Themba Mliswa, the controversial
fitness trainer, was arrested in Karoi on Tuesday after he allegedly
assaulted two commercial farmers, with whom he is locked in a legal battle
over the ownership of their property, and a
Mliswa, reportedly in
the company of the "Top Six" Zanu PF gang, allegedly attacked the two
farmers, the policeman and the messenger of court at Springs Farm in
A police officer in Karoi confirmed
the arrest of Mliswa and nine other suspects, but declined to give
He referred further questions to
Superintendent Freedom Gumbo, the officer commanding Karoi District, who
refused to discuss the matter over the
The incident occurred after
John Coast and Allen Parrson went to the farm, equipped with a High Court
order allowing them to remove their personal belongings from properties they
own in the area.
Both farmers are
directors with Hesketh Park Estates (Pvt) Ltd. Parrson runs Meadville
Investments (Pvt) Ltd which owns Springs Farm, occupied by
In January, the two farmers filed
an urgent application in the High Court in a bid to recover property worth
about $200 million from their farms.
The order was granted on 28 January .
farmers, accompanied by Brighton Chiimba, the assistant deputy sheriff, were
on Tuesday escorted to Springs Farm by an Inspector Khumalo and three other
officers, all from Karoi Police Station.
They were confronted by Mliswa and about 15 Zanu PF activists, among them
members of the notorious "Top Six Gang", upon their arrival at the farm.
Mliswa allegedly ordered the youths to attack the
A Constable Mwachenuka at Karoi
Police Station confirmed the incident.
said Khumalo was in a stable condition after being treated at Karoi Hospital
Kelvin Weir, a Karoi
resident, said he drove the farmers to Chinhoyi General Hospital where they
were treated before being transferred to the Avenues Clinic in
They were discharged after
receiving further treatment.
"The other policemen escaped during the attack, but Inspector Khumalo was hit
on the head with a rifle butt.
escaped over the top of a razor wire fence but sustained serious leg injuries
in the process.
"Parrson's gun was taken
from him and held to his head by one of the militants. The man cocked the gun
and pulled the trigger, unaware that there were no
"All the time Mliswa and his
colleagues said they would kill the 'white pigs' referring to the
Coast was severely assaulted,
resulting in him receiving six stitches on the head and eight others on the
Parrson, now in Harare, said they
went to Karoi at Gumbo's invitation.
"Superintendent Gumbo summoned myself and Coast to Karoi where we
were supposed to identify our equipment which Mliswa was reportedly selling,"
"Inspector Khumalo was
accompanied by members of the Police Internal Security Intelligence and two
officials from the Deputy Sheriff's
"Mliswa arrived as we were about
to leave the farmhouse and immediately ordered the youths to attack and kill
On 10 January, Mliswa allegedly
assaulted Parrson's wife, Jenny, after she visited the
Hart Wynand, the director of Justice
for Agriculture, the radical farmers' lobby group, said Mliswa kicked Parrson
all over the body and pounded Coast's four-wheel-drive vehicle with iron
THE trial of two prosecutors from
the Harare Magistrates' Court who allegedly solicited for a $15 000 bribe
from a defendant in return for a favourable sentence, started yesterday with
one State witness testifying.
Prosecutors Zephania Lifa and Duvai Clemance Sixpence, who were represented
by Ralph Maganga, pleaded not guilty.
their defence, the two denied the charges saying the allegations were
fabricated in order to tarnish their
The State alleges that on 30
January this year, Elvis Mupandasekwa, a driver at Opticare Opticians,
appeared before Harare magistrate Sukai Tongogara, facing bigamy charges and
was supposed to be sentenced on the next
Mupandasekwa asked Lifa, the
prosecutor, if he knew the sentence he was likely to get and Lifa said he
would be given a jail term because the magistrate presiding over the case was
unpredictable, the State alleges.
allegedly told Mupandasekwa something could be done for him to be fined and
escape a jail term.
fell for the arrangement.
then given a note by Lifa to pass on to Sixpence, who Lifa said was a friend
of Tongogara and would talk to her during tea break, so that she would order
Mupandasekwa to pay a fine instead of being jailed, the State
Sixpence purportedly telephoned
the magistrate in the presence of Mupandasekwa, who did not hear the
The State alleges that
Sixpence demanded $15 000 from Mupandasekwa for him to talk to
Sixpence refused to accept the
money in his office and referred Mupandasekwa to Lifa, who received the
payment in his office, the
Mupandasekwa to pay a fine of $10 000 to be cleared of the bigamy
The matter came to light when
Mupandasekwa's wife Muchaneta reported to the police that her husband had
paid two prosecutors to be freed.
Magistrate Daniel Shonhiwa is presiding over the case, while Virginia Mabiza,
from the Attorney-General's Office, is
THE Confederation of Zimbabwe
Industries (CZI) and government, chiefly the Energy Ministry, were scheduled
to discuss yesterday the country's energy and power pricing policies as well
as imminent blackouts in factories, which have shunted an already bleeding
industry into deeper problems.
Captains of commerce and indeed, CZI acting chief executive, Farai Zizhou,
said that a meeting, to examine the deepening power crisis, was pencilled in
for Harare yesterday.
At the forum, the
parties were to discuss electricity billing and tariffs, while the Zimbabwe
Electricity Supply Authority was expected to justify reasons for wanting
payment in foreign currency, especially from exporting
"Really, Zesa has been immutable on
these issues (electricity tariff adjustments and payment in foreign
currency)," said a source close to
He said the Zimbabwean
power utility has been "fairly rigid" in its approach and stance. The
Electricity House executive chairman, Sydney Gata, was unavailable for
comment as he was not answering his mobile
Industrialists, the sources
charged, were also hunching to talk about incessant power cuts only in
They charged that
load-shedding, effected some two weeks ago and thinly spread to domestic
consumers, was so haphazard and unpredictable that industrialists were losing
millions in wasted resources and manhours.
Industry was reeling because of an enormous 1 600 percent increase in levies,
in the wake of the devaluation of the Zimbabwe dollar to $800 against the
American unit for hard cash earners.
increase, denominated in United States currency, saw massive jumps in tariffs
from six Zimbabwean cents to US$0,04 (Z$2,20) a
Domestic rates, meanwhile, were
expected to go up by another 70 percent this
But the quandary in which
Zimbabwe's industry finds itself in is worse than any other, given the
widespread shortages of liquid fuels and foreign currency to procure
equipment spares as well.
effected at least twice a day in industrial areas such as Graniteside and
accounting for a cumulative 50 hours a week, has seen industry bleeding
further at the expense of disorganisation and lack of forward planning by the
Admittedly, Zesa, living on
the goodwill of regional utilities and owing supplier companies from the
Southern Africa Development Community some US$140 million, needs money for
more energy imports and to retire debts, but the measures to resuscitate it
should not put jobs on the line, industrialists
On the other hand, steps to charge
in foreign currency raised a legal issue, on whose basis industry could
resist the measure, analysts say.
Mugabe's state of disaster
decree meaningless: farmers
4/10/2003 1:38:25 AM (GMT +2)
Oscar Nkala in Bulawayo
declaration of a state of disaster in Matabeleland South has not improved the
plight of people and their livestock, communal farmers in the province have
Mugabe declared the province
a state of disaster last month because it is the hardest hit by
About 6 000 cattle face death due
to drought throughout the province while an estimated 40 000 cattle succumbed
to the drought by the end of
A cross-section of people
from various parts of the province interviewed in a street survey in Gwanda
at the weekend said there was nothing to show that the government's promised
drought recovery programme was working.
"Since last month we have been made to believe that we would be receiving
food aid and stockfeed but nothing has arrived in my area so
"People are still going hungry and
the cattle are continuing to die," said Simon Mathema from Manama, about 80km
south-west of Gwanda.
He said the food
situation had not improved contrary to promises of a speedy distribution of
grain following the declaration of the province as a state of
Cecilia Dube, a communal farmer
from Shashe, said she was not aware of the
"That is news to me and I am
sure most people in my area are not aware of it. What I can say is that we
are starving and the situation is
"Many people have now
resorted to eating the roots of the mtope tree to survive. As for livestock,
there is nothing left to be saved." Locals say the mtope tree's roots are
Said Sabelo Ncube: "This is not
the first time a state of disaster has been declared in this province.
Previous such declarations had all failed in the past because the intended
beneficiaries were allegedly never told.
The assistant district administrator for Gwanda, Gladys Chikowore, confirmed
that the district had not received any deliveries of stockfeed. She, however,
said most of the feeding centres were ready for
Chikowore said: "We have finished
preparing feeding centres but we have not yet received any deliveries of
livestock feed. I am, however, not aware of complaints about some stockfeed
centres being far from the railway line and ignorance of the
programme." Under the livestock rescue
programme, the government has designated 25 feeding points in Gwanda
However, only 15 were ready for
use by the end of last week.
Beitbridge, only 13 out of the 30 designated feeding points were ready for
The government promised that
stockfeed would be delivered by rail to all the feeding
The farmers complained that most
of them were too far from the
However, no deliveries of
stockfeed have been made to the points since the launch of the so-called
accelerated drought mitigation programme late last
Beitbridge district administrator
Edson Mbedzi declined to comment, saying he was on
PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday
attacked government officials for allegedly failing to implement ideas that
could improve Zimbabwe's lot.
"Quite often, we have ideas. We think them out, but the ideas continue to
remain ideas. Feasibility studies are conducted - pre-feasibility studies,
post-feasibility studies - and they take time to shape
Mugabe's government is under
pressure to come up with solutions to the current economic
Mugabe and his government
normally blame the MDC and Britain for dragging the economy into the
In response to the economic
meltdown, the government has come up with the chaotic land reform programme
and has adopted a new economic recovery plan cobbled in consultation with
labour and business.
Mugabe, who had been
invited to officially open the Scientific and Industrial Research and
Development Centre (SIRDC), has often used public events to hit out at
members of his government.
cited the director-general of SIRDC, Professor Christopher Chetsanga, as one
of the few practical men.
"With SIRDC, it took only 10 years to get here. Chris is a practical man and
we want many more practical people."
Chetsanga has developed SIRDC from scratch into Africa's second largest
technology centre outside South Africa.
reference to the shortage of fuel and electricity, Mugabe challenged SIRDC to
look for alternative sources of energy.
But, as has become predictable, he took the occasion to indirectly launch a
broadside against the Anglo-American war on
"I know that some of you would have
hoped for the discovery of oil, but there is a danger in discovering it," he
The government is currently
struggling to secure fuel and electricity needed to keep industry and
Mugabe said the
scarcity of fuel and electricity was contributing to high production costs
incurred by industry and problems faced by
The HIV/Aids pandemic
and the shortage of food has also wreaked havoc in Zimbabwe, with more than
80 percent of the country's population living below the poverty datum
It is estimated that 2 000 people
are dying from the HIV/Aids pandemic every week.
The alleged massacre of more than
20 000 civilians by the army's North Korean-trained 5 Brigade in Matabeleland
and Midlands regions in the 1980s is far from being buried and forgotten as a
regrettable development, it would
The Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights (ZLHR) and Legal Resources Foundation (LRF) are seeking a Supreme
Court order compelling President Mugabe to release the findings of the
Chihambakwe and Dumbutshena inquiries into the 1980s disturbances in the two
The lawyers' organisations say
the reports by the Dumbutshena Commission and Chihambakwe Committee should be
published by Government Printers.
cited the Attorney-General (AG) as the second respondent
Commission, chaired by the late former Chief Justice Enock Dumbutshena, was
instituted by the government to investigate the disturbances following
clashes between the former liberation armies of Zipra and Zanla in Entumbane,
Bulawayo, in the early 1980s, while the Chihambakwe Committee, chaired by
Harare lawyer Simplisius Chihambakwe, was set up to investigate alleged
atrocities on civilians in Matabeleland and Midlands following the deployment
of the army to counter armed dissidents in
The Dumbutshena Report
was compiled in 1982 while the Chihambakwe Report was completed in 1984, but
the government has kept a lid on the findings in the two
An estimated 20 000 people were
victims of atrocities which were allegedly perpetrated by the armed
dissidents and State security agents.
atrocities allegedly committed included murder, disappearances, torture and
detention of both civilians and combatants, rape, injury and destruction of
Mugabe came close to publicly
apologising for the atrocities during his graveside eulogy to the late
Vice-President Joshua Nkomo in July 1999 when he said he regretted the loss
Many others were maimed or left
homeless as members of5 Brigade swept through the two provinces to counter
the dissident insurrection.
The ZLHR and
LRF, in their heads of argument, however, shot down suggestions by government
officials that publishing the reports would "open old
They argued that the Catholic
Commission for Justice and Peace had published a report detailing the
atrocities committed and that no "old wounds" had been opened since the
report was published in February 1997.
failing or refusing to make the reports public, Mugabe was hindering their
enjoyment of freedom of expression, the lawyers' organisations
The Supreme Court reserved
judgment in the matter on 13 March.
ZLHR and LRF said Mugabe's failure or refusal to make the reports public
amounted to depriving them of information which would "assist Zimbabweans in
knowing the causes as well as consequences of the disturbances, identifying
the victims and drawing lessons from the
This would also assist
in building true reconciliation which is based upon knowledge of the truth,
The Civil Division of the AG's
Office, representing Mugabe and the AG, said by withholding the reports,
Mugabe was exercising his executive authority provided for by the
Constitution and that the court could not interfere with
"It is submitted that laws that
allow the President to withhold publication of a report made after a
Commission of Inquiry is justifiable in a democratic society," reads part of
the respondents' heads of argument.
right to information is not absolute and must be balanced against the
responsibility of the government to maintain public order and protect public
"The President is, by virtue of
executive privilege, permitted to withhold such a report where he deems it to
be confidential and its revelation would be prejudicial to public safety and
"It is submitted that an order by
the court to make public the reports in issue would offend the principle of
separation of powers and be detrimental to the public
When the freedom fighters
took up arms against white colonialists, they sacrificed absolutely
everything for the attainment of independence. They sacrificed their lives
and those of their families for the betterment of the nation and the
oppressed black majority.
It was a fight
against a system that denied the people's birthright to access the fruits of
the nation's economic success that the country's white population enjoyed
while denying them political freedom, self-rule and freedom of choice.
Because of those grievances, the war was fought and independence was
But now, from a different angle,
we are faced with a system that reigns without the people's concerns at heart
and, of late, without their consent either. Ironically, it's a system
perpetrated by those who were in forefront of the fight to liberate the
It is now becoming increasingly
clear that the very same sacrifices made by the freedom fighters during the
colonial war are needed for the removal of the incumbent
Immediately after independence,
the "blood-is-thicker-than-water" edict of the struggle was soon to be
forgotten. There was one war that was not executed with the urgency it
deserved. It was the Economic War.
empowerment in the economy was overlooked and only a few who had access to
powerful and influential people in the new government
Differences in opinions led to
the launch of political parties with different views. This brought about the
tribe-fix-tribe, province-fix-province and the individual-fix-individual type
The Unity Accord of 1987,
which seemed to keep things latent, did not help in any way as corruption on
a larger scale continued undeterred.
parties were formed, seemingly with stronger and more plausible policies and
opinions and supported by the whites. It could be seen that another war was
to be fought.
The same freedom fighters
(war veterans) were manipulated into spearheading a chaotic land reform
programme which dealt a further blow to an already wobbling
Senior government officials in
Zanu PF and the war veterans, the very people who brought us independence,
have taken away our freedom. This is
The people of
this beloved country have tried to win back their freedom, but in vain. What
is independence without freedom, really?
Basically all the elections (parliamentary, presidential, by- and council) in
this country have been punctuated by violent persecution of the opposition
supporters and their leaders.
intelligent young men and women, supposed to be the future leaders of this
country, have been tortured and brutally
If electoral fraud is the only
way the incumbent regime chooses to remain in power, there has got to be
another way for the opposition.
President has vowed not to step down. But things are continuing
to deteriorate while he pursues rhetoric tirades with the British
Does the President
really know that the people are not fighting against either Britain or the
United States, but against the bringers of hunger, poverty and
If Zanu PF cannot bring people
food, employment, freedom to choose, associate and express themselves and
independence of thought, then it should step
Instead of addressing the nation's
problems, they are bent on passing laws that continue to muzzle the
oppressed, the hungry, unemployed and
If then, the electorate is
gagged by repressive laws from presenting their grievances, who do those in
power listen to - themselves?
our independence through the assistance of neighbouring countries. We once
again need them in these troubled times, but where are they? They are in
support of a regime that lets its people go
Olusegun Obasanjo and Thabo Mbeki
are not doing anything close to solving our problems. They support the Mugabe
regime on Pan-Africanist expediency.
Pan-Africanism at the expense of the suffering masses in strife-stricken
Zimbabwe is the least we need from these revered
We need back the international
community from powerhouses like the US, Britain, the European Union, the
Commonwealth, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to
resuscitate our economy. These countries supporting Mugabe are getting
monetary aid from these institutions, while international isolation is
battering the country. This talk from the
President about protecting the sovereignty of the State is nauseating, to say
the least. Who does not know what sovereignty entails? Zanu PF is the one
promulgating its interests in the country by creating militia to frustrate
people's independence of thought. Who in the world has ever created a force
to fight against his own people? This shows utter instability in him and his
Back to the sacrifices that
Zimbabweans have to take up to win back their freedom. This freedom was won
during the presidential election, but was taken away by the manipulation of
the voters' roll in favour of Zanu PF. Statistics of the recently undertaken
national census prove this.
people need to do is to shed off political passivity, because who feels it
knows it. What is needed now is action. Zanu PF won't move an inch through
In the book, The Struggle
Continues, Kwame Nkrumah calls for what he calls "Positive Action". This, he
explains as, "By Positive Action we mean the adoption of all legitimate and
constitutional means by which we can cripple the forces . . . in this
country. The weapons of Positive
Action are: Legitimate political
agitation; Newspaper and educational
campaigns; and As a last resort, the
constitutional application of strikes, boycotts, and non-co- operation based
on the principle of absolute
It is then obligatory for
the opposition to strongly strategise along these lines. Mobilise the people
for an effective, non-violent confrontational mass action against the
like to complement the views of Mwana Chita's letter to The Daily News of 7
April, 2003. Why is UN silent on Zimbabwe?
The United Nations' loud silence on Zimbabwe's political crisis is indeed
I wonder whether the UN wants
to see another Rwanda in Zimbabwe before it intervenes, or at least notices
Talking of Rwanda, I believe
timely action on the part of the UN could have saved millions of lives. This
thought gives me a chilling feeling that that horrific history could repeat
itself in Zimbabwe.
Recently, North Korea
flew a nuclear missile over Japan and the UN maintained its
I am also beginning to believe
that the UN sanctions against Iraq after the Gulf War were also
Why did the UN not simply get
rid of Saddam Hussein who led to those sanctions
The UN has effectively rendered
itself a toothless bulldog. Now that the US and Britain have gone it alone in
Iraq, the UN has begun barking to the effect that it should run post-war
Iraq. What hypocrisy! The UN now wants to take part in skinning the
The UN seems to have no penal
policy against the Saddams of this world, and one of them, who has "degrees
of violence" is threatening our very existence here. No wonder there is a
concerted effort by Ibbo Mandaza and company to portray George W Bush as a
I wonder if our South African
brothers, with the eccentric Thabo Mbeki at the forefront, would act as human
shields for us if Bush decided to topple our self-proclaimed
Anti-Bush sentiment is so thick in
the air now, he would not go out of his way to do
With the UN as a passive spectator,
Mugabe's bloody game in the Zimbabwean arena would be very
on rule of law in Zimbabwe are
4/10/2003 1:21:24 AM
The interview in which the
Minister of State for Information and Publicity in the President's Office,
Jonathan Moyo, was quizzed on the rule of law and human rights in Zimbabwe
was infuriating, to say the least.
to say there is rule of law and that Zimbabwe has a commendable human rights
record is abusing our intelligence and misusing taxpayers' money from which
he is paid.
It is insulting for Moyo to
say that the torture of Job Sikhala may have been an intensive interrogation.
Such utterances expose him as an ignorant mouthpiece, as far as Zimbabwe
Republic Police interrogation tactics are
As a former member of the ZRP,
I am well-versed in interrogation tactics and I am professional enough to
draw the line between interrogation and blatant
Sikhala was tortured and that is
It would be interesting for the
minister to tell us what happened to the forensic report on The Daily News
bombing. Real bombs that were used, not the so-called dynamite and petrol
bombs to which he refers.
Is that why the
former police superintendent who was in charge of ballistics when The Daily
News was bombed was moved to a clerical job at Harare Central Police
It would also be interesting to
call on the forensic experts to produce the results of the "dynamite and
The minister should just
shut up and contemplate going on another shopping spree
to South Africa this Easter, rather than
further infuriating the already angry
Zimbabweans to hold 18 April demo in
4/10/2003 1:18:00 AM (GMT
By Sandra Nyaira in the United
HE RAN the gauntlet of violence,
kidnappings and arrests with his supporters and colleagues as Zanu PF fought
to ensure victory in the 2000 parliamentary elections and the subsequent
by-election after Border Gezi's death.
Elliot Pfebve, 34, the MDC's candidate in Bindura for the two elections, lost
his brother, Matthew, at the height of political violence of the 2000
He successfully sued
Zanu PF for damages in a United States court last year. His offices were
constantly raided and he lost property worth millions of dollars. He suffered
emotional stress, harassment and intimidation that affected, not only
himself, but hundreds of other opposition supporters
Now as Zimbabwe prepares
to celebrate its 23rd anniversary of independence from Britain, Pfebve and
others who have been forced into exile in the UK are looking back and finding
there is little, if anything,
Pfebve says on 18 April
Zimbabweans must gather around the world in their numbers to commemorate and
remember the gallant sons and daughters who died fighting for an independence
that is now being abused by Zanu PF to muzzle the Press, freedom of speech,
association and other freedoms consistent with
He says the day should be used
to mourn the death of democracy
Today Pfebve is living in
the UK and says he is helping the struggle for Zimbabwe's "independence" from
another front. "I have seen hell on earth and being here is more of a tonic,"
said Pfebve this week.
"A lot of things
have happened in my life from the day I decided to join the fight for
democracy in Zimbabwe and these include attempted assassinations, destruction
of my property, the murder of my brother
"So we cannot call this
independence. Real independence will come. It is not the one we are
"I came here because the
MDC wanted me to help organise the party, especially here and in the United
States of America. I did not claim political asylum. I am working for the
party and will continue to do that until we liberate the people of
Pfebve has teamed up with other
Zanu PF critics in the UK and is mobilising international support against
President Mugabe's government.
behind the MDC in the UK are party chairman Brain Bako
Pfebve, who is writing a
book about his experiences and Bako, are well-known figures from London to
Ireland as they mobilise support from various governments and organisations,
appraising them of the situation
Operating from Birmingham,
Bako and Pfebve are part of the MDC executive that organises weekly vigils at
the Zimbabwean High Commission and other protest parades at major
institutions, including the House of Commons and UN
Bako says: "We are planning a big
demonstration outside Zimbabwe House on 18 April. To us, there is nothing to
celebrate. It is a protest that 23 years down the line, Zimbabweans continue
to suffer. Most people are worse off than they were during colonial rule. We
did not fight colonialism to be subjected to more ruthlessness from a fellow
He says the fact that the
government's chaotic land reform programme had only benefited Mugabe's
cronies and other hangers-on was ample evidence that the people of Zimbabwe
still needed real independence.
beatings, escalating torture and violence against opposition supporters and
all the other ills happening in our country show that Zanu PF could be
likened to a horse having its last kicks," says
He said the MDC executive was
mobilising party supporters in the UK to attend the massive demonstration and
wear black armbands to mourn the death of democracy in what was once revered
as the jewel of Africa.
Apart from the
usual drum-beating, singing and political speeches, prayers will form a major
part of the demonstration.
God's importance in this struggle, so we will devote our time to prayers as
well at Zimbabwe House," says Bako.
children will never understand what independence means with all the
oppression that is going on in the country. It is all meaningless, so there
is need for total change."
Zimbabwe's fiercest critic abroad, is popular on TV and radio channels such
as the BBC, CNN, News 24, the BBC World Service and others. He boasts of
having helped form and nurture 36 MDC branches in the UK
Pfebve has been part of
"Things did not move as quickly as we
hoped or desired since 1999 but we continue the struggle from another front
here," he says
"We have been mobilising
support and funds for victims of political violence and many other activities
that include the development of schools in our constituencies and feeding
Bako and Pfebve will be among
leaders moving around the embassies and international organisations as 18
April approaches to remind them of the scars being left by marauding Zanu PF
youths and supporters through well-orchestrated acts of violence and
"The majority of our branches
are working alongside their local MPs here to make sure they always remind
them of the need to raise questions about Zimbabwe in the House of Commons,"
"It really is only a matter of
time before the Mugabe regime crashes. It is losing its grip and cannot
continue for long if the majority of the international community does not
support it. That's how we will commemorate independence this
The MDC here will, during the next
weeks, also be advocating for the strengthening of sanctions against Mugabe's
government to make sure all those benefiting from the regime, including their
children and relatives, are denied entry to European Union countries,
schools, universities and access to
Pfebve and Bako say Zimbabweans at
home should not underestimate Zanu PF's power since their own lives, even in
the UK, were in danger as the government has a network of undercover agents
"People must know that no amount of
money will ever be able to buy back the loved ones we lost in the struggle
for democracy under a black government," Pfebve says. "It is really painful
and as we go towards what is supposed to be our independence day, we should
remember all those innocent souls who have been tortured, killed, maimed and
left homeless by a desperate regime seeking to maintain a tight grip on
It remains to be seen how
eloquently Bako and Pfebve can put the case against Zanu PF, to be able to
influence international policy from their Birmingham
Development Community taskforce is due in the country, a couple of days after
Sadc foreign ministers were in the country, and also a few days after Zanu PF
lost two crucial by-elections to the MDC in
Will those people be paraded
before the Sadc visitors to "prove" how lawless the MDC is and how
law-abiding Zanu PF is? Only the most gullible observer can fail to see
through that obviously suspicious
It is important for Sadc
observers to be thoroughly impartial about the Zimbabwean
The tendency for some of them
up to now has been to express solidarity with the government, and that means
Zanu PF, rather than with the nation of Zimbabwe, by analysing most
objectively all relevant occurrences in the country, such as election
campaigns and results.
Namibian observers have been blatantly pro-Zanu PF
Some senior government
officials of those two countries have on several occasions nakedly defended
the ruling party, arrogantly ignoring dissenting
Some Sadc leaders have not been
openly supportive of the Zimbabwean administration and its repressive laws,
its corruption and its autocratic tendencies, but been audibly apologetic by
refusing to condemn the anti-opposition repression experienced in
It is important for Sadc
governments to understand that it is fallacy that political opposition in
Zimbabwe was created and is influenced by the British
If the country's opposition
parties get any financial assistance from Britain, that surely does not make
them tools of that country any more than Zanu PF is a tool of China, from
which it has been receiving grants and other forms of assistance for many
What has created political
opposition to Zanu PF is its failure to administer for the country
It has destroyed the economy
and social services.
The country's future
is so bleak that the young generation has no glimmer of hope for as long as
Zanu PF continues running (or is it ruining?) this
secretary general blames Zimbabwean leader for famine and human rights
Andrew Meldrum in Harare Thursday April 10, 2003 The
Robert Mugabe's government has committed severe human rights
abuses against the opposition party, has actively repressed the press and the
judiciary and is largely responsible for the famine that is currently
gripping Zimbabwe, according to a Commonwealth report distributed to heads of
government this week. The Guardian has obtained a copy of the confidential
report by Don McKinnon, the Commonwealth secretary general, which says
Zimbabwe has suffered significant "deterioration" in its political, economic
and social spheres. It blames Mr Mugabe's land seizures for the nationwide
"The harassment of opposition and civil society leaders and
activists continues," the report says. "There have also been several cases
of harassment of the press and the judiciary. Legislation prejudicial
to freedom of speech, the press and association remains on the statute
The report, which was commissioned in March 2002 when Zimbabwe was
first suspended from the Commonwealth, categorically refutes assertions made
last month by Thabo Mbeki, the president of South Africa, and Nigeria's
leader, Olusegun Obasanjo, that the situation in Zimbabwe had improved. It
will make it increasingly difficult for the two African leaders to gain
support from Commonwealth members for the lifting of Zimbabwe's
The report is designed to convince Commonwealth leaders that
Zimbabwe's suspension should continue until the heads of government meet in
Nigeria in December.
The findings are also expected to fuel the demand
for the Commonwealth to send a team to Zimbabwe to investigate
state-sponsored violence against the Movement for Democratic Change, the main
The report was only issued after Mr Mugabe repeatedly
evaded Mr McKinnon's at tempts to speak to him. "All efforts by the secretary
general, direct and indirect, to engage in dialogue with President Mugabe
have been rebuffed," said the report.
Mr McKinnon stuck to the
findings of Commonwealth observer groups that the parliamentary elections of
2000 and the presidential election of 2002 had not been free and fair and had
been marred by violence.
Turning to Zimbabwe's land controversy, Mr
McKinnon emphasised that "there has never been any doubt about the need for
land reform in Zimbabwe, a fact which I have repeatedly acknowledged
publicly". He adds: "There is clearly a moral case for the United Kingdom to
contribute towards transparent, equitable and sustainable land reform in
Zimbabwe." But he found that the Mugabe government's controversial and often
violent land seizures had not been supportable.
The report endorsed
the findings of the United Nations Development Project that the land
programme had been "chaotic" and "the cause of much political, economic and
Although the Mugabe government has stated repeatedly
that the land seizures ended in August 2002, the report finds that compulsory
acquisitions continued until March 2003.
"Reports have continued of a
disproportionate number of the best farms being allocated to leading members
of the ruling elite, including members of government and senior members of
the security services and their families," Mr McKinnon states.
report also blames land seizures for causing the famine that is
gripping two-thirds of Zimbabwe's 12 million people. The Mugabe government is
also criticised for "conclusive evidence of the politicisation of
"Regrettably, to date there has been no positive
response by Zimbabwe to the [Commonwealth's] call for political dialogue and
national reconciliation," the report says.
"The depressing situation
offers even more grounds for the government of Zimbabwe to change course and
to engage in meaningful dialogue with international partners."
Zimbabwe government official jumped from a third-floor window to escape being
beaten by angry women war veterans demanding ownership papers for land they
seized from white farmers, police said yesterday.
A police official told
Reuters that the acting administrator for Mashonaland West province had been
injured and admitted to hospital after being assaulted with wooden clubs and
an iron bar in his office in Chinhoyi.
MOST societies respect the remains of the dead, but the ethic
is particularly powerful in Zimbabwean traditional culture.
in the 23 years since independence Zanu-PF militants have desecrated many
hallowed Rhodesian memorials, including those in Harare's Anglican Cathedral
to troops who fell in World War One and World War Two, not a single grave has
been touched anywhere in the country.
The late ruling party youth leader,
"Warlord" Chakaredza, launched a campaign for the disinterment of Cecil
Rhodes' body from its resting place in the Matopos Hills, but it was met with
stony official silence.
Human remains are surrounded by such strong
taboos that Africans confide they are fearful to attend cremation services
for white friends, even when they know this honours the wishes of the dead
person and the family.
In some areas, black settlers report being
troubled by the spirits of long-dead white farmers. They are put to the
expense of propitiating them with "European" food, instead of the simple diet
traditional healers prescribe for restive African ancestors. Even when dead,
it seems, those dreadful colonialists keep on exploiting the poor
Recently, the boot was on the other cultural foot when it was
reported in the independent media that President Robert Mugabe had withdrawn
his children from expensive fee-paying schools linked to the Catholic
Church. The reports came close to violating a powerful taboo which is common
to modern Christianity and Islam, Judaism, liberalism and moderate
This is belief in the autonomy of the individual person, the
right of the child to develop that autonomy as it advances into adulthood
without interference by society, church, school, or even - in some cases -
Perhaps this is why in the West there has been such a strong
outcry against adults prematurely involving minors in sexual activity. It
isn't the loss of "childhood innocence" so prized by the Victorians. Modern
children lose that as soon as they turn on the television. It is violation of
the taboo which declares: "It is my life - to choose to do what I want with."
Modern children are not taught "duty", but "how to make choices". By this
logic, rape and enslavement are almost more heinous than murder.
traditional tribal societies (not only in Africa), it was and is common for
girls as young as nine to be given in marriage to settle family debts which
may date back several generations. In rural Zimbabwe, one of that age was
recently given in return for a sack of maize meal for her
One great divide between "First World" and "Third
World" thinking is the insistence, in the former, on the individual not being
penalised for alleged misdeeds of a relative, no matter how close.
the "Third World", persons are commonly called to make reparations not only
for what near relatives did, but for what people of their general complexion
were said to have done long ago. The Japanese must compensate the Irish for
something the Tartars did to the Russians.
The independently-owned Sunday
Standard reported that although 14-year-old Bona Mugabe's "O" level
examinations are less than two years' away, she had been withdrawn from
Harare's Dominican Convent "due to the constant heckling she was receiving
from school mates unimpressed by her father's
Somewhat contradicting itself, the report said
Bona was accompanied even in the school yard by police bodyguards. Surely
they would intimidate even the worst St Trinians-style hellions? Teachers
tell me Bona is a quiet, unpretentious and well-mannered girl, with
The Sunday Standard said Robert junior (12) faced
similar problems with classmates at a Catholic boys' school, where the white
headmaster was last year threatened with a government ban from teaching when
he referred in a newsletter to the moral crisis caused by fraudulent
An official spokesman exploded with fury at the publicity
given the Mugabe children and issued a formal denial, but their attendance
is, I am told, "erratic". They reportedly receive at least some tuition at
home. It would be a pity if they retreated into imprisonment behind razor
wire and bodyguards, as the notoriously introverted president has during the
past 23 years.
The Sunday Standard raked up the murky circumstances of
the Mugabe children's birth, their mother's divorce from her first husband,
an Air Force pilot swiftly transferred to the Beijing embassy, and her
cohabitation with the President before the death of his Ghanaian first wife
Sally 11 years ago.
To an extent, Mugabe deliberately embroiled his
children with political controversy by having Robert junior and his younger
son Chatunga (6) appear in full military regalia at parades. He clearly
intends to found a dynasty.
A sly insult opposition commentators often
perpetrate on Grace Mugabe (nee Marufu, later Guriraza) is to refer to her as
"Mai Chatunga". In Shona custom, it is complimentary to refer to a mother by
the name of her eldest son.
A legend has grown up about Grace Mugabe's
extravagance, for which there is scant factual evidence beyond her up-market
outfits and her always accompanying her husband on anything but short
journeys. They stay in the most expensive accommodation, but blame for that
can hardly be laid at her door. Grace has not, however, built up a
private business empire as did her predecessor Sally
and Sally's twin sister Esther. Grace, some 40 years younger than her
husband, is hopelessly inept at public speaking, but her political ambitions
have not resulted in brawls, as occurred when Sally had herself imposed as
head of the Zanu-PF women's league.
Grace's one confirmed indulgence
was her taking a "nanny" with her on overseas flights when Chatunga was a
baby. The woman slept on her knees in the aisle beside the child's first
class seat, her head on the armrest. An outcry would have occurred had any
white child received such attention from a black servant.
One of the
most interesting acquaintances I have made here in the past 23 years was an
attach? at the former Soviet embassy who was evidently an officer of the KGB
security service. It became clear his father had been a camp guard in the
Gulag. He and his family had a charming simplicity, reminiscent of the
small-town Afrikaner teachers and lawyers one met in the eighties in South
Africa. However, his passionate devotion to the USSR and the cult of Lenin
would have made him a ruthless foe.
He confessed to being appalled at
what he called the "slave mentality" of the Shona, with women kneeling to
greet guests or offer them refreshment. For him - whose great-grandparents
were born in Tsarist serfdom - such high courtesies aroused painful
associations. He was a deeply disciplined and conformist character and it was
possible to see how his children were growing out of this mould into feared
"Western" ideas of individualism.
One wonders what future the Mugabe
children face. They deserve, as individuals, to be protected from the
insensate revenge of Mugabe's many enemies in the event of his death or
sudden fall from power.
The greatest physical threat is from his rivals -
members of his own Politburo - who will see them as potential figureheads for
cabals challenging their attempts to seize the spoils of power and
The likelihood is the children will disappear off to universities
in the U.S. where they may enjoy cult status for the rest of their lives
among some African-Americans.
However, if while there they exercise
their freedom of individual choice to absorb the humane values of men such as
the late Dr Martin Luther King, without losing touch with African reality,
they may yet have a valuable contribution to make to their home
VINCE Hogg, the managing director of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union
(ZCU), gives the impression of a hired gun who toes but does not swallow the
His arguments are reasoned, never impassioned. He talks
with his mouth, not his eyes.
But Hogg wouldn't have been human if his
stomach didn't turn in the moments before the start of Zimbabwe's World Cup
match against Namibia in Harare on February 10.
Because he knew he
held in his hands a weapon more explosive than anything wielded by the
brooding soldiers who keep the nation away from President Robert Mugabe's
throat as they patrol the presidential compound, which sprawls uncomfortably
close to the home of Zimbabwean cricket at the Harare Sports
Hogg looked up from the ticking bomb and into the eyes of Andy
Flower and Henry Olonga.
"Do you realise what the consequences will be
if you go ahead with this," Hogg asked them.
"Do you realise the
consequences if we don't," Olonga replied.
Minutes later, Flower and
Olonga pulled the pin and the bang was heard around the world.
cannot in good conscience take to the field and ignore the fact that millions
of our compatriots are starving, unemployed and oppressed," read part of
their statement, jolting the still sluggish media into action.
ended with more than 20 spectators being arrested for wearing
bearing political slogans.'
"In all the circumstances we have decided
that we will each wear a black armband for the duration of the World Cup. In
doing so we are mourning the death of democracy in our beloved
To put that into context, Zimbabwe is where South Africa was
in the eighties - from the muzzled media to the omnipresent security to
the struggle speak.
So there was no surprise when another statement
materialised as night fell outside a still humming pressbox.
disgraceful what Henry Olonga and Andy Flower have done. Taking politics onto
the playing field is a thing the International Cricket Council (ICC) and all
sports organisations have been trying to avoid. It is disappointing because
Olonga was a hero and a role model to black
"By taking politics onto the field and
bringing the game into disrepute Henry appears to have breached the
Takashinga Cricket Club's code of conduct."
They were the words of
Givemore Makoni, the chairman of Takashinga, which counted Olonga among its
members. Other Takashinga players have been sent home from coaching clinics
for arriving with headbands and T-shirts supporting Mugabe's Zanu-PF
Makoni himself is to be hauled onto the carpet by the Zimbabwe
Cricket Union for allegedly headbutting an opposing player in a
But we should not hold our breath. Old Georgians refused to fulfil
their fixture with Takashinga on March 29 because of the slew of
unresolved disciplinary charges against members of the latter
England, of course, also failed to honour their fixture in Harare.
And that despite Tim Lamb, the chief executive of the England and Wales
Cricket Board (ECB), having bid the Zimbabweans a cheery, "see you in
February", farewell when he was part of an ICC delegation that assessed
player safety in November.
A tedious battle of wills waged over the
game by the ECB and ICC was finally ended by death threats made against the
English players by the Sons and Daughters of Zimbabwe, an organisation
unknown to other Zimbabwean political activists.
The ZCU remained
silently livid with Flower and Olonga, and even more so after the ICC
requested - not ordered - the pair not to wear their
They didn't. Instead, they turned out in black
wristbands in Zimbabwe's next match, against India in Harare. At least,
Flower did - Olonga was dropped despite Heath Streak having won the toss and
put the Indians in to bat on a green, grassy pitch.
down in Bulawayo at 12.35 pm on February 23. They left for Johannesburg at 7
pm the next evening, having spent their 31-and-a-half hours in Zimbabwe
wrapped in steelwool security.
The game threatened to at least begin
without incident. But shortly before the start, the Archbishop of
Matabeleland, Pius Ncube, led a delegation of clergymen into the
"We are here today to make our stand in support of Henry Olonga
and Andy Flower and all who mourn the death of democracy in Zimbabwe,"
their statement read. "Our Christian faith compels us to stand in solidarity
with the starving, the oppressed and suffering people of this land, and to
work and pray for our liberation from the cruel yoke of
The day ended with more than 20 spectators being arrested
T-shirts bearing political slogans. Among them were a pair of
15-year-olds. One of the children, a girl, was released unharmed the next
day. The other, a boy, was not as fortunate. He could not recognise his
parents after the police were done with him. Either, doctors said, due to
sheer trauma, being injected with an unknown substance or
The police had another busy afternoon at a match against
Holland, arresting 42 spectators. Two of them had paraded a sign that read,
"Zimbabwe needs justice". Another two had hoisted a banner proclaiming,
"Mugabe = Hitler".
The rest had merely voiced their
Pakistan came and went without significant news headlines, and
even without a result. The washed-out game put Zimbabwe in the second
Zimbabwe duly lost their first Super Six match against favoured
New Zealand and then surprisingly crashed to Kenya.
is, to those who had not seen the Kenyans bubbling amid the flat Zimbabweans
in the Bloemfontein hotel the teams shared.
Surprising, too, for those
who overlooked the fact that Kenya had recently thrown off the yoke of
decades of misrule.
Zimbabwe went on to lose their final game, against
Sri Lanka in East London, after which Olonga fled from members of Mugabe's
secret police who were at the ground to arrest him pending charges of
treason. He remains in hiding but is expected to arrive in England this week
having been granted a work permit to play for social side Lashings, the
Harlem Globetrotters of cricket.
Flower, his parents, his wife and
their three children have begun a new life in England.
Zimbabwe is a
poorer place without them. Publish Date: 10 April
Tsiko MAIZE deliveries from this year's harvest have started trickling in at
Grain Marketing Board depots countrywide with a total of 2 200 tonnes having
been delivered so far since the marketing season opened on April
This has raised hopes that people might soon start getting white maize
meal from the shops, without having to queue.
GMB acting chief
executive Colonel Samuel Muvuti told The Herald in an interview that the GMB
had received 1 607 tonnes at Nandi in Chiredzi, 299 tonnes in Middle Sabi and
94 tonnes in Chipinge.
"Deliveries are now coming in," he
"We hope deliveries will continue to increase as the marketing
The late rains received between January and March
have brightened prospects of a good harvest.
If the deliveries
continue to improve, they would be a relief to many who have not known white
maize meal for months as they have been relying on the much disliked "kenya"
yellow maize meal which was being imported.
Col Muvuti hailed the
Government for announcing the new maize producer price saying this would help
farmers plan ahead.
The new producer price for maize and other small
grains like sorghum and millet was set at $130 000 a tonne and that for wheat
at $150 000 a tonne.
This new price, Col Muvuti said, would encourage
farmers in natural regions four and five to plant small grain crops on a
"Farmers in dry regions should be aware that these crops can
earn them more money because they are on demand in countries like Botswana
and South Africa," he said.
Col Muvuti could not be drawn to disclose
this year's projected maize output, but agricultural experts are giving
conservative figures from as low as 500 000 tonnes to highs of more than 1
"We are still working on the estimates with all
stakeholders involved," he said cautiously.
"We don't have a maize
forecast for this season as yet."
GMB is working on measures to ensure
all maize grown this season would be accounted for.
Col Muvuti said
GMB was now prepared to pay farmers timeously while the new prices were
expected to be an incentive to farmers to sell as much maize as possible at
He said the GMB was setting up more collection points to
reduce distance and transport costs for farmers.
The GMB, he said, had
approached the Ministry of Energy and Power Development to enable it to get
preferential treatment for fuel supplies.
This would enable the body to
move grain quickly to depots.
Col Muvuti urged farmers to approach their
nearest depots so that they could be assisted to procure empty
He warned that side marketing would not be tolerated at all and
that those caught trading in maize illegally would face the full wrath of the
According to Statutory Instrument 235A of 2001, only the GMB is
allowed to trade in maize and wheat.
"These are controlled products,"
"Those found flouting these regulations will be dealt with
severely. GMB and law enforcement agents are on high alert to make sure these
regulations are adhered to."
The GMB was also tightening loopholes to
prevent abuse by unscrupulous dealers intending to buy maize at $9 600 a
tonne from its depots and re-selling it to the board at the new rate of $130
000 a tonne.
"Measures have since been put in place to make sure that
this does not happen," he said.
"Anybody caught trying this will be
punished severely. Its tantamount to sabotage."
GMB also plans to set
a cut off date to stop selling maize to the public in areas where there are
These include Mvurwi, Chiweshe and some parts of
Mashonaland East, West and Central and Manicaland provinces.
Marketing Board has already started rolling out winter farming inputs such as
wheat and maize seed, fertilisers and chemicals.
"We are targeting to put
100 000 hectares under wheat and another 100 000 under maize irrigation this
winter," Col Muvuti said.
"Zimbabwe has no reason to import wheat at all
if we put our act together."
Zimbabwe consumes about 400 000 tonnes of
wheat a year and Col Muvuti said if wheat was to be grown on 100 000
hectares, a harvest of between 500 000 and 700 000 tonnes could be realised,
leaving a surplus for export.
He said the GMB was importing inputs from
South Africa to meet the needs for inputs for the winter farming
However, he expressed concern that local seed and fertiliser
companies were not doing enough to help farmers prepare for this year's
Drought struck much of southern Africa last season
forcing humanitarian relief agencies to appeal for food aid for more than 14
million people in the region.
Despite propaganda from the United
States government that the Zimbabwean authorities had failed to guarantee
food security for its citizens, the Government has since January 2002
committed US$207,9 million for the import of 1,1 million tonnes of
A total of 886 749 tonnes of grain were delivered into the country
since last year while a balance of 245 738 tonnes is still to be
Col Muvuti said maize imports would continue as the GMB wanted
to build up the country's strategic grain reserve, which had dwindled as a
result of the drought.
Zimbabwe, which is traditionally
self-sufficient and an exporter of surplus food, had in the past not needed
international food aid.
Last year's drought hampered maize production and
forced the country to import grain from South Africa, Kenya and
In 2001, the country's maize production dropped to 1,54
million tonnes from 2,1 million tonnes in 2000.
between 1,8 million and 2 million tonnes of maize a