to
carry out the blitz - as as much as Z$150,000 or US$600 a week depending on
The Zimbabwe dollar, meanwhile, has continued its freefall on the parallel
market and was last trading around Z$180,000 to the U.S. dollar.
Reporter Chris Gande of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe interviewed a parallel
market currency trader in Bulawayo who spoke on condition of anonymity.
By Blessing Zulu
21 November 2006
Harare has given the World Food Programme and partner humanitarian
organizations permission to resume distribution of food aid to thousands of
Zimbabweans, officials said, but warned crippling fuel shortages and
persistent rains could hold up relief.
A World Food Program official confirmed that the United Nations agency has
received clearance to expand its own programs in early December.
Aid manager Wilfred Sikhukhula of the Consortium for Southern Africa Food
Security Emergency, said Harare has notified his organization to start food
distribution in the hardest-hit areas in January. Core members of C-SAFE,
funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, include World
Vision, CARE, Catholic Relief Services and the Adventist Development and
Relief Agency, or ADRA.
In Zimbabwe, rural district council chairman Andrew Ndebele of Chiredzi,
Masvingo, a southern province that traditionally comes up short on food
production, also confirmed that barriers at various levels of government to
aid distribution had been removed.
Those include Gwanda and Insiza in Matabeleland South, Chiredzi and Gutu in
Masvingo Province, Uzumba-Maramba -Pfungwe and Mtoko in Mashonaland East and
Rushinga in Mashonaland Central.
Deputy Director Nyika Musiyazviriyo of Christian Care, one of WFP's main
operating partners in Zimbabwe, told reporter Blessing Zulu of VOA's Studio
7 for Zimbabwe that the government's clearance of operations was a very
Institute for War and Peace Reporting
Local groups calling for regime change, and willing to back any party with
strategy for removing Mugabe from power.
By David Ncube in Bulawayo (AR No. 84, 21-Nov-06)
A deep, simmering bitterness towards the ruling ZANU PF party is growing in
the Matabeleland, uniting the local Ndebele people in a militant
determination to bring down President Robert Mugabe and his government.
Political analysts in Bulawayo, Matabeleland's biggest city, are warning
that the region is a time bomb, which could detonate if Mugabe and his
Shona-dominated government remain in power after the next presidential and
parliamentary elections scheduled for 2008 and 2010.
Analyst Jethro Mpofu told IWPR, "My fear is that, come 2008 or 2010, if
there is no satisfactory change that will give hope to the people of
Matabeleland, I am afraid that
there will be a violent explosion."
There is a growing sense of alienation in the region, in the west and
south-west of the country, particularly among young people, some of who
attend football matches wearing shirts bearing a picture of a raging bull,
the old symbol of the former Zimbabwe African People's Union, ZAPU, the
liberation movement founded by the late Dr Joshua Nkomo, a widely revered
Mpofu said it is the young people, more militant and vocal than their
elders, who seem certain to resist another election won by Mugabe - who has
been in power for more than 26 years - and his party.
Tired of their region being neglected and lagging behind in development,
several organisations representing the interests of the minority Ndebele
people, who have never felt they fully belong to independent Zimbabwe, have
mushroomed. The Ndebele, offshoots of the Zulu people of South Africa,
constitute about 16 per cent of the 11.5 million population of Zimbabwe: the
Shona, concentrated in the north and east, account for about 70 per cent of
Some of the organisations are calling for regime change and will back any
party that has a strategy to remove Mugabe from power. Others want
Matabeleland to be an independent state. Apart from what they see as the
Mugabe's government's deliberate negligence of the region, they accuse the
head of state of having attempted to exterminate its people during
widespread massacres in the 1980s by his personal military hit squad, the
notorious North Korean-trained 5th Brigade.
The 3500-strong 5th Brigade, made up entirely of men from Mugabe's own Shona
ethnic group, massacred some 20,000 villagers and tortured and assaulted
countless others in a ruthless crackdown on the Ndebeles beginning in
January 1983. Mugabe said Operation Gukurahundi (a Shona word meaning, "The
early strong rain that washes away the chaff before the spring rains.") had
been necessary to weed out Ndebele dissidents who wanted to topple him.
Political scientist Dr John Makumbe, a Shona and a representative in
Zimbabwe of the anti-corruption organisation Transparency International,
said, "They (the Ndebele) are now more militant and vocal than ever before
because of the hardships they have been experiencing. The whole country is
in trouble, but they feel that they are worse off. They want to kick out the
government and Mugabe."
Makumbe, based in Harare, added, "People in Matabeleland are more united and
can mobilise each other more effectively than in any other parts of the
country. There is a strong sense of coordination and mobilisation in
The people of Matabeleland have never forgiven Mugabe for unleashing the 5th
Brigade on them from 1983 to 1985 during the Gukurahundi. They have long
memories of public executions, of people being forced to dig their own
graves before being shot, and of relatives being tipped down mine shafts by
the truckload. They remember Mugabe boasting, "We have degrees in violence";
and dismissing an Amnesty International report on the massacres as "a heap
of lies" from "Amnesty Lies International".
Early last month, ZANU PF's information and publicity secretary Nathan
Shamuyarira, one of Mugabe's closest colleagues, exacerbated this already
dangerous situation by saying he has no regrets about the 5th Brigade's
atrocities. Having heard his utterances, the people of Matabeleland feel
more betrayed than ever, realising that Mugabe and his Zimbabwe African
National Union, ZANU, colleagues remain unrepentant.
To stop the slaughter, Nkomo agreed that his ZAPU movement be absorbed in
1987 into the then prime minister Mugabe's ZANU. The result was ZANU PF
(ZANU Patriotic Front), in which all real power remained with Mugabe's
A former sergeant in ZAPU's Zambia-based liberation guerrilla army, Max
Mnkandla, now president of the Zimbabwe Liberators platform, founded by
liberation war fighters who believe the ideals of independence have been
betrayed, said, "Because of what Shamuyarira said, we are now openly going
for regime change. We are going to support anyone that can unseat Mugabe."
Mnkandla, whose father was killed by 5th Brigade soldiers, added, "That
Gukurahundi issue is painful for most of us as it was a merciless struggle
by ZANU against defenceless people with no army. We now intend referring
Shamuyarira to the International Criminal Court in The Hague to be charges
with genocide and other war crimes."
Felix Mafa, director of the Bulawayo-based Post Independence Survival Trust,
a non-government organisation that gives assistance to survivors of the
Gukurahundi massacres, said, "Shamuyarira showed us that the old ZANU was
not repentant and Mugabe was also not repentant. We now realise that the
statement Mugabe made when he said at Joshua Nkomo's funeral that it [the
5th Brigade offensive] was 'a moment of madness never to be repeated' was
nothing but a political statement.
"If he was sincere, he would have said something, in the form of an apology
for Shamuyarira's statement; but to date nothing has been said. They are not
Shamuyarira was asked at a public meeting if he had any regrets about
Gukurahundi. He replied, "No, I don't regret. They (the 5th Brigade) were
doing a job to protect the people ... That's a situation that we would like
to put into history. It's not a fair question to put to me. Why should I be
answering this 25 years later?"
David Coltart, a human rights lawyer who defended ZAPU's leadership,
including Nkomo, against charges of treason by Mugabe's government during
Gukurahundi, said, "The statements by Shamuyarira indicate that he is either
exceptionally callous or that he simply does not know what happened in the
Midlands and Matabeleland areas during that time, because a person with the
slightest clue of what happened would not make such reckless statements."
Coltart recalled affidavits he had taken during Gukurahundi, "Women spoke of
how their husbands, sons and relatives would be abducted or simply gunned
down in cold blood. Others spoke of how their neighbours would be herded
into huts, which would then be set in fire, while all village people who
were in ZAPU leadership structures were killed."
But the most worrying development for Mugabe is a devastating attack made
upon him by his vice president, 83-year Joseph Msika, concerning
Gukurahundi. Enraged by Shamuyarira's comments, Msika said he approached
Mugabe about his attitude towards the events in Matabeleland in 1983-87 and
was not satisfied by the answer he received. "When we asked him (Mugabe)
about the disturbances, he apologised to me personally, but I was not
convinced," said Msika, a ZAPU veteran who was appointed national vice
president following his party's merger into ZANU PF.
Msika went further and said his old friend and ZAPU colleague Nkomo was the
true father of Zimbabwe's independence, not Mugabe. When Mugabe claimed to
be the one who launched the liberation struggle, he was telling lies, said
Msika's attack came late, more than two decades after the Matabeleland
killings, drawing mixed reactions from the Ndebele people. Some applauded
him for standing up and stating his views on the painful issue. Others said
that, just like the late former justice minister Eddison Zvobgo, the ailing
Msika was seeking forgiveness for his long silence from the people of
Matabeleland before he dies.
Zvobgo, a Shona widely seen as a presidential candidate, earned acclaim and
respect shortly before his death in 2004 when he publicly apologised to the
victims of Gukurahundi and their families, confessing that the memories were
giving him sleepless nights. As he was a senior member of the ruling party,
it was widely assumed
that he was apologising on behalf of all ZANU PF.
"I don't think Msika cares about what they [ZANU PF] will do to him. He is
trying to make up with the people of Matabeleland by saying he is on their
side. He is looking for redemption," said Dr Makumbe.
Makumbe, however, said the people of Matabeleland should not be fooled as
Msika has been enjoying the privileges of selling them out by supporting
Mugabe for the past two decades.
He said it was almost irrelevant for Msika to be speaking out now. Makumbe
said Msika should have used his position as vice president to influence the
government to give the Gukurahundi dead dignified burials and to compensate
the victims and their families. He should have also demanded that Mugabe
publicly apologise to them.
The Survival Trust's Mafa disagreed. He said Msika should be applauded for
his statements. "Msika has been disturbed by Gukurahundi and he wanted to
put the record straight," he said. "Unfortunately it is too late but he must
still be applauded for that. Msika was angered by Shamuyarira and he has
shown that he is prepared to be fired by Mugabe for those statements."
Analyst Jethro Mpofu commented, "Our government is a government of secrets.
A lot has been eating at Msika throughout his entire political career. His
statement is a political death wish, something that has been eating at him
which he needed to say out in the open."
The Zimbabwe Liberators' Mnkandla said Msika had now come to his senses,
clearly feeling the need to put his views on the public record before he
Msika, together with a handful of other former ZAPU leaders, have been
widely accused of betrayal of the Ndebele people since they signed the 1987
post-Gukurahundi Unity Accord that created ZANU PF. Over the past two
decades they have been steadily losing the support of Matabeleland's people.
Effie Mazilankatha-Ncube, executive director of the Matabeleland Empowerment
Services Association, a regional self-help association, said in a letter
published in the weekly Standard that former ZAPU leaders from Matabeleland
who had accepted lucrative posts in Mugabe's ZANU PF hierarchy "are no
different from ancient colonial governors who represented British interests
in our country ... (They) are hostages and they know it."
Mpofu concurred, describing the former ZAPU leaders as "colonial
constables". He went on, "They were watchdogs of Mugabe instead of
representing the people of Matabeleland. They represent Mugabe not us and
they will never win in Matabeleland."
The unity accord was signed reluctantly by Nkomo on December 22, 1987 to
spare further Ndebele loss of life at the hands of the 5th Brigade. It
followed police raids on Nkomo's home ordered by the then police minister
Enos Nkala, a man known for his abiding hatred of the ZAPU leader and his
movement. Nkomo's aides and bodyguards were arrested along with several
hundred ZAPU officials elsewhere. Nkomo lashed back, "We accused former
colonisers who used detention without trial as well as torture and yet do
exactly what they did, if not worse. We accused whites of discrimination on
grounds of colour and yet we have discriminated on political and ethnic
But Nkala was not deterred. He banned all ZAPU rallies and meetings and
ordered the closure of all ZAPU offices. All ZAPU-controlled district
councils were dissolved.
Nkomo was eventually ground down and acceded to the unity accord - but to
this day it is viewed by a majority of Ndebeles as mainly benefiting the
elite from both the Shona and Ndebele ethnic groups. They contend that unity
has not benefited them in any way except for stopping the killings by
Mugabe's military. "The unity accord was a non-event," said Mnkandla. "We
don't want to see or hear anything about [it]. They are just words that
don't represent anything. We don't want to celebrate that holiday (the
anniversary of the accord) on December 22: they should actually scrap it
from the holiday calendar. Who is it benefiting? Certainly not the people of
Nineteen years after the 1987 accord, Matabeleland still believes it sits on
the sidelines. The lingering impact of Gukurahundi on the region is
indelible. The bitterness against the government unambiguously manifests
itself at election time. Matabeleland remains the only region where ZANU PF
cannot claim a rural support base. Now Shamuyarira may find he has thrown
petrol on an already smouldering fire with unpredictable consequences for
the Zimbabwean state.
David Ncube is the pseudonym of an IWPR contributor in Zimbabwe.
November 21 2006 at 02:36PM
Harare - Iran and Zimbabwe "think alike" and "should fight against
Western superpowers and their evil systems," President Robert Mugabe was
quoted as saying on Tuesday.
The Zimbabwean leader, who is on a four-day state visit to Iran aimed
at bolstering political and business ties, said his country and Iran had to
come together and work out "mechanisms for defending ourselves," according
to Zimbabwe's state-controlled Herald newspaper.
Iran and Zimbabwe have been labelled "outposts of tyranny" by US
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
But Mugabe - who proudly describes Iran as a great friend - dismissed
the accusation saying that "only God can judge."
"Some people who regard themselves as demigods say we belong to the
axis of evil. Who are they to judge us?" Mugabe said shortly before holding
closed-door talks with his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on
State media in Zimbabwe say that the southern African country and Iran
are both being vilified by Britain and the United States, Zimbabwe because
of its controversial land reform programme and Iran because of its nuclear
The defiant Zimbabwean president said Iran and Zimbabwe had to put up
a fight against US President George W Bush and British Prime Minister Tony
Blair, whom he described as evil men, according to the Herald.
In 2000 Zimbabwe launched a controversial programme of seizing
white-owned farms for redistribution to new black farmers. The programme has
slashed agricultural production, plunging Zimbabwe into its worst economic
crisis since independence in 1980.
Zimbabwe's Mugabe has been urging his countrymen to look at
alternative markets for Zimbabwean products as his government becomes
increasingly isolated from former Western trading partners.
Britain, the US and the European Union have all imposed travel
restrictions on Mugabe and his associates as well as an arms embargo over
perceived rights abuses and unfair elections.
Western countries accuse Iran of wanting to enrich uranium to produce
material for nuclear weapons, but Teheran insists the programme is purely
for energy purposes.
Speaking on Monday, the Iranian leader described Mugabe as a
prominent, influential and just leader, a person who loves freedom, a
freedom fighter, the Herald said.
"We do not condone US and British hegemony. We have good co-operation
to do away with this control," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying before a
state banquet hosted in Mugabe's honour. -
By Violet Gonda
21 November 2006
The wholesale looting of Zimbabwe's steel making company ZISCO has
shown how the ruling elite is destroying Zimbabwe's assets, along with the
country. At one stage ZISCO was a major foreign currency earner but senior
government officials are among the many who have plundered the company.
Journalist Dumisani Muleya says the company is operating below 30%, as it
has been a victim of extended gross mismanagement and looting by public
officials who have been raiding it since 1980.
He said; "It's a company that is almost a billboard of the
incompetence and the corruption that has characterised the ZANU PF regime
since it came to power."
A confidential report compiled by the National Economic Conduct
Inspectorate linked Vice-president Joyce Mujuru and co-Vice-President Joseph
Msika in the corruption scandal. According to Muleya the report says Mujuru
was paid US$11 000 as allowances by ZISCO subsidiary in Botswana,
Ramotswa/Tswana Iron & Steel, on October 4 2003. She also received 30 000
litres of fuel from ZISCO for her celebrations after she was elected
vice-president in 2004.
Although the report also named Msika, supporting documents as to
whether he got something or not were not available to the investigation
team. Other beneficiaries named include Higher Education Minister Stan
Mudenge and Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, although documents were also
not made available to investigators.
Prominent cabinet Ministers Samuel Mumbengegwi, Olivia Muchena and
Sithembiso Nyoni are also mentioned in the report as some of those who could
have benefited from the generous handouts from the government-owned company.
Names repeatedly mentioned are also those involved in the management
of the company, including former managing director Dr Gabriel Masanga.
The systematic looting of the public asset extended beyond the borders
of Zimbabwe and included Botswana, South Africa and Asia.
The journalist said that corruption has created a situation in which
the company is hardly a viable entity, certainly in comparison to the levels
of operation during the Rhodesian era when it helped sustain the Rhodesian
war. But because of the extended period of looting it is now a pale shadow
of its former self.
Muleya who has written several articles exposing this major scandal
said this is one example of how parastatals, including the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority, the National Railways of Zimbabwe and Zimbabwe
United Passenger Company "are victims of gross mismanagement and corruption
and clearly a result of the corporate culture that was created by the
current government." He said general incompetence and inefficiency were the
order of the day.
It's reported the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe tried to deal with the
ZISCO problem by pumping in trillions of Zimbabwean dollars but authorities
soon discovered that this would not help unless there was a complete
overhaul of those structures.
It now waits to be seen what the Mugabe government is going to do with
the culprits, as the findings of the NECI report has put the regime in the
Meanwhile speculation is rife that Minister Obert Mpofu may become a
casualty of the ZISCO scandal as he faces impeachment for lying in
parliament under oath. ZISCO falls under Mpofu's Ministry of Trade and
The full interview with Dumisani Muleya can be heard on the programme
Hot Seat Tuesday.
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 11/21/2006 12:11:48
ZIMBABWE'S education ministry had a budget deficit of $5 billion this year
due to high expenditure, the latest parliamentary report obtained Monday
In its first report on the ministry's budget performance, the Parliamentary
Portfolio Committee on Education Sport and Culture said: "The committee was
informed that even after receiving the additional funding from the
supplementary budget, the ministry still had a budget deficit of $5 billion.
"By and large, the committee noted that the expenditure pattern of the
Ministry of Education, Sport and Culture was characterised by high
expenditures, well above 50 percent target to June 2006."
The committee said the high expenditure was partly a result of the
prevailing hyperinflationary environment.
"As a result of the budgetary constrains, the ministry failed to achieve its
targets during the first six months of the 2006 financial year. The total
half year expenditure stood at 81 percent of the total 2006 allocation," the
parliamentary committee added.
Zimbabwe's education system, once hailed as one of the best in Africa, has
been crumbling under the weight of a failing economy.
With the economy shrunk by more than a third in eight years in a crisis
blamed on President Robert Mugabe's policies and unemployment at 80
percent -- many students have dropped out of school as parents can no longer
afford the fees.
An average 200,000 school leavers join the job market yearly but a quarter
of Zimbabwe's 12 million people -- including many skilled workers -- have
been forced to seek a living abroad.
21 November 2006
PRESIDENT TSVANGIRAI REFLECTS ON THE STATE OF AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY
AS THE FARMING SEASON BEGINS
Fellow Zimbabweans, we approach another farming season with uncertainty over
our food security needs. The rains are already with us, but corruption and
inept planning shall see another failed season following a systematic
destruction of the agriculture sector that has led to a sustained economic
Despite promises of a good rainy season, what we are witnessing is classic
case of bungling: inadequate or fake seed, sub-standard fertilizer, heavily
subsidized fuel which is being diverted to the black market and shoddy
preparations for the industry's revival. A fall start always leads to
The same lacklustre approach was evident last year and as a result an
estimated three million people are short of food today. A disastrous
beginning always ends in a national failure. Our wheat crop could easily be
reduced to waste due to shortages of working combine harvesters, spares and
Food shall remain scarce and prices beyond reach out of our failure as a
country to meet our traditional production targets. The sad story rests on
the chaotic land reform programme, which saw land use decline by significant
margins and output reduced by more than half of the previous records.
As long as Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF skirt around an obvious political
problem, our prospects for a meaningful turnaround remain poor. The collapse
of agriculture has affected all sectors of our economy leading to losses of
jobs, reduced export earnings, power and fuel rationing, weak investor
confidence, poor tax revenues and a sharp fall in social services.
Once a net exporter of food, our nation's plight has been worsened by
expensive food imports and serious shrinkages in the basket of basic
commodities. Every family is at risk because of seven years of continuous
disruptions in commercial agriculture and a deliberate onslaught on property
As inflation gallops to levels never seen in Africa before, even in
countries at war, attention seems to be directed at the symptoms of the
deeper political malaise resulting in serious economic distortions and a
determined flight of local and international confidence.
Farming is a business and is better performed when land is seen as economic
asset than a status symbol. The state lacks the capacity to engage in
productive commercial farming.
What happened to the huge estates run by the Agricultural and Rural
Development Authority in Middle Save, Muzarabani, Sanyati, Kondozi and other
productive areas shows that commercial farming is better left to serious
investors and farmers capable of making sense out of an economic mixture of
science, capital and expertise to produce food for the nation.
The meddling influence of the Mugabe regime in input procurement and
disbursement, farm management and crop and livestock production dynamics is
a perfect route towards a perennial state of food insecurity in Zimbabwe.
History is replete with examples of failed experiments with agriculture when
partisan interest groups, especially the military and a political party
militia, are pushed - out of political expediency -- into a sector they know
nothing about and are expected to produce food for the nation. Their
reluctance to stay on the ground and their lack of farming expertise lead to
corruption, crop failures and a drain the little currency available, through
The state can print as much money to dole out to these groups in the form of
support but that process shall never deliver a basket of grain. Many are
already crying out for food hand-outs!
Our communal farmers, for many years a shining example of maize producers,
have been abandoned. There seems to be an excessive political focus of the
so-called new farmer - a Zanu PF created a new community with no known
interest or knowledge of agriculture. This group perpetually looks to the
state for their loot, rewards and accolades, unlike the communal farmers
whose track record - even under arid conditions - is beyond debate.
Many of our rural areas are impassable due to poor roads; the communal
farmers lack essential support and inputs; the state of our communal lands
resemble a nation at war, their service centres are now empty shells totally
unable to support any meaningful economic activity in the rural areas.
The former commercial farms are slowly being turned into zones of
inappropriate activities - the so-called new farmers resorting to poaching,
deforestation and gold panning in order to survive.
Given our experience during the last seven years, may I commend the people
for their resilience during the most trying times? The humanitarian
emergencies before the nation are daunting.
We must do everything in our power to save Zimbabwe. With the lowest life
expectancy rate in the world, the number of orphans in our homes is a major
source of worry.
Without access to food and drugs, the situation in most of our homes -
compounded by a runaway HIV/Aids pandemic -- has reached unacceptable and
We owe it to our children to resolve the national crisis speedily and to
cast away our current pariah status in the eyes of the international
community. We need food, jobs, medical drugs and a good education system for
The people of Zimbabwe want to live well, with an affordable way of life. We
maintain our position that we can only reclaim our respect, at home and
abroad, if we deal with the nagging political questions and disputes in our
midst. We must move as one people towards a way out of the political crisis
in order to set a base for recovery, reconciliation and national healing.
We believe a new Constitution and an environment that shape the future and
allow for free and fair elections shall provide the key to a lasting
resolution of the crisis and open doors to the creation of a respectable and
We remain convinced that we must organise ourselves and put pressure on the
regime to respect the power of the people. We have to fight for our rights
and improve our food sources and food security.
I look forward to working with all Zimbabweans to build a better life for
them and their families: to make Zimbabwe once again one of the richest
countries in Africa where every young person has a job, where every child
has plenty to eat, where every family can look to having their own home,
where every old person can have quality health care - working together we
can and will save Zimbabwe.
To those in Zanu PF and in the military who still believe in a free and
prosperous Zimbabwe, it is important to realise that political insurance and
progress depends on an environment that enjoys national acceptance and
We fought against colonialism to stop a few with privileges from exploiting
the national cake at the expense of the majority. The continued segregation
of the people through political patronage ad a selective allocation of
scarce resources cannot be sustained.
The liberation struggle sought to bring about a new Zimbabwe. That national
project was anchored on a need for a foundation of equality - in which our
country provides shelter and care for all women, men and children who live
there, with equal access to justice, to public goods and services, and to
economic opportunity and resources, and where no unlawful discrimination
shall be accepted.
We believe in the unity of our people. We understand the folly of separate
development and are conscious of the consequences of inequality.
Given the current damage and its implications on family relations, we
believe it is important for our nation to heal its wounds and re-build for
the future, recognising that what binds us is far greater than what divides
us, celebrating our diversity and differences as individuals and as
communities, and with a common resolve to institute safeguards to ensure
that never again will our dignity be undermined by any one person or
May I re-state our desire for a Zimbabwe that cherishes good governance,
compassion, solidarity, peace, security and respect for women, men and
I wish to reaffirm our subscription to the principle of sustainable
development grounded in prosperity, quality of life and community stability.
As soon as we deal with our political problems, the revival of sustainable
agriculture -- as the mainstay of economy and livelihood -- must be starting
point in our efforts to kick-start the economy.
Zimbabwe will receive 70 tons of DDT to strengthen its ongoing
programs to combat malaria, The Herald reported on Monday.
Everisto Njelesani, representative of the World Health
Organization(WHO)to Zimbabwe, was quoted as saying that 60 tons would be
shipped in from Mauritius while the rest will come from South Africa.
Njelesani said his organization was impressed by the Zimbabwean
government's commitment in the fight against malaria, one of the major
killers in the country.
"We believe the government of Zimbabwe has the capacity to fight this
killer disease," he said.
Njelesani said in the past, DDT received negative publicity owing to
unsatisfactory handling and disposal of its waste. "It is pleasing to note
that Zimbabwe has overcome this barrier and both the United Nations
Environment Programme and the WHO are convinced by the country's program,"
he said at a ceremony to launch the SADC Malaria Week in the southern
Zimbabwean city of Beitbridge.
He said the idea of reintroducing the use of indoor residual spraying
in both stable and unstable areas was reaffirmed at the Durban International
Convention Center by health ministers of the Southern African Development
Njelesani said the WHO would continue supporting such efforts, urging
SADC members to work together in addressing health issues affecting the
November 21 2006 at 12:54PM
Johannesburg - Zimbabwe will amend its constitution to make provision
for a human rights commission, Harare's Herald newspaper reported on
Its website quoted secretary for justice, legal and parliamentary
affairs David Mangota as saying consultations to this end were underway.
"The idea is to create an organ which will, in the main, satisfy in a
broad sense all parties whose duty it is to protect and promote the rights
of the country's people whatever their station in life may be."
The envisaged commission would enhance, in a large way, the work of
the ombudsman, whose office investigated violations of people's rights.
"Like the office of the ombudsman, which is established in terms of
the constitution, this will be an independent institution, which is not
subject to the control or direction of Government," said Mangota.
In the eyes of the international community, Zimbabwe has a an
appalling human rights record.
Government actions that evoked wide condemnation included the
demolition of informal settlements around Harare which left thousands of
people homeless and destitute. - Sapa
afrol News, 20 November - For eight consecutive years, Zimbabwe deliberately
refused to submit its state party report on human rights to the Banjul-based
African Commission on Human and People's Rights (ACHPR). In a surprising
mood, Zimbabwe tabled its human rights before commissioners, who are
currently attending the 40th session of the commission in the Gambian
But according to news leaks from Banjul, the human rights commissioners -
who described the report as "vehement and unapologetic", as Harare is on
course to defend its appalling human rights records - decided to embargo the
report from being discussed or criticised.
The Zimbabwe government had wished the report to be dealt with by the Banjul
session but furious commissioners decided it should be kept for the 41st
session, which takes place in July next year.
According to informed sources, there had been attempts to smuggle the late
report to be among the agenda but commissioners detected the plan.
The report was embargoed to the press but some of its details had leaked.
And according to sources in Banjul, the Zimbabwe government insists that the
present economic crisis is caused by the sanctions imposed by the Western
world. Consequently, it therefore argued that the violations of rights have
been precipitated by the abnormal situation Harare authorities had faced.
The government of President Robert Mugabe has been grilled by Western
countries for its frequent gross violations of the rights of its people,
particularly its opponents who face torture, arbitrary arrests and
Zimbabwe bears the full brunt of its human rights abuses, alleged stealing
of elections and the controversial seizure of white-owned farmland that were
redistributed to the landless blacks. These actions prompted not only a
floodgate of condemnations, but they also forced the European Union, United
States, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, among others to impose economic
and visa sanctions on President Mugabe and his senior officials.
Since 1998, Zimbabwe has refused to file its annual human rights reports to
the continental commission, which forms part of the African Union (AU)
structure. It is mandatory for African countries to submit their annual
reports to the AU's commission for discussion and recommendation.
The Director of policy in Zimbabwe's Ministry of Justice, Margaret Chiduku,
confirmed that her government had finally ended its snub of the African
Commission, although she failed to explain why it took her country so long
to act this way. "I am happy to report that we have submitted our combined
state party report since 1998 to the ACHPR and we await to hear from the
commissioners," she told 'ZimOnline'.
Zimbabwean right activists stormed the Banjul session to submit dossiers of
human rights abuses by their government. They made specific reference to the
illegal detention and torture of the country's labour union leaders in
The legal officer of the Zimbabwe chapter of the Media Institute of Southern
Africa, Wilbert Mandinde, welcomed Harare's submission of its combined state
party reports since 1998. "The eight year delay is a cause for concern," Mr
By staff writer
© afrol News
November 21, 2006
By Makusha Mugabe
The SADC chairman, Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili, with
support from South Africa has initiated a process which will see Zimbabwe
brought before the organisation's Organ on Politics, Defense and Security
for retarding the regions development through economic mismanagement.
HARARE - Pressure from the international community and activists, and
the negative effect that Zimbabwe is having on economic development in the
Southern African region have combined to force the regional block to finally
start taking action against the Mugabe regime.
The decision by the new Southern African Development Community (SADC)
chairman to dispatch a Ministerial Action Group to Harare for an official
report evoked furious, even panic reactions from the ruling Zanu (PF) party.
Lesotho Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili's decision, with the
blessing of South Africa and probably Botswana will be most damaging in that
it raises the prospect of the Zimbabwe crisis being put on the agenda of the
SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security (OPDS).
By implication, according to diplomatic sources, the move to have the
Zimbabwe crisis on the agenda of the OPDS means the country has now been
classified by SADC as a failed state which has become a threat to regional
economies and peace - a position which has obvious to the rest of the world
but one which the SADC had hitherto turned a blind eye to.
Reports that South African President Thabo Mbeki has endorsed the
indictment of Harare by the SADC have stunned and prompted Foreign Minister
Simbarashe Mumbengegwi to hurriedly demand an explanation for the marked
departure from Mbeki's quiet diplomacy.
Accumulating evidence of economic damage across the region,
highlighted by the South African Rand's fall, may finally have convinced
South Africa's deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Aziz Pahad last week
confirmed that a team of SADC leaders has now been mandated to deal with the
deepening crisis in Zimbabwe.
He said a three-member SADC delegation would be dispatched to Harare
on a fact-finding mission, after which they will spell out their assessment
to an emergency summit of regional Heads of State.
While Pahad did not state which countries would comprise the
delegation, diplomatic sources said previous SADC chairman and Botswana
President Festus Mogae, South African President Thabo Mbeki and the current
SADC chair Mosisili have been tasked with dealing specifically with the
SADC leaders stayed discussions on Zimbabwe at their last meeting of
Head of States in Maseru, Lesotho last August saying they wanted to give a
chance to an initiative by former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa to
resolve the crisis.
President Robert Mugabe reportedly stormed out of that meeting after
being told that Zimbabwe was now an impediment to investment in the region,
but it was Mosisili who covered up for him saying Mugabe had gone away
because he was tired.
But this has also led diplomats to believed that Mosisili is taking
the unusually tough line against Mugabe because he genuinely believes Mugabe
should rest as he was quoted saying "he is not a young man, is over 80 and
surely the old man is slowing down."
The rest of the region hopes to take advantage of firming commodity
prices and the New Economic Partnership for Development (Nepad) offered by
the US to develop their economies, but Zimbabwe is looking East to the
Chinese and the Middle East while dragging the rest of the countries down.
The SADC countries are moving towards a customs union by 2010 in the
hope of attracting more investment to the region as a bloc, with Mosisili
obviously recognising that Zimbabwe was dragging the region down.
Hw was quoted saying he does not want the region to be judged on the
actions of one member. "We should not be seen in the light of just the one
member state out of 14, (so) that people will use that as a pretext not to
invest in our region because one member of the family is unacceptable to
But even then Zimbabwe's poor economic performance would dilute the
region's key economic indicators.
"The situation in that country is of concern to SADC precisely because
Zimbabwe was the second strongest economy in the community and for its
economy to have declined to levels (at which it has) is of major concern to
us," Mosisili said.
US ambassador to Zimbabwe Chris Dell recently told ChangeZimbabwe that
President Mbeki could be changing tack after realizing the failure of South
Africa's policy toward Mugabe's "increasingly despotic rule."
Dell said South Africa, which has been granted a non-permanent seat in
the UN Security Council, could play a more important role in informing
international opinion on Zimbabwe's worsening crisis.
He said US foreign policy on Zimbabwe would not change despite the
shift in the balance of power in congress, from the Republicans to the
Democrats, following the US legislative poll last week.
"If anything the US government will actually step up pressure on the
Mugabe administration to adhere to good governance," Dell said.
Human rights activists in London have also publicly castigated the
South African Foreign Minister Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma for Her government's
inaction on Zimbabwe, and the South African Ambassador to Zimbabwe was also
publicly embarrassed about the situation in Zimbabwe. www.changezimbabwe.com
Addis Ababa - About 60 percent of Sub-Saharan Africans would not have access
to electricity by 2020, according to the director for energy and water at
the World Bank.
Jamal Saghir said: "What we are seeing is basically an energy crisis."
Energy was quickly being pushed up Africa's development agenda as poor
planning, mismanagement, natural disasters, growing demand and erratic
investment stifled growth rates across the continent.
Saghir added that average electricity access of 25 percent was getting
worse. "Not only is Africa lagging behind other regions but, in recent
years, the access gap has been widening."
He said that low water tables and the slow pace at which new generating
capacity was being developed only aggravated the crisis.
An indication as to how severe the problem was a report by Tanzania's
Economic and Social Research Foundation found that power generation capacity
needed to be doubled within the next 10 years, while Nigeria's population,
treble that of South Africa, only has a tenth of its supply and even South
Africa was struggling at times to make ends meet.
In Ghana, Uganda and Zimbabwe, power cuts and rationing have become fairly
common and Saghir believes that the $2bn a year the sector received from
international institutions needed to be doubled to increase access rates to
35 percent by 2015.
What made matters more serious was that a shortage of supply was quickly
pushing up power tariffs, thereby making it more difficult for those who
were actually connected to pay for services. -Business in Africa Online
Joint Press Release WHO/UNAIDS
21 November 2006
New data also show HIV prevention programmes getting better results if
focused on reaching people most at risk and adapted to changing national
Geneva, 21 November 2006 - The global AIDS epidemic continues to grow
and there is concerning evidence that some countries are seeing a resurgence
in new HIV infection rates which were previously stable or declining.
However, declines in infection rates are also being observed in some
countries, as well as positive trends in young people's sexual behaviours.
According to the latest figures published today in the UNAIDS/WHO 2006
AIDS Epidemic Update, an estimated 39.5 million people are living with HIV.
There were 4.3 million new infections in 2006 with 2.8 million (65%) of
these occurring in sub-Saharan Africa and important increases in Eastern
Europe and Central Asia, where there are some indications that infection
rates have risen by more than 50% since 2004. In 2006, 2.9 million people
died of AIDS-related illnesses.
New data suggest that where HIV prevention programmes have not been
sustained and/or adapted as epidemics have changed-infection rates in some
countries are staying the same or going back up.
In North America and Western Europe, HIV prevention programmes have
often not been sustained and the number of new infections has remained the
same. Similarly in low- and middle-income countries, there are only a few
examples of countries that have actually reduced new infections. And some
countries that had showed earlier successes in reducing new infections, such
as Uganda, have either slowed or are now experiencing increasing infection
"This is worrying-as we know increased HIV prevention programmes in
these countries have shown progress in the past-Uganda being a prime
example. This means that countries are not moving at the same speed as their
epidemics," said UNAIDS Executive Director Dr Peter Piot. "We need to
greatly intensify life-saving prevention efforts while we expand HIV
HIV prevention works but needs to be focused and sustained
New data from the report show that increased HIV prevention programmes
that are focused and adapted to reach those most at risk of HIV infection
are making inroads.
Positive trends in young people's sexual behaviours-increased use of
condoms, delay of sexual debut, and fewer sexual partners-have taken place
over the past decade in many countries with generalized epidemics. Declines
in HIV prevalence among young people between 2000 and 2005 are evident in
Botswana, Burundi, Côte d'Ivoire, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Tanzania and
In other countries, even limited resources are showing high returns
when investments are focused on the needs of people most likely to be
exposed to HIV. In China, there are some examples of focused programmes for
sex workers that have seen marked increases in condom use and decreases in
rates of sexually transmitted infections, and programmes with injecting drug
users are also showing progress in some regions. And in Portugal, HIV
diagnoses among drug injectors were almost one third (31%) lower in 2005,
compared with 2001, following the implementation of special prevention
programmes focused on HIV and drug use.
Addressing the challenges: Know your epidemic
In many countries, HIV prevention programmes are not reaching the
people most at risk of infection, such as young people, women and girls, men
who have sex with men, sex workers and their clients, injecting drug users,
and ethnic and cultural minorities. The report outlines how the issue of
women and girls within the AIDS epidemic needs continued and increased
attention. In sub-Saharan Africa for example, women continue to be more
likely than men to be infected with HIV and in most countries in the region
they are also more likely to be the ones caring for people infected with
According to the report, there is increasing evidence of HIV outbreaks
among men who have sex with men in Cambodia, China, India, Nepal, Pakistan,
Thailand and Viet Nam as well as across Latin America but most national AIDS
programmes fail to address the specific needs of these people. New data also
show that HIV prevention programmes are failing to address the overlap
between injecting drug use and sex work within the epidemics of Latin
America, Eastern Europe and particularly Asia.
"It is imperative that we continue to increase investment in both HIV
prevention and treatment services to reduce unnecessary deaths and illness
from this disease," said WHO Acting Director-General, Dr Anders Nordström.
"In sub-Saharan Africa, the worst affected region, life expectancy at birth
is now just 47 years, which is 30 years less than most high-income
The AIDS Epidemic Update underlines how weak HIV surveillance in
several regions including Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and
North Africa often means that people at highest risk-men who have sex with
men, sex workers, and injecting drug users-are not adequately reached
through HIV prevention and treatment strategies because not enough is known
about their particular situations and realities.
The report also highlights that levels of knowledge of safe sex and
HIV remain low in many countries, as well as perception of personal risk.
Even in countries where the epidemic has a very high impact, such as
Swaziland and South Africa, a large proportion of the population do not
believe they are at risk of becoming infected.
"Knowing your epidemic and understanding the drivers of the epidemic
such as inequality between men and women and homophobia is absolutely
fundamental to the long-term response to AIDS. Action must not only be
increased dramatically, but must also be strategic, focused and sustainable
to ensure that the money reaches those who need it most," said Dr Piot.
The annual AIDS Epidemic Update reports on the latest developments in
the global AIDS epidemic. With maps and regional estimates, the 2006 edition
provides the most recent estimates on the epidemic's scope and human toll
and explores new trends in the epidemic's evolution. The report is available
UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, brings
together the efforts and resources of ten UN system organizations to the
global AIDS response. Cosponsors include UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA,
UNODC, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank. Based in Geneva, the UNAIDS
Secretariat works on the ground in more than 75 countries worldwide.
As the directing and coordinating authority on international health
work, the World Health Organization (WHO) takes the lead within the UN
system in the global health sector response to HIV/AIDS. WHO provides
technical, evidence-based support to Member States to help strengthen health
systems to provide a comprehensive and sustainable response to HIV/AIDS
including treatment, care, support and prevention services through the
Yasmine Topor | UNAIDS Geneva | +41 22 791 3501 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Beth Magne-Watts | UNAIDS Geneva | +41 22 791 5074 |
Sophie Barton-Knott | UNAIDS Geneva | +41 22 791 1967 |
Iqbal Nandra | WHO Geneva | + 41 22 791 5589 | email@example.com
By Fazila Mahomed
21 November 2006
In Zimbabwe, political activism -- especially for those who are not ruling
party members -- often comes with the threat of violence. One feminist and
union activist, Tabitha Khumalo, knows this well. She has persevered in
her fight for women's equality, including a drive to give women access to
sanitary pads, despite violence by men who oppose public discussions of
Tabitha Khumalo says her activism began in 1999, when she noticed a woman
walking uncomfortably in the middle of the road. Curious, Tabitha approached
her and asked her why she wasn't walking on the sidewalk. The woman replied
by staring downwards, her eyes pleading as she gestured towards the ground.
As Tabitha looked down she saw blood pooling next to the woman's shoe. The
woman explained that she doesn't have enough money to buy sanitary pads.
A packet of 10, average quality pads costs about 500-thousand Zimbabwean
dollars. A well-known brand of tampons averages 1-point-2 million
Zimbabweawn dollars; that's between 5 and 12 percent of a month's salary for
a worker in the textile industry.
Tabitha says she was so moved by this encounter that she decided to take
immediate action. After a snap survey, she learnt that "Johnson and
Johnson" - the sole manufacturers of sanitary pads in Zimbabwe -- had
relocated to South Africa.
Khumalo raised the issue with affiliates of the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU), of which she is a member. It was decided the issue should be
brought to government's attention. Then minister July Moyo promised to
investigate the re-opening of the Johnson and Johnson complex, but nothing
But Tabitha persevered. Last year, for example, she attended several
meetings discussing alternate ways of solving the nation-wide shortage of
female hygiene products. Her efforts weren't always welcomed. For example,
25 men gate-crashed one such gathering and began assaulting the
participants. Tabitha woke up in hospital. She had 42 stitched to remind her
of the brutal incident. Aside from being assaulted, she'd been raped several
Ms Khumalo acknowledges she was petrified, but adds she overcame her fears
by focusing on helping others..
"Being arrested and beaten up and taken to jail that does not bother me,"
she said. "Its the name of the game and those are the health hazards of
being a trade unionist especially when you are trying to protect and promote
the interest of the workers."
Supported by a support network of friends, family and many housewives in
Bulawayo, Khumalo has become something of a muse for women around the
Tabitha adds her mother, along with her two children, encourages and
She said,"Whenever I [go home after being] arrested, beaten, I always have
shoulders to lean on, and one of my pillars of strength is my mum. She
nurses me and tells me that when it comes to emotional stress, I'm extremely
stupid and when it comes to physical pain, I'm extremely courageous."
The activist has not become popular because of the attacks; she's earned
respect for her work. While attending a conference in South Africa recently,
she met with several British unionists and NGO representatives. Among the
topics they discussed was the issue of sanitary pads. It eventually led to
the launch of the "dignity period" campaign.
It drew attention to the medical and psychological dangers these shortages
pose for women and girls. The campaigners also sourced sanitary protection
from well-wishers, and distributed it to women throughout the country.
Tabetha says a stigma still surrounds the topic. She says it's a pity not
more Zimbabweans, especially men, are able to discuss feminine hygiene
By Bronwen Dachs
Catholic News Service
CAPE TOWN, South Africa (CNS) -- At least two Catholic leaders in Zimbabwe
are frustrated that the government seems to have sabotaged a statement by
Christian churches calling for a national vision to rescue the ailing
Although the statement was issued electronically in mid-September, about
2,500 copies printed for the official launch by the churches in late October
were changed, said Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
"It's not the document that I signed," the archbishop said in a Nov. 16
telephone interview from Bulawayo. "Whole pages have been cut out, and it's
been watered down so much that it's lost all its power and energy.
"The government has been interfering in the churches' process; they want to
force their agenda instead of having genuine dialogue," Archbishop Ncube
The statement, "The Zimbabwe We Want: Toward a National Vision for
Zimbabwe," was issued by the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops' Conference, Zimbabwe
Council of Churches and the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe.
In the past, Archbishop Ncube has accused Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe
of bribing some Christian leaders, including former Zimbabwe Council of
Churches President Peter Nemapare, with farms and money so they would work
with his government. The decision of whether or not to support the
82-year-old president, who has led the country since its independence from
Britain in 1980, also has caused some tensions among Catholic Church
leaders, sources say.
Mugabe spoke at the churches' Oct. 27 launch of the printed document. He has
rejected the churches' call in the original document for a new constitution.
Alouis Chaumba, who heads Zimbabwe's Catholic Commission for Justice and
Peace, said while Zimbabwe's churches have sufficient structures to
distribute their 42-page statement throughout the country, there are "no
more copies to be found anywhere, and at some meetings people are discussing
it using only hearsay."
"Also, it is a problem that it is in English only, because to reach everyone
it should be translated" into the widely spoken Shona and Ndebele languages,
he said in a Nov. 16 telephone interview from Zimbabwe's capital, Harare.
Development indicators show Zimbabwe, with a population of about 12 million,
in an "unrelenting economic meltdown" characterized by a brain drain of
professionals, the world's highest inflation rate at more than 1,000 percent
and escalating corruption. The country has an unemployment rate of more than
70 percent and is chronically short of food and foreign currency to import
essential commodities, including drugs and fuel.
Chaumba said that "every day brings its own problems." He said people with
jobs usually walk about 15 miles to get to work in the mornings "rather than
spend 90 percent of their wages on transport costs," and in remote areas of
the country, oxen and donkeys are becoming common forms of transport.
The Nov. 6 newsletter of Zimbabwe's Jesuits said "the prime evil of Zimbabwe
is the concentration of too much power in the hands of very few."
Noting that almost all media is government-controlled, the newsletter said
that "without a free media we will not be able to have the national debate"
for which the churches called in their document.
"We need a free debate on a constitution that cuts power down to size; we
need to prepare for our second liberation and lay the foundation for a new
Zimbabwe," it said.
By Sabine Dolan
NEW YORK, USA, 20 November 2006 - "For most girls in Zimbabwe, access to an
education is really a privilege and not a right," says Winnie Farao, 26,
explaining how the high cost of education, exacerbated by hyperinflation,
has made girls' education a "second priority" in her country.
"With so few dollars, what would you use it for - to send your child to
school or to buy food?" she asks.
Ms. Farao knows the situation well. When she was 14, she nearly dropped out
of school because her parents could no longer afford the fees. But she was
lucky. She received support from the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED),
which paid for her schooling. Today, she works as a programme manager at
CAMFED in Zimbabwe.
Safe haven for girls
Launched in 1993, CAMFED began by supporting education for 32 girls in rural
Zimbabwe. Now the organisation fights poverty and AIDS by helping to educate
nearly 250,000 girls in some of the poorest regions of Zimbabwe, Zambia,
Ghana and Tanzania.
CAMFED supports girls' access to education by raising community awareness
about the importance of schooling, and in a number of other ways.
"Their fees will be paid for and their uniforms will be provided," says Ms.
Farao. "A community environment is made for the girls' safety, to ensure
they are safe at home, safe along the way and safe in the school system."
'We want to be educated'
Aside from promoting girls' education, UNICEF, in partnership with CAMFED,
has been setting up Girls' Empowerment, or 'GEM', clubs.
These are particularly valuable in Zimbabwe, a country where an estimated
one in six females aged 15 to 24 is now living with HIV. Orphaned girls in
Zimbabwe are three times more likely to contract HIV than their peers.
The GEM clubs play a key role in HIV prevention, providing valuable
information and life skills that are essential to girls growing up in
Zimbabwe. At the clubs, girls are trained in sexual negotiation skills ('how
to say no') and learn about abstinence and condom use.
"I can say that the GEM clubs are working really hard to make the girls
there speak out - and to say no to HIV/AIDS, no to rape, no to abuse," says
Ms. Farao. "We want to be educated. We want knowledge. The girls themselves
have been given the opportunity to speak about what's really in their
National plan of action
Girls' education has become a national issue in Zimbabwe. In October, the
United Nations - in collaboration with the Government of Zimbabwe and other
partners, including CAMFED - launched a ground-breaking National Girls'
Education Strategic Plan to increase Zimbabwe's likelihood of achieving
universal primary education and ensuring that girls can stay in school.
For Ms. Farao and countless other girls, this represents a major step in the
"The strategic plan is really conscious to a great extent of girls'
predicaments," says Ms. Farao. "It looks at girls' education as a priority,
to say, 'We've neglected the girls for a long time and this is their time.
We need to put them on the programme. We need to put them on the national
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org: email@example.com
BLOOD SERVICE ENDOWMENT FUND - APPEAL
The National Blood Service Zimbabwe is recognised by World Health
Organisation as a centre of excellence. With the assistance of the Swiss
Red Cross we expect to attain ISO status early next year. We have had to
face and deal with many problems which fortunately we have overcome.
Because of the hyper-inflationary environment, the National Committee has
decided to establish an Endowment Fund which will, we hope, help to
safeguard the Service and enable it to continue to maintain the very high
standards which we have attained.
We have approached the corporate business sector for donations to set up an
Endowment Fund which will be capable of sustaining the Service. In order to
administer the Endowment Fund in a transparent manner, a Trust Fund will be
established which will be responsible for the fund. The Chairperson and the
Chief Executive Officer of the Service will be Trustees, ex officio; and the
donors will elect additional Trustees.
The Service would like to appeal to all its well-wishers to make a donation
to the Endowment Fund. If we have a sound financial foundation, we will
continue to provide safe blood to meet the needs of the people of Zimbabwe.
To do that we need your help and generosity. Please help us to sustain a
very valuable service. Cheques should be made payable to Zimbabwe Blood
JUSTICE L G SMITH (Retd.)
Chairman National Blood Service Zimbabwe
www.chinaview.cn 2006-11-21 15:05:37
VICTORIA FALLS, Zimbabwe, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- Eighteen people were
injured, three of them seriously, when a passenger train they were traveling
in from Victoria Falls to Bulawayo hit a herd of 15 elephants 13 kilometers
outside the resort town Monday night.
The National Railways of Zimbabwe, a government company which runs
the train, said the accident occurred between Masuie and Jafuta Sidings at
about 7:20 p.m..
The company spokesman Fanuel Masikati told Xinhua reporter that
the locomotive and three economy class coaches derailed, damaging about 200
meters of rail.
"Those who were seriously injured are two train drivers and a
passenger. All the 18 injured persons were taken to Victoria Falls Hospital.
Six elephants died in the accident," Masikati said.
He said the parastatal was in the process of arranging buses to
transport passengers to their various destinations.
The accident would not disrupt rail traffic as repairs to the
damaged track had commenced immediately after the evacuation of the injured.
"We are going to work tirelessly to restore the damaged track. Our
breakdown unit is already on its way to the crash site. Traffic will not be
disrupted," he said.
In August, another train accident occurred at Dibamombe, a few
kilometers from where Monday's crash happened, claiming eight lives although
some estimates put the death toll at more than 30.
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe's prime tourist destination, is 880 km
west of the capital, Harare. It has abundant wildlife.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
20 November 2006
We reported Monday that the refugees who were evicted from the
Methodist church in Braamfontein, South Africa last Thursday are camping out
on the streets and in the rain. It was originally reported that the decision
by the church board to evict them was taken after a woman was raped and
after several robberies. But Methodist Bishop Paul Verryn said a condom and
a pair of panties had been found near the pulpit and the locals "went into
toyi toyi mode" after the discovery and there was no going back on the
eviction decision. About 40-50 refugees from several countries, including
Zimbabwe, had been sheltered there. Women with babies are now on the street.
The bishop said he received a call from the xenophobia unit of the
department of home affairs in South Africa after the evictions, thanking him
for the work he is doing with refugees. Verryn found it disturbing that Home
Affairs would thank him yet they have not given him any form of assistance
with the refugees. The bishop said internally displaced South Africans are
now also being referred to him by the social development division after
hearing he is caring for the destitute. But the same department has also
failed to assist him. Verryn said help comes mostly from the kindness of
parishioners but he urged government to help the poor if they are to sort
out all the problems.
Verryn's Central Methodist Church in Johannesburg has been sheltering
about 600 refugees for years now in a space that was not designed for such
large numbers. The bishop said many are Zimbabweans but there are also
refugees from the DRC, Zambia, Tanzania, Malawi and Uganda. Many of them are
professionals and sadly those skills are being wasted. Verryn said this
includes principals, teachers, doctors, accountants, carpenters and highly
educated young people who have fled their countries.
Bishop Verryn identified poverty as the single most important issue
they must address if they are to solve other problems. He said this is why
he is helping the refugees who are coming to him with nothing. He added that
he was delighted to hear on the radio on Saturday that fellow clergymen
Bishop Desmond Tutu had apologised to the world community for the xenophobia
that has plagued South Africa. Asked if he believed this would lead to more
pressure by Tutu on South Africa, Verryn said: "I am sure he is not afraid."
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
The Herald (Harare)
November 21, 2006
Posted to the web November 21, 2006
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe last week paid US$5 million to various Air
Zimbabwe international creditors to clear debts that had accumulated since
Last week the airline suspended flights to London, its cash-cow route, for
fear of possible plane seizures over the debts.
The flights resumed five days later, following the payment.
Announcing the payments yesterday, RBZ Governor Dr Gideon Gono said such
ineptitude, as demonstrated by the national airline, was not acceptable,
particularly in instances where burdens from the past were allowed to derail
"Yes, I can confirm that the Reserve Bank had to swiftly intervene as a
matter of national security and avoidance of embarrassment by paying the
debts which date back to 1999, on behalf of Air Zimbabwe, but we call upon
stakeholders in the various portfolios, particularly in public institutions
to fully discharge their responsibilities and pay up their institutional
bills as a matter of financial discipline," he said.
Such discipline, he stressed, would free current and future programmes of
overhangs from the past.
"The money we paid for Air Zimbabwe, as well as the US$210,6 million we paid
to the IMF for historic arrears are examples of past consumption outlays and
past mistakes that drain momentum from current programmes."
"At the Reserve Bank, we are now so used to pioneering programmes, and as
soon as those programmes start to bear fruit, or are about to take off, some
stakeholders, not wanting to be outdone, in their typical fashion, jump on
to highjack those initiatives to be theirs or simply to choke progress.
"But yes, soldier on we will continue to, without fear or favour in the
national interest," he said.
The Herald (Harare)
November 21, 2006
Posted to the web November 21, 2006
THE Ministry of Finance will soon introduce two new laws to punish errant
ministries and parastatals that fail to account for the money allocated to
them under the national budget.
This was said by the Minister of Finance, Dr Herbert Murerwa, in response to
criticism by parliamentarians over his failure to table Government
expenditure before the House for the past six years.
The Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Public Accounts also criticised the
minister for not seeking the House's approval before borrowing money above
the stipulated threshold and failing to make public utilities account for
funds they draw from the fiscus.
In response, Dr Murerwa said he was equally concerned by the failure by line
ministries to table reports before Parliament but said he had very little
say with respect to parastatals falling under other ministries.
He said his ministry had failed to produce a consolidated revenue report
owing to incapacity by the Government caused by staff shortages.
He said two Bills were on the cards that provide for penalties and sanctions
for those ministries that failed to acquit money they get from the fiscus.
The Public Finance Management Bill and Audit Service Bill will soon be
tabled before the House and would punish errant ministries and parastatals,
said the minister.
He said he could not, however, fast-track the Bills to come before the 2007
National Budget presentation, which he said would be tabled in 10 days time.
The committee, chaired by Glen Norah legislator Ms Priscilla
Misihairabwi-Mushonga (MDC), took exception to the failure by Dr Murerwa to
table before the House in the past six years a consolidated financial report
detailing Government expenditure with respect to all ministries.
The committee expressed disappointment with the fact that all parastatals --
getting the bulk of their funding from the fiscus -- had not tabled any
report of their expenditure as required by the Comptroller and Auditor
The committee said the minister failed to seek approval from Parliament when
he borrows more than 30 percent of the Government revenue as required by the
Parastatals and other State enterprises, the committee noted, had not
produced audited reports for the past six years, yet they are quick to do so
when called upon by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe as a condition to receive
The legislators said various funds, some of which fall within the Ministry
of Finance, had not been accounted for before the House.
These include the Drought Relief Fund, Social Dimension Fund, War Victim
Compensation Fund, Housing and Guarantee and Agricultural Research Fund
The committee suggested that parastatals and ministries that failed to
account for the previous budgets should not get funding until they acquitted
It was also felt that it was prudent that the committee gets Treasury
minutes as that might clear some of the issues.
"We are very disappointed as a committee, because we seem to have
continuously raised the same issue but nothing has changed as you have not
responded to them," said Ms Misihairabwi-Mushonga.
"The scandals we have read in the media are a reflection of the problem we
have. It's you who give these parastatals money but you do not follow up on
your dollar to see how it has been used."
Masvingo Senator Cde Dzikamai Mavhaire (Zanu-PF) said it was strange that
the minister did not care to report to Parliament about Government
expenditure but the same minister would still want the same House to approve
his budget to make another round of expenditure which he does not account
"You expect Parliament to pass the budget vote when you are not accounting
for it. Where are you placing Parliament? Do you take Parliament seriously
kana kuti munongoti hapana zvavanotiita?" said Cde Mavhaire.
"We have 87 parastatals and not even one has accounted for its money,
including the University of Zimbabwe where we have the most highly educated
"Some chief executive officers of these parastatals are highly qualified but
they are not producing these reports, this is mere negligence."
In response, Dr Murerwa said he was equally concerned by the failure by line
ministries to table reports before Parliament but said he had very little
say with respect to parastatals falling under other ministries.
Dr Murerwa said withholding funding, while noble, was not the best option
because there were other critical ministries like Health and Defence.
Dr Murerwa said he has always sought Parliament approval in retrospect when
presenting his annual budget when he borrows above the 30 percent threshold,
a point that was disputed by the committee.
He said his ministry will proceed to produce a consolidated financial report
with or without other ministries and those ministries who fail to submit
their reports to his ministry will have to explain themselves to the House.
"I certainly share with Honourable Mavhaire's sentiments that if you don't
acquit yourself you do not get money, but that is a tough approach because
that depends on the service the ministry offers," he said.
"The Bills are coming and they have been inspired by concerns raised by your
committee and that of Budget and Finance. Some movements have been achieved
to tighten things and I think the introduction of these Bills would be a
milestone aimed at creating efficiency and value for money.
"In exceeding the limit, this is a factor of unanticipated expenditure that
we incur like Air Zimbabwe is experiencing challenges we have to chip in,
the same with Zinwa."
Other committee members include Pelandaba-Mpopoma Senator, Mr Greenfield
Nyoni (MDC), Lobengula-Magwegwe Member of the House of Assembly, Mr Fletcher
Dulini-Ncube (MDC), Chief George Chimombe of Manicaland (Non Constituency),
Mufakose, Kuwadzana and Dzivaresekwa Senator, Cde Sabina Thembani (Zanu-PF)
and Kadoma, Sanyati and Ngezi Senator, Cde Chiratidzo Gava (Zanu-PF).