A leading Zimbabwean farmer working some of the country's last productive
land has had his property invaded by allies of Robert Mugabe.
By Peta Thornycroft in Makonde
Last Updated: 7:00PM GMT 01 Nov 2008
Doug Taylor-Freeme is one of Africa's most respected farmers, a white
Zimbabwean chosen by his mostly black peers to be their champion.
Elected unanimously as president of Zimbabwe's Commercial Farmers Union, Mr
Taylor-Freeme has represented the interests of hundreds of thousands of
Southern African farmers on international agricultural organisations and he
addressed the European Parliament last summer.
But he faced his greatest challenge yet when his property at Romsey, one of
Zimbabwe's last productive farms, was invaded by allies of President Mugabe
last week despite half the country teetering on the brink of starvation.
Romsey has the only productive fields for miles around in the once-fertile
Makonde South district, 90 miles north of Harare. Now it is under threat
from a local strongman, Chief Nemakonde, a strong supporter of Mr Mugabe and
his Zanu-PF party, whose land grab is being supported by local government
officials. He has already taken over five formerly white-owned farms in the
district, all of which are derelict after his efforts at planting failed.
Mr Taylor-Freeme, 43, tried to continue his work after the demands started.
But on Thursday evening, when he was planting a new crop of maize for the
summer season, police arrived at the farm to enforce the wishes of Chief
Nemakonde that all work be stopped. With five million people in Zimbabwe
currently in need of United Nations food aid, even one of the police force
admitted to The Sunday Telegraph that he felt the effort was "mad".
Before he forced his way on to Mr Taylor-Freeme's land last week, Chief
Nemakonde, who is in his late 60s and has several wives and scores of
children, sent men to torch a field of winter wheat stalks. meaning there
will be no hay for cattle.
Mr Taylor-Freeme, one of just a few surviving white commercial farmers of
the 4,000 whose land was targeted for seizure in 2000, said that he had been
informed by local officials that a High Court order to evict the chief would
"Some local police do not support this," he said. "So they had to send men
from Harare, and even they don't like what they have to do, to stop me
planting and prevent our community from coming on to chase the chief's
people away again.
"So I am going back to the High Court seeking an order of contempt but this
takes time, and meanwhile planting is paralysed."
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe failed to pay Mr Taylor-Freeme about £50,000
from his 2007 tobacco and wheat crop, which he was forced to sell through
government agencies. While he has survived in part due to European Union aid
intended to boost regional food production, he is particularly anxious
because he has taken out loans of about £250,000 which he has already used
to buy seed, fertiliser and fuel for his 800 acres.
Even some local Zanu-PF activists have sided with the farmer, conscious of
how desperate the country now is for food. "He must be allowed to plant,"
BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, Nov 1 (AFP)
Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai called Saturday for a truth
commission to examine atrocities in the country dating back to the massacres
of ethnic minorities in the 1980s.
"This country has gone through a lot of traumatic experiences," Tsvangirai
said at the launch of a video on the 1980s atrocities.
"What we have to accept is that in order to heal there must be justice, and
in order to have justice there must be truth," Tsvangirai said.
"That is the only way which can help us move forward as a nation. Unless the
truth is told, there cannot be healing and reconciliation," he said.
"There are those who are calling for a truth commission. They are right, but
without justice we cannot move forward," he added.
The video documents the Zimbabwean army's bloody campaign known as
Gukurahundi -- "the rain that washes away the chaff" -- when a North
Korean-trained brigade is believed to have killed some 20,000 people in a
Tsvangirai linked the massacres of the 1980s to an operation three years ago
when President Robert Mugabe's government bulldozed the homes of 700,000
people in what was officially called a slum renewal project.
"The common thing is we have a leader and a government whose main
pre-occupation is power-retention," he added.
"We created that government and the leader, and the question is how to deal
with such experiences because that is human terror of unprecedented
Tsvangirai and Mugabe, who has ruled since independence in 1980, have been
negotiating for weeks over a power-sharing deal following deadly electoral
violence earlier this year.
The talks are stalled over control of the home affairs ministry, which
oversees the police.
JASON MOYO - Nov 01 2008 06:00
President Robert Mugabe this week revealed his fear of an internal party
rebellion at a meeting of regional leaders meant to salvage Zimbabwe's
In a position paper prepared for the summit, Mugabe's Zanu-PF party said
that ceding the ministry of home affairs to the Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) would be a risk to the party's internal unity.
"Each political party has its own internal political dynamics and it would
be difficult to try to arrive at an outcome that reconciles the difficult
internal political dynamics of the three political parties," Zanu-PF said.
Sharing Cabinet posts between three different parties was a "difficult,
sensitive and complicated balancing act". All three parties, Zanu-PF argued,
have been "pushing their individual self interests".
At the centre of Mugabe's entrenched position on home affairs is the 1987
unity accord with former rival Joshua Nkomo. That deal ended years of civil
conflict by making Nkomo one of two vice-presidents and handing his party
perpetual control of home affairs.
This week, a small group of former Nkomo loyalists announced that they
planned to split from the main war veterans' association, a group
traditionally loyal to Mugabe, which combines ex-fighters from both Mugabe's
Zanla and Nkomo's Zipra guerrilla groups.
Zanu-PF had argued that "just as they had understood that the issue of the
two vice-presidents emanated from the unity accord, the Tsvangirai faction
of the MDC should have understood this historical obligation regarding the
Ministry of Home Affairs".
Mugabe sees it as a major concession that he was prepared to agree to a
proposal to "co-minister" home affairs with the MDC. Mugabe has already
yielded the finance ministry to Tsvangirai.
"Co-sharing the ministry of home affairs will also ensure that there is
continuity and that there are checks and balances," said Zanu-PF.
However, in its own presentation to the SADC troika, the MDC stood by its
demand that "the ministry should be allocated to [the MDC] to strike a
balance in the security ministries. Having considered the issue of rotation
and co-ministering as suggested, we reject both."
As the meeting began on Monday, 50 opposition activists staged a protest
close to the venue. Their action was useful to Tsvangirai as police
immediately moved in to beat and arrest them, giving the MDC leader the
evidence he needed to drive home the point that civil liberties continue to
be disregarded by a Mugabe-controlled police force.
There are many who stand to lose if a recognised government is finally
Mugabe will now appoint only 15 ministers, half the number in his previous
Cabinet. Just over a month ahead of a party conference, he knows that
leaving out heavyweight loyalists will once again expose the divisions
But he would have to dismantle part of his elaborate patronage system to
allow the deal to work.
The start of the farming season always shows how Mugabe has used state
resources to buy loyalty. This week, reserve bank Governor Gideon Gono was
handing out lucrative contracts and scarce foreign currency to companies
owned by Zanu-PF loyalists, purportedly for the import of fertiliser, seed
and other farm inputs.
A new farming programme run by serving senior military officers was also
launched and tasked with distributing farm equipment.
by Nokuthula Sibanda and Norest Muzvaba Friday 31 October
HARARE - The United States (US) has accused Zimbabwean President
Robert Mugabe of stalling an agreement to form a power-sharing government
with the opposition to tackle his country's deepening economic and food
Washington said it was concerned that Monday's mini-summit of regional
leaders could not pressure Zimbabwe's rival political leaders to agree on
the composition of a new unity government that many analysts say would be
best placed to halt an unfolding hunger and humanitarian crisis in the
southern African country.
State Department spokesman Sean McCormack blamed the deadlock over
formation of a unity government on Mugabe, saying the veteran Zimbabwean
leader was refusing to share power genuinely and equitably as outlined under
a September power-sharing accord signed with opposition leaders Morgan
Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara.
"The United States regrets that the six-week impasse over
implementation of the September 15 power-sharing agreement for Zimbabwe was
not resolved at the October 27 Southern African Development Community
(SADC)-hosted talks," McCormack said in a statement made available to
ZimOnline on Thursday.
Mugabe and his main rival Tsvangirai have failed to agree on who
should control the most powerful ministries in the unity government - a
deadlock that is now threatening to derail the entire power-sharing
agreement between the bitter opponents.
The SADC said it would soon call an emergency summit to try to end the
Zimbabwe impasse after the bloc's special security organ failed to resolve
the matter during a marathon meeting with Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara
in Harare that lasted 13 hours from Monday morning till Tuesday.
While laying the blame on delays to appoint a unity government on
Mugabe, McCormack said Washington would however continue to provide
humanitarian support to Zimbabweans, thousands of who are said to be
surviving on one meal per day as food shortages bite
The State Department spokesman said it shared the concerns of UN
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon who has expressed regret at the worsening
humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe while political leaders continue to
bicker over sharing power.
McCormack said: "We condemn the Mugabe regime's refusal to implement a
genuine and equitable power-sharing agreement and its continued use of
violence against peaceful demonstrators."
"The United States shares the concern of United Nations Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon about the negative effect the impasse is having on the
people of Zimbabwe, who continue to suffer terribly.
"The United States will continue to provide food aid and other
humanitarian assistance to assist the people of Zimbabwe.
"We urge African leaders to work with the Southern African Development
Community, the African Union, and the United Nations to address the urgent
needs of the Zimbabwean people."
Political analysts remain pessimistic that the planned regional summit
will be able to break the power-sharing deadlock, saying SADC lacks the
collective will to force Mugabe to compromise with Tsvangirai.
While some regional leaders have denounced Mugabe for ruining
Zimbabwe, the veteran leader still has many allies in the region and
elsewhere across Africa where many people respect him for his role in the
anti-colonial struggle and also for what others see as his standing up to
the world's big powers.
Zimbabwe's power-sharing deal retains Mugabe as president while making
Tsvangirai prime minister and Mutambara deputy prime minister.
The bare bones agreement allots 15 Cabinet posts to Mugabe's ruling
ZANU PF party, 13 to the Tsvangirai-led MDC and three to a faction of the
opposition led by Mutambara.
However it is silent about who gets which specific posts and the rival
parties have since the signing of the agreement wrangled over who should
control the most powerful ministries such as defence, finance and home
affairs. - ZimOnline
October 31, 2008
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE - Sharp divisions have emerged within Zimbabwe 's civic society
groups on how to approach the ongoing unity talks between Zanu-PF and MDC.
A radical group within civil society appears still bitter for having been
left out of the power- sharing talks between Zanu-PF and the two MDC
formations. The group has now chosen to remain aloof rather then be roped in
for solutions, saying the much-vaunted deal is headed for a crash.
This group, sources say, still feels let down by what it sees as a flawed
deal signed by MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai.
On the other hand, there is another group described as "submissive" group
that has continued to back Tsvangirai irrespective of differences with the
This group has supported calls by the MDC for Zanu-PF to cede more political
space to its rivals.
Former South African President and official negotiator in the talks brokered
the power -sharing deal in which Zanu-PF and the MDC will form an all
inclusive government for the next five years.
The growing fissures within the civic society became evident on Thursday
afternoon when some civic groups boycotted a feedback meeting by Tsvangirai
at his party's headquarters in Harare .
Organisations such as the Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA),
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and the National Constitutional
Assembly (NCA), viewed as opinion- makers within civic society, are among
the radical groups said to have boycotted the meeting.
A source with one of the top groups said they felt Tsvangirai erred in
failing to advocate for the inclusion of his allies within civic society
during the beginning of the talks.
"This group is even bitter at that after all the trouble that people went
through to help Tsvangirai win the March and June elections," said the
source, " he went into secret talks with Zanu-PF and came back to accept a
mere Prime Ministerial post that leaves him apparently dwarfed by Mugabe.
They feel Tsvangirai must now go it alone."
Although there are strong denials from some civic groups, events on the
ground point to the contrary.
Otto Saki, a lawyer with the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights denied any
knowledge of the divisions within civic society.
"I do not know anything about these divisions," he said "We attended
Thursday's meeting because there is nothing wrong with someone giving you
feedback on a process in which you are not part of. It was just a feedback."
MISA director, Takura Zhangazha
Takura Zhangazha, MISA director confirmed his organization did not attend
Thursday's briefing by Tsvangirai but refused to disclose the reasons.
"We did not attend. I won't give you the reasons," he said before blocking
any further discussion of the matter.
Youth Forum co-ordinator Wellington Zindi said there was nothing wrong with
attending a feedback meeting by a politician even if one disagreed with his
"The meeting was just a feed back meeting," he said "I do not see any sense
in boycotting a feedback meeting. It's just like boycotting reading The
Herald because you do not like what is written in it."
NCA spokesperson Madock Chivasa confirmed there was simmering bitterness
with the NCA stemming from the failure to consult with them on matters that
were clearly not for politicians.
"Indeed there are such divisions," he said. "We feel our role now must not
be to influence what is already happening in the talks. We feel we must wait
for these parties to either agree or disagree."
His comments were also expressed by his boss Lovemore Madhuku who confirmed
divisions within civic society.
"There are some civic society groups which follow blindly what Tsvangirai
decides," Madhuku said at a public talk forum Thursday evening.
"They only follow what he thinks at that moment and still want to be seen as
civic society. We do not like that."
The outspoken NCA chairman accused the MDC of going it alone in most of its
decisions during talks with Zanu-PF only to turn back and start prescribing
to civic society on how to react to the situation.
"We have nothing to do with the power sharing agreement," said Madhuku. "We
will not monitor it. It is nothing."
He said the NCA was prepared to use violent means to oppose Article 6 of the
power-sharing agreement that prescribed a centralized system of drafting a
"I am very quite irritated by those who authored that document," said
"The NCA is thoroughly unhappy with that document. We agreed as NCA that we
are going to oppose that. This time we are going to use stones to prevent
anyone who wants to impose a constitution.
"We are not on talking terms with some of the guys in MDC. I doubt if we
will ever talk to each other.
"We at NCA look at issues, the principles. If Tsvangirai signs away the
writing of a constitution by the people, we won't follow him."
Said Madhuku: "We are unhappy because the MDC have stood their ground on
posts but have not stood their ground on principles."
The NCA boss accused Tsvangirai of unnecessarily subordinating himself to
Mugabe by agreeing to become Prime Minister when civic society had invested
a lot for him to become President.
"I was so much pained to see Tsvangirai becoming Prime Minister," he said,
"We wanted Tsvangirai to become the President of Zimbabwe."
He accused the MDC leader of going into "secret and countless" meetings in
South Africa - where the early stages of talks took place - only coming back
to tell the nation he wanted to be Mugabe's subordinate.
"We as civic society we cannot tell Tsvangirai on what powers he must get,"
"If we say he must become president and he says he wants to become prime
minister, who are we to tell Tsvangirai to become President."
October 31, 2008
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - Mining experts say Zimbabwe's gold mining sector, which is losing
an average of US$54 million a month at current world gold prices in
earnings, could collapse unless the central bank pays producers more than
US$30 million in arrears for gold delivered, some of it going back to
Failure by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe subsidiary, Fidelity Printers and
Refiners, to pay for gold deliveries, has hampered producer efforts to find
working capital and development capital required to sustain operations.
The Chamber of Mines, a body which represents most mining companies, says
most underground mines have flooded and it might take a "massive injection
of capital" to reopen them and if no capital is secured, this may lead to
permanent closure of the mines.
Average monthly gold production has plummeted from 2 259 kgs in 1999 to the
current figure of 267 kgs.
The dip in production coincides with the onset of Zimbabwe's economic slide,
spurred by the country's military intervention in the DRC in 1997 and the
often violent farm invasions in 2000 that triggered the collapse of the
agricultural sector, spawning foreign currency shortages.
"It is not understandable that at a time when the country requires as much
foreign currency as possible the gold sector which can generate foreign
currency has been deliberately brought to its knees," the chamber says in a
"The gold industry is seriously concerned on the impact of the situation on
employees and the welfare of their children at a time when the country is
facing many challenges. Most gold mines are now unable to meet the wages and
salaries of their employees, which has resulted in a large scale exodus of
Central Bank governor, Gideon Gono, has often berated gold miners of
undermining his turnaround policies by understating production and allowing
'leakages" in the form of gold smuggling.
He has blamed the sector for deliberately reducing production in order 'to
fix the government'.
The government reacted by stationing detectives and bank officials
permanently at mines as a deterrent.
But the chamber has dismissed these claims, saying most mines have subjected
their operations to international audits without adverse reports being made
about the mines' business ethics.
Miners fear the delays in payments by the RBZ might jeopardize business
operations when South African suppliers close for their traditional annual
shutdown. The suppliers do not take orders after mid November - only a
The current payment system for gold provides that the central bank pays 75
percent of the total value in US dollars into producers' Foreign Currency
Accounts (FCA) with the balance being paid in local currency.
President Mugabe's government has often raided these accounts to fund its
political projects and foreign trips by the ruling elite and their families.
It has also raided the foreign currency accounts of companies' to oil its
institutionalised patronage system.
October 31, 2008
By Owen Chikari
MASVINGO - President Robert Mugabe has teamed up with a high-ranking
government official and a wealthy business magnate to form a business
partnership that has acquired more than 60 000 hectares of land to grow
sugar-cane in the Lowveld.
The acquired vast tracts of land forms part of Nuanetsi Ranch in the Lowveld
and their company, Zimbabwe Bio- Energy Company, will grow sugar cane and
produce bio-energy products.
The company is a subsidiary of Sabot holdings a company owned by President
Mugabe, former Rural Housing and Social Amenities Minister Emmerson
Mnangagwa and business mogul Billy Rautenbach.
Mnangagwa, once touted as the successor to Mugabe within Zanu-PF was for
many years the treasurer of Zanu-PF. Ranked as one of the most corrupt of
the Zanu-PF leaders, Mnangagwa was chairman of Zidco, the strategic holding
company of the Zanu-PF business conglomerate. The managing director of
Zidco, Jayant Joshi and his brother Manharlal Chunibal Joshi fled Zimbabwe
when the party instituted investigations into the financial affairs of its
This week journalist were taken on a tour of the proposed project this week.
The new company has already cleared about 90 hectares of land so far. This
has since created an outcry among residents.
The project will cause the displacement of over 5000 people from the
Chisase, Lundi, Mutirikwi areas.
The government through the Ministry of Lands Land Reform and Resettlement
and the Ministry of Agriculture has already given a nod to the development
of the proposed multi-billion dollar project.
Zimbabwe Bio-Energy Officials said the project would source funds to the
tune of over 60 million Euros to finance the completion of the giant Tokwe
Mukorsi dam so that no water problems are encountered.
"We want to produce sugar as well as ethanol and other bio-energy products
so that we can start blending it to produce petrol", said a company
official. "On completion the project will be able to produce enough sugar
and bio-energy products for the country".
However the proposed project has riled residents who are earmarked for
displacement. The residents feel that not enough consultations were
conducted and therefore they feel cheated by the government.
"We have to been heavily compensated because we were not consulted when this
project was mooted otherwise we will resist eviction," said Abiot Makina of
Although company officials could not be drawn into revealing the share
holding structure of the proposed company investigations by the Zimbabwe
Times have revealed that President Mugabe, Mnangagwa and Rautenbach are the
"Mr Rautenbach together with his business partners some of whom are senior
government officials own the company", said an official with the company who
The holding company, Sabot Holdings, which owns a fleet of haulage vehicles,
is also owned by the same people.
Mugabe and Mnangagwa could not be reached for comment yesterday but
according to records at the registrar of companies, they own Sabot Holdings.
November 1, 2008
By Raymond Maingire
HARARE - Former Parliamentarian, Job Sikhala, has openly criticized MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai, suggesting that he has become preoccupied with
wresting the Home Affairs ministry from Zanu-PF while ordinary Zimbabweans
He said allocation of the ministry to the MDC would not loosen Mugabe's grip
on state security institutions since his ascendancy to power in 1980.
An outspoken politician, Sikhala said the fight over ministries had left
ordinary Zimbabweans, who are mainly concerned with bread and butter issues,
"I do not know where all the fuss about the Ministry of Home Affairs is
coming from," he said.
Sikhala was among guest speakers at a public speaking forum at a Harare
hotel Thursday evening.
In October Sikhala, the secretary for defence and security in the breakaway
faction of the MDC led by Arthur Mutambara, launched a verbal attack on
President Robert Mugabe, Tsvangirai and Mutambara, saying they were greedy
for political power.
Describing the party leaders as 'the three musketeers' Sikhala vowed to
denounce the leaders as "self-centred and not interested in the welfare of
millions of Zimbabweans struggling to make ends meet.
"They don't have the interests of people at heart, if they had wanted to,
they would have concluded this thing (sharing of cabinet posts) a long time
ago," Sikhala said.
Zanu-PF and MDC signed a power-sharing agreement on September 15 which
commits them to form a unity government for the next five years.
But a dispute over who will control the Ministry of Home Affairs, among
other contentious issues, has delayed the implementation of the fragile
deal, seen as the first real step by Zimbabweans to reverse the 10-year-old
SADC leaders will meet as a full block on a date and venue yet to be
announced in a bid to unravel Zimbabwe's political impasse.
But Sikhala, who joined the breakaway faction led by Mutambara when the
split in 2005, said the tussle over the Home Affairs ministry was
Sikhala a former student leader was defeated in March in the St Mary's
constituency by another student leader Marvellous Khumalo, representing the
mainstream MDC led by Tsvangirai.
"Those who understand the history of our nation would recall that John Nkomo
was the first Minister of Home Affairs in 1980, during the first coalition
government between (PF) Zapu and Zanu-PF.
"The Ndebeles were still being brutalized in Matebeleland everyday by the
police when one of their own was Minister of Home Affairs.
"So whether the MDC will get the Ministry of Home Affairs or not, this will
make no difference because the commander of the police force will remain
Chihuri (Augustine), deputized by (Godwin) Matanga and (Innocent) Matibiri,
Contrary to Sikhala's assertion, the late Joshua Nkomo, president of
PF-Zapu, and not John Nkomo, was Zimbabwe's first Minister of Home Affairs
in the coalition government of 1980. He was replaced in 1981 by Richard
Hove. Hove came from the Midlands Province. For the next four years, at the
height of the brutalization of Matabeleland, the position was held by
ministers from outside the Matabeleland region. The late Herbert Ushewokunze
held the post from 1982 to 1983 and was replaced by Simbi Mubako in 1984.
The most ruthless Home Affairs minister during the Gukurahundi era was, in
fact from Matabeleland, Enos Nkala, who replaced Mubako in 1985 and remained
in office until 1987.
Contrary to current perception that there was an unwritten understanding at
the signing of the Unity Agreement in 1987 that the Minister of Home Affairs
would always hail from Matabeleland, the first post-unity incumbent in the
portfolio was from outside Matabeleland. The late Morven Mahachi (1988-92)
was from Manicaland.
Since then the Minister of Home Affairs has always been appointed from
Matabeleland - Dumiso Dabengwa (1992 - 99), John Nkomo (2000 to 2001) and
the current incumbent Kembo Mohadi, thereafter.
Sikhala said Chihuri would still by-pass the minister and report directly to
Mugabe who is likely to retain the controversial police boss as Police
"The Prime Minister will not be involved in all this equation," said
Sikhala, "The MDC can still get the Home Affairs ministry but the Police
Commissioner will be reporting directly to the President. The Police Act
also allows that.
"Ministers would only be ceremonial while the whole dirty game would be
played between Mugabe and his trusted lieutenants. We have to understand
that we are dealing with a mafia regime."
Sikhala said any fresh elections even under the supervision of the United
Nations would still not be free and fair as Mugabe would still unleash his
terror strategies to retain power.
He called for a "neutral" person to lead an independent authority that will
take Zimbabwe to fresh elections in two years time.
He, however, failed to suggest a candidate to lead the so-called caretaker
"Zimbabweans at this moment do not deserve an MDC or Zanu-PF government,"
"What they need is a caretaker authority led by an independent individual
that would take care of the affairs of this country over a period of two
"At the present moment Zimbabwe does not deserve Robert Mugabe, Morgan
Tsvangirai or Arthur Mutambara. We deserve a neutral person who has the
interests of Zimbabweans at heart."
He said his call for a neutral authority had been proved by the stalling of
the agreement signed on September 15. Nothing has materialized in terms of
reversing the economic situation in Zimbabwe, he said.
The former legislator said even if the full SADC summit eventually clinched
a deal acceptable to both Zanu-PF and MDC, the power-sharing government
would still collapse along the way because of the level of mistrust among
the rival parties.
"I do not see this agreement going anyway," said Sikhala. "It is bound to
collapse within three to four months of its implementation."
By Tawanda Kadungure, on November 01 2008 17:32
Several weeks after the outbreak of Cholera in Chitungwiza and the
authorities promising that the situation was to be rectified as soon as
possible, raw sewage is still flowing almost everywhere in the dormitory
town of Harare.
There are places that are known to be notorious with sewage flows such as St
Mary's and Unit D but this time the effluent is flowing almost everywhere.
Some days after the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare headed by Dr David
Parirenyatwa came to Chitungwiza after several people had died of Cholera,
some places had the flow of sewage stopped. However this did not last as
some days later, there was a high resurgence of the flow. This reporter
toured Zengeza 3 and 5, St Mary's, Unit D, K, C, J and F where the situation
is on the rise. In Unit D which is in Seke Chitungwiza sewage is flowing
from almost every house into the streets where young children will be
ignorantly playing. Such is the case in parts of Zengeza 3, a suburb which
was never dreamed of ever having such a problem.
What comes to heart are the young children who can be seen innocently
playing around and in the sewage. The kids throw stones in the dirty water
which in turn splashes back at them. People are eating with raw sewage
flowing at their front doors. An alternative would have been to give these
people temporary places to live whilst the authorities rectify this health
hazard. In Unit O where water is not easily available, people rely on self
dug wells. The water in the sewage is sinks into the ground till it reaches
the waterbed and mixes with the water in the wells. This in turn has
generated a rise in people suffering from Cholera and other water borne
diseases like Dysentery.
Asked to comment on the situation, some women in Unit D said that they
cannot possibly tie their children in the houses simply because there is
sewage in the roads.
"Mukwasha vana vachiri vadiki ava vanoda kutamba saka hatingambovarambidze.
Iyo ZINWA yacho ngaione zvekuita," (these children are still young and want
to play so we cannot reprimand them. ZINWA should in turn do something about
the situation) said one of the women who was very outspoken. Mrs Zvidya in
Zengeza 3 reiterated that she was so disappointed by ZINWA since they are
responsible for water provision to households as well as sewerage.
"ZINWA is not doing anything to help us. We have been having problems since
March and up to now nothing much is being done to help us," she said.
Zimbabwe National Water Authority (ZINWA) in turn is blaming lack of foreign
currency as well as fuel to be the major factors withholding their work. An
employee with the company who refused acknowledgement said they were
suffering heavily because of the current economic situation hence the shoddy
service provision. ZINWA is also failing to spray the places where sewage
will have been flowing after they rectify the situation.
BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe, Nov 1 (AFP)
Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said Saturday that he will
attend a regional summit aimed at saving his nation's power-sharing deal,
even if he does not receive his passport.
The chief negotiator for the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), Tendai Biti, had told reporters on Tuesday that Tsvangirai would not
travel to the summit unless he received his passport.
But Tsvangirai dropped the demand, saying that he would attend the summit
even if the government refused to grant him a passport.
"With or without a passport, I will attend," he told AFP in Bulawayo,
Zimbabwe's second city, where he attended the launch of a video about 1980s
human rights abuses.
Tsvangirai has not had a passport for months, and must seek an emergency
travel document valid for a single trip each time he leaves the country.
Biti had called the government's failure to grant him a normal passport "the
crudest form of lack of sincerity" by President Robert Mugabe.
Leaders from the 15-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) are
expected to hold an emergency summit aimed at pressing Tsvangirai and Mugabe
to resolve their differences on forming a unity government.
The rivals agreed to a power-sharing deal on September 15, but talks have
stalled over how to divide control of powerful cabinet posts.
Regional leaders met twice last month in a bid to press them into a deal,
but they remain deadlocked over control of the home affairs ministry, which
oversees the police.
The date and location of the summit have not yet been announced.
APA-Harare (Zimbabwe) Libya has donated agricultural equipment to Zimbabwe
under a programme codenamed "The Green Programme" and aimed at assisting the
southern African country improve food security, state media reported here on
The state-owned Herald daily said Libya donated eight tractors and fuel to
Zimbabwe as part of "The Green Programme" launched in the Zimbabwean capital
Harare on Friday.
The programme is funded by the Libya Fund for Aid and Development in Africa,
which will be responsible for all operations, maintenance and storage of the
tractors and equipment.
The newspaper quoted the Charge d'Affaires at the Libyan embassy in Harare,
Ali Elbatel, as saying similar projects were being implemented in other
African countries under the Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's Al Fatah
Zimbabwe is in the process of trying to revive its agricultural sector,
battered by eight years of economic sanctions and the forcible removal of
former white farmers from their properties.
Agricultural output has slumped by more than 50 percent since the government
chased more than 4,000 farmers from their land and embarked on the land
reform programme in 2000.
Friday, 31 October 2008 18:35
Chaos and confusion marred the Grade Seven exams which ended Thursday -
under the invigilation of the police.
The Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) said some students failed
to sit for the exams, while other schools failed to get the exam papers.
At some schools like Mvundusi, Mazorodze and Dombo primary school in Chivi
district, there was a low student turnout for the exams, while the police
outnumbered the teachers, Chauke said.
"It is a disaster, more than 20 students did not turn up for exams at
Mvundisi primary school, while at Mwenezi district's Chingano primary
school, the Shona paper two was delayed as they had not received the exams,"
He added that the exams were only written later as they had to get the paper
from another school where students had already sat for the exams.
"They had to borrow the exam from another satellite school, Mateke, after
the pupils there had already written the exams. The explanation given was
that the exams had not been collected from ZIMSEC, which only delivered the
exams a day before the commencement of the exams last Sunday
Meanwhile, teachers who spoke to Radio VOP said they had not gone back to
work to conduct the exams despite the pledge by Reserve Bank governor Gideon
Gono to give them allowances amounting to $1 million a day for invigilating.
Another amount was also promised to be deposited in the teachers' accounts
at pay day.
"Gono is trying to treat the symptoms, instead of the cause of the disease.
The teachers are disgruntled, their salaries fall below the poverty datum
line, and to promise us the allowances without an assurance would be a lie.
We have been fooled before," said a teacher RadioVOP caught up with at a
bank queue in the city.
No comment could be obtained from ZIMSEC, or the Minister of Education,
Sports and Culture, by the time of going to print.
by Tendai Hungwe Saturday 01 November 2008
JOHANNESBURG - A health expert this week called on South Africa to provide
free anti-retroviral (ARV) and tuberculosis (TB) drugs to Zimbabwean asylum
seekers and other refugees who are often unable to access these at public
Speaking at a meeting of the AIDS Consortium in Johannesburg, Celine Gounder
said South Africa had one of the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence rates in the
world and the large numbers of immigrants - some of who were infected -
flocking into the country daily complicated efforts to fight the scourge.
The AIDS Consortium is a group of organisations and individuals involved in
"What is making it more challenging and difficult to give treatment to
infected people is the fact that there are a lot of mobile people as they
move with diseases with them especially these airborne diseases and it is
also difficult to give descent services as you cannot track them all,''
Gounder told the Consortium.
Zimbabweans fleeing their home country because of political turmoil and
hunger make a huge percentage of immigrants living in South Africa. But a
huge majority of the Zimbabweans leave in South Africa illegally and cannot
visit public hospitals for medication when sick.
Gounder, an infectious diseases physician and epidemiologist at America's
John Hopkins University, said: "Undocumented Zimbabweans, estimated in their
millions should be another great challenge, but this can however be
addressed when the relevant authorities issue them with rightful papers as
well as allowing them access medication at our hospitals."
Once a model African economy, Zimbabwe is in the grip of an unprecedented
economic recession seen in hyperinflation, shortages of food, rising
unemployment and poverty and that has forced nearly a quarter of the country's
12 million population to flee abroad in search of better living conditions.
Western governments and the opposition MDC party blame President Robert
Mugabe - in power since 1980 - for ruining the economy through repression
and wrong policies.
Mugabe denies ruining the economy and instead says his country's problems
are because of sanctions and sabotage by Britain and its Western allies
opposed to his land reforms. - ZimOnline
1st November 2008
Dear Family and Friends,
Watching the tragic events in the Congo over the last few days and seeing
diplomats flying in from all over the world to try and help, makes me feel
ashamed to be a Zimbabwean. When all of Africa's attention should be focused
on the DRC, here were are messing around in Zimbabwe still calling on SADC
to convene special meetings which may, or (more likely) may not, force the
winner of Zimbabwe's March elections to share power with the loser.
Another week has brought another stalemate for Zimbabwe - no relief for
ordinary people, no political progress, no change. The SADC Troika learnt,
and apparently admitted, that the power sharing agreement of September 15th
had been tampered with and was different from the one initially signed on
September 11. Why its taken six weeks for this information to be exposed and
confirmed by SADC is a mystery but it does not bode well for Zimbabwe. Then,
instead of throwing out the whole process and demanding that the people's
voice of March 29th be respected, the SADC Troika told us that a full SADC
meeting is to be held to talk about what to do next. It's all become so
absurd that its embarrassing to have to keep writing about it.
Everything about life in Zimbabwe has been reduced to the most absurd
levels. Imagine having to queue for up to 5 hours to withdraw your own money
out of the bank. Imagine arriving at the bank queue, as in my home town this
week, to find that there are two queues, one for Police, Army and Youth
Militia, and one for everyone else. Imagine having to queue for two days to
draw out enough money to buy just one single loaf of bread. Imagine a young,
single mother being unable to get enough of her own money out of the bank to
buy milk and eggs for her sick baby who desperately needs high protein food.
Imagine people in rural villages being forced to eat beetles and leaves -
not by choice but to stay alive. Imagine having just days left in which to
get a life saving crop planted in the ground but still they talk and don't
act. These are all the tragic, absurd realities of everyday life in Zimbabwe
but there are a couple of beautiful ones too.
Imagine a 46 cm high Purple Crested Lourie with magnificent crimson wings
bathing in 5 cm of water in a hot Zimbabwe birdbath. Imagine an insect being
called a Sausage Fly! It's that time of year when these big headed, fat
bodied, shiny brown ants fly in clumsy, dizzying circles to the lights at
night. The story goes that when you see a Sausage Fly the rain is three days
away. It's not coming true this year as still the rain hasn't come and the
sun burns down upon us. One day this week it was 32 degrees Centigrade in
the house at midday and 56 in the sun outside - almost too absurd to be
One last absurd thought comes to mind this week. You have to wonder what
would happen if Barack Obama and John McCain were told they had to share
power? Until next week, thanks for reading and thanks to my webmaster for
taking over the burden of sending out of this letter.
With love, cathy.
In the past two weeks the Zimbabwe economy has seen two really significant
developments. The first is the total collapse of the Zimbabwe dollar and the
second is the sharp deterioration in basic food supplies.
On Tuesday a local banker told me that the cost of money transactions in
Zimbabwe dollars now exceeded the value of their transactions. Simply put
that means if you are trading or shifting money in the form of the Zimbabwe
domestic currency, you will be losing money even if you are charging
interest and other charges related to the transactions that are involved.
So business here is now only possible if you work in a hard currency the
Rand or the US Dollar. This creates two other problems how to obtain the
hard currency in the first place and then, once you have the money, to use
it without breaking the law which still prohibits such transactions.
For a small fortune you can secure a licence to operate in hard currency but
even then the operating conditions are nearly impossible. So the reality is
that most businesses have closed their doors or are now operating on a care
and maintenance basis until better days whenever that will be.
In the rural areas the position is even worse and people are now operating a
barter economy or relying on the small remittances that come in from
relatives in the Diaspora. If you cannot use either system, you are facing
On the food front the situation has deteriorated sharply in the past month.
Humanitarian agencies have full warehouses but cannot get the food to the
people who need it. The reasons are that the agencies cannot access cash for
their operations hard currency transactions are still illegal and the cash
withdrawal limits and other restrictions imposed by the Reserve Bank are
making local payments impossible they cannot pay for hotels or staff
salaries and cannot pay transporters to take the food to where it is needed.
But it goes beyond this, at the start of the year it was estimated that we
needed 1,8 million tonnes of maize. Of this total the humanitarian agencies
said they would try to supply 400 000 tonnes. The Zimbabwe government
estimated maize production at 600 000 tonnes and that left a shortfall of
800 000 tonnes for importation.
So far all we can find evidence of are contracts for a total of 175 000
tonnes and even this meagre import programme seems to have spluttered to a
halt. That leaves a total shortfall of 625 000 tonnes possibly 800 000
tonnes because it is most unlikely that local production was 600 000
tonnes most commentators say 425 000 tonnes.
This means that the shortfall is still probably 50 per cent of consumption
and we still have 5 months to go to the end of the forecast supply period
(April 2008 to March 2009). In October the donors fed 2 million people at
the level of 15 kilograms of cereals a month per capita. In November they
expect to go to 3,5 million people at a reduced rate of 10 kilos of cereals
per capita. They plan to go to 5,5 million in January 2009 but at present
they do not have the money or the supplies for that programme.
Remember that this is just the donor community completing what they
committed themselves to at the start of the year and does not in any way
alleviate the shortage in commercial supplies from the GMB. Therefore we can
deduct from this in the absence of any information from official sources
that food supplies are now down to critical levels.
If this is not addressed and soon, widespread starvation and deaths are now
Perhaps the worst aspect of this is that the State has not admitted there is
a problem and that they need help. No appeal has been made for help and no
response is forthcoming from the authorities who have been approached to
help rectify the problems with payments and the need to appeal for resources
to help meet the needs in early 2009.
But the crisis goes beyond these basic problems there is growing evidence
that the Reserve Bank has used its power to loot the hard currency accounts
in the banking system for its own purposes. This includes the accounts of
the UN system and has led to a suspension of future transfers that will
affect the tens of thousands of people with HIV/Aids who are on UN funded
If that was not bad enough, the Junta is running a programme called
³Champion Farmers². These are all those individuals in Zanu PF who have
access to farming property, to draw on State funded inputs (fuel, seed,
fertilizer and chemicals as well as farm equipment) to grow crops this
summer. In a rush to take advantage of these offers (partially funded by a
grant of R300 million from the South African government) Zanu PF thugs are
harassing remaining commercial farmers and driving them off the land.
This whole programme is illegal and has been the subject of a lengthy appeal
to the SADC Tribunal in Windhoek. The Tribunal has already ruled in favour
of the farmers and is expected to knock the whole land reform exercise down
at the end of November. That does not make any impression on these thugs and
This exercise includes a deputy Governor of the Reserve Bank and the
Commissioner of Police. They are taking over farms where the commercial
farmers have prepared land and secured some inputs and the new occupiers are
then simply picking up where they left off and planting crops on land that
does not belong to them using equipment looted from their owners.
All stocks of seed and fertilizer and all agricultural fuel is going to this
programme leaving small scale farmers and 700 000 peasant farmers without
these essential supplies. The result, tobacco plantings are down 50 per cent
and cereal production is likely to fall below the level achieved last year.
So the suffering of the majority continues ordinary men and women,
children and the elderly without food and opportunity (95 per cent of
teachers are not at work) and more particularly, without hope. The region
has not even announced the date of the SADC/AU summit due in less than 10
Bulawayo, 1st November 2008
1 November 2008
Africa is once again in the news this week. Our television screens and
newspapers have been filled with horrific images of thousands of people in
the DRC fleeing from the rebel advances towards the provincial capital of
Goma hoping to find sanctuary there. Literally thousands of men and women
are trudging through the bush with their belongings piled on their backs, on
bicycles or motor scooters. The picture of one small child stays in my mind.
A little boy, not more than four years old carrying a plastic container
almost as big as himself; his innocent face staring out at the world with
huge eyes, a reminder to all of us of the guilt we adults share for the
disruption to his young life. Many of these refugees have been displaced
more than once from their villages, the only life they know is on the road,
fleeing from one army or the other, trying desperately to find safety. It
seems no one can protect them: not the Congolese army, nor the UN
Peacekeepers as they pour out of their villages in search of safety.
Yesterday Goma itself was under attack by the rebels and later from
retreating government troops, looting and raping as they abandoned the city.
An estimated 250.000 people are on the move and this Friday morning the
International Red Cross is describing the situation as 'a humanitarian
catastrophe' Most of the NGO's are pulling out of this crisis-torn country
and desperate villagers hide out in the forests, making it even more
difficult for any remaining aid agencies to get help to them. As always, it
is innocent civilians who suffer and where there are tribal or ethnic
differences the suffering is exacerbated. It is not the root cause of the
Congo's repeated wars, however; it is greed for diamonds or gold or any of
the country's vast mineral wealth that has led to the repeated conflicts.
The west - and China - have indirectly sponsored these wars too in their
desperation to get their hands on Congo's precious natural resources.
Anyone in Zimbabwe who is wondering what any of this has to do with them
would do well to remember Mugabe's intervention in the Congo back in 1997 in
support of his friend Laurent Kabila. Many experts claim that this marked
the beginning of Zimbabwe's economic collapse. It was a deeply unpopular war
with the Zimbabwean people and the cost in human terms has never been fully
revealed by Mugabe's government. What was clear at the time was that the war
provided unlimited opportunities for top military personnel and business
people to become millionaires overnight thanks to Congo's diamonds. Business
opportunities for Zimbabwe we were told but the Zimbabwean people saw none
of the benefits. The ones who profited, army generals, top policemen and
business magnates are the very same people who are now making sure that
Mugabe's so-called Agreement with the MDC never becomes a reality. They have
too much to lose but while the intervention in the DRC may have been the
source of their wealth it may yet lead indirectly to their downfall. Their
names are still there in a UN Report on the people who had exploited the
Congo's natural resources during that conflict.
Meanwhile, reports coming out of Zimbabwe indicate that there are rising
numbers of soldiers and policemen deserting because of poor pay and
conditions. As hunger stalks the land and the economic crisis worsens by the
day with the Zim currency becoming virtually useless, these deserting
soldiers, who did not enjoy the same money-making opportunities in the Congo
as their superior officers, may yet decide Zvakwana - Enough is Enough. It
is a not impossible scenario that Zimbabwe too will be caught in the grip of
civil unrest and what we are seeing today in the DRC is a pre-echo of what
could happen in Zimbabwe. With our mighty South African neighbour about to
enter a very troubled period as the ANC heads for a possible split, it is
not too difficult to see why minds are not fully focussed on settling the
Zimbabwe problem. Mugabe's allies have too many problems of their own. No
doubt, the decision to involve SADC will be delayed as long as possible but
in the end an agreement will have to be reached ; not because Mugabe cares
about the people's suffering but because his own survival may depend on it.
Dictators can never be entirely sure who their true friends are. His friend
Laurent Kabila'death inside his own palace is a case in point. His death has
never been properly explained. Zimbabweans will remember the two-day silence
while the world waited for the official announcement from the DRC. We all
knew that Kabila's body was already on the tarmac at Manyame airbase where
it had been flown by a Zimbabwe Airforce plane sent by Robert Mugabe to
collect his friend's body. Was it a member of his own presidential guard who
had killed him or was it someone who was afraid Kabila was about to blow the
whistle on Zimbabwe's involvement in the Congo? We shall probably never know
but the link between present events in the DRC and Zimbabwe's past
involvement in that country should not be forgotten.
What goes around comes around!
Yours in the (continuing) struggle, PH
Between 7 and 9pm on Wednesday 29th October, Jenni Williams, Magodonga
inmates at Mlondolozi Prison and WOZA members across the country held a
Their prayers were for a speedy resolution to the crisis in Zimbabwe and for
the better in the justice system in Zimbabwe, within both the courts and the
Please join them in their continued prayers and spread this invitation to
any and all that
may be interested.
An urgent application has been filed with the High Court in Bulawayo
the denial of bail for Jenni and Magodonga.
In the meantime, Jenni and Magodonga remain strong in spirit although the
effects of the
harsh conditions at Mlondolozi are beginning to take a toll on their
* Stand firm Zimbabwe
* Close ranks
We are traversing uncharted waters like no other country in history.
We are made of good stuff and we will win!!
We will gain worldwide acclaim and recognition for our steadfastness, our
strength and determination.
We are a proud nation and will not be defeated.
We can do it and we will !!!!
November 2, 2008, 12:37 am
By Jonathan Power
The non-violent tactics of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King are pushing
at an open door. Even the Pentagon has begun to look at their value in
situations of conflict and political impasse.
Today's news is covering the essentially non-violent struggle of the
opposition in Zimbabwe to push aside the dictatorial regime of Robert
Mugabe. Despite the provocations of the police and the army, the opposition
has turned the other cheek (unlike in Kenya) and in doing so won over almost
100 percent of foreign opinion.
In another example, exiled Iranian opposition activists are studying and
training in techniques of non-violent conflict, emulating the success of the
recent movements for change in the Ukraine and Serbia.
One shouldn't be surprised by this turn of events. The 20th century is
rightly described as the bloodiest century of mankind. But it was also the
most creative in terms of alternatives to violence - not only Martin Luther
King and Gandhi (with the anti-British Pathans in South Asia joining his
movement, a historical development somehow overlooked today by the NATO
armies in Afghanistan), but also the work of Chief Albert Lithuli and
Archbishop Desmond Tutu in South Africa, Archbishop Helder Camara in Brazil
and Bishop Carlos Belo and Jose Ramos-Horta in East Timor.
Then there were the 1950s marches against nuclear weapons that helped
persuade President John Kennedy to push for the Test Ban Treaty. And later
the massive protests against the Vietnam War.
There is no way one can put a precise finger on it. But there has been a sea
change in Western society's attitude to war. Despite the headlines, there
are fewer wars now than ever before in history. The number of wars conducted
between democracies since the end of World War II is zero.
The industrialised, richer, democratic nations have mostly abandoned armed
conflict as a way of conducting their relations with other countries. The
wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are the only exceptions. There is only a small
constituency in the West that supports a strike against Iran.
Even in poorer countries where warfare is rife, war is waged by a remarkably
small group - mainly criminals, bullies and warlords, often easily defeated
by UN-type military intervention, perhaps combined with outside political
pressure, except in rare cases like Afghanistan where the Pathans have a
deep and almost unique culture of resistance.
In only the United States and Russia is military intervention a constant
topic of conversation and serious ongoing preparedness.
Take a close look at Holland, Sweden and Switzerland if one doubts how
war-making cultures can change. At the end of the 18th century, Holland and
Sweden each had armies larger than those of Britain or Austria and far
larger than Prussia. Holland was one of the great seafaring, imperialistic
countries of the world. But for the last two and a half centuries Holland
has been far from warlike.
From 1415 to 1809, Scandinavian countries were almost permanently at war.
But since Sweden's defeat by Russia in 1809 they have more or less withdrawn
from violent conflict, as has Switzerland, which in 1500 was a feared
If the militaristic atmosphere of past ages is beginning to change one
shouldn't be surprised at the greater role that non-violent campaigns have
played over the last 60 years. And they tend to be successful, too.
A recent study by Maria Stephan and Erica Chenoweth, reported in Harvard's
quarterly journal International Security, finds that large-scale non-violent
campaigns of civilian resistance have achieved success 53 percent of the
time. In contrast, terrorist campaigns achieved their objectives only 7
percent of the time.
Success comes from many factors, not least of all persistence. But it also
comes from an enhanced domestic and international legitimacy of such
movements and alienation of the regimes, as happened in the Ukraine three
years ago. Second, public opinion at home - repulsed by violence - finds a
non-violent movement increasingly appealing. Repression by heavily armed
police and army helps turn public opinion against the regime.
This happened in the Philippines where violent opposition had failed. When
two million people rallied peacefully to oust dictator Ferdinand Marcos, the
Reagan administration pushed for him to step down.
One can point to numerous situations where non-violence could be made to
work today. But no situation is riper for it than the Israel-Palestine
dispute. If the Palestinians could drop their guns and stones and organise
an effective non-violent movement, they might find a million Israelis
John Mueller, professor of political science at Ohio State University has
written that warfare was once regarded as "natural, inevitable, honourable,
thrilling, manly, invigorating, necessary, glorious, progressive and
desirable." It could well be that this era is approaching its close and
non-violent resistance is becoming the main tool of radical, even
* Jonathan Power is a columnist, filmmaker and writer. This article is
distributed by the Common Ground News Service (CGNews) with permission from