By Foster Dongozi
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's nephew, Leo Mugabe and his two sons have been
sucked into a battle with war veterans in Mashonaland West after they
assaulted an ex-combatant in Mhangura who angrily dared their employee to
Mashonaland West former freedom fighters are enraged by the reluctance of
different government departments to deliver justice because of Leo's links
to President Mugabe.
The war veteran, Fanuel Gumbo, told The Standard in Mhangura that he was
beaten up by Leo's sons while their father watched. Gumbo is currently
recovering at his plot in Mhangura after authorities at Chinhoyi Hospital
discharged him under unclear circumstances.
Ironically, Gumbo was one of those who led campaigns for Leo leading to his
election in the March Parliamentary elections.
In a brazen abuse of political power, on 24 October a driver working for Leo
drove to Broadlands Farm in Mhangura and started ploughing on Gumbo's plot.
Gumbo was allocated the land by the government in 2003.
Gumbo and his wife, Rosemary, told Leo's tractor driver to seek
clarification from his employer as the plot did not belong to the
Leo is reported to have summoned Gumbo and another war veteran identified as
Dube and ordered them to vacate their plots.
Gumbo said: "We checked with lands officers in Chinhoyi and members of the
land audit committee who privately assured us that we were legitimate owners
of the farm which was sub-divided into several plots. However, they said
they were helpless to do anything about the MP."
The former Zimbabwe Football Association chairman was allocated a plot on
the same farm and war veterans who had moved onto the farm much earlier made
way for him, allowing him to occupy the plush farmhouse for fear of
upsetting the President's nephew.
Gumbo said the tractor driver returned and started ploughing again but this
time he was in the company of Leo and his two sons.
"When I told the driver that he was on my land, Leo's two sons grabbed me
and started assaulting me. Ndakagwadziwa mwanangu kuti ndirobge nezvanana
ini ndirimunhu mukuru akagwa hondo. (It pained me that kids were assaulting
me, a veteran of the liberation struggle) said Gumbo, originally from
He said despite his military training, he was too shocked to be attacked by
the President's relatives that he did not fight back. He said he got a
However, while Gumbo was bound by protocol not to lay a hand on members of
President Mugabe's family, the same did not apply to his wife, Rosemary, and
their five- year-old son, Confius.
As Gumbo lay on the ground being savaged by the Mugabe royals, his wife and
little son jumped to his defence and attacked Leo's sons with stones and
Rosemary said: "They said they did not care if my husband was a war veteran
or a civilian. Vakati vanhu vepapurazi vese ishuro dzisina mari sevanhu
vekwaMugabe." (They said people at the farm were paupers, not rich like the
Gumbo said: "After the humiliation, I had nothing to lose so I told them to
end my life. The tractor started moving and one of the wheels struck my
lower back. After that I don't remember anything."
The President's relatives panicked. The two boys rushed Gumbo to Mhangura
Hospital but authorities refused to attend to him in the absence of a police
report. Sources in the province say the wheels of justice started moving
very slowly as soon as it became known that they were dealing with members
of the Mugabe family.
Still in pain and in the absence of a police report, the war veteran was
then immediately driven to Chinhoyi hospital, where he was told the X-ray
machine had run out of film.
The X-ray would have formed key evidence in court.
Leo's sons were only taken in for questioning after war veterans expressed
their displeasure to senior police commanders in Mashonaland West.
Officials at the Chinhoyi magistrates court confirmed to The Standard that
Mugabe's two sons, one identified as Tamira and two employees, Leonard Banda
and Claudius White, were remanded out of custody on Friday by a Mhangura
magistrate on assault charges. They were remanded to 18 November on $100 000
Police spokesman, Assistant Commissioner Wayne Bvudzijena refused to
By Gibbs Dube
BULAWAYO - ZANU PF is setting up a command centre in Matabeleland, the
stronghold of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), in a bid to wrest
all 15 seats in the forthcoming Senate elections which have left the
opposition party in disarray.
Elliot Manyika, the Zanu PF national political commissar, told The Standard
the intention was to mobilise all resources to focus on a region that has
been dominated by the MDC in virtually all national plebiscites.
Manyika said: "Our headquarters will be temporarily moved to Bulawayo, where
we will launch all our election strategies for the Senatorial poll.
"We are going into this election in order to win. (MDC leader Morgan)
Tsvangirai is facing defeat and that is why he is not interested in the
Manyika declined to say how much money his party would pour into the
election campaign at a time when some parts of the region, especially
Bulawayo and Beitbridge, are devastated by crippling water shortages.
Already the party has gone on an election campaign trail in urban and rural
Matabeleland where President Robert Mugabe, Vice President Joyce Mujuru and
provincial governors recently donated an assortment of goods, a move
considered as vote-buying.
President Mugabe has so far donated 100 computes to 10 schools in Bulawayo.
Vice President Mujuru addressed villagers in Binga on Saturday two weeks ago
and donated 10 bags of sorghum to chiefs. She later visited Bubi-Umguza
constituency for the commissioning of irrigation equipment worth $7 billion.
As part of her election crusade, she also toured the construction site of
the Gwayi-Shangani Dam.
Vice President Mujuru indicated that construction of the Gwayi-Shangani Dam
should be speeded up, a common Zanu PF campaign platform.
President Robert Mugabe is expected to visit the command centre.
It is not yet clear whether MDC president, Morgan Tsvangirai, will tour the
region to discourage voters from participating in the poll.
By Walter Marwizi
MOVEMENT for Democratic Change President Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday ordered
the party's candidates to withdraw from the Senate elections within seven
days but his deputy counted him saying his orders should be ignored.
After nearly three weeks of bickering amid fears that he was losing control,
Tsvangirai yesterday chaired a near-capacity meeting at the party
headquarters in Harare after gaining a crucial endorsement from the National
Council over his anti-senate position.
Gibson Sibanda, Tsvangirai's deputy dismissed the ultimatum and questioned
the legality of yesterday's meeting.
In a show of the widening rift between the factions, Sibanda said :"All
candidates are also requested to ignore the purported instruction supposedly
calling on them to withdraw from the Senate elections within seven days.
"For the avoidance of doubt the MDC does not and will not recognise anything
whatsoever which emerged from the contrived unlawful meeting.
"It is a matter of great regret that Morgan Tsvangirai continues to show
disdain of the constitution of the party. We have absolutely no intention of
allowing anyone within the MDC whatever their position might be to subvert
the values, principles and constitution of the party."
MDC's 52 of the 66 National Council members yesterday broke into song and
dance at Harvest House, before Tsvangirai read out their resolutions.
The meeting had been declared illegal by MDC deputy secretary general Gift
Chimanikire, who sent apologies for not attending.
MDC's vice president Gibson Sibanda, Secretary General Welshman Ncube, and
party spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi did not attend.
Announcing the resolutions of the national council, Tsvangirai said the
national council had rescinded the "purported decision" in favour of
participating in the Senate election made on 12 October.
The Council also resolved that "between now and congress, the party
President shall be the sole spokesperson of the party on all party matters.
But last night Sibanda described the Harare meeting as a Kangaroo court.
The national council further resolved that the party congress be held at the
end of February next year.
It is at the congress, The Standard can reveal, that Tsvangirai will deal
with the threat posed to his leadership.
"At the moment, nobody has the final say in the party. Remember people who
had grown tired of President Mugabe's dictatorial tendencies crafted the
constitution. They became overtly careful thereby producing a useless
document that makes it impossible for the party to function. When the
President has to make any decision, he has to consult," said an insider.
Insiders said Chimanikire was fast emerging as a possible candidate who
could represent the interests of a faction that has been condemning
Tsvangirai for the past two weeks.
Chimanikire, a firebrand unionist who comes from Mashonaland Central,
however dismissed the reports.
The National Council has also established a committee to engage colleagues
in the party to ensure that unity and cohesion is maintained. It shall
comprise Sheppard Mushonga, Thokozani Khupe and Eddie Cross.
Tsvangirai was last night expected to leave for Matabeleland North where he
is expected to urge people to boycott the elections. Next week he heads for
Bulawayo, Matabeleland South, Masvingo, the Midlands and Mashonaland West.
By our correspondent
Chinhoyi - The only chance of owning a decent house that people who were
affected by "Operation Murambatsvina" entertained vanished into thin air
when it emerged that beneficiaries of "Operation Garikai" are either Zanu PF
members, supporters, their relatives or patriotic civil servants who already
According to a list of beneficiaries released recently and published in The
Herald, Chinhoyi beneficiaries are people with Zanu PF links. Chinhoyi
Executive Mayor, Risipi Kapesa, who is also the secretary of Zanu PF
Mashonaland West Provincial Committee, had his two sons listed as
beneficiaries. The two sons, Tongai and Kilborn, and are still under his
A well-known Zanu PF youth, Stella Muchenje, who already owns two
stands -one in Chikonohono and the other in Cold Stream areas -, was
allocated another stand. Her brother, Edwin, also got a stand. According to
documents Stella was not even on the original list.
Other councillors have their sons, daughters or wives listed as
By our staff
TWO DAYS after rapping government for economic mismanagement, US Ambassador
Christopher Dell has repeated his stinging criticism on the President
Dell, who ruffled feathers in Mutare on Wednesday, said on Friday that bad
economic policies pursued by government made it difficult to address the HIV
and Aids pandemic in Zimbabwe.
Speaking at the unveiling of the US$35 million contract for a comprehensive
HIV and Aids Partnership Project in Harare, Dell said while a reported
decline in the prevalence rate was welcome news, Zimbabwe remained at the
epicentre of the worldwide HIV pandemic.
Dell said: "The country's accelerating economic decline, acute lack of
foreign currency, unprecedented emigration of medical workers - all brought
about by economic mismanagement - present severe challenges to addressing
"In the end, however, the international community cannot do it all. Sound
economic policies are just as important as international assistance in
public health. Zimbabwe is experiencing perhaps the largest peacetime
economic decline in history."
He urged the government to re-establish a "transparent and free market
economy to increase employment and make health care affordable for ordinary
Dell said that despite differences of opinion between Harare and Washington,
the US government has been and will remain one of the largest donors in the
fight against HIV and Aids.
"We (US) are also part of the Global Fund's efforts to fight HIV and Aids
world wide," Dell said. The US sits on the Global Fund's board of directors.
"We've supported Global Fund moneys for Zimbabwe and are extremely pleased
that the Global Fund recently approved US$107 million in funding for HIV, TB
and malaria," Dell said.
On Wednesday Dell spelt out conditions for re-engagement saying aid and
financing for Zimbabwe was dependent upon restoration of the rule of law,
the conduct of free and fair elections, placing military and police forces
under effective civilian control, and a commitment by the government to an
equitable, legal and transparent land reform programme.
Dell said: "Until Zimbabwe meets these conditions, the United States -
joined by the European Union and others - will maintain narrowly tailored
financial and travel sanctions on ruling party and government leaders and
their families. Sanctions on specific high-level individuals and their
families are the vehicle that the United States and like-minded countries
uses to signal international disapproval of the way that Zimbabwe's ruling
elite has trampled on democratic freedoms.
He said: ".Zimbabwean firms that are not connected to regime leaders are
free to do business with American firms, and American firms are free to
invest in Zimbabwe and trade with any individual except those top-level
sanctioned officials. The argument that these narrowly targeted sanctions
have hurt the larger economy could only be true if the economy as a whole
were entirely in the hands of 86 government and party officials on the list
and they controlled all of it.
"There is so much misinformation about sanctions being bandied about that
you might be surprised to learn that Zimbabwe actually has a trade surplus
with the United States. It exports more goods and services to the US than it
imports. The US ranked fourth in 2004 among the major destinations for
By our staff
BEFORE Zimbabweans have recovered from the damage caused by "Operation
Murambatsvina/Restore Order", police sounding a defiant note have launched a
follow up operation, "Operation Hatidzokere Shure".
According to an internal police memo, the new operation, expected to run up
to the end of this month, is aimed at consolidating "gains" made through the
widely condemned exercise.
These are said to be a reduction in criminal activities, gold panning and
vendors and beggars on the streets.
"Police General Headquarters, has noted with concern that after successfully
implementing Operation Murambatsvina, results are slowly being eroded by the
resurfacing of some of the activities we eradicated through Operation
Murambatsvina," reads part of the memo.
"This operation (Operation Hatidzokere Shure) is intended to remind everyone
on the need to continuously look after the positive gains of Operation
The operation is to be incorporated into police stations' daily activities
with the involvement other stakeholders such as government departments and
On 19 May this year, the government launched Operation Murambatsvina, which
they claimed sought to restore order in urban and peri-urban areas. At the
peak of the operation, police officers ruthlessly descended on vendors, flea
market operators as well as backyard shacks in towns and growth points.
Although the government claimed the operation was a noble idea meant to
restore order, the United Nations grossly condemned it, saying those who
implemented it were ill advised. In her report on the operation, Anna
Tibaijuka, UN Special Envoy on Human Settlements, called on the
international community to immediately act on the perpetrators of the
operation and provide assistance to the victims estimated to be around 700
POLICE around the country yesterday fought running battles with members of
the combative National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) who staged
demonstrations demanding a new constitution and in condemnation of Senate
elections to be held at the end of the month.
Yesterday's successful demonstrations are expected to galvanize Zimbabweans
to take to the streets in Tuesday's protests organised by the Zimbabwe
Congress of Trade Unions.
The defiant demonstrators who were wielding placards and distributing flyers
advocating for a new constitution marched through the streets chanting
slogans calling for a new constitution.
In Harare, the lethargic police were caught unawares and only made
half-hearted attempts to break up the demonstrations when the activists were
Constitutional reformist and NCA chairperson, Lovemore Madhuku, said 18
protestors were arrested as police attempted to crush the marches.
He said the demonstrations succeeded in making known the NCA's determination
to continue with the crusade for a new constitution.
"We had enough people who have been able to brave the reprisals that could
be visited upon them by the police to show the way for the rest of society,"
He added: "There are enough people who do not care about (President Robert)
Mugabe and if we all concentrate on mobilising people for street protests,
we will get what we want to get."
By Gibbs Dube
THE Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) will this week stage
nation-wide protests against the deteriorating standards of living in
Zimbabwe, fuel shortages and cheap imports which are a threat to workers'
The ZCTU will also be demanding salary increases for workers, reduction of
income and value added tax to cushion workers from hyperinflation, and the
free provision of anti-retroviral drugs to employees.
The organisation's information officer, Mlamleli Sibanda, told The Standard
that ZCTU leader would lead the protests in Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru,
Masvingo, Mutare and Chinhoyi.
Sibanda said: "The ZCTU has tried to engage government through the
tripartite negotiating forum but all has been in vain as we are accused of
failing to address problems faced by the workers. Now we believe that the
language they understand best is.peaceful demonstrations."
He said protestors in Harare would hand over petitions about the workers'
grievances to the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare and
Minister of Finance, while similar petitions in the other regions will be to
chief labour relations officers.
The ZCTU, with 300 000 members nationwide, is the largest labour movement in
KADOMA - The MDC MP for Kadoma Central, Editor Matamisa, has blasted
Executive Mayor Fani Phiri, the council and the government for gross human
rights abuses at the Annex transitional camp in the town.
Matamisa said the situation at Kadoma Annex is fast becoming an "abuse of
human rights". Kadoma Annex is a place reserved for TB patients. The MP said
these people were promised better houses but up to now nothing tangible has
Her fears are that the loan secured from Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe could have
been abused. She said lack of privacy in the Annex quarters is a clear case
of the infringement of the right to privacy that everyone is expected to
enjoy. - By our correspondent
But mayor Phiri hit back and accused the MP of undermining the council and
government's reconstruction efforts after demolishing the houses popularly
known as Misana yenzou, built some 50 years ago. The mayor charged that the
MP had done nothing for the residents since her election into office. He
urged the MP to speak more about Kadoma in Parliament.
However, the mayor admitted that the project had taken longer than
anticipated but attributed this to financial problems experienced country
wide.-By our correspondent
By our staff
A ZUPCO bus driver has been fired after thoroughly beating up Joseph
Chinotimba, the self-styled commander of farm invasions and war veterans'
Sources at ZUPCO said Chinotimba recently received the shock of his life
when the bus driver, Victor Machiwere, retaliated and beat him up at the
company's Harare branch.
Chinotimba, a director of Edlan Security - a company contracted to provide
security at ZUPCO properties - was supervising his guards when he discovered
that the driver was in possession of maize he had brought from a rural trip.
Speaking to The Standard last week, Machiwerere said Chinotimba accused him
of stealing maize and wanted to confiscate it. He said the situation
degenerated after Chinotimba started to slap him in the face.
"When he slapped me, I got angry and head-butted him on the forehead and on
the mouth. That is when he started screaming for his bodyguards to come to
his aid. I then picked up a fan-belt from a bus and started whipping him
with it. Akaita zvekuzhamba kungemhuka pandakatanga kumuruka nefan-belt. (He
started screaming like an animal when I started thrashing him). He was
bleeding from the mouth and begging for forgiveness when his body-guards
finally arrived, some of the guards wanted to handcuff me but were stopped
by my colleagues," Machiwerere said.
He said when he walloped Chinotimba he had not recognised him and thought he
was beating up a thug who had sneaked into the company's premises.
"From the way he was behaving, I assumed he was one of those common thieves
pretending to be some senior official," said the driver who reportedly
gained the admiration of colleagues after mauling the bearded Chinotimba.
Chinotimba phoned the police who quickly responded and took Machiwere to
Harare Central, where he was locked up. However his relative paid an
admission of guilt fine of ($25 000) leading to his release.
When he went back to Zupco, he was told he was fired.
"They said since I had paid the fine, I had admitted that I was guilty,"
said Machiwere who has worked for Zupco for two years.
Richard Mlambo, ZUPCO's public relations manager, said he had not received
any information about the incident.
Chinotimba also expressed ignorance of the whole incident. "I know nothing
about the case. I was not there."
By Gretchen L Wilson
SANDRA Nyaira was on a career high when she left Zimbabwe three years ago.
For her work as political reporter of the country's leading independent
newspaper, the Daily News, she had earned a prestigious Courage in
Journalism Award from the Washington-based International Women's Media
Foundation. After travelling to the United States to receive the prize,
Nyaira attended the journalism master's programme at The City University in
London on a scholarship.
Nyaira expected to be back at her job in Zimbabwe in a year. She has yet to
President Robert Mugabe's government, after several unsuccessful attempts to
muzzle the Daily News, finally succeeded in closing the popular daily in
2003 amid an escalating crackdown on the independent media. Family and
colleagues warned Nyaira, who had already been arrested once on criminal
defamation charges, that it would be foolhardy to return home.
Now Nyaira lives in Somerset, England, eking out a living doing odd jobs.
She wonders at age 30 whether the career at which she excelled - the one for
which she once risked her freedom - will be open to her again.
"We're rotting away here," said Nyaira, referring to her exiled Zimbabwean
At least 90 Zimbabwean journalists, including many of the nation's most
prominent reporters, now live in exile in South Africa, other African
nations, the United Kingdom and the United States, making it one of the
largest groups of exiled journalists in the world, an analysis by the
Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has found.
CPJ travelled to Johannesburg, South Africa, and to London, conducting 34
interviews with exiled Zimbabwean journalists, analysts, and human rights
Some of these exiled journalists left as a direct result of political
persecution, others because the government's crackdown virtually erased
opportunities in the independent press. Authorities have routinely detained
and harassed journalists in the past five years to quash reporting on human
rights, economic woes, and political opposition to the regime, CPJ research
has found. Repressive legislation such as the 2002 Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act criminalises journalism without a government
The crackdown has taken a devastating toll on Zimbabwe's independent media.
Once home to a robust press corps, Zimbabwe today has no independent daily
newspapers, no private radio news coverage, and just two prominent
independent weeklies. Journalists remaining in Zimbabwe are either without
jobs in their profession, or they work under threat of laws that, among
other things, set prison terms of up to 20 years for publishing false
information deemed prejudicial to the state.
Zimbabwean citizens are denied access to diverse, questioning voices at a
time when the Mugabe administration, emboldened by this year's election
victory, wields power more aggressively than ever.
Spread as far as New Zealand, the exiled journalists have made their homes
among the estimated three to four million members of the Zimbabwean
diaspora. Unemployment, political violence and human rights abuses have
fuelled a steady stream of emigration from Zimbabwe since the late 1990s,
according to a study released this year by the International Organisation
The survey of 1 000 Zimbabwean expatriates in South Africa and the United
Kingdom found that most are professionals, whose absence creates "concerns
for the longer-term future of Zimbabwe". Zimbabwe's exiled media reflect
Journalists such as Urginia Mauluka, a former Daily News photographer beaten
and detained while covering an opposition political rally in 2001, initially
left for temporary respite only to delay their return as press conditions
deteriorated. Others such as Abel Mutsakani, who left for South Africa in
2004, decided that only by leaving their country could they honestly report
on events in Zimbabwe. And some such as Magugu Nyathi, whose newspaper, The
Tribune, was shut in 2003, saw no job prospects at home.
"As professionals we said: 'How do we continue?'" recalled Mutsakani, who
served briefly as managing editor of the Daily News until authorities shut
"I felt we had a choice. We could sit back in Zimbabwe, but that would be
tantamount to surrender," Mutsakani said. Instead, he and several colleagues
went to South Africa and started the web publication, ZimOnline.
But some did not have the luxury of planning an exit. In February, three
Zimbabwe correspondents for foreign media outlets - Angus Shaw of the
Associated Press, Bryan Latham of Bloomberg News, and Jaan Raath of The
Times of London - faced imminent arrest after being accused of spying and
publishing information detrimental to the state. They left behind their
homes, families and decades-long careers.
Most journalists interviewed by CPJ have found exile a bitter experience,
even as they point out that they have greater security than many colleagues
back home. A few have secured jobs with international media outlets, but
most make ends meet by working in factories, service jobs, or clerical
"It feels very frustrating. It is very, very difficult for a foreigner to
break into mainstream journalism here," said Conrad Nyamutata, former chief
reporter with the Daily News who now lives in Leicester, England. "Very few
of us have managed to get work in the field."
The emotional cost is high as well. Dingilizwe Ntuli, a former correspondent
for the Sunday Times, said that adjusting to life in South Africa and
leaving his family - including his ailing father who died before Ntuli could
see him again - had thrust him into depression.
"When you are forced to leave your country of birth, it is devastating,"
said Ntuli, whose first name means "wanderer". Though he now works again for
the Times out of Johannesburg, Ntuli said he was out of the profession and
disenchanted with journalism for a long period. "I felt nothing was worth
living for. I gave my all to journalism and what happened? I lost my home."
Zimbabwean journalists in exile stand out in size and prestige - CPJ
interviewed at least four winners of international awards for this report -
but their situation is not unique. A crackdown in Eritrea and the threat of
imprisonment in Ethiopia spurred flights of more than two dozen journalists
to Kenya, Sudan, Europe, and North America. The exodus of Zimbabwean
journalists has led to the emergence of similar media-in-exile that strive
to keep news flowing about their homeland.
Behind the walls of a nondescript office complex on the outskirts of London,
Gerry Jackson and her staff at SW Radio are fighting to broadcast within
Zimbabwe. Jackson started SW Radio in 2001, after the government closed
Capital Radio, her first independent radio venture in Zimbabwe. From London,
SW Radio broadcasts programmes into Zimbabwe in English, Shona and Ndebele.
"Radio is such a lifeline to people there who feel forgotten," Jackson said.
"It gives them a sense of creating dialogue."
By Godfrey Mutimba
MASVINGO - The Shangani people of Chikombedzi in Chiredzi have accused the
government of deliberately starving them along ethnic lines, allegations
that were dismissed by Masvingo governor Willard Chiwewe.
The people said although their district was located in Masvingo, food aid
was only being sent to the Karanga-speaking people in the province.
A recent visit by The Standard established that scores of villagers were
going for days without food as hunger continues to stalk the dry lowveld
As a result, villagers were now buying maize from nearby South Africa to
fend off starvation.
"Politicians from the Karanga constituencies in the province get supplies
while the Shangani communities are sidelined. If you go to other areas in
the province they get food supplies but here we hardly get any due to the
fact that we are not Karangas,'' said Sandile Nyaguli.
Villagers said they had been forced to go to South Africa and Mozambique
where they buy the grain through the help of truck drivers who bring the
maize into the country.
"We are starving. Maize deliveries last came here four months ago and we
have been surviving by the grace of God. People have been buying maize meal
from our local businessman but now he is no longer getting any supplies.
"The government has failed to provide us with food and we are left with no
hope. The only solution is to cross the Limpopo River since we are a little
bit closer to South Africa," said 68-year-old Sakile Makondo.
She added that a large number of school children in Chanyenga village had
dropped out of school because of starvation.
Chiredzi South legislator, Aaron Baloyi, said the villagers were facing
starvation. Appealing for urgent help to Vice President Joseph Msika at his
victory celebrations at Chanyega primary school recently, Baloyi said his
constituency needed special attention from the government.
"The major problem facing the people of Chiredzi South is hunger Cde Vice
President. We last had supplies some months ago and this has forced us to
travel as far as Beitbridge and South Africa otherwise we will die," he
Another villager, Charles Chauke, said his children were at risk of
malnutrition as decent meals were rare.
"If the situation continues like this, many children will die because some
of them are already showing signs of malnutrition and several children have
dropped out of school. The problem is that our area is always neglected by
the government when we are in times of need. If you go to some
constituencies the situation is different," he said.
However Masvingo Governor Chiwewe denied that food was being distributed on
ethnic lines, saying people who wanted to see divisions emerging on ethnic
lines raised such allegations.
"I know what is going on in Chiredzi, there is nothing like that. Yes, there
might be food shortages but it is not true that Shangani people are being
discriminated. If you go to Gutu or Chivi, you will find that one village
may get food earlier than the other. Villages take turns to get their
deliveries and that doesn't mean that certain people are being left out.
Kana iwe ukasvika kumba sadza rapera ungati ndanyimwa here?" Chiwewe asked.
By Walter Marwizi
LAWYERS have accused Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku of misleading the
country about the state of the judiciary.
Speaking at a pass-out parade of police officers at Morris Depot in Harare
over a fortnight ago, Chidyausiku defended the integrity of the courts in
general and judges who stand accused of making judgements favourable to the
A number of Zimbabwean judges are beneficiaries of land that was seized from
commercial farmers, raising questions about their ability to preside over
farm disputes impartially.
Chidyausiku who sought to "set the record straight" said: "I do not accept
the criticism that judges and other law officers should not have received
land under the land reform programme. Judicial officers and police officers,
like all other Zimbabweans, are legitimate beneficiaries of the land reform
"I reject totally that the receipt of land has, in any way, affected the
independence of the judiciary. Ironically, this criticism seems to emanate
from those legal practitioners whose integrity is questionable, those who
live in glass houses should avoid throwing stones at others who might do the
same in retaliation," Chidyausiku said.
But the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) said the Chief Justice had
utilised a public platform to threaten legal practitioners and mislead the
nation about the state of the judiciary in Zimbabwe.
In a statement, the association said Zimbabwe did not have an "independent
and competent judiciary system, which upholds the rule of law and safeguards
the rights and freedoms of individuals in this country". It said the 17th
amendment to the Constitution, bulldozed through Parliament a few months
ago, had clearly removed powers of members of the bench despite a storm of
protest from civil society, students, lawyers and human rights campaigners.
"The resounding silence of the Chief Justice whilst the functions of the
Judiciary were removed has allowed the Executive to easily destroy the
principle of constitutionalism and separation of powers, which requires an
independent judiciary at all times. This inaction demands an explanation."
The ZLHR said that since 1999, the government continually defied court
orders, substantially causing the breakdown of law and order in the country.
"To provide details of such contempt of the courts of this country would
require much paper and even more time. The judiciary has failed, in even one
matter, to express its concern at this outright contempt for the very
functions and efforts made by the Chief Justice and his fellow brother and
Turning to judges who received land, the organisation said it was imperative
that judicial officers prove that their land had been acquired in
circumstances that did not violate fundamental rights relating to property.
"Where a judge sets up her/his caravan on a farm for months in order to
pressure the landowner to abandon the property and her/his rights, such
judge cannot be said to remain independent and impartial.Judges should also
be able to reassure the public they serve that their farming activities will
not impact on their ability to carry out their judicial duties competently
Joseph James, the President of the Law Society of Zimbabwe, said there was a
perception that judges were likely to be influenced by the fact that they
got land under the reform programme.
"It sends wrong signals, a judge is given land, his title is precarious and
at the whims of government, the judge would almost be beholden to the
government. Sadly this is the impression, whether rightly or wrongly, that
is sent to the rest of the world," James said.
REALITY has a stubborn and unsettling way of reminding humanity of its
frailties. This was the case last week.
The ruling party, Zanu PF, prepared for what it believed was the final
assault on and encirclement of Chitungwiza, ahead of the Senate elections on
Egged on by hordes of its supporters, better known for their selective
amnesia, the government gave Chitungwiza Council a 24-hour ultimatum to
produce and present a turnaround plan to address the current problems
affecting the town.
Ignatious Chombo, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban
Development, the government's hatchet man - never one to be bound by legal
procedures and outcomes - also ordered the immediate reinstatement of a
suspended town clerk, creating another centre of conflict deep in the bowels
of the Chitungwiza administration, because of the incompatibility of the two
It was a multi-faceted brutal attack on an elected council, reminiscent of
the manner in which the government has acted against and removed the elected
mayors of Harare and Mutare. Bulawayo and Gweru are the next targets for
assault on the government's radar screen.
Chombo instructed that a meeting be convened by Council on Wednesday with
residents' representatives, by which he meant Zanu PF supporters, and draw
up a list of ratepayers' grievances and present these to him together with a
Chombo gave an ultimatum for Chitungwiza to lay sewer pipes and cover
unplanned ditches, dug by ruling party supporters in order to create a
semblance of upgrading the sewer system ahead of the 31 March parliamentary
elections, but which were abandoned soon after the poll.
The rationale and excuse behind this intervention was that for years
residents of the sprawling populous dormitory town have had to put up with
leaking water pipes as well as blocked or broken down sewer systems, which
pose a health hazard.
Chitungwiza's problems are not entirely the result of the present
opposition-led council. They date back to the establishment of the town but
are also a legacy of the failures of previous Zanu PF-led councils. There
has never been a coherent approach to dealing with these problems. The
resources are offered piecemeal and the consequent results are self-evident.
In some cases, it is a matter of the government being long on promises but
woefully short on delivery. Chitungwiza has applied for funding in order to
deal with these serious health issues, but the government has deliberately
found every excuse under the sun to put obstacles and make political capital
out of all this. This is what it sought to do last week.
The stubborn reality that reminds Zanu PF of its duplicity is that the
capital, Harare, has suffered a water crisis and neglect of refuse
collection since 1997 but no strategy has been demanded by those who now
issue an ultimatum to Chitungwiza.
In theory, Harare is said to have a turnaround strategy, but no one can
point to what it is, where it is working or has made a difference in order
to offer evidence of the positive impact it has made. Instead evidence of
neglect abounds in the city centre and the suburbs. And Harare loses about
30% of the water it purifies to leakages.
Last week a Mabvuku mother, Veronica Chikomo, died after she had gone to see
whether she could draw water for her family. She met her death because those
in charge of Harare have failed to provide water to residents of Harare in
general, but to Mabvuku/Tafara in particular. She would not have died if
municipal police had not gone after her forcing her to flee. The government
has not given those responsible for all this an ultimatum.
In fact, it has bent over backwards in order to assume responsibility where
those in charge of Harare have failed dismally. But they are staunch Zanu PF
supporters and hangers-on. So they can feed off the largesse of the ruling
party. Those in Chitungwiza are not its supporters and therefore must pay
for the mistake of being members of the opposition, deserving of being
hounded out of office.
When ousted elected mayor of Harare Engineer Elias Mudzuri's council called
for regular consultative meetings with residents and ratepayers, police
would seal off Town House, denying an elected council the right to meet the
In recent weeks, senior heads of departments in Harare have been sent
packing. What's good for Harare must be good for Chitungwiza.
But Zimbabweans are not mentally challenged. Chombo, Zanu PF and the
government are interfering in the affairs of Chitungwiza, Mutare and
Bulawayo in the hope of improving the electoral fortunes of the ruling party
ahead of the 26 November poll. People can see through this chicanery.
CORRUPTION is a word that seems to have become synonymous with the name
Zimbabwe. Before I am labelled anti-government or any other such non-Zanu PF
name, let me hasten to say that Zimbabwe is not the most corrupt nation in
the world but why would I want to be comparing with the worst when we could
be compared with the best.
Travellers' used to come back from trips in Africa including South Africa
and speak of harrowing tales of how they were held up at borders and other
such places by government agents because they could not produce missing
pages from their passports until those in the know would advise how a US $20
can be the "missing page" from one's passport. Where are we as a nation? If
we were to critically apprise ourselves how would we do?
At any place of business now whether supermarket, locksmith, clothing store
or carwash, it has become the norm for one to be told the company's price
and the homey's price. The surprising thing is that most of this happens
right under the noses of company owners and managers.
In government departments, if you do not have a connection or do not know
who to pay, it will take you up to six queues, several days, and lots of
verbal abuse then an indefinite waiting period for you to get whatever
document you need.
The most frustrating place though has now become anything to do with the
police. Words fail to express what this really is. Consider the following
An officer gets transferred to the traffic section. This is every officer's
dream. They can rake in more than a million dollars a day on takings. Don't
be fooled and try reporting to the Officers-in-Charge, because they are part
of the scam. If the transferred officer does not want to "take" because his
conscience polices him, he can get framed for any crime and be jailed for
years because he becomes a liability to the "team".
A crime is committed and there is both accused and complainant, but how does
it end? Simple: Who pays out the most between the two or who knows who? This
is mostly true if your property is broken into or you get into some mishap
with an emergency taxi. The police right from plain to uniformed officers
know the different gangs and get payoffs for not arresting them. As for the
ET boys, they pay off officers publicly and boast about it. Remember whose
transport they use for free, if you think they are going to arrest or book
their lift home then you need a brain scan.
I suppose there is no merit in wasting time talking about the fact that at
any police station's officers quarters now can be seen all types and makes
of vehicles being driven by people whose salaries a month cannot even put in
a full tank into the vehicle. Or could we talk of people getting raped or
robbed and there being no fuel to attend to the crime scene because the chef
is off to his girlfriend or gone fishing and all allocated fuel used for
that. How about the fact that there may be a fuel shortage but it never
affects the officers' pub as there is always fuel to collect beer?
Who would have thought that the day would come when you needed to pay an
officer especially in the plain clothes units to investigate a crime? Who
would have guessed that an officer could tell you that he could not book a
suspect with whom you would have found your stolen property because he was a
friend or sometimes helped them with their investigations?
How do we stem this tide and where do we start? There will never be a
solution to this as long as we have all these officials who are in offices
by political affiliation. Corruption is here to stay as long as there is no
change in government because Zanu PF is inherently corrupt. Right from the
sexual abuses of women in Mozambique to the abuses in the villages then the
abuses in the youth training camps. The leopard will never change its spots.
Ministers can posture as much as they want, the question is how many of
those Zanu PF ministers and leaders are credible? Does this mean that the
opposition is better? I don't think so. We can only make such a judgement
when we see them in action but for now: stay out of trouble; do your bit by
refusing homey products that are stolen; and refuse to pay any officer a
spot fine, rather pay at the station, Together we can build a Zimbabwe our
children will be proud of.
THE non-governmental organisations (NGOs) currently helping to supply food
to the many destitute people in Zimbabwe right now have confined in their
activities mainly to the rural areas, and specifically target children, the
elderly and the sick.
We also need food for younger healthy adults - they are ones whose work will
carry us through our economic crisis when things improve. Their plight
cannot be ignored.
It is also necessary to emphasise the fact that urban residents require food
just as urgently as rural ones. There is a huge food supply and cost problem
in the cities. Many cannot afford to buy whatever food is available in the
shops, as they are unemployed or victims of our hyperinflation.
The collapse of the industrial and commercial sectors has left many starving
in the cities. The NGOs supplying food are handicapped by the fact that our
government has not declared a state of emergency. NGOs do not want to be
seen to be forcing food down our unwilling throats. They need our support in
appealing for funds from their financiers. Many officials have declared that
there is no serious food crisis here. This claim is obviously not true.
Malawi has already declared a state of emergency and has made a strong
appeal for help. We should also do so.
NGO food aid will have huge indirect benefits. Once NGO's have accepted
responsibility for importing food to feed our people we will not have to pay
for it. Surely it is unwise for us, in our current destitute state, to spend
foreign currency on food if others will relieve us of that responsibility?
We need that hard currency to keep the tattered remnants of our economy
running, or our situation will deteriorate even further. We can then use the
critically scarce forex we will have saved for fuel or other vital imports
and give our business sector the kick-start it so badly needs.
It is a sad fact that our food crisis is not a result of drought. It is not
a temporary phase that will be rectified by a good or even a reasonable
rainy season. A serious structural failure of our farming sector has been
caused by the policies currently in place and by the unprecedented decline
of our whole ecosystem.
Everyone knows that we are no longer earning a fraction of the foreign
currency we used to from agriculture. The rest of our economy is also
declining rapidly, making us the fastest shrinking market in the world over
the past five years. We need immediately to address this problem. Only the
government has the power and expertise to do so effectively. Until current
policies are changed we will have a continuous famine situation
Because of the lack of preparation and of the materials and equipment
needed, our next year's crop will also be a disaster, whatever kind of rainy
season we have. (I thought it was the British who always talked about the
We at Association of Business in Zimbabwe (ABUZ) are most anxious to assist
the government in finding a solution to our problems. They are serious but
not insurmountable. All we need on the part of our government is the
commitment to change. The time for petty politics has gone. The survival of
millions of our people and the welfare of most of the rest depends on
immediate and serious efforts to address these issues. Only the government
has the power and the expertise to do this. We most urgently request that
they do so.
Our poor, and particularly the urban poor, will need food support from NGOs
until our economy is back on track and we can once more grow enough food and
generate employment for our people. I repeat, let us appeal for all the
assistance that is available to us until that happy day, because we need it
We must accept the fact that at present we are a beggar state. We must also
realise that we have the potential to be a prosperous one, and to be again
the bread-basket of the region. Let us work diligently, the government and
business together, towards that goal.
ABUZ Executive Committee Chairman
I feel sorry for Dr Gideon Gono for he is fighting a lone and losing battle.
His optimism does not seem to permeate among the people who really matter.
There are a few who are directly or indirectly responsible for and are
benefiting from the current economic problems while the rest are victims
reeling under hyper-inflation, shortages of fuel, water, and numerous basic
The Governor of the Reserve Bank should realise that he is dealing with
people who are determined to ensure that the economy continues in its sick
state and Zimbabwe is starved of foreign currency.
The governor has talked endlessly about corruption, dealing and
externalisation of foreign currency. But nothing has been done to end these
A number of interesting points were raised in Gono's latest monetary policy
review statement delivered on 20 October 2005. However, none of them will
work because the people with the power to change things do not share his
vision. In his statement he touched on honesty and corruption. There is even
a ministry of anti-corruption but up to now it does not seem to know its
mandate or obligation. It is sad to note that honesty is no longer a virtue.
It is considered a hindrance.
Gono repeated his call for a stop to fresh farm invasions. These still occur
despite announcements to the contrary and assurances that the land
redistribution exercise is now over. He called these invasions, irrational,
irresponsible and criminal, pointing out that these activities hardly
instilled confidence in investors. While this is reality, the truth is that
those who really matter pay little attention.
The Governor is a lone voice in the wilderness. He needs the political will
and support if anything is to come out of his optimism. Otherwise it is time
he faced reality and calls it a day. He has won small battles in the past,
but the war is slowly being lost. Perhaps, failure is an option after all.
M T D
In 1999 James D Wolfensohn, then president of the World Bank said the
following: "The causes of financial crises and poverty are one and the
same.if countries do not have good governance. if they do not have a
complete legal system which protects human rights their development is
fundamentally flawed and will not last."
This statement widely applies to our nation's current economic woes. It was
necessary to give the land back to blacks since it was the reason for the
liberation struggle. But the way it was handled was so chaotic that people
without any knowledge of agriculture were allocated land and eventually they
could not produce enough to feed the whole nation.
The failure to produce led to low exports and shortage of foreign currency,
which is needed in imports of precious fuel.
"Operation Murambatsvina" was so badly handled that it affected millions of
people. Many small business owners had their trading stalls destroyed and it
was their source of livelihood and this caused more poverty. The frantic
efforts of the government to provide stalls for these people are close to
nothing because the affected are too many to be accommodated in the stables'
If the issue of governance is not addressed, then we will continue to suffer
from poverty because the crisis is directly linked to the fallacies of
President Robert Mugabe's regime. If only our President would give way to
fresh blood with better governance.
T P Z
ZIMBABWE has always had at its disposal the wherewithal to have constructed,
completed and commissioned the Zambezi Water Project for Matabeleland a long
time ago. It is tragic, though, that the perpetual pursuit of wrong, absurd,
upside-down, inside-out, and back-to-front priorities by the powers-that-be
consigns is to a cul-desac from which we are, thus far, unable to extricate
For 25 years a massive financial outlay continues to be made in the
perennial procurement of aeroplanes and helicopters (both civil and combat)
to satiate a syndrome to globe-trot and to placate a phobia of imaginary
foes from far and near. This has been only one of the numerous wanton ways
our money has been wasted.
From the early to the latter 1980's the bayonet and bullet were randomly let
loose by our government on the very people, for whom this water is required.
Consequently, we are of the notion, the surmise and the conclusion that this
process of elimination (to eliminate us) is an on-going exercise; one
expected to be achieved through the shortage of water. In this context, it
is fortuitous that air cannot be restricted and is neither a respecter of
nor a reactant to controls by boundaries as is water.
Senate is a concoction by a people bereft of objective rule and obsessed
with the ruin of a people in Matabeleland. The expense attributable to the
whole Senate gamut is far in excess of the cost of bringing Zambezi water to
us! One is non-essential while the other is essential.
Drought(s) are going to intensify, lengthen and become more frequent say the
experts. Amelioration of the effects of drought is, however, possible
through the use of the Zambezi water resource at our disposal.
Plenteousness of water in the Zambezi is mainly influenced by the ITCZ
(Inter Tropical Convergence Zone) and, hence, we would source our sustenance
from a resource that is perennially dependable to the extent of eradicating
the stranglehold droughts have on us currently. This has been obvious for a
Zimbabwe is able to attain and achieve if only your powers-that-be would be
willing to set us free and in motion. For now, we are inundated by a surfeit
of frustration, facades and falsehoods guised in garb that is politically
foul smelling and repulsive.
Alternatively, we would be successful if we would form a private company to
circumvent government's ineptitude and its malicious intent toward a portion
of its citizenry.
By Kumbirai Mafunda
ZIMBABWE is now trapped in a precarious foreign currency crunch after annual
tobacco auctions - usually a key indicator of the country's economic
performance - closed down with a discouraging and undersized harvest.
By the close of the 2005 marketing season last week farmers had produced yet
another tiny crop amounting to 73,4 million kgs, an insignificant increase
over the 69 million kgs sold in the 2003/04 season, falling short of the
glory that was associated with the golden crop four years ago.
At its peak in 2000, a record 237 million kgs of the golden leaf were moved
in the southern African country racking in US$400 million.
But the value of this year's crop fell to US$118 million from the US$137
million earned during the previous season, representing a 13,9% decline.
With Zimbabwe's six-year old foreign currency crisis slowly choking the
country, the harvest of the golden leaf - usually vital to the country's
public purse - was anticipated to bring relief to President Robert Mugabe's
forex-starved administration which is battling to import grain, fuel and
essential medical drugs.
But as the effects of the impulsive farm seizures take toll, yields of the
crop have drastically plunged down.
Until the government began confiscating thousands of white-owned farms in
2000, tobacco underwrote the economy, supplying up to 40% of its foreign
Since 2000 when roving bands of black Zimbabweans - masquerading as war
veterans loyal to the governing Zanu PF party - began seizing productive
commercial farmland, tobacco harvests started plummeting.
Some of new farmers who benefited from the parceling of productive farmland
previously utilized for the crop have opted out of production in preference
for traditional crops such as maize, worsening the country's economic woes.
Critical observers note that the perpetual hard currency shortage will speed
up Zimbabwe's economic meltdown.
"It's a disaster," warned Peter Robinson, economic analyst at Zimconsult.
"We are going to see further contraction of the economy, a reduction in
economic activity and few people in employment."
Although, in the past season two State-owned companies - ZESA and TelOne, a
fixed telephony provider - invested massively in contract farming, critics
say the venture is part of a trade for barter deals with Asian companies
meant to halve the two companies' massive foreign debts and hence will not
ease Harare's hard currency woes.
Over the years, the wealth generated by leaf tobacco marketing and
production has assisted to improve the quality and standard of life, create
employment and was attracting educational, health and social facilities in
relatively impoverished rural areas.
But with a small crop coming out of Zimbabwe, merchants are shifting their
attention to nascent regional tobacco growing competitors such as Zambia,
Malawi and Tanzania, which are taking steps to increase their production.
Critics attribute this year's pitiable earnings to the poor quality of the
leaf, which fetched less on the market. The quality of the crop has been
collapsing since 2000 when new and inexperienced farmers, benefiting from
the government land grab programme, ventured into tobacco farming,
"We have new and inexperienced farmers that delivered a crop with a lot of
foreign material hence the poor prices. And this is also coming at a time
when there is a lot of tobacco in the world," a buyer told Standardbusiness.
With Harare caught in the grip of hyperinflation and foreign currency
shortages, industrial production has also been declining. At the recently
abolished auction market, dejected industrialists and businesspeople failed
to access hard currency for critical imports almost daily.
The harvest of the tiny tobacco crop could be yet another kick in the teeth
to the government - which in conjunction with the central bank - had
embarked on a programme codenamed "Vision 160" to produce a crop of a
minimum 160 million kgs annually.
However, the government and the central bank have realized the special value
of tobacco and other cash crops and have jointly set up an Agricultural
Productivity Enhancement Facility (ASPEF) to enhance productivity in the
agricultural and export sectors and for ensuring food security. Tobacco
growers are largely expected to benefit from this initiative.
Other incentives include the Z$150 billion recently released by government
for tobacco seedbed inputs and land preparation. In addition, ABSA, a South
African bank, has provided a US$25 million loan facility guaranteed by the
RBZ and a commercial bank, the Zimbabwe Allied Banking Group (ZABG) on
behalf of Mordish Farming, which trades as Tobacco Development Corporation
But analysts still say money raised so far is just a drop in the ocean as
financing of the crop remains critical because of the hyper inflationary
By our staff
ZIMBABWEANS with intentions of flying to London have to dig deeper into
their pockets after the national airline Air Zimbabwe hiked airfares to an
astronomical $141 million (about US$2 426 on current rates) for a return
economy class ticket last week.
To fly in the business class one will fork out an astronomical $201 million
from the new fares effected Thursday. Initially the fares were $54 million
and $65 million for a return economy and business class ticket respectively.
A return ticket to Johannesburg on an economy Air Zimbabwe ticket will
gobble $34 million (about US$586) while flying to Bulawayo now costs $21 562
Air Zimbabwe will find it difficult to attract travellers as its competitor
South African Airways is charging US$157 on an economy for one way and
US$321 for a return ticket to Johannesburg.
Although an official at the airline reservations department said Air
Zimbabwe can increase fares at any time, industry players said the new fares
were in response to the inter bank rates that have seen the US-dollar
firming on official markets.
Air Zimbabwe's hiking of fares came on the news that British Airways (BA)
have stopped accepting bank drafts for payment of airfares citing problems
in the remittance of foreign currency by banks, it has emerged.
Industry sources said BA has adopted direct electronic transfer that came
into effect in September to replace the bank drafts, which are blamed for
creating inflationary price increases.
Standardbusiness heard last week that there were delays in the remittances
of forex to the airline such that customer transactions were quickly
overtaken by events to the extent that the value of the Zimbabwean dollar
was changing while paperwork was still in progress.
Suneel Tyagi, BA General Manager for Central Africa confirmed Thursday
saying the electronic transfer system "has proved to be much more customer
"The old bank draft system sometimes saw our customers' transactions being
overtaken by events with the value of the Zimbabwe dollar changing while the
paperwork was still in the pipeline," Tyagi said.
"This could then lead to delays which could in turn easily affect final
Sundaytalkwith Pius Wakatama
THE editorial comment of The Herald of 31 October 2005 left me
flabbergasted. I just couldn't believe what I was reading.
I concluded that the writer lives in a land of pure imagination and has to
be pitied as one needing psychiatric help. He is either that or a clever
con-man who is so confident of his bag of tricks that he can con Zimbabweans
into parting with their brains.
He is a smart functionary who knows where his bread is buttered but does not
himself believe the lies that he peddles. All he wants is to keep bread on
the table for his half-starved family by playing up to his
not-so-intelligent masters who are now drunk with power, that they now think
they are gods who can do no wrong.
They thrive on flattery and reward well those who fan their king-size egos.
The first paragraph of the editorial, religiously parroting the lies that
Zanu PF preaches, goes: "It is not surprising that today the forces that
were violently opposed to the liberation movement 'terrorism' are calling
equitable redistribution of land, 'a land grab'. The same hostility towards
the majority still manifests itself. Some Western countries still believe
that Zimbabwe's land redistribution programme is meant to drive the white
commercial farmers out of the country.
"We all know that the government is just fairly distributing the land to the
landless Zimbabweans who did not have enough land to fend for themselves."
God help us! Some will call me mad for even attempting to address such wild
hallucinations. However, I insist that the truth must be told even to the
insane so that the record of what transpired in Zimbabwe's days of madness
Let us get the record straight. Some of those who are calling what the
writer calls equitable distribution of land are none other than Zanu PF
leaders who are honest, and these include Deputy Minister Sylvester Nguni.
At first I thought he had lost his marbles by joining the Zanu PF mad house.
After all he is a level-headed and successful businessperson. He proved his
mettle as head of the Cotton Company. Now I have seen the light and take off
my hat to him. He is now telling it like it is from the inside to the utter
confusion of his delusionary Minister, Joseph Made, of the helicopter
predictions. Let us hope that other business people like him will join the
Zanu PF leadership and transform it from within.
The truth which needs to be told and retold is that there never was a land
reform programme as such in Zimbabwe. It was a political power game that
Zanu PF resorted to because it was losing to the fledging MDC.
To retain power its leader, Robert Mugabe, went for broke. And the country
is indeed broke now.
It was a political gimmick, which some poor gullible rural folks swallowed.
Gideon Gono, the governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, said plainly that
those who were grabbing productive white-owned farms were criminals. In
truth that is what they are and I suppose that includes our not-so-bright
deputy minister whose name is a misnomer.
The Herald editorial goes on: "There is a lot of land in Zimbabwe. Whites
still have a place to live. The resettlement programme was not meant to
drive them out but to create an atmosphere which was conducive to the
How an atmosphere can be conducive to the majority I can't figure out.
Anyway, these are blatant lies. The land grab exercise was nothing but a
xenophobic and racist exercise to drive the whites out. State security
minister, Didymus Mutasa said so clearly. He also happens to be in charge of
land redistribution so he knows what he was talking about.
Mutasa is reported to have said that government would step up evictions of
the remaining white farmers to ensure all farmland was in the hands of
blacks by the start of this year's rainy season.
He called white farmers dirt or "tsvina" in Shona. They needed to be cleaned
out, he said. In other words the so-called land reform programme was the
first "Operation Murambatsvina". Mutasa's comments triggered the present
violent land grab.
How Mutasa can call whites dirt is beyond me. He is what he is today because
of the generosity of a white couple, Guy and Molly Clutton-Brock. They lived
with him and groomed him at Cold Comfort Farm, first at St Faith's Mission
in Manicaland and in Harare. How unthankful can a man be? Guy and Molly must
be turning in their graves.
The Herald comment continued: "Threats are made on a daily basis by some
Western countries that unless the will of the former oppressor reigns
supreme, this country will not benefit from investment." What rubbish!
Governments in western countries have nothing to do with investment. As far
as I know there is no government in the world which has banned its nationals
from trading or investing in Zimbabwe. Investment is by private individuals
or companies out to make a profit. These are very sensitive people who don't
just throw away their money. They carefully weigh risks and opportunities.
They only invest in countries where the atmosphere is conducive. Only a fool
will invest in Zimbabwe today because there is no political stability or
security of private property. Please, let's face reality and stop this
destructive tomfoolery, which has brought us economic ruin.
Our deluded editorial goes on to dream: "The call of the vice president to
the Zimbabwe Farmers' Union Congress that new farmers and white commercial
farmers should work together to achieve food security in the country comes
at the right time. The whites used us during the colonial era. We should
also use them this time around. One obviously cannot just wake up a good
farmer. You need to acquire experience."
"Ndinzwireiwo vanhu vaMwari. What hypocrisy! What gall! Are they any white
commercial farmers still in Zimbabwe? Which white farmers is this dreamer
talking about? White Zimbabwean farmers are now in Mozambique, Zambia,
Malawi and the Kwara state of Nigeria where they are performing agricultural
miracles. And even if we had some left, would they be willing to teach
arrogant blacks that insult them daily?
In the first place why were ignorant and inexperience people given farms?
The editorial says: "The passing of the Constitution amendment number 17 has
put the question of land reform to its final end." Yes, it has put
Zimbabwe's agricultural productivity to its final end.
He, who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Sundayopinion by Takura Zhangazha
THE Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport
Communications raised a serious query with the Broadcasting Authority of
Zimbabwe (BAZ) last week. Its stated intention was to try and find out why
BAZ has not issued any broadcasting licences with the special mention of
community radio stations.
The acting chairperson of BAZ, Pikirayi Deketeke,
attempted a public image stunt by issuing a statement through a newspaper
that he edits, claiming that the BAZ was reviewing the Broadcasting Services
Act (BSA) because none of the applicants for licences that were announced
late last year had met the requirements specified by the Act.
An interesting point here is that the BSA does not
mention that the BAZ shall have the powers to review the Act that
establishes it except perhaps under direct instruction from the responsible
minister, but this might be beside the point. My intention in this article
is to analyse the paralysis of the BSA, not necessarily in legal terms but
in relation to the politics that it has allowed to play out over the last
five years since its inception, and to place the comments of the portfolio
committee into perspective.
The first point that must be made has become a
little too obvious but cannot be avoided. The events that informed the
promulgation of the BSA are all too clear. During Jonathan Moyo's tenure as
a junior minister in the President's Office, there was the intention to
launch what was then called Capital Radio by some journalists that had been
dismissed from the then Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC). These
journalists decided to challenge the monopoly of ZBC as unconstitutional in
terms of Section 20 of the Constitution that guarantees freedom of
expression. The Supreme Court found in their favour but recommended that the
government must set up regulations that facilitated the end of the monopoly
of ZBC, an issue that the government agreed to.
Because Capital Radio had essentially won the case,
they proceeded with their intention to broadcast and this brought the wrath
of Moyo, who personally led a group of anti-riot police officers to shut the
station down at a Harare hotel. This was prior to government coming up with
the stipulated regulations.
The government then used the Presidential Powers
Temporary Measures Act to issue Broadcasting Regulations in the format of
the current BSA today. And these regulations were in no way indicative of
the government's intention to facilitate the introduction of private or
community broadcasters as had been ruled by the Supreme Court. These
regulations eventually became the BSA in 2000.
The processes that led to the making into law of the
BSA are therefore informative in two specific respects. First, the
government was somewhat arm-twisted into coming up with a broadcasting
regulatory act when it never had the intention to do so. Second, that the
government has deliberately stalled the introduction of private and public
operators in the broadcasting industry, despite passing the Act because it
is averse to having diverse voices challenging its narrowly derived
nationalist message through its Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings (ZBH).
And it is this that brings the work of the portfolio
committee on transport and communications into critical perspective. When it
made the comments through its chairman, Leo Mugabe, that it intends to find
out why there have been no new radio or TV stations, with specific mention
of community radio stations, freedom of expression activists might have felt
a slight tinge of hope that this might after all be a trailblazing
committee, seeking to right the wrongs done to the media profession. While
optimism generally runs the risk of being misplaced; the committee is at
least bringing a lot of dirty linen into the sphere of parliamentary debate,
once it completes its survey and its queries about the media profession.
It, however, needs to take into greater
consideration not just the issue of the performance of statutory media
bodies but instead must take into greater account the establishing acts of
these same said institutions. The BSA, for its entire claim to be providing
regulation of the broadcasting industry, is an act that is a nightmare for
any budding broadcaster. It limits the possibility of a broadcaster
receiving foreign funding (and here one can assume that would include the
acquisition of equipment from outside the country), seeks to guarantee
airtime on each established private station for government propaganda and is
largely run with containment and not promotion of freedom of expression in
mind. Admittedly, amendments have been made to the BSA with the rare
democratic feat of changing the Act to stop the responsible minister from
being the licensing authority, but that is essentially a piecemeal amendment
because the essential framework of the legislation remains the same.
To conclude, it is apparent that the parliamentary
portfolio committee on transport and communications must seriously begin to
look at the possibility of seeking an overhaul of the BSA to make it more
democratic and to try to bring together both telecommunications regulation
with broadcasting regulation for efficiency and diversity. In doing this, it
must not merely be guided by parliamentary protocol, but must instead begin
to think with the people of Zimbabwe in mind.