* EU says Mugabe's land seizures wrecked
By Nelson Banya
HARARE, Oct 8 (Reuters) - The European
Union is providing seed and fertiliser worth 15.4 million euros ($22.73
million) to small-scale Zimbabwean farmers to boost grain production, an EU
diplomat said on Thursday.
The EU, which maintains sanctions against
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and his inner circle over charges of
human rights abuses and electoral fraud, remains one of the country's
largest donors, giving more than 510 million euros since 2002.
and long-term rival Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai formed a power-sharing
government in February to try to end a political and economic crisis,
largely blamed on Mugabe's drive to seize land from whites to resettle
Once a breadbasket of the region, Zimbabwe's farming
sector has collapsed.
The head of the European Commission in Zimbabwe,
Xavier Marchal, told a meeting of agricultural experts and donors assessing
the preparations for the farming season that the EU facility was aimed at
improving household food security.
"The EC, on behalf of the EU, has
signed an agreement with FAO (the United Nations' Food and Agriculture
Organisation), which will provide 15.4 million euros to support
self-reliance at smallholder farmer level in Zimbabwe," Marchal
"This programme is part of a wider EC policy aiming at moving this
country from food aid to food security."
When food shortages were at
their peak in 2008, aid organisations were feeding about 7 million
Zimbabweans, more than half the population.
The EU facility is part of a
$74 million fund created by donors, including the World Bank and Britain's
Department for International Development, to support up to 700,000
The donors' project is expected to produce about
450,000 tonnes of the staple maize grain and meet a quarter of Zimbabwe's
The government has forecast total maize output at up
to 2.5 million tonnes, more than last year's production, but farmers' unions
doubt the projection, citing input shortages and poor
Marchal said the EU would increase direct assistance to
Zimbabwe once talks launched by Tsvangirai in Brussels in June were
"But more importantly, government has to take its
responsibilities. The decline in agricultural production is indeed related
to issues relating to the way the land and agrarian reform programme has
been conducted," he said.
HARARE - The European Commission on Thursday said it was ready to
resume full assistance to Zimbabwe if Brussels and Harare mend fences, an
The head of an EU delegation visiting Zimbabwe, Xavier
Marchal, said the unity government of President Robert Mugabe and Prime
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai needed to take responsibility for improving
relations with the bloc.
"When and if full normalisation is achieved
between the EU and Zimbabwe, as a result of the ongoing political dialogue
process launched in Brussels... then massive and full-fledged assistance can
resume again," Marchal said.
Marchal's comments come after Mugabe on
Tuesday said Zimbabwe was ready to restore relations with the West, and
follows the first high-level visit last month by EU officials to Harare in
Relations between Zimbabwe and the European Union were
strained nearly 10 years ago by a series of elections marred by violence and
widespread allegations of human rights abuses by Mugabe's
The bloc, which maintains a travel ban and asset freeze
against Mugabe and his close allies, said last month it was moving toward
more structural aid after providing 600 million euros in humanitarian aid
between 2002 and 2009.
Marchal told a conference that the EU was ready to
help Zimbabwe revive its once-vibrant agriculture sector and blamed poor
government policy for the slump in farm production.
"The decline in
the agricultural production is indeed related to failing government policies
associated to the issues relating to the way the land and agrarian reform
programme has been conducted," he said.
Last week, donors including the
World Bank said they would contribute 74 million dollars towards the revival
of Zimbabwe's farms, up from 25 million last year.
The UN food agency
expects Zimbabwe to produce only one-quarter of the food it needs to feed
its people, with the harvest expected to drop by 70 percent from last
Zimbabwe's agricultural production plummeted after Mugabe's
controversial land reforms which saw some 4,000 mostly white commercial
farmers being evicted from their properties.
The licensing of private newspapers, television and radio stations
may have to wait a long time after George Charamba, the Permanent Secretary
in the Ministry of Information and Publicity, revealed on Tuesday that the
Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) will only be set up when all other
commissions are formed.
Addressing journalists at a media workshop
organised by UNICEF, the government spin doctor also threatened newspaper
publications with arrest, if they circulated their papers without a licence.
The main target was Newsday, a new daily newspaper proposed by the Zimbabwe
Newsday editor Barnabas Thondhlana told SW Radio
Africa: "He essentially said if we, as Newsday, would come on the market
before we got a licence then he would instruct the Attorney General's office
to send the police to deal with this stranger who was on the streets of
"I was in utter shock and was surprised because I had asked Mr
Charamba how Zimpapers were able to launch a new newspaper recently called
the H-Metro without a licence." But Charamba told the editors that the new
state owned paper had been given a licence way back, by the defunct Media
and Information Council led by Dr Tafataona Mahoso. Thondhlana said the
editor-in-chief of the Zimpapers Group, Pikirayi Deketeke, shocked the
participants when he revealed that the group had issued a number of
newspaper licences, which are presently lying dormant.
Zimbabwean regulations a publication automatically loses its licence if it
is not used within six months. Thondhlana added: "And for Charamba to say
H-Metro had been licensed, we questioned how, because the MIC was no longer
in existence in the past six months."
"How is H-Metro operating without a
licence but any other newspaper which wants to operate without a licence,
Charamba will send the police after them?"
The editor says there are
deliberate attempts by some in government who are keen on maintaining the
status quo and do not want to see new players coming onto the media scene.
Additionally it is highly unlikely that anyone in ZANU PF would want to see
a free media in place, ahead of the next elections.
The regulatory body
that is supposed to oversee the licensing of new media players is the
Zimbabwe Media Commission. Government sources told us this week that the
Principals to the unity government finally agreed on the nine commissioners
to sit on the ZMC, but there has still been no announcement from Robert
"Charamba said Mugabe is not going to make a piecemeal
announcement of the commissioners. What he is going to do is he is going to
wait for parliament to come up with a list of names for all the commissions.
That is the Anti Corruption Commission, the Electoral Commission and the
Human Rights Commission. After that is done then he will announce it as one
holistic thing. So now we don't know when these names (ZMC) are going to be
announced," said Thondhlana.
Martin Thursday, 08 October 2009 16:40 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND -
The Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe made an unheralded appearance at ITU
Telecom World here in Geneva, Switzerland. He addressed the Council of
Ministers and then toured the show floor with a large entourage made all the
more conspicuous by the number of security personnel in eccentric orbit
around him. Visitors and exhibitors alike were astonished to see Mugabe
perambulating around the show floor literally hand-in-hand with the Deputy
Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union, Mr. Houlin
Zhao. An unusual sight to be sure. International sanctions prevent
Mugabe from travelling within Europe but United Nations events are exempt
from the ban - and the ITU is an agency of the UN. Hence his visit.
The oxygen of publicity and all that. In his address to the Council of
Ministers, Mugabe, yet again, could not resist stirring things up and taking
a sideswipe at the mysterious cabal of "certain western countries" that, he
alleges, is working to depose him and re-impose imperialism and colonisation
on Zimbabwe. In his closing remarks Mugabe said he was "registering
Zimbabwe's dismay at the continued violation of her airwaves by certain
western countries whose radio broadcasting systems have targeted my country
to further these countries' obnoxious regime change agendas." He
added, "The political and economic challenge to our sovereignty that
sometimes has had its ICT co-relative in the process - resulting in the
flagrant violations of certain protocols which we are all party to under the
ITU. We reject the philosophy that seeks to weaponise ICT by turning them
into platforms of aggression." He did not cite the protocols referred
to. On hearing his remarks, most of the audience looked as baffled as
the media. (TelecomTV was there webcasting the event). Quite what
Mugabe was getting at is unclear. Is he suggesting that "certain western
countries" are blocking radio signals and disrupting telecoms traffic? Is he
suggesting that anti-government propaganda is being beamed in to Zimbabwe to
foment violent revolution? Does he believe shadowy agencies are bombarding
the country with wireless death rays? And what on earth is weaponised
ICT? Exploding handsets? Well that does happen from time to time - but not
just in Zimbabwe. Or perhaps he was referring to sub-machine guns cunningly
disguised as laptops? Who knows? Mr. Mugabe didn't elaborate. You
can see Mugabe's speech by going to www.itutelecomtv.com, accessing the
Forum Archive and scrolling down to "Council of Ministers". He appears about
40 minutes from the end of the session. Enjoy!
Mugabe used an appearance at the International Telecommunications
Union (ITU) 'World 2009' meeting in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday to
attack the West for what he called the continued violation of Zimbabwe's
airwaves by foreign based radio stations. In a speech that aptly summed up
his regime's attitude towards media freedom, Mugabe told a Council of
Ministers meeting that 'certain western countries had 'radio broadcasting
systems' that were targeting 'his' country to further their 'obnoxious
regime change agendas'.
The remarks are a continuation of threats made by
Lieutenant-General Phillip Valerio Sibanda, the Commander of the Zimbabwe
National Army, who last month told a study seminar of army officers that
foreign-based radio stations are at 'war with Zimbabwe' . The soldiers
attending a five day seminar on 'low intensity operations and asymmetric
warfare' at 2 Infantry Brigade Headquarters were told to remain on guard
against this threat.
In Switzerland on Wednesday Mugabe was to stun
delegates further by saying the use of Information Communication
Technologies was a challenge to Zimbabwe's sovereignty. He claimed there was
a 'philosophy that seeks to weaponize ICT by turning them into weapons of
aggression.' One blogger sarcastically suggested that Mugabe might have been
talking about 'exploding handsets' or 'sub machine guns cunningly disguised
as laptops. Mugabe's exact meaning remained obscure but all the same exposed
his paranoia about opening up the media.
ICT Minister Nelson Chamisa
is also in Switzerland for the conference, having arrived separately on
Monday. Mugabe arrived for the conference on Wednesday. Despite a European
Union travel ban imposed on Mugabe and his inner circle the ZANU PF leader
and his wife Grace were able to travel because the ITU falls under the arm
of the United Nations, where they are exempted from the travel ban. Mugabe
is expected back in Zimbabwe on Saturday.
Last week a Swiss based
company Nestle, was put under pressure by human rights groups to stop buying
milk from a farm controversial seized by Grace Mugabe. The pressure bore
fruit, with the company saying it would stop the purchases on the 4th
October. With Mugabe spending several days in Switzerland, where Nestle is
headquartered, there was predictable speculation over whether his wife would
make any attempts to meet Nestle bosses.
Meanwhile Newsreel asked
Minister Chamisa if Mugabe's attitude towards private Zimbabwean
broadcasters based outside the country reflected government policy. He said
Mugabe's speech merely reflected his fears. The MDC Minister however said it
was imperative for the government to licence private players because 'even
if you don't licence broadcasters they will licence themselves via the
internet and other forms of ICT.' He said ICT's worldwide have helped
overcome media restrictions and gave examples of countries like Iran,
Venezuela and Burma.
HARARE, Oct. 8
(Xinhua) -- The online poll being conducted by Zimbabwean Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai's MDC party still shows that more people are keen on the
party remaining in the inclusive government.
started on Sept. 24, more people have been voting for the former opposition
party to remain in government.
By the fifth day of the polling
on Sept. 28, the party had recorded 52.8 percent of the voters supporting
the stay in government. The margin has since continued to increase with 57.2
percent of the voters registered as of noon on Thursday, against 42.8
percent of the opponents who initially accounted for 47.2
The number of respondents continues to be low,
however, with 166 people having cast their votes by Thursday. This could be
attributed to limited access to the Internet by the majority of
The spirit of keeping the MDC in government is
shared even by many within President Robert Mugabe's Zanu-PF, given the
improvement that has taken place in people's lives since the formation of
the inclusive government.
Analysts have also said it would
not be in the interests of any to pull out now, against the people's hope
for a brighter future.
The MDC initiated the poll after
expressing frustration over what it called outstanding issues to the Global
Political Agreement, which gave birth to the inclusive
Among its complaints are the appointments of
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe governor Gideon Gono and Attorney-General Johannes
Tomana, whom the party wants to be replaced; the failure to swear in the
party's treasurer-general Roy Bennet as deputy minister of agriculture and
the appointment of provincial governors.
Mugabe has refused
to swear Bennet into office, arguing that he has a pending criminal case in
the courts of law. He has promised, however, that he will swear him into
office as soon as he is cleared of the charges.
On the issue of
Gono and Tomana, Mugabe has said the appointments were done in accordance of
the law and will not be reversed. Gono is accused of having contributed to
the economic decline in the country, while Tomana has declared that he is a
supporter of Mugabe's party -- Zanu-PF.
While Tsvangirai has in
the past said there had been agreements on the appointment of provincial
governors, the matter is far from being resolved.
party argues that provincial governors are representatives of the president,
and as such, it is the prerogative of the president to choose the people who
occupy those positions.
Zanu-PF also argues that the only
outstanding issue is the removal of economic sanctions by the West. Opening
the Second Session of the Seventh Parliament of Zimbabwe on Tuesday, Mugabe
once again called for the removal of the sanctions, saying they were hurting
the ordinary poor.
He also called for a revival of relations
between Zimbabwe and those countries which had imposed sanctions against
The smaller faction of the MDC led by Deputy Prime Minister
Arthur Mutambara, and which completes the full composition of the inclusive
government, has remained relatively quiet about the outstanding
Zimbabwe bank chief rejects blame for 'killing' economy
Marawanyika (AFP) - 3 hours ago
HARARE - Zimbabwe's Reserve Bank chief
Gideon Gono, who presided over the collapse of the local currency, insisted
he was not to blame for "killing" the nation's economy, in an interview with
He again rejected calls for his resignation after President Robert
Mugabe's unilateral decision to appoint him to a new five-year term last
year -- one of the major disputes facing the eight-month-old unity
"The immorality and irrationality of the whole argument is
that 'Gono must go because he printed money and he killed this economy.'
That's a white lie because no single individual can harm or kill an
economy," he said.
Gono's tenure at the helm of the Reserve Bank saw
inflation soar from already staggering four-digit figures when he took
office in 2003 to numbers estimated in many multiples of billions last
He introduced new bank notes, sometimes every month, in
denominations that reached 100 trillion Zimbabwe dollars -- even after
repeatedly slashing digits to keep the numbers manageable.
government finally abandoned the currency in January and now uses US dollars
as its currency of reference.
Gono also stands accused of siphoning off
state money into secret accounts in Asia and Europe, a charge he
"Whatever I did had authorisation from the government of the
day," said Gono, a former commercial banker.
He described his job as
"a plumber mending burst pipes. I prevented this country from descending
into chaos like Somalia."
In his defence, Gono said "bureaucrats" blocked
his proposals for economic reforms. He points out that he drew ire from
party loyalists for criticising import and price controls that left most
store shelves empty two years ago.
He insisted that feuding between
ZANU-PF and the rival Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has done more
than his policies to hurt the economy, which has been shrinking since
"The greatest economic impediment has been political quarrels
between ZANU-PF and MDC. There was never commonality of vision. While some
were building, others were destroying," Gono said.
He also blamed
western nations for undermining the economy with a travel ban, asset freeze
and other targetted sanctions imposed on himself, Mugabe and other
government officials, even though the sanctions don't affect trade and
investment in Zimbabwe.
"The single biggest obstacle to our economic
progress has been the imposition of sanctions against this country," Gono
The Global Political Agreement (GPA) signed in September 2008,
which led to the creation of the unity government in February, calls for
Mugabe to "consult" with the MDC leader, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai on
Mugabe unilaterally reappointed Gono in October
last year while still in talks with MDC over key government posts, but the
central bank boss said he was properly named.
"I am definite that the
removal of sanctions was mentioned in the GPA and not me," he
However, he conceded that unity deal was the road map against which
the government is "legitimately being judged".
Now, without control
over the money supply, Gono has found his role sharply curtailed and his
influence overshadowed by Finance Minister Tendai Biti, who was drawn from
Gono is publicly feuding with Biti over control of 400 million
dollars in resources from the International Monetary Fund, but said their
sparring was purely professional.
"It's healthy to have professional
differences," he said.
Oct 8 (IPS) - Schooling is increasingly becoming a privilege of the rich, ,
Zimbabwean parents and teachers' unions complain.
cash-strapped education ministry is charging a fee of 20 U.S. dollars per
'A-level' subject to cover costs - but a majority of students have failed to
register at all as they can't afford it.
Secondary school students hoping
to on to higher studies, secure an apprenticeship or a place in a technical
college must register for either five Ordinary Level subjects at U.S. $10
each, or three Advanced Level subjects at $20 each.
But many families
are unable to find the 50 or 60 U.S. dollars needed to
"Where are we supposed to get that kind money?" complains
Zanele Dube, herself a teacher who says she failed to raise examination fees
for her two children.
"This is the reason why we are always demanding
salary increments. Imagine a teacher failing to send her own kids to
school," Dube said. Zimbabwean teachers earn about U.S. $170 per month, but
labour unions have pegged the minimum wage at 430 dollars.
Progressive Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (PTUZ) says that 75 percent of the
300,000 students who had been expected to sit for their "O" and A" level
examinations in November had failed to register before the September
Last month, one prospective public exams candidate took the
Minister of Education to court in a bid to force him to extend the
examination fee payment deadline, a further sign of the desperation of many
students whose parents' monthly incomes are frequently as little as $20, to
raise the money needed to write their finals.
Last week, a government
official from Matebeleland announced that one rural school in the district
had failed to register even one student for public examinations after
parents failed to raise exam fees.
While the ministry extended the
deadline to December before the court ruled on the application by the
prospective examination candidate, as part of efforts to allow parents time
to raise the money, this will not help, says PTUZ.
Coltart says his ministry does not have the money to undo years of damage.
While the ministry has sought assistance from the European Union and various
agencies, nothing has come through yet.
This has meant there is no money
to subsidise the costs of administering the examinations. Coltart says his
ministry needs an immediate injection of at least USD100 million for the
exams to held and their subsequent marking.
The United Nations Children's
Fund (UNICEF) has lamented the decline of the country's education sector in
a country where teachers report that up to ten pupils share a single
"Zimbabwe's education sector, once a model in Africa, continues
to be riddled with challenges. Public financing of the sector declined
significantly over the last decade, leaving most schools with no funds to
purchase even the most basic teaching materials such as text books and
stationery," reads a recent statement by UNICEF.
UNICEF, working the international donor community unveiled a U.S. $70
million Education Transition Fund to assist underprivileged children, but
with lack of interest in education among many students here, this rescue
package could prove to be a little too late.
However, for students like
Munyaradzi Muzanhenhamo, the continuing salary impasse between government
and teacher unions might mean another idle year ahead as there was hardly
any learning this year because of the strike by teachers.
unions have already threatened they might not return to work next year if
government fails to commit itself to meeting their salary demands.
possible we are not going back to classes next year even if we miss writing
this year's examinations," Muzanhenhamo said. "And this could be because
there are no teachers at all or that we failed once again to raise both
tuition and examination fees."
Last year at the height of the teacher
exodus, parents working in South Africa were reportedly transferring their
children from Zimbabwean schools and enrolling them in South Africa where
education in some schools is free.
Now however, children are quitting
school altogether - sometimes without telling their parents - to head to
"the place of gold" - as Johannesburg is known here.
Two Zimbabweans tell of their struggle to get an education and missed
opportunities, as Africa
Have Your Saybroadcasts LIVE from Zimbabwe, asking the youth if they
feel they have a future in the country, since the formation of a unity
government brought an end to the country's downward spiral.
JACK, 20, UNEMPLOYED, CHITUNGWIZA
I feel bitter that I have lost out.
I feel very bad; so bad because we had the best education system in southern
Africa but now it is not.
I did my 'O' levels [GCSE] in 2005.
But for the past four years I have not been able to go to school.
Basically, I blame the situation that we had here as the one that stopped me
from going further with my education.
Even all our most qualified teachers have gone - they are teaching in South
Africa and Botswana. Most pupils are being taught by student teachers.
'We had nothing'
My father died in 2004 and my mother is a civil servant and so it has been
I have been waiting to go back to school. I hope I will be able to one day.
For the past four years I have had to help my mother. I have two younger
siblings in primary school and so I have been helping my mother by trying to
work myself so we could get these guys to school and find something to eat.
For years, some children did not attend school
I worked at a shop and sometimes I had to go to South Africa and do some
small jobs but it didn't work because I didn't have a passport.
My older brother is 22. He's not been living with us. He is based in South
Africa and he's the one who was sending us groceries and supplies and money.
Right now, he doesn't have to send groceries because at least that is OK now.
Before this deal, we had nothing.
You had to stand in a queue for two hours just to get a loaf of bread.
Education here is getting OK again but the problem is how expensive it is
because we are using the US dollar.
Myself, like the majority of people, I don't work and so it is a struggle to
The majority of parents are paid $150 [a month] and for fees, the schools
they want $30. It is a lot. A while back it was even more that the schools were
asking for but no-one could afford so it was actually reduced from $80.
It was too much. Still, some people are not even going to school.
It doesn't help because people just do not have money.
The way I see the future, I am just hoping, but I am very sceptical.
Our leaders, they are always blaming each other. And so the way things are, I
am really, really hoping.
Recently, we have faced a difficult time and even now that is why I am not
revealing my real name because I know how things were and I don't know what will
happen in the future.
I am just hoping that the situation and the intensity of difficulties and
struggles can be adjusted.
It's a long process. How do you know that these plans will be fulfilled?
Everyone is hoping that life can be better but from my own perspective, if
you ask anyone, the situation here will not change until we are free from the
ones that liberated us.
A highly placed source in government has said that the
principals to the Global Political Agreement agreed during their Monday
meeting that the BAZ (the Broadcasting Board of Zimbabwe) should be
The Information Minister Webster Shamu last week named several
media boards, packed with former military men and allies of Robert Mugabe's
ZANU PF party. While he is authorised to appoint board members to NewZiana,
Transmedia, Kingstons and ZBH boards (Zimbabwe Broadcasting Holdings), the
minister overstepped his mark by appointing new Zimpapers and BAZ
The BAZ is supposed to spearhead the opening up of airwaves by
licencing new broadcasters to rival the government's ZBH, presently the
country's sole radio and television broadcaster. But there are few analysts
who believe this will be allowed to happen before the next elections. Since
the creation of the BAZ in 2000 no independent broadcasters have been
Shamu was forced to withdraw the Zimpapers board after being
advised he had no powers to do so because the government, like all other
shareholders, can only recommend names for appointment to the board at the
company's annual general meeting next March.
Shamu also conceded he
was wrong to appoint a new BAZ. But he said the law requires him to
recommend to Mugabe names of people for appointment to the broadcasting
authority. He also said he was not required to consult anyone else other
Tsvangirai told journalists in Harare on Tuesday that the
appointment of board members to the BAZ was the business of the three
principals as stipulated in the GPA. Under the power-sharing agreement BAZ
board members are supposed to be appointed only after full consultation
between Mugabe his coalition partners.
The GPA signed by all parties
to the inclusive government, calls for the country's tough media laws to be
changed and to allow private radio, television and daily newspapers to
operate under a unity government.
But Shamu ignored this and went on to
appoint a new board chaired by the former chairperson of the defunct Media
and Information Commission (MIC), Tafataona Mahoso. This prompted widespread
protests and condemnation because it is believed Mahoso would completely
block the opening up of airwaves.
Mahoso is the wrong man for the BAZ job
after his role at the MIC, where he became known as the 'media hangman'
after ordering the closure of four independent newspapers, including the
Daily News, that were critical of Mugabe and ZANU PF.
Obert Gutu told us he was pessimistic that ZANU PF will agree to a complete
overhaul of the BAZ board. He said any changes would probably be just
cosmetic, taking into account ZANU PF's obsession of not wanting any
'I will not celebrate yet on the proposed changes
to the BAZ board. Those people in ZANU PF are not reformists because they're
so obsessed with power retention,' Gutu said.
Former ZBC radio and
television newscaster Senzo Mpofu said it was obvious ZANU PF were not
comfortable with opening up the airwaves because of the vast influence of
the electronic media.
'Radio and TV are more owerful than any form of
media because they cover almost the width and breath of the country. Most
people are better of listening than reading and Mugabe knows the moment
there is independent radio in Zimbabwe, his chances of winning an election
will be minimal,' Mpofu said.
Cases of serious sexual violence, including the recent rape
of at least one woman by soldiers on an invaded farm, are being
investigated, as members of the armed forces continue their illegal seizure
of the land.
The woman, part of a group of more than ninety farm worker
families from Karori farm in the Headlands district, was reportedly raped
more than a week ago when soldiers evicted them from the farm. Several
people were also beaten in the operation that has formed part of the ongoing
illegal and often violent takeover of the farm owned by Charles Lock. Lock
told SW Radio Africa on Thursday that he is desperately trying to get police
help, but added that "the police can't deal with the soldiers, and they say
there is nothing they can do."
Lock voluntarily gave up his own farm
to the State for the land 'reform' programme in 2002 and moved on to his
father-in-law's farm to head operations there. In 2004 Lock and his
father-in-law were both arrested and charged with being on state land
illegally, after they had been asked to give up yet more land the year
before. Charges against them were dropped and at the time, both the Rusape
Governor and the Land Task Force acknowledged their legal right to the
But since 2007, Lock and his staff have faced ongoing and often
violent intimidation and harassment by the man set on taking over the farm,
army Brigadier General Justin Mujaji. His efforts to force Lock off the land
have been in violation of numerous court orders and arrest warrants against
him, which the police have chosen to ignore. Mujaji and his own personal
army of soldiers have repeatedly looted the farm, interrupted farming
activities and used violence against Lock's staff. Just last year, during
another 'jambanja' by Mujaji's men, Lock's staff were beaten and evicted
from the farm, in an attack similar to the recent eviction
"My workers are all so traumatised and in shock and there is
nothing, absolutely nothing being done," Lock said.
eviction of the workers and the reported cases of rape and sexual harassment
by the soldiers have also been ignored by police. The General Agriculture
and Plantation Workers Union of Zimbabwe (GAPWUZ) is now trying to force an
investigation, with the help of human rights groups in the
"When the women reported to the police, no action was taken
against the soldiers and this has since raised questions as to the extent of
the harassment and as a union we are going to make sure we follow up on this
case using the relevant offices and we have since sought legal assistance
from our human rights partners," said Gertrude Hambira, General Secretary of
The union has reported that more than 60 000 farm workers
have been displaced since the formation of the unity government in February,
as a result of the renewed land-grab offensive. And yet the government has
made no move to put a stop to a country-wide operation that is set to leave
millions of people hungry in the upcoming months. This is all despite
agreements by the principals of the coalition government to encourage food
production and ensure a better Zimbabwe for its people. Instead, the same
principals, including Morgan Tsvangirai and Arthur Mutambara, have made no
move to stop the land attacks, which Robert Mugabe predictably has
Meanwhile, on Karori Farm, Mujaji and his men have continued
their spree of theft on the farm, which Lock and his family no longer has
access to. In recent months, the soldiers stole well over 300 tons of maize
and more than 100 tons of tobacco. In the last few days alone, Lock has
reported that at least seven trucks of maize have been taken from the farm,
totalling more than 200 tons of maize. Again, Lock's pleas for police
intervention or any kind of legal assistance are being ignored.
is ridiculous that these soldiers, who are high ranking and are abusing
their powers, are completely untouchable," Lock said. "The principals to
this government need to do something about the lawlessness in the country or
we will all be lost."
- Spain on Thursday promised to help Zimbabwe improve its relations with the
European Union during its EU presidency in the first half of 2010. Spanish
Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero told Zimbabwean Prime Minister
Morgan Tsvangirai that Spain wanted the EU to step up its dialogue with the
southern African country to help it move towards a "democratic
stabilization," government sources said after the two leaders met in
Tsvangirai, a former political opponent of President
Robert Mugabe who entered a national unity government in February, said he
felt hopeful about the possibilities of a "national reconciliation" in
Tsvangirai asked Spain to promote an "open and
direct" dialogue between his country and the EU to normalize gradually
Zimbabwe's relations with the West.
An EU delegation that
visited Zimbabwe in September said the EU was prepared to normalize
relations and to resume development aid once Harare showed it respected
human rights, and once Mugabe met the conditions set in the agreement that
led to the formation of the national unity government.
Tsvangirai was visiting Spain to meet with Zapatero and to receive a human
Minister Morgan Tsvangirai received a prestigious human rights award and a
lifetime achievement award in Spain on Thursday. Tsvangirai's spokesperson
James Maridadi told SW Radio Africa from Spain that the International Bar
Association has awarded the Prime Minister with their human rights award in
recognition of his efforts to advance the cause of human rights in his
country. Tsvangirai was also given the International Lifetime Achievement
Award 2009 from the Spanish Foundation Cristóbal Gabarrón, for his fight for
peace and democracy.
Maridadi also confirmed the Prime Minister has been
nominated for the much celebrated Nobel Peace prize.
He said: "It is
hardly surprising. If you look at the road Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai
has walked since the formation of the MDC, if you look at the road he has
travelled ever since the formation of the inclusive government. It is hardly
surprising that he would be in the running for a Nobel Peace
The spokesperson went on to say: "We got the information last
night and all he said was that just being nominated alone was enough to
humble him. He looks at the nomination as a vote of thanks to the people of
Zimbabwe in their steadfast quest to bring about democratic change and real
change through peaceful means. He says he has chosen the ballot and not the
bullet to bring about real change in Zimbabwe."
Plumtree, October 8 2009 - Zanu (PF)
officials in Mangwe district have hijacked the Basic Education Assistance
Module (BEAM) fund.
The fund was set up by the government
last month to assist children with school fees from poor backgrounds.
Parents at Chombe secondary school in Mangwe on Wednesday complained about
the nomination and selection process for BEAM beneficiaries which they
claimed was being spearheaded by well known Zanu (PF) officials in the
area. "We do not know if this is a Zanu (PF) or government programme
because the selection forms are being distributed by David Mpala, the local
Zanu (PF) ward chairperson. Children of MDC supporters are having difficulty
...in accessing the forms," said Tumela Ncube, MDC councilor in the
area. Ncube said he had raised the issue with the local headmaster but
said the headmaster had professed ignorance on where Mpala got the forms
which are supposed to be distributed by school authorities. "I
confronted the headmaster about the issue but he explained to me that
different offices such as the district education officers and the Social
Welfare Department are involved in approving the forms. It seems we have a
problem with the selection criteria because these offices only approve what
has been selected already. There is need to establish where Zanu (PF)
officials are getting the forms," said Ncube.
The parents allege
that some of the forms were distributed to Zanu (PF) supporters during a
party meeting held at Chombe business centre last week. When
reached for comment Mpala denied distributing BEAM forms but admitted that
he had helped some children in his ward to access the forms. "I have
facilitated for the forms to be made available in my area. I do not
distribute the forms myself but I link those who need them to respective
offices," he said Mpala.
The Member of the
European Parliament for the East of England, Mr Geoffrey Van Orden, has
confirmed that he will be attending the Zimbabwe Vigil on its 7th
anniversary on Saturday 10th October to accept a petition to the EU
demanding punitive action against the Southern African Development Community
because of their failure to meet their human rights obligations to Zimbabwe. Mr
Van Orden, who has taken a close interest in the Zimbabwean situation, will be
at the Vigil outside the Zimbabwe Embassy in London at
4 pm to accept
the following petition:
to European Union Governments: We record our dismay at
the failure of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to help the
desperate people of Zimbabwe at their
time of trial. We urge the UK government and the
European Union in general to suspend government to government aid to all 14 SADC
countries until they abide by their joint commitment to uphold human rights in
the region. We suggest that the money should instead be used to feed the
starving in Zimbabwe.”
The petition will be handed over by
a Vigil member impersonating President Mugabe who will arrive by rickshaw with
‘first lady’ Grace from a shopping expedition at Harrods to illustrate what
would happen if the EU agreed to the SADC demand to end targeted sanctions
against the Mugabe regime.
Programme for the
– 6 pm Vigil outside the
Embassy, 429 Strand,
– 3.15 pm Mugabe (represented by Fungayi
Mabhunu wearing a Mugabe mask) accompanied by his wife Grace (played by Gugu
Tutani) outside the central Hans
Crescent entrance to Harrods. They can be
photographed with their shopping.
pm Mugabe and Grace arrive at Zimbabwe House by rickshaw with
shopping and present petition to Mr Geoffrey Van Orden, Conservative Party MEP
for East of England, who will say a few words about Zimbabwe.
Mugabe’s Shopping Spree on Vigil’s 7th anniversary
Outside the Zimbabwe
Saturday 10th October 2 – 6
Opportunities: Mugabe and Grace
with their shopping. Mugabe presents petition to EU.
dancing and drumming
Opportunities: Mr Van Orden, political
activists, torture and rape survivors
(07970 996 003), Dumi Tutani (07960 039 775), Ephraim
Tapa (07940 793 090), Fungayi Mabhunu
(07743 662 046), Dennis Benton (07932 193 467).
The Vigil, outside the Zimbabwe
Embassy, 429 Strand, London, takes place every
Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights
in Zimbabwe. The Vigil
which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored,
free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.
This report exposes
the serious inaccuracies in the current electoral roll in Zimbabwe. Because
the current roll is so badly flawed, the report recommends a completely
fresh registration of voters instead of attempting to correct the glaring
deficiencies in the current roll.
An accurate and up to date voters' roll
is essential for the holding of a fair elections. Which voters are enrolled
on the voters' roll could have a decisive impact on which political party
wins the election. An incomplete voters' roll may disenfranchise people who
should be entitled to vote. An inflated roll that has duplicate entries and
continues to have listed persons who have emigrated or died, lend itself to
electoral fraud, by devices such as ballot box stuffing, multiple voting or
manipulation of the figures on returns. An inflated roll will justify
printing of excessive ballot papers thus providing scope for electoral
fraud. An inaccurate roll skews the delimitation of constituencies, as it
will lead to wrong figures of voters in the different constituencies. In
Zimbabwe's first-past-post system for parliamentary seats, inflated figures
in constituencies will increase the number of "wasted votes" in those
constituencies, whereas deflated figures in constituencies will lead to the
voters in those constituencies having a disproportionate effect on the
outcome of the poll.
In the past there have been repeated allegations
that the electoral roll in Zimbabwe is highly inaccurate. The Research and
Advocacy Unit has carried out a comprehensive audit of the roll, using a
methodology full details of which are provided in this report. The
reliability of this methodology and the results of its use can thus be
tested by other researchers. The overall results of the RAU audit are as
Inflated registration figures
The number of voters
enrolled on the 2008 register was 5 934 768. Given the estimated size of the
population and the numbers of Zimbabweans outside the country, the numbers
lacking the necessary documentation to register and the large number of
non-Zimbabweans in the eligible age group, the number of registered voters
appears to be statistically implausible.
Prior to the 2008 elections, the office of the Registrar-General
conducted programmes to register voters using mobile registration stations.
There is convincing evidence that this programme was carried out in a manner
that favoured ZANU PF in its timing, advertising and the areas concentrated
De-registration of voters
About 676 887 voters have been
deregistered since 2002. This is an exceptionally high number if is does not
include persons removed because they have died. The bulk of those
deregistered were Malawian and Mozambican farm labourers and white
Zimbabweans. The ostensible reason for their removal from the roll was that
they had not renounced their entitlement to foreign citizenship and thus
forfeited Zimbabwean citizenship. However, the real motivation for
deregistration of these voters appears to be to de-register those likely to
vote against ZANU PF.
There are 182 564 instances
of entries relating to people with the same identification number who appear
on the rolls twice or more. Duplication cannot be explained on the basis of
migration of voters to different constituencies and a failure to remove
their names from their original constituencies. The large bulk of the
duplicate entries relate to persons registered in two rural constituencies.
This means that the explanation of duplicates arising as a result of urban
drift is untenable.
A distinction must be drawn between duplication and
the erroneous copying of entire blocks of voters in two
Obviously persons who have died must
be removed from the voters' roll. The Registrar-General of Voters also keeps
the register of deaths, it being a legal requirement that all deaths are
reported and entered into a register of deaths. It is thus a simple task to
ascertain which voters have died and these names should be removed from the
roll. By law a constituency registrar must remove any person from the
voters' roll that he has reason to believe is dead. Although RAU had no
access to the register of deaths, it is possible to draw inferences by
analysing the current roll. As the dates of birth of voters are listed on
the roll, inferences can be made on the basis of the age of voters. Some 134
202 people over 90 appear on the roll, with some 30 044 of these with the
listed birth date of 1st January 1901.
Inferences from 2008 election
A comparison can be made between the election rolls and the
election results from the 2008 presidential election polls.
refused to release the detailed results of these polls, but it has published
the returns by province for these polls. The totals of these returns are
inherently implausible. The massive swing of voter preference between the
first round of the election, which Tsvangirai won, to the second round,
which Mugabe won with a landslide, although Tsvangirai had pulled out of
this latter election because of election violence. The second round of the
election was largely unmonitored, which could have allowed for the
submission of fraudulent returns on a massive scale. The voter turnout
between the two elections remained the almost the same, despite an observed
decrease in the number of voters. Despite the inflated voter base, there
were still wards in the 29 March 2008 elections where the percentage poll
exceeded the number of registered voters or was implausibly
There is clear evidence that there are major
flaws in the current electoral roll. The inflated number of voters has
provided scope for electoral fraud. Additionally certain categories of
voters have been disenfranchised.
ZEC has failed to take action to ensure
that the electoral roll is accurate. It has not conducted a proper,
professional audit of the roll.
There is therefore an urgent need to
compile an accurate voters' roll so that voters can be assured that this
vital component of the electoral process will lead to unfairness in the
A complete re-registration of voters could be carried out
efficiently and accurately, and within a reasonable time frame by a South
African company that has carried out voter registration programmes in Africa
funded by the UNDP. It is imperative that this should also be done in
Zimbabwe. This would go a long way to restoring the faith of the electorate
in the integrity of the electoral system.
Zimbabwean Constitutional Affairs Minister Eric
Matinenga said Wednesday that he welcomed President Robert Mugabe's promise
earlier this week that the views of all the people will be considered in the
process of revising the national constitution.
Mr. Mugabe made the
that pledge in remarks Tuesday upon the opening of the second session of
Parliament. The president said thematic committees will "garner the views of
all our people for consideration" as the constitution is revised with a
deadline in late 2010.
Controversy has dogged the revision process,
however, in particular over whether the new basic document should
substantially incorporate the multi-party Kariba draft of 2007 as Mr.
Mugabe's ZANU-PF wants, or if framers should simply pick and choose from
Constitutional Affairs Minister Matinenga told reporter
Jonga Kandemiiri of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe that Mr. Mugabe confirmed
the position his ministry has adopted which is that Zimbabweans should have
full freedom in fashioning their new constitution.
organizations led by the National Constitutional Assembly have vowed to
campaign for a "No" vote in an eventual referendum on the new constitution,
holding that the process should have been led and controlled by an
independent commission, not politicians.
Stephen Chadenga Thursday, October 8, 2009 In Zimbabwe's "highly polarized
environment" the media is political, Permanent secretary in the Ministry of
Media, Information and Publicity and 85-year-old President Robert Mugabe's
spokesperson, George Charamba has said.
Addressing editors from both
the state controlled and private media at a two day UNESCO workshop on
Building Bridges and Closing Gaps-An Editors Dialogue Towards Common Ground
at St Lucia Park in the capital Harare yesterday, Charamba said in today's
"mediased world politics plays throughout the media."
". If truth be
told, in our highly mediased world, politics plays throughout the media.
This is why I am here as your permanent Secretary. I was hired by politics
to make them pretty. I am politics' technician. 'I need you often. I demand
Charamba, who is also President Robert Mugabe's spokesperson, said
editors just like himself have been hired by "political publishers" to
defend certain political positions. "In our highly politicized
environment, the media is politics, raw politics, which is why you are here
as little, imperfect shadows of bickering politicians..
"Like me you
have been hired by political publishers to become their technicians to
either defend and deepen the status qou or to challenge and change it. You
need me, the only difference being that some need me alive while others need
me in a coffin," said Charamba.
The Media Ministry Permanent Secretary,
often accused for blatantly attacking the private media, said the problem of
a polarized media in Zimbabwe is not "imaginary" but reality, adding that
his ministry acknowledged it saying addressing the problem is the first step
in creating an inclusive media industry in the country.
put together this roundtable to deal with the problem of a polarized media.
It is not an imaginary problem. It is real. Let us acknowledge it. We in the
Ministry have acknowledge (sic) it. In fact the thesis of a polarized media
came from the ministry when all of you in the media were still wondering
what it is that afflicted you.
"Your Ministry has already rejected that
polarisation by way of the media indaba we held in Kariba.This was our first
tentative step towards rebuilding an inclusive media industry in the
country," added Charamba.
The outspoken Charamba said editors in Zimbabwe
have never disagreed on professionalism in journalism but that the wide
chasm between state controlled media and private editors is who is better in
power President Mugabe or Prime Minister Tsvangirai.
Zimbabwean editors have not lost one another over professional questions.
The fury has not been over training, remuneration, ethics, escalating input
costs, distribution, advertisers, tax regime...
"The fury has been over
who makes a better prince of power Robert Mugabe or Morgan Tsvangirai; over
who makes a better party Zanu (PF) or MDC-T. Ladies and gentleman you have
been polarized by politics, not by journalism."
"..You have been
polarized by politics not because you are victims of politicians, but
because you have become political yourselves," added Charamba. He said
the trend of journalists turning political activists hit newsrooms at the
same time of the controversial land reform programme.
"The phenomenon of
pressman turned political activist hit our newsrooms about the same time of
land reforms, itself another political milestone, not a journalistic
one." Charamba also lambasted the media bodies in Zimbabwe saying they have
"nothing or little" to do with media interests.
"You guys have tended
to be organized by money, never by promptings of your own minds. The
Voluntary Media Council will never come right until and unless it abolishes
itself, to again found itself as a genuine media effort."
me stiff when violent opposition to the Media and Information Commission
(MIC) is cured by a poor recreation of the same MIC with greater powers
implied by the aura constitutionalism. The raw message coming through the
constitutional Zimbabwe Media Commission (ZMC) that better be misgoverned by
gods than by mere mortals," he said.
Amnesty International USA are
calling on people to support their action to stop further mass evictions taking
place in Zimbabwe.
Currently, thousands of informal traders continue to face forcible eviction
as the government targets vendor stalls in Harare for demolition. Unemployment
in Zimbabwe remains near 90%. These market stalls provide goods at a price
affordable by the populace and generate necessary income for those unable to
work in the formal sector. The mayor of Harare defended these actions by
claiming the stalls were a health hazard and violated city
The action also asks the Zimbabwe government to provide adequate alternative
housing and compensation to victims of Murambatsvina, many of whom are still
living in terrible conditions after the Zanu PF government’s vicious ‘Clear out
the Rubbish’ policy – forced removals – in 2005. To take part, follow this link and send an email to Prime Minister Morgan
Tsvangirai using the tool Amnesty USA have set up.
The video above gives a poignant insight into how terribly people have
suffered, and are still suffering, in the wake of Murambatsvina. Help make sure
it doesn’t happen again by supporting Amnesty’s call to
Implementation of the EU Food Facity in Zimbabwe through FAO Coordination
EU FOOD FACILITY STAKEHOLDER MEETING
Comments by Xavier
Ambassador, Head of EC
you for giving me this opportunity to address you.FAO is a key partner to the EC.It implements fundamental programs in
Zimbabwe in close coordination with Government Authorities.We are working together on building
self-reliance at small farmer level.We
do this in line with current EU restrictive policy towards
year, EC on behalf of EU, will provide around 25 % of all fertilizers needs for
smallholder farmers.This is
significant.Most of this is done
through FAO. Input provision is only part of what we
Indeed, the EC has signed an agreement with FAO, which will provide 15,4
million euros to support self-reliance at small holder farmer level in
is part of a massive worldwide EC Food facility of one billion euros, which was
adopted at the end of last year as a response to the growing food security
problems in many developing countries, resulting in particular to worldwide
higher food prices.
Zimbabwe has been well served by this Facility, comparatively to many
other countries also in need.
In response to the STERP and the preparation
for the coming cropping season this grant will contribute to boost Zimbabwe's
preparedness with mobilization of agricultural inputs such as seeds, fertilizers
and extension support to small scale farmers.
The programme is conceptually simple. It
ensures maximum impact on household and national food availability and security.
It is focused on staple grain production in communal and old resettlement areas.
It will contribute to both household and national food security. It will improve
productivity, and in consequence, food security.
Inputs distribution will be complemented by
well coordinated extension services provided by a range of implementing partners
and government to promote good farming practices, particularly timely planting
and application of some conservation agriculture principles and
The programme is expected to support 176,000
farmers in Natural Regions II, III and IV. In these areas, production costs per
metric tonne are comparable to current import parity prices, or below. With good
rains, timely implementation and effective coordination, yields and production
could easily double, further reducing production costs, and contribute to making
Zimbabwe self sufficient in staple grain production. Then, no need for food aid
anymore, with less financial support needed which is even
This programme is part of a wider EC policy
aiming at moving this country from Food Aid to Food Security. We strongly feel
that the stabilisation and eventual rehabilitation of the agricultural sector in
Zimbabwe is crucial to her economic revival.
We are significantly supporting rural
populations to improve livelihood security. This includes health, water, basic
education, social services. This is done through NGO's, UN agencies, and
We also work extensively with farmers Unions:
ZFU, CFU, ZCFU.
Let me remind here that between 2002 and
2008, EC on behalf of EU has committed more than 570 million euros to support
the population of Zimbabwe, mostly in rural areas.
Under the Global Political Agreement, we are
now implementing a Short Term Strategy of around 110 million euros, most of them
again in relation to food security including health and basic
The EC has a strong experience in agriculture
in Zimbabwe. When and if full normalisation is achieved between the EU and
Zimbabwe, as a result of the ongoing political dialogue process launched in
Brussels on 18 June by the Prime Minister and his inclusive delegation, then
massive and full fledged assistance can be unleashed again.
But more importantly Government has to take
its responsibilities. The decline in the agricultural production is indeed
related to failing Government Polices associated to issues relating to the way
the land and agrarian reform program has been conducted. These need to be
addressed by Government.
The land reform, as has been conducted, has
had catastrophic effects causing the large scale commercial agricultural sector
and with large part of the support industry to collapse almost entirely. The
small scale sector which is strongly dependent on the former has also been
severely hit and outputs have declined significantly.
We are ready to assist Government to
implement an inclusive, transparent, and comprehensive land audit as provided
for in the GPA, and which should be aimed at resolving the land issue. This is
the bigger picture, which cannot be ignored if Zimbabwe's agriculture is to
become highly successful again.
Of course, we need good rains, and
rainfall is the
immediate external challenge faced by farmers every year. In Zimbabwe, rainfall
is by essence erratic, from year to year and within a season. I profoundly hope
that rains will be good this year, in quantity and in
can be a blessing, a curse, or even a cover up. But with proper policies,
sufficient inputs, and good agricultural techniques, it can become a secondary
Zimbabwe will not focus on rain as much as she does now, then we all will
conclude that she has regain total self sufficiency and
anticipate a bleak future… as the world
commemorates World Habitat Day
Habitat day comes at a time when residents of Harare have become victims of poor
urban planning, forced evictions, corruption and bad local governance practices.
While the population of Harare has increased significantly, nothing much has
been done in terms of upgrading the sewer reticulation system, water
infrastructure and housing security; a situation that has drained hopes of a
better future for the residents of Harare.
Despite the fact
that the sewer reticulation system has been stretched beyond its carrying
capacity due to population increase in the City, the local authority and the key
Ministries responsible have not done enough to improve living conditions of the
residents. For example, the Mbare Matapi, Nenyere and Shawasha Flats which are
in a state of collapse have been over- crowded to the extent that a room which
is meant to accommodate 2 bachelors is now housing more than 15 people; a
situation that has put a strain on the sanitary facilities in the area. This has
led to constant leakages of raw sewer due to burst sewer pipes and blockages.
Media reports have revealed that the City of Harare is planning to demolish
these flats so that better ones can be built. Thus the occupants of these flats
are facing pending evictions but they do not have anywhere to go. This is a
clear indication of poor planning on the part of the City of Harare. The first
thing that would have been expected of a Council that was voted into office by
the same residents would have been to construct alternative accommodation for
these people before demolishing the flats instead of replaying another Operation
Operation Murambatsvina, a notorious exercise which was unleashed by the former
government and its state apparatus in May 2005 continue to live in temporary
shelters in areas like Hopely Farm, Gunhill and Highlands informal settlements,
Mukuvisi and Caledonia. The City of Harare continues to sell housing stands to
private land developers who in turn sell those stands to the public at prices
beyond the reach of many. Thus decent accommodation remains inaccessible to many
residents. The City’s Department of Housing continues to have endless waiting
lists of residents who need housing stands in spite of the fact that Council is
leasing some pieces of land for commercial purposes. This unfortunate situation
has also persisted partly due to the fact that Operation Garikai, a programme
that was supposed to benefit these homeless people, was abused by some
politicians who saw this as an opportunity to increase their properties and
partly because the city fathers have not seen the need to build houses for these
With this year’s
theme being “Planning our urban future”, CHRA urges the Council to make
the provision of decent housing to every resident of Harare one of its top
priorities. Informal settlements will forever be a part of this city for as long
as the Council does not embark on projects that focus on providing shelter for
its residents. CHRA remains committed to advocating for good and accountable
local governance as well as lobbying for quality and affordable municipal
services on a non partisan basis.
Writing about Zimbabwe every day can
be most educational - especially when, in the last few years, I have learned
more about mathematics than I did in all my years at school.
could have dreamt that I would ever have use for such figures: "Three
hundred and sixty five octillion, two hundred and thirty six septillion,
five hundred and forty four sextillion, eight hundred and seventy six
quintillion, three hundred and twenty four quadrillion, five hundred and
sixty four trillion, six hundred and seventy two billion, four hundred and
fifty three million, one hundred and eighty five thousand, three hundred and
thirty three dollars and fifty two cents only"? (Don't you love the "only"
at the end of the cheque?
In figures, this would read "365 236 876
325 564 673 453 185 333,52"!
Yes, I fully realise that this is an
internet "spoof" but this kind of figure was commonplace in Zimbabwe until
they decided to shelve the local currency which cost more to print than the
face value of the notes.
And whilst this sort of huge figure accounting
must have led to some almighty faux pas, I think that it would be a safe
assumption to reckon that there was also some fairly imaginative accounting
practises adopted across the board!
I do hasten to assure you that
not all of these practises were fraudulent.
These huge figures have faded
into our memories with the economy adopting the currencies of South Africa,
America and the UK.
I was rather interested, therefore, in an article
that I read today that dealt with inaccuracies in the electoral nominal role
- and the facts therein suggest that the listing wad given the same amount
of attention as the broken Zimbabwean economy.
"A preliminary report
released by the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU) has found that 74,021 names
on Zimbabwe's voters' roll are for people aged 100 and over. The report,
titled '2013 Vision - Seeing Double and the Dead' also found that there are
82,456 people registered who are aged between 90 and 100. These figures are
quite amazing when you consider that average life expectancy in Zimbabwe is
34 for women and 37 for men, and in light of the fact that the World Health
Organisation predicts that only 14.7% of people live beyond 60 in
This is just one massive question thrown up by the RAU's audit
of Zimbabwe's voters' roll - the same roll used in the discredited 2008
The researchers have not been able to determine whether the
very large number of elderly people on the voters roll (over 17% of the roll
comprises people aged 60 and over) are living or deceased. Under Zimbabwe's
repressive 'Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act' (AIPPA),
the RAU was obliged to apply to the Registrar-General for an electronic copy
of registered deaths. The Registrar-General is obligated to reply within 30
days of receiving the request - but he failed to comply with the
The report goes on to highlight how 3 voters are supposed to have
put together 339 ballots - and for some reason this is overlooked by the
Zimbabwe Electoral Commission who reported a 'free and fair' election -
evidently not when you remember that ZANU PF operatives removed the ballot
boxes of the first round of the Presidential election and held them at an
unknown place for five weeks.
In that time, the ballot result was
re-adjusted to ensure that Morgan Tsvangirai's vote count did not cross the
50% plus one vote needed to defeat Mugabe. Obviously I am in no position to
substantiate this claim, but surely it is evident enough.
highlights other irregularities. For example, the researchers also call
attention to the large number of duplicate entries on the roll. Despite the
fact that the Registrar-General has said, "There is no way an ID number can
appear twice in the same roll as alleged," the researchers show that in some
cases ID numbers, names, addresses, birth dates and all details are
duplicated. Specifically: 182564 instances of duplicate entries were
identified where people were registered in two or more constituencies
simultaneously. The report acknowledges that this is could happen, for
example, if a person was registered in one constituency during one poll, and
another a second time. However they point out that 66.7% of the constituency
shifts (if this is what the duplicate entries are supposed to signify) occur
in rural areas, and therefore do not reflect the typical rural-urban
migration pattern that has taken place in recent years in
Mugabe and his cohorts obviously love to play with numbers,
but their web of deceit and lies has a habit of being found out. Sadly, not
within a timeframe that allows anyone to object or prevent such
Mathematics in Zimbabwe has magical overtones that we were
never made privy to at school.