April 12, 2007 Edition 1
Give Thabo Mbeki credit for grasping the nettle and accepting that there's
pain surrounding Mugabe's regime: the starving and intimidated povo (the
masses), the minority 20% who are employed trying to survive on their
pittance of a R100 monthly wage; the pain of a country where prices double
or treble every week, where people cannot afford necessities like the staple
maize meal, milk, bread, cooking oil and petrol (if you can find any).
Contary to one newspaper report, Zimbabwe isn't on the verge of collapse -
it has already collapsed. Any economist in that God-forsaken country will
confirm that the oft-repeated figure of 1 800% year-on-year inflation is a
euphemism put out by the regime that bears no relation to reality. It's more
like 5 000%.
Following the Dar es Salaam Southern African Development Community (SADC)
meeting - when Mugabe was rewarded with a call to Western countries to
withdraw their sanctions which, in any case, hardly inconvenienced Mugabe
and his cronies - the bashing of people continued.
And a distinguished local TV cameraman was murdered. He had evidently
supplied film coverage to CNN and the BBC, considered a heinous "crime" by
the regime's "Gestapo".
I warmly applaud the Catholic bishops - especially Archbishop Pius Ncube of
Bulawayo - who have come out bravely against the regime.
Pity that the pope, in his latest book, apparently has nothing to say about
Here's a suggestion to those who are valiantly trying to bring about
urgently needed changes to our nearby neighbour.
Tell Mugabe, if he really wants to prove his democratic credentials - I've
just heard on the radio one of his henchmen insist that Zimbabwe is "a
democracy which allows dissenting opinions" - then he should immediately
withdraw his ban on the Daily News, enabling the paper to return to the
Allow this respected and highly professional newspaper to return to the
public arena. Let the written and spoken word be the means of fair battle.
This, rather than forcibly removing injured opposition politicians from
hospital, where they were treated for serious wounds after bashing, and
returned to the police cells.
Zimbabwe's mobile operator, Econet Wireless, has with immediate effect
barred all its prepaid customers from making international calls citing
foreign currency shortages, The Herald reported on Wednesday.
The company said the ban will help conserve the little foreign currency at
its disposal for other critical business transactions.
Econet Wireless Managing Director Douglas Mboweni said only the Business
Partna customers would continue to have access to international calls.
Econet has two packages, the prepaid package (Libertie and Buddie) and the
"The Business Partna is for corporates and business people and we feel calls
from these packages would generate more foreign currency for the country.
The foreign currency that we are having at the moment is not enough to
handle all subscribers, hence we are reserving the little that we have for
business organizations," said Mboweni.
Individuals, from now onwards are no longer in a position to make
international calls as they used to do due to foreign currency constraints,
However, individuals can still access the short message services (SMS) to
other international mobile operators.
"Individuals can send their peers SMS and receive international calls,
thereby earning foreign currency for the country," he added.
However, Econet customers feel the company has shortchanged them by not
advising them in advance of the development.
The spate of explosions reportedly rocking police establishments around the
country are the result of joint works by the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA)
Military Intelligence, Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and Zimbabwe
Republic Police (ZRP) with a view to sparking a civil war and blaming the
opposition MDC, investigations by CAJ News Agency have revealed.
The military intelligence at Inkomo Barracks, King George's (KGVI) and Two
Brigade Headquarters in Cranborne Barracks were behind the release of
explosives with a view to blaming the opposition for importing weapons into
the country for a possible civil war, according to senior police officers
who served under the United Nations Peacekeeping Missions.
Various explosions have raised suspicions of a possible civil war in the
country, hence the hiring of foreign forces from Angola and soldiers from
Libya with a view to trigger and justify the state of emergency.
"Next time these guys will bomb the Defence House or Zanu (PF) Headquarters
in Harare and blame the MDC. Remember how a claymore was planted by Sgt
Samakomwa near the National Sports Stadium so as to put the late Reverend
Ndabaningi Sithole on attempted murder charges in 1995?" said the source.
"The man was convicted but was never put to prison. It becomes a pathetic
military exercise when you find the police bombing itself and wounding
innocent members so as to create a scapegoat. The chances are high that the
military will create a mutiny so as to blame the opposition," he added. -
Resignations of professionals from the ZRP is becoming worrisome as hundreds
continue to quit in frustration.
The hardest hit this week is the Police Outpost Magazine, which saw more
than eight professional journalists surrendering their police uniforms for
The Outpost Magazine's Assistant Editor Nkosana Dlamini resigned at end of
March and the chief reporter covering Zimbabwe's western region, Mxolisi
Ncube, also resigned in a hurry.
The editor of the police magazine, Elvis Chipuka also resigned under unclear
circumstances, though it is widely believed that it is as a result of poor
Chipuka followed the resignation of his predecessor, a veteran journalist
and academic Ntokozo Nyathi, who is set to join the Centre for African
Journalists (CAJ News Agency) next month.
In an interview, the Police Spokesperson, Oliver Mandipaka, said the ZRP did
not have the capacity of blocking people's decisions to resign.
"Many professionals are leaving for whatever pastures, green or yellow.
Construction people are going, teachers are going, ordinary members are
leaving for the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) and some to South Africa.
"Though this is worrisome as we are security people, but on another note,
that is an indication that the ZRP is capable of producing professionals who
are accepted internationally," said Mandipaka. - CAJ News
As deafening silence continues to come from the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA)
and government over alleged upheavals within the ranks, a family in Harare
has come forward to expose the likelihood of executions having take place
after an attempted coup. The state has still not responded to reports that
14 soldiers were executed recently after an attempted march to State House
with the intention of deposing President Robert Mugabe.
Army sources have admitted that a group of soldiers was arrested but one
source denied there were executions. But members of a Harare family this
week claimed that their relative, a member of the army "disappeared" on the
day it was reported there had been executions.
"He went missing on the day it was reported there had been executions and
our efforts to establish his whereabouts have been unsuccessful," a brother
to the missing soldier said. "We have been told by his superiors that they
are working on establishing his whereabouts and they would soon come back to
us. However, some of his colleagues have alleged that he was among the
group which was executed." The missing soldier, whose name was supplied to
this paper, was said to be away on duty, when an inquiry of his whereabouts
was done at the army headquarters in Harare.
Unconfirmed reports alleged that 14 soldiers were executed after an
attempted coup involving junior and middle ranked officials of the armed
forces. Disgruntled levels have been increasing within the army over low
incomes as well as the further declining economic situation.
A senior official from the ZNA, speaking on condition of anonymity said that
there had been a group planning to depose Mugabe but denied reports that
they had been executed saying they were detained at some barrack after being
arrested by the military police.
The graduation of about 60 junior Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) military
officers at the 2:1 Infantry Battalion here last week, was met with acute
food shortages, low morale and poor attendance from other security forces as
disgruntlement within the security forces takes centre stage in Zimbabwe.
Complicating the situation, the Army Commander, General Phillip Sibanda, did
not attend the event under unclear circumstances. The Colonel in charge of
Careers at the Army Headquarters, Colonel Shailet Moyo, was immediately
drafted to become the guest of honour.
The low turnout comes as hundreds of army and police personnel are leaving,
citing poor remuneration, the break-down of the rule of law and the face
that they are now forced to do menial work by the desperate Zanu (PF)
Zimbabwean soldiers and police are now responsible for off-loading and
packing grain at the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depots throughout the
country as government tries to garner support from rural folk well ahead of
the 2008 presidential election.
The security forces these days are also ordered to sweep city centre
streets, slash grass along main roads, and distribute maize to starving
villagers. - CAJ News
The Foundation of Reason and Justice has joined Zimbabwean Christians to
declare April 18 an international Day of Prayer for Zimbabwe.
"The Zimbabwean government is in a vicious war with its law-abiding
citizens. All opposition gatherings including prayer meetings have been
banned. Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Morgan Tsvangirai has
survived so many attempts to end his life; the latest one was on 11 March
2007," says the organisation in a recent statement.
In addition to being Zimbabwe's Independence Day, April 18 is the day on
which, way back in 1521, the Christian reformer Martin Luther stood firm
before Emperor Charles V saying, "My conscience is captive to the word of
God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience
is neither right nor safe. Here I stand, I cannot do otherwise. God help me.
Amen!" This speech shook the world.
Historically Christian reformers have always been at the forefront of the
struggle against corruption, tyranny of unbelievers and moral decadence. In
the book of Isaiah the prophet started his ministry by denouncing social
evils and corruption on the market place. Biblical tyrants were removed by
God's people and punished for their crimes in accordance with the Word of
"We call upon people all over the world to pray fervently for Zimbabwe on
this historic day. Pray for repentance of many Zimbabweans and the urgent
removal of Mugabe's government and all wicked rulers, who are murdering and
starving innocent citizens, and for regional leaders, especially South
Africa's Thabo Mbeki, who are supporting him. Zimbabweans do not ask for
pity from South Africa's political leaders. We will lead our own
transformation under our God. Simply, we condemn those who lend support to
Mugabe," says the statement. - Collen Makumbirofa
Sanctions used as red herring
President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa is expected to meet President Robert
Mugabe and impress upon him the fundamental need for reforms as a way of
solving the political crisis affecting Zimbabwe, this paper can reveal.
It has been established that Mbeki will meet Mugabe within the next three
weeks, following meetings last week involving his officials and senior
MDC (Tsvangirai) officials met with Mbeki's officials in South Africa last
week. The Secretary General, Tendai Biti, confirmed that the discussions
had centred mainly on reforms.
"We discussed with Mbeki's team about the preliminary requirements for his
efforts to find a solution to our crisis," Biti said. "We deliberated on the
need for a roadmap towards the holding of democratic elections and
The united coalition of opposition parties, civil society and church leaders
is unequivocal on calls for the adoption of a new constitution before next
Sources within the South African diplomatic community told The Zimbabwean
that Mugabe, increasingly under pressure to adopt reforms, has already
confirmed his meeting with Mbeki. "They will be meeting soon and Mbeki has
no option but to tell Mugabe that one of the prerequisites to finding a
solution is adoption of electoral and constitutional reforms," a source
However, Zanu (PF) insiders said Mugabe remained averse to the idea of
reforms, which he and other hardliners within the ruling party consider to
be acceptance of a way out of power. "The only time the matter has been
discussed was when some officials inquired about whether there would be a
new constitution ahead of next year's elections, to which Mugabe said there
was no need," said one source.
Another source said the embattled octogenarian leader planned to buy time
and divert Mbeki's attention through the sanctions mantra. "He is going to
demand that the opposition starts by calling off sanctions before any
dialogue commences," he said.
Mugabe succeeded in convincing SADC leaders of his sanctions propaganda, and
they brought up the issue after the emergency meeting in Dar-es-Salaam.
By Trevor Grundy
Born into an upper middle class family from Cumbria in northern England,
John Bradburne turned his back on his privileged background to care for
lepers in Africa.
He died on a dusty roadside in what was then Rhodesia, on 3 September 1979,
cut down by the bullets of guerrillas firing Kalashnikov assault rifles.
Now, nearly 30 years after his death, the Archbishop of Harare, Robert
Christopher Ndlovu, has said that a "Cause" should begin.
This formally launches an investigation to determine whether a candidate for
sainthood has led a life that contains a spiritual message for the world's
Roman Catholic community.
"The archbishop gave his approval for a 'Cause' to start after it was
discussed by the [Zimbabwe] Catholic Bishops' Conference [in March]," Tim
Brigstocke, chairperson of the John Bradburne Memorial Society, told
Ecumenical News International.
Lawrence Vambe, the Zimbabwean historian now living in England who has been
supporting Bradburne's election to the sainthood, said: "John was a
wonderful man who served the poor, the sick, the wretched and who might one
day be recognised as a very great poet."
Born on 14 June 1921, John Bradburne saw active military service with the
Gurkhas unit in Asia during the Second World War. Afterwards, he became a
drifter, house cleaner and refuse collector who was fascinated by Eastern
In 1947, he was received into the Catholic Church and took a series of lowly
paid jobs at monasteries before travelling to Israel and then to the British
colony of Southern Rhodesia.
As a Franciscan layperson he worked as a superintendent at Mutemwa, a leper
colony, 140 kilometres miles north east of what was then Salisbury and is
Those close to him said that lepers adored him but guerrillas supporting the
forces of Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union did not.
Towards the end of the Zimbabwean war for independence, which ended in 1979,
he was abducted from a tin hut where he often prayed, sang and wrote poetry.
He was shot in the back and left for dead a few miles from Mutemwa and the
lepers he cared for.
His followers say that at his funeral, three drops of blood appeared beneath
his coffin, something alluded to in the book "Strange Vagabond of God", by
Jesuit priest John Dove, which recounts his great friend's life.
Since then devotion to John Bradburne has sprung up in Zimbabwe, Africa and
in parts of Britain and Europe.
"The John Bradburne Memorial Society raises about £30 000 a year to help
Mutemwa going," said Celia Brigstocke, niece of the man who could one day
become the first Catholic saint who died in Zimbabwe.
BY CHARLES ONYANGO-OBBO
Why is it that African strongmen tend to seem more powerful and entrenched
at the point when their political record is at its worst?
Yet when they preside over flourishing economies and have the money and
groceries with which to buy support, they seem weak.
But when they turn their countries into a shambles, with inflation soaring
close to 1,800 per cent as in Zimbabwe and nothing left to bribe their
people with, everyone seems helpless to remove them. Today, the Zimbabwean
government cannot maintain the army and police in the style they are
accustomed to, yet they are more zealous in cracking the skulls of the
opposition than when life was better.
When an economy collapses or is in crisis, the few parts of it that still
function are almost always in the hands of regime officials and supporters.
The opposition supporters have nothing, and therefore they can't fund
anti-government politics. The opposition needs an economy that is doing well
in order to thrive.
The only problem with that is that there may not be enough anger, because
things aren't bad enough, to cause enough people to kick the government out
at elections. And by the time matters are bad enough and there is sufficient
anger, there is no economic infrastructure to support rivals.
There is also a view that people who have endured the long and painful
history of slavery, which then gave way to colonialism, have a strong
tendency toward self-preservation.
For that reason, of all the people in the world the African is the least
likely to be a suicide bomber. An offshoot of this is that many of us cannot
easily be persuaded to put our necks on the line and die in the process, in
the hope that the lives of our children will be better.
Moreover, one senses that because a lot of the liberation wars and "people
power" revolutions that have swept corrupt and brutal old-style governments
out of Africa in the past 20 years have failed to bring a better life, the
distrust of politics among ordinary people has grown deeper.
Where the line between the good and bad guys is fuzzy, it is always the bad
guys - like Mugabe - who benefit. - The East African, Nairobi
State security agents are intensifying their plot to incapacitate and
paralyse the main faction of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
through further abductions and torture of members of the opposition
Abductions and shootings of senior MDC leaders have continued and sources
within the police and Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) said there was
a list of MDC officials in the hands of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)
that must be "brought to book". The exercise also involves Zanu (PF)
militia. The state has ensured the opposition party's headquarters become
virtually non-functional through raids, confiscation of equipment and
detention of members of the secretariat.
MDC Harare province executive member Phillip Katsande, was last week shot
after police raided his home in Budiriro suburb and left to battle for life
in hospital. Other MDC officials that were abducted by police or Zanu (PF)
militia included youth secretary, Solomon Madzore and Sam Chacha, a senior
member in Kwekwe.
Party spokesman, Nelson Chamisa said the state was increasing its crackdown
on the opposition party. "We are receiving reports of abductions and brutal
assaults of our members daily and in some cases there is clear evidence of
attempted murder," he said.
Meanwhile, the opposition party's headquarters in Harare remains deserted
following the confiscation of all computers and arrest of members of the
secretariat a fortnight ago.
Several officials, including the former news editor of the Daily News, and
now director of information at Harvest House, Luke Tamborinyoka, are
languishing in remand prison after being arrested during the police raid and
denied bail on several occasions.
The opposition party has appealed to the High Court challenging the
confiscation of its computers by police and an order was granted that they
must be returned. The police have responded by saying they needed to extract
information they require for investigations before they would return the
Sources privy to the plans against the opposition by the state said that
there was a plan to establish grounds on which to raise treason allegations
against MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, as a way of tarnishing his image
ahead of next year's presidential elections. Tsvangirai is expected to pose
a stiff challenge against Mugabe, who presides over the worst economy in the
world, coupled with declining social standards.
'Let us make Mugabe the first victim of World Cup 2010 madness'
The hosting of the World Cup soccer tournament by South Africa in 2010 could
be threatened if the political crisis in neighbouring Zimbabwe is not
resolved urgently. Crime-riddled south Africa is bearing the brunt of
increasing illegal migration by Zimbabweans fleeing the political, social
and economic hardships brewed and bred by Zimbabwe's notorious dictator,
An estimated three million Zimbos now live and "work" in South Africa.
Thousands of others reside in other southern African states - Botswana,
Zambia, Mozambique, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland. Virtually all these SADC
member states are expected to participate, in one way or another, in the
hosting of the 2010 World Cup. The economic benefits expected to be reaped
by these countries could evaporate into nothing if the Zimbabwe crisis is
not resolved well in advance of 2010.
Mugabe's reluctance to relinquish political power poses a formidable threat
to the successful hosting of Africa's first World Cup. If the Zimbabwe
crisis is not resolved by the time of the premier soccer tournament, it is
very likely that there will be widespread violence in Zimbabwe, where some
of the best hotel accommodation facilities in the region are located.
Zimbabwe has already been identified as a fan base for the soccer
tournament. South Africa has already indicated that it will not be able to
accommodate the more than 300 000 visitors expected to invade the region for
the tournament. Countries like Botswana, Swaziland, Lesotho and Namibia can
only accommodate a few hundred guests in their hotels and lodges.
It is very likely that Mugabe's rigged re-election in 2008 will result in
the escalation of violence in Zimbabwe and the further deterioration of the
economy, resulting in a new wave of illegal migration of Zimbos into South
Africa. Desperate to make a living, they will have no choice but to engage
in crime in the SADC member states.
This reality needs to be emphasised to all the SADC heads of state well in
advance of the World Cup. Zimbabwean civil society and opposition political
parties need to take advantage of the 2010 World Cup to force the cowardly
SADC leaders to redouble their efforts to eject the Zimbabwean dictator.
For example, civil society and opposition political parties should start to
plan, and publicise widely, massive street demonstrations in all the
relevant SADC member states to coincide with the tournament. Such
demonstrations should include Zimbabweans and the nationals of other SADC
member states, in which the demos are to be held. Nothing will galvanise the
regional and international communities to action more effectively than the
threat of a disruption of this prime football event. Mugabe will never know
what will has hit him. Let us make Mugabe the first victim of World Cup 2010
The South African business community needs to be conscientised to this
reality so that it can apply appropriate pressure on reluctant Thabo Mbeki
to abandon his sterile quiet diplomacy in the handling of the local
The international community could be lobbied to pressure the relevant world
soccer authorities to threaten to move the 2010 World Cup elsewhere if the
Zimbabwe crisis is not resolved urgently. Desperate situations sometimes
require desperate measures as solutions. There may indeed be light at the
end of the tunnel.
Retired Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) Lieutenant Colonel Sikhumbuzo Ndiweni
has urged the opposition to capitalise on Zanu (PF) being at its weakest
point ever by campaigning extensively to mobilise the masses to embark on
more effective protests.
In an interview with CAJ News this week Ndiweni said MDC should seize the
opportunity "now or never again".
Any further delays and failure to employ practical tactics to dislodge Zanu
(PF) from power would render the opposition in Zimbabwe "useless" and the
only hope of a regime change would have hit a brick wall, he said.
He insisted that Morgan Tsvangirai had suffered enough at the hands of the
ruling Zanu (PF) and should be accorded the opportunity of democratically
"MDC must seize the opportunity of working closely with the deserted
Zimbabwe soldiers to come up with workable and practical tactics of
dislodging the ruling party in a free and fair election to be observed by
both SADC and the international community.
"Zanu (PF) is at its weakest point since Zimbabwe gained independence.
Intra-party fighting would work in favour of MDC if they quickly seize the
opportunity," said Ndiweni.
He said the MDC leadership lacked experience and were not sure when to act
He gave the example of Operation Restore Order/Murambatsvina where over 700
000 families were displaced by government, arguing that if the opposition
was steadfast they could have mobilised and forced Zanu (PF) out of power
"The Murambatsvina/Operation Restore Order era was the most glorious
opportunity for MDC to assume power but that chance went begging.
"This time around I would like to appeal to the opposition leadership not to
let this golden chance pass without doing anything practical. Morgan
Tsvangirai was severely tortured, Gift Tandare was shot dead, civic leaders
were arrested and severely beaten and this is the time to act.
"There is no incentive better than suffering. Any slip-up by the opposition
would have dampened the people's spirits. If it means people should die, let
it be so," said retired said Ndiweni, who resigned from government arguing
that he could not work with the regime that was suppressing its own
people. - CAJ News
BY SCOTT A MORGAN
Zimbabwe's Information Minister recently addressed reports that the US was
assisting the Zimbabwean opposition and boldly proclaimed that the American
initiatives would fail.
It has been standard procedure for the US Embassy in various countries to
offer technical assistance to any and all parties that are interested. These
projects include assistance with the electoral process, seminars that deal
with economics and even financial assistance when necessary. So when the
State Department announced last week it was conducting such projects no one
should have been shocked.
The reaction of the Zimbabwe government was by no means a surprise either.
The state-controlled media stated that this was proof that the US was out to
overthrow President Mugabe.
So what exactly does the Mugabe government object to? One is the assistance
in Humanitarian Aid for those who have been left vulnerable by poor
governance, notably the disastrous land reform and the diabolical Operation
Murambatsvina, which left parts of Harare and other cities in ruins. The
numbers suffering from malnutrition and other maladies are in the millions.
Since the controversial elections of 2000, 2002 and 2005 the US has
gradually increased the sanctions against Zimbabwe. Military contacts have
been ended. Senior members of the ruling party are not allowed to travel to
the USA and their financial holdings here have been seized.
In addition, the US wants to strengthen democratic forces in Zimbabwe. In
the past the US has provided financial and other forms of aid to democratic
forces around the world. So we are just continuing in a pattern that has
been the norm for years.
For the reasons listed above one can read into the reaction of the Zimbabwe
government and say "they are resistant to change." Another reaction is that
they just want to remain in power. And that is the sad thing for the
millions suffering in Zimbabwe today.
We commend the Roman Catholic bishops for their uncompromising Easter
message to the people of Zimbabwe. In it they urged President Mugabe to end
his oppression of the people through state-sponsored violence and to leave
office through democratic reform - or face mass revolt.
"As the suffering population becomes more insistent, generating more and
more pressure through boycotts, strikes, demonstrations and uprisings, the
state responds with even harsher oppression through arrests, detentions,
banning orders, beatings and torture," says the message, which was stuck to
the doors of churches throughout Zimbabwe on Easter Sunday.
This is the fist time the Catholic bishops have spoken with one voice, using
language reminiscent of their outspoken stance during the Smith days.
"Oppression is sin and cannot be compromised with," said the bishops
unequivocally. As to where the violence in our country is coming from - they
did not mince their words.
The conflict, they said, was "between those who only know the language of
violence and intimidation and those who feel they have nothing more to lose
because their constitutional rights have been abrogated and their votes
The bishops called for a new people-driven constitution, leading to free and
fair elections. It is also encouraging that Pope Benedict XVI singled out
Zimbabwe for special mention during his Easter message. "Zimbabwe is in the
grip of a grievous crisis," he said.
We agree with the comments of Fr Oskar Wermter of the Catholic
Communications Secretariat who said: "Oppression is not negotiable. It must
stop before there can be any dialogue."
We urge Thabo Mbeki to insist on this in order to create an enabling
environment for any dialogue to take place.
We support the bishops' call for a day of prayer and fasting for Zimbabwe on
April 14 and the national Day of Prayer on April 18. What more fitting way
to mark the anniversary of our Independence?
The MDC has urged regional leaders to ensure that the estimated three
million Zimbabwean citizens in the diaspora be allowed to vote in next
year's presidential election.
The organising secretary for South Africa, Rodgers Mudarikwa, made the call
well ahead of MDC SA's maiden congress, scheduled for May 6, 2007 in
MDC SA held a meeting last weekend with the party's Deputy President,
Thokozani Khupe, and national vice chair Lovemore Moyo. A new constitution
for Zimbabwe was top of the agenda.
"Our national leaders plan to mobilise SADC leaders to make this demand
clear. Zimbabweans outside the country must not be prevented from casting
their ballots next year," said Mudarikwa.
South Africa's nine provinces were given the status of districts by the
party, while the country was given the status of a province. Elections for
office bearers are expected to be held shortly. - CAJ News
Efforts by government to force the establishment of a social contract have
hit a brick wall even with workers' representatives aligned to Zanu (PF),
who have refused to commit themselves to price and salary freezes.
Government is still holding talks with business and labour representatives
loyal to itself, but the Zanu (PF)-sponsored Zimbabwe Federation of Trade
Unions (ZFTU) has openly said it is impossible to accept government's terms
on establishing the social contract, arguing that the workers wouldn't
benefit from the pact.
The ZFTU forged ahead with the tripartite negotiations after the more
representative Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions boycotted the talks.
ZFTU leader, Alfred Makwarimba said that the union was under pressure from
workers to avoid committing to a contract that wasn't practical. "We are
still involved in negotiations, but we have to make sure that we achieve the
aspirations of workers in whatever the contract comes up with. Workers are
complaining that prices of goods continue going up without their salaries
increasing," he said.
Reserve Bank Governor Gideon Gono mobilized the revival of tripartite
negotiations, saying a social contract would address fix the country's
The ZCTU, civil society and the opposition have all responded by dismissing
Gono's suggestion and blaming government for insincerity. - Itai Dzamara
By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 04/12/2007 10:53:25
ZIMBABWEAN police seized several opposition activists in Zimbabwe's second
largest city of Bulawayo on Wednesday over a plot to derail a local
passenger train service last month.
The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said national executive members
Sikhululekile Nkala and Themba Nyathi (not to be confused with the former
Gwanda North MP) had been held in separate raids on their homes.
The arrested activists were taken to Harare where at least 10 other MDC
activists and senior aides to party leader Morgan Tsvangirai remain behind
bars, charged with a series of petrol bomb explosions on police stations and
an attempt to blow up a passenger train in Harare.
Eddie Cross, a Bulawayo-based MDC executive member said the activists were
held at Matapi Police Station, notoriously known for its poor cell
conditions. The Supreme Court last year declared Matapi unfit for
The activists seized in Bulawayo face charges of trying to derail a local
train service between the poor township of Emganwini and the city.
Police say the activists removed bolts from a section of the track before
dragging big logs onto the track in a bid to derail the train service, the
desired outcome being to make the country ungovernable.
A train driver was praised after bringing the train to a halt with just
meters to spare before a possible crash.
The MDC rejects accusations by the government that it is behind the petrol
bombings. The party blames state security agents, accusing the Zanu PF
government of targeting its activists in a bid to cripple the party ahead of
parliamentary and presidential elections next year.
On Tuesday, a High Court judge turned down a bail application by Piniel
Denga, accused of being the mastermind of the bombings. Justice Tedious
Karwi said Denga -- found with five sticks of dynamite and 24 detonators at
his Harare home -- was facing serious charges.
Denga was arrested during a series of raids on the houses of senior MDC
officials and the party's headquarters in central Harare.
Police also arrested Ian Makone, one of Tsvangirai's advisors and journalist
Luke Tamborinyoka, who was doing consultancy for the MDC.
The bombings have targeted five police stations, business premises of a Zanu
PF official and two passenger trains.