POLICE last Thursday arrested
Zaka District Administrator, Nyashadzashe Zindove, after he was allegedly
found with seven ballot boxes and ballot papers at his home, The Standard
Zindove was by yesterday still being held by the police's Law
and Order section at Masvingo Central Police Station. He is expected to
appear in court tomorrow.
Also last week, Norah T Chisi, a teacher at
Bvudzi Primary School, who was a presiding officer in Zaka West during the
31 March general elections, was arrested after she allegedly "lost" a ballot
box in unclear circumstances.
Sources told The Standard that Chisi was on
her way to Zaka district command centre at Jerera when she allegedly lost
Chisi was presiding officer at Jichidza Council Clinic in Zaka
Assistant police commissioner, Wayne Bvudzijena,
confirmed that police had arrested two people in connection with election
irregularities in Masvingo.
"The accused persons will appear in court
soon once the police have completed their investigations. Currently the Zaka
DA is in police custody and the police are busy investigating the
circumstances surrounding the ballot papers and the ballot boxes,"
Asked to explain how those ballot boxes ended up in a
government owned house, Bvudzijena said the issue was "too
"But from the reports I got, it appears that those ballot
papers in the ballot boxes found at his (DA) residence were not used for
voting. They were leftovers from the ballot papers used in the elections and
they were not counted. Nevertheless, we are weighing what kind of a charge
we are going to lay against him (Zindove). Right now I can't reveal much
because it is a security issue," Bvudzijena said.
Acting Zanu PF
Masvingo Provincial Chairman, Isaiah Shumba, said the latest findings would
not change the election results.
"If the Zaka DA is arrested then it is a
legal issue. However, as the ruling party, we are not going to accept any
election re-run simply because of one incident in Zaka. After all, it's not
yet clear how these ballot papers got into this man's house," Shumba
The Masvingo provincial chief election officer, Obert Mujuru,
refused to comment on the discovery of the ballot boxes.
MDC spokesperson, Paul Themba-Nyathi, said discovery of ballot boxes hidden
by a government official was a clear indication that elections were rigged
by the ruling Zanu PF party.
He said he was dismayed by the Southern
African Development Community (SADC), African Union (AU) and other observer
missions, which endorsed the elections despite "overwhelming evidence of
"We said this again and again that these elections were clearly
stolen. The fraud was comprehensive and deep-rooted, and requires police to
investigate. The observers here betrayed the aspirations of the people of
"If police had applied their investigative skills
professionally and diligently, they could have unearthed lots of
discrepancies. The police should also investigate the Zimbabwe Electoral
Commission Chairman, Justice George Chiweshe," said
ZEC during a press conference last week explained the
figures that determined the outcome of the general elections arguing that
the discrepancies were made up by stakeholders in political circles who were
using the media to try to discredit the poll.
Chiweshe said: "I
explained that the figures quoted in any update that the Commission may give
are not necessarily an accurate reflection of the facts on the ground and
that the figures were given without prejudice and only for the purpose of
giving an indication as to the turnout trends in various provinces and
"The correct position is that there is only one set of
figures to be considered and only one process to be examined. These are the
official figures by which the election result was determined. The question
of inconsistencies does not arise."
But Themba-Nyathi said: "Justice
Chiweshe said nothing at a press conference that made sense in justifying
Mugabe refuses to sign NGOs Bill By Caiphas
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe has refused to sign the controversial
Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) Bill in its present state and has
referred it back for further consultations, The Standard can
Sources said Mugabe felt the NGO Bill, which was crafted largely
by vindictive former Minister of State for Information and Publicity in the
President's Office Jonathan Moyo and Justice Minister, Patrick Chinamasa,
was "too obnoxious" and would portray government in bad light in the eyes of
the international community. If signed into law, it will bar NGOs from
receiving foreign funding for governance programmes. Most NGOs depend on
foreign funding for most of their programmes.
The sources said Mugabe
had tasked the Minister of Labour, Public Service and Social Welfare, Paul
Mangwana, and Zanu PF spokesperson, Nathan Shamuyarira, to hold further
consultations with civic organisations.
The Bill will be referred back to
Parliament but the Zanu PF duo would be working on a parallel process, said
"We have met Shamuyarira and Mangwana as civic organisations
on a number of occasions and we have made our submission," said the
Constitutionally, a Bill lapses after 21 days of being presented
to the President. The NGO Bill was passed by Parliament on 9 December 2004
and Mugabe has not signed it.
Shamuyarira confirmed that he met some
NGO representatives "some four weeks ago", but he referred all questions to
"I can't say anything on a bill that is in Mangwana's ministry,
talk to Mangwana. He will give you the story," Shamuyarira said. Magwana
said: "What I know is that the Bill is still under consideration by the
Brace up for tough times, says Cross By Our
BULAWAYO - Zimbabwean businesses need to gear
themselves for major adjustments in the macro-economic environment in the
aftermath of last month's Parliamentary polls, says a Bulawayo economic
analyst and businessman, Eddie Cross.
Cross told Standard
Business that all businesses irregardless of the sector they operate in
would have to contend with soaring inflation, foreign currency shortages and
rising labour costsand instability, among other challenges in the coming
months. "Now that elections are over, business has to brace themselves
for some adjustment to relieve pressure on the economy," said Cross who is
also the opposition MDC's economic advisor.
Cross said the
Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe Governor Gideon Gono had no option but to devalue
the dollar to try and increase domestic earnings for exporters and the
Exporters have been grappling with high production
and labour costs while their earnings have remained static due to a pegged
exchange rate. On the controlled auction market the greenback is pegged at
$6 200 but on the lucrative parallel market - now the source of foreign
currency - the US unit is fetching up to $17 000.
Zimbabwe earned US$1,34 billion from exports compared to the 1997 peak of
"Exports are still falling so I don't expect
exports to be more than US$1,1 billion because mining output is going to be
stagnant, industrial exports are in big trouble and agricultural exports
will fall again because tobacco and horticulture output is down and there is
little tourism," he noted.
However, Cross said the foreign
currency shortfall would be partially covered by remittances from
Zimbabweans in the Diaspora. Zimbabweans living abroad remit an average of
US$76 million a month. Cross said the figure could rise to US$100 million a
month as their numbers increase and they increase their remittances to help
feed starving relatives.
But, Cross said the consequences of
devaluing would be dire to both industrialists and consumers.
"Even if he (Gono) devalues by 100 percent, the official exchange rate would
still not catch up with the parallel rate. And, whatever he does will
accelerate inflation," he said
He noted that the manufacturing
industry was finding it extremely difficult to keep their production lines
running because of an acute shortage of imported raw materials. This week in
Bulawayo most supermarket shelves were out of stock of basic items such as
sugar, milk, soap, mealie-meal and salt as producers failed to match demand
among panic stricken consumers.
Additionally, demand for luxury
goods is down as consumers' spending patterns shifted in response to
dwindling incomes making it difficult for industries that do not produce
basic items to remain viable.
In addition, Cross said businesses
would face greater human resources shortages as skilled workers continued to
leave the country. According to Cross, an average of 500 000 Zimbabweans
left the country last year and the figure is likely to go up following last
week's Parliamentary polls.
In a desperate attempt to retain the
remaining workers, firms would be forced to increase salaries and wages
which in turn would push up production costs. Furthermore, he said the
recent increase in domestic workers' wages would trigger a fresh wave of
salary and wage adjustments by workers in other sectors.
said prospects were particularly bleak for factories in Bulawayo that are
highly dependent on the mining and tourism sectors for business. Mines are
not investing in their operations resulting in low demand for mining
Cross blamed the stagnant mining investment levels on bad
policies that he said scared away potential investors.
whole operating environment for industry is going to be that much worse and
we are likely to see more companies closing down as they fail to cope," he
Price clampdown will worsen shortages, economists warn By
Rutendo Mawere and Betha Shoko
THE government's directive to retailers to
revert to old prices will further worsen the scarcity of basic commodities
in the country, economists warned yesterday.
The economists said the
current increases, which came soon after the 31 March parliamentary
elections, were justified. Economist John Robertson, said yesterday the
prices were long overdue. "Increases were actually delayed to avoid harsh
criticism of the government in the run up to recent elections, as pricing is
determined by the parallel market prices," said Robertson, adding that
importers were getting their foreign currency on the parallel market at
double the official exchange rate.
"For them to make a profit they
have to cover their costs hence the price increases and interference will
lead to more serious scarcities and goods will be found only on the black
market," Robertson said.
Tonderai Mukeredzi, the spokesperson for the
Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, said shortages would persist if the government
forced retailers to revert to old prices.
His comments were echoed by
economist Witness Chinyama. "If the increments are economic, reverting to
old prices will see goods disappearing from the shelves only to be found on
the parallel market, selling at even higher prices," he warned.
National Economic Consultative forum (NECF), however, said the increases
were not justified because they were effected before increases in municipal
NECF spokesperson Nhlanhla Masuku said the closure of
companies during the Easter holidays contributed to the shortages of basic
commodities being experienced in the country.
Prices of basic
commodities have shot up beyond the reach of the majority of ordinary
Zimbabweans barely a week after Zanu PF won the recently held parliamentary
Despite the government's directive, most retailers have not
complied with the order. A snap survey conducted by The Standard in Harare
last week revealed that maize meal, sugar, cooking oil, soap and drinks had
disappeared from supermarket shelves. Where they are available, the prices
have increased drastically.
Meanwhile, barely a fortnight after Zanu
PF won the disputed 31 March parliamentary elections, crippling fuel
shortages have resurfaced countrywide with most service stations saying they
have gone without the commodity for the past week.
Ministry of Energy and Power Development has issued numerous assurances to
the public that there will be no fuel shortages in the country, the
situation on the ground tells a different story.
As a result of the fuel
crisis, transport problems have resurfaced in Harare, with long queues now a
common sight. Taking advantage of the situation, transport operators raised
their fares from the gazetted $2 000 while unscrupulous service station
owners have increased the fuel pump prices.
The National Oil Company
of Zimbabwe (Noczim) last week told The Standard that the shortages were a
result of panic buying.
Lupane MDC official's house burnt down By Savious
BULAWAYO - Suspected Zanu PF supporters last weekend allegedly
torched and razed to the ground a thatched house belonging to Richmond
Zitha, an MDC campaign manager for the newly elected Lupane MP, Njabuliso
Mguni, in post election retribution, The Standard has learnt.
said household property, including two bicycles, a wardrobe, school
uniforms, clothes, birth certificates, 21 bags of cement and $2.1 million in
cash were destroyed during the arson attack. The arson came a few days
after Zanu PF activists in the area threatened to "deal" with all suspected
opposition MDC supporters.
Police in Jotsholo confirmed the incident and
said investigations into the arson were still in
"Investigations are still in progress so we can not point
fingers at anyone," said one police officer.
Mguni said the arson,
which he believes was carried out by suspected war veterans and Zanu PF
supporters was in retaliation for not voting for the losing Zanu PF
candidate, Martin Khumalo, in the 31 March parliamentary
He said the war veterans had allegedly moved around the
constituency harassing people they suspected of voting for the MDC in last
"War veterans called a meeting last week at
Dongamuzi Village in Lupane, where they read out a list of MDC campaign
committee members and threatened to deal with them. Richmond Zitha's name
was among them.
"The next day Zitha's house was burnt down, destroying
most of his property, except for a few items which they managed to salvage,"
Mguni also said Zitha, a retired social worker, is seen as a
threat, by the war veterans because he is a very influential
"He is a very vocal and influential man, and the war veterans
are scared of him, as he also played a huge part in me garnering 119 votes
in Dongamuzi (a ward that is considered a Zanu-PF stronghold) against Zanu
PF' s 194 during the 31 March poll," Mguni said.
reintroduction of the Senate is going to fast track Zimbabwe's economic
collapse, as it is an unwarranted and unbudgeted national expense, analysts
During his campaign rallies for the recent parliamentary
elections President Robert Mugabe hinted that if Zanu PF won a two-thirds
majority in the recent parliamentary elections, it would effect
constitutional changes and re-introduce the Senate. Opposition MDC
secretary for economic affairs, Tendai Biti, said the Senate was Mugabe's
project designed to accommodate his cronies who were defeated during last
month's parliamentary elections.
He said it was of no economic importance
to the country. "Zanu PF is not even worried about the economy and they are
determined to do whatever they can to please their friends and relatives.
The country has survived without a Senate for more than 15 years; why is it
necessary to have it now?" Biti asked.
One economist interviewed
said: "There are more important issues to talk about in the country and the
Senate is not going to add any value to our economy. One would also need to
consider instruments of funding the whole institution and this would mean a
drain on the fiscus."
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) director,
Arnold Tsunga, said the reintroduction of the Senate was an attempt by
Mugabe to reward Zanu PF stalwarts who failed to make it into
"The other important question people need to know is who is
going to be in that Senate," Tsunga said.
He added: "It, however,
depends on how the two Houses are structured and what power they enjoy and
wield. If the two Houses are poorly structured and filled with people to
rubber-stamp laws, then there will be no magic in a bicameral
University of Zimbabwe lecturer Eldred Masunungure said a Senate
was a very expensive institution, especially for a small country such as
"Unless there is a very comprehensive explanation why we have
to reintroduce the Senate the whole idea is going to be a heavy drain on the
fiscus. Economically, the move is absolutely irrational," he
David Coltart, the MDC's legal secretary, said although it was a
noble idea it was not a priority for Zimbabwe.
He said a bicameral
system would not work if Parliament remained powerless compared to other
arms of government, especially the Executive.
"There is need for
comprehensive constitutional amendments rather than these piecemeal reforms
Zanu PF is proposing such as a bicameral system," Coltart
However, Zanu PF secretary for administration, Didymus Mutasa,
said the issue of funding the Senate was not a problem.
not a problem. Our constitution allows that if government wants money for
certain projects they would get it. The whole issue of the Senate has not
been discussed by the full leadership of the party," Mutasa said.
Zvoma, the Clerk of Parliament, cited space and financial constraints in
establishing offices for use by the Senators.
No end in sight to Harare's water woes By Valentine
POLITICAL meddling and business rivalry among companies that
supply the Harare City Council with water treatment chemicals has impacted
negatively on water supply situation in Harare, posing serious health
hazards to residents, The Standard has been told.
By the beginning of
last week Highdon Investments (Pvt) Limited, the firm that supplies the
council with the chemicals, was reportedly failing to deliver supplies to
the authority. Psychology Chiwanga, the director of works in the City
Council, last week said the council had run out of oxidising agents because
the suppliers had not delivered.
Mike Davies, chairman of the
Combined Harare Residents' Association (CHRA), blamed the crisis on
political interference in the affairs of the council by Zanu
"Most of the commissioners who are running the council right now are
well known Zanu PF supporters and this has affected the service delivery
system of the city. Political interference is the root cause of all the
problems that are bedevilling the city," Davies said.
He said water
problems in Harare predate the MDC-dominated council's tenure. "Over the
past years we have seen some people getting city tenders only because they
belong to the ruling party and after a few weeks they short-change people,"
Highdon Investments is owned by McDonald Chapfika, a
relative of Zanu PF MP for Mutoko North, David Chapfika, who is also the
Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Development.
comment, Chapfika said they had never failed to supply the chemicals. "You
must know that there are some companies that wanted to get the tender to
supply the council but they failed and these are the same people who are
peddling these falsehoods. We have never failed to supply," Chapfika
Alex Mashamhanda, the managing director of MT&N, one of the
losing tenderers, said despite his company having stocks of the chemical,
the council can not buy from his firm because they awarded the tender to
"In the past years, we used to supply the city
council together but after our bid failed, the council gave Highdon the
monopoly to supply the oxidising agents. It is very dangerous especially if
that chemical is not available," he said.
He added: "Council
officials should know that they are putting people's lives at risk. That
chemical needs to be applied regularly because if it's not used a lot of
water is going to be lost."
DBR Polymers, another company whose bid was
also unsuccessful, claimed that it had an alternative chemical that could be
used for water treatment.
It said the chemical, which they sell in local
currency, could help ease the problems encountered by the
Other companies that had their bids turned down include Zimbabwe
Phosphate Industries, Astra Chemicals, Kithra Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd and
Consolidated Engineers and Merchants (Pvt) Ltd.
An oxidising agent is
used to destroy algae, which blocks filters at Morton Jaffray Water
Treatment Plant. Algae grows extensively in Lake Chivero, Harare's main
source of water, and if the chemical is not used a lot of treated water is
wasted in cleaning up the sieves.
Harare Council spokesperson, Leslie
Gwindi, said: "The problem is not about the chemicals but it's just that we
are moving water from our old reservoirs to new ones. We will experience
some problems but they will come to an end. We are using what (chemicals) we
have now until new supplies come."
Asked why there was controversy over
how the tender was finally awarded, Gwindi said: "I don't have anything to
do with that and I don't discuss such issues."
Suburbs such as
Hatcliffe, Hogerty Hill, Greendale, Msasa Park, Hatfield and Borrowdale
Brook as well eastern areas of Mabvuku and Tafara have had erratic water
supply for several weeks now.
Concern over lack of voter education By Emmanuel
VOTER apathy, piles of spoilt ballots and an unprecedented
number of voters turned away in last month's parliamentary election are a
clear indication of lack of voter education before the polls, civic
organisations have said.
The organisations said most people were turned
away because they tried to vote in the wrong constituencies, some did not
have relevant identification documents or their names did not appear on the
voters' roll, while others were not legally Zimbabwean citizens. Former
chairman of Electoral Supervisory Commission (ESC), retired Anglican Bishop
Peter Hatendi said there was not enough voter education prior to the
"Strictly speaking, the election machinery was in gear
only a month before the elections, which is definitely not good enough. I
even queried if the commission owned the elections," said Hatendi, who
resigned from the ESC citing lack of independence.
The former ESC
chairman attributed the low voter turnout to 'credibility gap" between the
voters and contesting candidates. Apart from that most Zimbabwe has lost
faith in the country's electoral process, which is controlled by civil
servants, while other people just assumed they were still on the voters'
roll, having voted in previous elections.
"This can be attributed to
ignorance. They took it for granted that since they voted last time, there
names were still on the voters' roll, which is a sign of lack of voter
education," Hatendi said.
His comments were supported by the Zimbabwe
Lawyers for Humans Rights (ZLHR), which said the public was not adequately
informed about the delimitation of constituencies before the polling day,
which resulted in many people going to the wrong polling
"One needs to examine the unacceptably high numbers of spoilt
papers to appreciate how the inadequate voter education has affected
participation in these elections," explained the lawyers.
organisation recorded 60 427 spoilt papers and 133 155 voters who were
turned away in 10 and six provinces respectively in the just ended
"By the time the President promulgated the
boundaries there was inadequate opportunity for voters to check the voters'
roll and make themselves aware of which constituency they fall in," says the
human rights watchdog.
It also noted that the late publication of the
list of poling stations generated confusion among the electorate, especially
those out of towns and cities.
"The list of polling stations was
published on 18 March 2005 - 13 days before the polling day. This is in
conflict with section 51 of the Electoral Act (chapter 2:13) which requires
that information about polling stations should be provided at least 14 days
prior to the polling date," said the ZLHR.
Whilst the inspection of
the voters' roll for the March election closed on 4 February 2005, the
Zimbabwe Election Commission (ZEC), which in terms of the electoral Act is
obliged to supervise the registration and inspection process, was only
established two days before the closing date.
As a result, it said, ZEC
would not have been able to provide accurate information to voters about the
time and places of inspection.
"The failure to hold the voter
registration exercise handled by a credible impartial organ in a transparent
and accountable manner posed a significant and serious threat to the overall
credibility of the electoral process for March 2005.
"This view is
supported by the unacceptably high numbers of voters who were turned away in
each constituency on the polling day.
"Such a high turn away would not
have been experienced if the voter registration and inspection process had
been far reaching and efficient," ZLHR said.
chairman of the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN), said there was
need for more time to carry out sufficient voter education.
voter education programme began a month before the election, because we were
under the cloud of the NGO bill, and that time was not enough to carry out
sufficient voter education," said Matchaba-Hove.
ZEC spokesperson Utoile
Silaigwana refused to comment saying he was busy.
The ZLHR said, "The
reality is that the electorate approached elections without having benefited
from voter education. This is undesirable given the one-sided manner in with
the public media (both electronic and print) were used to support the status
quo and to vilify the opposition or perceived opponents of the ruling
Money to fund Mujuru bash stolen in
Gweru By our own staff
GWERU - About $20 million, which was kept at the provincial administrator's
office at the city's government complex, went missing last month, a day
before celebrations to mark the appointment of Vice President Joyce
Thousands of Zanu PF supporters bused
from rural areas to attend the celebrations at Mkoba Stadium ended up
scrambling for food after the money raised to buy food for the event
allegedly went missing, The Standard was told.
Some of the rural Zanu PF supporters, who had their own money, resorted to
boiled and roasted maize from roadside vendors. Sources said Zanu PF senior
officials from the province dug deeper into their pockets and donated cash
to cover up so that the event appeared well
But police picked up three
officials from the registry department of the Ministry of Local Government,
Public Works and National Housing the same day in connection with the
Plaxedes Magodora (35), Gibson Bumhira
(24) and Pedzisai Kanjera appeared before Gweru magistrate Douglas Chikwekwe
on charges of theft.
Magodora and Bumhira
were acquitted after the state failed to prove a case against
Kanjera pleaded guilty to the offence and
is out on bail. The case was remanded to 28 June 2005. She is on $4million
bail and is required to report ton CID Gweru once a
The prosecution's case is that Kanjera
stole the money and used part of it to buy an air ticket to the United
Kingdom. She converted the remainder to her own
The trio is alleged to have been assigned to
procure food and other items for use at the Mujuru celebrations. They bought
some of the groceries and remained with cash amounting to slightly more than
Magodora, who had keys to the
office and a safe in which they kept the money, handed them to Kanjera
during a handover-takeover arrangement, before close of business on the day
However, the following morning
Kanjera is reported to have arrived at the offices early in the morning and
raised the alarm saying the keys to the office and safe were
The three were subsequently arrested.
Bright Nyoka is prosecuting.
Residents ignore polls for Paraffin By Rutendo
ON 31 March, Zimbabwe's election day, scores of Harare residents
were faced with a crucial decision: they either queued to vote or for
For most, the choice was simple - paraffin, a vital energy source
for a majority of urban poor, which has been in short supply since the
country began experiencing intermittent fuel shortages. It had been rumoured
the scarce commodity was available at some of the service stations and those
that could afford it were determined not to miss the opportunity. Despite
the scorching heat, they remained in the long paraffin queue. Their parched
and cracked lips told yet another story - hunger.
Although it was almost
mid-day on the date of Zimbabwe's parliamentary elections, they had stood in
the queue since dawn, long before the opening of the service station, while
in some constituencies other people had already formed queues to
Plastic containers in hand, the people waited in the meandering
queue, which moved at a snail's pace.
Most were residents of Epworth,
who had forfeited their right to vote for a parliamentary candidate of their
choice because to them, it was more important to queue for paraffin as this
could mean the difference between a full stomach or going to bed
Epworth is one of the poorest suburbs on the outskirts of Harare.
There is no running water or electricity and most of the people use firewood
for cooking and lighting.
Despite being at the tail of the winding
queue Admire Gangarabwe, a resident of this sprawling shanty suburb, was
hopeful he would get his share of scarce liquid for lighting and cooking,
and save himself the trouble of having to find firewood.
hoping for a bright night today if we get the commodity," said
He said he could not go home, some 10 kilometres away, to
cast his vote because he would miss the opportunity to get the
"I can not go and vote leaving the paraffin. I have an
obligation to feed my family and its either I get the paraffin first then
vote or if voting time elapses while I am still queuing then I will have
missed the opportunity. Voting does not bring feed to family," Gangarabwe
A fuel attendant at the service station said the paraffin, which
was being sold for $3 700 a litre, usually sold out within hours of
"As soon as it is delivered people queue and in a matter of
hours the tanks will be empty," said the attendant.
price of paraffin is $3 450 a litre. At some service stations, hoever,
paraffin sells for $6 000 a litre.
A woman, who asked to remain anonymous
for fear of retribution, said her family was leading a pathetic life because
of the shortage of paraffin.
"Tirikutamba nhamo tsvuku chaiyo. Izvozvi
tareba muromo nekufutidza huni nyoro nekuti paraffin yacho haisi kuwanikwa.
(We are leading miserable lives because we simply can't get the paraffin),"
said the woman.
Another Epworth resident, who only identified himself as
Madyira, said sometimes families went to bed without supper after failing to
Madyira said: "Sometimes we go to bed without supper not
because we do not have food but because we have nothing to use for cooking
At times, said Milton Kandeya, they have to bribe the fuel
attendants to fill up a 20-litre container. "To fill up a 20-litre container
you pay them about $20 000," said Kandeya who resells the paraffin for about
$8 000 a litre in Epworth.
The residents said they could not use
firewood because they get arrested by the police, if they are caught cutting
"They are just arresting us but they do not offer solutions
to our problems. We have no electricity in Epworth and paraffin has become a
scarce commodity yet we are being arrested for felling trees. Does this mean
we do not have to eat or we should eat our food raw?" asked
Some of the Epworth residents said they have resorted to
undertaking piece work in Hatfield, clearing people's yards so that they get
firewood from the plots.
Zvinechimwe Churu, the chief executive
officer of the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) had, by the time of
going to print, not responded to questions faxed to him, to explain the
causes of the shortages.
Analysts who spoke to The Standard said the
sudden appearance of scarce commodities on the crucial poll days was a
Political commentator Brian Kagoro wondered why the
basic commodities were supplied conveniently on a polling day. "Sometimes
the appearance of scarce commodities on polling days smells of sinister
agendas. Supply of these commodities diverts people from voting. The core
concern of people is to live and acquire the means of living hence the
choice to queue for paraffin on a voting day," Kagoro
Independent economic analyst John Robertson said: "This could have
been a devious plan to cause diversions and take people away from the polls.
Most people in Epworth are MDC and this could have been done intentionally
to disrupt voting."
Former University of Zimbabwe Vice-Chancellor,
Professor Gordon Chavunduka, said the shortage of paraffin was an indication
of government's failure.
"This is indication that government is failing
to correct the economic situation," Chavunduka said.
FOR the first time since its formation six years ago, the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) faces the challenge of how
to remain viable and relevant to the politics of Zimbabwe, while guarding
against Zanu PF's booby traps and temptations.
pronouncements from the majority of the observer missions to the recent
parliamentary elections, the ruling party is likely to forge ahead with its
plot to divide and weaken the MDC. Zanu PF will pursue this route in order,
basically to achieve several goals. The first would be to single out people
from the opposition that it can work with. Secondly, Zanu PF is aware that
if it can succeed in getting opposition members to cooperate with it, the
result will fragment the MDC, precipitating a crisis, which will result in a
bitter fight for the soul of the opposition party. Thirdly, the goal of the
ruling party will be to significantly diminish the extent and influence of
the opposition party so that its support base will be utterly disillusioned
at what they will see as the ultimate betrayal by the MDC.
challenge facing the opposition is whether it still has men and women
capable of rebuffing any courtship advances by Zanu PF. Zimbabwe is a
country with a complex mix of people, with a propensity for professing one
thing when, in the majority of cases, they secretly desire the
Zanu PF has no desire to see the total demise of the MDC. That
will not serve its grand plan, because a semblance of opposition, however,
pliant will come in handy in the scheme of Zanu PF's pretence to democracy.
Under this plan, Zanu PF can, therefore, continue to remind the rest of the
world that Zimbabwe is a democracy with a viable opposition
Last year when the government was canvassing for support to
proposed changes to the Electoral Act, it began approaching individual MDC
MPs in a bid to gain their support. We can expect to see more of the same as
the government scales up its bid for legitimacy on the one hand and
emasculation of the opposition on the other.
The greatest threat to
the survival of the MDC is in entertaining approaches from the ruling party.
The most realistic way forward for the opposition is non-engagement and
non-cooperation with both Zanu PF and the government - total boycott of
everything until its demands are met. In adopting this stance, the MDC
should demand that all its members close ranks and stand as one.
the past the opposition has been presented with such dilemmas as daring to
discipline errant members at the risk of playing right into the hands of
Zanu PF. The test for the opposition will be whether it has the strength and
capacity to put its foot down and demand that all its members present one
united front in the fight against Zanu PF manipulation.
Part of Zanu
PF's strategy now is likely to push for a change in the MDC leadership, with
the aim of creating a compliant opposition. Unfortunately, the fact that its
leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, is seen as having failed in his bid to run for
parliament in 2000 and in 2002 for the presidency and recently in leading
his party to lose 16 seats than it won in 2000 may train the spotlight on
him with questions about whether he should not now make way for a different,
younger person - even though within Zanu PF daring to entertain such
thoughts has been dealt with ruthlessly.
In the following days, the MDC
is likely to suggest that it will take the cue from the people on how next
to proceed. It is perhaps time it provided the leadership instead of
agreeing to be led. The same people it will consult are the very persons who
persuaded the MDC to participate in the 31 March 2005 parliamentary poll,
but then did not apparently play an active role in mobilising and educating
people to go out in their numbers and not merely vote, but ensure there were
no people turned away or ballots spoilt.
In deciding on the appropriate
course of action to take, the leadership of the MDC will be expected to lead
from the front. It is this area where many believe the opposition lacks the
guts. If the leadership of the opposition fails to address these concerns,
rank and file supporters are likely to begin to doubt their commitment to
the struggle against hunger, joblessness, shortages, corruption, abuse of
authority and human rights, as well as against neglect of the welfare of all
People in the rural areas braved intimidation of various forms
from the ruling party. They did so in order to turn out for MDC rallies in
the hope that the opposition would deliver them from Zanu PF's bondage.
Ordinary Zimbabweans are familiar with failure by the government to refrain
from partiality, preferential treatment or selective justice in favour of
certain individuals or groups and they have in one form or another seen how
this has helped to undermine the credibility of those who during the last
five years presided over the fate of this nation. It would be the greatest
betrayal of modern times, if the MDC fails to find a way to claim what is
rightly theirs and what the majority believe to be the mandate they were
handed by the electorate on 31 March 2005.
The most effective and
non-violent confrontational approach the MDC can take is total refusal to
engage and cooperate until its concerns are fully addressed. To play along
as it did since 2005 - by seeking recourse in the courts - would be to sign
its death warrant. Whatever course of action the opposition decides on, it
must be fully aware that in taking a stand on the side of justice and
fairness, there is a very high price to be paid.
HARARE CBD and shopping malls in surrounding suburbs have recently
experienced a sharp increase in the amount of vacant commercial space, a
Standard Business survey has established.
The survey found that a
significant amount of retail and office space has been lying unoccupied for
long periods of time in the capital city. Retailers said skyrocketing
rentals and a general decline in business was the main reason behind the
empty space. "Business is generally low this time and retailers are
struggling to meet the high rentals," said one former Westgate tenant who
spoke on condition of anonymity.
"Rentals at Westgate shopping mall,
for example, range between $4 million to $6 million depending on whether the
shop is located on the ground or first floor," said the former
Standard Business found out that Westgate shopping mall, in one
of Harare's upmarket suburbs, 12 shops previously occupied by Rennies
Travel, Imagine that, The High Tech, City Form, Zimbank, Standard Chartered
Bank, CFX Bank, J&F (two shops), Douglas and Tate and Culiffe Interiors
Abraham Sadomba, president of the Real Estate Institute of
Zimbabwe said the prevailing situation was short-lived.
are vacant probably because the tenants have just moved out and someone will
take up the space soon," explained Sadomba.
Apart from the spiralling
cost of occupying commercial space, Sadomba said the recent closure of a
number of commercial banks by the Reserve Bank was another reason why vacant
office space had increased in the CBD.
"The financial sector used to
occupy a lot space as it was expanding, but the closure of banks and the
downsizing of many companies has led to the creation of these surplus
space," he said.
Looking ahead, Sadomba said the vacant space would be
gradually occupied as indigenous companies grow.
"It is healthy to
have surplus space on the market so that the cost of occupying space will be
reduced," said Sadomba.
second part of a two-part series, Standard Business Senior Reporter KUMBIRAI
MAFUNDA looks at the trials and tribulations of a typical Zimbabwean family
that depends on a sole breadwinner for its survival during these difficult
According to the Consumer Council of Zimbabwe, a family of four
now needs $1,9 million to buy basic groceries each month. "Prices are
rising almost every month," observes Tonderai Mukeredzi, spokesperson for
the consumer watchdog. Minimum salaries and wages should be pegged around
the family basket, he adds.
But how is Mushore and fellow Zimbabweans
soldering on in the crisis-racked southern African country?
few fellow countrymen, Mushore is lucky to have a job in a country where
formal sector employment can only absorb a fraction of the number of school
leavers who enter the job market each year. Besides formal jobs whose
rewards cannot sustain many for a month, Zimbabweans both ordinary and
professionals who can no longer survive on their official jobs are proving
to be resilient and are showing their resourcefulness by moonlighting in
order to make ends meet.
Many Zimbabweans have turned to moonlighting
as a way of supplementing their meagre incomes. Security guards seem to have
mastered this activity. Instead of resting during the day, security guards
who work during the night are carrying out vending activities in their
Says Tapera Maruta, a father of five children: "I
have set up a stall at the local shopping centre where I sell tomatoes and
vegetables and that has enabled me to provide for the family. Otherwise I
can't just sit down and watch."
The sight of women carrying a basket
full of fruits or scones is now a common sight at most companies. Patience
Gura of Chitungwiza says she earns up to $600 000 a month from moonlighting
"My monthly salary can't meet the day to day needs of my
family. So I have just turned to this business to add to my small salary,"
This is the new survival strategy for many Zimbabweans who
now find it difficult to depend on their salaries for a living.
there is another class of workers. Because of poor remuneration, most civil
servants are now in the "game" too. Although most civil servants earn above
a million dollars, Zimbabwe is arguably the only country with
multi-millionaires who are poor.
Transparency International (TI)
board member and political scientist John Makumbe says teachers have
resorted to teaching poorly in class so that parents can send their children
for additional lessons during weekends and holidays.
sadly becoming a national profession," said Makumbe.
And then there are
those who have been pushed into the informal sector to survive and these
include those who have been made redundant due to the faltering economic
Street corners have been transformed into vending sites in
disregard of municipal by-laws while home industries have also mushroomed
around residential areas. The furniture and clothing industries have been
the hardest-hit, as customers are now buying from emerging home
While there are no official statistics about informal
activities, economic analysts claim the decline in the formal job market has
to a certain extent been offset by growth in the informal sector. But
economists read the growth in the informal sector as reflection of the
desperation caused by the economic meltdown.
consultant Peter Robinson though describes the informal sector as a
potential growth area that could turn around Zimbabwe's waning economic
"Sentiment is that the growth in the informal sector in
Zimbabwe is more driven by unemployment than anything else," says
Independent statistics indicate that unemployment has reached
over 80%, with estimates indicating it could leap beyond 85% inside the next
two years, although the government tightly measures it at 9%.
moment, the majority of people operating in the informal sector are
survivalists and not businesspeople," observes Robinson. "These are people
who are ready to leave whatever they are doing if they get formal employment
Turn on costs are also nominal in the informal sector,
while the ease to exist is another major advantage.
the informal sector has absorbed hundreds of thousands of school-leavers and
retrenchees, substantial business has been lost in the formal market. A
considerable chunk of business sustaining the informal sector is also
largely unlawful, such as the illegal trade in foreign currency.
Robertson, a Harare-based economic consultant says workers have been exposed
to all sorts of injustices because of the growth in the informal sector.
Workers are not adequately protected because they have
no access to
medical aid, pension schemes and are generally poorly
"You need producers as well as huge amounts of money in
machines, technology and quality control, among other things. Once we do
that, we will be able to provide something people can trade. Countries get
wealthy by producing and not trading alone. Zimbabwe has a discriminatory,
hostile tax environment, which makes it easy to stay informal," Robertson
Workers are taxed between 25 and 40% while companies who are in
business to make profits are charged 30,9%.
However, the informal
sector, critics say needs to be nurtured into the formal sector where it can
begin to contribute towards the payment of taxes and generation of the
much-needed foreign currency.
On the other hand players in the informal
sector are reluctant to join the mainstream economy because of huge
operational costs involved. They are content operating in the margins where
they escape the tax net and other contributions to workers and society.
Zimbabwe enigma: rural, urban divide Sundayopinion By
WITH prices going up, food shortages stalking the nation and
deaths being reported as children and old people succumb to hunger as well
as unemployment chasing 80 percent, Zimbabweans went to the polls on 31
As if to confirm the galloping price increases, the price of
drinks went up a day after the election on 1 April, and people who had
imagined this to be an April fools' joke still had to live with that reality
on 2 April. The government everyone was condemning for these hardships still
emerged the winner. Zanu PF emerged victorious with 78 seats in the
parliamentary elections against the country's main opposition political
party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), which took 41
In Bulawayo the country's second largest city, the people's
disappointment and dejection was palpable as residents tried to get to grips
with the reality of having Zanu PF in power for five more years before
another election, when the ruling party will be 30 years in power. By
African standards, this is still nothing.
Until his death in February
this year, Togolese president Gnassingbe Eyadema had been in power for 38
years. In 2008, the year scheduled for the next presidential election,
Mugabe will have 28 years under his belt.
A council employee perhaps
summarised the people's mood here. "Only Bush will save us," he said. He was
referring to United States President George W Bush after his assault on Iraq
which toppled strongman Saddam Hussein. Another Bulawayo resident, a
self-employed barber, said he was emigrating as soon as he could. "And so
should everybody," he added.
Others still genuinely wanted Zanu PF to
win. In a kombi during the week, a woman argued fervently that she could not
have been expected to vote for the MDC the party working in cahoots with
whites to starve the country.
The MDC lost 16 seats it won in the
previous parliament, and some of the party's top officials fell by the
Paul Themba-Nyathi, the MDC's spokesperson lost his Gwanda seat
alongside the party's shadow minister of agriculture Renson Gasela in Gweru
Because this was an election billed especially by urban residents
as "independence day" it is anybody's guess what the people's reaction will
be. Zimbabweans have had a history as a peace- loving nation, but observers
here have argued that this is because the ruling Zanu PF has used the police
and the army to browbeat the people and suppress dissent. During the run-up
to the election, some commentators opined that the MDC's loss could trigger
street protests but were still wary not to say this was going to be the
people's automatic response. They noted the people here had been literally
fatigued by the hardships to take to the streets.
Even the Bulawayo
Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube a few days before the poll was of the opinion
that perhaps it was time for a popular uprising. Last week, the Archbishop
told me the only way forward was a spontaneous uprising. "It is a risk but
it has to be taken," he said. Only time will tell, but the brutal history of
the treatment of political activists is well documented here, and very few
people are not willing to stand as the vanguard of street
The irony here that has manifested polarised voting behaviour
is that virtually all urban centres were taken by the MDC with all rural
constituencies going to Zanu PF. The irony is that the rural communities
have been the hardest hit by the food shortages and bad governance but still
turned out in their thousands to vote for the very people being accused of
running the country aground.
Traditionally referred to as Zanu PF's
power base, rural constituencies had the highest turn out as registered
voters came out in full force to endorse Zanu PF. But popular sentiment here
since 1980 holds that the rural populations have been intimidated by the
ruling party as it enlisted rural headmen and chiefs to threaten villagers
with all sorts of reprisals. And there have been allegations that ruling
party officials told the rural people that their vote was not a secret as it
would be known who they voted for. If they voted for the MDC it would be
known and they would be dealt with accordingly. This, observers here say, is
what has formed the ruling Zanu PF's claimed power base. Zanu PF denies
During the run up to the elections, a senior ruling party official
and cabinet minister, Sydney Sekeramayi, was accused of threatening to make
redundant workers at a horticulture farm which exports to the UK. He denied
the allegations, and when the election results were announced, he was duly
elected Member of Parliament. Nobody took him to task, and the people of
Zimbabwe will live with the Zanu PF victory indefinitely.
in Bulawayo are still trying to come to terms with the election's outcome.
To register his anger with the rural communities who have literally voted
Zanu PF back to power, a security guard in Bulawayo said: "The next time I
go to my rural home, I am not buying those folks any beer." The future of
the country which many believed was poised for the better looks very bleak.
It will take a miracle to save Zimbabwe.
MDC in danger of losing direction Sundaytalk with Pius
THE Movement for Democratic Change is in grave danger of losing
direction. The problem seems to be that it does not know or is not sure of
Knowing one's identity is crucial because it determines
one's confidence in oneself and subsequently behaviour in life. One's
actions are then decided by who one thinks one is and what one's mission in
life is. It gives direction. Who and what is the MDC? To the majority of
suffering Zimbabweans it is just as its name says. It is a people's movement
whose aim is to bring about democratic change in Zimbabwe. It is not an
ordinary political party, in the vein of many African opposition parties
whose sole goal is to place as many of its members as possible into
parliament with the hope that one day they can assume power and be able to
enjoy the fruits of that power as the incumbent rulers will be doing. Such a
party has no sense of mission or sacrifice. The suffering of the people
becomes to its leaders only a tool to be used to gain their
The MDC is not just another political party but a people's
movement whose sole goal is not just to get into parliament but to bring
about democratic change in Zimbabwe. As such its decisions and actions must
be determined and shaped by this identity. It is not just a political party
whose members carry party cards, wear T-shirts and attend rallies. It is a
people's movement born out of the pain of suffering as a result of
misgovernance, corruption and the lack of justice in the land. It is not a
political party organised by professional career politicians who hope to
earn salaries as members of parliament and hopefully be in power one day so
that they can also enjoy the fruits of power. In Shona they say: "Vanoda
kutonga kuti vagodyawo."
As a people's movement, the MDC should
forget the orthodox niceties of professional political conduct with its
feigned diplomacy, tactics, gimmicks and meaningless political correctness.
Its actions should only be shaped in response to the cries of those in
It is true that the MDC cannot act in isolation. It needs the
support of the international community, the African Union, SADC and other
regional bodies and countries. However, these cannot be expected to solve
Zimbabwe's problems because we are indeed a sovereign country as President
Robert Mugabe often emphasises.
They may even have their own agendas
which may be detrimental to our cause as is the case with South Africa. The
MDC cannot expect any constructive assistance or advice from that direction.
The MDC's actions can and should be informed by what others say but should
never be determined by that but by how we assess our own
When the MDC announced that it would boycott the March 2005
general elections because the playing field was uneven, Zimbabweans
applauded the move. The idea of boycotting something "kuramwa" is well
understood and accepted as a way of protest in our society. How can you get
into a ball game with a team which has 15 players when you have the required
11? It also insists on choosing the referee and you are not even allowed to
choose a linesman. Getting into such a soccer game is sheer folly. You can
For years the National Constitutional Assembly, led by the
courageous Dr Lovemore Madhuku, cautioned the MDC against going into
elections under the present undemocratic constitution, which among other
things, allows President Mugabe to choose 30 unelected members of
parliament. We thought they had seen the point, only to be greatly
disappointed. The MDC made a U-turn at the last moment and decided to take
part in the elections "under protest". Who they were protesting to one
cannot really tell.
This confused the electorate, which had not bothered
to register or to check the voters' roll because they had really believed
that the MDC was not going to participate - hence the low voter
The inevitable happened. Zanu PF, as predicted rigged the polls
neatly and came out the winner with the two-thirds majority, which allows it
to change the Constitution to its further advantage. Africa has said the
polls were free and fair and we are back to square one for another five
Now that what was so obviously predictable has happened, the MDC
is crying foul. However, loudly they may protest, the fact is that their
crying alone will not change anything. They lent credibility to the whole
farce by participating.
Those who say that if the MDC had boycotted
the elections it would have been sidelined and become irrelevant are talking
rubbish. Actually by taking part in these fraudulent elections it is now in
real danger of becoming irrelevant. If they, as a recognised opposition,
with almost half of the seats in parliament, had refused to participate a
real political crisis would have developed. It would have put the AU, SADC
and South Africa in a real quandary. They would not have been able to call
an election by Zanu PF alone free and fair.
The damage has been done
but we cannot cry over spilt milk. The question is: Where do we go from
here? Most Zimbabweans are of the reasonable opinion that if the MDC really
believes that the Zanu PF win was through rigging and that they won the
elections, which they actually did, then they should refuse to be sworn in
and boycott parliament as a matter of principle and protest.
tragedy is that the MDC seems to be undecided about what action to take. It
is good and reasonable that they send evidence of the electoral fraud to the
Electoral Court and appeal for redress as well as sending letters of protest
and evidence to relevant regional bodies and the international community.
But what will really matter is their decision not to go to
Some in the MDC leadership have said that those who were
elected should go into parliament to represent those who voted for them.
They say that boycotting parliament would be a betrayal of those voters. How
about the majority whose candidates won but were denied their seats through
fraud? Who is going to represent them? Will they not feel
Others say the elected members from the MDC should go into
parliament to make the people's voice heard. How naïve can one get? The MDC
has been in parliament for five years. Has its voice not been heard? What
will make the difference now?
Surely if, as I believe, the MDC
represent the voice of the majority it does not need to convince a
fraudulently elected Zanu PF government of anything. The voice of the people
of Zimbabwe does not need to plead to fraudsters. It is being heard clearly
and its reverberations are resonating from the Chimanimani and the
Matusadonha mountains to the whole world.
If the MDC is only interested
in getting a few of its leaders into parliament and not in effecting
democratic change through decisive action, then we are doomed. Lest the
Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) or CID come after me again, I must
assure them that I am not at all implying anything unconstitutional or
violent. Democratic change should be brought about by democratic means and
there are many options open to the MDC.
In The Standard of 3 April 2005,
my good friend, Bornwell Chakaodza, tries to convince us that democratic
change can be brought about by a government of national unity. He says if
President Mugabe can come together with the MDC in a government of real
national unity that government could restore "all the freedoms and democracy
enjoyed by the civilised world". Nice try Bornwell, but you are wasting your
time in wishful thinking.
The MDC should banish all thoughts of ever
being able to work together with Zanu PF to bring about democratic change
from its mind. Can a leopard change its colour? The only way change can be
brought about in Zimbabwe is through a new democratic constitution and fresh
elections, which would definitely see Zanu PF thrown out of
Today's (Friday 8th April 2005) contains: - a new
listing of section 8 orders for 168 properties under Lot No. 24 and - a new
listing under section 5 notice for one property under Lot No. 166.
will be sent out on Monday 11th April 2005.
Yesterday's Herald (7th April
2005) contained a notice to 822 property owners to contact the Ministry
URGENTLY in connection with compensation. This is the fifth notice of this
nature since the first one in March 2003.
We strongly advise those
farmers who are called and are in a position to do so to attend a Ministry
meeting, but to do so from an informed position as to the VALUE of their
property, and the lack of procedurality prevailing with this notice and any
JAG is well placed to advise those farmers willing to attend
these meetings. In the past rediculously low verbal offers have been
If for no other reason, it is essential that we are able to counter
any possible future claims by Government that farmers were called
to compensation but never came
JAG Hotlines: (011) 205 374 If you are in trouble or need
advice, please don't hesitate to contact us
- we're here to help! +263 (04) 799 410
"I belong to a generation which brought fundamental
revolutionary changes not through the law or the legal process but through
the barrel of a gun. The law is only a political concept. It can be used as
a tool from any political angle."
Current Minister of Justice, Patrick
Chinamasa said when still Zimbabwe's Attorney
interesting recent debate and interchange has been visible in your forum
Some may perceive that they have the core credentials
equated to that of a polecat.
The typical Brit does not know or care
where Zimbabwe is, or is concerned much about the source of a product they
may want to buy off a shelf.
The reality is that in both the retarded and
modern worlds, of perhaps reduced or insolvent morality, it is near normal to
fill back-pockets from any source since this conduct infrequently attracts
conscious or meaningfully accountability.
If anyone actually wanted to
get moral or consequential results, they should institute legal proceedings
towards those proven to deal with stolen goods, derivatives or
Tragically many Zimbabweans are victims of punitive circumstances
that may have reduced balanced focus distanced from more overriding
Well-known is the fact that there are still several 'nuzzlers'
who endure and prosper from aspects of the new culture of "chocolate farming"
A few decades ago these types were identified as
turncoats or quislings.
What TESCO may be doing can only be consequential
to inputs from Zimbabwe.
Whilst there are many more serious matters to
attend to, those that want to go the distance with TESCO and their likes
initially only need to find and divulge a few basics.
All that is
necessary is to reveal the sources, the exporters, their bases, and their
2: SEEKING OWNER OF "IGAVA" FARM, received 7.4.2005
I am seeking the previous owners of Igava farm in
Macheke. I have important information for them regarding their farm. Please
could they contact me on the following email address: firstname.lastname@example.org or text + 27 83
897 8075 and I will call them back immediately. Thank you very
Now that the
elections are over And what you wanted was denied It is not time to take
cover From seeking justice when you have tried To seek God's wish for
It seems the Almighty God, and father Of our world and our
country and provider Of our land wants us to look for another State where
everyone who is now threatened feels safer
Therefore national democratic
leaders, MDC, Sokwanele, NCA,and all peace loving Zimbabweans,inside and
outside Must work hard for separation of country and never cease To cry
for a separate state inside Zimbabwe, as God may instruct.
elections will never give security from persecution and planned mass
starvation by evil forces in and outside who with impunity want to half
Zimbabwe's honest but hungry population.
God will bless those who seek
peace and He will grant us His peace and a new home if we ask with
Speed to save many lives under threat in Zimbabwe!
There are many who believe that everything has or will come to a
stop and that we will get nothing out of this stolen Election, they are
pessimists and are very wrong. Many whites did not even vote, using the
excuse that it was not their problem, but the black Zimbabwean's problem, now
what a lot of pure undultarated shit, are they saying that they are not
true Zimbabweans or what? I have heard of people flying in from England,
driving from South Africa to vote. Thanks to all those true patriots who
voted and assisted me, despite all those who did not vote, we won 94 seats,
this means that the MDC have the backing of a high majority of the citizens
of our Zimbabwe now.
For those who believe that the MDC are a nothing
and are a weak and useless party, just try to imagine where we would have
been by now if they did not exist, a one party state, a new repressive
constitution with disastrous policies, and with absolutely no solution to our
countries problems. Sure the pessimists would say, that is where we are now,
but the fight is not over, our solution is a new democratic government, and
the MDC is our only contender with the experients and backing of the
population to do it..
I said to you all that we may not win this
elections but we will win because of it, I still believe this to be true, and
I am sure that you will start seeing some action towards this goal very
Please don't despair, Mugabe is in serious trouble now, he is aware
that at least 90% of the population is against him. This descent is growing
as prices go up, I was told that the ZANU PF in ZAKA EAST were very
angry, prices had gone up and there was no diesel or petrol. If this is
the feeling there, I am sure that it is the same all over.
see this begin to happen PLEASE ASSIST IN EVERY WAY THAT YOU CAN, and those
who did not vote please try to locate your BALLs and assist also, do not
think of leaving it to GOD, GOD helps those who help themselves, providing of
couse we stay within the 10 commandments.
Keep your head up, be proud to
be a Zimbabwean whether you are black, white, or a colored, back the MDC and
we will win.
PLEASE PASS THIS MESSAGE ON.
JAG Hotlines: +263 (011) 205 374 If you are in trouble or
need advice, please don't hesitate to
contact us - we're here to help! +263
(04) 799 410 Office Lines
JUSTICE FOR AGRICULTURE MEMBERSHIP ASSOCIATION
To all concerned Parties and Existing
The new Justice for Agriculture Membership Association (JAGMA),
under a new constitution, fully realises that it is critically imperative
that we get financial support for dealing with the issues of Restitution
The Compensation Coalition recognises and has agreed
that the JAG Loss Claim Document (JAG LCD) is the most comprehensive format
for the presentation of Losses and Claims for Restitution and Compensation
under International Law.
It is urgent that JAG receives the maximum
number of Loss Claim Documents (JAG LCD's) in the near future or there is a
danger that the compensation issue will be lost due to political expediency
and true justice could be undermined.
The format for the JAG Loss
Claim Document (JAG LCD's) is available electronically from the JAG
The new membership fees for the first quarter 2005 will be: Z$
300 000.00, due now.
JAG also welcomes ancillary industry
participation with membership fees of: Z$250 000.00. p.a.
membership fees i.e. those wishing to advertise over our network are: Z$200
It is essential with the impending NGO Bill being imminent
that JAG regularises its membership base as we cannot be seen to be
representing anyone other than members.
Yours sincerely Alastair
Davies Chairman The Justice for Agriculture Membership Association
JUSTICE FOR AGRICULTURE BOARD OF TRUSTEES (JAG BoT) AND THE JAG MEMBERSHIP
The new Justice for
Agriculture (JAG) Trust has recently been reconstituted as a pro-active
membership-driven organisation, subscribing to:
1. Returning Zimbabwe to
food self-sufficiency; 2. Servicing the needs of Members; 3. Striving for
Accountability, Integrity, and Transparency; 4. Promoting National Unity in
Zimbabwe's Agriculture 5. Resurrecting Zimbabwe's Agricultural
We Aim to achieve Restitution/Compensation for all sectors of
Zimbabwe's Agricultural Community, through: · non-selective application of
Justice for all; · the complete restoration of the Rule of Law, and · the
universal respect for Property Rights
through full accountability in
Zimbabwe, in participation with Civil Society and all concerned and
sympathetic Stakeholders in Agriculture.
JAG strongly believes that true
empowerment and freedom of the people of Zimbabwe will only come through
INDIVIDUAL OWNERSHIP OF PROPERTY AND LAND in
JUSTICE FOR AGRICULTURE BOARD OF TRUSTEES (JAG BoT) AND THE JAG MEMBERSHIP
Justice for Agriculture
Aimed at servicing the needs of the Members. Through an
extensive communications network, addressing the issues of:
restitution, and · compensation, and · finance.
JAG is seeking
financial support from an expanded membership base and from concerned and
sympathetic Donor Agencies.
The funding will be used for:
JAG Loss Claim Documentation project data base; 2. Legal projects; 3.
Public Relations; 4. Advocacy and Lobbying; 5. Human Rights
Recording; 6. Efficient Administration.
The inclusion of the above in
an Independent National Land Audit.
Our Mission is to unite all parties
involved in the Agricultural, Natural Resources and Wildlife sectors, through
communications and negotiation, pro-actively pursuing the revitalisation of
the Agricultural, Natural Resources and Wildlife sectors in the new
The time is now ripe for our full pro-active participation in
the future of Zimbabwe's agriculture.
There can be no meaningful
development and progress whilst our RESTITUTION and COMPENSATION claims
JAG Hotlines: (011) 205 374 If you are in trouble or need
advice, please don't hesitate to contact us
- we're here to help! +263 (04) 799 410
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3. Voices From SA: Statement By Bishop
4. Prose Poem: I Miss My
5. News Wrap 2: MDC Say Preliminary Findings Show
Massive Electoral Fraud
6. SA Council Of Churches
Observer Mission Statement
7. News Wrap 3: Final
Observer Mission Report
8. Voice Of Regional Journalist
Travelling In Zimbabwe
9. News Wrap 4 : Calls For New
Election As Substantial Flaws In Election Emerge
Opinion And Analysis: Falling At The First Hurdle
Wrap 5: SA Parliamentary Mission Divided
12. Voices from
Africa: Observations on the Zimbabwe Elections
13. News Wrap
6 : COSATU Calls For Probe Of Electoral Fraud
From Zimbabwe: Statement by Archbishop Pius Ncube
Wrap 7: AU Observer Mission Calls For Probe
& Analysis: How Is The Region Reacting & How Should It React To SADC
17. News Wrap 8: MDC Youths Demand Mass
18. Editorial Voice Visiting Zimbabwe: The Response
To A Stolen Vote And The Road Ahead
19. About this
20. Distribution details and contact
21. New contact information
-------------------------------------- The Zimbabwe
Solidarity and Consultation Forum have noted the fallout from the recent
Zimbabwe election. Solidarity is about people, and the Zimbabwean people are
in the same position they were in before the election. If anything, the
political crisis, which is the basis of the economic and social struggles
faced by people, has deepened. These are daily struggles about finding
enough food for you and your children, and being able to go to bed at night
feeling safe that tomorrow your opinions and your friends are not going to
count against you. Millions of people from and in Zimbabwe are living under
conditions that you and we would not accept for ourselves.
own monitors in Zimbabwe have provided clear evidence of a political climate
that is in direct violation of the SADC guidelines and principles.
Guidelines and principles that signatories, South Africa and Zimbabwe both,
vowed to scrupulously apply. A foundation stone of these principles and
guidelines is that the pre-election period is as important as the election
itself. The effect of the POSA and AIPPA legislation that eliminates
people's right to meet, to organise and to speak their minds has been well
articulated. The delimitation of constituencies to favour the ruling party,
the stuffing of the voters role with dead voters, the fear released through
the youth militia, the corruption of traditional leaders and the use of food
as a political tool have all featured as key election highlights. There is
no doubt that long before March 31st this was an election that had already
The single fact that no observer missions
observed the stipulation, that 90 days before an election, missions should
be in place, must surely raise questions about the elections legitimacy. The
fact that only those that were invited, observed, must surely deepen this
questioning. Despite this observers travelled to Zimbabwe and pronounced
their findings. Who did these observers meet? How far from the urban centres
did they travel? The discrepancies between the number of voters and the
number of votes counted, the turning away of thousands of people, the
incidents of violence, the delay between the close of counting and the
announcement of results, the presence of soldiers in the voting stations and
the silencing and absence of independent monitors at polling booths are
explicit examples of neither free nor fair electoral practice. Surely if the
observers observed no discrepancies, in the face of such clear evidence to
the contrary, it reflects more on the circles in which the observers moved
than on the election itself?
Civil society was entirely
excluded from these elections even though it is a fundamental right for
civil society, including trade unions and human rights organisations to
actively take part in events that will affect their futures. The absence of
civil society from all official observer missions and the silence of
governments in Southern Africa in allowing this to happen is an indictment
of the freedoms we claim to have fought for. The crisis in Zimbabwe has
deepened. The solution to this crisis requires all of us to play a role.
Zimbabweans need to look deeper for mechanisms that will amplify the voice
of its people. SADC and the AU have an obligation to intervene and ensure
that their recommendations about freeing up political space and negotiating
an interim solution become a reality.
Solidarity is about the
light that remains when the night has come. It is about remembering that no
matter how long the night, the day is sure to dawn. Ongoing efforts to raise
awareness and sharpen a South African understanding of conditions in
Zimbabwe will continue. Mass mobilization and a principled engagement with
our mass based formations will aim at involving our people in acting against
injustice and in support of an African Union enforced, and SADC facilitated,
negotiation that involves all Zimbabweans in finding solutions to the
against supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) by
ruling party militants is beginning in the wake of the recently concluded
parliamentary elections. At least ten villagers from Kazangarare rural area
in Mashonaland West have sought refuge in the town of Karoi after fleeing
from militia members. In Gwanda, in the Matabeleland South province, 45 MDC
supporters were beaten up and told that they will no longer be able to buy
maize from the state-run Grain Marketing Board, the only supplier of maize
in the region. MDC supporters are also reported to have fled from threats of
violence in Makoni East.
The son of the MDC candidate in Mazowe
East, Shepherd Mushonga, was kidnapped at Bedrock Business Centre and
severely beaten by ZANU (PF) youths. Wilson Mushonga was followed by youths
and militia members, beaten and left for dead near the family shop. He is
currently in hospital.
Paul Themba Nyathi, spokesman for the MDC,
also reported an unconfirmed incident in which the winning ZANU (PF)
candidate for Insiza and deputy Transport Minister fired shots in an attempt
to scare MDC supporters while they were being assaulted by ZANU (PF)
militants at Avoca rural business centre.
(From ZimOnline, 7
April and SW Radio Africa, 7 April)
VOICES FROM SOUTH
AFRICA: STATEMENT ON ZIMBABWE ELECTIONS BY THE ANGLICAN BISHOP OF NATAL
RIGHT REV RUBIN
have had occasion to visit Zimbabwe on two separate occasions over the past
five weeks. The first was to Harare in the pre-election period (from 28
February to 2 March) where I had the opportunity to meet with various
representatives of church and civil society formations in Zimbabwe to
discuss the electoral environment and to ascertain the conditions on the
ground for credible elections to take place on 31 March 2005. The second
was over the election period (from 25 March to 2 April) when I visited
Bulawayo and travelled around Matabeleland observing the immediate build-up
to the elections, the poll and the immediate post-election
These visits confirmed that the electoral process in
Zimbabwe was conducted in a climate of fear and intimidation and against the
backdrop of escalating poverty and food shortages which was largely
politically induced. The extent of the fear and intimidation was palpable,
and is reflected in a conversation I held with a priest who said that he was
too fearful of reprisals to attend a Good Friday service (which incorporated
a march in support of those suffering and oppressed). The freedom of the
electoral process in the pre-election period was also severely compromised
by restrictive and oppressive legislation such as the Public Order and
Security Act (POSA) and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act (AIPPA) which did not allow for equal access to state media and
restricted and disrupted campaigning for the elections by the opposition MDC
up until two weeks before the elections. It was also evident from my first
visit, that despite complying with some of the SADC Standards and Guidelines
for Elections agreed in Mauritius, that the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission
(ZEC) lacked independence and that serious discrepancies existed around the
registration process, the voters roll and the process of determining
constituency boundaries - all of which were handled in a secretive and
underhanded manner by agents of the ruling party.
electoral environment was further undermined by reports of the manipulation
of the distribution of food aid by the ruling party, and I met an 83 year
old widow who confirmed this fact. She cares for five orphans and told me
that because she supports the MDC, her name was on a list of those who are
not allowed to buy food from the Grain Marketing Board and that she has been
told by her local headman that unless she 'converts' to ZANU-PF she and her
children will starve to death. Reports of many other intimidation tactics
were also reported to me and have been well documented by human rights
organisations in Zimbabwe. These include threats of forced removal from
areas if people attended MDC rallies, threats against election observers and
polling agents and in some instances threats of retribution if people voted
for the MDC.
Despite peace and dignity prevailing in the period
immediately prior to, and during the poll, (which is to be commended and
recognised), serious discrepancies emerged on the voting day with high
numbers of would-be voters turned away from polling stations, and
unacceptable discrepancies between the figures released by the ZEC and the
official results from some constituencies. Various aspects of the electoral
process were also not fully observed by domestic or international observers
which left the system open to abuse.
For the above reasons I
do not consider the electoral process in Zimbabwe to be either free or fair
and therefore cannot believe that it expresses the will of the people of
Bishop Rubin Phillip, (SACC Envoy To Zimbabwe, Head Of
The Zimbabwe Observer Consortium And Spokesperson For The Zimbabwe
Solidarity And Consultation
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) says that preliminary investigations
and analysis of results from the recent parliamentary election have revealed
"serious and unaccountable gaps" between the official results reported by
the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) and the number of votes attributed
to each candidate. The party says that these discrepancies indicate "massive
electoral fraud by the ruling party."
The opposition party has
identified 30 constituencies in the provinces of Manicaland, Mashonaland
West, Mashonaland East and Matabeleland South. However, the full extent of
the discrepancies cannot be assessed as the ZEC has refused to release
figures on the number of votes cast in a further five provinces. The MDC has
said that, "The ZEC's refusal to release these figures indicates widespread
Very few discrepancies were recorded in the
MDC's urban strongholds of Harare and Bulawayo, where the party regained
most of its seats, as was widely predicted. The party's statement suggests
that this was done to ensure that the election had "a veneer of legitimacy"
while ensuring that the ruling party cemented its hold in the rest of the
country. The most glaring discrepancies occurred in constituencies contested
by senior party officials and government ministers.
stated that it had submitted its findings to the SADC and South African
observer missions, but regretted that these missions had shown a "chronic
lack of interest" in the findings. The MDC statement further cites the
uneven playing field, the inflated voter's roll, the coercion of the rural
electorate as well as the high proportion of voters turned away from polling
stations as evidence that the election was "stolen".
bravery and demeanour of Zimbabweans who contributed to what was largely a
peaceful election day deserves both acknowledgement and respect. The
insistence of Zimbabweans, members of SADC and citizens of countries
surrounding Zimbabwe on the application of the SADC Principles and
Guidelines Governing Democratic Elections and minimum standards for
elections was admirable.
The drop in violence is welcomed and
acknowledged as a significant improvement on the 2000 and 2002 elections.
In the last weeks before Election Day there was a marked opening of public
space for opposition voices, voter education and access for the
international media. This created a surge of optimism by the opposition and
encouraged all who were observing the election.
issuing this statement comprises the South African Council of Churches, the
Southern African Catholic Bishops Conference, SANGOCO, Idasa, the Centre for
Policy Studies and the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation. It
requested but was not afforded observer status. Members of the consortium
did visit the country prior to and during the elections. They consulted
widely with NGO and political groupings in Zimbabwe, interviewed a
cross-section of Zimbabweans and followed the election process both from
within and outside of the country.
Of particular concern is the
· Zimbabwe has become an
authoritarian state and the election was held within this context. A normal
election remains difficult to contemplate without significant changes in the
constitutional, legal, institutional and cultural
· The governing party has at its
disposal the resources and privileges of incumbency, which it employed to
its own advantage. Numerous donations to communities accompanied government
ministers as they campaigned and were used as vote
· We consider the politicization of
observation missions, in particular the preferential treatment of invited
missions in accordance with their stated friendship to ZANU PF to be
regrettable. In particular, conclusions arrived at by the South African
Observer Missions failed to address the critical issues affecting free and
fair elections standards and have thus compromised their role as honest and
non partisan observers.
· The suspension of
excessive violence and the opportunity to vote do not in themselves
constitute a free and fair election as required by the SADC guidelines. The
guidelines require states to adhere scrupulously to an extensive set of
criteria, all of which are underpinned by the African Union's democratic
· The election has fallen
short of these stringent SADC standards and the AU commitment to democracy.
Delayed and limited implementation of electoral reforms, remaining
restrictions on political activity, abuse of the resources and privileges of
incumbency and serious allegations of fraud by the MDC which remain to be
answered have undermined confidence in the election
· Indication are that previous
violence and intimidation had cowed voters, that the inequities introduced
by early election arrangements (demarcation and voter registration in
particular) and other forms of alleged electoral bias calls into question
the objectivity of the electoral commission and the outcome of the
Because we are convinced that future elections should
not be countenanced without significant changes in Zimbabwe, we believe that
both political parties and others who wish Zimbabwe well should seize the
opportunity to redouble their efforts to achieve these necessary
The coalition welcomes the fact that Election Day and
the weeks immediately preceding it were largely peaceful. It hopes that this
was a prologue to continued legally sanctioned peace and openness. In this
regard we call on civil society throughout the region to commit themselves
to supporting the efforts of Zimbabweans to wrest peace, prosperity and the
necessary political reforms from the elections which are now behind
Based on the present evidence and analysis of the SADC
guidelines, the coalition cannot pronounce the elections as being free and
fair without qualification. We particularly regard as morally questionable
the pronouncement by the South African Observer Mission that primarily due
to the peaceful climate that prevailed during the elections; the elections
are necessarily free and fair. As to the credibility and legitimacy of the
outcomes, the coalition believes that this judgment must and will be made by
the people of Zimbabwe, their courts and their political
blood was spilt on polling day in Zimbabwe, but endorsing Zanu-PF's victory
shows a too narrow definition of 'free and fair', writes a South African
journalist. By the time I set foot on Zimbabwean soil on March 24th 2005 I
had sifted for months through NGO reports on torture, abuse of food aid,
brutal repression by the state and did not know what to believe anymore.
What I saw surprised me. The country appeared to be peaceful, functioning
and vibrant. Two weeks later I knew the peace I saw was an artificial
snapshot, fashioned by the devious spin doctors of a despotic state for the
benefit of parachute journalists and part-time election
In my view, Zimbabwe on March 31st 2005 was a ring
in which one boxer was lying face down but fights were still announced. The
exhausted boxer was tied down (by repressive laws such as Aippa, Posa and a
slew of statutes dating from the Ian Smith days), starving (unless he
promised to surrender to his opponent), bruised (the kicking had stopped
eight weeks earlier but scars were fresh and memories of scarring
irrepressible), and nearly anonymous (nobody read about him in the Herald or
saw his face on ZTV).
His presence in the ring was announced
weeks earlier, controversial among peers who said the fight would not be
fair. They were right. Observers from South Africa and SADC who said the
poll's result "reflects the will of the Zimbabwean people" were wrong.
Relying on an unreasonably narrow definition of "free and fair", observers
across Zimbabwe's ten provinces saw no blood on polling day and said "peace
prevailed". They saw no guns against the heads of men and women making their
crosses in private booths and said "they expressed their free will". Yet
peace is more than the absence of overt conflict and duress is induced by
many things besides the fear of immediate death.
I spent 12
days in Zimbabwe as a fully accredited journalist. I spoke to many people
who were filled with fear after having faced threats of death, material
loss, starvation and eviction if they voted for the MDC. This fear was real
because the threat of reprisal was credible. This time the duress that
stripped voters of true freedom was not caused by guns and sjamboks, but by
memories of guns and sjamboks from 2000 and 2002. The fear that headmen and
chiefs would make good on their promises to evict supporters of the MDC from
communal land was made more real by the knowledge that ballot boxes would be
translucent. This was reinforced by the inability of illiterate, rural
voters to know that this did not matter. Voting behaviour is influenced by
violence, but also by fear and memories of violence.
ended, doors of polling stations and notebooks of observers slammed shut
simultaneously. Results were not posted at polling stations before being
announced at constituency level (thus impeding independent verification). No
outside observers were present at the National Logistics Committee which
received results first. On the morning of April 1st the Zimbabwean Election
Commission (ZEC) announced the total number of votes cast by closing time;
the huge discrepancy between many of these figures and the total number of
votes earned by each candidate announced later, has not been
Observers gave the MDC's complaints of fraud to the
Electoral Court little regard as not one of the 39 petitions they lodged in
at court after the 2000 election against the Zanu-PF resulted in
fraudulently elected MPs vacating office.
It is important to praise
Zimbabweans of all political persuasion for the peace and quiet of election
day. But if Zimbabwe is to become a real democracy free of fear, outsiders
who parachute into this suffering land with rubber stamps in hand will have
to reassess their definitions of "free and fair", and validate the claims of
those who say their vote was stolen in a bloodless
NEWS WRAP 4:
CALLS FOR NEW ELECTION AS
SUBSTANTIAL FLAWS IN ELECTION
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has called for new elections after
serious problems with parliamentary elections held on the 31st of March were
revealed by independent groups.
The Zimbabwe Election Support
Network (ZESN), a group of 35 non-governmental organisations, stated that
while the voting process appeared peaceful, an average of 25 percent of
potential voters was turned away at polling stations. ZESN chairman Reginald
Matchaba-Hove said, "Of those turned away, a significant number were either
not aware of new constituency boundaries or were turned away for failing to
produce proper identification."
(From New Zimbabwe
Shall Be Equal Before The
AND ANALYSIS: FALLING AT THE FIRST
Zimbabwe Parliamentary Election is over - at least in the immediate sense.
The question is: what are we to make of it? It seems evident that some very
sober analysis must take place soon, for it has been an exceptionally
cynical event with ramifications for both Zimbabwe and the
It is clear that the views expressed by the Zimbabwe
Election Support Network in their final assessment of the election will have
to be given very serious attention. As ZESN pointed out in their very
temperate analysis, both the pre-election climate and the actual polling
process revealed deep problems with these elections. Most important at this
point in time is the compelling evidence that the integrity of the election
cannot be guaranteed, despite the premature conclusions of the SADC and
South African Parliamentary Observer groups. There were far too many aspects
of the process that were not observed and were suggestive of irregularities
for there to be any preliminary approval of these elections, let alone
conclusions that indicate governmental approval can be given to
There remains a number of "black holes" in the electoral
process that have yet to be explained and these are not trivial. As the
Idasa preliminary statement pointed out, the integrity of the electoral
process has not been established and a number of 'yet to be explained'
anomalies have led to Zimbabweans questioning the outcome and as in the case
of the MDC, quite possibly rejecting the outcome. Here, it is relevant to
remember the words of the South African President, who suggested that the
final validation of the elections would be from Zimbabweans themselves and
not observer groups. So Zanu-PF and Robert Mugabe aside, Zimbabweans have
not accepted the outcome and thus it is wholly premature for South Africa
and SADC to do so.
Apart from these matters though, is the
astounding result of the electorate voting in a regime which was previously
in power when the country and its citizens witnessed the most dramatic
collapse in their economy and their living standards. In fact, this past
Zimbabwean election must have political scientists across the world
searching to find a parallel example of a country that has returned to power
with a massive majority despite the fact that it not only failed to deliver
on its promises but has actually been in power whilst its citizens have
experienced the worst economic downturn in the contemporary world. It is
certainly unique that citizens reward such a regime with an increased
majority as opposed to voting it out!
However, this is normal in
Zimbabwean politics it seems and is not to be questioned by the Southern
African region. Zanu-PF runs an election that has only the barest
resemblance to a conventional democratic poll; it declares itself to be the
winner, demands that the opposition accept it and threatens those
Zimbabweans who will not accept it with violent action. This is real
politick, Zimbabwe style. Eddison Zvogbo once pointed out that the task of
politics is the conquest and maintenance of power, nothing more and nothing
less! Clearly ethics, values, principles and transparency have nothing to do
with this process in the Zimbabwean context: the issue is to grab the ball
and run with it and damn the rules.
In regard to the
experienced observers of the Zimbabwe crisis we have simply seen the process
of the year 2000 repeated. Win the election by whatever means and then just
keep governing. Zanu-PF have declared themselves the government and will
argue the toss later, but in the meantime Robert Mugabe is President and
Zanu-PF remains the ruling party.
This leads to two immediate
problems: one being domestic and the other regional. The domestic problem is
whether the MDC and Zimbabweans will accept this outcome and clearly they do
not. Zimbabwe will remain deeply divided and the question now is how
Zimbabweans will respond. Will the rejection of these elections be largely
rhetorical - as in the past - or will we now see a cohesive and sustained
resistance to an illegitimate regime?
The second problem is
in the region. Having laid down the standards for the holding of democratic
elections, the SADC has seemingly fallen at the first hurdle and instead of
adhering to its own standards, it has validated this election merely because
there was very little violence and the polling day was peaceful. These are
criteria far short of the aspirations expressed in Mauritius last year and
once again indicate the gap between African governmental theory and
This is the gap that must be filled by solidarity. Just
as Zimbabweans must hold the Zanu-PF Regime accountable for flawed
elections, so must regional civil society hold their governments accountable
for flawed observation. The task is the same, but the targets are different
and we fail ourselves if the standards we set as regional citizens are not
applicable irrespective of boundaries. As President Mbeki said, there must
be penalties for failure to reach these regional standards. The question is,
who will guard the guards when they are found wanting? Or do we merely
repeat the endless process of rubber stamping illegitimacy every five years
South African parliamentary observer mission to the recent Zimbabwe
parliamentary elections is divided over its assessment of the polls. ANC
chief whip Mbulelo Goniwe stated that the mission had "unanimously" found
that "the elections were credible, legitimate, free and fair and conformed
to the SADC elections guidelines." However, the Democratic Alliance (DA),
the Freedom Front and the Independent Democrats (ID) have strongly disagreed
with this assessment, calling the election anything but free and fair.
Goniwe has said he will seek disciplinary action against the observers from
the DA and ID.
Similar concerns have emerged amongst other
observer missions, with the African Union (AU) observer mission refusing to
comment on whether or not the election was free and fair. The head of the AU
mission raised concerns about the failure of the official count to tally
with vote count in several constituencies.
I have to keep reminding
myself that the sun still comes up in the morning and will do so tomorrow as
well, for the arrogance with which the Zanu-PF state has rigged the 2005
parliamentary elections and pronounced a mind boggling two thirds win over
the MDC, has not only got me down and depressed but seemingly most
Zimbabweans along with me. The mood is sombre and reserved throughout
Harare. Soon the struggle of daily life will resume but now with a
parliament that has again become an extension of the tyrannical regime bent
on changing the constitution. I'm sure we have no illusions about who this
will benefit - not the common people of Zimbabwe - I can assure
Yet the question that is on many peoples' minds is how have
they done it this time around? How have they seemingly managed to get away
with rigging these elections? What were the tools at their disposal to
ascertain these results? In an attempt to give you an answer to these
questions I will glance back at several weeks of election monitoring and
describe my personal observations and analysis. I have been able to tour
large parts of Zimbabwe in order to produce these findings and on the
Election Day I made an effort to visit 6 high density areas. Out of these
six areas I visited 21 polling stations.
In the run-up to the
elections I encountered many things that do not bode well for anyone who
even considers calling the elections free and fair. Let us keep in mind that
free and fair elections can not be judged based on the actual Election Day
only. More importantly, SADC principles and guidelines provide the framework
along which a pre-election, election and post-election period, not only
election day can be analysed. So with the SADC guidelines and specifically
the 'guidelines for the observation of elections' in mind the following
observations were made:
Constitutional And Legal Guarantees Of
Freedom And Rights Of The Citizens:
Restrictive laws such as AIPPA and
POSA have been implemented over recent years that severely impede on the
freedom and rights of people. One example is the possibility of the police
to detain suspects without pressing charges for up to 90 days. Furthermore,
the executive and security forces have repeatedly ignored court orders, even
from the High Court and Supreme Court. One such example is the court order
to allow the Daily News to operate again. Furthermore, the executive has way
too much power. He can interfere in what ever part of life: overrule
parliament, change election laws a fortnight before elections, etc. Also, in
general the culprits of political violence are not prosecuted. Prosecution
however did make a showcase out of the arrest of several Zanu-PF youths who
had been accused of political violence. This was an isolated case
Conducive Environment For Free, Fair And Peaceful
Due to 5 years of intense political violence with the
consequences well reported by the Zimbabwe Human Rights Forum, one can not
speak of a conducive environment for free and fair elections. Fear has
settled over the people of Zimbabwe as a consequence of violence spread by
such agencies as the Youth Brigades (or Green Bombers), the war vets, the
CIO, the police and the army. Even though the three weeks before the
elections were relatively free of physical violence, there was still a lot
of psychological violence in rural and urban areas. We witnessed massive
numbers of police spread throughout Harare, as well as many roadblocks
through Matabeleland North. Also, on Election Day soldiers were driving up
and down the main streets of Highfield, Harare. In the weeks prior to the
election, witnesses accounted of threats by Zanu-PF supporters, youth
militias and war vets that anybody who would vote for the opposition would
be taken care of afterwards. The message was: "we can see what you vote,
thanks to the transparent ballot boxes."
On Election Day,
Zanu-PF youths were witnessed intimidating voters at the polling station in
St-Mary's, Harare. There were also too few ballots in several polling
stations. Also important is that the scarcity of food was also used to
intimidate people. Due to natural drought and the disastrous land reform
policies, people have been starving in large parts of Zimbabwe. Often,
suspected MDC members do not receive access to food provided by the state
run Grain Marketing Board. They are told that if they vote for the
opposition they will not receive food either. In a certain Matabeleland
constituency voters above 45 years of age were forced to vote under guidance
of Zanu-PF. They were told who to vote for under the guise of assisting
illiterate elderly people. Instead of ultra-violet ink (which is invisible),
red ink was used on fingers, which made people recognizable for violence and
intimidation. Importantly as well, the media was not free and fair. Although
overtures were made for the opposition to place ads, and although news
covered some opposition activities and policies, and although some
opposition members were interviewed in interview programs, this was in no
way free and fair. This was specifically due to the way the opposition was
portrayed, the way opposition interviewees were treated, the amount of time
spent on the opposition compared to Zanu-PF/the state, and the fees charged
to the MDC for ads. In general one can state that the time spent on the
opposition was basically a continuation of state/Zanu-PF propaganda. There
was also quick implementation of new laws as a reaction to peaceful protests
planned by the opposition at polling
Non-discrimination In The Voter's
Many witnesses have reported that during registration
process they were turned away as they could not prove residency or had no
proof of residence elsewhere. This was particularly problematic for
residences of high density area's, where for instance settlers originating
from rural areas may not be able to prove residence. Also youth, who may
have left their rural homes or parental homes, were obliged to receive proof
of residence from their parents or their rural community. It seems as if
this was a deliberate attempt to disenfranchise youth. It is also reported
that there was no effort made to ensure registration of urban areas. This
also applies for most immigrants from neighboring countries. Despite living
in Zimbabwe for years on end, they are not considered Zimbabweans and thus
they may not register to vote, or have to renounce their original
citizenship first. This applies for hundreds of thousands of Mozambicans,
Zambians and Malawians. They are treated as second-rate citizens.
Furthermore, it is reported that the voters roll has been scarcely updated,
if at all, thus opening up the opportunity for fraud with non existent
Existence Of Updated And Accessible Voters
No access has been provided to the original/digital voters roll for
verification. Access to printed copies has been further frustrated by the
high fees that has to be paid for a copy of the roll. In some constituencies
up to 25% of the aspiring voters were turned away, thus creating suspicion
that all is not well with the voters roll. An estimated 800 000 ghost voters
are on the voters roll, as point 3 indicates. It may seem to some that the
voters roll should be referred to as 'designed chaos'. To add to this there
was also the flying soldier vote and the letter votes which are highly
Where Applicable, Funding Of Political Parties
Must Be Transparent And Based On Agreed Threshold In Accordance With The
Laws Of The Land:
Both parties have access to public funding through
their respective representations in parliament. Neither party has very
accessible budgets. Zanu-PF has unlimited access to state funding. This is
visible from non-stop propaganda in the state owned Herald, to the use of
army vehicles and buses to transport party supporters. Furthermore, state
agencies seem to be working towards the agenda of Zanu-PF, more than that of
the state, such as the CIO and the police, thus further pulling state
funding away from public use, towards Zanu-PF's
With Regard To The Polling Stations:
polling stations opened an hour late but one the most apparent discrepancies
in this regard was a rather biased polling station at Mugabe's rural farm.
Furthermore, all across the country there were reports of polling stations
at chief's homesteads. Chiefs are widely seen as being on the pay-roll of
Zanu-PF. Also, polling stations have been located in exclusively Zanu-PF
settlements. There were many polling stations, which was good as it speeded
up voting but it also made intimidation possible as people were told that as
a consequence the government would know how people would have voted and
where they had voted what. There was also confiscation of ID cards at
polling stations. Zanu-PF candidates had posters up in open polling station
for at least an hour and were also offering money for votes at polling
stations: 50 000 Zim dollars for a vote
Counting Of The Votes At
In general the perception is that votes were counted at
the polling stations. However, what is most uncertain is what then happened
with the counted votes. It seems they were then relayed to the Constituency
Command Centre by the head of the polling station. This happened
un-observed. Furthermore, monitors and observers were even locked up in the
polling station and forbidden to make any calls after the head of the
station had left. Once at the constituency command centre, votes were
assembled and sent to the army/police election command centre in the NSSA
building in Harare, where there was no monitoring by election observers.
From there the final result were sent to the Zimbabwe Election Commission
offices. In the mean time there was ample chance to change the results. This
is based on witness accounts of the process and now strengthened with
information coming out of 30 constituencies were high discrepancies seems to
exist with regards to initial stated voter attendance, and the figures
released the day after the elections. Also important for this issue is that
the opposition party was not included in observing the casting (with regards
to the military and police for instance) and counting of the postal
Establishment Of the mechanism For Assisting The Planning
And Deployment Of Electoral Observation Missions:
It seems that the
Zimbabwe authorities used this mechanism more to exclude certain observer
missions, than to include them. Only missions of 'Zimbabwe friendly' (read:
countries who don't care about Zimbabwe's human rights, democracy and
economic track-record) countries were invited to come. Strictly speaking
this might not be in contravention of the guidelines, but is certainly not
living up to the spirit of them.
SADC Election Observation
Missions Should Be Deployed At Least Two Weeks Before The Voting
From what we have witnessed, the SADC mission was rather small for a
120 constituency election. As opposed to the South African observer
missions, they were not seen in hotel bars and beauty salons, or shopping
for soap stone sculptures too often. Apparently there was a big fight in the
observer mission to get one of the participating country teams to sign the
final agreement. All in all I think any person in a right state of mind
would find it difficult to see these elections as free and fair. It must be
well understood that elections are merely one tool in the democratic
framework. One well run and apparently free Election Day does not make a
system democratic or free. Luckily the SA presidency and the AU seem to be
thinking along these lines as well since the South Africa Government
observer mission called it free but not fair. Let us hope they will not
accept the outcome of this election, as this will not bode well for the
future of democracy on this continent at large.
Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has called for
investigations into allegations of fraud during Zimbabwe's parliamentary
elections. The organisation stated that it believed the elections took place
in "a flawed political and legal context."
Paul Notyhawa, a
COSATU spokesperson, said that "These allegations of fraud should be
investigated expeditiously to avoid a slide into anarchy. In our view the
test for fairness and freeness of an election should be holistic rather than
concentrating only on the day of voting." Notyhawa also highlighted concerns
over discrepancies between announced results and the tally of votes cast and
the number of voters turned away from polling stations.
only days to go to the Parliamentary elections, food is being used as a
political weapon in parts of rural Matabeleland. Our region of Zimbabwe has
had almost no rain since January, and rural households are facing close to
100% crop failure. Families that were being sustained by World Food
Programme donor food during 2004 no longer have this lifeline. Very few
stores, whether in town centres or elsewhere, have mealie meal for sale, and
in any case the commercial cost of mealie meal is unaffordable for many of
the hundreds of thousands of rural Zimbabweans who live in our
Since the World Food Programme was
requested by our government to cease its feeding, the only source of mealie
meal in many rural communities has become that sold by the Grain Marketing
Board (GMB), a government parastatal. This means that government effectively
controls where in the country maize is available - and to
It is therefore of deep concern that evidence has been
brought to my attention that in some places, GMB maize is being sold on
party political lines. I have spoken to villagers from Insiza District in
Matabeleland South, who report that GMB maize is being systematically denied
to those perceived to be supporters of the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC). The following are a few examples of the political
abuse of food:
Eight villagers recounted that on 19 March 2005,
GMB maize was finally delivered in their ward of Insiza. They had paid Z$
37,000 in January in advance for 50kg bags of maize. But when they arrived
with other villages to receive their maize, their names were among those on
a long list read out of supposed MDC supporters. These people were publicly
humiliated and sent away in disgrace by the local ZANU PF chairperson, who
was sitting on top of the bags of maize. They were given their money back
and were told they would never receive GMB maize, because it was only for
An eighty-three year old woman who looks after five orphans
recounted that because she supports the MDC she is on the list of those who
has been denied the right to buy food from GMB, and has been told by her
local headman that unless she converts to ZANU PF she will die of
starvation. Her children have almost nothing to eat and cry from
A young man who used to be part of ZANU PF youth structures, but
who is now not strongly politically affiliated, recounted how he went for
training as a local observer for the elections last week - around 15 March
2005. When he returned, he was accused of being MDC as a result of training
as an election observer, and he too is now being denied the right to buy
food from GMB.
This brave and desperate group of villagers
believes that in their ward of Insiza alone, there are 188 families that are
on the MDC list and cannot buy GMB maize. This represents a sizeable
proportion of those residents in this ward.
It is reported
that similar food abuse is occurring in other wards of
Furthermore, we have received reports from some other parts
of Matabeleland, of widespread threats that if people vote MDC then their
area will never see GMB food again.
One of our staff was at a
rally in Gwanda this week, and heard villagers standing one after another to
recount that they had been threatened with being forcibly disappeared, and
had been threatened with starvation, if they attended any MDC rally. They
stated that many more people would have been at that rally if it was not for
Informants returning from Tsholotsho and Binga have
reported similar threats being uttered, and that food had become a
That people are actually having food
withheld, or are being threatened with this outcome if any party other than
ZANU PF should win the election at the local levels, is a serious crime. The
right to food is the most primary right of all human beings. Without food,
people die. There is great hunger in Zimbabwe right now. It is clear that
while this government may not wish people to starve to death, certain
elements within government are happy to have those who do not support ZANU
PF to suffer from hunger, anxiety, insecurity and depression. How can people
thus afraid of starvation be free to vote for the party of their
It is an evil form of coercion to chase men and women
away from food selling points for political reasons. Must parents in some
parts of Zimbabwe now choose between belonging to the party of their choice
and then having to listen to their children crying from hunger, or to join
the political party that is prepared to risk the health of the nation's
children for political gain? What greater violence against the family unit
can there be than to make parents choose between political freedom, and the
well being of their children?
It is the role of the Church to
speak on behalf of those who voices are not being heard, and to amplify the
brave voices of those prepared to speak out on behalf of their communities.
In some parts of Zimbabwe, people are being deliberately denied access to
food because they do not support ZANU PF. This must stop.
legitimacy of this election must be once more called into question ahead of
voting day. With almost total crop failure looming in our region, to
cynically use hunger as a weapon is to stab at the very heart of
head of the African Union Observer Team, Dr Kwadwa Afari-Gyan has called for
an immediate investigation into allegations of electoral fraud during the
recently concluded Zimbabwe parliamentary elections. Addressing concerns
about discrepancies between vote tallies and official results he said, "It
is hoped that both the ZEC (Zimbabwe Electoral Commission) and ESC
(Electoral Supervisory Commission) will promptly look into the allegations
with a view to assuring Zimbabweans of the authenticity of the results of
light of various public statements made by SADC Leaders during the
pre-election period expressing confidence that a free and fair election
could and would be held, regional endorsement of last week's parliamentary
election in Zimbabwe comes as no surprise. What is surprising is that these
endorsements came despite a wealth of documented evidence indicating
Zimbabwe's failure to adhere to even the most basic democratic standards
outlined in the 2004 SADC Protocol.
Indeed, the Government
conspicuously retained repressive laws that deprive Zimbabweans of
fundamental and constitutionally protected rights. Furthermore, the
pre-election climate was marked by intimidation, coercion, hate speech,
political violence and a deeply flawed electoral system that was
overwhelmingly controlled by the Zanu-PF regime. This was a far cry from the
inclusive, tolerant, peaceful, and open election envisioned in the SADC
protocol. Yet the leader of the SADC observer mission boldly asserted, "The
picture that emerged at the close of poll was an election day which was
peaceful. The fact that in the end when a person entered a polling station,
it was one person, one vote and it was in secret which fills the
requirements of the classical international standard to measure the freeness
of any elections. This confirmed the determination of the people of Zimbabwe
to do their best to implement the SADC Principles and guidelines governing
democratic elections in the region." Was it not the responsibility of the
Government and not the people of Zimbabwe, to "implement" the provisions of
the SADC Protocol?
What these endorsements underline is a
fundamental and persistent misunderstanding within regional leadership
circles regarding the essence of democratic elections. A free and open
electoral process must be complemented by legal guarantees that allow
ordinary citizens to enjoy basic rights such as the freedom of assembly,
information, association and movement. However, the regional position during
the pre-election period wrongly equated recently passed electoral reforms as
the guarantee for an open and inclusive election, illustrating a rather
dogmatic emphasis on procedure instead of on substance. As a consequence,
continuing human rights abuses, intimidation, violence and repression during
the run up to the election were bypassed or minimized in regional
Surely it is clear that the establishment of a new
Electoral Commission can scarcely imply that an electoral process -
historically characterized by violence and intimidation - can now be
considered open, peaceful or inclusive without a full restoration of broad
democratic rights. Procedural electoral reform cannot be substituted for
essential democratic and social reform needed to ensure popular
participation in electoral processes. Such criteria as evidence of large
voter turnout, or a peaceful polling day, cannot be pointed to as the main
indicator of an election's legitimacy.
The Zimbabwe election, and
the response made by those regional observers allowed into the country
reveals a stark lack of commitment by SADC member states in adhering to, or
promoting basic democratic principles outlined in SADC's very own protocol.
It illustrates a blatant manipulation of internationally recognized symbols
of democracy aimed to discredit political opposition and deflect
international criticism. To the extent that the Mugabe's own political
legitimacy lay in a determination as to whether the election was free and
fair, the political endgame thus moved into the arena of election
monitoring, in which a furious struggle ensued over who could monitor, from
which countries, and using what criteria. That SADC allowed Zimbabwe to
determine those who would evaluate its compliance with the SADC Protocol
flies in the face of the commitments made by the regional group in August
2004 and underlines its lack of impartiality.
SADC must recognize
that democracy cannot be merely understood as an election. Moreover, it must
also recognize that elections are not an isolated event held on one or more
days, but a process. Indeed, democratization is a long and contested process
and must involve the full participation and input from all stakeholders.
Re-gaining confidence in an electorate that has been subjected to systematic
human rights abuses and repression can neither occur through last minute
assurances or reforms, nor through a process that is both exclusionary and
unilateral. The legacy of violence and intimidation during elections in
Zimbabwe must therefore be acknowledged and urgently addressed. The
protocol's recognition that democratic elections can only be held through
the implementation of multiple and parallel reform processes that include
legal, constitutional, and electoral avenues is certainly a good first step.
But without the incorporation of an adequate enforcement mechanism, or the
threat of punitive measures, such recognition is meaningless if
interpretation and enforcement is left to
offices of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were stormed on the 4th
of April by youth supporters of the party who demanded that the party
initiate mass action as a protest against "massive ballot fraud" in the
recently concluded parliamentary elections. The opposition party has so far
focused on less radical options, including boycotting parliament. The party
has dismissed mounting a legal challenge to the results as legal challenges
to previous elections have not been addressed in the judicial
The MDC confirmed that some people had to evacuate their
offices in the party's headquarters as a result of the action of the party
supporters. The police did not react and the youths dispersed
quiet in Harare. A blanket of depression and inertia seems to have settled
over the city. After the fraudulent watershed election the people seem
uncertain of the road ahead. How is this possible after the Zanu-PF state so
blatantly once again stole the vote of the 'povo', a derogatory term they
use to refer to the people? Why are the people not (yet) protesting the sham
results in their masses and demanding justice?
First and foremost
it is clear that the past five years of violence have left the Zimbabwe
population largely in a state of fear. A good example of this was a horrible
incident which took place several days ago. A South African church member
invited to Zimbabwe for a church conference by a Zimbabwean church was
harassed in a full bus travelling to Harare. Zanu-PF youths entered the bus
and made everybody chant Zanu slogans. Our South African comrade was
obviously not capable of force-chanting Zanu-PF propaganda and thus singled
out by the youths who proceeded to physically brutalise her as well as
sexually molest her. Bear in mind that this was in a full bus and nobody did
anything to help her, despite her repeated cries and pleas. Worse still,
after the youths had left, taking some of her personal belongings - such as
her wedding ring - nobody said one word of consolation or comfort to her for
the remainder of the trip. I will repeat that as this may sound
unimaginable: nobody in a full bus said anything to console the just
assaulted South African lady, a crime they had all been witness to. The fear
of Zanu-PF and the state (more or less the same thing in Zimbabwe) has been
internalized thanks to five years of lawlessness and horrific human rights
violations by the Green Bombers (the youth militia), the war vets, the
police, the CIO and the army. Not to mention the Matabeleland genocide in
the 80s, where close to 20 000 people were slaughtered by the Zanu-PF state.
One out of ten people in Matabeleland has been a victim of
The fear is that if people protest, the repression will
be harsh, with indiscriminate beatings by the police being the least of the
worries. Mugabe, speaking to the state-run propaganda tool 'ZTV' and looking
rather confident in his newly strengthened role as the longest-sitting
African despot, threatened violence to those who would protest the outcome
of the elections. "We can also organize mass actions to counter the protest
actions but there will be conflict. We have several weapons." The writing is
on the wall. On election day trucks filled with green bombers were seen
entering Harare. In the week before the elections police trucks were seen
ferrying ammunition into Harare from other parts of the
Furthermore, it is often said that Zimbabweans are not
inclined to protest. Judging from the facts above this may be understandable
but another reason that is often cited is that most urban Zimbabweans aren't
hurting enough to hit the streets. I hereby mean that the average urban
Zimbabwean seems to focus more on coping and adapting to the
ever-deteriorating realities rather than tackling the cause of that
deterioration: a parasitic and despotic Zanu-PF state. If there is no water
coming out of the taps - as in large parts of Harare in the week before the
elections -citizens will just go to the shops and buy bottled water, despite
the fact that 1 litre of mineral water costs more than a litre of petrol. If
there is no petrol at the petrol station there is always the black market.
Urban Zimbabweans adapt, or so it seems. Rural Zimbabweans have borne the
brunt of political violence. Furthermore, they are forced to focus on
survival more than on political matters, it is said, due to the drought and
the discriminate distribution of food (Zanu-PF affiliation and sympathy
What then could be that road ahead in face of the
above portrayed realities? What is the role of the SADC region and South
Africa in assisting their brothers and sisters in Zimbabwe?
foremost the region must consider that the people of Zimbabwe have not
spoken out in these elections. Out of an estimated 12 million people in the
country and more than five million Zimbabweans abroad, only 5,3 million
people were registered to vote. Out of this number only an estimated 2,7
million actually went out to vote. Of these people, according to Zimbabwe
state media, 25% were turned away at the polling stations. So even if the
election results were to be true, they can hardly be seen to be
representative of the will of the Zimbabwean people. So if elections don't
provide the means for the people of Zimbabwe to decide their future, what
MDC's appeal to the people not to accept the election
results can be seen as preparing the ground for action. In view of the
repressive Zimbabwe state this may be the only course left for the people.
But whatever course of action they decide to take - the region cannot
speculate on what this may entail as not to feed the corrupted minds of the
Zanu-PF repressive machineries - be it protest or action, the region must
stand strong as brothers and sisters of the region and support their plight
and struggle. The region must and cannot accept such travesties of democracy
and human rights in our midst. The region must let Zimbabweans choose their
direction and then join hands.
Practically this support can
consist of both physical and moral support:
and church gatherings for Zimbabwe;
- Protest pickets and marches at Zimbabwean
embassies, inspiration can be found with
- Letter campaigns: sending letters and
emails en masse to Zimbabwean authorities in protest of the fraudulent
elections. This can also consist of signature
- raising funds abroad for the struggle for
democracy in Zimbabwe: inspiration can be found in the Netherlands where the
Dutch Institute for Southern Africa has opened up the Democracy in Zimbabwe
- Going to Zimbabwe to monitor proceedings and
assist in whatever actions Zimbabweans will engage in. This is specifically
an appeal to the youth of southern Africa. It will be harder for the Zanu-PF
regime to repress when you will be present in Zimbabwe to support your
- Pressuring local
governments like the South African government to condemn the election
proceedings and outcome, as well as the Zimbabwean authorities in
- Spreading information of the realities in
Zimbabwe in order to educate people;
messages of support and solidarity to indiscriminate individuals in
Zimbabwe: a letter and postcard campaign;
relations and networks with partners in Zimbabwe and much
It is only when we stand strong in solidarity, as people of
southern Africa - as Africans - that we will be able to overcome the evil
that persists in the face of the Zanu-PF tyranny in Zimbabwe and like-minded
past decades numerous South African progressive civil society organizations
have emerged that work on issues that form an integral part of the current
crisis in Zimbabwe. These range from humanitarian issues such as food
relief, to issues such as human rights and civil liberties, from democracy
to trade union work. But ever since the intensification of the Zimbabwe
crisis in 2000, Zimbabweans have rightly been complaining that their fellow
Africans, and first and foremost their South African neighbours, have hardly
done enough to aid the plight of the people of Zimbabwe. However, over the
past year several South African civil society organizations of all walks of
life have committed themselves to working together in order to maximize
their out-pout with regards to the crisis, as well as show solidarity in
practical sense as well as on a moral level. COSATU's courageous attempted
fact-finding missions to Zimbabwe are only one example of practical
solidarity for the people of that country.
The Zimbabwe Solidarity and
Consultation forum is a network of progressive South African civil society
organizations, including youth, women, labour, faith-based, human rights and
student formations. Over the past months our network has grown rapidly in
size and influence, and we say confidently that we have contributed to a
much greater understanding of the crisis and challenges in Zimbabwe within
our organizations and within the broader South African
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Mugabe says MDC boycott of no consequence Mon 11 April
2005 HARARE - President Robert Mugabe said his ruling ZANU PF party would
continue to "run the country in the normal way" if the main opposition
boycotted parliament in protest over last month's election.
81-year old Zimbabwean leader was quoted by the Sunday Mail newspaper,
controlled by his office, as having said that he would not be bothered by an
MDC parliamentary boycott.
According to the paper, Mugabe said: "We
don't know what the MDC will do. Some of them have said they will boycott.
We don't care about what they will do. We will proceed to run the country
the normal way."
Mugabe, whose ZANU PF party won a landslide
victory in a parliamentary election marred by allegations of massive
rigging, was speaking at a dinner at the residence of the Zimbabwean
ambassador in Rome, Italy, where he had gone to attend Pope John Paul II's
A new parliament is set to be sworn in
Certain sections within the MDC and its civic society
allies have called on the party to boycott parliament in protest over the
But MDC secretary general, Welshman Ncube,
last week said he did not see how a boycott of parliament could further the
opposition party's fight for democracy.
Mugabe secured a
crucial two-thirds majority after his ZANU PF party clinched 78 of the 120
contested seats with the MDC winning a paltry 41 seats. The MDC has since
rejected the election as seriously flawed.
propaganda chief Jonathan Moyo, won the Tsholotsho seat on an independent
ticket after falling out of favour with Mugabe after he sought to block the
rise of Joyce Mujuru to the vice-presidency. - ZimOnline
Zimbabwe faces food shortages over prices row April 10
2005 at 01:52PM
By MacDonald Dzirutwe
Zimbabwe's government and the country's businesses have clashed over prices
of basic commodities, now blamed for widespread shortages days after
disputed polls won by President Robert Mugabe's ruling party.
Prices shot up by as much as 100 percent after the March 31 parliamentary
elections in which Mugabe's ZANU-PF government defeated the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), but the government swiftly moved in,
ordering businesses to reverse the increases.
Most businesses have
defied the order and essential food stuffs have disappeared from shops but
some have re-emerged on the black market where prices are
Mugabe, whom critics accuse of ruining Zimbabwe's once
prosperous economy, has charged on several occasions that local businesses
were working with the MDC to turn voters against Zanu-PF, in power since
independence from Britain in 1980.
were actually delayed to avoid harsh criticism of the government ahead of
the elections but now the government is saying you can not increase prices
without consulting us... that's not what we agreed," a spokesperson for the
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries said.
The staple maize-meal,
sugar and cooking oil have disappeared from most shops in Harare's city
centre and suburbs while most pumps at fuel stations have run dry, forcing
motorists to brace for long queues.
Maize-meal supplies were
already erratic in the country in recent months with supermarkets out of
stocks for days on end and long queues quickly form where the commodity is
Industry officials said the shortages were not
artificial as charged by the government, but that production was falling as
a result of uneconomic pricing and shortages of foreign
Central bank controlled foreign currency auctions are
meeting less than 10 percent of market needs.
"There have been
serious foreign currency shortages and industry has found it increasingly
difficult and has adjusted by lowering production," Zimbabwe National
Chamber of Commerce president Luxon Zembe said.
"When that happens
that leads to panic, and panic leads to hoarding. So you don't find
commodities in shops but you find them on the streets," he
Analysts have predicted a worsening of economic woes as
the country seeks to import 1,2 million tons of grain at an estimated cost
of $250-million to feed a third of its people.
A poor harvest
due to drought and inadequate seed and fertiliser support to small rural
farmers who benefited from Mugabe's seizures of white-owned farms has
worsened Zimbabwe's food crisis.
LAWYERS representing Member of
Parliament-elect for Kuwadzana, Nelson Chamisa, have claimed that their
client was tortured while in police custody.
The MDC's national youth
chairman was arrested last Thursday for allegedly inciting public violence
following demonstrations in Harare by suspected opposition party
supporters. Chamisa appeared in court on Saturday and was released on $1,5
million bail. The legislator's lawyers - Atherstone and Cook - who are
assisting Alec Muchadehama of Mbizo, Muchadehama and Makoni, have since
written a letter of complaint to police officers, named only as Dowa and
Ngena and the Officer-in-Charge, Rhodesville Police Station. The letter
was copied to Police Commissioner Augustine Chihuri. Read part of the letter
to Ngena, dated April 8 2005: "What particularly concerns us at this stage
is our apprehension that you may not be in total control of this case as the
Officer-in-Charge. The following events are of serious concern to us and to
our client: Between 1900 hrs and 1945 hrs on 7 April 2005, the
Officer-in-Charge at Rhodesville Police Station denied the writer access to
his client, despite our production of valid practicing certificate. She also
refused to make Nelson Chamisa available for supper, which meal the writer
had bought for his client." The officer who denied the lawyer access to
Chamisa to deliver supper is identified in the letter as Assistant Inspector
Gotora. The complaint lodged went on: "Chamisa was taken from Rhodesville
Police Station very late at night (between 22:00 hrs and 00:00 hrs) on April
7 2005 for reasons still unknown to his lawyers and we believe, without your
knowledge as the investigating officer. Our client was in the process of the
shuttle, tortured by a member(s) of the ZRP. Of all the inmates at
Rhodesville Police Station on the night of 7 April 2005, it was only Nelson
Chamisa who was nicodemously transferred to the notorious Matapi Police
Station." The lawyers said Chamisa should have been released from police
custody soon after a warned and cautioned statement was recorded from him or
sent to court. "We are contemplating civil proceedings against all
members of the force directly or indirectly linked to the torture of our
client," added the lawyers. A letter to another investigating officer,
Dowa, read: "We understand that very late at night on the 7th of April 2005
you caused Nelson Chamisa to be removed from Rhodesville Police Station and
be taken to Matapi Police Station, apparently for no justifiable reason. We
further understand that when you reached the Coca-Cola factory area (Corner
Seke Road and Cripps Road) you started intimidating and or torturing our
client. We are still taking detailed instructions from our client about the
exact nature of the intimidation and torture that he suffered at the hands
of the ZRP. It is our intention to sue you in your personal capacity in
civil proceedings for damages suffered by our client from intimidation and
torture." However, chief police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena said he had not
received Chamisa's letter of complaint. "We have not received the
letter," he said. Yesterday, Muchadehama, who had filed an urgent chamber
application at the High Court late on Friday seeking the immediate release
of Chamisa from police custody, told The Daily Mirror that his client was
force-marched from the Graniteside industrial area in hand and leg irons to
Matapi Police Station. "From Rhodesville Police Station they drove him
towards Chitungwiza, dropped him near Coca-Cola factory area from where they
force-marched him while in hand and leg irons to Matapi Police Station. He
was ordered to move towards Matapi alongside the police vehicle,"
Muchadehama said. Muchadehama said the Harare magistrates' court ordered
Chamisa to report twice a week to CID Law and Order on Saturday and Sunday
every week and not to interfere with witnesses.
PF's highest decision-making body, the politburo, is consulting on who to
elect as the country's Speaker of the Sixth Parliament of Zimbabwe. Sources
who attended the ruling party's central committee meeting in the capital
yesterday told The Daily Mirror that the politburo would make consultations
on a suitable candidate before the swearing in ceremony of parliamentarians
on Tuesday by clerk of Parliament Austin Zvoma. "We did not elect the Speaker
and the deputy speaker during the central committee meeting. The politburo
is to consult on the matter and we expect to have our candidates by Tuesday
morning," said the source. The ruling party's national chairman John Nkomo
and Mutasa South parliamentary-elect Oppah Muchinguri emerged as front
runners for the post, previously held by former cabinet minister and Zanu PF
secretary for legal affairs, Emmerson Mnangagwa. Other names being touted
as having a chance to land the post are former deputy speaker Edna
Madzongwe, the party's secretary for administration Didymus Mutasa,
ex-cabinet minister Dumiso Dabengwa and former Speaker Cyril Ndebele. The
speaker and deputy speaker of Parliament are elected in terms of Section 39
of the Zimbabwe Constitution. "When Parliament first meets after any
dissolution of Parliament and before it proceeds to the dispatch of any
other business, it shall elect a presiding officer to be known as the
Speaker; and whenever the office of the Speaker becomes vacant Parliament
shall not transact any other business until a person to fill that office has
been elected," the supreme law reads. The Speaker, the constitution states,
must be elected in accordance with parliamentary standing orders from among
persons who are or have been members of parliament and who are not members
of the cabinet, ministers or deputy ministers. Yesterday's central
committee meeting discussed the outcome of the 2005 parliamentary elections
and preparations for the Silver Jubilee Celebrations. "We discussed the
report from the national elections directorate on the results of
parliamentary elections. We also talked about throwing victory celebrations
and the Silver Jubilee commemorations," the source added. Zanu PF deputy
secretary for information, Ephraim Masawi was not cooperative when contacted
for comment yesterday.
With a two-thirds majority, Zimbabwe's president is now free to
overhaul the parliamentary system to suit his own ends, write Basildon Peta
and Peter Fabricius.
Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe stands
all-powerful at home after his ruling Zanu PF party's landslide election
victory last weekend, which gave him the power to amend the constitution at
will. But he appears to remain as powerless as before to break out of
international isolation and salvage the country's ruined economy. On Friday
Mugabe slipped through European Union sanctions to attend the funeral of
Pope John Paul II in Rome where he apparently intended to collar EU leaders
to urge them to end Zimbabwe's economic isolation. None was prepared to meet
him, according to reports, and his only satisfaction was to embarrass Prince
Charles by shaking his hand before the prince realised what he was doing.
This short-lived victory will do nothing to overcome the shortages of basic
commodities, including fuel, which Mugabe had somehow overcome for the
elections - reportedly with SA help - but which returned this week with a
Hungry Zimbabweans are now looking to their president for
help but Mugabe's post-election pre-occupation seems to be with
consolidating power rather than feeding his people. By hook or by crook,
Zanu PF crushed the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), winning 78 of the
120 contested seats to the MDC's 41. Mugabe's sacked spindoctor Jonathan
Moyo won the remaining seat as an independent. The MDC shed 16 seats from
its high point in the 2000 elections and is now agonising over its role in
Zimbabwean politics. This week it decided in effect on a two-pronged
strategy of parliamentary and extra-parliamentary politics. But the
prospects of MDC supporters joining the sort of popular uprising against
Mugabe which Bulawayo Catholic Archbishop Pius Ncube had called for before
the poll, seem remote. Mugabe has threatened to meet such a mass uprising
with the full force of the brutal security forces he commands. With 78 seats
won last week plus the 30 seats he appoints himself, Mugabe now also
commands a two-thirds majority in the 150-seat parliament and therefore the
power to change the constitution.
Many Zimbabweans are looking for
him to use this power to relieve their plight - perhaps by handing power to
a successor who could lead the country out of isolation and back to
prosperity. This is also the hope of many regional leaders who think it
might be easier to restore international confidence in Zimbabwe with a new
face at the helm. SA government sources say President Thabo Mbeki will
continue to pursue his so-far unproductive quiet diplomacy by urging Mugabe
to scrap the 30 appointed seats in parliament as well as the draconian media
and security legislation which helped tilt the political playing field
against the MDC. He is also expected to call on Mugabe to revamp the
controversial outdated voters roll which the MDC accused Zanu PF of using to
stuff hundreds of thousands of ballots. But both Zimbabweans and regional
leaders seem likely to be disappointed. The only changes to the constitution
which Mugabe has mentioned so far seem designed to consolidate his
Sources in the ruling Zanu PF who attended its first
post-election politburo meeting this week said the party was completely
ruling out the option of Mugabe retiring soon. They said the politburo had
not yet decided the full extent of constitutional changes. But Mugabe
already announced last week that he hoped to re-introduce an upper chamber
of parliament, the senate, which was abolished in 1987. Analysts believe the
senate will largely be used as a sinecure for members of the old guard whom
Mugabe wishes to sideline. Most prominent is Emmerson Mnangangwa who was
once touted as Mugabe's likely successor. He is now heading for political
oblivion after Mugabe suspected him of plotting against his newly-pointed
vice president - and possible successor - Joyce Mujuru. Mugabe also said in
an interview with the SABC last weekend that he intended to change the
constitution to hold parliamentary and presidential elections
simultaneously. Zanu PF insiders say the purpose would be to extend Mugabe's
present term - due to expire in 2008 - until the next parliamentary
elections in 2010 - when Mugabe will be 86. It is likely Mugabe will at the
same time amend the constitution to allow himself to stand down without
calling elections, and instead anoint his own successor - the manipulable
Mujuru. This would be a standby arrangement in case he falls ill before
It seems Zanu PF has no clear programme to resuscitate the
economy after winning an election on a platform that contained no remedies
for the country's ills but was instead directed against British prime
minister Tony Blair and his supposed plans to re-colonise Zimbabwe. A new
cabinet to be appointed next week will probably return the old guard who
have proved more reliable than the so called young turks who tried to
challenge Mugabe over Mujuru's appointment. South Africa might as well brace
for an influx of new immigrants - both legal and illegal - in search of
There's Too Much Short-Term Thinking in Africa - Prof Chan
April 10, 2005 Posted to the web April 10,
Webster Malido Lusaka
A COMBINATION of big brains and
martial arts skills does not occur that easily.
To be a professor of
international relations at a prestigious institution and at the same time
hold 25 black belt awards in karate is not a common mixture. But that is the
summation of Professor Stephen Chan, the Dean of Law and Social Sciences at
London University's prestigious School of Oriental and African
After observing the recent Zimbabwe elections, Prof Chan has
been visiting Lusaka and I caught up with him and discussed, among many
other issues, the current state of Africa in international relations, Tony
Blair's Commission for Africa, including the future of Zambian
As a matter of fact, Prof Chan is one of the world's top
professors of international relations.
And Prof Chan remembers very
well his early days as a lecturer at the University of Zambia more than 20
On the need to reform the international system, he supports
secretary general Kofi Annan's efforts to reform the United Nations'
Security Council where too few nations wield too much power. And he wants
Africa to be represented on the Security Council.
"It is important
for Africa to have a voice at the highest level. The governments of both
South Africa and Nigeria are looking forward to representing Africa," he
Asked whether Zambia might ever aspire to a permanent seat on the
Security Council, Prof Chan was more pessimistic.
"I don't think
Zambia has yet developed the political maturity to make such a
contribution," Prof Chan said. "Zambia is still developing an international
profile, but must also put its national house in order."
When asked to
compare African development with what has been happening in the Far East
where many countries are recording great economic strides, Chan said China
in particular was making huge economic strides.
"But the Chinese need
very much to expand into Africa. The US and European markets will not be
able to absorb all the Chinese exports, and China must continue to sell its
exports in order to maintain its level of economic growth. They will be
quite aggressive in the international trade arena, but are prepared to treat
Africa as a loss leader at the present moment, in order to secure Africa as
a profitable market in the longer-term future," he concluded.
mincing his words, Prof Chan said it is the lack of such long-term thinking
that illustrates the essential difference between China and much of
"There is still too much short-term thinking in Africa,
including in Zambia, and people think only of their personal advantage
rather than the longer term health of the community and the nation," he
When asked about Tony Blair's Commission for Africa, Prof Chan said
he had been watching the Commission's work.
"The actual members of
the Commission are extremely sincere and the Commission's recommendations to
reduce debt levels are very important," Prof Chan said.
"At the same
time, there is no doubt that Tony Blair is in a competition with his own
Chancellor, Gordon Brown, as to who seems most concerned about Africa. It is
Brown who has the more developed sense of what Africa needs, but in this day
and age any concern from a powerful British prime minister is
Having said that, Prof Chan is however sceptical about the New
Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), which is viewed, especially by
the Group of Eight as Africa's best framework for economic
"You can't try to buy democracy," Prof Chan said. "Democracy
must come out of national debate and a national desire on the parts of all
citizens for freeness, fairness, and transparency. It is not for others to
order democracy from Whitehall or Washington, and dangle financial carrots
for the democratically well-behaved."
Much as Prof Chan welcomes the
democratisation of Africa, he laments the idea of treating Africans like
children who need to be bribed in order to be well-behaved.
indicated earlier, Prof Chan was in Zimbabwe for the recent parliamentary
elections. Previously, he had been a staff member of the original
Commonwealth Observer Group that had monitored Zimbabwe's independence 25
"These elections were, just as the government of Zimbabwe
says, very peaceful." However, Prof Chan went on to say that he had no doubt
that the years of persecution and harassment of the opposition, and of the
independent press in Zimbabwe had meant that the elections could not be
called truly fair.
"Democracy is much more than just an election. It
is about transparency and fair play at all times. You can't just clean up
your act briefly when observers come to town," Prof Chan said.
Chan, a very youthful-looking 55-year-old, who turns 56 next month, is also
spending some time in Zambia training the local black belt karate
He is a Japanese-trained and graded 8th black belt and has
altogether been awarded 25 black belts.
Prof Chan had some concluding
comments about sport being a mirror of development.
"Both in football
and karate, Zambia could do so well. But development is being held up
because of personal rivalries and low-level administration," Prof Chan
"The best athletes are not always the ones being selected for
the national teams."
His statement is not from without.
Senegalese karateka has just become the first African to win a world karate
championship. Now, you look at these people, and you see their seriousness
and dedication. That's why they now win," said Prof Chan.
"You see it in
their football and in their karate. When Zambia is able to conduct its
sports administration like the Senegalese, then there will be a bright
future for Zambia at the gold medal level internationally."
or disagree, those are the thoughts of Prof Chan.
INTERVIEW: Jan Lamprecht Explains African
Political Crises Ryan Mauro - 4/11/2005 Jan Lamprecht was born
and raised in Zimbabwe during the bush war, which resulted in Robert Mugabe
coming to power. He was educated in Harare, the capital of the country,
before leaving for South Africa, where he spent some time in the Navy. He
wrote a book called "Government by deception" about African politics related
to Zimbabwe and the effects Mugabe's policies may have on other
RM: Mr. Lamprecht, first off, explain why Americans
concerned about national security should care about Africa. Is there any
JL: Well, the Russians seemed to think
Africa had tremendous strategic value because of (a) Its vast mineral riches
(b) The Cape Sea Route - which to this day carries the sea-going vessels
which can't pass through the Suez Canal - so super-tankers containing oil
ply the routes around South Africa - along with much other
The Russians once boasted that by controlling the Middle
East Oil and Southern African's Minerals they would defeat the West.
Southern Africa, apart from Botswana is now ruled by their Puppets like the
In recent years a lot of Oil is also being discovered in both
West and East Africa. I was told by a geologist that there may be oil fields
the size of the North Sea off the coast of Namibia. So as we discover even
more minerals and oil in Africa... its importance to the West should
The USA is also now realizing that Africa (because parts
of it has Muslims), could become a major breeding ground for even more
The USA has been training armies in Africa
to help in its war on terror. My suspicion is that like the Iraqi Militia,
these "African Armies" will be less than useless in helping the USA. I
suspect that the African Armies will do very little to actually help the USA
in the war on terrorism.
RM: You've read Robert Mugabe's book, who
is the anti-American dictator of Zimbabwe. According to his book, what are
his plans for Africa?
JL: The future Africa he describes is a very
racist one. He is only interested in Black people and their future. Mugabe
wants Africa as a whole (which is larger than the USA and China put
together), to be a Military Power. He wants a united (black) Africa which
(a) Gets aid from the Western world (b) Tells the Western world where to
"get off". He wants blacks as a whole to be united, while getting rid of all
"vestiges of colonialism" (which means white people and their institutions).
Mugabe hates not only the USA but the Western world as a whole. He wants to
see Africa Militarily and politically united.
RM: Libya is
disarming. They've cut off contact with terrorists, helped us reveal the
network of AQ Khan, and cut off military trade with rogue states. They are
pledging sweeping reforms. Do you feel that Gadhafi has genuinely understood
that he has more security by being pro-American than
JL: No. I have some military contacts in the Middle
East. They tell me the real reason Gadhafi did this was because he was
secretly co-operating with Iran, Egypt and others on working on a nuclear
bomb (for attacking Israel)... But when the Americans discovered his nuclear
program he decided to come clean rather than face being wiped out as Saddam
was. Apparently Egypt and the other Arabs in on the secret are fuming mad at
Gadhafi for being a tattle tale. Gadhafi helped train the terrorists who now
run South Africa, Zimbabwe, etc. He is firmly an enemy of the West, but he
realized in this case, if he continues to anger the USA... they might put
him out of commission.
This is proof that terror works very
effectively against terrorists.
RM: What is the significance of the
growth of radical Islam in South Africa?
JL: I am told that in
the Koran, it actually says that black people can't be Muslims [ed. This is
according to some very strict interpretations]. Nevertheless, in parts of
Africa (not all of Africa), Islam is spreading like wild fire. In Nigeria
there is tremendous Black Christian Vs Black Muslim strife which has killed
thousands in recent years. In South Africa we have more than a million
Indians (from India), and colored people. This is where Islam is spreading
the most. The ANC and the South African Communists are firmly on the side of
the radical Muslims. They want to destroy Israel. The South African
government stands firmly on the side of Israel's enemies. They are also
firmly on the side of the radical Muslims and terrorists. It has been
rumored that we have helped to train Islamic terrorists here, but I've come
across no firm proof yet.
RM: Are you concerned about the rumors
that South Africa never fully disarmed, and that nuclear components, and
chemical/biological weapons may be in dangerous hands? Or is this
JL: No not at all. I believe this is merely a rumor. As
silly as De Klerk was in handing over to the ANC, I can't imagine even him
handing them our nuclear weapons. We apparently had 6 nuclear bombs. De
Klerk says all these were disarmed and destroyed and international monitors
actually saw proof of the process.
I am not sure what the
status of chemical/biological weapons is. My understanding is that these
things can be created easily. So if we created them before, then
theoretically we could make them again any time we want.
have speculated that Egypt, due to the growth of radical Islam, has decided
to use the Saudi tactic to fight terrorism--bribe them into not attacking
them. Is there any reason to believe these accusations?
Middle East sources inform me that Egypt and even Saudi Arabia are actually
on the side of the radical terrorists. I am told that Egypt is working hard
to help the Palestinians. Among the things I was told is that Egypt has been
working, in a very cunning manner, to prepare for a future attack on Israel.
Not long ago I read a fascinating book on military deception which described
in detail how excellently, and with tremendous forethought, the Egyptians
planned a surprise attack on Israel in the 1973 October war. The Egyptians
caught even the Israelis off guard. My military sources inform me, that
there are new, even more amazing preparations. Apparently, the Egyptians
have been digging huge tunnels under the Suez Canal through which Tanks, etc
can go. Currently, in Gaza the terrorists are being supplied with Russian
weaponry from tunnels. I am trying to get more details on this process. The
Egyptians have also been very friendly with the Russians, and it appears
Russian weaponry is reaching Gaza ....
Note too, how modern
advanced Russian weaponry was responsible for shooting down many US
helicopters in Iraq. The Russians are fully supplying all the terrorist
weaponry. Funny that nobody notices this?
RM: What is causing the
growth of radical Islam in Africa and where is it the most
JL: I'm told that radical Islam provides a stronger
moral base than "wishy washy Christianity". I don't think radical Islam is a
factor in South Africa. Some think so. I do not. Blacks, en masse, are not
falling for Islam. They are however WILLING ALLIES of radical Islam because
the Russians are behind Radical Islam just as they were behind Black
Liberation. Hence all terrorists are really ideological allies since they
(a) Have Russia and China as friends (b) Hate the West and the
The situation of Israel today is not unlike Apartheid/Colonial
Africa. The same people who caused so much trouble in Africa are hard at
work causing that same trouble in the Middle East. The Russians said they
would control the Middle East Oil and Southern Africa's minerals. They're
got the minerals... now they need to get the oil...
countries in Africa appear to be US allies and which ones are definitely
have the anti-American agenda?
JL: Uganda and Botswana seem to be
the firmest US Allies. The ones who hate the USA the most (but may at times
hide it) are: South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Angola. There
is a move by Mugabe, which will include South Africa and Namibia - to spread
this anti-US hatred to the rest of Africa. With South Africa's tremendous
political muscle... in Africa... this could happen. It may take some time.
The ANC has to tread warily...
RM: Is Algeria making progress in
their War on Terror, particularly in fighting the rebel forces?
JL: I can't answer this. But I will say this: I think the USA's emphasis on
training African forces to help in the war on terror will largely turn out
to be money wasted. Just as the USA wasted $1 billion training the Iraqi
Police and Militia, so too, do I believe, the Africans will quietly wimp out
and feign stupidity and leave any terrorists in Africa to grow and
strengthen and to operate from here. I also read that Middle East terrorists
are busy in Columbia/Brazil, etc building huge organized crime syndicates
and sending tens of millions of dollars to their pals in the Middle East to
fight Israel and the USA.
I feel the war on terror is going badly.
I would not be surprised if a terrorist incident(s) bigger than 9/11 were to
occur on US soil in the future. I think the USA is applying the wrong
tactics completely, and this war is far from over. I think many thousands of
American soldiers and civilians will yet die... and this could even grow
into a much bigger conflict. I think the USA will have to patrol the entire
planet in an effort to curb these terrorists... and the terrorists will be
Ryan Mauro is a geopolitical analyst. He began working
for Tactical Defense Concepts (www.tdconcepts.com), a maritime-associated
security company in 2002. In 2003, Mr. Mauro joined the Northeast
Intelligence Network (www.homelandsecurityus.com), which
specializes in tracking and assessing terrorist threats. He has appeared on
over 20 radio shows and had articles published in over a dozen publications.
His book "Death to America: The Unreported Battle of Iraq" is scheduled to
be published in the coming months. He publishes his own web site called
World Threats. email@example.com
Tough on Togo, Letting Zimbabwe Slide By MICHAEL
Published: April 10, 2005
JOHANNESBURG - Even the heads
of state who were its members called the old Organization for African Unity
a dictators' club, one reason why it was replaced three years ago by a new
African Union that was modeled, in name and purpose, on Europe's own union.
The old O.A.U. fulminated about colonialism and liberation, but was often
silent on human rights and the consent of the governed. The new group,
bowing to a democratic breeze blowing from Mali to Mauritius, stood for the
premise that the rule of law is in, and despotism out.
Take it from
Nigeria's president, Olusegun Obasanjo, a thoroughgoing democrat. "Anybody
who comes to power unconstitutionally," he said at the union's first meeting
in 2002, "cannot sit with us."
So when Robert G. Mugabe attends the next
meeting of the African Union, will he have to stand?
Africa has lately stifled a coup in Togo, sent peacekeepers to Burundi and
Darfur and ended civil war in the Ivory Coast, achievements that would have
been unthinkable only a decade ago. Yet it is curiously dumbstruck when
dealing with Mr. Mugabe's draconian rule in Zimbabwe.
The latest example
is Zimbabwe's March 31 parliamentary elections, in which Mr. Mugabe's ruling
Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front Party thrashed its
democratic opponents using electoral tactics that were less Queensbury Rules
than those of professional wrestling.
Starving voters were told to
support the Mugabe party or lose access to food. Village leaders warned that
opposition supporters could lose their homes. In 30 races surveyed by the
opposition, roughly 180,000 votes appeared after the polls had closed and
the official turnout had been reported.
Nonpartisan election monitors
and Western nations called the election grievously flawed. Not so the
African Union: Zimbabwe's election was free and fair, it said. Far from
declaring "This will not stand!," the group commended Zimbabwe's government
for "making efforts towards creating an even playing field."
African leaders who no longer tolerate a Togo coup blanch at denouncing Mr.
Mugabe's strongman tactics? The question seems almost nonsensical, given
that Zimbabwe's political and social implosion has flooded its neighbors
with unwanted refugees and made the nation a potential vector for regional
The answer, however, is deceptively complex. It begins with
the overriding fact that Zimbabwe, once southern Africa's crown jewel, is
not a backwater state like Togo. And that Mr. Mugabe, who, at 81, is the
surviving patriarch of Africa's liberation struggle, cannot be criticized or
made to submit as easily as some anonymous colonel behind a military
Political forces are at work behind the scenes as well. Mr.
Mugabe's brand of race-baiting demagoguery plays well in parts of Africa's
vast underclass, and to challenge him is to risk being branded a pawn of
Foremost, perhaps, African leaders fear that the
defeat of a serious ruler like Mr. Mugabe may help spread the notion that
any entrenched leadership can be unseated by a committed opposition. In
Africa, where most democracies are effectively one-party affairs, such a
notion can be dangerous.
Maybe that helps explain why South Africa
endorsed the Zimbabwe vote even more warmly than did the African Union, and
why its president, Thabo Mbeki, has emerged as Mr. Mugabe's most powerful
Coincidentally, perhaps, Mr. Mugabe's opposition, the Movement for
Democratic Change, enjoys strong support from South Africa's labor movement
and from its Communist Party. Both groups are part of Mr. Mbeki's ruling
African National Congress, but are widely expected to split from it before
the 2009 national election.
As Africa's most prominent politician,
Mr. Mbeki provides his fellow leaders with cover to avoid addressing the
Mugabe problem. A handful of democracies, including Nigeria, have been more
outspoken in criticizing aspects of Mr. Mugabe's rule. But none have the
gravitas of South Africa, itself the democratic victor in a liberation
struggle not unlike the one that led to Mr. Mugabe's dictatorship.
this sounds like a recipe for stalemate, there is an alternative, voiced in
Harare last month by a political activist who demanded anonymity because he
was afraid that his employers would be punished for his views.
African Union can put down a coup in Togo, he said, because its charter
explicitly permits intervention in a member nation's affairs in the case of
a coup. But the charter is silent on whether the bloodless theft of
political power by, say, stealing an election, is a coup in all but
"What could change that is if Zimbabwean groups themselves make the
call to the A.U.," he said. "You could make quite a strong argument that
rigging and manipulating elections is a kind of constitutional
Which is precisely why Zimbabwe is such a thorny problem - and,
viewed another way, an opportunity. The prospect that ordinary Zimbabweans
might press for change is distinctly democratic in spirit. And it would
offer a clear test of whether the continent's new commitment to democratic
rule is more than just rhetorical.
Pressure To Call Off Zimbabwe
Tour 10/04/2005 NewstalkZB The Black Caps are being urged to pull out
of this winter's cricket tour to Zimbabwe.
Greens co-leader Rod
Donald has written to the players, asking them to walk - before the umpire
gives the tour out. He says the players should withdraw on moral grounds,
given the human rights atrocities he says surrounded last month's
Rod Donald insists he is not targeting the players, but rather
acknowledging that neither the government nor New Zealand cricket is
prepared to make the right decision.
Mr Donald says NZ Cricket CEO
Martin Snedden should not be ducking for cover on this issue, and needs to
deal with it up front.
He says the Black Caps will be seen as endorsing
the Mugabe regime if they tour.
But Black Caps captain Stephen
Fleming says he is yet to receive the letter.
He says the players will
trust New Zealand Cricket CEO Martin Snedden to make the
Fleming says Snedden will make a decision which is in the best
interests of the team, and a decision on whether the Black Caps will tour
Zimbabwe this winter will be made on safety rather than moral issues.
Zimbabwe's HIV miracle worker Christina Lamb,
Harare Survivor inspires a sick nation with hope and
SHE does not like the description but Lynde
Francis, who was privately educated in Britain, is a walking
miracle. Nineteen years ago she was diagnosed with HIV and given
three years to live. Then three years ago she was bitten by a baby cobra.
She spent eight weeks in a coma, during which her vital organs stopped
functioning. Her daughter was asked for approval to switch off the
Yet Francis, 57, survived
to become an inspiration for thousands of fellow HIV carriers in Zimbabwe,
which has one of the world's highest rates of Aids but one of the lowest
levels of international assistance.
The first woman in
Zimbabwe to go public with her HIV-positive status, she was shunned by
family and friends and attacked by the church. She pulled herself back from
the verge of suicide, determined to show it was possible to live with Aids,
and set up an organisation called the Centre.
It is based in
a sprawling house in Harare where all the staff are HIV-positive. A
combination of nutrition, traditional herbs and positive thinking has
achieved remarkable survival rates in a country where more than 3,000 people
die each week from Aids-related diseases.
A quarter of
Zimbabwe's 12.6m population is infected with the virus that causes Aids, and
life expectancy has fallen to 33. But average funding per victim is just
£2.12 a year, compared with £41.38 in the rest of southern Africa, because
donors are reluctant to give to a country ruled by a
The success of President Robert Mugabe's ruling
Zanu-PF party in last month's parliamentary elections, which were widely
thought to have been rigged, has left the outlook bleak for Zimbabwe's
millions of Aids sufferers. Although Mugabe is expected to step down in
2008, no end is in sight to the severe food shortage caused by his land
reform programme, which destroyed commercial farming. Widespread
malnutrition has reduced people's ability to fight
The economic collapse, combined with the diversion
of state resources to agencies of repression such as the secret police, has
left hospitals that used to be among the best in Africa unable to afford
medicines. For many HIV carriers, projects such as the Centre are the only
Among those waiting in the shade of avocado trees
to see counsellors at the Centre last week were a polite young couple in
their early thirties. Dressed in their best clothes, they were still in
shock from being diagnosed last month.
"It was terrible,"
said Bernard, a caddy at the Royal Harare golf club, as his wife Anna sat
with her hands in her lap and eyes downcast.
"The doctor told
us there's nothing you can do. The state doesn't provide (anti-retroviral
drugs) and we can't afford them. But we have two children of 13 and 8 and we
want to live long enough to help them finish their
Francis, he added, had "shown us it is possible
Francis, whose sing-song accent is an indicator of
her British mother and Trinidadian father, grew up in London and was
educated at - and expelled from - a succession of girls' schools, including
Bedales. She moved to what was then Rhodesia in 1970 to marry a musician. In
1986 he underwent one of the country's first Aids tests. The result was
When Francis was told that she also had Aids, she
refused to believe it. "I can't have. I'm fit and fat!" she replied. She
flew to Britain for another test but the result was the same. Aids was still
widely thought of as something that mainly hit homosexuals and drug
"I started with denial, then anger, then depression,"
said Francis, who is a mother of two and also has six foster children. She
made a will and ended up in hospital with depression.
her partner in their construction business came to visit. Instead of being
shocked when she blurted out the truth, he replied: "It's just a virus,
let's deal with it." He returned with three books on macrobiotic foods that
she says changed her life. When her husband committed suicide in 1991 Francis
spoke out, much to his family's fury. An advertisement in a national
newspaper telling HIV/Aids sufferers "there is hope" led to the first
support group in her living room. It grew into a national
By 1994 she was unable to cope with the numbers. She
handed over her business to her son and used her savings and a grant to open
the Centre to foster long-term survival skills.
recommended a diet focusing on local produce such as sweet potatoes, lentils
and sadza (maize) porridge, avoiding processed foods. "The number one rule
is: did your granny eat this? If she didn't, you shouldn't," said
At the Centre people are taught to grow herbs and use
traditional remedies that have been lost over the years. Herbs grown include
St John's wort, basil, parsley, pennyroyal and chives to boost the immune
system and relieve symptoms such as headaches and rashes.
also helps clients obtain anti-retroviral drugs cheaply, though Francis
herself does not take them, preferring to focus on diet. "We know nutrition
works because we have been doing this since 1991 and had 5,000 registered
clients, of which we have lost less than 15%," she said. "That is far below
the national average."
According to Francis, Zimbabwe has grown out of
denial. "The very magnitude of the problem has changed things," she said.
"There isn't a family, a street, a workplace which hasn't been
But she warned that this has not led to behavioural change.
"People don't see any benefit in getting tested because there is no access
to care and support. And they have no hope for the future of this country,
so all they want is instant gratification, which means sex and
"As for the women, they think it's better to die in 10 years' time
of Aids by selling themselves for sex than now of starvation. It's almost as
though the population had a death wish."
Zimbabwe's high proportion
of Aids sufferers is seen by some as explaining a lack of will to protest
about successive rigged elections. "You have to remember this is a sick
population," said one diplomat.
The youngest patient at the Centre is
four months old: no country on earth has seen such an increase in child
deaths over the past five years. According to Unicef, the child mortality
rate has risen from one in 12 by the age of five in the 1990s to one in
eight. Zimbabwe also has 1m children - one in five - orphaned by Aids. Yet
major Aids donors have largely shunned the country.
Last week Carol
Bellamy, executive director of Unicef, appealed for this to change. "Look
for other ways to make a political point," she said, "but don't take it out
on Zimbabwe's children - they are the ones who are suffering."
reluctance to give aid to Zimbabwe has hit Francis, who has seen several
donors pull out and now relies on small amounts from Danish, German, French
and Canadian agencies.
The Centre has also been hit by Mugabe's
decision to ban foreign food aid, ending supplies that used to come from the
World Food Programme and Britain's Department for International
"Far more people are dying who don't need to die and
children becoming infected who didn't need to," said Francis. "For example,
there is no formula milk available for mothers, so the virus is being passed
on through breast milk."
Apart from running the Centre Francis holds
workshops around the country. It was during one of these at Lake Kariba that
she returned to her hotel for a nap and awoke to see a smudge on her leg
that she thought was a spider bite. She carried on with the workshop despite
increasing pain and the last thing she remembers is collapsing at her gate
By the time she arrived at hospital she was in a coma. She had
been bitten by a Mozambican cobra. Her leg was rotting, her kidneys and
lungs had failed and she suffered a stroke.
After six weeks
doctors told her daughter she was brain dead. She persuaded them to keep her
on life-support and a few days later Francis awoke to find she could not
move. It was six months before she could walk and speak again.
want to write me up as a miracle patient who survived despite Aids," she
said. "I say no, I survived because of Aids. If I hadn't already been living
positively for 17 years, I wouldn't have survived."
9: A British newspaper said on Saturday that Prime Minister Tony Blair left
his designated seat at the funeral of Pope John Paul after learning that he
would be sitting next to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.
Herald quoted unnamed sources who said Mr Blair, wife Cherie and opposition
leader Michael Howard all left their seats when they saw Mr Mugabe coming to
take a seat next to Mr Blair.
"Blair is said to have fled his seat,
saying he could not sit next to President Mugabe," the paper reported in its
main front page story.
Mr Mugabe and Mr Blair have had frosty relations
for years, with the African leader accusing Mr Blair of backing the
opposition party in Zimbabwe. Mr Mugabe has described the country's main
opposition party as the British prime minister's 'puppet'.
newspaper story followed an outcry over the handshake between Prince Charles
and Mr Mugabe at the funeral.
The handshake triggered embarrassment in
Britain, prompting the royal household to issue a statement saying the
prince was caught by surprise and was not in a position to avoid shaking Mr
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, too, was called to task last
year for inadvertently shaking Mr Mugabe's hand at the United
The Herald said President Mugabe had a chat with the heir to the
British throne recalling his visit in 1980, when he represented Queen
Elizabeth at Zimbabwe's independence celebrations.
The EU imposed
travel sanctions on Zimbabwean government officials after accusations of
vote rigging in Zimbabwe's parliamentary polls in 2000 and in Mr Mugabe's
re-election two years later.
Robert Mugabe, a Roman Catholic, defied the
ban to attend the funeral at the Vatican, which is not part of the EU.