The Zanu (PF) government will soon embark on an exercise of dishing out land
to peasants in impoverished communal areas as part of an election campaign,
this paper has established.
The party leadership recently discussed its campaign plans for next year's
presidential and parliamentary elections and came up with the land strategy
to lure the electorate. Sources within the ruling party revealed to The
Zimbabwean this week that minister responsible for land reform, Didymus
Mutasa, would soon announce a new wave of resettlement.
Government has recently revived land seizures from the few remaining white
farmers and the sources said that trend was expected to continue in order to
make farms available for the campaigning exercise. "The land reform
programme is ongoing and what is wrong with government giving land to
peasants, that is the essence of the programme?" Mutasa said.
The ruling party will soon deploy officials to call on people in communal
areas to register for land allocation, and in the process vote for the
ruling party at next year's elections. A group of militant war veterans and
militia will spearhead the programme and informed sources said
demonstrations similar to those carried out in 2000 prior to the
controversial and chaotic land grabs would be staged by the Zanu (PF)
The exercise will also see some beneficiaries of land over previous years
deemed to be underutilizing it losing it and government saying it would
resettle landless peasants.
The continuing arrests, kidnapping and torture of opposition MDC supporters
by the evil Mugabe regime is clear testimony to the fact that Ian Smith's
settler regime was a far better dictator than Robert Mugabe's. Indeed, the
Smith regime did arrest and detain thousands of Zimbabweans merely for
resisting colonialism and settlerism. They beat up detained prisoners at
times, but they still gave them food and medicines.
Some of the prisoners then were even able to read books and to study for all
kinds of educational qualifications, including degrees. That is a far cry
from the manner in which the diabolical Mugabe regime is treating innocent
people, who are being illegally arrested, abducted, detained and tortured
today. Reports that as many as 600 MDC activists have so far been arrested,
kidnapped and tortured this year alone attest to the satanic nature of the
After 27 years in power, Mugabe has become a monster, who takes pleasure in
inflicting pain on innocent victims of his own fear. In the face of the 2008
parliamentary and presidential elections, in which he is going to be a
candidate, Mugabe has unleashed a reign of terror against both his opponents
within Zanu (PF) and those in the MDC.
Unlike Ian Smith, who never used to bomb or kill his own kind, Mugabe has
arrested, detained, beaten up and even killed some of the members of his own
party in order to lay the blame on the MDC.
He has bombed at least one train, a police station and other state
infrastructure in a vain attempt to demonstrate that the MDC has embarked on
an orgy of violence. Fortunately for those of us who are innocent, the
general public, the SADC community and the international players see right
through the dictator's evil machinations; they know the truth.
In light of the activities of the past few weeks perpetrated by the despotic
Mugabe regime, it is necessary for civic organisations and opposition
political parties to carefully identify the specific members of the ZRP, the
army, the CIO and the Green Bombers that are involved in these ugly and evil
activities. Proper records need to be kept for purposes of prosecuting these
individuals in a free Zimbabwe tomorrow.
Indeed, some of the names and other details of the victims of these demons
are currently being published in this paper, but we also need to name and
shame their torturers as far as possible. The people currently engaged in
violation of people's rights must be made aware of what may befall them
should Zimbabwe set itself free from the clutches of the dictator. A day is
coming when justice will be visited upon some of these people in a manner
they will not appreciate. Mugabe will not rule this nation forever.
The evils that the desperate Mugabe regime is committing make the evil
activities of the Smith regime look like a badly organised picnic. It is not
an exaggeration to say the Mugabe regime has perfected torture into an art
form. The regime has become an expert in the infliction of pain and
suffering both physically and mentally.
The stories relating to how some of the MDC supporters were tortured and
harassed by state agents indicate that the agents involved must have been
trained in some of the most diabolical method of physically and mentally
hurting innocent people.
Ian Smith may have done some beating and torture of his victims as well, but
Mugabe exceeds him by thousands of miles. What remains to be seen is whether
a new and democratic Zimbabwe government will allow the perpetrators of
these evil deeds go free, or ensure that the law take its course. I am of
the latter option, of course.
HARARE - The MDC (Tsvangirai) will this weekend hold 12 rallies throughout
the country, the party's secretary-general, Tendai Biti told The Zimbabwean
in a telephone interview.
Four of the rallies would be held in Harare, despite the three-month ban on
rallies imposed by the politically-motivated police. The ban gives the
ruling Zanu (PF)an unfair advantage as Zimbabwe enters the presidential and
general election campaign period.
Biti said his party was not intimidated by the "privatised state violence"
but was deeply concerned about the continued incarceration of key members of
staff and executive members. The Mugabe government had a habit of planting
"evidence" on its opponents in a desperate bid to cripple their campaigns,
"We have walked this path before. We saw what Mugabe did to Joshua Nkomo's
Zapu. He did the same with Ndabaningi Sithole where a defective AK 47 and a
claymore bomb were planted on his farm. They also trapped our leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, and tried him for treason. Now they are trying to pin blame for
their own petrol bombs on our people.
"At the same time, we are acting as a social welfare organisation, arranging
food for the families of our incarcerated people, paying rents and fighting
for the next election" he said.
Biti said Mugabe could not keep Zimbabweans in a permanent state of
unhappiness. "Dictatorship is a short-term aberration," he declared.
As Zimbabwe marks its 27th year of Independence, it is time to take stock
and reflect. When the Union Jack was lowered and the new Zimbabwean flag
went up in Rufaro Stadium at one minute past midnight on April 18, 1980, our
hopes were raised with it. Hopes for a new beginning where all people were
equal in the sight of God and the law.
There was a serious commitment on the part of the new government to bring
about a real improvement in the quality of life for all Zimbabweans. Health,
education, housing and transport were high on the agenda. The judiciary was
independent and respected. The Police went on human rights courses and
appointed community liaison officers in order to work with the people.
Food was plentiful and affordable. There were abundant jobs. One Zimbabwe
dollar bought two US dollars.
All this has been thrown away for the sake of power. Today one US dollar
buys anything from 17,000 to 25,000 Zim dollars.
The rampant abuse of power has led to terror stalking the land. This
state-sponsored terror, now the order of the day, takes the form of
intimidation, abduction, arbitrary arrest, incarceration and torture of
anyone deemed to be political opponents. Extra-judicial killings are now
Government-orchestrated deprivation of food, mass urban evictions and lack
of HIV-AIDS medication makes life a hell on earth for millions of
Zimbabweans at home. Millions in the diaspora suffer too - doing menial jobs
for little pay, with no rights, no security, no family life.
And now the man responsible for this, Robert Mugabe, is seeking election for
a further five years.
The longer he stays in power, the harder it will be for the country to claw
back from the pit of chaos to its former glory as the jewel of Africa, the
breadbasket of SADC.
Most Zimbabweans have come to the conclusion the independence merely means
exchanging oppression by a few rich whites for oppression by a few
As Tendai Biti is quoted as saying elsewhere in this newspaper, most
Zimbabweans are now in a permanent state of unhappiness. And most did not
celebrate on Independence Day. Millions did not even have a square meal.
By Our Correspondent
HARARE - While police and other state agents brutalise civilians, the
state-run media is stoking up hatred of Zanu (PF)'s political opponents and
the West both with vituperative commentaries and giving unquestioning
prominence to vicious outpourings by Robert Mugabe.
The Media Monitoring Project Zimbabwe (MMPZ) said that between March 11 and
April 8 it found 48 stories in the state-run press, radio and TV that
"conveyed threats, incitement, racial bigotry and insults against the
opposition MDC, civic leaders and some Western diplomats."
These included Mugabe actually boasting on ZTV about the internationally
condemned beating up of Morgan Tsvangarai and other opposition figures. He
said he had told SADC leaders that Tsvangarai "was thoroughly beaten up. I
told them that the police beat him. I didn't hide that."
"Although the media are obliged to expose inflammatory language made by
public figures, they are duty bound to condemn it as unacceptable in a
civilised society because it undermines the basic democratic concept of
justice by encouraging hatred, violence, lawlessness and intolerance," MMPZ
said in its report for the week ending April 8.
"The great tragedy of Zimbabwe is that instead of fulfilling this duty, the
official media are actually used to endorse and promote the language of
incitement and intolerance," the monitors added.
Commentators in The Herald followed up Mugabe's hate-filled outbursts with
everything from ridiculing the injured opposition activists and Gift Tandare
who was murdered, through sexually abusive comments about injured women to
pouring bile - including a death threat - on US and British diplomats.
Herald columnist David Samuriwo warned that British diplomat Gillian Dare
could be deported or end up dead, saying it "will be a pity for her family
to welcome her at Heathrow Airport in a body bag just like some of her
colleagues from Iraq and Afghanistan."
The monitors said that in the week under review the private media carried 18
new incidents of serious human rights abuses - continued abductions, torture
and shooting of MDC and civic activists, harassment and beatings of
university students, and the killing of retired journalist Edward Chikomba.
The private media also disputed the regime's claims that all had gone well
for Mugabe at the SADC summit.
Studio 7 quoted analyst Aubrey Matshiqi as saying the choice of SA President
Thabo Mbeki to intervene showed how the region had "hardened its stance on
Zimbabwe." The Financial Gazette quoted Mbeki as saying "The region believes
there are political problems (in Zimbabwe) . and people said quite openly
that they are disturbed to see these pictures of people beaten up."
HARARE - Thousands of children living with their parents on grabbed farms
have no access to basic education, and are victims of sexual abuse and or
forced labour, according to an NGO focusing on families living on commercial
The Farm Community Trust of Zimbabwe, in a report seen by The Zimbabwean,
states that at least 125,000 children living on grabbed farms are not going
to school, while hundreds of others are dropping out.
"Some 210,000 of the estimated 350,000 children attending primary school on
the commercial farms travel a distance of between six and 25km to the
The majority of the farm schools are not registered with the Ministry of
Education, Sport and Culture since they are located on private property.
Most of the teachers are not trained. All farm schools are in dire need of
instructional and learning material.
"No meaningful learning can take place without textbooks, exercise books and
other learning materials," says the report.
Zimbabweans should brace for a chilly winter as the Zimbabwe Electricity
Regulatory Commission proposes to hike rates by 350 percent starting in
The manager of the Zimbabwe Electricity Transmission Company Manager, Edward
Rugoyi, said a total of 150 megawatts had been secured from regional
partners - 100mw and 50mw respectively from Democratic Republic of Congo
(DRC) and Mozambique.
In good times, the country imports over 300mw and gets supplies from South
Africa's Eskom of SA and Zambia Electricity Supply Company (ZESCO). But
imports are threatened by anticipated shortages across Southern Africa,
caused by increased demand.
"Securing supplies is becoming increasingly difficult with the challenges
being faced in the region," said Rugoyi.
Mavis Chidzonga, Commissioner-General of the Zimbabwe Electricity Regulatory
Commission, said increases in the costs of goods and services had led to
"price distortions" which needed to be removed in line with government
policy. "The percentage increases take into account soaring generation,
transmission, and distribution costs involved in the supply of electricity,"
she said in a statement.
Rates were expected to go up by 120 percent in June and by another 50
percent in October, she said.
Power supplies are erratic and families in cities are turning to firewood
for cooking and heating because of outages.
The hikes were predicted when Zesa Holdings chairman, Christopher Chetsanga,
announced in January this year that it was broke.
He said Zesa was failing to service a Z$105 billion debt and planned to
retrench more than 600 workers between January and March this year to cut
its heavy wage bill.
"It costs the utility $90 to produce a kilowatt and the same kilowatt is
sold for $5. The utility imports power at US2 cents and sells at US0,2 cents
per kilowatt. Zimbabwe provides the cheapest electricity within the
region," he said.
Chetsanga said the utility required at least US$30 million to repair four
generators at Hwange Power Station that have broken down. - CAJ News
HARARE - The embattled Zimbabwean government this week claimed compensation
for capital improvements to some farmers whose properties were forcibly
acquired under the agrarian reform has started, but displaced farmers said
they had no knowledge of any such compensation.
State Security minister responsible for Land Reform, Didymus Mutasa said
government evaluators had been deployed to the farms to assess the value of
"These evaluations are used by the compensation committee as the basis upon
which to determine the amount payable to the affected farmers," Mutasa told
He claimed some of the farmers had already received compensation although
efforts by The Zimbabwean to identify them last week proved fruitless.
The permanent secretary in the lands ministry reportedly chairs the
compensation committee, appointed by Agriculture minister Rugare Gumbo.
In terms of the conditions of compensation, a farmer who is not satisfied
with the amount determined by the compensation committee can appeal. Some
farmers are understood to have engaged private evaluators to assess their
properties and may contest the government evaluation.
Commercial Farmers' Union officials in Mashonaland West, East and
Matabeleland said although government evaluators had been there about four
months ago, they knew of no one who had been paid.
The president of ZAPU (FP), Paul Siwela, has ruled out possibilities for a
peaceful negotiated settlement with President Robert Mugabe or chances of
change coming through elections.
In an exclusive interview with The Zimbabwean at his offices in Bulawayo
recently, Siwela said Mugabe was a terrorist and had used terror to ascend
as well as remain in power. As such, Siwela contends, that is the only way
to end his oppressive rule.
Without failing to acknowledge the risk of being persecuted by Mugabe,
Siwela even suggested that there was need for what he termed "an Iraqi
style" on Mugabe, referring to the manner in which former Iraq dictator
Sadaam Hussein was deposed by US and British forces.
"Mugabe will not go as has been demonstrated by the failure of all the
legitimate and acceptable routes we have tried as a nation. Sanctions have
proved they will not work, and hoping that protests by Zimbabweans can push
out Mugabe is an exercise in futility because he is a terrorist who has
created legislation and militia to kill anyone opposed to his regime,"
Siwela, whose party believes in a federal system of governance, said all
opposition forces should join hands in fighting Mugabe and the ruling party.
"For example, I am prepared to back the candidature of Tsvangirai at next
year's presidential elections if they are to be held under a new electoral
system," he said.
Siwela was arrested ahead of the 2002 presidential elections, which he
contested, and charged with making subversive statements against the state
but the case was sidelined without going to trial.
LUSAKA - Zambia's finance minister said his country has become an oasis of
stability in southern Africa and has not been greatly harmed by unrest in
neighboring Zimbabwe. Despite the disruption to trade, Zambia has seen
significant benefits from Zimbabwe's troubles, Finance Minister Ng'andu
Magande said at a briefing during last weekend's meetings of the World Bank
and International Monetary Fund.
"When your neighbour has a party, you hear the noise, when they have a
funeral you hear the wailing," he said. "But it has not been too
He cited a boom in Zambian tourism, as visitors to Victoria Falls on the
country's border with Zimbabwe have been flocking to the Zambian side to
avoid unrest. He said that many white farmers, whose lands had been
confiscated by the government in
Zimbabwe, have resettled in Zambia and bolstered the agricultural sector
with high skill levels.
Zimbabweans have been blamed for an upsurge in crime and prostitution, with
Zambian police recently rounding up some 500 Zimbabwean women from the
streets of the capital Lusaka and sending them home. - Own correspondent
The Zimbabwe National SPCA is continuing its efforts to gain access to nine
elephants being 'trained' by the travel company Shearwater Adventures. The
nine are the survivors of a group of 12 captured from herds in the Hwange
National Park in November 2006.
In a January 2007 press release, Shearwater insisted that the ZNSPCA's
claims that the elephants were being mistreated were untrue, claiming that
their training methods were 'willing relationship[s] based on mutual trust
and respect'. The ZNSPCA has consistently demanded that the company allow
them access to the elephants to test this claim. After legal wrangling, the
ZNSPCA were granted a court order for the inspection, which has yet to take
place after Shearwater refused access to their premises on the grounds that
the ZNSPCA had not obtained the assistance of vets named in the court order
at the company's insistence. The ZNSPCA point out that they have written to
these vets on more than one occasion but have not yet received any reply.
Shearwater has been operating in Zimbabwe since 1982, and offers a range of
activities in the Victoria Falls region, including jet-boating, helicopter
rides and whitewater rafting in addition to 'Elephant-Back Safaris'. The
company's website claims to be the 'leading adventure activities company in
Africa', as well as being 'ecologically sound' and 'in full compliance with
respective National Parks regulations.' Their January press release argued
that safaris were an excellent way to 'learn more about the elephant and as
a result take a greater interest in the conservation issues surrounding
them.' The company has strenuously denied the claims by the ZNSPCA that the
elephants captured in 2006 have been left in unhygienic and dangerous
conditions, pointing to three inspections by Government vets which gave
positive accounts of the elephants' condition.
The competing press releases by the ZNSPCA and Shearwater Adventures are not
helpful in establishing the condition of the elephants. The company has not
responded on its website to the claim by the ZNSPCA that another elephant
has died, nor explained why it has allowed three inspections by Government
vets but obstructed the ZNSPCA's inspection. - Jaime Ashworth
Bishop Paul Verryn of the Methodist Central in Johannesburg: Photo: Annie
Mpalume, CAJ News
South African clergyman, Bishop Paul Verryn, whose Methodist Church in
Johannesburg central is home to more than 1 000 Zimbabwean refugees, has
castigated President Mugabe's government for increased state-sponsored human
rights violations and lawlessness.
It's a tragedy that African politics does not tolerate the opposition.
Opposition political parties in this great continent are always treated as
enemies," he said.
"Africa and the world should help Zimbabwe as a matter of urgency in order
to avoid a civil war."
Verryn also took a swipe at President Mbeki for shielding Mugabe when
thousands of Zimbabweans were forced to leave the country in large
numbers. - CAJ News
HARARE - The siege on the opposition Movement for Democratic Change over the
past nine weeks has created a new humanitarian crisis in Zimbabwe.
There have been over 200 documented cases of torture and brutality following
illegal abductions and arrests of hundreds of MDC members, officials and
activists. But MDC officials say this is only the tip of the iceberg.
"These are only the documented cases, the people who come in for medical
treatment, operations and hospitalisation. The hundreds who have been
beaten randomly as they walk home in the high density suburbs, the people
who are pulled off commuter buses and beaten in the street, all those who
were ordered out of their houses prior to the ZCTU stay away, and beaten
with batons, as a warning not to stay away from work - these are the people
who have not been documented individually and who have not come for medical
treatment," says an MDC statement issued this week.
Many of those beaten are not opposition or civic society organisation
member's - they are beaten because it is state organised and sanctioned, to
create a climate of fear and submission.
The majority of MDC members and activists are unemployed. They survive by
pushing carts, selling air time cards etc. They live from hand to mouth.
So when they are abducted and imprisoned by the state, their families have
no means of support.
The MDC says it has "very, very limited resources" and is having to provide
food for the political detainees at Remand Prison and Police cells on a
daily basis, as well as bus fares for a family member to visit daily and the
basic necessities for survival to the families while their bread winner is
In addition, the party must provide transport and fuel to those members who
are collecting and delivering food and assistance, uplifting the injured and
tortured for medical treatment, and ensuring that those in hospital are
visited and looked after.
The cost of this very necessary humanitarian exercise is huge. Given
Mugabe's track record, the current wave of abductions, arrests, torture and
violence is likely to continue until the elections in March 2008.
Many of the CIO and military intelligence perpetrators of the torture have
told their victims that they will not rest until every member, official and
activist of the MDC has been arrested and tortured. They have said that by
2008 there will be no MDC left, that it will have been smashed. - Own
It appears the European Union has wilted under pressure from the African
Union to allow Zimbabwe to attend the Africa-European summit to be held in
Portugal in December.
South African Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said: "The
African position doesn't insist on anything except that the African Union
(AU) cannot be dismembered. The African Union is the African Union. We can't
say we want to co-operate with the EU but not with Portugal."
Zimbabwe is one of the 53 African countries that form the AU. Dlamini-Zuma
was hosting her Portuguese counterpart Luis Amado for bilateral and economic
discussions. - Own correspondent
LONDON - Zimbabweans in the Diaspora have started a campaign to have sent
home the children of senior Zanu (PF) officials studying abroad. The Fair
Deal campaign is being coordinated by the news website Zimdaily.com
The proponents believe the children of senior party and government officials
should not be allowed to enjoy the benefits of Western education, health,
democracy and freedom which their parents are denying the people of Zimbabwe
in their own country.
"We do not hate these poor kids," reads a message posted on the website. "We
love them. We want them to be with their parents."
A campaign official told the press this week that its purpose was to expose
Zanu (PF) hypocrisy - castigating Western countries while their offspring
reside and are being educated there.
"We have successfully courted the support of MPs in the UK, New Zealand,
Canada, Belgium, Australia and the US. To date, 200 names, including contact
addresses, social security numbers, passport numbers, photos and immigration
status have been collected. The response from some Western governments has
been very encouraging, with some officials asking for names and contact
details," said the official. - Own correspondent
As the Mugabe regime staggers to its end, leaving the economy in
tatters, economist NORMAN REYNOLDS proposes a revolutionary scheme to set
the country on its feet again. Part 2 - Community Trusts.
'A full people-led agrarian and land reformation will follow'
'Women become equal owners, the most important gain possible'
'It would stimulate the economy from the bottom up by providing
the means for all citizens to become economically active'
Community Trusts are the means to renew valued traditions of
joint ownership. They act to convert politically and economically
dysfunctional villages and neighbourhoods into democratic property
companies. These provide members with modernized rights of access to and
ownership of land and other productive assets.
The trusts become asset holding, investing and managing bodies.
Women become equal owners, the most important gain possible for them in
Africa. The "investment" monies provided will be more than matched by
member/owner labour contributions, since there is now a community body that
can turn investments in cash and labour into useful assets and thus into
The total cash infusion per year into a community of 1,000
adults and 1,000 children under 18 would around be R4 million. To this, the
adults would add around R2.5 million worth of labour. The local income
multiplier should rise from around a pathetic 1.4 or so at present to
between 3.0 and 4.0.
The total annual local economic activity generated per year
would be around R14 million, or R35,000 per family of four. This is a return
on state / donor investment of 358%. Total investment (cash and labour) per
year would be R4.8 million per year, or a growth in equity value of R10,000
per family. This surge in unlocked local energy and economic investment
would then drive the national Gross Domestic Product at least 3% per annum
It would also generate tax revenues equal to 60%+ of its cost
because of the high total local and national multiplier, which will be
around 9. Just as importantly, when compared to the IMF balance of payments
route, it would first build local demand to reward the revival of
neighbourhoods and then of companies, enabling all Zimbabweans to become
active participants and producers, both locally and nationally.
Zimbabwe can become an internationally high profile early use of
SCIP from which its urgent implementation throughout South Africa can only
Under the plan, all foreign exchange (forex) provided by the
international community would be sold for local currency to business and
industry through a series of forex "windows." The first window would be
limited to exporters, because export industries like mining, tourism, and
agriculture generate forex through their international sales, thus
multiplying the amount available.
By giving priority to exporters, guarantees for foreign loans
from banks would be easier for them to obtain, further swelling the pool of
forex available. Any forex surplus in the first window would be passed to a
second "window" through which national essentials like fuels, foods,
medicines etc. are bought.
This would act to keep the cost structure of the economy, and
inflation, down. Any further forex surplus would go to a third "window" that
would auction its available forex for use by domestic business and industry.
The use of economic and social rights programming in this plan,
employing a strong "localization" model to balance "globalization," would
allow Zimbabwe to come under an innovative form of UN / AU Economic and
Social Trusteeship. It would stimulate the economy from the "bottom" up by
providing the means for all citizens to quickly become economically active
and secure, it would ensure a better than minimum level of schooling and
health for all, and it would build communities and local economies, thus
laying the foundation for national reconciliation, rapid economic recovery
and a broad-based growth in citizen ownership of their country's productive
This will result in a rapid restoration of an active and
participatory democracy. Financially and organisationally competent
communities would be able to soon enter the land market if they wished to
expand their land base or to move into particular crops or to be nearer to
markets. A full people-led agrarian and land reformation will follow this
form of economic rights programming, taking the state out of the driver's
seat of what has become a too politically charged matter.
Finally, if implemented and fully funded, this recovery plan
would attract back the 3 million Zimbabweans who have fled in the past seven
years and who have considerable skills and much needed
Local manufacturers are finding it difficult to survive due to an influx of
cheap Chinese goods that have flooded the country since the government
embarked on its much touted 'Look East' policy five years ago. Local
products are highly priced as a result of production costs that have seen
the price of raw materials shoot beyond the reach of manufacturers.
The chairman of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), Alfred
Mhlokoa Dube, said the main challenge faced by indigenous manufacturers was
the shortage of foreign currency. He slated countries exporting substandard
goods to Zimbabwe, for using the country as a dumping site.
"The state's failure to control the influx of cheap Chinese goods has led to
large manufacturing companies shutting down their businesses," he said. -
A desperate Zimbabwe government is now employing Gestapo-style tactics to
silence critics with night raids on homes of opposition activists,
journalists and government foes by men in cars with fake number plates,
while abduction, torture and even murder have become the hallmark of the
Recent mysterious bombings of police stations, which security agencies blame
on the MDC, have left a trail which human rights bodies and security and
political analysts this week said heavily implicated the government's spy
Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO), the youth militia and military
Government's refusal in the past to prosecute its supporters accused of
crimes against the opposition had underscored the authorities' complicity in
lawlessness. Now tactics have changed.
There are increasing reports of violence by state security organs under the
direct charge of President Robert Mugabe and his cabinet, human rights
watchers and analysts said.
"They cannot investigate the cases because all what is happening is State
terrorism; it's sponsored by the State," said MDC (Tsvangirai) secretary
general Tendai Biti.
Mugabe and his trusted lieutenants have simultaneously cracked down on the
opposition, mainly the Morgan Tsvangirai-led MDC and the influential Mujuru
faction, which has dared challenge Mugabe's presidency.
Human rights organisations and observers told The Zimbabwean that some
aspects of the violence could only point to state security organs.
In one incident, eight victims of police assault were forcibly removed from
a private health facility without the consent of doctors there. All eight
had been denied medical care in custody. Such behaviour by security forces
continues to intimidate health workers who treat victims of organized
violence and torture.
HARARE - Zimbabwe is likely to go to the polls much earlier than March next
year amid reports the ruling Zanu (PF) party is considering bringing the
election calendar forward because of the fast deteriorating economic
situation which is likely to militate against President Robert Mugabe's
Mugabe's term expires on March 31 and constitutionally he is supposed to
hold an election within 90 days prior to that date.
Zanu (PF)'s continued support of Mugabe comes amid reports of simmering
discontent in party's file and rank at the disastrous effects of his rule,
which has in recent weeks seen another crackdown on opposition supporters
that claimed the life of an activist earlier last month.
"The election could be held as early as February, January even," said a Zanu
(PF) Politburo member.
Mugabe is now almost certain he will be opposed by Morgan Tsvangirai, the
charismatic veteran trade unionist at the helm of the bigger wing of the
This year's Zimbabwe International Trade Fair has registered a significant
reduction in the number of exhibitors, both local and foreign. ZITF
chairman, Nhlahla Masuku, said that only 13 foreign countries will be
exhibiting at the event, all of which are from Africa and Asia.
"We have registered 690 domestic exhibitors," Masuku said. Last year there
were 713 domestic exhibitors, a major decline from previous years. The
manufacturing sector has recorded a decline of up to 15% over the past three
years owing to macro-economic problems sparked by government's controversial
land reforms started in 2000.
The event is on from April 24-28 under the theme, "Zimbabwe Brands, Regional
Brands and Global Brands".
Biting economic challenges will prevent most citizens of Bulawayo from
visiting this year's Trade Fair. In the past, the event was always a
highlight for locals.
Organisers of the event were yet to finalise entry charges - but they could
be as high as $10 000.
"We have always enjoyed the trade fair as a family event. But we won't be
able to go this year because of the money problems we are facing," said
Industry and International Trade minister, Obert Mpofu, said despite the
country's economic problems, the prestigious event would serve as one of the
ways through which trade opportunities could be revived for an ultimate
contribution towards economic growth.
"The trade fair always provides an opportunity for the country to market its
products and services to the rest of the world thereby increasing trade
opportunities. Although we are facing economic challenges, the trade fair
comes at a time there are serious efforts at reviving the economy and the
event provides a good platform for that," Mpofu said.
Mayor of Bulawayo, Japhet Ndabeni Ncube also expressed hope that the trade
fair would bring business to the city through an expected influx of visitors
both from the local and international business communities.
Hotels and lodges have recently hiked their rates enormously. Leading hotels
in Bulawayo such as Selbourne and Holiday Inn now charge up to $800 000 for
A massive exodus of lecturers has hit the National University of Science and
Technology (NUST) in protest over the government's refusal to raise their
salaries to over Z$1.2 million.
This follows rejection by lecturers of a 300% salary increase which saw them
getting about $500 000, saying it fell way below their expectations in view
of rampant inflation. Faculties of Commerce and Applied Science are the
worst affected. The institution has had to place press advertisements for
Bernard Njekeya, the president of the NUST and Zimbabwe State Universities
Union of Academics Association ,confirmed the wave of resignations at NUST
over poor salaries: "On average we have about three lecturers resigning
every week. There has been a high staff turnover over government's refusal
to address our demands." The institution has less than 35% of the required
lecturers due to the mass exodus.
Zimbabwe's education sector, once lauded as one of the best in Africa, has
virtually collapsed after years of under-funding and the brain drain as
teachers and lecturers leave for better pay in neighbouring countries. An
estimated 10 000 teachers have left the country for neighbours such as South
Africa, Botswana and Namibia in the last two years, where they have been
welcomed them with open arms. - CAJ News
Defiance campaign to continue, 2008 postponement possible
HARARE - The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has thrown out suggestions
by South African president Thabo Mbeki that it withdraws its defiance
campaign as a precondition for talks with Zanu (PF).
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai told The Zimbabwean that the party dismissed
the possibility of shelving its democratic resistance project against
President Robert Mugabe's brutal regime.
"Despite the violence and assaults, our resolve is not shaken and we will
pursue vigorously the quest for democratic change in Zimbabwe," Tsvangirai
said. "It is in this regard that we will continue with our defiance
campaignwithin the Save Zimbabwe Campaign coalition and at the same time
pursue the negotiations opened up by SADC."
"The withdrawal of the defiance campaign is not on the agenda at all," added
Tsvangirai. "However, consideration for such withdrawal could be made after
timetable and process for the restoration of democracy, leveling of the
playing field and repeal of repressive legislation."
Mbeki has been mandated by the SADC troika on Politics, Defence and
Security, to open up dialogue between the MDC and Zanu (PF). His effort is
being bolstered by SADC executive secretary Tomaz Augosto Salamao who has
been in the country since Wednesday last week on a fact-finding mission.
In the meantime, Mbeki last week presented a four-page document to Mugabe
and the two MDC leaders Arthur Mutambara and Tsvangirai outlining the terms
reference in the planned negotiated settlement.
The MDC has immediately responded to the roadmap warning Mbeki that Mugabe's
government risked facing the wrath of an increasingly restive Zimbabwean
populace besieged by the crippling political and economic crisis as the
government continues to trample on the democratic rights of ordinary
The response also states the position of the MDC to boycott the election if
a new constitution is not in place and Harare continues its reluctance to
comply with provisions of the Grand Baie protocol - a set of conditions
ratified by all SADC heads of State guaranteeing free and fair elections in
the sub region.
The MDC letter further states that the party would be willing to support the
postponement of the 2008 election calendar, as long as that delay is caused
by a constitution-making process.
BY ITAI DZAMARA
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) president, Morgan Tsvangirai says he is
ready to face his arch-rival, Robert Mugabe for dialogue or an election
contest. He spoke to The Zimbabwean in an exclusive interview on the
Independence day commemorations, which he bemoaned come at a time the nation
is under siege.
The former trade unionist remains committed to fighting for the good of the
nation, despite his recent brutal assault at the hands of Mugabe's security
Tsvangirai insisted there was no viable route to solving the country's
problems other than a negotiated settlement and said Mugabe had been left
with no other option but to accept constitutional reform.
"There is a sense of betrayal, of helplessness, a sense of catastrophe, and
recent events have shown that despite the independence, there is no
freedom," Tsvangirai said. "However, I am optimistic - the way to go is
"There is no way Mugabe can survive dissent from within Zanu (PF), the
country in general and the international community. There seems to be an
urgency on the part of SADC to resolve the crisis and there is also a
realization within Zanu (PF) that this international isolation cannot be
sustained," he said.
Giving his full support to the SADC initiative of mediating through S A
president, Thabo Mbeki, Tsvangirai added that there should be electoral
reforms to guarantee free and fair elections next year.
"I am ready to meet Mugabe anywhere and any time because I believe dialogue
is the key to the crisis. I am also ready to contest the elections, but only
when the electoral framework has been reformed to guarantee the holding of a
free and fair election. I have a full mandate from my party to contest the
elections and would appreciate it if other opposition forces endorse me to
stand for the coalition of opposition parties. Unity makes us stronger," he
BY GIFT PHIRI
HARARE - Pre-election political bickering, State-sponsored violence and the
deepening fuel crisis are adversely affecting Zimbabwe's tourism industry
amid reports the sector has suffered a 50 percent decline in tourist
arrivals due to the deepening crisis and the prevailing political
Zimbabwe Tourism Authority (ZTA) documents to hand reveal that between 40
and 50 percent of business has been lost since the eruption of violence this
"The picture being painted in the foreign print and electronic media is one
of a not stable situation," says the document, adding that the prevailing
situation nullified ZTA's efforts to clean up the country's image abroad.
Chief executive Shingi Mutasa of a top hotel chain told the core group of
the tripartite forum recently that tourist arrivals within the group were
about 40 percent less than that of last year.
He said there was a general lack of confidence in what is happening in the
"These issues are fundamental and should be urgently resolved. Tourist
arrivals are now 30 to 40 percent less than those of last year and we still
cannot tell those inquiring when the problems will be solved," he said.
Tourism is the third largest contributor to Zimbabwe's Gross Domestic Growth
after agriculture and manufacturing.