South Africa's inaction over the Zimbabwe crisis is being increasingly
condemned by both the opposition and ordinary Zimbabweans. After Nkosazana
Dlamini-Zuma, the foreign minister, recently said there had been "movement"
in the right direction in Zimbabwe, the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) said her comments were "unhelpful".
Tensions were further
heightened when South Africa blocked a United Nations vote condemning human
rights abuses in the troubled country. Dlamini-Zuma says the Zimbabwe
government has vowed to ease draconian laws and make peace by offering farms
back to evicted white farmers. But the laws she referred to, the much-slated
public order and security act (Posa) and the access to information and
privacy act (Aipa) remain unchanged.
Posa is used routinely to arrest
opposition MDC officials.
Paul Themba Nyathi, the MDC spokesperson, says
that all but four of his party's national executive have been arrested since
In direct contradiction to Dlamini-Zuma's claim, Patrick
Chinamasa, Zimbabwe's hardline justice minister, has said his government sees
no reason to amend Posa, saying the law is necessary to control those intent
on destabilising Zimbabwe.
And harsh press laws in Aipa, the
brainchild of Jonathan Moyo, the information minister, also remain
Journalists from Zimbabwe's beleaguered independent press
remain largely unaccredited and subject to indiscriminate harassment at the
hands of police and shadowy state agents from Mugabe's notorious Central
Dlamini-Zuma's claim that white farmers
have been offered back land has been dismissed by farmers, hundreds of whom
are sitting idle in Harare.
A Commercial Farmers' Union (CFU) farm
association chairperson from the violence-plagued Mashonaland West province
said: "There was a memorandum of agreement, but the CFU wanted certain
conditions regarding violence, evictions and human rights abuses put in
writing and signed by the agriculture minister. Nothing has been forthcoming,
so the whole thing is just sitting. Any farmer who went back without written
guarantees would be mad after everything that's happened in the last three
"If the government isn't prepared to give those guarantees, it
seems obvious to us that they're not serious about all this, it's just being
done to placate foreigners," he said.
It is Posa that has wreaked the
most havoc on Zimbabwe's civil society. The law makes it illegal to ridicule
Mugabe or cause "feelings of hostility" towards the police.
spate of arrests directed at MDC leaders after last month's mass action was
conducted mainly under Posa. And despite widespread proof of torture and
violence, Dlamini-Zuma has dismissed the abuse as "overzealousness" on the
part of Zimbabwe's security forces.
Her glib dismissal of hundreds of
cases of torture drew real anger from torture victims and civil society in
"I doubt Zuma would describe it as overzealous if she was
whipped with barbed wire or raped with an AK47 barrel," said Temba Chituwu,
who fled his home in Harare's western Kuwadzana township after soldiers began
imposing curfews on the MDC stronghold. - Foreign
Zimbabwe considers banned insecticide in malaria
April 20, 2003,
Stanley Midzi, the head of Zimbabwe's disease prevention and control
programme, says Zimbabwe is considering using the controversial malaria
insecticide, DDT. He says they will be applying to be exempted from the
Stockholm Convention which Zimbabwe is a signatory. The Stockholm Convention
banned the use of DDT for agricultural and public
Mdiza says the use of DDT will ease financial difficulties because DDT has a
longer residual effect compared to pyrethrodes that they are
More than 1,5 million people contract the disease every year in Zimbabwe,
claiming 1500 lives
Meanwhile, the South African Race Against Malaria Rally team, which embarked
on its journey two weeks ago, described its local leg of the awareness
campaign as very successful. The rally, which has passed through Zimbabwe and
Zambia, is on its final phase on its was to Dar-es-salaam where Africa
Malaria Day will be commemorated.
Michael Gwanda had never
contemplated the day he would say life under the white minority government of
Rhodesia was far better and much more affordable than under black majority
Having experienced the worst
excesses of the Ian Smith regime as it tried to ward off Robert Mugabe's
guerrillas in the late seventies, Gwanda, 56, says it pains him to confront
the reality that he is now worse off than at independence in
"Ian Smith was indisputably a cruel
man. He killed thousands of freedom fighters, but he was a better manager of
the economy than [Prime Minister Robert] Mugabe. The facts speak for
themselves," Gwanda says.
He recalls that
on the eve of Zimbabwe's independence in 1980 he earned 12 Rhodesian pounds a
month. But he could send his three children to school and rent decent
accommodation in a middle-class suburban area. He never ran short of food.
Today he lives in the slum suburb of
When Zimbabwe had its first
fuel crisis in 1982 after the Zimbabwe dollar had already lost about 20
percent of its value against the US dollar, Gwanda could forgive the new
government. "He [Mugabe] was investing in free education and free health
care. He also had thousands of comrades to look after. So we never
anticipated the worst. We hoped things would recover,"
But 23 years after
independence, Gwanda, a professional mechanic, now finds himself far worse
off than he was in 1980. It was therefore no surprise that instead of
celebrating his country's 23rd independence anniversary, he chose to join an
anti-Mugabe protest. A week before the anniversary, he had to flee his
country, fearing for his life, and seek refuge in Hillbrow,
Other Zimbabweans who
gathered at the Union Buildings in Pretoria with Gwanda for the anti-Mugabe
march to the nearby embassy also had stories to tell about why they had
In Zimbabwe itself, the atmosphere
was subdued. Most shunned the independence celebrations at the sports
stadiums across the 10 provinces of Zimbabwe. Those who trickled into the
main National Sports Stadium in Harare as Mugabe delivered his keynote speech
were mostly coming for the free soccer match between the country's top two
teams. - Foreign Service
Zimbabwe judge finds in his own
favour By Peta Thornycroft in Harare April 21 2003
senior Zimbabwean judge has secretly grabbed a prize white-owned farm in the
heart of the nation's richest land.
The discovery came as President
Robert Mugabe, in a defiant speech to mark 23 years of independence,
congratulated his people on regaining their land from white
Judge Paddington Garwe seized Mount Lothian farm in the
Enterprise area. It was owned by C.G.Tracey, one of the first white farmers
to embrace Zimbabwe's independence from Britain in 1980.
is Judge President of the High Court, the second highest judge in the
country. He is presiding over the treason trial of Morgan Tsvangirai, leader
of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.
Former neighbours said
Mr Tracey, in his 80s, had refused to discuss his eviction, fearing
reprisals. He left Zimbabwe on holiday on Friday.
Judge Garwe said
through his secretary that he would respond to written questions after
Easter. He was appointed Judge President two years ago after Mr Mugabe's
purge of independent jurors who had, until then, ruled that the land grab and
eviction of white farmers were illegal.
In his speech on Friday Mr Mugabe
said Western opposition to his seizure of white-owned farms for landless
blacks was part of a drive to keep the Third World poor.
for Africans and Zimbabwe is for Zimbabweans ... Our land, our dear Zimbabwe
will never again fall into foreign hands. Never, never, never again will
Zimbabwe be a colony," he said to loud applause from 20,000 supporters in a
stadium in Harare draped in posters reading: "Zimbabwe is our
The seizure, believed to have happened last month, is the
latest in the Enterprise farming area, about 30 kilometres east of Harare.
The region is occupied by more members of the ruling elite - cabinet
ministers, senior members of the Zimbabwe National Army and the Central
Intelligence Organisation - than any other of the former commercial farming
Of the 66 white commercial farmers originally in the district
fewer than a dozen are left.
Meldrum in Harare Monday April 21, 2003 The Guardian
A member of
Zimbabwe's opposition has died as a result of police torture, according to
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Tonderai Machiridza, 32, died after
six days in police custody, according to the MDC, which issued photographs of
the unconscious Machiridza being carried to hospital.
took him from his home in Chitungwiza, on April 13. Three other MDC members
were also arrested in Chitungwiza that day, accused of having taken a pair of
handcuffs from a police officer during the national strike organised by the
opposition party on March 18 and 19.
The four were allegedly assaulted by
police using truncheons, handcuffs and booted feet. Machiridza was bleeding
and complained of a severe headache before he fell unconscious, said
Two others in his group suffered a broken arm and a broken
leg, according to the MDC. Police took Machiridza to Chitungwiza hospital
where he was chained to his bed and received rudimentary care. Last
Wednesday, a court investigation at his hospital bed resulted in an order
that Machiridza should be released to receive proper medical attention. The
court also ordered an investigation into the allegations of
Machiridza died on Friday, the 23rd anniversary of Zimbabwe's
"The fact that he died on our Independence Day is symbolic
of the death of all our freedoms and our rights," said an MDC spokesman, Paul
The MDC claims that 600 of its supporters have been
tortured in police custody this year. At least four MDC members of parliament
say they were tortured by police inflicting electric shocks. Independent
medical examinations have confirmed injuries consistent with their
Reports of the death highlighted the grim mood over the Easter
holiday, in which Zimbabweans suffered food and fuel shortages. Inflation has
hit 228% and unemployment 70%, pushing four-fifths of the population below
the poverty line.
Roman Catholic bishops issued an Easter letter
denouncing Robert Mugabe's government for committing gross human rights
abuses while the population goes hungry.
One wonders why our President's
office always seems to feel a bit edgy about criticism of the ANC's stand on
Zimbabwe, which is well known by everybody ("Criticism should be rejected
with contempt", Letters, March 26).
been crystallised by our own Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, "We
will never condemn Zimbabwe", meaning of course Mugabe and his Zanu-PF
The secretary-general of the
Commonwealth announced continuation of targeted Commonwealth sanctions
against Mugabe and his cronies.
wanted them declared ended! Now who is right? If Mbeki's quiet diplomacy is
the right method - shouldn't we have seen a vast improvement in the Zimbabwe
situation, better regard for human rights, an end to the systematic use of
terror and intimidation of political opponents by Zanu-PF and so
It is pointless Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma
saying that "Zimbabweans must sit down together and work things
How can one negotiate if the other
fellow is holding a brick or an AK-47 over your
MacAskill, diplomatic editor Monday April 21, 2003 The
Human rights organisations are protesting at the inclusion of
countries with some of the worst records of abuses on a list of candidates
for election to the main United Nations watchdog. North Korea, Iran and
Nigeria are likely to win membership of the UN Commission on Human Rights in
an election either at the end of this month or early next. Egypt is another
candidate and, even though its abuses are not on the same scale as the
others, it has been conducting a vigorous campaign against
The chair of the commission, which is holding its annual
meeting in Geneva, is held at present by Libya, another member with a list of
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International
are among the organisations which are complaining that the inclusion of these
countries makes a mockery of the organisation, and are urging reform of the
The New York-based Human Rights Watch described the list of
candidate countries as "a Who's Who of the worst human rights
Seeking re-election are other countries with poor records:
Saudi Arabia, Cuba, Russia and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
body has a membership of 53, each serving a two-year term. It
catalogues human rights abuses, investigates claims and puts pressure on
governments to change.
A group of countries with poor records can
block or slow the work of the commission.
Other members seeking
election this year are Eritrea, Mauritania, Bhutan, Cambodia, Indonesia,
Nepal, Qatar, Hungary, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Italy, the
Netherlands and Portugal.
Seeking re-election are Britain, Costa Rica,
Guatemala, India, Peru, South Africa and Thailand.
International said it would like to see a benchmark set for membership: each
candidate would have to ratify guarantees of basic human rights and open its
borders to investigators.
Melinda Ching, a spokeswoman for Amnesty, said
that without such a benchmark, the signal being sent out was that the
commission "lures those countries that have been under the body's spotlight -
North Korea, Iran - into gaining membership to the UN's supreme human rights
body for the very purpose of deflecting criticism of each other's human
The problem for the UN is that if it was to apply
such a strict benchmark, relatively few countries could stand for election.
While deploring their records, the UN believes there is a better chance of
changing these countries if they are included rather than
North Korea has no right of free speech or religion, and
carries out public executions. It also known for extensive use of torture.
Executions are commonplace in Iran, and Nigeria was in the spotlight last
year over the stoning of women under sharia law for alleged
Already on the commission are Zimbabwe, whose government has
been terrorising its political opponents, and Sudan, another country where
human rights are regularly abused.
Michael Cashman, the British MEP,
yesterday accused Egypt of seeking to block a new UN declaration against
discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation that is being put forward at
the Geneva meeting.
Mr Cashman said: "Not only does the Egyptian
government openly and repeatedly violate human rights through their
entrapment and torture of homosexuals, but now they are lobbying countries in
the UN to allow these medieval attitudes to sexuality to
STEPHEN Jeqe Nyongolo Nkomo, 77,
the Matabeleland South Governor and Resident Minister, has
Nkomo passed away at Mater Dei
Hospital in Bulawayo yesterday. He had been ill and in and out of hospital
for a long time.
A relative yesterday
said: "The governor died around midday today at Mater Dei Hospital. He had
been ill for quite some time now."
PF's national chairman, John Nkomo, in announcing the death, said the ruling
party was saddened by Nkomo's passing.
younger brother to the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo, Stephen was born on
3 October 1926 in Matobo District.
his primary education at Emaphandeni School, about 30km south of
In the 1950s he went to South
Africa where he worked.
During his stay in
South Africa, he became involved in politics and espoused Pan-Africanism at a
time when the African National Congress of South Africa was fighting against
Upon his return to Zimbabwe in
the 1960s, he became actively involved in nationalist politics. When Zapu was
banned in September 1962, Nkomo was one of the officials who were sent to
represent the party in Cairo, Egypt, and later in
He was subsequently appointed the
party's secretary for projects at the PF Zapu headquarters in Lusaka,
He was responsible for
co-ordinating the party's
attained independence in 1980, he was elected Member of Parliament for Matobo
and briefly served as the Deputy Minister of
In 2000, President
Mugabe appointed Nkomo the Governor and Resident Minister for Matabeleland
Yesterday, one war veteran and
historian who was with Nkomo in the liberation struggle said of his death:
"It is really a tragic loss. He was a highly committed African
"He always preferred
negotiation and dialogue to conflict
Nkomo is survived
by two daughters and several
Mourners are gathered at No
7 Humewood Drive, Woodlands, in Bulawayo
Chitungwiza pair claim they
were beaten up by soldiers
4/21/03 7:06:43 AM (GMT +2)
TWO Chitungwiza men are
languishing in remand prison after they were allegedly assaulted by soldiers
in St Mary's three weeks ago and taken to a police station where they were
implicated in a robbery case.
Munemo, 29, of Zengeza 2, and Never Lafu, 42, of St Mary's, related their
ordeal at the hands of the soldiers when they appeared for a bail appeal at
the High Court.
Justice George Smith last
Thursday postponed the hearing on their bail application to 28 April when the
prosecution is expected to produce a medical report on the alleged
Munemo said he was assaulted by
soldiers while on his way to Chigovanyika shopping centre in St Mary's on 25
"I was passing by when I saw
soldiers beating up people including the man who is my co-accused now,"
Munemo told the court.
"Out of curiosity,
I asked why the soldiers were assaulting
He said this angered the
soldiers who beat him up.
instead driven to the police station where the they were charged with
He showed the court the injuries
he sustained during the assault.
never committed any crime in my life and I don't even know this man who is
now my co-accused," said a teary-eyed
He said he worked for a
Harare-based tobacco company contrary to the statement on the request for
remand form, compiled by the police, which states that he is
"I am my family's sole
breadwinner and I never committed the offence for which I am appearing before
this court," Munemo said.
"I was just
passing by when I saw soldiers beating up people and I have a document which
shows the people who committed this
The State's case is that Munemo
and Lafu who were in the company of three other people, raided worshippers
attending a church service along the banks of Manyame
They allegedly attacked the
worshippers while their colleagues broke into the complainants' cars and
stole various goods including money, cellphones and
Police watched as war vets
assaulted farmer, court told
4/21/03 7:10:09 AM (GMT +2)
Correspondent in Bulawayo
watched helplessly as five war veterans assaulted an Inyathi commercial
farmer, David Joubert, a Bulawayo magistrate heard
The war veterans, who
pleaded not guilty, appeared before Magistrate Ntombizodwa Mukondiwa on
charges of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily
They were remanded out of custody on
free bail to 2 May.
Sikwila Moyo said the accused, Daniel Ntini, Major Masuku, Luke Tshuma, Zenzo
Ndlovu and Kenneth Ndlovu, went to Joubert's farm in Inyathi and questioned
him about shootings that had occurred at the
Ntini allegedly proceeded to punch
Joubert while the others assaulted him with sticks and
One of them, Kenneth Ndlovu,
allegedly used a hammer resulting in Joubert sustaining serious injuries for
which he was treated at Inyathi District
Jourbert told the court that he
was at his farm having a discussion with CID officers who were conducting
investigations, when Ntini, Tshuma and Ndlovu drove to the
A few minutes later, the
officer-in-charge of Inyathi police, Ignatius Chikombero, arrived in the
company of two other war veterans.
accused then entered Jourbert's office and told him that they had come "to
finish him off".
Kenneth Ndlovu threatened
to kill him, Joubert said.
allegedly poked his face with a stick.
rest then pounced on him and started assaulting him while seven policemen
He was rescued from
further assaults when Chikombero, who was outside Joubert's office, came
VILLAGERS at Irisvale
Resettlement Scheme in Umzingwane District resisted demands by Zanu PF for
each family to contribute $2 500 towards an independence celebration
The party, which was held at
Longfield business centre on Independence Day, was a low-key affair as most
people did not turn up for the event, fearing retribution from war
Irisvale is one of the
resettlement schemes set up at Carmien and Amazon farms near Mbalabala by the
government in 1980.
It has 12 villages,
each with an average of 30 homesteads.
veterans who resettled themselves at Amazon and Mziki are alleged to have
sent orders that each homestead should pay $2 500 towards the hosting of the
Nkosikhona Mpunzi, of Village 8,
said they refused to make the contributions despite threats of violence by
Said Mpunzi: "In the past,
we paid freely for these celebrations. But who in these hard times can raise
$2 500 for such festivities when there is so much hunger? I would rather use
that money to buy maize-meal, if I can get
Another villager, Musawenkosi Masango
of Village 2, said they were also infuriated to learn that the war veterans
themselves were only contributing $500 each for the same
"The low rate which they set for
themselves made us feel like we were being ripped off. The threats of
violence against those who failed to pay also hardened our resolve against
being bullied into accepting this
All the villagers
who refused to pay did not attend the
A woman at the Zanu PF
district offices at Esigodini who answered a phone call by The Daily News
said she was not in a position to comment in the absence of senior party
"I cannot comment
except to say that those are lies coming from people who hate to see an
independent Zimbabwe," she said.
people of the independent media are sell-outs and enemies of the State. That
is why you believe such things. What is wrong with contributing to celebrate
your country's independence? Do you want that money to come from
Reports that some teachers
in Mutare district are being forced to join a newly formed teachers' union
which has close links to Zanu PF are
Coercion has never
been regarded as the best way of enlisting support. This is clearly one of
the desperate attempts by the ruling party to canvass for
It would be very unfortunate for
a professional body to be openly politicised and teachers should not allow
themselves to be used as pawns by a political party that has lost its power
base yet claims to be in full control.
The politicisation of a teachers' union will inevitably rub on to
the education system itself and the students will be the ultimate
Although Zanu PF's Mutare district
co-ordinator, Willard Tsvande, has denied that teachers are being forced to
join the new union, several teachers who spoke to this paper have confirmed
that they have been ordered to join the Teachers' Union of
Tsvande is reported to have told
teachers that their grievances would only be addressed if they joined the new
union which has the full backing of Zanu
Some of the teachers said the new
union also has the support of
They said they had been
ordered to terminate their membership with the two existing associations -
the Zimbabwe Teachers' Association and the Progressive Teachers' Union of
One teacher said the government
regarded both the PTUZ and Zimta as pro-MDC because they were affiliated to
the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions, the power base of the Morgan
Tsvangirai-led opposition party.
Unconfirmed reports say those who are promoting the new association are
targeting schools that are suspected to have teachers who are sympathetic to
Teachers should remain united and
must never allow their profession to be undermined by selfish and
We have just seen Zimbabwe's 23rd
anniversary of Independence and what a dismal birthday party it has been!
There was no flour, sugar, milk or margarine with which to make a
We couldn't afford the candles to
wasn't any petrol to deliver the mythical cake to the party-goers, and when
we looked for alternative party food like bread or maize-meal there was none
of that either.
When the official hosts of
the party realised that it was going to be a pretty meagre celebration
without food or guests, they sent their henchmen and henchwomen around our
Rattling on gates, banging on
doors, demanding we each pay $500 towards the celebration. If we didn't have
the money or didn't want to pay, our names were taken off food distribution
They had to harass us because there
aren't any white farmers left for them to go and demand beef, pork or milk
from as they have done for the past two
And the gift that our government
gave us, so that we would never forget our 23rd birthday, was to increase the
price of petrol from $145 to $450 a
Happy birthday, Zanu PF! Let's have
a quick look at what you've achieved since you turned 20 because you've had a
very busy three years.
Three million of
your citizens are living in exile. Inflation is 288 percent, unemployment is
80 percent, eight million people haven't got any food to eat, 3 000 people
are dying of Aids every week and there are over a million Aids orphans in
You took all the land from
productive farmers and gave it to your friends and officials and left 300 000
farm workers destitute and starving.
chased away all the professionals that your institutions had trained -
nurses, doctors, lawyers, vets, teachers and
You've crippled the hospitals
and left them without medicines and equipment and caused 50 percent of
companies to close or relocate to
You've crippled the
schools, colleges and universities by making the fees, uniforms and books so
expensive that now our children just beg on
You made us prisoners of
our own country by making us wait seven years for metal identity discs and
two years for Zimbabwean passports.
while the President, Cabinet and Zanu PF were remembering the men and women
who died in the struggle for freedom in 1980, most of us were remembering
those who have died for freedom since
We were remembering Onias Mashaya,
Tichaona Chiminya, Peter and Howard Kariza, Talent Mabika, David Stevens,
Patrick Nabanyama, Martin and Gloria Olds, Felix Zava, Matthew Pfebve, Alan
Dunn, Zeke Chigagura, Terry Ford and Itayi
These and almost 200 other men and
women died gruesome and violent deaths in the last three years. The murderers
still walk free and unpunished, but the victims have not been
While the President and
government were remembering past heroic deeds of fallen comrades, we were
thinking how uneasy the spirits and ancestors of those men and women must be
as they look back on the country they gave their lives
What must they think when they see
the chaos, misery and suffering in the land they died to free from
Through the misery of what has
become our daily lives, Zimbabweans have so much to be thankful for at our
23rd Independence anniversary.
indebted to the exceptionally brave men and women of the MDC who literally
risk their lives every day for us.
thanks to the lawyers, magistrates and judges who continue to make fair
rulings for us.
We applaud the
journalists, photographers and editors who tell the truth at great risk for
We praise the teachers who continue to
try and educate our children under appalling conditions and the nurses and
doctors who work without drugs and equipment to save our
We take our hats off to the handful
of commercial farmers who tolerate outrageous abuses every day in order to
grow food for us.
We thank the men and
women of Short Wave Radio Africa who may no longer come home because they
chose to inform us.
We have a lot to be
thankful for, because without all these exceptionally brave people Zimbabwe
would not be the great nation in waiting that it is.
THE once vibrant Commercial Farmers'
Union (CFU), says its membership has dropped from more than 4 300 to about 1
800 with only 1 000 farmers still in active farming which has seen production
being reduced by 50 percent.
president, Colin Cloete, said while the CFU membership was about 1 800, only
about 1 000 farmers were able to farm on a small-scale
In a letter addressed to Justice
for Agriculture, a radical farmers' group, Cloete said: "Results of a recent
survey show that there are 1 824 paid up members of CFU, but only
approximately 1 000 are farming, but not necessarily living on their farms or
even farming their own farms,
The government has in the
past two years issued eviction notices to thousands of commercial farmers as
part of its land reform programme.
farmer who declined to be named for fear of victimisation said yesterday:
"What is happening on the farms now is
signalling an end to commercial farming.
"The few farmers whose farms have not been acquired are doing very little
farming because of disturbances caused by settlers who want to occupy all
The farmer, who used to be
chairman of a CFU commodity association, said his only farm had been taken
and he was now a farm manager for a commercial beef business whose operations
were also shaky due to
He said the bulk
of the farmers still farming were living in towns and production had been cut
by more than 50 percent.
Mugabe has told the international community that single farm owners would not
be targeted, 95 percent of commercial farms have been compulsorily acquired
by the government.
Talks between the CFU
and the government on the way forward, have been stalled after the government
attacked the union as an "irrelevant organisation representing unrepentant
Rhodie farmers and other lawlessness elements that are bent on becoming a law
This followed a letter
written by the CFU to Minister of Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement
Dr Joseph Made, early this month.
had said in the letter: "In light of these talks, and in line with the
statement announcing the end of the fast track land reform programme, it was
expected that the continuation of Section 5 listings, the issuing of Section
8s and aggressive pursuance of evictions, would
"Instead, many commercial
farmers have been forced off their farms under duress by lawless elements,
with total disregard to the legal process and standing crops remain
continually under threat.
representations to various ministries and police officials to address these
problems, the selective application of the
A Section 5 order is a
preliminary notice of acquisition while Section 8 deals with compulsory
While the government has
blamed poor weather for the food crisis experienced for the past two years,
massive reductions in commercial crop production and livestock numbers, has
contributed to the serious food shortages the country is
"Prices of beef, chicken and
pork have been skyrocketing because of shortages on the market as many
commercial farmers are not producing," the farmer
The commercial beef herd is said to
have fallen from 1,3 million three years ago to about 200 000 head of
President Mugabe has taken advantage
of funerals to utter vitriol directed at the opposition, the British, the
Americans and all his critics.
that claims to be independent is on the forefront in starving its own people
and go on to blame the opposition for the
What boggles my mind
- including those of millions of voiceless citizens - is that only Zanu PF
apologists are beneficiaries of the chaotic land reform programme. The
government's allocation of a piece of land to Welshman Ncube (a senior member
of the MDC) was used as cover-up to hoodwink the international community into
believing that the exercise
It remains in the
minds of many that suspected opposition members were disqualified from
getting land under unclear circumstances.
All ruling party gurus have grabbed most of the commercial farms acquired by
the government, while other "pawns" were allocated unfenced, poor land with a
poor resource injection, or none at all.
Even though the government introduced the input credit input scheme, only a
few of the new farmers accessed the scheme owing to lack
I suggest that Jonathan
Moyo uses his intelligence - which he is believed to be armed with - to
introduce new information dissemination avenues like community radio
President Thabo Mbeki of South
Africa took the infamous "diplomatic" stance on the Zimbabwe crisis. The
recent formation of the Movement for the Landless People of South Africa has
now put pressure on Mbeki to assess the Zimbabwe
A potentially explosive era looms
in South Africa, knowing the high crime rate in that
I urge leaders to stop abusing
the masses in a desperate bid to further their political careers. Put an end
to torture, police brutality, arbitrary arrests and human rights abuses or
risk mass uprisings!
I have watched people from bus
drivers to medical doctors in Africa do it. From illiterates to lawyers,
carpenters, peasants and boy soldiers. I have seen schoolteachers, rebels
without any causes, farmers and ex-convicts become presidents. Anyone can do
it. From army generals, murderers and embezzlers to poets, bishops and, ah,
even my own brethren, journalists! They have all ruled an African country at
one time or other.
The job of being
president does not need academic qualifications. It's safe to say post-high
school education can be an added disadvantage. Why waste time going to school
when you can be president?
What kind of
job is this that does not need any education and, definitely, does not want
to see experience anywhere near it?
the educated people and the so-called professionals fail to do it right not
only in Zimbabwe, but in Africa generally. It's a phenomenon, folks!
Sorrowfully, I look across Africa and I see a disgusting landscape
of political ineptitude - ruin and devastation caused by
academically over-qualified charlatans and so-called
People, educated or
otherwise, fail to execute a job that requires little education and no
But the secret is hiding in
plain sight. The job requires ears, not lips. You got to listen more than you
talk; then roll up your sleeves and work for the people. (I see our Zanu PF
compatriots taking cover at the sound of the word
Anyway, the job of being
president only calls for uncommon resourcefulness and range. The ideal
candidate must have the interests of the nation and the people at heart. I
admit this is bad news to Zanu PF adherents, but we are here discussing some
of the inherent qualities of a successful and popular president. This rules
out Robert Mugabe right away.
elite's destruction of their nations is always calculated and deliberate, not
accidental, such as in the case of the tragic bumbling of the notorious
illiterate Idi Amin Dada from Uganda.
Pardon me, if you will, but I have always been fascinated by the subsequent
mentality of an African president. On attainment of the presidency, some sort
of osmosis takes place. Somewhere down the path African presidents forget not
only the people, but themselves. They suddenly feel they have to conquer and
subjugate the very people who put them
Schizophrenia visits them
and stays. They think the people are out to get them. They develop a tragic,
antagonistic attitude towards their own people. Suspicion and mistrust
overwhelm and guide them. Yet nothing can be achieved through
Once in control, the African
president looks upon the citizens with absolute searing contempt and the
casual brutality, often unnecessarily employed, becomes a trademark of
offers the world confirmation that being president is a job that does not
depend on education and experience, but needs nothing more than ability,
ability derived from the love and desire to serve one's own. I was amused
when President Mugabe, once again, belittled Morgan Tsvangirai at Swithun
Mombeshora's burial. The traditional chiefs, our supposed custodians of
culture and tradition, in their tired but conspicuous garb, are always
afforded the front row seats at the burial of so-called heroes to watch
Mugabe as he does the very un-African and uncultural thing of hurling insults
and abuse at people during a burial.
the President so desperate for superiority and advantage that he has to crow
about being taller than Tsvangirai? What does this physical attribute have to
do with running the country? "Let's measure the intellect," the
President went further.
If I were Mugabe,
I wouldn't proceed with this challenge. Most Zimbabweans would love to accept
the President's challenge.
Using the state
of Zimbabwe's economy, the chaos in agriculture, not to mention the
non-existence of health care, and the appalling educational standards as
evidence of what "the intellect" achieves, it shouldn't be difficult for
Tsvangirai (or anybody for that matter) to endear
As for us citizens - the
infamous povo - we await this match-up and are ready to go ahead with the
measurements as long as our genius, Tobaiwa Mudede is not given the
responsibility to tally the figures from the tape measure or from the
I hold that education can only
enable. It opens avenues of possible understanding. It is not in itself a
guarantee of ability or success since we retain the choice to accept,
implement or discard anything we learn. Our government, which is full of
doctors and PhDs, testifies to this. None is using their education to rescue
And failure always attracts
arrogance. The arrogance of our government is
With unbridled arrogance, it
reacts to one disaster after another, denying responsibility for its failures
but blaming foreigners who have never set foot in our
At independence, this country was
run by consensus. Former guerrillas were now in government. There was respect
amongst themselves. Respect for the people. They knew and accepted that
responsibility was the only thing that could guarantee our freedom. It worked
for a while until the leadership started to treat people as
For example, whose idea was it in
Zanu PF to offer Joseph Chinotimba as a parliamentary candidate? This has
nothing to do with Chinotimba as a person, as an individual. But what really
did Zanu PF want him to do in Parliament? This is the kind of arrogance that
has made people turn away not only from Zanu PF, but from Mugabe
What, for example, could have
happened if Zanu PF had respected the people well enough and offered someone
like Simba Makoni in the Highfield or Kuwadzana constituency? Those who
benefited and who continue to benefit from Zanu PF preside over its
Mugabe should look at his party.
He should take a careful look at
The whole nation seeks
warmth, but the only source of warmth available is from the fragile and
dancing flicker of one candle-light.
who can change the nation's fortunes even at this late