Saturday, 22 November 2008 20:15
CATHERINE Mutodzaniswa (54), is still traumatised a fortnight after
she survived a severe cholera attack.
This is because Julia Chapeyama (44), who was her very close friend of
10 years and confidante who nursed her back to good health, was not so
Chapeyama fell ill on Saturday last week and succumbed to cholera the
next morning. At her funeral wake, Mutodzaniswa was beside herself with
grief tainted with guilt. She told The Standard she would never get over the
loss of her close friend.
"If only God had taken me," she said. "I was the one who was sick and
she nursed me back to health and then all of sudden she was ill. A few hours
later she was dead. I am deeply pained. We were friends for a very long
time. What will I do without her?" Mutodzaniswa said as she broke down,
unable to control herself. Mutodzaniswa of Glen View 3 suburb was detained
for a day at Budiriro Polyclinic, a designated cholera site that deals with
the high cases of the disease in the area and nearby townships. Unlike her
friend, she was able to return home to her family.
Chapeyama was buried on Thursday afternoon at Granville Cemetery, with
only a handful of close friends and relatives in attendance. Not even her
three daughters and close friends were allowed to view her body.
The only image of their mother that will forever linger in the
grief-stricken daughters' minds is when her almost lifeless body was ferried
to Budiriro Polyclinic in a wheelbarrow.
Chapeyama, a single mother, will not be around to see her daughter
Precious (21) get married next month.
She will also not be there to nurture her other two daughters, Sandra
(13) and 16-year-old Mercy, into adulthood.
Mutodzaniswa and Chapeyama's story will resonate with millions of
Zimbabweans now living in fear of the cholera pandemic that is spreading
like wildfire after it was first detected in Chitungwiza last month.
According to government's conservative figures more than 100 people
have died of cholera in Harare, Beitbridge, Gweru, Kadoma, and Zvishavane in
the past few weeks.In Beitbridge alone, more than 50 cholera deaths have
been recorded as the pandemic spread to neighbouring South Africa.
But aid agencies and human rights activists say the death toll is much
higher than the government acknowledges. Although there is a cholera
outbreak in Harare's Glen View township, The Standard observed that not much
was being done to stop the disease from spreading.
At every street corner and shopping area there were heaps of
uncollected garbage while many houses still had burst sewer pipes that have
reportedly gone for months without being repaired. Despite promises by
Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) to restore normal water supplies,
nothing has materialised.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe says it allocated about R18 million to
the authority to ensure that the situation is normalised but up to now
nothing has changed.
Desperate residents are still relying on unprotected wells for
drinking water. Although the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) has
placed water tanks in different parts of the affected suburbs, the water was
still being rationed so that everyone in the area benefited.
One Glen View resident, Rosemary Muriva who attended Chapeyama's
funeral, said people who were aware of the dangers of cholera still find
themselves forced to drink potentially infected water. "When a home is faced
with illness such as cholera, the person who is taking care of the patient
needs to be constantly washing their hands and sanitising the home," she
said. "You know what cholera is like with diarrhoea and vomiting, but how do
you keep the home clean and prevent other people and yourself from picking
up the infection when water is not readily available in the home?"
Angry residents wanted to know what happened to the foreign currency
the RBZ said it gave Zinwa to restore water supplies to most of Harare's
But a source at Zinwa who requested anonymity maintained that the
water authority had not received any money from the RBZ as promised. "We
were never given any money, we just read about it in the newspapers," said
"Even if you go to the RBZ you will not find any records that Zinwa
was allocated this money. The water problems are going to continue because
we have shortages of water chemicals. That is the honest truth and the RBZ
should be ashamed for lying."
The chairman of the Zimbabwe Association of Doctors for Human Rights,
Dr Douglas Gwatidzo, said the RBZ was trying to "play to the gallery" and
"splashing" huge sums of money in the media while nothing on the ground was
Gwatidzo said cholera was a very easy disease to treat and with the
huge sums of money that the RBZ claims to have availed the outbreak would
"long ago have been under control".
Unicef says other places outside Harare such as Chitungwiza, Kariba,
Mudzi, Makonde, Kotwa, Chinhoyi, Nyamapanda and Beitbridge are also battling
Health and Child Welfare Minister David Parirenyatwa said the
government was doing its best to bring the epidemic under control but its
resources were overstretched. He said his ministry had received US$2 million
from the RBZ so far and expected another disbursement this week to fund the
epidemic. "Please don't alarm the people when reporting on cholera but alert
them," he said.
Saturday, 22 November 2008 20:09
FOR the first time since The Standard reported that officials were
covering up the magnitude of cholera deaths, government yesterday admitted
the epidemic had claimed more people than officials were prepared to reveal.
Health and Child Welfare Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa (pictured)
said 281 people had succumbed to cholera during the period beginning
September until last Friday.
Parirenyatwa revealed the figure to The Standard after the World
Health Organisation announced that between August and last Tuesday, 294 had
died as a result of cholera.
In a statement released from Geneva, WHO said 6 072 cases had been
reported countrywide during the same period.
The government had tried to downplay the cholera outbreak insisting
that less than 40 people had died in Harare, the epicentre of the epidemic.
But Parirenyatwa, who has persistently told state media that
government had brought the epidemic "under control", yesterday said he was
"scared" by the extent of the outbreak.
"The official figures from the Ministry for the period between
September and Friday night is 281 for the whole of Zimbabwe," he said. "We
cannot be able to control cholera as long as there is no water.
"We are concerned about the unavailability of water and as the
minister responsible for Health I am very scared, especially during this
Government officials have consistently put the death toll at less than
100 despite admissions that up to 40 people died in Beitbridge alone inside
Who spokeswoman, Fadela Chaib, said there had been an upsurge in
reported cholera cases during the past fortnight.
The United Nations body warned that with the start of the rainy
season, the outbreak was likely to continue as the water and sanitation
situation was worsening.
Doctors without Borders has warned that 1,4 million people were at
risk of contracting the disease.
Collapsing sewer infrastructure and poor sanitation in urban areas
have been blamed for the cholera outbreak.
Doctors and donors say the country's collapsing health sector was
failing to cope with the number of people in need of urgent treatment,
resulting in more deaths.
Gweru, Zvishavane and Kadoma also recorded fresh cases last week.
The highly contagious disease also spread to Bulawayo, where it has
claimed two lives.
The governor for Bulawayo, Cain Mathema, said by Friday the epidemic
had reached Makokoba, Emakhandeni, Pumula and Nkulumane suburbs in the
country's second most populous city.
Cholera can be treated easily with a sugar and salt solution to
replace lost body fluids.
Symptoms include watery diarrhoea and vomiting, which leads to loss of
large amounts of body fluids.
By Sandra Mandizvidza
Chief Reporter: Emilia Zindi
THE state of affairs at major hospitals in Harare remains bad as doors have
been closed to the sick for the past three weeks.
This is despite spirited efforts by the Government to lure medical staff
back to work by improving their conditions of service.
The Minister of Health and Child Welfare, Dr David Parirenyatwa last week
announced a set of incentives that was aimed at motivating health
These included the provision of transport and groceries, in addition to the
A survey by The Sunday Mail last week established that the three major
hospitals in the capital were only being manned by administrative staff.
Harare Central Hospital, normally a hive of activity, was deserted and even
fruit vendors who used to enjoy roaring business outside the premises were
Only Ward C had three patients being attended to by four student nurses on
One of the patients who refused to be identified told The Sunday Mail that
only one senior doctor was attending to them as the others were said to be
"Dr Vera is coming every day and he has just written some prescription for
me today,'' she said from her hospital bed.
At the casualty ward, the door was locked leaving patients stranded.
A senior administrator at the hospital who declined to be named said nurses
and doctors were demanding better working conditions and the necessary
equipment and medicines to carry out their work. He said while some units at
the hospital were open, there was no one to attend to patients, leaving
relatives with no choice but to transfer their loved ones to private
Those who could not afford charges at the private hospitals were simply
forced to take the patients home.
A staff meeting held on Friday morning failed to come up with viable
"Systems are just down and this makes it impossible for nurses and doctors
to carry out their duties,'' said the administrator.
At Parirenyatwa Hospital, the situation was the same with only police
officers and members of the Zimbabwe National Army manning the premises.
A walk through the hospital revealed a sad scenario with only administration
"We are attending to critical cases only but patients must pay $90 million
cash before admission,'' said a clerk at the reception.
She said the hospital would however admit critical patients under special
An example was when more than six people were involved in an accident in
Norton last Thursday evening and were rushed to the hospital.
"They were attended to after the Minister had been called,'' he said, adding
that the hospital was not taking any new admissions.
A lecturer at the University of Zimbabwe's Medical School cited staff
demoralisation as the major problem.
He said apart from addressing remuneration issues, the infrastructure at
hospitals required a facelift.
Saturday, 22 November 2008 20:06
POLICE yesterday barred MDC-T report-back rallies citing the cholera
The party had planned meetings in Kuwadzana and Glen View, hoping to
communicate with supporters their position on the stalled talks for the
"While the MDC appreciates the magnitude of the cholera outbreak, we
believe that the police are playing games and the ban is part of a cocktail
of political measures to punish the MDC for not "playing ball" in the
dialogue process," said Nelson Chamisa (below), the party's spokesperson,
The police have in the past banned MDC rallies citing the need to
maintain law and order.
This time police double standards were clear as Zanu PF was allowed to
hold meetings. In Masvingo where health officials were battling to contain
the cholera outbreak, Zanu PF was scheduled to hold provincial council
elections that drew several party officials from across the province.
Zanu PF has also planned the annual congress in Bindura early in
December where thousands of people are expected to attend. Chamisa said the
MDC was keen to see whether police would ban the Zanu PF congress.
Meanwhile lawyers representing 13 MDC-T members who were abducted in
Banket two weeks ago by suspected state security agents are suing the
Minister of Home Affairs Kembo Mohadi for defying a High Court order.
Alec Muchadehama said he was in the process of filing an urgent court
application suing Mohadi, Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri, Chief Supt
Chrispen Makedenge and Officer Commanding CID Homicide, Detective Sergeant
Muuya, for failure to release the activists as directed by the court.
Saturday, 22 November 2008 20:06
AS many as 50 people could have died and hundreds more injured during
the ongoing army and police operations to flush out illegal diamond miners
in the Chiadzwa area of Manicaland, human rights activists warned last week.
Several unidentified bodies of people allegedly shot at Chiadzwa were
piling up in mortuaries in and around Mutare, rights activists told The
The soldiers, who are leading the operation codenamed Hakudzokwi (you
won't return), were deployed after the police were accused of working in
cahoots with the illegal diamond panners, popularly known as Magweja.
The crack team of soldiers, sources said, also includes operatives
from the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and the police support
unit. A senior health official at Mutare General Hospital said scores of
people including children were being treated at the hospital for gunshots,
dog bites or deep wounds inflicted through severe torture.
The hospital is the major referral health centre in Manicaland.
"I think we have received over 50 bodies at this mortuary since August
but some of them were claimed," said an official who requested anonymity.
Soldiers have also invaded the eastern border town of Mutare, raiding
homes of people they suspect of buying diamonds from the illegal panners.
They are also confiscating people's property, mostly vehicles, arguing
that they were acquired using proceeds from illegal diamond dealings.
Former Manicaland provincial prosecutor, Levi Chikafu, said he has
seen several people losing their property to the marauding soldiers.
"They are looting people's properties here," he said. "I know of one
businessman who has lost a fleet of vehicles. It's so sad."
The soldiers reportedly abduct the suspected diamond buyers in Mutare
and areas around Chiadzwa and torture them. After the torture sessions, the
panners are taken to the diamond fields where they are forced to fill up
gullies and pits with bare hands.
Trust Maanda, a Mutare-based member of Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights, described the operation as "a gross violation of human rights".
"The police are abducting people in Mutare before handing them over to
soldiers in Chiadzwa where they are being tortured," he said. "They are
confiscating any car they suspect was bought using proceeds from the sale of
diamonds without any shred of evidence."
Zimbabwe National Army spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Simon Tsatsi
refused to comment on the deaths saying police were in charge of the
operation in Chiadzwa.
"We are under the police at the moment because it is not a war
situation," he said. "We are just helping out. Ask Bvudzijena (Senior
Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena) he may assist you."
Bvudzijena dismissed reports the police were killing innocent people
saying they were only trying to stop illegal diamond dealing in the area.
"I don't have reports of people being killed in Chiadzwa," he said.
"We will however issue a full report after the operation."
He did not say when the operation would be concluded.
But Chikafu said: "What is happening is illegal. When a police officer
shoots a civilian an IR (inquiry report) should be opened to establish the
reason behind the shooting but nothing of this sort is happening."
Saturday, 22 November 2008 20:03
THE revival of PF Zapu, now in full swing in Matabeleland, is likely
to weaken both Zanu PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change in
the region if managed properly, analysts said last week.
They said politicians who joined the country's two major parties from
the former liberation movement that was swallowed up by Zanu PF after the
signing of the Unity Accord had only sought a temporary political home.
Zanu PF, which is still smarting from its worst electoral performance
in history, is battling a serious rebellion from structures mainly in
Matabeleland where calls to break away from the unity accord continue to
Although the ruling party has played second fiddle to the MDC in the
restive region since the opposition entered the political scene in 1999, it
has won a number of constituencies in previous elections. It had also
maintained structures in all the provinces with offices mainly taken over
from PF Zapu.
Analysts said if PF Zapu was revived, this could result in the total
collapse of Zanu PF in Matabeleland.
"The split is definitely going to erode both Zanu PF and MDC-T support
in Matabeleland but the ruling party will suffer the most," said Jethro
Mpofu, a Bulawayo-based analyst.
"If you look at the former Zapu people, there are those die-hards who
took a break from politics after the signing of the Unity Accord and joined
the MDC at its formation, and those who went to Zanu PF with reservations.
"The Zapu revivalists have a chance to tap into all those groups. So
if carried out properly the revival will create a new political force,
especially when those who are expected to form a unity government continue
Negotiations to set up a unity government between Zanu PF and MDC are
currently stalled over the distribution of ministries and the dispute looks
set to spill over to next year. The PF Zapu revivalists led by former Home
Affairs Minister, Dumiso Dabengwa, say they are not happy with the September
15 power-sharing agreement between the two major parties.
The re-launch of the party that was once led by Vice-President Joshua
Nkomo has been greeted by mass resignations of senior Zanu PF officials in
Matabeleland and the Midlands. But Cont Mhlanga, who was part of the Zapu
2000 that rattled Zanu PF with calls for the review of the Unity Accord,
said the revival of the party was ill- timed.
"It is good to see that there are people from Zanu PF who have finally
responded to people's calls to pull out of the accord which did not benefit
them," he said. "When we started Zapu 2000 these politicians said we were
lost and now I am wondering if it was a matter of us being nine years ahead
of time or them being nine years behind.
"The bottom line is that they have to answer questions like what were
they doing in Zanu PF all along."
Gorden Moyo, the director of Bulawayo Agenda, fears the revived party
might suffer the same fate as Simba Makoni's Mavambo/Kusile project as its
backers would find it difficult to shed the Zanu PF tag.
"Their names are tarnished and their credentials are tattered," Moyo
said. "I think they will face many hurdles because we saw that with people
who tried to revive Zapu in the 1990s and were not tainted by Zanu PF, but
still they found it very difficult.
"Already we have two parties calling themselves Zapu led by Agrippa
Madlela and Sikhumbuzo Dube."
Makoni, who was viewed as one of the few popular leaders in Zanu PF,
performed badly in the presidential election where he came behind MDC's
Morgan Tsvangirai and Mugabe.
Analysts blamed Makoni's poor performance on his links with Zanu
Saturday, 22 November 2008 20:02
BULAWAYO - Prisons have started releasing inmates on medical grounds
as conditions at most of the country's jails continue to deteriorate amid
reports of an upsurge in hunger-related diseases.
In Matabeleland North, which includes Bulawayo, at least 200 seriously
ill prisoners awaiting trial were released in the past week from various
Officials in the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs
said they were releasing critically ill prisoners fearing "disaster" if they
died in jail as mortuaries were allegedly overflowing.
"All ill prisoners suffering from hunger-related illnesses are being
remanded out of custody because the Zimbabwe Prison Services (ZPS) is now
failing to cope with the number of deaths," a prison officer said.
Another source said medical records of most of those being released
showed they were suffering from hunger-induced illnesses.
Matabeleland provincial magistrate, John Masimba confirmed the
developments saying prisoners were being freed on humanitarian grounds.
"Prisoners are being released on condition of ill health," he said. "I
do not have exact figures of the number of prisoners released so far but it
is an ongoing programme."
According to a recent report by the Zimbabwe Association for Crime
Prevention and Rehabilitation of the Offender (Zacro), prisoners are dying
in numbers because of widespread malnutrition.
The deteriorating state of the country's prisons has also worsened the
prevalence of diseases among inmates.
Skin infections are the most common and prisoners are often brought to
court with wounds that do not heal.
Earlier this month the ZPS came under attack from Bulawayo residents
after two critically ill prisoners were dumped in front of the Tredgold
The two, Thembani Sigola from Siganda and Abel Mthethwa from Nkayi in
Matabeleland North, were suffering from an unknown skin condition.
The ZPS, like many other government departments, is reportedly short
of funds to buy food and drugs to treat prisoners suffering from various
diseases including tuberculosis caused by serious overcrowding.
"There is no nutritional food in all of the country's prisons," Zacro
said in its report. "The prisoners just eat in order to survive, especially
at Harare Central prison and Chikurubi prison where the situation is worse
because inmates are sometimes only given one meal a day.
"The two prisons are losing not less than two people a day and to make
matters worse the ZPS is not able to provide a proper pauper's burial for
some of these prisoners."
ZPS officials were not immediately available for comment.
Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister, Patrick Chinamasa
is on record saying "prison conditions are supposed to be bad because they
are not hotels".
Saturday, 22 November 2008 20:00
WOMEN of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) have been awarded the 5th Human Rights
Award by the German section of Amnesty International.
The award will be presented at a ceremony in Berlin today and Woza
founder, Jenni Williams and Magodonga Mahlangu will receive the award on
behalf of the organisation.
The Bulawayo Magistrates' Court granted Williams and Mahlangu, who
were released on bail from Mlondolozi Prison on Thursday November 6,
permission to travel to Germany.
Williams and Mahlangu appeared in court on Monday November 11 for a
routine remand hearing where they requested permission to travel to Germany.
Magistrate Charity Maphosa however ruled that the application be made
in open court.
After several delays, the state decided not to oppose the travel
application and reporting conditions were temporarily suspended until
Amnesty International in Germany gives the Human Rights Award every
two years to people that defend and fight for human rights, especially under
In the past, the prize was given to Turkish Advocate Eren Keskin
(2001), and human rights defenders Swetlana Gannuschkina from Russia (2003)
and Monira Rahman from Bangladesh (2005).
Meanwhile, Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has won this year's
Rights and Democracy's John Humphrey Freedom Award for its commitment to
standing up for victims of human rights abuses.
ZLHR director Irene Petras and fellow lawyer, Andrew Makoni, will
receive the award in Ottawa, Canada, on December 10 during commemorations of
the International Human Rights Day.
Announcing the winners recently, the interim chairman of Rights and
Democracy (the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic
Development) board of directors, Jacques Gauthier said an international jury
unanimously chose ZLHR from a field of 100 candidates.
"Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights provides a vital democratic
lifeline for those who would otherwise have no recourse against
state-sponsored abuses and persecution," Gauthier said.
"Its determined, non-violent struggle against impunity and repression
reminds us that, in the end, tyranny is no match for human dignity and the
rule of law."
The Rights and Democracy organisation set up the annual John Humphrey
Freedom Award to honour an organisation or individual for their
"exceptional" commitment to the promotion of international human rights and
The Canadian Embassy in Harare nominated ZLHR for the award. The group
of lawyers provides legal support for victims of state-sponsored violence
and human rights training for activists and civil society organisations.
More than 1 500 Zimbabweans reportedly receive support from ZLHR every
Saturday, 22 November 2008 19:59
GWERU - Civil servants' dreams of owning houses through stands
acquired under operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle are fast diminishing as the
ministry that offered them stands is demanding foreign currency in monthly
While dollarisation has taken firm root in Zimbabwe, civil servants
are crying foul over demands that payment for the stands is now required in
Civil servants who have been paying for the stands since 2006
expressed outrage over the introduction of the foreign currency payment
scheme. The beneficiaries pay for the stands on a monthly basis to the
Ministry of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development.
They told this reporter that they were shocked when told to pay for
the stands in foreign currency. One of the beneficiaries, who only
identified himself as Thomas for fear of losing the stand, said: "For civil
servants who got stands under Garikai, we started paying in rands in
September. We paid R50 rands on top of Z$500, then for October we paid R50
again and Z$20 000."
He said payment for the stands in foreign currency was shocking,
especially at a time when most civil servants were earning below Z$90 000,
which buys less than R5.
Another civil servant, a policewoman who preferred to remain
anonymous, said what incensed them most was the fact that for the October
payment in rands, the receipts recorded payment in the form of a five-litre
coupon. They had received no explanation, she said.
The civil servants also complained that they had been paying for the
stands for too long. They claimed that they were advised time and again that
the money was for servicing the stands, but not much had actually been done
on the ground.
A visit to the offices of the Ministry of Local Government confirmed
that those who were paying for stands under different schemes were now
paying in foreign currency and that these included the beneficiaries of
There was another scheme, Hertfordshire housing, where those allocated
stands were paying R200, which most of the beneficiaries indicated was a lot
of money though the scheme was open to everyone.
Sources, who spoke to this reporter, said while they appreciated the
depreciation of the local currency, payment of stands in foreign currency
was leaving them strained. Their desire to own houses was driving them to
soldier on, but they indicated that some of their colleagues had lost their
stands after failure to pay the required foreign currency.
Efforts to get official comment from the Ministry of Local Government
were fruitless but a worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed
that beneficiaries of Operation Garikai and other housing schemes were
paying the subscriptions in foreign currency due to the hyper-inflationary
The worker also explained that the payment in rands was approved by
beneficiaries during consultative meetings. He said beneficiaries who were
complaining had chosen not to attend the consultative meetings where
decisions made were binding.
Operation Garikai was introduced after Operation Murambatsvina in
2005, which saw the demolition of thousands of houses that left nearly one
million families without a roof over their heads.
Operation Garikai was meant to counter Operation Murambatsvina, which
courted the ire of the international community.Due to the collapse of the
Zimbabwean economy, banks which used to offer loans to those that wanted to
build houses no longer offer such services. Even companies that used to
extend loans to their workers to purchase houses no longer do so and this
has left a majority of workers as lodgers.
Saturday, 22 November 2008 19:58
US ambassador to Zimbabwe, James D McGee (left) speaks to Robert
Wood, Deputy US Spokesman and US media during a special briefing on Zimbabwe's
current state during a video conference link.
Wood: Good morning in Zimbabwe. Ambassador McGee, welcome. This is
Robert Wood, the Deputy Spokesman. Ambassador McGee is here and he's going
to talk to you all about the political situation in Zimbabwe. So without
further ado, I will turn it over to Ambassador McGee. Welcome, sir.
McGee: Thank you, Robert. Let me start off by saying that we have a
multi-faceted issue here in Zimbabwe. We have a very bad, dire political
situation that's being - leading to a food and health emergency, man-made,
in this country.
I think you're all aware of the problems on the political side of the
house. Let me just briefly go over those. There was an agreement signed for
a unity government on September 15 this year. Here we are, approximately
eight, nine weeks later, and we still have no government formed. The Zanu
PF, Robert Mugabe's ruling party, has refused to act in good faith. They
want to maintain all the powerful ministries, all the security ministries,
as well as the financial ministries, under their control and give a group of
smaller social ministries to the control of the MDC, the Movement for
Democratic Change headed by Morgan Tsvangirai.
This impasse seemed to have been broken a week and a half ago during
the Sadc summit that was held in Johannesburg. But still, even after that,
we have not had any forward movement on that situation. And the political
situation still remains at a critical impasse here in Zimbabwe.
I think what's even more important today, though, is the humanitarian
crisis that is following up from this political impasse. We're seeing the
humanitarian situation here in Zimbabwe really go down the tubes. Food
situation, food and security situation, is extremely dire. Estimates from
the United Nations community is 1.5 million Zimbabweans are at risk of food
insecurity right now, and by the end of this crop season that number could
jump up to over five million people.
The health system has totally collapsed. The three major hospitals
here in Harare have closed. They've closed their doors for patients. We have
anecdotal stories of clinics in the countryside being unable to operate.
People are routinely turned away from clinics. And in some places, police
have been stationed outside of clinics to ensure that no one can enter the
premises. Doctors and nurses are not being paid. So that's the reality of
the situation on the ground here in Zimbabwe on this health system.
The water situation, sanitation situation, has gone through the
ceiling. I just received a confirmed report about 15 minutes ago there are
now 294 confirmed deaths from cholera here in Zimbabwe. There are over 1 200
confirmed cases of cholera, and another 2 500 unconfirmed cases of cholera.
The South African parliament just released a statement this afternoon,
saying that they would provide assistance to Zimbabwe to try to deal with
this cholera epidemic, because much of it is occurring on the border where
Zimbabweans are trying to leave this country and make their way into South
Question: Sue Pleming from Reuters. Mr Ambassador, you spoke about a
cholera epidemic. What is the US doing to try and ease the humanitarian
crisis in Zimbabwe, and particularly the health crisis that has emerged?
McGee: We are working with the international community. We're bringing
in assistance and trying to provide clean water. Cholera is something that
is fairly easily treated. You need salt, you need sugar, you need clean
water. Unfortunately, those are three things that the average Zimbabwean
does not have. So we're working with NGOs and local communities to try to
provide water tablets, saline tablets, the things that are necessary to take
care of the epidemic here in Zimbabwe.
Question: Ambassador, this is Desmond Butler from the Associated
Press. Do you feel that Mugabe has played you, given the September 15
agreement? Has he employed a strategy from the North Korea-Sudan playbook of
pretend to play along with what the international community wants and - but
merely stalling for time and trying to hold on to power?
McGee: Desmond, I don't think he's even trying to be coy about this.
He's made it clear that he is not easily going to give up power here in
Zimbabwe. The Sadc, the Southern African Development Community, clearly came
out with statements saying that there should be a unity government; there
should be power- sharing. And Mugabe has pretty much said that Tsvangirai
would never sit in a government here in Zimbabwe with any true power.
So, no, I don't think he's trying to play us. I think he's snubbing
his nose at the international community and pretty much saying this is my
country and I'll do with it as I please.
QUESTION: (Inaudible) need a new strategy for the problem?
MCGEE: I think the strategy here is we continue to put the pressure on
Mugabe. We have our targeted sanctions. The European Union, the Australians,
and many other like-minded Western nations are following us with those
sanctions. The other issue is that we need to continue to work with Sadc,
the African Union and the United Nations to continue to spin up their
sanctions, their actions against this repressive regime headed by Mugabe.
QUESTION: Lach Carmichael from AFP. I just wanted to follow up on
Desmond's question. How is he holding on to power? And what weaknesses do
you see, if any, within his power structure? Are there any factions that are
tilting away from him?
MCGEE: Actually, I think his grip on power may be actually stronger
than it was this time last year. Mugabe continues to hang on to power
through the political patronage system. There's still a lot of money that
flows through the formal and even more money that flows through the informal
economies in this country. The president uses a lot of political patronage,
political pay-offs to ensure loyalty. He does have the absolute loyalty of
the security - the heads of the security forces. Once we get down to lower
levels in the security forces, probably at the major or colonel level, and
then in the enlisted ranks, that loyalty isn't nearly as great. But those
people who control those services are absolutely loyal to President Mugabe
because, number one, they continue to receive funding from him, and number
two, their hands are absolutely as bloody as his.
And as far as that goes, last year, there was a power play to strip
Mugabe of power. One of the factions within his own ruling party, Zanu PF,
did make a power play. They lost. Frankly, they lost. Mugabe stood up to
them. They backed down. And I believe that he is as strong today as he was a
year ago and maybe even in the last five years.
QUESTION: Sylvie Lanteaume from AFP. So doesn't it mean that,
actually, you need another strategy? Because if he's stronger than last
year, it means that the actual - the current strategy doesn't work.
MCGEE: The current strategy still takes in the reality on the ground.
The people of Zimbabwe need to do something for themselves. The regional
communities here need to step up and do something to help the people of
Zimbabwe. The people of Zimbabwe are those who are suffering.
And as much as we can help them with the humanitarian assistance and
as much as we try to assist them with our political stance against this
country, if there is going to be meaningful change in Zimbabwe, it's going
to occur because of a peaceful democratic change here within the country.
QUESTION: Michelle Kelleman with National Public Radio. I wonder if
you could talk a little bit about financial issues, the currency collapsing.
I understand there's all sorts of different currencies being used now. You
were talking about his patronage systems. Where is he getting his money?
Saturday, 22 November 2008 19:53
ZIMBABWE presents vast opportunities for investors who can take
advantage of the bright economic recovery prospects brought about by a new
political dispensation, a top LonZim executive said last week.
Presenting a paper at the Institute of Chartered Accountants of
Zimbabwe (ICAZ) investment conference, Rosinah Hove, the assistant LonZim
country manager, said the country was still an attractive destination for
foreign investors despite its long running political and economic problems.
"Zimbabwe presents a great opportunity for shrewd investors to come
in," she said.
In a paper titled "The Effects of Indigenisation on Foreign Direct
Investment, A Foreign Investor's Perspective", Hove said although investors
were discouraged by the absence of the rule of law, lack of respect for
property rights and economic freedoms, LonZim was undeterred as it continued
to invest in the country.
"If we achieve long-term capital for our investors, we would have
achieved," she said.
LonZim, where Lonrho Plc has a 20% stake, is listed on the Alternative
Investment Markets in UK.
It raised US$65 million at its initial public offering and the
proceeds have been used to acquire businesses in Zimbabwe and Mozambique. As
part of its acquisition drive, LonZim acquired a 60% stake in the Zimbabwe
Stock Exchange listed Celsys. It also owns Gardoserve, the largest blenders
of ethanol products in the country, Paynet and a hotel in Mozambique.
Hove said LonZim plans to develop a five-star hotel with conference
facilities, a training centre and retail mall among other developments in
Zimbabwe. The company's acquisitions are not targeted at specific sectors,
as every sector of the economy is poised for growth, Hove said.
But she expressed concern that the Indigenisation and Economic
Empowerment Act that became law in March would discourage investors if not
The Act stipulates that 51% shareholding in all foreign owned firms
operating in Zimbabwe should be in the hands of locals.
The one-day ICAZ investment conference drew participants from all
sectors of the economy and was held under the theme, "Repositioning for
Zimbabwe's Economic Revival: Are we Ready for the Great Leap Forward?"
Saturday, 22 November 2008 19:51
THE United Kingdom Court of Appeal has dismissed with costs AMG Global
Nominees (AMG)'s application to be registered as shareholders of SMM
Holdings and THZ Holding in another setback to the government's bid to seal
its expropriation of Mutumwa Mawere's assets.
The South African based businessman immediately hit out at the
government for wasting huge sums of foreign currency on a court case it had
no chance of winning when millions of Zimbabweans were going hungry.
AMG went to court arguing the Sales and Purchase Agreement between
Mawere's Africa Resources Limited (ARL) and Turner and Newell (T&N), the
former owners of SMMH and THZH, infringed the UK Companies Act by providing
financial assistance in the transaction.
AMG said by virtue of SMM exports financing the deal, SMMH had
provided financial assistance to ARL.
AMG also argued that ARL was in default on November 5, 2004 when T & N
purported to sell the shares in SMMH and THZH to AMG.
ARL purchased SMMH and THZH from T&N in 1996 for US$60 million. As
part of the deal, ARL were to pay the amount in 12 monthly instalments of
US$5 million each, but managed to pay US$37 million leaving a balance of
The agreement was that the bearer share warrants would be released
once all payment had been made.
But in 2004, the government put Mawere's assets under the
administration of AMG boss Arafas Gwaradzimba in line with the Presidential
Powers (Temporary Measures) (Reconstruction of State-indebted Insolvent
Companies) Regulations of 2004.
AMG then paid US$2 million to buy the share warrants arguing that ARL
had defaulted in payment and claimed it was entitled to the shares.
But in a landmark ruling on Thursday, the court ruled that the 1996
Sales and Purchase Agreement did not involve any breach of Section 151 of
the Companies Act either in its formation or in its performance.
It ruled that ARL was not in default for the purpose of Clause 8 of
the Memorandum of Deposit and Charge (MDC) at the time of the conclusion of
the AMG agreement. This means T&N was not entitled to sell shares to AMG.
In dismissing the appeal, the court ruled that ARL has the better
right to the bearer share warrants of SMMH and THZH.
Had the court ruled in AMG's favour, it would have been registered as
the shareholder of SMMH and THZH, sealing the expropriation of Mawere's
assets. The control of the two UK firms was the missing link in the
Mawere said the judgement vindicated his stance that the seizure of
his companies had no legal basis and was politically motivated.
Saturday, 22 November 2008 19:51
THE country's first commercial bio-diesel plant, commissioned amid
pomp and fanfare last year, is operating at less than five percent capacity,
investigations revealed last week.
Workers at the gigantic plant in Harare - once touted as the panacea
to the country's perennial - said they were producing "a few hundreds of
litres" of diesel and cooking oil a month.
They attributed the false start to an acute shortage of Jatropha,
cotton seed, sunflower, soya beans and maize to produce diesel and cooking
When standardbusiness visited the plant just before midday on
Thursday, the plant with a capacity to produce between 90-100 million litres
of diesel annually was silent.
"For the past year, we have been using cotton seed for the production
of diesel and cooking oil but it has run out," said a worker speaking on
condition that he was not named.
"We can't use maize or soya beans because there is hunger. People need
them for food."
At least 500 tonnes of seed oil is required annually to produce the
targeted 100 million litres of bio-diesel.
"We have to wait for the Jatropha seedlings to mature otherwise we are
wasting our time," said another worker.
It takes between two and three years for a Jatropha seedling to
The worker said when the fuel is available at the plant anyone can buy
using foreign currency. He said initially they were selling the diesel for
US$1.35 a litre, but the price was being reviewed following the drop in fuel
Only one of the tanks was said to be full of diesel, which was being
sold in foreign currency.
Most of the fuel, the workers said, was being sold to the Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe (RBZ), which was heavily involved in the setting up of the
Edward Madyavanhu, finance and administration manager of Transload
Enterprises - a company that manages the plant - refused to comment
referring all questions to the company's managing director, Douglas Musiiwa.
Musiiwa could not be reached for comment.
During the plant's commissioning last year, government officials said
it would meet 10% of Zimbabwe's annual diesel requirements, which translates
to foreign currency savings of US$80 million annually.
RBZ Governor Gideon Gono said the central bank has set aside funds to
support a Jatropha feed stock growing programme.
"Under the programme beneficiaries of Zimbabwe's land reform programme
will receive support to grow Jatropha on marginal land as the country works
towards its target of achieving fuel self-sufficiency by 2010," said Gono.
He also announced government would set up one bio-diesel plant for
each of the provinces by 2010.
However, the project seems to have stalled.
RBZ spokesperson Kumbirai Nhongo did not respond to questions emailed
to him last week.
Experts however say there is need to guard against diverting
productive land and food crops to the production of biofuels at the expense
of regional food security.
The World Food Programme (WFP) says over five million people will need
food aid at the beginning of next year.
Saturday, 22 November 2008 19:33
AS the country struggles to extricate itself from close to three
decades of President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF's dictatorship which is
associated with gross human rights violations, any new political order
should deliver justice to victims of the state.
International law requiring punishment of atrocious crimes and, most
critically, international pressure for compliance can provide important
counterweight to pressure from Zimbabwe's ruling elite responsible for the
Matabeleland and the Midlands massacres, the June 2008 burning to death of
opposition activists at Jerera growth point in Masvingo province, and other
heinous criminal activities.
I want to argue that when prosecutions are administered and
undertaken, pursuant to the provisions of international law forbidding acts
such as genocide, crimes against humanity, torture and war crimes, they are
less likely to be perceived or opposed as acts of revenge.
In my view, it is easy to believe that prosecutions that come after
the fall of a dictatorship are politically motivated when a decision to
institute them is a matter of unbridled discretion; justice is readily
mistaken for vengeance hence the need to deliver justice to Zimbabweans
under strict provisions of international law, such as the provisions of
Convention Against Torture and some aspects of domestic law which forbid
torture, inhuman and degrading treatment of citizens.
It has been mistakenly argued that amnesty laws may be necessary to
mend social divisions because, in my view, amnesty laws are not the only way
of achieving reconciliation in troubled countries such as Zimbabwe where the
rule of law has been sacrificed in pursuit of unbridled thirst for power by
President Mugabe and his ruling elite.
There are other means to pursue reconciliation in Zimbabwe without
allowing impunity to be celebrated. I want to point out that amnesty laws
can be used to promote reconciliation in post-Mugabe Zimbabwe, provided they
do not cover atrocious crimes which domestic and international laws require
states to punish.
Those in Zimbabwe, the region and the international community
struggling to end the country's political and economic woes should
appreciate that international human rights law require States to punish
certain crimes committed in their territorial jurisdiction. Zimbabwe, under
the Zanu PF dictatorship, should be no exception and amnesty laws should not
be invoked to cover up years of rampant human rights abuses in the country.
Several human rights treaties which form part of international law
such as the Convention Against Torture to which Zimbabwe is a party, as well
as the United Nations Charter, require state parties to criminalize
particular abuses such as genocide and torture, investigate violations and
seek to punish wrongdoers. These treaties make it clear that a state party
fails in its duty to ensure the cluster of rights protecting physical
integrity if it does not investigate violations and seek to punish those who
I know and accept that people in Zimbabwe will legitimately accuse me
of writing under the comfort of the United States when I make these views
but I remain convinced that in the case of Zimbabwe, I would prefer to
suffer longer under Mugabe's tyranny in the hope of a fully satisfactory
political outcome, than to make progress through untidy promises.
I am of this view because it is important for the country to exorcise
the ghosts of the Zanu PF administration by laying bare the atrocities
associated with it through a proper and independent investigation, and the
prosecution of serious crimes against humanity to the fullest extent
possible, so that future generations will not be haunted. The rich, poor,
powerful and weak should be equal before the law and this cannot happen when
there are elements in the security forces and the ruling elite who think
that they can continue to get away with murder for the rest of their lives.
Zimbabwe needs its political leadership to be accountable to its
misdeeds in order to create a law-abiding culture in the country. It is
important to have such critical, complex and in some respect controversial
circumstances in order for future political leaders in Zimbabwe to respect
the call to act responsibly when they assume the leadership of the country.
More so, that kind of accountability will make political players
instil in their supporters respect for the rule of law, allow the security
forces to realise their constitutional mandate and desist from operating
like militias and political commissars of rogue political leaders.
Zimbabwe is currently littered with numerous cases of impunity because
of the total disregard for the rule of law that is supported by the country's
ruling party. In order to return to law and order there is need for those
responsible for gross human rights violations to account to the justice
system in order to heal those whose fundamental rights were violated.
In my view, beyond taking criminal proceedings against human rights
violators in the country in order to promote reconciliation, not the type
Mugabe promoted in 1980 which was not statute based but rhetorical, a truth
commission which strives to investigate past human rights abuses; provide an
official forum where victims of Zanu PF and security forces' abuses and
perpetrators alike can tell their stories and offer evidence and prepare an
authoritative report that documents the events, makes conclusions and
suggest ways in which similar abuses and atrocities can be avoided in
The findings and recommendations of such a body should be made public.
I say so because Zimbabwe is littered with commissions of investigations
including the Chihambakwe and Dumbutshena one into the Matabeleland and
Midlands disturbances whose findings remain hidden at State House while the
victims of that sad chapter in the history of the country still wait for
Any post-Mugabe truth commission must make recommendations for
reparations to be given to the victims of state organised murders, violence
and abuses, which must take the form of cash payments, pensions, free access
to health care and psychiatric treatment, or public memorials and national
remembrance days. But beyond that, efforts should be made to seek
compensation from the perpetrators such as senior government and ruling
party officials and security forces, rather than relying on government
Even if amnesty could be exercised, like in the case of South Africa,
it should not be unconditional. In order to foster a democratic society, no
person should be given amnesty unless he or she applies for it, makes a full
disclosure of the crimes, and establishes that the crimes were committed
with a political objective. In this regard, wrongdoers and hardliners within
the political establishment in Zimbabwe who fail to follow this course
should be prosecuted.
Both the international human rights law and international humanitarian
law demand that people responsible for gross violation of human rights
should be held accountable for their crimes. For this reason, the granting
of unconditional, blanket amnesty would be unacceptable and should be
avoided in Zimbabwe.
In the case of Zimbabwe, Parliament should be allowed to exercise that
role. This is because Zimbabwe has seen numerous amnesties by the present
government which have benefited the perpetrators of violence rather than the
victims. Some of the people that have benefited from Mugabe's self-styled
amnesties since independence should be behind bars.
If Zimbabwe is to return to democratic legitimacy, any new government
or political order after Mugabe should further respond to human rights
violations by adopting laws which bar certain categories of former
government officials and party members from public employment. Such measures
would not be new to Zimbabwe; they have worked well in post-communist
governments in Europe and Latin America.
It is argued that a successful transition to democracy demands the
removal from public institutions of individuals who may have taken part in
violating human rights. Such elements are rampant in the country's public
service particularly in the security forces. Those who are making peace in
Zimbabwe should not forget the plight of the regime's victims. They are
waiting for justice.
*Pedzisai Ruhanya writes from the University of Minnesota Law School,
Saturday, 22 November 2008 19:33
EDWIN Nleya was associated closely with the darkest side of the
Zimbabwe Army. He died in controversial circumstances in the 1980s,
allegedly an assassination victim...
It has never been confirmed that "they" bumped him off because he knew
too much of the sleaze among the defence forces top brass...
The defence forces have been protected like a precious gem by the
government. To this day, the army, air force and police are led by former
leaders from the struggle. They owe allegiance, not to the people in
general, but to Zanu PF...
This protection began as far back as 1980-81, involving the Zanla Zanu
PF and Zipra PF-Zapu former guerrillas.
There were daylight shoot-outs between the two, the most serious in
Entumbane, a high-density township in Bulawayo. There were casualties on
both sides, although the official figures were not released.
A government inquiry report into the origins of the fighting among
erstwhile comrades-in-arms was never published.
Critics of the government suspect the report accused then Prime
Minister Robert Mugabe's former guerrillas of firing the first shots.
Later, the defence forces were involved in the Gukurahundi massacre,
another clash between the former guerrillas. Perence Shiri's name kept
cropping up. He later became head of the air force.
The report of an inquiry into that atrocity was never published
Still, the government would not protest too loudly when the Catholic
Commission for Justice and Peace, in its report on the massacres, insisted
20 000 men, women and children, were killed in Matabeleland and the Midlands
The political police force has had its dark past as well, particularly
during election campaigns and protest marches. Unarmed protestors have been
killed in cold blood by the police, but so far, there have been no
The omnibus anti-pluralism Public Order and Security Act (POSA) was
promulgated after Zanu PF lost 57 seats to the MDC in the 2000 parliamentary
Under its tough provisions, opposition parties are virtually at the
mercy of the police if they want to hold public meetings.
If permission is sought for meetings in areas where Zanu PF doesn't
enjoy much support - today, that is almost everywhere - the chances of
success are negligible.
Although the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) officially
belongs to the President's office, the officers usually work hand in glove
with the police. They have been involved in the attempted assassination of
Patrick Kombayi, an opposition candidate in the 1990 parliamentary
elections, and in the killings of Talent Mabika and Tichaona Chiminya of the
opposition in the 2000 parliamentary election campaign.
Zanu PF, particularly after the 1987 Unity Accord with PF Zapu, ran a
communist-style one-party system, bolstered by a KGB-type security outfit.
All opposition attempts to raise their political profile were brutally
thwarted, in most cases, with murder.
There are thus many people, some grievously disaffected as their
decadent lifestyles are threatened by the economic downturn, willing to
spill the beans on the darkest secrets of the atrocities.
That could be a good reason for Mugabe's jitteriness over the genuine
sharing of power with the MDC. The opposition has never held power. It has
no record of official malfeasance.
As they were the victims of most government-sponsored killings, it is
suspected they would, if allowed to play any part in those key security
areas, use this opportunity as "payback time".
The Southern African Development Community (Sadc) has degenerated into
as toothless a bulldog as Harold Wilson's government did before and after
UDI in 1965.
In proposing a home affairs ministry administered by both parties it
is demonstrating how tragically it has been "defanged".
The new South African president seems to be a clone of Thabo Mbeki, so
overawed by Mugabe's liberation stature he's rendered virtually speechless
in the man's presence.
Zanu PF was never going to give up an inch of its power without
leaving blood on the floor. Its intransigence is inflicting terrifying
damage on the economy and the health of the people.
But those in Zanu PF, with still a shred of dignity left in their
bones, must know they are conspiring in the destruction of what re
mains of this once great, proud and productive nation.
To believe that Zanu PF has honest designs in handling the defence and
home affairs portfolios is equivalent to being converted to flat earth
Zanu PF's record in charge of the security forces has been
characterised by an anti-people impunity. It is almost criminal to let them
anywhere near those ministries.
Zanu PF would use them to kill its assumed partners in government,
literally, as it has tried to kill them in opposition.
The people who lead the security forces today are so politicised they
seem sworn to shoot first and ask questions later.
Saturday, 22 November 2008 19:28
The music playing in the background is The Hanging Tree tune.
Orderly: Silence in court or you will be rapped over the knuckles with
the ruler of the law.
Judge Dread: What's next case on the roll, registrar?
Registrar: My Lord, it is the case of the State against a Patently
Judge: Well, drag him up from the darkest, deepest, most putrid
dungeon where he is presently being accommodated. Make sure that he is
suitably attired in leg irons, straight jacket and gag so that we can give
him a fair trial before convicting him and sentencing him to the worst
punishment that we can impose, apart from locking him up in a cell for the
rest of his life with only the Sunday Snail to read.
Mr Persecution Complex: My Lord, I represent the State, whether or not
the State wants me to do so. Indeed the State is very lucky to have my
incredible expertise at its disposal. The prisoner is very unfortunate to be
represented by my much less than learned colleague, Mr Wasteov Space, from
the firm, Lackadaisical, Scrapheap and Partners.
Judge: Mr Complex, please read the charge to the ignorant prisoner who
is incapable of reading the charge himself.
Mr Complex: The prisoner is charged with the worst possible crime the
State has been able to think of. The particulars of the charge are that on a
day some time back at a place unknown to the State, or anyone else for that
matter, the prisoner met someone whom the State strongly disapproves of and
there and then you did do something that was so deplorable that the only
characterisation that can be given to it was that it was appallingly and
Judge: Prisoner, you should hang your head in shame whilst you still
can, as your head will soon be involuntarily hanged. Well, let us go through
the tedious motions: How do you plead to the charge?
Prisoner: I am as innocent as a newly born lamb and I plead only for
Judge: Boy, am I tired of bleating reprobates! It goes without saying,
so this is why I am saying it, that I will give you justice as soon as I
have found you guilty.
Judge: Mr Complex what is your case?
Complex: My Lord, it is an extremely strong Samsonite case made out of
bullet proof rhino hide. I am told that it is as indestructible as a Chef
and comes with a lifetime guarantee, as does a Chef. As regards the
verminous scoundrel cowering before you, I have already proved beyond a
shadow of a doubt that he is the guiltiest person ever to appear before you.
Judge: I believe this would be an appropriate time to adjourn for
several months. I have extremely pressing agricultural matters to attend to
involving preparation for an important judicial workshop, known to some as a
Judge: Mr Space, I understand that you have some sort of inane defence
to present, and I use the term "defence" extremely loosely indeed. I will
give you a few seconds to relate your fantasy and I will try hard not to
burst out into hysterical laughter during your address. Before you do so,
however, there is a vitally important matter to which I have to attend. The
court will adjourn until I come back.
The Judge proceeds to his chambers where he attends to his urgent
business which entails switching on his official plasma TV and conducting an
inspection in loco of his favourite soap.
Judge: Mr Space had you finished entertaining me with your ridiculous
Space: My Lord, I hadn't even commenced my case.
Judge: Well, why don't you just give it to Air Zimbabwe so they can
lose it for you?
Space: I am most obliged to your Lordship for that invaluable advice,
but I would like to call my client to the stand to establish his innocence.
Judge: Well if you must, you must I suppose, but I would prefer you
not to waste my time like this.
Prisoner is frogmarched to the stand and is told to stand up straight
and to tell his incredible version of the truth so that everyone can have a
good laugh. His gag remains in place to assist his pathetic attempts to
establish his innocence.
Space: Were you born?
Prisoner: (Muffled answer) Yes.
Space: How do you know?
Prisoner: Because my mother told me I was.
Complex: My Lord, I object as well as being objectionable. The
prisoner's testimony is inadmissible hearsay.
Space: Where were you on the indefinite occasion, at the indefinite
place, at an indefinite time the State says you were planning regime change.
Prisoner: (Muffled answer) Well, what I remember was a blinding light
from an object overhead which turned out to be a flying saucer. Without my
leave, the saucer just whisked me up and some rather strange green aliens
started inserting probes into me in a vain attempt to discover whether
humans have any detectible signs of intelligence. I might add that never in
my life have I contemplated regime change,
although very occasionally I change my underpants.
Space: Thank you. You can stand down.
The exhausted defence counsel wheels into court a large bed and
collapses on it, muttering, and "The defence rests."
Judge: This is a convenient time to adjourn. If I feel like it, I'll
inform you when I decide to resume. I will then proceed to impose sentence,
as well as an entire paragraph, on the indisputably guilty prisoner. It is
my invariable practice to impose sentence before I announce the verdict.
After all you don't want to keep the prisoner hanging around when he is soon
Saturday, 22 November 2008 19:28
THE government should have welcomed the humanitarian fact-finding
mission by the group of Elders, unless it has something to hide.
The mission would have given a high profile and visibility to the
country's efforts to rally international aid and avert a catastrophe.
Former United States President Jimmy Carter and former United Nations
Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, arrived in Southern Africa on Friday on their
way here for a first-hand assessment of the humanitarian situation in
Zimbabwe. They were joined in this assessment by fellow Elder and
international advocate for women's and children's rights, Graça Machel,
spouse of former South African President, Nelson Mandela.
But yesterday they called off their mission after Zimbabwe denied them
visas. The government is paranoid. It demanded to know whose mission the
Elders are representing and who they report to. Annan and Bishop Desmond
Tutu, who is also a member of the Elders, have openly criticised President
Robert Mugabe and his administration.
The irony of the denial of visas to the Elders is that it comes in a
week where Botswana, which Harare has accused of "offering training bases"
to the MDC - purportedly for regime change - welcomed a fact-finding mission
headed by the Secretary for Foreign Affairs. Botswana, unlike Zimbabwe, did
not become hysterical about the visit or the charges levelled against it. In
fact, it invited Zimbabwe and the Sadc troika to undertake the mission.
In denying visas to the group of Elders, Zimbabwe suggests it has
something to hide. Only Burma and North Korea have reacted in the manner
Harare has while their citizens perished.
The Elders are deeply concerned about the impact of the deteriorating
economic situation in Zimbabwe on the population. The purpose of their visit
was to meet those working on the ground to better assess the extent of the
crisis, and how assistance can be improved. They understand the situation
requires an urgent response and that delays can only prolong the people's
suffering.The Elders even declared at the outset that they had no intention
of becoming involved in the ongoing political negotiations in Zimbabwe.
The actions of the government ever since the 1980s Gukurahundi and the
internationally condemned "Operation Murambatsvina" have been to deny
repeatedly any knowledge or existence of a humanitarian crisis in this
Right now Zimbabwe faces a cholera epidemic that has claimed about 300
lives and yet suggestions by legislators and health experts to declare the
outbreak a national disaster, thus opening the floodgates to international
humanitarian assistance, are being strenuously resisted.
There is also a familiar pattern to the government's man-made crisis
and subsequent denials: Earlier this year, the international community
realised there would be inadequate food because of the government's tardy
preparations for the 2007/2008 agricultural season. The donor community
intended to undertake an assessment, which would constitute the basis for
mobilising international assistance.
The government frustrated the process and it is precisely because of
its non-co-operation that 1,3 million Zimbabweans are in urgent need of food
and humanitarian assistance, while a further five million will require
similar assistance from next month until April 2009.
The extent to which Zimbabwe's leaders are prepared to sacrifice
lives in order to safeguard their hold on power is unparalleled. The Elders
should have been welcomed, if government has nothing to hide or fear.
Saturday, 22 November 2008 19:40
THE ongoing fighting in Zanu PF's Harare province between supporters
of Harare South legislator,
Hubert Nyanhongo, who is also Deputy Minister of Transport and
Communications and those of the party chairman for Harare province, Amos
Midzi and current Minister for Mines and Mining Development clearly shows
why the party has degrees in violence and should why it be held accountable
for the deaths of over 200 MDC supporters after Zanu PF was defeated in the
March 29 elections.
Over the past few weeks, two ZanuPF factions - one siding with
Midzi and the other with Nyanhongo - have been involved in running battles
over the control of the party in the province and culminated in recent
bloody battles for the control of the Harare province's party headquarters
at Fourth Street to the extent that police and army reinforcements were
These clashes resulted in some of the supporters receiving
serious injuries while property belonging to innocent people has been
destroyed because they happened to be caught in the crossfire.
The clashes have clearly shown that Zanu PF is a party that has no
guts to settle issues peacefully therefore resorts to violence.
After its defeat during the March 29, 2008 harmonised elections Zanu
PF decided to use force against innocent voters simply because they had
decided that enough is enough and had voted for the MDC.
Zanu PF leaders who are being implicated in clashes have a record of
causing untold suffering in Harare by sponsoring violence. It was in Harare
that "Operation Murambatsvina" played havoc with people's lives. Midzi has
in the past been accused of causing violence in Epworth while in Harare
South constituency and Mbare the violence is perpetrated through the
Nyanhongo is even claiming that he will dishonour a ruling
that was passed by his party when he was suspended from carrying
out party activities because the party failed to observe its own procedures
in dealing with disciplinary hearings.
What this shows is that even the party hierarchy does not know its own
constitution. What else do they or do not know? Midzi is learning his lesson
the hardest way as the people of Harare have rejected him and the Zanu PF
executive he leads in Harare.
He has lost in three parliamentary elections since 2000, 2005 and
recently in March this year.
Saturday, 22 November 2008 19:37
THE Reserve Bank is now playing God. Does it have the right to put our
lives in jeopardy because they are so paranoid they think we are all
criminals and illegal money dealers?
On a daily basis they mess us up by creating unnecessary stressful
situations, but now they have gone a step further.
The following is an example of what I mean: Last week my husband asked
MBCA Southerton branch to apply for permission to withdraw some of our own
hard-earned, iniquitously taxed cash from our account to pay for essential
drugs, drugs to prevent serious illness or even death.
In order to support this application we submitted a letter, copy of
the requisite prescription, copy of a letter from Cimas stating that these
were essential drugs. These were duly signed and stamped by a Commissioner
A pro forma invoice from a reputable chemist and at the bank's
request, from a previous application, a receipt showing that we had actually
paid for a previous prescription for $700 000 and not squirrelled it away in
US dollars. All this for the huge amount of Z$23 910 000!
This has all taken a week and unbelievably the request has been turned
down. Of course, by now the drugs have soared in price because of inflation
and so now what?
When is this situation going to end? We want access to our money now.
Who does it belong to, the state or us?
Saturday, 22 November 2008 19:36
WE write to your newspaper highlighting the problems besetting Hopley
farm residents and fervently pray that you come to our assistance before the
situation degenerates into a tragedy.
Hopley farm needs no introduction as it is the largest "Operation
Garikai" project resulting from "Operation Murambatsvina" of 2005 by the
government of Zimbabwe.
Unfortunately, "Operation Garikai" at Hopley farm is incomplete with
structures at various levels of completion. To be precise most shelters are
still at temporary shelter stage while those that are in solid wall form are
not roofed. These structures have left the occupants exposed to adverse
The current rains have brought with them another undesirable Christmas
gift - misery to Hopley community. The rains leave the dwellers soaked to
the bone, their meagre treasures i.e. important documents and pitiful
It is really pitiful to watch the elderly, pregnant women, those
living with HIV and AIDS, the blind and children spending nights crouched in
some overcrowded corner for want of shelter from the rains.
The temporary structures built by some NGOs were meant to last six
months only but now have been stretched to more than three years. They are
obviously worn out and currently serve very little purpose.
About 7 000 Hopley residents are in dire need of tents or plastic
sheets for temporary shelter and roofing purposes. Shelter is a basic need
and right to everyone. The lack of shelter affects the victim's physical and
psychological well being hence our call for immediate assistance in this
In addition to lack of shelter, we are also appealing for assistance
in the construction of toilets as some of the beneficiaries have no toilets
and are being forced to use the bush. This is a very unhealthy situation and
may result in long term effects for the community.
It is our hope and prayer that after this call well-wishers will come
to our rescue before the situation deteriorates further.
For Hopley Residents' Committee
Saturday, 22 November 2008 19:35
THE problem with Southern African politicians is not that they learn
nothing, but rather, they forget too soon. Those who remember, hold on to
the wrong lessons.
The Extraordinary Sadc summit held on November 9, 2008 to discuss
Peace and Security in the region with particular attention to Zimbabwe and
the Democratic Republic of Congo has wiped out all doubts that politics in
Africa must change.
It is very unfortunate that very few liberation governments in
Southern Africa have been able to prove their relevance in post-colonial
Africa. We had hoped that the leaders would see this need from afar and then
act as catalysts of the change which, in any case, is inevitable.
We as the citizens of Southern Africa had hoped that the progressive
leaders of this region would play a pivotal role. Our hope has been
assaulted on two fronts. The first is by our liberators, who fear a future
in which they play no part. They lust for political immortality. They thus
hold on to power at any cost or they continually dash every possible avenue
for leadership renewal in the continent.
The moderate dictatorship like that of the ANC and part of Zanu PF
(the other part is full-blown dictatorship, which the ANC seems to envy) has
got a chronic mistrust for people power. Thus, although they see change as
relevant, they would rather direct the change process and then claim that
they, by virtue of their role in fighting past injustices, have a kind of
sacred role to protect the status quo from being exposed to the kind of
change that might wipe it away.
The end result is they end up creating a new form of injustice. Who
cares whether the new form of injustice is a lesser evil than the one they
fought? The majority of the 21st century citizens who eye the future with
curiosity may have nothing to compare it with. They were not there during
slavery. Colonialism and apartheid left them when they were still babies.
They shudder what is wrong when their beloved leader waves a fist or calls
for a machine gun in peace time.
This is a leadership that we had expected to embrace change and allow
for leadership renewal. By deliberate reluctance, they fight it. They shut
the future away from us
The new generation of citizens had a reason to transfer their hope to
the new leaders like the leaders of Botswana and Zambia. The late President
Levy Mwanawasa did not disappoint. His predecessor did. These leaders have
dashed the people's hopes. They speak to the Press and to everyone else, but
when a golden opportunity comes to face dictatorship in the eye and proclaim
the truth, they shy away and resign to the comfort of their empires. "Am I
my brother's keeper?" A golden opportunity to stand for the truth is missed.
The late Zimbabwean Vice-President, Simon Muzenda used to boast that
Zimbabwe is a land of milk and honey. Amazing how a few thugs need a little
less than three decades to wipe out all the milk and honey, if there has
ever been any. The Old Testament refers to Israel, the Promised Land in like
terms of milk and honey. Yet today not even water flows there. Only blood
and tears of desperation.
The promise of every land belongs to its people: Leaders lose their
relevance when they cannot guarantee the next generation access to this
honey. It is concentrated in the hands of only a few, or shipped to China.
There will be no honey when the next child is born. Then we wonder why
children cry when they are born. Chenjerai Hove says they cry to announce
the birth of an angry one. William Shakespeare said they cry because they
are born to this world of fools.
Leadership which cannot guarantee the continuance of the prosperity
they inherit is criminal. The sad story of Sadc is we have two categories of
criminals. Those who hold the machine gun in peace time and declare war on
the masses they fought so much to liberate. The other category is those who
pretend to shout and protest during the day so that they gain donor funding,
and at night they sneak Nicodemously to clap for the first group of
That is the tragedy of African politics, which only the people and
not the leadership must change. The Zimbabwean case proves that extreme
measures maybe necessary to make a reality of Muzenda's rhetoric possible
and restore our milk and honey.
November 22, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - Three Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) operatives have been
hauled before the courts after they were entrapped by a city businesswoman
from whom they wanted to extort USD100 000 after accusing her of flouting
the Reserve Bank Act.
The three agents appeared at the Rotten Row Magistrates' Courts late Friday
where they faced two charges of extortion and graft.
Jacob Ropafadzo Mudarikiri (23), Blessing Tarumbwa (24) and Jim Fish Kasumba
(35), all employed by the President's Office at Chaminuka and Munhumutapa
Buildings in Harare, were arrested on October 22 at businesswoman Effie
Zituta's Borrowdale home. They had visited Zithuta to pick up the balance of
USD4000, part of a USD10 000 bribe they had allegedly demanded from her.
They had received USD6000 on October 20 from the businesswoman, after they
accused her of flouting the RBZ Act. Her company had clinched a contract to
move farming implements under the RBZ-funded Farm Mechanisation Program.
The CIO agents alleged that Zituta's transport company, Fieldspark
Transport, had corruptly been granted the contract to distribute farming
implements around the country without going to tender.
The three accused agents are said to have harassed the businesswoman,
alleging that she was also involved in illegal foreign currency dealings at
the Commercial Bank of Zimbabwe branch along Kwame Nkrumah Avenue.
They had initially demanded to be paid USD100 000.
The court was told the entrapment stemmed from Zituta's frustration that she
had to cough up an extra USD4000 after she paid the three accused agents the
hefty amount of USD6000. The three allegedly threatened to have her arrested
and held incommunicado on a charge of corruption if she refused to hand over
The threat prompted the businesswoman to report the matter to the police.
The CIO agents had the US$4000 on them when they were arrested at Zituta's
The three men, who face two charges of extortion and two of graft, are
standing trial before Magistrate Lilian Kudya. They are represented by
Nyikadzino, Koworera and Partners, a legal firm.
They denied the allegations levelled against them. Instead they claim they
are being framed and that Zituta is, in fact, trying to deflect attention
from her corrupt dealings with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe. They say the
charges against them are baseless and fabricated.
The operatives argued that the incident was a case of "inducement" where
they were made to believe that the businesswoman, who was allegedly involved
with top central bank officials, would provide vital information on the
corruption of top officials at the central bank. They insisted that they had
received information that Zituta had connived with senior Reserve Bank
officials leading to her company corruptly clinching the tender.
"The accused persons were arrested shortly after arriving at the complainant's
house," read part of their defence outline. "They are just victims of a
well-orchestrated plot by the complainant to cause their arrest in a bid to
thwart the investigations they were carrying out against her."
They claimed the US$6 000 they received from Zituta was not a bribe but
payment for help she had requested in a bid to recover a vehicle that had
been taken away from her by a city man identified in court as "Long Chassis".
Magistrate Kudya is expected to hand down judgement in the case on
The President's Office, which has reportedly co [article ends here..]