Zimbabwe refutes allegations of scuppering
Gonarezhou development April 18, 2004
Johannesburg - The Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) this
week dismissed concerns by South African and Mozambican tourism ministries
that Zimbabwe was scuppering development on its side of the Great
Limpopo Transfrontier Park by failing to finance capital development projects
on the Gonarezhou National Park.
South African minister of
tourism, Valli Moosa, and his Mozambican counterpart, Fernando Sumbana,
emerged from a meeting in Maputo last week saying that while the Mozambican
and South African parts of the park were well on their way to becoming an
integrated system, Gonarezhou on the Zimbabwean side remained a separate
ZTA's Ndaipaneyi Mukwena told Business Report that unlike
South Africa and Mozambique, which had secured foreign funding, Zimbabwe was
having to go it alone since international donors had pulled out for political
"As you may well know that Zimbabwe is under selective
sanctions, from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and
international donors. Zimbabwe is having to rely on its own resources and
well wishers to finance projects in the Gonarezhou," Mukwena
Zimbabwe, which is the fourth-largest economy in Africa and
South Africa's largest trading partner on the continent, is in the throes of
a deep economic crisis that has seen the latest inflation figures running
at 600 percent.
The country is in its fifth consecutive year of
recession, foreign currency is scarce, manufacturing companies have closed,
commercial agriculture is struggling to feed its 14 million citizens, and
international agencies have frozen aid.
The three countries
signed treaties in 2000 to establish the world's largest animal conservancy.
At 35 000km2, the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park combines the Kruger
National Park, the Limpopo National Park in Mozambique and Gonarezhou in
Since then, South Africa and Mozambique have consulted
with the 20 000 people who live in their parts and up to 150km of military
fence had been pulled down.
Translocation of game, including
elephants and other big game was continual, 4x4 vehicle tracks were being
mapped out, a border post is under construction and tourists are expected to
start crossing between the two countries in October.
is funding its initiatives partly from a R65 million grant from the German
Development Bank for infrastructure development, while another R65 million
has come from the EU for the resettlement of people from the footprint of the
Limpopo national park.
The country's demining programme, near the
national park, has also received R10 million from the donor
The South African government recently announced a R40
million grant for the building of infrastructure, while private game lodge
developers have showed huge interest in the eastern part of the Kruger
National Park, alongside traditional seasonal migration routes for wild
animals to and from Gonarezhou.
Mukwena said it was untrue
that nothing was happening on the Zimbabwe side. In this year's budget its
ministry of finance had allocated Z$17.9 billion (R26 million) for the
upgrading of international airports, part of which was already being spent on
the refurbishment of Buffalo Range Airport in the southwest of Zimbabwe,
which is the entry-point to Gonarezhou.
The state had also
allocated Z$2.2 billion (R3.2 million) for the upgrading of existing tourism
facilities in the 5 000km2 Gonarezhou, which is potentially one of the best
game-viewing sites on the continent.
"We have started with three
main areas of road development, electrification and communications. These
will provide for accessibility for interested investors to develop
"One big project that is on the drawing board is the
development of the biodiversity animal corridor linking Gonarezhou with the
Kruger," Mukwena said.
"It will be a virtual bridge for some of
the larger animals like elephant and eland, which have traditionally crossed
through the two countries for centuries."
Mukwena said lack of
funds had put on hold demining programmes for landmines left over from
Zimbabwe's war of liberation, which ended in 1980. It would be suicidal to
open sections of Gonarezhou to tourists when there were still concerns over
large tracks of border land that contained landmines.
from the Zimbabwe side was also evident in projects by its Communal Areas
Management Programme for Indigenous Resources (Campfire), which was combining
initiatives by ecologists and rural development specialists for communities
alongside Gonarezhou to generate income and improve the quality of their
These included encouraging rural people to change their
attitudes towards ecology, to help ensure the survival of wildlife and
natural ecosystems, and thus reduce the environmental degradation that
often accompanies rural poverty.
Zimbabwe was looking at tourism
to lead its economic recovery since the country offered variety,
affordability, infrastructure and one of the seven wonders of the world - the
Victoria Falls, which alongside the Great Zimbabwe ruins is a world heritage
South African tour operators had been making inquiries with
the ZTA to package and sell Zimbabwe as a standalone destination, or in
a multidestination package of Zimbabwe, Botswana and South Africa,
Mozambique was featuring in the plans because of
the transfrontier park, she said.
"The bad publicity that
Zimbabwe has suffered in international media has had positive aspects, with
people now coming from all over to see things for themselves. Many are
surprised that Zimbabwe is actually not the hell that our detractors want to
make it look like."
'Zimbabwe never had food shortages
before. Mugabe has caused this famine' By Damien McElroy in
Bulawayo (Filed: 18/04/2004)
A flicker of
Esinathi Dube's deep-set eyes is the only significant sign of life in a room
where starvation has brought a pervasive fear of death. Her eldest daughter,
Agnes, succumbed in February; Esinathi predicts that she will soon follow.
Another daughter, Sipho, lies at her side weeping away the pain of
"Agnes was a strong girl but she died because she did
not eat," says Esinathi. "We could not afford to buy food and the hospitals
turned us away when we looked for help."
The two sisters,
aged 32 and 34, should have been the first generation of black Zimbabweans to
benefit from Robert Mugabe's rule as the first democratically elected leader
of the nation. When the liberation hero turned dictator and engineered a
famine, however, Agnes and thousands of others joined a long list of the
regime's victims. Sipho is one of thousands more who hover on the
Food shortages have pushed Zimbabwean prices to
unaffordable levels. A loaf of bread in Bulawayo costs 2,500 Zimbabwe
dollars, the equivalent of 30p, but also the same as the average monthly
pension. As a result, an estimated 5.5 million Zimbabweans depend on food
Every street of Makokoba, on the outskirts of Bulawayo,
has a house like Esinathi's that has lost a family member to starvation.
Under Zimbabwe's strict laws on reporting, it is all but impossible for
their plight to reach the country's media, but a church worker agreed to
introduce the Telegraph to bereaved families.
to show us his black book, filled with notes of funeral arrangements, Edward
Churu (not his real name) would face two years in prison if he were
Eggs are frying in Esinathi's house but that is not a
sign of hope. She has sub-let the space to migrants to pay the rent, but they
do not share food. "It is their food, not mine."
week, Esinathi's parish priest gives food to the destitute which, with the
occasional act of charity, has kept Esinathi and her daughter alive. "It is
not enough," says Edward. "We hand out mealy-mealy [maize] but it is never
enough, not even for a few days."
Large families face even
greater pressures. Since Mafu Kumaro's two daughters died this year, he has
had to look after a 16-strong extended family - a burden that threatens to
overwhelm the old man. The youngest orphan among his many grandchildren,
Ntombazana, has the distended stomach of the malnourished.
Mafu returns home with a bag filled with scraps of paper. When asked why, he
turns his head away: "We put the strips into the sadza [porridge] that we
make with maize from the parish. We try to make sure that the children don't
notice. It stops them being hungry."
When Mafu arrived in
Makokoba, Bulawayo was still a prosperous city dominated by the white-owned
businesses and farms that made Zimbabwe one of Africa's richest regions. Two
years ago, as President Mugabe's land grab destroyed the economy, Mafu lost
his job as a cleaner.
"When the Europeans were here, we could
cope," he said. "I had money to buy food and a clinic handed out free drugs.
Now we have no jobs, no income, inflation is 1,000 per cent and when we go to
hospital they ask us for money. If we have none, we are turned
The Zimbabwean Health Ministry has conceded that 63
people died of starvation in Bulawayo last month. According to a prominent
critic of the government, Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo, the real figure
is many times higher. He estimates that 1,000 people die from lack of food
each month around Bulawayo alone.
"We never had food
shortages before, not in 120 years since the commercial farmers started to
work the land," said Archbishop Ncube. "Mugabe has caused this famine because
he raided the farms that were feeding the nation. But they don't care for the
After heavy spring rains, there are forecasts that
Zimbabwe will produce a better crop this year than last, alleviating the
shortages and easing the inflationary pressures that cause people in cities
As a result, international aid agencies are
scaling down their assistance programmes in the area. Cafod, the London-based
donor, is moving away from handing out food and starting projects that help
people to buy more food. "The indications are there is more food," said Tim
Aldred, a Cafod spokesman. "The problem is [finding] the cash to afford that
Local aid workers, however, say aid agencies' new
plans are based on undue optimism. "The rains came late and then it was too
heavy, washing away sandy soil and destroying seeds," said Njamal Ncube, an
aid worker. "Overall, there are districts north and west of here where
people already have nothing. They have eaten the seeds long before harvest
The crisis is being made worse by a new crackdown on
foreign exchange trading that has targeted organisations at the front line of
the fight against famine. A private hospital in Wanga, near Victoria
Falls, which exchanged money via a conglomerate controlled by the ruling
party, was last week fined £13,000.
In remote areas,
Zimbabwe's food crisis is concealed by militia members and cadres of the
ruling Zanu PF party who track movements in the villages. But in Bulawayo, it
is impossible to miss.
Dozens of soup kitchens and charity
distribution centres are scattered around the city, even in well-to-do areas.
As neighbours sit for hours in the sun waiting for donations, volunteers try
to boost their morale as well as their weight. "I don't work, I eat grass,"
said one volunteer, Lucy, managing to joke at their plight and causing
laughter to ripple around the room. "I am an animal, not a human being any
In a workshop at the centre, Alice, an 87-year-old
widow, takes two weeks to weave a single rug from old strips of cloth that
she then sells for less than £2.
Archbishop Ncube believes
that the plight of victims like Alice will not improve as long as President
Mugabe remains in office.
"Our problem is that we have no
Zimbabwean leader who can wake up the people to stop this nonsense," he said.
"The people are scared. But they hate him. When he dies, they will
State instigates more violent raids on prime Zimbabwean
farmland, leaving thousands of workers destitute
Sunday Times Foreign
Mbuya Bhurandi sat dazed and traumatised on a patch of veld,
some of her meagre belongings scattered around her. With nowhere to go and
nothing to eat, the grandmother was a pitiful sight: one of the latest
victims of Robert Mugabe's so-called land reform.
Bhurandi is one of
hundreds of farm labourers left homeless and abandoned as state-instigated
raids on Zimbabwe's troubled farming community resurface.
alone a government minister seized one of the most lucrative farms on the
continent and targeted 49 sugar estates.
Government agents, backed by
anti-riot police brandishing AK-47 assault rifles, grabbed the Kondozi farm
in Odzi district, about 220km southeast of Harare.
Kondozi is a
224ha farm which produces and packages horticultural products for export,
with an annual turnover in the region of R96-million.
manager said the eviction was violent and ruthless.
He said the scene
was reminiscent of those at the height of farm invasions three years ago when
more than 350 000 farmworkers were left homeless.
"An advance party
of state agents came to the farm last week on Thursday accompanied by
anti-riot police," he said. "They ordered the managers out.
Friday they came again to evict farmworkers from the
Armed police beat farmworkers with truncheons during the
raid, resulting in a stampede that saw children and elderly people being
After the eviction, the farmworkers were left on the
roadside, forced to live in the open without food and water.
Easter-holiday raid was similar to the Christmas Day invasion of the same
farm last year.
Then, Agriculture Minister Joseph Made invaded the
farm, claiming it belonged to the state-owned Agricultural and Rural
Made and his accomplices threw a big party at
the farm and declared it theirs. They said labourers who accepted their
authority could stay on the land.
This week they broke that
Efforts by the Red Cross to intervene in the Kondozi crisis
were thwarted by Manicaland provincial authorities.
journalists earlier in the week about the takeover, government spokesman
George Charamba's only comment was: "So, are British supermarkets going to be
short of beans? We need the land."
Alarmed by the plight of the
farmworkers and their dependents, traditional leaders arranged an emergency
meeting with Vice-President Joseph Msika. A 70-member delegation of chiefs
and headmen met Msika on Thursday in Harare and it was resolved that the
invasion had to stop.
Sources said Msika told senior government
officials to stop inciting chaos at the farm. He ordered the police and army
to stop interfering in the situation.
However, Zanu-PF militants
on Friday refused to budge and mounted roadblocks on routes to the
Msika was understood to have also ordered state security agents
to vacate Charleswood Estate in Chimanimani which Manicaland provincial
governor Lieutenant-General Mike Nyambuya has been trying to grab from Roy
Bennett, an opposition Movement for Democratic Change MP.
five Charleswood Estate farmworkers were assaulted severely when soldiers
invaded the farm on Good Friday. Reports said the victims were denied access
to medical attention.
More than 150 soldiers, aided by riot police
and dogs, took part in an early-morning raid which resembled a military
offensive into enemy territory.
Meanwhile, Mugabe's government
said it would seize 49 sugar estates in the Lowveld around the huge Hippo
Valley Estates, owned by mining giant Anglo American.
have been accused of inciting trouble in the area in a bid to justify
compulsory acquisition of the estates.
The government also said it
would take over by force "idle equipment" which belonged to evicted white
commercial farmers. The targeted equipment included 140 tractors, 14
trailers, 3 262 irrigation pipes, 34 implements and seven combine
Some equipment has reportedly been pillaged from farms by
ministers and senior Zanu-PF officials.
Ministers are refusing to
return seized farms and equipment despite official pressure for them to do
Farmers say equipment worth tens of billions of dollars has been
looted and vandalised during the protracted farm disturbances.
England refused to play in Zimbabwe during the 2003 Cricket World Cup, the
decision was taken because the players feared for their safety in a country
in which the rule of law had collapsed. It was the right decision for the
wrong reason: they should have stayed away to protest against the death of
democracy in Zimbabwe. This was what Zimbabwe's best batsman, Andy Flower,
and their charismatic bowler, Henry Olonga, did when they took to the field
in their first World Cup match against Namibia wearing black armbands. It
is often said that sport and politics should never mix. This is wrong. The
sporting ban against South Africa was successful because it turned
the weapons of the apartheid state against itself. The ruling white minority,
so many of them ardent sports fans, were made to feel excluded from
respectable society and that there could be no normal relations with an
abnormal society. People such as Margaret Thatcher could never understand why
South Africa was excluded from the family of sporting nations when the
Soviet Union, Iran, China and many other tyrannies were not. Similar things
are said today when the issue of England's forthcoming autumn tour of
Zimbabwe is discussed.
There are strong sporting and moral arguments
for England to tour Zimbabwe. Failure to do so would deprive the impecunious
Zimbabwe Cricket Union of valuable television and sponsorship revenue,
perhaps condemning the multiracial game there to inevitable ruin. By
fulfilling the fixtures, England would avoid a heavy fine and a financially
crippling international ban. A cricket tour would allow British journalists
back into a country from which the BBC is banned and independent reporters
such as The Observer's Andrew Meldrum have been exiled, maybe refocusing
attention on the full extent of Robert Mugabe's brutal tyranny. This has seen
the destruction of the independence of the media and judiciary, political
opponents tortured and murdered, the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change crushed and the people driven to poverty and starvation.
the sacking of captain Heath Streak, who was unhappy at the politicisation of
the Zimbabwe Cricket Union, the resignation, in support of their captain, of
14 white players, and persistent interference from Zanu officials in the
running of the game mean that cricket in Zimbabwe has also begun to
disintegrate. Money from tours is no longer reinvested in cricket but used
for the personal benefit of a corrupt political elite. The anti-white racism
now being directed at Zimbabwe's players by the ZCU, which Olonga vividly
outlines in our Sport section today, is as repugnant as apartheid.
such circumstances, and with the International Cricket Council refusing to
intervene, the England and Wales Cricket Board must take a lead and cancel
England's tour of Zimbabwe. And they must do so solely on moral grounds.
More controversy in Zengeza murder case By Valentine
THE controversy surrounding the death of Francis Chinozvina - an
MDC activist shot in the chest three weeks ago during the recent Zengeza
by election - deepened last week amid revelations that his family was
kicked out of a Harare courtroom where the man charged with murdering him
Francis's relatives, including his father and two
siblings, were ordered out of Court Six at the Harare Magistrates' Court on
the basis that they were not related to the accused, an Acturus man
identified as Ernest Matsotso.
Matsotso is accused of shooting to
death 22-year-old Francis Chinozvina during the Zengeza by-election. He
appeared in the packed courtroom at around 2:30 PM on Tuesday and everyone
who was in court - except Matsotso's relatives - were ordered out by an
A bitter Arthur Chinozvina, the father of the slain MDC
supporter, said he had arrived at the Harare Magistrates' Court along with
Francis's young brother and sister early on Tuesday for proceedings to
"We arrived at Rotten Row Courts and waited in court for more than
six hours but to our surprise we were told to get out without hearing
anything," said Chinozvina.
He said as everyone went out of court he
remained seated on the basis that it was his son who was allegedly killed by
the accused, but the court orderly was uncompromising.
"He asked us
one by one how we were related to the accused. I tried to argue with him that
I was no ordinary relative of Francis but his real father. He wouldn't hear
any of that," said Chinozvina.
"Why are they now keeping trying to keep
this trial a secret? I just want to know who killed my son," said
Matsotso was arrested by police two weeks ago amid
controversy over who actually shot and killed the MDC youth who was at the
house of the party's losing candidate for Zengeza, James
Matsotso is being charged with murder, attempted murder and
contravening the Firearms Act. He first appeared before Magistrate Peter
Matsanhure, for an initial remand which Chinozvina and many other people were
allowed to witness.
Sources who were in court however later told The
Standard that Matsotso on Tuesday disowned his initial statement that he made
to the police admitting involvement in the shooting.
the court that he had made that statement under duress and also before he had
consulted his lawyer. He said he fired into the air and is not sure if he
shot anyone in the process," said a source.
Chinozvina said the move by
the court official to chase them away from Matsotso's trial had made the
family more suspicious about how Francis died.
"Justice is not being done
by arresting only one suspect because we know two different guns were fired
from the car and how are they going to fully investigate the case with only
one suspect," he said.
Chinozvina told The Standard that soon after
Francis was killed some police officers from St Mary's Police Station - led
by an Inspector Mbedzi - assured him that it would not be long before the
perpetrator was brought to book.
"They told me that they had taken
some statements from five witnesses who were present at the scene of the
shooting. They told me it was going to be very easy to find my son's killer,"
He said following the shooting, his family now lived in
fear and no longer felt free to venture outside their home.
just changed after my son was shot and killed. There is the feeling that any
one of us can be attacked anytime just like what they did to my son," he
Gift Chimanikire, MDC's deputy secretary general, said the
opposition party had now taken some of the witnesses who signed affidavits to
a safe house as precautionary measure and for their safety. "We took them to
safe houses after they were threatened with death by some unidentified
people," Chimanikire told The Standard yesterday.
He said Makore had
also filled a petition in court challenging the results of the Zengeza
by-election won by Zanu PF's Christopher Chigumba.
Harare ratepayers slam Mudzuri dismissal By Caiphas
CIVIL society, mayors, Harare ratepayers and opposition
political parties yesterday expressed outrage over President Robert Mugabe's
dismissal last Friday of Executive Mayor of Harare, Engineer Elias Mudzuri,
whom they said was democratically elected by city residents.
the dismissal of Mudzuri, who had been on suspension since April 29 last year
on allegations of mismanagement and corruption, was a further indication of
the death of democracy in Zimbabwe.
Mudzuri's dismissal letter,
written by the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National
Housing Ignatius Chombo, stated that President Mugabe had directed that the
Mayor vacates office with immediate effect.
The dismissal letter directs
Mudzuri to immediately surrender to acting Harare Mayor Sekesai Makwavarara,
all council properties in his possession as well as vacating the council
mansion in Gunhill within a week.
The first vice-president of the Urban
Councils Association of Zimbabwe and Executive Mayor of Bulawayo, Japhet
Ndabeni-Ncube, expressed shock and dismay over what he said was Mugabe's
disregard of the people's choice.
"It is very sad, it's puzzling. Surely
if Mudzuri had a case to answer it should be spelt out clearly. It is a clear
case of wanting to frustrate the administration of Harare City Council and it
can happen to any mayor," said Ndabeni-Ncube.
The Bulawayo Mayor said
the association would meet to deliberate on Mudzuri's dismissal and to seek
what course of action to take.
Combined Harare Residents' Association
(CHRA) chairman Mike Davies, said the unilateral dismissal of the Harare
Mayor was a clear sign that the Zanu government was totally
He added that the politicisation of council affairs by
Mugabe's government would further ruin the already crumbling administration
of Harare, which Chombo has virtually taken over.
The opposition MDC,
under whose ticket Mudzuri won the mayoral post, said they saw it coming. The
party's deputy secretary-general, Gift Chimanikire, said the allegations
against Mudzuri were trumped up and were meant to save a political
Mudzuri, who spoke of a political hand in his dismissal, said he
would seek both "a political and legal solution" to his dismissal.
said he never got sight of the Jameson Kurasha report, which Chombo said was
the basis of his dismissal.
"Why should I be fired by Mugabe and Chombo
who did not elect me. I was elected by the residents of Harare and I
challenge them to see what they can do about this matter," said Mudzuri. He
said he would contest the mayoral elections if held within the next 90
Msika orders Arda off Kondozi Farm By Nyasha
VICE President Joseph Msika has ordered the Agricultural and
Rural Development Authority (ARDA) off Kondozi Farm in Manicaland where
a long-running dispute over its ownership is simmering, it emerged
Zanu PF supporters with the backing of riot police kicked out
more than 5 000 farm workers and their families from the farm last week.
Kondozi farm produces baby-corn for export.
The raid came a week
after Information Minister Jonathan Moyo threatened "decisive and final
corrective measures on Kondozi" despite a High Court ruling in favour of
Edwin Moyo, who is listed as the owner of the farm.
In an interview with
The Standard, Msika said he had directly ordered that ARDA vacates the
This followed a meeting he held on Thursday with a delegation of
chiefs from Manicaland, who asked him to intervene.
"As the chairman
of the Cabinet Rural Development Committee I am not aware of this latest land
(Kondozi) acquisition, neither is John Nkomo - nor is the acting police
commissioner - only the police there were aware of
"Until we find out whether proper channels were
followed Arda should leave the property," said Msika.
Msika said that
it was inhumane for families to be forced off the farm and dumped with little
regard for their welfare.
Police and soldiers who had invaded the farm
have since left paving way for the return of the workers, according to
Harare dirty water poisonous say experts By Bertha
BROWN coloured and soiled water spurting out of Harare's water
tapes after maintenance works in high-density suburbs, poses a major health
risk to users, experts have warned.
The warning comes in the wake of
increased reports that Harare's western suburbs including Mufakose,
Kambuzuma, New Marimba and Budiriro have been receiving brown and soiled
water sporadically for the past few weeks.
This normally occurs after
council workers repair broken or leaking water pipes in the high-density
suburbs where the underground pipes were laid decades ago by the colonial
Fearing to drink the dirty water, some residents have
resorted to boiling it in an attempt to purify it while the well-to-do turn
to drinking bottled mineral water. Other residents just drink it.
heavy presence of minerals such as iron in ordinary drinking water could be
harmful to consumers in the long run," said Sibekile Mtetwa, a water expert
from the Zimbabwe National Water Supply (ZINWA).
"It is therefore
advisable on the part of the city council to resort to using polyvinyl
chloride (PVC) pipes that have plastic material or concrete pipes to avoid
rusting," she said.
"The continued use of old iron pipes by the city
council is one of the reasons why water gets discoloured. As iron pipes grow
old they begin to rust and corrode so that when water is discharged into the
homes it takes along with it the corrosion particles," Mtetwa said.
is this change in the colour of water that experts say is a clear sign that
the life giving liquid is contaminated.
Another expert who could not be
identified said people who drank this kind of water were at risk of
contracting diseases such as arthritis, cancer and diabetes. They could also
suffer from impotence or heart related problems, said the
Complaints about impurities found in Harare's water have been
raised before but the government has maintained that the city's tap water
meets the standards set up by the World Health Organisation in
However, separate tests done by a Harare mineral manufacturer, Aqua
Crystal in February, showed otherwise.
Using a simple electro-magnetic
test, the company showed that tap water contains large mineral deposits that
posed serious health complications to tap water users in the long
Harare City Council public relations manager, Lesley Gwindi, said
the authority had not received such reports and would start looking into
Former Harare mayor Elias Mudzuri, an engineer, said the
discoloured water could also show that the city's water reservoirs supplying
water to the affected suburbs were no longer being kept clean.
said the solution to this problem lies in the replacement of iron pipes with
Mudzuri was sacked on Friday by the Minister of Local
Government, Public Works and National Housing, Ignatius Chombo, for alleged
corruption and mismanagement of cou-ncil affairs.
Fresh farm invasions to keep land issue alive By Caiphas
WHILE government says its land reform programme has been
successfully completed, fresh farm seizures and confiscation of farm
equipment from the few remaining white commercial farmers continue unabetted
in what analysts see as an election subterfuge to keep the emotive land issue
alive until next year's general elections.
Mired in controversy over
multiple farm ownership and other improprieties exposed in a government
inquiry led by former secretary to the Cabinet, Charles Utete, analysts say
the land redistribution drive has taken a dive and Zanu PF is keen on
"firing-up" the campaign in its quest to ensnare gullible voters ahead of the
crucial 2005 plebiscite.
But they were quick to warn that the move is
likely to frustrate efforts by newly appointed governor of the Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe, Gideon Gono to win back the confidence of international
investors in the country's economic policies.
In complete defiance of
a provisional High Court order granted by Justice Karwi in February, the army
and riot police last week sealed off Charleswood Estate, owned by opposition
MDC legislator Roy Bennett.
On the same day, scores of heavily armed riot
police, the army and members of the dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation
(CIO) allegedly brutalised and evicted farm workers from Kondozi Farm in
Both are productive and export their produce, bringing in the
much-needed foreign currency.
As if to demonstrate its renewed vigour
in expropriating more land, the government last week announced that it would
acquire at least 49 sugar cane estates in the Lowveld. The estates are part
of Hippo Valley Estates, Zimbabwe's largest sugar producer.
latest farm seizures are a blow to government's own efforts to resuscitate
the economy and efforts to regain international confidence which we
desperately need," said a University of Zimbabwe political scientist.
sentiments were echoed by Transparency International Zimbabwe (TIZ) chairman,
John Makumbe, a known critic of Mugabe's administration.
He said the
current seizures by Zanu PF are meant to sustain the land exercise into 2005
as part of electioneering but the timing could work against the country's
economic revival efforts.
"Zanu PF's timing is unbelievable and worrying,
Gono is trying to woo the IMF and World Bank but on the other hand the
government is shooting itself in the foot for the sake of winning an
election," said Makumbe, also a University of Zimbabwe political
Gono last month publicly pleaded with the international
community, including the IMF and the World Bank - which Mugabe at one time
said Zimbabwe could do without - insisting that the country needed foreign
assistance to revive its collapsing economy.
Lovemore Madhuku, another
University of Zimbabwe law lecturer, said Mugabe wants to keep the land issue
"as a permanent item on his agenda" until next year and would use it as an
"excuse" to perpetrate human rights abuses to consolidate his
"If he (Mugabe) stops the land grab there will be no justification
or excuse for human rights abuses, especially against white farmers accused
of supporting the opposition MDC," said the lecturer. He added that
the on-going land seizures were "a mopping up exercise" after Zanu PF
realised there were some white farmers, who had set up blacks as fronts in an
effort to keep their properties.
Another analyst said: "The attempt to
politicise the land redistribution process at this juncture is total
misreading of where we are as Zimbabwe by Zanu PF. We are tired of the black
and white rhetoric which is being peddled everyday."
renewed farm seizures could work against Mugabe's election plans, as more
people - even within Zanu PF circles - are sympathetic with the evicted farm
workers, many of whom know no other home away from the farms.
case of Kondozi Farm and Charleswood, workers were brutalised by riot police,
evicted from the properties and dumped on the roadside.
workers are not happy with the way the issue of land has been handled because
most of them have not benefited. Apart from that they are being brutalised by
the police and thrown out of their homes. It's a constituency Mugabe is
losing," said an official with a local non-governmental organisation that
deals with farm workers.
Commenting on the eviction of workers from
Kondozi and Charleswood Farms, University of Zimbabwe political commentator
Heneri Dzinotyiwei said matters concerning harmless civilians should be dealt
with by the police and not the army.
He said that under normal
circumstances, the army should only be summoned to deal with riotous or armed
people and not a handful of defenceless farm workers.
every country would want to be cautious when dealing with incidents of this
nature because it would be dangerous to create the impression to the
international community that we are using the army for duties that the police
can handle," said Dzinotyiwei.
Mugabe's critics say while his continued
land and equipment grab may may help him gain political mileage, it is most
certainly going to worsen the country's food situation. Zimbabwe, already in
the throes of a serious food shortage, will be forced to import huge
qualities of food this year despite the relatively good rains
definitely run out of food because the government has seized land and
agricultural equipment but it can not seize expertise. We will import food
for the foreseeable future,"said Makumbe.
BULAWAYO - Students at the Great Zimbabwe University
in Masvingo on Friday went on rampage destroying property worth millions of
dollars in protest against new tuition fees announced by the university's
authorities for the current semester.
The students, irked by the
sudden increase of fees this year from $450 000 to $2,5 million per semester,
destroyed two vehicles belonging to the university and other unspecified
GZU students' union president, Promise Mkhwananzi,
said the disturbances happened while he was out of Masvingo.
Apart from a critical shortage of qualified teaching staff, learning centres
for the university are scattered all over Masvingo town, others as far away
as 30 km from Morgenster Mission where the university is located.
Some students attend their lessons at the Chief's Hall close to Mucheke Bus
Terminus in the nearby high-density suburb.
disturbances at the university by students registering their anger over the
administration at the university but at the moment I cannot provide details
as I am out of Masvingo town," said Mkhwananzi.
Meanwhile, the Law
Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) says law students at the beleaguered university are
wasting their time because the degree offered by the GZU does not meet the
minimum requirements and standards to enable them to practice law and
register as legal practitioners in Zimbabwe.
The LSZ said it was
informing other regional bodies to bar graduates of the university from
seeking employment in any of the regional countries.
the Great Zimbabwe Law Degree are not eligible or entitled to be registered
as legal practitioners or to practise law in Zimbabwe unless and until such
time as the stipulated conditions are met," says a letter from LSZ president
- The Mutare City Council says it is losing 52 percent of its treated water
pumped from Pungwe, about 30 kilometres north of the city through leakages
Water taps in Mutare's most densely populated surbub of
Sakubva have been vandalised with some unscrupulous residents who have
erected illegal extensions to their houses using water for
The problem has become so serious that Misheck Kagurabadza, the
city's executive mayor, says losses of treated water have risen to about
$100 million a month.
"Vandalism in Sakubva's OTS (Old Township
Section) is very high. This could be because of poverty. At the moment the
council requires at least $25 million to repair the taps," says the
Vandalised taps are resold to scrap metal merchants and other
house developers in the city where they are in great demand.
problem contributing the water loss, says the mayor, is the existence of old
pipes which burst. frequently "Some of theses pipes have become rusty and
cannot contain the increased pressure owing to the incresasing population,"
he said. The city has an estimated population of 300 000.
the water loss, the council is planning to lay new water pipes from the
Christmas Pass to Nyakamete Industrial area.
BULAWAYO - Forget about the bullet trains that are now the craze
of Europe, Asia and other developed nations. Cash strapped National Railways
of Zimbabwe (NRZ) is turning to ancient steam locomotives in its quest
to maintain services in a country where almost everything is on the brink
Three weeks ago, the NRZ - once the envy of the region -
re-introduced smoke belching steam locos to ply the Bulawayo-Victoria Falls
and Bulawayo-Dabuka routes, citing worsening diesel shortages.
acute is the fuel crisis in Bulawayo, that NRZ officials have decided their
trains are better off chugging along on coal, than to stand idle waiting for
diesel supplies that never seem to get delivered.
NRZ public relations
manager, Fanuel Masikati, said the parastatal introduced the steam trains to
ferry commuters to and from work places because they cannot get diesel to
move other coaches.
"It is true that the steam engine locomotives are
used to boost our capacity in place of diesel locomotives since we at times
encounter diesel shortage.
"We also use the steam engine locomotives to
ferry passengers including foreign tourists from Bulawayo to Victoria Falls
because they like it.
journalist turned politician, Zanu PF legislator for Makonde, Kindness
Paradza, has blasted President Robert Mugabe's restrictive media laws saying
they discourage potential investment in the business by both local and
Making his maiden speech in Parliament recently,
Paradza singled out the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA) and the notorious
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) as laws that must
be revisited because they discourage investment in the
"Fine-tune yes, because a careful perusal and examination of
these laws shows there is no other commercial sector in Zimbabwe that is
required to adhere to such stringent conditions," he said.
UP until this country's fourth general elections in 1995,
the ruling Zanu PF party enjoyed not only wide support from Zimbabweans of
all races, colour and creed but equally wide respect and goodwill from the
international community. It was indeed, the country's golden age.
country was doing well. Businesses and families could plan. And people could
afford three meals a day. Goods and services were generally affordable.
Parents managed without too much stress to adhere to certain basic values
such as doing what's best for their children. Agriculture was thriving. Other
sectors such as manufacturing, mining and tourism were in good
On the political front, reconciliation was a remarkable policy
that sought to built new bonds of friendship between former enemies emerging
from a bitter war. Yes, the Matabeleland troubles were an unfortunate blemish
in the history of post-independent Zimbabwe but a common thread was emerging
of a people determined to live together in peace and harmony. Zanu PF
felt comfortable after each and every general election before the year
Come 2000 after the resounding 'No' vote in the Constitutional
Referendum, all hell broke loose. The realisation on the part of Zanu PF that
power was slipping from its grasp completely changed the political landscape.
This was made worse by the emergence of a strong opposition party riding on
the wave of growing disenchantment with the ruling party during the same
period. The rest, as they say is now history.
Zimbabwe is now reaping
a bitter and tragic harvest - why? With the benefit of hindsight, Zimbabweans
must now see their folly. Indeed, as the old adage goes, 'power corrupts and
absolute power corrupts absolutely."
For twenty years, the Zimbabwean
electorate returned the ruling party to power with a massive majority and
this, we believe, has created an unhealthy belief within the Zanu PF
leadership and rank and file that power belongs to them alone. That, sadly,
marked the death of conventional democracy in Zimbabwe to be replaced by one
which is by the ruling party and for the ruling party.
We say all this
in the hope and belief that our neighbour, South Africa, can draw the
necessary lessons for the future from Zimbabwe's experience. It is a tragic
indictment of our generation that many African governments emerging from
colonial rule have gone on to repeat the mistakes of their peers
who, intoxicated with their newly found power, went on to establish
ruthless dictatorships in order to keep themselves in power.
Thabo Mbeki's African National Council has just won a landslide victory,
garnering almost 70 percent of the vote in the third democratic elections
since the end of apartheid. We pray that the ANC, secure in the knowledge of
its widespread support, does not become intoxicated with power in the way
Zanu PF did in Zimbabwe. It would be a sad day for South Africa if the ANC,
bolstered by its landslide victory, becomes arrogant and insensitive to the
wishes of the vast majority that voted it into power.
The ANC's victory
gives it a a fresh mandate to work towards bringing together all South
Africans regardless of race, tribe or religion in a national effort to
consolidate the country's economic might and democratic principles.
terms of organisation, transparency and fairness, the just-ended
South African elections have been a shining example. There is an
independent Electoral Commission in that country, a proposal that has been
stiffly resisted by Zanu PF in Zimbabwe where the Electoral Supervisory
Commission (ESC) is an arm of the ruling party.
While last week's
South African elections were characterised by peace and tranquillity, in
Zimbabwe violence and state brutality remain the norm during its elections.
Little wonder that western observer delegations were conspicuous by their
silence during the just ended elections.
Interestingly, in the previous
South African elections in 1994 and 1999, African observers were clearly
outnumbered by delegations from the developed world because of the intense
interest in this emerging democracy from the wider international
The important lesson for Zimbabwe is that where the tradition
of democracy and general freedoms have taken firm root, there is never any
quarrel with observer groups be they from the United Nations, the European
Union, the Commonwealth, Sadc or the African Union (AU).
saluting the South Africans for holding what were largely free and fair
elections, we must caution our brothers and sisters against the danger of
unwittingly establishing a one-party state by voting en masse for the African
National Council. Our own experience teaches us that this is not healthy for
democracy. Humility in victory has its limits.
The death of opposition
parties is the beginning of dictatorship and totalitarianism. The only way to
build and strengthen the democratic process is to have a balanced parliament
and for political parties to feel that they can go in and out of power
without rancour and hostility among them.
While counting their blessings
and revelling in their independence, South Africans must learn from the
tragedy of Zimbabwe and avoid the latter's pitfalls like bubonic plague.
Like everything else, its not just cricket overthetop By
IN what has become a traditional, annual event, troubled
central Africans find themselves bickering over cricket. The country's
troubled cricket board thinksS or perhaps it doesn't.
Never mind. The
point is that the troubled central African cricket board says people opposed
to international matches are puppets of the imperialist west. And people
opposed to international matches think the troubled cricket board is a puppet
of the ruling Zany Party.
Meanwhile Over The Top thinks cricket would
be a great deal more fun if it was a bloody sport - which it soon could be,
if the bickering moves up a notch or two.
Still, the point is simple
enough. The troubled African banana republic is not a democracy. It isn't
even a benign autocracy. Instead, it is a country where the opposition is
beaten over the head with implements even more robust than cricket bats. And
not just the opposition, but anyone in slight disagreement with official
policies like theft, rape, murder, arson and torture could find themselves
before a Zany judge - after being beaten, of course.
Now, when that
sort of thing was a matter of daily life down south, in the days when almost
white people governed the confused southern African nation, there was a
boycott of international sport. It was a boycott that met the approval of the
troubled central African basket case.
But now it appears that the Zany
Party enforced that sports boycott, not out of ideological concerns or
because it felt deeply about human rights, but because it knew it would lose
on the playing field.
There can be no other explanation. Not only that,
but there is a new and curious belief in Zany circles. The belief, being
rigidly employed by the fawning cricket board, is that only supporters of the
Zany Party should represent the troubled central African nation on the
No one has pointed out that, given the Zany Party's
dwindling number of supporters, it may soon be difficult to raise a netball
The troubled central African banana republic may soon be reduced to
playing darts in the annual Bujumbura darts festival, because fielding a
cricket team made up of Zany supporters could prove impossible.
course, the troubled cricket board could suborn the green clad Dzaku-dzaku to
play for them but this would give the umpires a pretty tough time. While they
may know how to hold a cricket bat, most would, given their training, assume
it was designed to beat the opposing team to death.
SoS OTT decided to
call a poll and the results showed that the overwhelming majority of troubled
central Africans believed no cricket should take place unless it was
supervised by international monitors. This was overwhelmingly rejected by the
Zany sports minister who said there was nothing the British could teach him
However, if the international monitors were selected from
Libya, North Korea and Cuba he was prepared to talk.
Africans pointed out that cricket is not played in those countries - and nor
are elections or any recognisable forms of democracy. The Zany sports
minister said that sport and politics should not be mixed, echoing remarks
made by officials in a previously troubled central African government
overthrown by the current troubled central African government.
one unnamed analyst said that if the troubled central African police state
couldn't play fair, then it shouldn't be allowed to play at all - whether it
was at a cricket match or on the hustings.
This suggestion was also
rejected by the Zany sports minister who said, "I want to know that analyst's
name because he has committed an offence under Zany law for which the
punishment is a weekend in police cells, death or both."
Fresh land grab rattles Agri stocks marketmovers with
A WAVE of fresh land seizures last week sent agro-based
counters reeling, as the absence of any new leads kept the broader market
drifting rudderless. The government announced it had placed 47 sugar estates
on a list of properties it intends to forcibly acquire for resettlement under
its controversial land reforms.
The sugar plantations are in addition
to 133 farms already named in an extraordinary Government Gazette released
early last week. Sixty-six more properties were published
Sugar producer Hippo - whose properties are targeted in the
new acquisitions - fell $20 lower to $130 Tuesday and sank another
$20 Wednesday. The counter suffered early losses on Thursday, and looked to
be heading for another bad finish.
Zanu PF bigwigs recently ordered
Hippo to pay resettled farmers who delivered cane to the company last year,
escalating a long running dispute that has been taken by the firm to the High
On Tuesday, the government began operating Kondozi Farm in Odzi,
one of the country's largest horticulture exporters, after pushing the
previous owners off the land.
New TZI owner Edwin Moyo had been one of
the lead sponsors of the estate, which has Export Processing Zone status and
is a major supplier of baby corn to European markets.
the news was likely to hit agro-based counters most, as government's action
was seen as a turn-about from earlier pledges not to expropriate land held by
commercial groups. There are fears of a sudden slide in export revenue into
an already hard-up economy.
"It will be the agriculture issues that will
suffer most from the news. People have begun to ask whether this will stop
only at Hippo. Will others like Interfresh or Tanganda also suffer?" a fund
manager asked, predicting the reports would add to the dour sentiment on the
The new seizures also seem to run contrary to proclamations
from government officials last year that the land reform exercise had
Ariston was steady on Wednesday after the agro-processor said it
had seen a better than expected first quarter, forecasting half year profits
to come in higher than the comparative period last year.
Ariston's admission that the second quarter had already been weighed down by
forex shortages, and that the firm had stalled capital expenditure, is likely
to throw a damper over its upbeat report.
The market waited for the
latest inflation data, but the Central Statistical Office was yet to release
the figures by late last week.
The market began a holiday shortened week
in soft tones on Tuesday, sliding 1,01% in subdued trading to 344 683,91
It then edged even lower through midweek, losing a fractional
0,007% to 344 447,90 points on losses in Meikles and Hippo
Rates on the money market firmed on deepening deficits, adding
further downward pressure on stocks.
Century was quiet Wednesday at
$10 as the market waited for new detail on long rumoured merger talks with
CFX Merchant Bank.
This was amid emerging details regarding Century's
sale of failed Century Discount House last year, which suggest impropriety on
the part of the bank.
There have also been growing demands that Century
be held responsible for up to $42 billion owed to creditors by CDH. If
creditors get their way, the CFX deal - upon which Century stock has built
some recovery- might very well hit the skids.
Trust was reported
racing ahead at first call Thursday as the market cheered confirmation from
the bank that it had signed an MOU with Old Mutual and South African
financial institution Nedbank.
Uhuru Day shrouded in doom and gloom By Caiphas
ZIMBABWE marks 24 years of Independence today, steeped in its
worst economic and political crisis since taking power from former colonial
authority - Britain - and facing unprecedented international isolation over
President Robert Mugabe's unyielding anti-West rhetoric.
government intensifies its efforts to pulverise any opposition to its rule by
branding the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) a puppet of the West, and
attributing mounting economic problems to sanctions by the United States and
the EU as punishment for the country's land reforms, many ordinary
Zimbabweans will commemorate independence in the grip of the worst poverty
since the end of the liberation war.
But, as if to anaethetise
Zimbabweans against their suffering, the government, through its Department
of Information and Publicity, has mounted a lavish entertainment programme
including an all-night independence gala in the remote dust-swept Hwange coal
mining town in Matabeleland north province.
Elsewhere throughout the
country, celebratory parties are being held climaxing in the Independence Cup
soccer tournament at the National Sports Stadium in Harare.
critics of Mugabe's beleaguered regime are unimpressed by these efforts to
gloss over serious shortcomings on the country's democratic and
economic balance sheet.
"Zimbabweans will definitely commemorate
independence against a backdrop of repression and abject poverty as Mugabe
tightens his grip on power," observed Brian Kagoro, chairman of Crisis
Coalition Zimbabwe, an organisation that fights for democracy and human
To many, Kagoro's statement summarises Zimbabwe's sociopolitical
and economic metamorphosis since 1980 when Mugabe, then hailed as
an international statesman, assumed power.
Endowed with a rich natural
resources base and intellectual capacity founded on one of the best education
systems on the continent, many say the only explanation why Zimbabwe
continues to sink deeper into poverty as a nation is because of Mugabe's
myopic economic policies and complete disregard of basic human
Presently, the country's inflation rate stands at 600 percent.
There is a crippling scarcity of fuel and foreign currency while ordinary
people can no longer afford the prices of basic commodities including
"People should just observe April 18 because it is historic
occasion but not celebrate. How can we celebrate under a climate of economic
misery and political fear," said Collin Gwiyo, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions' Secretary General.
Gone are the days when the Independence Day
was celebrated with pomp and fanfare throughout the country. In it's place
today is the sobering reality of debilitating poverty and political
"We used to slaughter two or three beasts in our ward to
celebrate independence in the 1980s, but 24 years down the line the whole
province now shares one cow, that is if we can even afford it. This is a
clear indication of the poverty that now afflicts the nation," commented
Gerald Marova of Warren Park.
But while Zimbabweans lament the passing
of the good old days when independence celebrations meant plenty to eat and
drink and listening to presidential speeches that extolled virtues unity and
peace in the country, Zimbabwe's political pendulum has swung to the other
extreme end where leaders are now pre-occupied with preaching hatred against
the opposition and perceived enemies while the country's economy continues on
a downward spiral.
Back then Zimbabwe was a role model nation, making
great strides in the sectors of education, health and provision of social
amenities and Mugabe, was feted as 'man of the people'. By 1987 secondary
education enrollments had risen eight-fold and at least three-quarters of all
children had access to secondary education.
But while Mugabe insists
the current economic problems are a result of sanctions by Western enemies
opposed to the country's land reform programme, critics point to imprudent
fiscal policies and massive corruption in government and quasi-State
companies for the collapse of the country's economic base, virtually erasing
all the gains that had been achieved.
Today, 24 years into independence,
Zimbabweans are in a state of hopelessness. Over 70 percent of the country's
population now lives well below the poverty line with more and people falling
into this bracket every day as the economy continues to shrink with the
consequent rise in unemployment.
Mugabe's critics say the level of
poverty is a reflection of the stark reality that the President has abdicated
his responsibility to govern, a contention heavily contested through the
State media propaganda which paints the beleaguered Zimbabwean leader as a
victim of a Western conspiracy bent on a regime change.
now ranked among the worst performing economies in the world, with inflation
of over 600 percent and less than 8 percent of its 13 million people in
formal employment. While the school system still churns out about 300 000
school leavers each year, that rate of job creation has continued to decline
as more companies close down.
Zimbabwe's economy nose-dived precipitously
in 2000, when Mugabe's supporters and war veterans invaded white-owned
commercial farms under the pretext of righting past land ownership
imbalances. This sounded the death knell for the country's
Currently, agriculture's contribution to the national
economy is less than half of what it was in the 1990s. Government claims that
more than 300 000 have benefited from the land reform programme have also
been disputed in a government commissioned inquiry led by former secretary to
the Cabinet, Charles Utete.
An independent economic analyst,
describing Mugabe's rule after 1990's said: "It has all been a systematic
transfer of wealth to himself and his cronies. A few people have become
fabulously rich overnight without having to work for it and this with
President's Mugabe's blessing."
But while the economic cake has shrunk to
a size which only those close to the ruling clique can share, civic society
accuses Mugabe of further diminishing the democratic space through a surfeit
of repressive laws and the use of a brutal police against alternative voices
to protect and prolong his rule.
They cite "heinous" laws which
include the Access to Information, Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA) and the
Public Order and Security Act (Posa) which they say have no room in a modern
Over the past four years, scores of MDC supporters have
been murdered during elections allegedly by members of the ruling party, but
in most instances, no arrests have been made even where the assailants are
That apart, most of the 38 electoral challenges lodged by the MDC,
after the contentious 2000 polls adjudged by international observers as not
being free and fair, are still in the courts less than 12 months before the
next general election scheduled for March next year.
The MDC leader,
Morgan Tsvangirai's challenge of Mugabe's electoral victory in 2002 is also
still pending in the courts amid growing fears that the country will hold
another presidential poll before the matter is finalised.
"This could be
a case of justice delayed being justice denied," commented one legal expert
who declined to be named.
He noted that the judiciary which should be the
custodian of justice in the country appears to have reneged on its mandate.
He went further to accuse the judiciary of giving up its constitutional duty
of upholding the law to become an extension to the executive.
say some analysts, has been precipitated partly by the fact that judges and
magistrates whose judgments were viewed as politically incorrect were
routinely put under pressure to leave the bench or were
It is under this climate of fear, uncertainty
and hopelessness that Zimbabweans are "celebrating" the country's
independence this year.
But a former director at the Zanu PF headquaters
in Harare, Arthur Chadzingwa, says despite the political repression and
economic problems Zimbabweans are facing, commemorating the country's
Independence Day is a national obligation.
"We should always celebrate
despite the ups and downs. It is historic. It is our birthday as a nation,"
The deposed mayor of Harare, Elias Mudzuri, said last night
that he had been tipped off "by a very reliable source", that the government
intended to arrest him. "I have done nothing wrong, but just as with my
dismissal which was illegal and groundless, being innocent is no longer any
protection in this country," he said. Mudzuri, who has been given seven days
to vacate the guest cottage in the grounds of the mayoral mansion in the
Harare suburb of Gun Hill, said he had no where to go. "My own house in
Milton Park where I was living before I became mayor is now rented out and I
cannot remove the tenants at short notice," he said. "But now I have been
told that the state is not even willing to wait the seven days. They want me
out of the cottage now and I have good reason to believe that they will mount
a raid here anytime now under cover of a search warrant. Their usual tactic
is to plant something during the search and then carry out an arrest. If I am
taken to jail, I really fear for my safety." Mudzuri said that, in the event
of his arrest, he hoped that all those cared about freedom in Zimbabwe
would campaign for his immediate release. "If I am arrested, I also hope that
all regional leaders will also raise their voices in protest," he said.
"There is no law here any more, but they do still sometimes react to
Harare - President
Robert Mugabe has marked the country's 24th anniversary of independence with
a grim refusal to acknowledge any change in political direction toward
relieving the economic and humanitarian disaster enveloping the
once-prosperous nation. Instead, he delivered a call to arms to Zimbabweans
to reject the Western world that he said was waging a "bloodthirsty"
onslaught to "recolonise" the country and suggested that traditional medicine
could be used to deal with the crisis. "Zimbabwe will never be a colony
again, never, never, never," he said during his 30-minute speech before a
near-capacity crowd in the 60 000-seat national sports stadium on the
capital's outskirts. "We will not compromise our principles of freedom and
national sovereignty, no matter who gets upset," he said in an address that
was interspersed with derogatory references to British prime minister Tony
Blair and American president George Bush.
address came as the country entered a quarter century under his rule with the
country devastated by economic collapse, subjected to
international isolation, with half its 12 million population starving, and in
the grip of violent political repression meant to crush his opponents and to
ensure he stays in power. He attempted to put a positive spin on the
crisis, asserting that inflation - running at over 600% - was "slowly
beginning to decline," and read out a long list of promises to improve
conditions, from housing to health care. He declared that "affordable
anti-retroviral drugs (for HIV-AIDS sufferers) are now available in our
hospitals," contradicting a report in the state-controlled Sunday Mail which
quoted health ministry officials and AIDS activists as saying that the drugs
for the widely publicised campaign "have not even arrived yet." Yet, when
he diverted from his written speech and spoke off-the-cuff in the vernacular,
Shona, he indicated some acknowledgement of the national crisis, including
the exodus of an officially estimated 3.5 million, mostly to South Africa and
Britain. "Some of our people are running away to wash the bodies of elderly
people in England," he said, referring to the large numbers of Zimbabweans
there who work as carers for the elderly. "Yet we are giving farms to people
here. What are you running away for?" "Zimbabwe's problems can only be
solved by Zimbabweans, not by foreigners," he said. "We have got medicine to
sort out our problems, we have got traditional healers." Mugabe rejected
outside intervention by organisations like the United Nations, declaring that
"we will never allow our membership of these organisations to be used against
Harare - The Commonwealth is an "evil" organisation and
Zimbabwe will never return to it, President Robert Mugabe told cheering
supporters on Sunday.
Mugabe took Zimbabwe out of the group of 54 mostly
ex-British colonies after they decided to extend a suspension of the southern
African nation's membership during a December summit in Nigeria.
membership to... organisations outside our continent and to the
United Nations, is strictly on principles of equality and mutual respect. We
will never allow our membership of these organisations to be used against
the interest of our people," Mugabe said in an address broadcast
Commonwealth nations extended Zimbabwe's suspension after
Mugabe - who has been president since Zimbabwe's independence in 1980 - won a
fresh term in disputed 2002 elections, which Western countries and Mugabe's
opposition have said were rigged.
"This is why we opted out of the
Commonwealth. We shall never go back to this evil organisation," Mugabe said
to cheers from thousands gathered at a sports stadium in the capital to mark
the 24th anniversary of independence from Britain.
suspension dominated the December summit and caused a rift along racial lines
in the Commonwealth, with several African countries including South Africa
lobbying for its re-admission.
Mugabe, 80, who led a 1970's guerrilla war
against white minority rule denies critics' charges that his misrule has
brought a once-thriving economy to its knees.
He asserts that his
opponents, led by Britain, have sabotaged the country to pay him back for
seizing land from white farmers to give to landless blacks.
Black players could join Zimbabwe 13's series
Sun April 18, 2004 6:06 PM DURBAN (Reuters) - Up to
three prominent black players could join the rebellion by 13 white players
against the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU), one of the rebels told Reuters on
Sunday. The 13 rebels have refused to play in the home series against
Sri Lanka, which starts with the first of five one-day internationals
in Bulawayo on Tuesday.
The players want Heath Streak reinstated
as captain, changes to the selection panel, and an acknowledgment by the ZCU
of transgressions they say have been committed by board
One of the rebels, who spoke on condition of anonymity,
said the black players supported their stand but were cautious about voicing
their support publicly.
"They understand the future is not very
bright if all of us should leave," he told Reuters from Zimbabwe on
"They think we've done the right thing and they are keen to
join us but they are coming from a different perspective."
players and the ZCU issued writs against each other on Friday, with each side
claiming "breach of contract" against the other.
The parties have
21 days to remedy the alleged breaches, failing which the matter will go to
The rebel players say that the selectors have allowed
political and racial considerations to enter their choices. The ZCU said
Heath and the other 12 were asking for too much influence in the way the team
The row means that a severely under-strength Zimbabwe
side, already one of the weakest test-playing nations, will take on Sri Lanka
over the forthcoming series.
Both sides on the offensive but defeat for
cricket still the likely outcome
Kevin Mitchell Sunday April 18,
2004 The Observer
Peter Chingoka, a man who knows how to tread a fine
line, will have to be at his diplomatic best when he goes to Lord's on
Tuesday to persuade England to tour Zimbabwe in October. As chairman of
the Zimbabwe Cricket Union (ZCU), Chingoka lent his name last week to claims
that a clandestine group of 'disgruntled hardcore Rhodesians' had been
plotting for two months to destroy the game in his country. It is an
explosive allegation, one with consequences some way north of
Chingoka told the Harare Herald on Friday: 'About eight
weeks ago we gathered from a reliable source that there is a small group of
people that has devised a strategy, in their own words, "to destroy
Zimbabwean cricket this year". The group includes parents with a vicarious
interest on behalf of their sons who are contracted or are future
When he sits down with the England and Wales Cricket Board,
Chingoka will try to hold them to the promise made a year ago by their
chairman, David Morgan, that England would fulfil their tour commitment,
despite their having boycotted Zimbabwe during the World Cup. Even with his
hardline ZCU aide Ozias Bvute by his side, he could find it a hard argument
The 'sons of the plotters', as Chingoka would see them, have been
sacked - 15 in all after the defection of a further two white players
yesterday added to the 13 headed by the former captain, Heath Streak. They
have been replaced by what a father of one of the rebels described as 'a
bunch of schoolboys'. Starting with a one-day game in Bulawayo on Tuesday,
they play Sri Lanka this month and then, in what could be a nightmare
experience, Australia next month. If England do tour in October, they will
almost certainly be facing a demoralised shell of a side.
14-man squad contains perhaps four with genuine claims for international
selection. Seven are uncapped. Brendan Taylor, 18, and Edward Rainsford, 19,
are white. Eleven are black, and there is one player of Indian
Morgan was taken aback yesterday when informed of Chingoka's
claims of a 'Rhodesian plot'. He said: 'I was talking with Peter on Friday,
and he did not mention this to me. This is the first I've heard of it. Yes,
they are very serious allegations.'
Morgan would not be drawn on
whether Chingoka's comments would colour their discussions, but it is
inconceivable the matter will not be raised. It has already inspired a
furious debate in Zimbabwe.
Morgan repeated that only a Government
directive or substantiated concerns about safety could stop the tour. Neither
looks likely. 'I will be interested to hear first-hand from Peter about the
situation there, about the players' alleged withdrawal of their labour. We
could only send an A team if the forecast circumstances continue to prevail.
But the decision on who should tour is up to the ZCU, who issued the original
invitation. We are still hoping for a resolution.'
Cricket Council also vacillate. Ehsan Mani, the ICC president, could only say
that he 'would not seek to intervene in this type of domestic issue'. A
spokesman yesterday refused to comment on Chingoka's latest allegations, but
conceded: 'They do sound serious.' Chingoka also meets the ICC this
While the ECB and the ICC give the impression of remaining
ignorant of the full extent of the 'Streak Uprising' in Zimbabwe, the
temperature has risen markedly there in the past 24 hours.
were mentioned, but it is likely Chingoka was referring to the fathers of
Heath Streak, Trevor Gripper and Stuart Carlisle.
'The allegations are
not true,' Streak said yesterday. 'How can parents of players who derive a
living from cricket destroy the game? What the ZCU is doing is trying to take
the attention away from the allegations we have levelled against them. These
comments will only further divide Zimbabwe cricket.'
theory runs like this: A knot of unreconstructed old colonialists met
secretly in their homes and at the Royal Harare Golf Club over the past two
months, concerned that the game they once considered their own had been
hijacked by the black majority. They encouraged Streak and his white
team-mates to provoke a confrontation by demanding a change in the selection
panel, then to strike and force the ZCU to sack them. This would weaken the
team, demoralise the ZCU, stop the integration of blacks and whites on the
cricket field and persuade visiting teams not to tour, thus robbing the union
of millions in revenue.
As fanciful as it sounds, it is a theory to which
Chingoka has given credence.
At the heart of the matter in this
cash-strapped country is money. In a leak that most likely came from the ZCU,
the Herald claims that Streak, Zimbabwe's only world-class player and who
will soon rejoin Warwickshire, earns nearly £6,000 a month. His earnings this
season are already £35,500. Not bad for the captain of a cricket team
representing an economically ravaged nation, more than 70 per cent of whose
12 million citizens live below the poverty line.
In an editorial on
Friday, the Herald said: 'The opponents of racial integration are not happy
to have such huge salaries earned by the likes of new captain Tatenda Taibu
and they are making every effort to influence major sponsors of the ZCU to
Streak and his rebels, who regard themselves as
integrationists, reject claims that they are acting on behalf of a white
clique. Their concerns, outlined in a six-page document last Wednesday,
address fundamental issues of selection policy and more serious claims of
corruption and intimidation.
The ZCU, which they see as a tool of Robert
Mugabe's regime, were guilty of 'racial and ethnic discrimination in the
selection of the national team'.
They say the ZCU are bending to the
wishes of Zimbabwe's president, who is also their patron, in an unseemly rush
for an all-black team. The players say they are being victimised, black as
well as white, if they do not share the world view of the ruling Zanu-PF
party. They see Mugabe place-men holding power in the ZCU and they want
Dissidents at large in Zimbabwe are punished physically and
financially, cricketing rebels are dropped from the national team, as Henry
Olonga and Andy Flower discovered when they spoke out during the World
For years, Streak and the Zimbabwe coach, the former Australia Test
player Geoff Marsh, denied Mugabe influenced team selections. This has been
exposed as, at best, a white lie, even if they considered it a necessary
expedient to maintain some sort of order. In a country that lost its last
independent newspaper in February, dissent and total candour are exotic
Mehluli Sibanda, a journalist on the Sunday News , told The
Observer yesterday how dissenters are dealt with. Two days after Streak
resigned, Sibanda wrote that the national team were dominated by players
from Takashinga, an all-black cricket club in Harare, and Universals, also
in Harare. Of the previous five selectors, Ali Shah and Macsood Ebrahim
have interests in Universals, while Steven Mangongo is one of the founder
members of the Takashinga.
He said the quota system, instituted in
2001, had benefited mainly players from these clubs.
article came out I have been receiving threatening calls on my mobile from a
ZCU board member and I am convinced that he is making these threats on behalf
of some people. He threatened me with unspecified action and also threatened
to report me to the Minister of State for Information and Publicity in the
office of the president and cabinet, Jonathan Moyo, that I am siding with a
While the ICC and the ECB protest they are powerless to act
on moral or political grounds, even against a backdrop of intimidation,
football's governing body has had no such reluctance in similar
Since 2001, Fifa have suspended six of their 200-plus member
national associations for political interference by the governments. They
are Azerbaijan (where England play a 2006 World Cup qualifier this
October), Guatemala, Guinea, Greece, Nepal and Cameroon.
Fifa told The
Observer that the Azerbaijan decision was 'unavoidable due to the repeated
violations of sport's fundamental ethical principles'. Cricket, though,
chooses to live in the past. Concerned that the players were getting above
themselves, Chingoka said last week: 'We simply cannot be dictated to.' When
Olonga and Flower spoke last year about the 'death of democracy', they knew
what they were talking about.
Today is Independence Day in Zimbabwe, an
occasion for celebrating 24 years of rule by Robert Mugabe with a parade
through the streets of Harare. But, as the bands prepare to rouse the people
in praise of their leader, the cheers will be muted and, it is said,
insurrection is in the air. At the Royal Harare Golf Club.
Denis Campbell, sports news
correspondent Sunday April 18, 2004 The Observer
England are likely
to send a seriously weakened team on their controversial cricket tour of
Zimbabwe this autumn rather than pursue a boycott that could bankrupt the
game here. The England and Wales Cricket Board look increasingly likely to
fulfil the fixture in Robert Mugabe's stricken country. If they do, Michael
Vaughan and his team-mates will be given the right to refuse to travel. Many
have indicated they do not want to go, and the treatment of Zimbabwe's
leading white players by their own governing body in recent days will stiffen
the players' resolve.
'A lot of players don't want to go,' said a
source in the England camp. 'The general feeling is that most of them would
exercise their right not to go.'
The Zimbabwe Cricket Union have sacked
all their best white players in a dispute over selection issues, and unless
there is an about-turn the matches are certain to be one-sided - as they will
be when Zimbabwe play Sri Lanka and Australia within the next two months. If
England's top players stay at home the series will be meaningless as a
The ECB face a crucial few weeks before announcing
their decision on whether to tour and invite condemnation from the British
media and public, or snub Zimbabwe and face crippling losses of up to
£50million. Although they are committed to sending their strongest side, the
players' right to opt out could offer them a way out.
contractually obliged to send a full Test team, but you can't force people to
get on the plane, can you?' said an ECB official. 'Given the unique and
extreme nature of the circumstances, it's questionable as to whether the ECB
would compel any England player to tour Zimbabwe.'
Their last hope of
avoiding the trip to Zimbabwe without punishment from cricket's global rulers
- a Government order not to go - is fading. Whitehall sources said Foreign
Secretary Jack Straw and Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell would not signal any
change in Government policy when they meet ECB officials on 4 May. That, and
serious security problems in Zimbabwe, are the only reasons the International
Cricket Council would accept for England cancelling the tour.
ECB's 15-strong ruling management board will demand answers about the chaotic
state of Zimbabwean cricket when they meet the ZCU chairman, Peter Chingoka,
and board member Osias Bvute at Lord's on Tuesday. On the same day, Zimbabwe
face Sri Lanka in a one-day international in Bulawayo with a team comprised
of young, inexperienced, mainly black replacements for the 13 white players
who have been dropped after opposing political interference
CONTROVERSY surrounds the fate of farming equipment worth billions
of dollars that have been stocked at a warehouse in Harare's
Workington Industrial. The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development,
Joseph Made is reported to have visited the place on several occasions alone
ostensibly to inspect the equipment.
Sources at the warehouse said he
would arrive in a white twin cab and have a look at the equipment before
The real purpose of his visits is not known yet. The government
of late disclosed that there were numerous cabinet ministers and high
ranking government officials who were abusing presidential powers by seizing
farming equipment that belonged to white farmers who left their former farms
during the fast track land reform programme. Made however denied knowledge of
the equipment at the warehouse, saying he needed to find out first before
giving a comment.
"I will have to find out, let me check first and you
can call me later," said John Nkomo, the minister in charge of Lands, Land
Reform and Resettlement who confirmed that there was such equipment at the
warehouse He said he was going to use the Presidential Powers (Regulations)
promulgated in December to take the equipment.
"I can confirm that
there is farming equipment at Manica and we are going to mop up all those
items using the Presidential Powers (Regulations) directing the acquisition
of such equipment," said Nkomo.
The farming equipment includes irrigation
and various other farming implements.
An armed member of the Zimbabwe
Republic Police (ZRP), instead of the usual security guards from private
companies, is manning the premises.
A top official at the Warehouse
refused to comment on the issue saying it was too sensitive and that he was
not allowed to talk to members of the press.
Meanwhile there are media
reports that some top civil servants and politicians are acquiring for
themselves farming equipment that was taken from white commercial
A Herald article of April 14 said there were reports that the
statutory instrument that was gazetted last December was about to expire
without any agriculture equipment and machinery having been acquired and
distributed to new farmers.
The equipment includes 140 tractors, 7
combine harvesters, 34 implements, 14 trailers and 3 262 pipes.