JURU - Angry settlers at
Oribi Farm, about 61 kilometres from Harare on the Harare-Mutoko highway,
last week severely assaulted a member of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)
Support Unit who was part of a team of police officers deployed to forcibly
remove them from the farm.
The settlers, numbering more than
10, assaulted the police officer and dumped him at a nearby bush after they
outpaced him along the highway. The police officer, who was in the company
of another, was spotted by the disgruntled settlers, walking along the
highway and separated from the other officers who were stationed at the
They approached him and complained that they were not
supposed to be removed from the farm and that the police officers were being
used to forcibly remove them.
The officer is alleged to
have told the settlers that he was just carrying out his normal duties and
that they should remove their belongings from their makeshift houses and
return to where they had come from because police had been instructed to
torch the houses.
Angered by the response from the police
officers, the settlers then ordered them to run away or be
Sensing danger, the officers ran away, but the
unfortunate officer was outpaced by the villagers who severely assaulted him
and left him for dead.
The other officer was rescued by an
alert bus driver, who spotted him along the highway. The driver stopped and
offered him transport. Police later returned to the farm and arrested a
number of the settlers, who are expected to appear in court
The disputed farm was one of the few that were occupied
by settlers at the start of Zimbabwe's farm invasions in
Most of the settlers were later given offer letters for
the pieces of land which they had seized, under the 'A 1' resettlement
scheme, targeted for villagisation and small-scale farming, which
accommodated more than thirty families.
however withdrew its offer to the farmers opting to re-allocate it under the
third largest town, is in the red to the tune of $20
The debt has accumulated over the past few years
because of the reluctance by the ruling Zanu PF party to increase rates
ahead of next year's elections.
Authoritative sources in
the council, which is dominated by the opposition MDC told The Daily News
Online that because of the government's refusal to approve rates hikes, the
$20 billion in the red, a figure that is accruing
interest every day and could grind service delivery to a
"We are virtually grinding to a halt because of
non-co-operation from this government. They are saying we should not
increase rates because they want to endear themselves to the electorate
"But then we cannnot run these councils without
funds. Several government departments owe us billions of dollars and they
are not repaying but they still do not want want us to increase rates," said
a senior council official, without disclosing figures of the government
The town's roads are in shambles while water shortages
are the order of the day in most suburbs. Last month, the town's health
delivery ground to a halt after all nurses went on strike over low salaries
and poor conditions of service.
Chitungwiza executive mayor
Misheck Shoko, confirmed that his council was failing to deliver services
because of increased costs.
"This government is not
co-operating with us. As a council, we are holding an emergency meeting this
week to see if we can find other means of generating revenue because this
government has indicated it will not allow us to increase rates ," Shoko
The Daily News has it on good authority that the
government has refused to approve an increase of the mayor's salary and
perks, a move sources could be intended to pressure Shoko, a war veteran,
into joining Zanu PF.
Shoko's salary is still pegged at
$600 000 per month, far below the poverty datum line of $1,4 million per
month. Salaries and conditions of service for senior council staff are
approved by the government.
The sources also said the Zimbabwe
Revenue Authority (ZIMRA) had last Friday garnished the municipality for a
$1.5 billion debt.
The opposition-dominated councils in most
urban towns have complained that the government was interfering with their
affairs and thwarting any attempts to increase rates to ensure that service
delivery collapses ahead of next year's parliamentary
Chitungwiza, with a teeming population of over one
million people, is the third largest town in the country.
"This government wants to prove that the MDC cannot run local government and
therefore cannot be expected to run the country," a senior opposition
Local Government and National Housing minister
Ignatius Chombo last year fired Elias Mudzuri, who was elected on an MDC
ticket. The council is being run by Sekesayi Makwavarara, a former
opposition councillor who has since been rewarded with a farm for defecting
to the ruling party.
Last week, the government indicated it
would take unspecified action against Bulawayo mayor Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube,
who has been accused of telling the media that people in the city were dying
of starvation. The government denies that the country is facing any food
IT may be premature
for its critics to conclude that Zanu PF is imploding, as they have warned
in the past.
But the recent set-to between Joseph Msika and
Jonathan Moyo portends a crisis bound to widen the cracks in party unity
ahead of the parliamentary elections next year.
member of the politburo, Nathan Shamuyarira, has already given the
thumbs-down to Moyo's Frankenstein monster, the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).
Many more members now
realise that AIPPA was a stupid law to allow to be passed by Parliament. The
opprobrium it has earned the party and the government is enormous, when
juxtaposed with its benefits to the country in general and Zanu PF and the
government in particular.
There have always been searching,
unanswered questions about Moyo's hidden agenda. How did he transform
himself from one of Zanu PF's fiercest critics to its loudest praise-singer
in a few short years?
The big question has been whether his
activities, some of them suspected to be at odds with Zanu PF policies, have
enjoyed the support or endorsement of President Robert
The president loves power. He has been at the helm
since 1980 and he could try to justify this on the basis that he loves his
country enough to serve it indefinitely.
Nobody could doubt
that he loves power.
If people like Moyo can ensure he remains
in power, why would he not back their weird activities? But most people are
concerned with the bigger picture - Zimbabwe and its millions of sick,
unemployed, underfed, shelter-less and heavily-taxed
It is not only that people like Moyo have acted in
defiance of their party, but their activities have had a deleterious impact
on the image of the country internationally, thus on its
The Stalinist intolerance of criticism, including the
blitzkrieg on the independent media, have been condemned by most of the
democratic world. Even a number of African countries, themselves saddled
with rulers who are closet dictators, have been saddened by Zimbabwe's
cavalier application of basic human rights for its own
Laws such as AIPPA, the Public Order and Security Act
and the new NGO Bill suggest a party so frightened of change it seems
determined to destroy the country before letting anyone else take
Zanu PF has its own methods of dealing with delinquents,
but it must be remembered that it's the future of the country at stake here.
Posterity will judge Zanu PF harshly if it allows a few power-hungry members
to inflict so much damage on the people's future. - Editorial
[ This report does not necessarily
reflect the views of the United Nations]
HARARE, 11 Oct 2004 (IRIN) -
Hundreds of families evicted last month from a farm outside the Zimbabwean
capital Harare, occupied under the land reform programme in 2000, have been
granted a reprieve.
High Court Judge Rita Makarau ruled in favour of
Percy Masendu and 429 other settlers who had filed an urgent court
application to have their eviction nullified. Home Affairs Minister Kembo
Mohadi and police commissioner Augustine Chihuri were cited as the first and
In a similar case, Justice Ben Hlatshwayo also ruled
in favour of 370 farmers facing eviction in Mashonaland West
Last month the government started evicting settlers from Little
England Farm, occupied in 2000. Their homes were razed and they were forced
to camp along a highway. The official reason given was that the settlers
were occupying land earmarked for large-scale farming.
the small-scale farmers are being moved out to make way for senior
politicians and members of the military, a charge denied by the
Makarau ordered that "the applicants, and all those
claiming through them, be allowed to continue staying at Little England Farm
until such time as they are properly resettled or evicted by an order of a
competent court. The respondents, or any person acting through them or on
their behalf, be interdicted from interfering with applicants' occupation of
Little England Farm by unlawfully evicting them or destroying their
When IRIN visited the farm on Saturday, the farmers who had
been camping on the highway were returning to their razed
Brian Zindi, one of those returning to the farm, said although
they were excited by the court order, the evictions had traumatised them and
depleted their resources.
"We now need to look for resources to build
new houses, and that will be a very costly exercise. Out of desperation, we
had sold some of our cattle, goats and sheep. Our children were preparing to
write end-of-year course examinations, but what we now face is a small ...
crisis," he told IRIN.
Zindi said they would now require food aid, as
they had sold most of the grains they harvested this year. "Most settlers
were selling their goods in order to raise enough money to transport their
families and belongings to their [home] areas."
[ This report does not necessarily reflect the
views of the United Nations]
TSHOLOTSHO, 11 Oct 2004 (IRIN) -
Zimbabwe's tiny San community has laid the blame for their ongoing economic
hardships squarely on the government, which they accuse of discrimination
Mgodimasili village, a sprawling mix of dilapidated thatch
and mud huts in western Zimbabwe, is home to about 200 of the 1,200 San
people in the country. In contrast, just a few kilometres east of the
parched soils of Mgodimasili, lies the neighbouring village of Tjitatjawa,
which boasts neat houses with corrugated iron roofs.
juxtaposition throws the unequal living conditions of the two communities
into sharp relief - the existence of the San remains precarious, battling
chronic poverty and hunger.
"We [the San] are appealing to anyone,
including government, to give us ploughs and other farm implements so that
we can produce enough food for our families. We have pieces of land, but
because we don't have enough resources to till it, we are always faced with
starvation, be it in a good or bad year," Gwatawa Maphosa, an elder of the
San group, told IRIN.
He said many families did not have blankets, and
during the winter season life was very difficult.
Although the San
community still practice their ancient traditions, an increasing number of
laws banning hunting have forced them to abandon their nomadic life as
hunters and gatherers and look to subsistence farming to eke out a
"The life of hunting and gathering is no longer practiced because
of laws that prohibit hunting, so most of us have become farmers just like
other groups. But the difference is that we farm using our bare hands, as we
do not have implements and cattle for draught power. The little grain that
we produce quickly runs out before the end of the year," Maphosa
He told IRIN that because the community was unable to produce
enough grain for their families, they were forced to offer cheap labour to
other communities in exchange for food.
He regretted the lack of
government assistance to combat the widespread poverty the San was
suffering, despite repeated requests. Children were also unable to attend
school because they could not afford the fees.
"We are generally a poor
people, but I think we can improve if government supported us. Our children
also need to go to school, so that they can represent us in parliament,"
According to the South African-based NGO, Working Group for
Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa (WIMSA), the San - the region's
first inhabitants - uniformly faced marginalisation and
WIMSA coordinator Alex Thoma said his organisation had sent a
delegation to Zimbabwe to examine the living conditions of the community,
with the view of helping them start income-generating projects to improve
"Recently WIMSA representatives visited some communities in
the Hwange area [of Matabeleland North province] to analyse the feasibility
[of a] harvesting project with them. They are certainly one of the most
marginalised groups, not only in Zimbabwe but also in all other countries
where they live," observed Thoma.
While the San argue that they are a
disadvantaged people in need of humanitarian support in order to escape
poverty, some neighbouring villagers look down on them - accusing them of
alcoholism and a refusal to embrace "modernisation".
"They [the San]
are our neighbours, and we know them inside out. Some NGOs, like Christian
Care, have tried to alleviate their situation by giving them ploughs and
beasts to farm, but because they love meat so much, they have since feasted
on those beasts. They have also sold their ploughs at ridiculously low
prices to raise money to buy tobacco and beer," said Qhubekani Mlilo, a
resident of Tjitatjawa.
The San elders vehemently denied the allegation,
saying it was an excuse used by the government to delay the delivery of
Mlilo brushed aside allegations that other ethnic
groups in Zimbabwe discriminated against the San, saying they were the ones
who isolated themselves, as they tried to resist change.
member of parliament for the area, Mtoliki Sibanda observed that the San
were a grossly misunderstood people and described their living standards as
"I have lobbied the government to assist these people, but
nothing positive has transpired so far. Life is generally difficult for
them, as they do not have food, blankets and many other basics that are
needed in life. They do not have any means of survival other than to work
under conditions similar to those of slaves. It's really bad," he told
But government spokesman Steyn Berejena denied that the San
"The government has a national policy to
support all Zimbabweans regardless of their ethnic group. We can understand
the difficulties of the San people, especially as they come to terms with an
alternative way of life, but we have local agricultural extension officers
who are making sure that something is done to improve the lives of this
group," Berejena told IRIN.
The San are the aboriginal people of Southern
Africa, with a distinct hunter-gatherer culture that stretches back over
According to WIMSA, the 110,000 remaining San in Angola,
Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe face "cultural
extinction, living lives of poverty on the outer edges of society".
October 11, 2004 Posted to the web October 11,
The Zimbabwean electricity company (ZESA) will comply
with the timetable for paying off its debts to HCB, the company that
operates the Cahora Bassa dam on the Zambezi river, Zimbabwean President
Robert Mugabe pledged on Sunday.
Mugabe was visiting Cahora Bassa,
accompanied by his host, President Joaquim Chissano, on the second day of an
official visit to Mozambique.
The line from Cahora Bassa to Zimbabwe can
carry 500 megawatts of power, but currently is only supplying 170
ZESA's debt to HCB stands at about 8.5 million US dollars, and
Mugabe announced that ZESA is paying 2.25 million dollars a month. The
situation is much healthier than it used to be - ZESA had run up a debt of
30 million dollars, leading HCB to threaten to disconnect
According to a report in Monday's issue of the Maputo daily
"Noticias", one of the Mozambican directors of HCB, Manuel Tome, confirmed
that the payments from ZESA have been made on a regular basis.
Opposition in Zimbabwe Criticizes Proposed Electoral Law Peta
Thornycroft Harare 11 Oct 2004, 15:15 UTC
Critics of a proposed
new electoral law now being debated by Zimbabwe's parliament say the measure
provides no evidence that promised electoral reforms are on the way. The
draft law which was presented to parliament last week by justice minister
Patrick Chinamasa, sets up the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, the authority
which will run elections next March. The draft law describes this new
authority as an independent authority.
The draft law says that the
chairman of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission will be appointed by President
Four commissioners will be chosen by Mr. Mugabe from a
list of seven names nominated by a parliamentary committee dominated by the
president's ruling ZANU-PF party.
There is no provision in the draft
law for any independent adjudication of those selected to run
Reginald Matchaba-Hove, chairman of the Zimbabwe Election
Support Network says that the ZANU-PF government drew up this draft
legislation without any consultation.
He said there are no
constitutional guarantees for the law, and he said the Zimbabwe Election
Commission and its five executives will be subject to what he describes as
the "whims and diktat" of justice minister Chinamasa.
says Zimbabweans need a new electoral environment and a truly independent
electoral authority empowered through the constitution. He said this had not
In August, Mr. Mugabe signed a regional protocol on elections
which demands that all member states of the Southern African Development
Community, known as SADC, establish impartial, all-inclusive, competent and
accountable national electoral bodies.
During debate in parliament,
Mr. Chinamasa said the SADC electoral protocol was not binding on Zimbabwe
nor did it require inclusivity.
A host of controversial electoral laws
were introduced before the presidential election in March 2002.
new elections only five months away, parliamentarians say there are no
indications of pending legislation to repeal any of those laws which were
widely criticized by most observers of the last national
Opposition Movement for Democratic Change parliament members say
the new draft law to create the Zimbabwe Election Commission is no more than
It will be further debated in parliament on
Six weeks ago the MDC suspended participation in all elections
until the ZANU-PF government enabled laws to bring all elections in line
with the SADC electoral protocol for free and fair elections.
October 10, 2004 Posted to the web
October 11, 2004
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe claimed
on Sunday that his country is overcoming the political and economic crisis
that shook it in recent year.
"We are now, day by day, regaining a
noteworthy political and economic stability", he claimed, when speaking to
journalists after visiting the Monument to the Mozambican Heroes in Maputo.
There was "growing political stability" in Zimbabwe, Mugabe declared - a
claim that is certainly not echoed by the Zimbabwean opposition, which
complains of government-sponsored violence, nor by civil society, much of
which faces closure because of a draconian anti-NGO bill the government has
tabled before the Harare parliament.
Mugabe also repeated his claim
that, despite the devastating drought that Zimbabwe experienced in 2003,
this year the country is self sufficient in food.
The Heroes Monument
is where the founder of Frelimo, Eduardo Mondlane, Mozambique's first
president, Samora Machel, and others who gave their lives for the country's
freedom are buried.
Mugabe said he had come to lay a wreath at the
monument because "Mozambique's heroes are also Zimbabwe's. Those who lie
here, like Samora, in life gave much for the liberation of my country". He
added that he was visiting Mozambique to pay homage to President Joaquim
Chissano, before the latter leaves office at the end of the
Mugabe said he regards Mozambique as his "second homeland" - he
lived, first in the central city of Quelimane, and later in Maputo, during
the 1970s, and it was from Maputo that he directed the struggle of the
Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) against the white minority regime of
Mugabe took the opportunity to announce that Chissano will
make a final visit as president to Zimbabwe before he passes the baton on to
whoever wins the December presidential election.
He said that
Zimbabwe is also preparing a major agro- industrial fair "that will show how
far the country is emerging from the economic crisis that it experienced in
Mugabe claimed that the economic recovery is highly
visible "which makes us very happy, because it shows that we have managed to
frustrate the intentions of those who want to sink us as a country and as a
Asked about measures taken by his government to halt the spread
of HIV/AIDS, Mugabe said that AIDS remains one of the main causes of death
in Zimbabwe, but "we are doing all in our power to reduce the spread, while
at the same lessening the suffering and tragedy of those already
"We have been treating sufferers with anti-retroviral drugs",
he said. "We are even, with the help of India, producing anti-retrovirals in
the country, although not in great quantities. We have a factory that we
built with Indian aid, and our idea is to expand it".
But the best
remedy, Mugabe stressed, was for everyone to become aware of the dangers
posed by HIV infection, and take appropriate preventive
Later on Sunday, Mugabe flew to the western province of
Tete, in order to visit the Cahora Bassa dam, which is supplying 500
megawatts of electricity to Zimbabwe. He told reporters he had never been to
Cahora Bassa before, "and it makes no sense not to know a dam which is one
of the major sources of the power that we consume".
The total liability of the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Company (Zesco) to South Africa's power utility Eskom
stood at 74 million rand as at September 21, says Public Enterprises
Minister Alec Erwin.
Replying in Parliament to a written question from
official opposition Democratic Alliance Member of Parliament Ian Davidson,
the minister said the debt was nominated in rands.
"The debt is
secured with a debt repayment agreement of the ZAR (South African rand)
equivalent of US$1.5 million per month," he told Davidson.
these arrangements included the capitalisation of the debt into an equity
stake in Zesco by Eskom, and what Zesco's current market capitalisation was
and at what stage such arrangements would come into effect, Erwin said this
was not applicable.
[ This report does not necessarily reflect
the views of the United Nations]
HARARE, 11 Oct 2004 (IRIN) -
Zimbabwean NGOs have adopted a code of ethics ahead of a controversial new
law threatening them with closure for maladministration and political
The code, which deals with accountability, transparency and
good governance, was adopted at a three-day exhibition last week in the
capital, Harare, which showcased the work of the NGO sector in health and
social service delivery.
The government's controversial bill, tabled
last week, seeks to register and vet NGOs, while outlawing foreign-funded
organisations involved in governance and human rights issues. According to
the news agency Agence France-Presse, the bill has been amended to include a
ban on agencies "furthering and facilitating the interests or activities of
a political party."
The government argues that such NGOs are being
used as proxies by Western powers to destabilise the country.
Muchabaya, advocacy officer for the National Association of NGOs (NANGO)
told IRIN: "The public is being subjected to gross misinformation in media
reports, which say NGOs are anti-government or profit-making but, with expos
of this type, we as NANGO are creating a forum for the public to interface
with the NGOs and see how they operate."
The code will be monitored,
evaluated and implemented by NANGO, and is part of the NGO sector's strategy
to demonstrate to government that they are capable of self-regulation. At
least 400 of an estimated 600 Zimbabwean NGOs are NANGO
NANGO members are bound by the code to set up sound governance
structures run by responsible, democratically elected individuals, and urges
transparency and accountability through participatory planning programmes
with stakeholders, including government, donors and the people it
NGOs are also called on to "move away from the culture of being
donor-dependent" and adopt transparent fund-raising practices. It commits
them to training beneficiaries in project management and implementation, so
that in the event of an NGO being shut down "the project will be managed and
sustained by the beneficiaries".
NANGO is responsible for creating
awareness of the code among NGOs, measuring compliance through a special
rating system, and taking "the necessary steps to rehabilitate, realign,
correct or otherwise assist an organisation to rectify or stop the alleged
Official government representatives were absent from the NGO
Civil society groups themselves did not appear to fully
appreciate the importance of the code - a meeting called to adopt the rules
was marked by poor attendance. "It was a very disappointing meeting. It took
us one hour to raise a quorum and, in the end, there were less than 30
people," Reuben Abidrabo of the Zimbabwean chapter of Amnesty International
OPINION October 10, 2004 Posted to the web October 11,
THE sight of depositors queuing to
retrieve what little savings they have in locally owned banks must have been
a real worry to many of the indigineous banks.
On the other hand, the
big banks - most of them multinationals - should be rubbing their hands in
They are like that wife standing in the doorway, arms akimbo,
staring down at the errant husband, back from a long night of sampling the
passion, freedom and close attention he could no longer find at
There is no question about it, and the big banks have got to admit
it - they had grown ugly, and it's not by choice that the depositor, like
the hen-pecked husband, is reluctantly trudging back home to renewed
It is hard to imagine - particularly after Trust Bank was sent
into curatorship - locally owned banks ever again getting swamped by hoards
of prospective depositors, tellers beating them away with a
The big old banks are back in fashion, but they are right back
where everyone left them - still big, still old and still drowning clients
up to their eyeballs in charges.
RBZ chief Gideon Gono has said
indigenous banks have been ill disciplined, and that banking needed a
shakeout to prune it of rotten apples. The IMF said in March that the
country needed only seven banks, and Gono apparently agrees.
Trust's closure broke any remaining public confidence in new Zimbabwean
banks, and experts now worry about the possibility of a return to the old
big bank monopoly.
Gono believes a smaller industry will be easier to
manage, but he will know how hard it has been for other central banks to
discipline mega banks operating in an economy they dominate.
risk in handing control to foreign banks, an economist said last week,
acknowledging though that some financial sector restructuring had been
"If they (British banks) misbehave, Gono can't touch them.
They will know he has no alternative and depositors don't have one either,"
the economist said, requesting anonymity.
Once big banks become so
dominant that their activities make up the bigger portion of an economy's
payments system, the RBZ would become increasingly reluctant to act against
them for fear of systemic effects on the financial system. The big banks
become "too big to fail".
For instance, it was Trust's size that delayed
RBZ action, Gono admitted earlier this year.
The case of the Hurungwe
farmers and Royal aptly illustrate another fear. Once they monopolise
deposits, big banks begin to control the majority of lending. By nature, big
banks do business with big business, not SMEs or farmers with ambition and
seed as their only collateral.
South Africa is currently battling with
rising bank charges from the "Big Four" banks, which control 95% of the
retail market after the demise of several second tier banks. Authorities
there are looking to Barclays' take-over of ABSA as the only solution to
break the oligopoly.
Branch closures are big banks' favourite pastime -
Barclays is still selling some offices - and this increases the distance
between a client and the bank, which new players had sought to
And the prospect and consequences of British banks just quitting
on Zimbabwe has long scared many.
"What happens if Barclays or
Standard Chartered decide, from London, that their brand is no longer served
But Barclays CEO Charity Jinya has denied any suggestions
that Barclays could pull out of Zimbabwe. But if Barclays plc does take over
ABSA, major owner of Jewel Bank at 26 %, it could deepen its hold on
Others fear that if any more banks are forced under, there will
be a return to the "cartel banking" that was Zimbabwean banking before
William Nyemba set up NMB in 1993. Rates and services become uniform as
Many question whether the big banks have
changed during the time that depositors left for Zimbabwean banks. New banks
followed a simple strategy - avoid the mistakes that old banks make. This
saw them chip away at the imposing dominance of the big banks.
Trust's case, a mix of aggression and tenderness helped it grow into the
largest bank by assets by December 2003.
Large black companies and
individual savers were prised away from older banks with promises of more
personalised and fast service, something that the likes of Barclays,
Stanchart or Stanbic had long forgotten about.
New banks won by doing
simple things like tearing down the old, stuffy banking hall décor. Out went
the paranoid tradition of putting the teller in a little cube behind a thick
glass, with the little opening at the bottom through which slips and cash
Images of spooky, hooded villains sitting around a table
in a dark room setting rates and bank charges are perhaps rather drastic.
But it is fair comment to say that customers, charged senseless by the big
bank cartel of old, had grown to see big bank executives in some really dim
Writer Peter Taylor, in The Canadian Revolution, quotes a bank
chairman as saying: "Bankers are so unpopular these days, that in response
to complaints from the animal rights people the University of Regina has
decided to use big bank executives instead of white rats in all future
'There are three reasons for this new policy:
there is an unlimited supply of bank executives; the researchers don't get
attached to them; and there are some things that rats just won't
OK, so it's rather unkind to place common rodents ahead of learned
bankers. Still, as clients troop back to the big old banks, they are caught
between the devil and the deep blue sea, between the instability of the new
banks and the bureaucracy of the old.
Greed and inefficient risk
management have closed down many of the new banks. Few Zimbabweans will risk
their savings with them now.
But on the other side, the old impersonal,
aloof treatment and diabolic charges that clients thought they had escaped
from with the emergence of the new banks, remain well in place.
EDITORIAL October 10, 2004 Posted to the web October 11,
THE forced removals of villagers from farms by the very people
who encouraged the invasions and occupations in 2000 mark a new height in
cynicism and betrayal of the ideals of the liberation struggle.
has been happening on occupied farms in Mashonaland East and West, Masvingo
and Matabeleland provinces in recent weeks is a monumental tragedy that best
captures the bitter experience of post independence rule in this
At the beginning of 2000 the government instigated villagers
to invade and occupy commercial farms, saying equitable land distribution
was at the core of the struggle for independence.
Amid chants of
"ivhu kuvanhu", "People First", "the land is the economy" and "Third
Chimurenga", the government allowed villagers to settle anywhere they liked.
The police were rendered powerless. The government vowed there would be no
However, in recent weeks the same government has brought in
police details to oversee mass evictions of the villagers it encouraged to
resort to lawlessness. But the bitter irony now is the resemblance in
approach to the settlers when they were ejecting indigenous people from
their ancestral lands under the Land Apportionment Act in order to open up
vast farmlands for commercial farmers.
The brutality of settler
colonial administration can never be excused although it was not unexpected
of those determined to subjugate the indigenous people of this country, but
the brutality of one of our own is unparalleled, treacherous and
unforgivable. It is the worst form of oppression and could be sowing and
watering the seeds of future conflict in this country. This is blatant
hijacking of the revolution.
The scale of the evictions, dispossessions
and human rights abuses is incomparable, while the silence from domestic and
international rights organisations is perplexing. It is as if the villagers
have absolutely no rights at all.
What is happening as a result of
the mass evictions is a covert agenda to concentrate the ownership of land
in the hands of an elitist political group and protégés who have decided to
secure their future by transforming Zimbabwe into a private property, where
the majority will exist at the pleasure of a new landed class.
struggle for independence is thus reduced to a struggle by blacks to
supplant whites in order to perpetrate and perpetuate the injustices that
were synonymous with settler administration and for which it came to be
Despite three audits and mounting evidence that
the political elite in this country are multiple farm owners, the government
has elected to ignore this evidence and instead has chosen to victimise
villagers it encouraged to invade and occupy farms since
Ironically, the one lesson to emerge from all this is that the
government is finally admitting that its land reform programme has been an
unmitigated disaster and needs to be scrapped, while it returns to the
What is also tragic about the evictions is that senior
leaders from the struggle, who ideally should comprise the guardians of the
ideals of the revolution, see these things and yet remain silent, as if they
have been rendered impotent by a bitter power struggle.
who is the Minister of Special Affairs responsible for Lands, Land Reform
and Resettlement, keeps referring issues about the evictions to provincial
governors as if governors suddenly have the power to veto directives from
central government. Failure to put his foot down and to demand an immediate
end to the evictions is all the more puzzling especially given that he is
the chairman of the ruling Zanu PF party.
There is a paralysis of
indecision even in a case where it is obvious potential voter support is
being squandered. The opposition is being gifted an election chance by the
One possible explanation for all this and the lack of
decisive response by the government, on behalf of the villagers being
evicted, could be that if land invasions and occupations were indeed
spearheaded by former freedom fighters, then what is being witnessed is the
emergence of a schism between ruling politicians and war veterans. This
could lead to the emergence of a political force drawing its support from
war veterans, but still within the ruling party.
Last week The
Standard reported that more war veterans will be fielded as candidates
challenging senior Zanu PF officials in the run up to next year's March
parliamentary elections. The chairman of the War Veterans Association,
Jabulani Sibanda, attributed this unprecedented development to the
"reawakening of the revolutionary spirit" among former freedom
The government ministers and senior ruling party officials who
are threatened by the war veterans' decision could have hatched a strategy
to disrupt the power base of the former freedom fighters by scattering
people who are likely to vote for ex-combatants.
people who invaded and occupied former commercial farms would thwart the
plans by former freedom fighters. People who move out of constituencies
could encounter problems in voting for candidates put forward by the war
veterans, thus securing victory for the status quo.
The evictions have
serious implications. The villagers have children who were due to write
their qualifying examinations this year. The evictions will mean a wasted
year for hundreds of school children. But there is also the issue of
disruptions to farming activities with the possibility that this could
adversely impact on food production. The villagers will have neither the
resources to buy inputs nor the land to grow food. The government may have
created a class of people it will need to feed in the immediate and medium
The evictions suggest that the "agrarian reform" has become a
scramble for land by the political elite and that the government has stopped
pretending that it cares or ever cared about ordinary people.
October 11, 2004 Posted to the web October 11,
The rehabilitation of the 534 kilometre Limpopo line,
linking the port of Maputo to Zimbabwe, will help Mozambique resume its
pre-eminent position in terms of rail services and stimulate long term
economic development, through the creation of more jobs, declared Transport
Minister Tomas Salomao on Saturday.
The line was severely damaged in
the massive flooding of February 2000, but has now been rehabilitated by a
consortium formed by the South African company Grineker, and the US company
Speaking in Chokwe, in the southern province of Gaza, during
the official ceremony to hand over the completed work, Salomao described the
undertaking as a visible landmark in the efforts to rebuild, with
international cooperation, infrastructures destroyed by the 2000
"We continue committed to the reconstruction of all
infrastructures damaged by the floods in order to enhance economic growth in
all areas", he said.
He praised the efforts of the country's cooperation
partners, namely the United States and Canada, for their assistance in
carrying out the reconstruction.
Emergency rehabilitation took place
immediately after the flood waters had receded - at this stage the United
States Agency for International Development (USAID) provided 1.2 million US
dollars for the purchase of ballast and its transport to the line, while the
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) provided six million
dollars for other costs.
Mozambique's own port and rail company, CFM,
provided seven million dollars from its own funds. The emergency work was
completed in November 2000, and traffic between Maputo and Zimbabwe
In order to restore full reliability and security to the line,
definitive rehabilitation took place from 2001 to 2004, funded by USAID to
the tune of 53.5 million dollars.
The work concentrated on the
stretch worst hit by the floods - the 225 kilometres from Maputo port to
Macarretane in Gaza. 72 kilometres were completely rebuilt, 50,000 new
concrete sleepers were laid, and drainage systems installed.
recalled that the line had been seriously damaged by the floods, when the
waters reached the height of five meters, submerging houses and unearthing
land mines that had been planted during the war of destabilisation. "But
with the support of our partners it was possible to reverse the situation",
He urged the people living along the line to remain vigilant
against vandalisation of the railway by thieves who will steal materials
such as ballast for private use.
For his part, Gaza provincial
governor Rosario Mualeia also stressed the importance of the undertaking,
saying that it will enhance the transport system in the
"This railway is particularly important for the populations of
Mapai, Mabalane, and Chicualacuala districts (in the north of the province).
For instance, water supply to this last district was, for many years,
undertaken in tankers carried by train, along this line", he
The chairperson of the CFM board of directors, Rui Fonseca, was
clearly not happy with the quality of the work done. He said the line had
been rehabilitated to a "reasonable" standard, but there were still
"Perhaps it is not what CFM dreamed of and desired",
he said, "but it is what was possible. CFM hopes that the contractor and the
inspecting company will correct the anomalies that we detected right from
the start and throughout the work".
Issuing of passport forms decentralised by
STAFF EDITORS (10/10/2004)
THE Zimbabwe Registrar General's Office
will decentralise the issuing of passport forms to ease pressure and queues
at its headquarters in Harare. Addressing a press conference in the capital,
Registrar General Tobaiwa Mudede said from today, would be applicants for
passports will purchase forms from their respective district offices in
He added that the RG's office had established 60 centres to
specifically deal with passport applications. "We have introduced the
decentralisation of issuance of passport application forms.
due to the fact that people have been spending long hours and several days
queuing for the forms.
"So what we have done is that we have rolled out
60 centres countrywide that we have tasked with dealing with those
applications, and we expect that by Monday, this decentralisation process
would be in full swing," said Mudede.
He added that this was also aimed
at curtailing operations of bogus dealers who queued for passport forms and
later resell them. This, he said, had resulted in a lot of cheating, as the
would-be customers were being charged exorbitant charges for the application
"We have also introduced a serial number on the forms as this
would improve on issues of accountability and security because if the form
is sold, then the money is returned to government," said Mudede.
said that vehicles to facilitate speedy delivery of the application forms as
well as the processed passports had already been made available to senior
district registration officials.
Mudede, however, reiterated that the
conditions for application would remain the same, adding that there was need
for applicants to be wary of people purporting to assist them, while they
were ripping them off.