ZIMBABWEANS should brace up for yet another media empire that will churn
out raw Zanu PF propaganda, complementing the efforts of the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) and Zimpapers.
At a time when the public media is fast losing ground to the independent
press, the Department of Information and Publicity in the President's Office has
intensified moves that will culminate in the launching of New Ziana (NZ), a
government owned multimedia organisation, in the coming few weeks.
to plans, NZ, a wholly government owned private company, will have three
strategic business units: a news agency, a radio and television station and a
community publishing unit in a venture that is expected to cost taxpayers up to
The news agency is set to recruit highly skilled journalists
who will write stories that Zanu PF hopes will take away the market from
established organisations such as Reuters and AFP, which have been accused by
the government of writing falsehoods about Zimbabwe.
It will ensure that the
outside world gets stories with a Zimbabwean point of view. The 24 hour-radio
station will churn out official news while the satellite television will beam
its Zimbabwean propaganda further from Zimbabwe's borders.
publishing section, dubbed New Ziana Community Publishing, will take over the
five newspapers: Masvingo Star, The Times, Indosakusa Ilanga, Chaminuka
Manicaland News and the Guardian Telegraph. Three more titles will be added to
this section to ensure that the papers, written in the vernacular, reach all in
Zimbabwe. Nearly all Zimbabwean languages will find space in the eight
newspapers, which will all be weeklies.
An earlier plan to acquire Kwayedza
from Zimpapers and revive Umthunya was dropped due to unclear reasons. A
brainchild of Professor Jonathan Moyo, who is eager to create a new information
order friendly to Zanu PF, the new company has been on the drawing board for the
past 12 months, but has failed to materialise due to the shortage of funds.
Sources close to the Department of Information and Publicity told The Standard
it was only a matter of weeks before the new company was launched.
a matter for debate anymore, preparations are at an advanced stage and you will
hear about the launch anytime from now," said a source.
The modalities that
will see the merging of the old Ziana and the Community Newspapers Group (CNG),
are being worked by a board that was appointed last month. Headed by businessman
Munacho Mutezo, Zanu PF's secretary for administration in Manicaland province,
the board includes Dr Rino Zhuwarara, Elizabeth Karonga, former Chronicle editor
Stephan Mpofu, Ngugi waMirii, Engineer David Chikowore and Sally Ntabeni, a
Midlands State University lecturer.
Mutezo told Ziana recently that NZ would
be launched soon after formalities of registering it as a private company wholly
owned by the government and appointment of key staff have been made.
Mutezo: "The vision of the organisation is whereby it becomes the cutting edge
in news provision and preferred source of news on the government and the
national point of view. The New Ziana will concentrate on nation building and
the healing process, particularly as we look at the post independence election,
and also to input the development process and the general wellbeing."
Sources told The Standard that NZ, which is expected to recruit over 200
journalists, will give the government a wide platform to disseminate its
policies in the face of increased opposition from dissenting news organisations
that have gained considerable ground in the country.
Moyo has not made the
intentions of the NZ secret. Last year he held several meetings with editors of
Ziana and Community Newspapers where he drove the message home that the
organisation would be pro-government.
Without mincing his words, Moyo said
any editor who was not willing to toe the Zanu PF line the NZ was free to leave
the organisation and start his own newspaper, radio or television station.
By our own Staff
THE ministry of education, sport and culture has started dismissing
teachers and education officials who were blacklisted by war veterans and Zanu
PF supporters during the presidential election campaign period, The Standard has
Already several teachers, suspected to be supporters of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, are no longer on the payroll of the Public
Service Commission (PSC) and many more have received suspension letters, pending
Nearly all teachers who fled their schools due political violence
are being reported to be on a list that was complied by war veterans and the
Zanu PF militia. This move has caused anxiety among teachers who are not sure
who is next in the firing line.
Two regional directors and a number of
officials at the ministry's head office have also received a retirement request
from the PSC. One of the officials who preferred not to be named said: "It's
true that I am one of the affected. The request was made under Section 18.4(g)
of the Public Service Regulations of 2000, which empowers the PSC to ask
employees to retire if it's in the interest of the public service."
these regulations, an employee is notified of termination of service three
months in advance.Worried by this development the Zimbabwe Teachers Association
(Zimta) says it will urgently seek an an audience with the minister of
education, sport and culture, Aeneas Chigwe-dere.
Zimta's first vice-
president, Erisson Huruba, told The Standard ahead of the organisation's 21st
Annual National Conference in Bulawayo last week that they had received many
reports of teachers whose services had been terminated, or replaced in
circumstances that are not clear.
"Although we are still to finalise the
issue, the feeling here is that we will have to take up the issue with the
minister who has indicated his willingness to discuss the issue," he said.
teacher who attended the congress said: "War veterans and Zanu PF activists have
compiled a long list of teachers they claim were supporting MDC during the past
presidential election. Many of these teachers are now out of employment."
President Mugabe has vowed that all civil servants who were involved in
opposition politics will be dismissed from the service.
Zanu PF militia hijack police duties
By Kumbirai Mafunda
ZANU PF youths hijacked the manning of the main gates to the National
Sports Stadium during the Independence Day celebrations on Thursday.
The youths, clad in Zanu PF regalia, reduced police officers to mere
spectators as they took on the manning of the gates and the searching and
screening of entrants.
The Standard witnessed 'inappropriately dressed'
people being harassed by the militias, while those in Zanu PF regalia received
Said a visibly distraught Tendai Chirenje of
Highfield: "I lost $1 000 at the gate. They forced me to surrender my wallet
saying they were searching for weapons and knives, and when they returned it, my
money was missing."
The youths also interrogated those who arrived after
President Mugabe had delivered his speech, accusing them of not respecting the
Zanu PF leader.
As has become the norm at Independence Day celebrations, a
number of people arrived well after Mugabe's speech had been delivered, but in
time for the main attraction, the soccer match between Dynamos and Highlanders.
However, not everyone who arrived after the speech gained entry as the stadium
gates were closed by 1pm. Those who did enter did so at the discretion of the
militias, while others were turned away for giving unsatisfactory answers to
Police spokesman, Chief Inspector Tarwirei Tirivavi, said
there had been nothing irregular in the manning of the gates by the youths.
"Of course, if it is a political event politicians take over the manning of
the gates. This happens at all political rallies, be it Zanu PF or MDC, their
security take over," said Tirivavi.
On being reminded that the Independence
Day celebrations were a national event, the police spokesman referred all
questions to Zanu PF.
When contacted for comment, Saviour Kasukuwere, the
deputy national chairman for the youth, said he was unaware of the incident. "I
wasn't there, I was in Mount Darwin," he
'Keep an eye on Zimbabwe'
By Kumbirai Mafunda
THE Lawyers Committee for Human Rights has expressed great concern over the
human rights crisis in the country and the Zanu PF government's failure to
uphold internationally-recognised freedoms following President Robert Mugabe's
The US-based organisation said the fact that the case of Zimbabwe seemed to
have receded in importance in the US and Europe should not detract attention
from the serious human rights violations still being committed throughout the
"The Lawyers Committee for Human Rights is extremely concerned that
human rights and civil society groups seeking to exercise their basic rights to
assemble and criticise the government of President Robert Mugabe are being
prevented from doing so by threat of arrest, prosecution and physical attack,"
said the committee.
The committee cited the Public Order and Security Act as
one of the weapons being used to muzzle anyone attempting to speak out against
the government or to demonstrate.
Heavily armed soldiers, police and Zanu PF
militia descended on members of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) while
they were attempting to demonstrate for a new constitution during the first week
Lovemore Madhuku, the NCA chairman, and other members of the
organisation, were arrested and charged under the Public Order and Security Act.
They were accused of holding an illegal gathering.
contains many provisions which are contrary to the international and regional
human rights standards contained in instruments to which Zimbabwe is a party,"
said the committee.
The committee urged all states to ensure that Zimbabwe
complied with international human rights laws. "All states must ensure that
Zimbabwe complies with its obligations under international human rights law and
its commitments through regional initiatives, such as the New Partnership for
Africa's Development. Part of ensuring such compliance involves providing strong
support to local civil society groups and human rights activists.Without the
contribution of these people and organisations to democracy, rebuilding the rule
of law and respect for human rights, Zimbabwe and the southern African region
face an even bleaker future."
Individuals and organisations involved in the
documentation and dissemination of the information on human rights abuses were
commended for their work. "These individuals and groups must be protected and
supported as they expose killings, torture, rape and arbitrary detention by
government agents and advocate changes in legislation and government policies,"
said the lawyers.
Witch hunters create confusion over Aids
By Euphracia Mahenga
SELF-proclaimed witch hunters operating under the name of Tsikamutanda, are
creating havoc within families in Mawabeni village, 45km south of Bulawayo, as
they seek to reduce the growing number of deaths among the young people which
they attribute to witchcraft.
Their activities have caused confusion over how society perceives the Aids
Instead of using the high death rates to instil Aids awareness in
Mawabeni, the headman and the Tsikamutanda are attributing them to witchcraft.
The area is situated along a highway which links Bulawayo to South Africa
and is frequented by long-distance truck drivers who operate internationally and
engage in prostitution with the villagers.
Mawabeni is inhabited by the
Sotho tribe who have managed to maintain their cultural beliefs and traditions
including a deep-rooted faith in witchcraft.
Speaking to The Standard, one
villager said the rising death count had prompted them to consult the
Tsikamutanda to try to end the tragedy.
"The death rate has increased to
such an extent that we are attending funerals almost on a daily basis. Worse, it
is the young people who are dying. During our time, it was unheard of for the
young to die so often, so we feel that the village needs to be cleansed to scare
away these evils which are causing deaths among the youth," said the villager.
Another villager, identified only as Dzikamai, pointed to witchcraft as the
main factor since all the young people affected seemed to exhibit the same
symptoms before death.
"Our children are all dying in a similar way. They
contract chronic dysentery, get thinner and eventually die. The only thing which
could be causing this sickness is witchcraft and that is what we are trying to
get rid of with the help of Tsikamutanda," said Dzikamai.
cleansing of the village by the Tsikamutanda, has seen many old women and widows
being labelled witches responsible for the deaths of the youth. Those so branded
find themselves isolated or ejected from the village, or having to take part in
cleansing rituals which may involve being burnt to death. Nomagugu Dhliwayo told
The Standard how her face and right arm had become deformed as a result of a
"People were dying and the Tsikamutanda said I was
responsible. They made me crouch over a bucket of boiling water and they covered
me with a blanket. When I cried out that the steam was hurting me, I could hear
the Tsikamutanda saying that the devil was being destroyed," said Nomagugu.
Another woman, Shuvai Ncube, was labelled a witch by Tsikamutanda and chased
from the village.
"When my husband and two children died of Aids, my in-laws
consulted the Tsikamutanda who later accused me of having bewitched them. I was
later ejected from the village with practically nothing of value," said Ncube
who is also from Mawabeni.
These revelations are just the tip of the iceberg
for the Tsikamutanda have been operating in this village for almost a year now,
resulting in the suffering of many women.
Zinatha secretary-general, Peter
Sibanda, told The Standard that his organisation was opposed to the activities
of the Tsikamutanda. "We tried to stop them but they would not listen. The
problem is that they have the support of the chiefs and headmen, with whom they
share the returns accumulated from the exorbitant fees they charge for their
services. What they are doing is daylight robbery and people should not take
them seriously," said Sibanda.
The Tsikamutandas have reportedly been given
permission by government authorities to operate in the country. Efforts to
obtain comment from any official in the organisation were fruitless.
Wutaunashe gives thumbs up to 'land reform'
By Itai Dzamara
REV Andrew Wutaunashe, chairman of the Faith for the Nation campaign, a
coalition of local churches aligned to the government, has reiterated his
support for the chaotic Zanu PF land reform programme, describing it as a "Godly
process" and the epitome of Zimbabwe's independence.
He said this during a sermon on Thursday at the Independence Day
celebrations at the National Sports Stadium in Harare.
the need for nation-building and political tolerance, Wutaunashe came out in
support of the status quo and blamed the country's problems on what he said was
the battering it was receiving on the international scene, as well as the fight
for power inside the country and Zimbabweans' thirst for making unwarranted
Said the evangelist, who claims to be a prophet: "This is not
the time for people to be seeking power but to be uniting in building the
He added that the talks between the ruling Zanu PF party and the
opposition had to be pursued in the spirit of unity and nation-building.
Said Wutaunashe: "One politician said the two parties are as far apart as
the North Pole and the South Pole, but I would like to remind the nation that it
is these poles which bind the earth together." He was referring here to comments
made on the talks by the minister of information and publicity, Professor
Towards the end of his sermon, he emphatically declared:
"Forward with the land struggle," a slogan which was at the centre of the Zanu
PF election campaign.
He said he noted with pride how some families which
had before looked gloomy and desperate, were suddenly looking hopeful and happy
at the prospect of gaining land in the on-going land reform exercise.
much-criticised fast-track programme which involved the arbitrary acquisition of
commercial land by Zanu PF supporters, is generally blamed for the country's
current economic mess. Mugabe has accused the predominantly white commercial
farmers of bankrolling the opposition MDC.
You know you are in Zimbabwe when...
YOU know you are in Zimbabwe when people who are peacefully demonstrating
are suddenly descended upon by anti-riot police and accused of breaching the
Public Order Security Act.
Who is disturbing public order here, the one marching peacefully or the one
beating up a peaceful demonstrator?
You know you are in Zimbabwe when you
spend half the day in a mealie meal or cooking oil queue and when the delivery
at last arrives, policeman and soldiers jump the queue and you go back home
You know you are in Zimbabwe when the only songs you hear
being played during commercials are political songs by Chinx, Bryn Mteki and
Joshua, the white son of the soil.
You know you are in Zimbabwe when people
of the private media snub an invitation to comment on public media and when all
criticism is put on the opposition political party by what is supposed to be our
You know you are in Zimbabwe when you hear that the
chief executive officer of the ZBC, known for its anti-gay stance, is caught in
a homosexual act at a restaurant.
Zimbabwe is truly a country of wonder.
A constitution should mirror our beliefs
(sundayopinion By Frank
At the height of peril to his own nation, Winston Churchill spoke of the
darkest hour. Today, we join together as a nation to pray for the political
victims lost during the darkest days of our history.
We pray and mourn for the children who now go to bed without their mothers
and fathers. We pray for the mothers and fathers who have lost the children they
loved. We pray also for a nation united in politically-inflicted grief. For we
know that the freedom we so cherish as a people and for which many sacrificed
their lives, exposes us to the wicked, the murderous and the cowardly forces of
The year 2000 will always be known as the beginning of the day when a
dark cloud descended over Zimbabwe. But clouds always pass. And the sun always
breaks through. And we know as Zimbabweans that God's light will again shine
across this land and that our free and strong people's will, shall prevail. The
forces of evil which are committing political atrocities, have caused pain that
will last for generations, pain that has claimed the lives of innocent men,
women and children. But evil never prevails. Freedom, despite its vulnerability,
will always prevail.
Zimbabwe was founded through the indomitable will of
thousands of people who felt they were a nation too distinct to be relegated to
the unalterable position of political minority. Zimbabwe was founded so that
millions of the people would be able to live according to their opinions and the
event ultimately represented the triumph of an idea. The idea was of liberty
which has had its ardent followers in all climates and countries.
achievement of freedom is not an instantaneous event. It is a process. The seed
is planted, but before the tree can take root, grow and spread, it has to be
nurtured untiringly by innumerable hands. It is therefore pertinent to note that
a country's constitution should be paramount, democratic and people-driven. The
constitution should be a true mirror of our beliefs and our sincere aspirations.
To frame a genuine constitution people need to scrutinise their own minds and
souls very closely.
Time-honoured maxims and hallowed principles embodied in
a constitution are of little validity unless a nation feels that it possesses
the spiritual strength to live up to them, unless they echo the voice that is
heard unfalteringly in the inner most recesses of its soul. The main features of
the constitution to which a people put their seal with a conscience free of all
restrains, doubts or qualms should be unequivocally clear. The constitution
should guarantee every citizen fundamental human rights, equality of status and
opportunity before the law, social, economic and political justice, freedom of
thought and expression, belief, faith and association.
And the state should
exercise its powers and authority through the chosen representatives of the
people and this can only be done through the principles of democracy, freedom,
equality, tolerance and social justice, and not through militias and war
veterans. And only through this will Zimbabwe prosper and attain its rightful
and honoured place among the nations of the world and make full contribution
towards the peace, progress and happiness of its citizens.
Take what UK Zimbos say with a pinch of salt
(londonline By Ken
TAKE with a pinch of salt, whatever a Zimbo from this place tells you about
his or her status. Forget about the model of car driven or the trendy clothes
worn. Zimbos can easily acquire them without having first attained the status
which goes with them.
Cars are so cheap that it is less expensive to buy a new one than have a
broken-down one repaired. That is why broken cars are left to rot along many
roads in London and elsewhere. Or they become playthings for the yobs who take
pleasure in burning them or simply destroying them in any way they deem
I found this situation wasteful in my first days here because back
home, I used to drive a 1973 Mitsubishi Colt model, which leaked oil and let in
cold, dust and rain. It was as if I was out in the open rather than in a car. I
now understand what this place is all about. It's a land of wastage, a land
where everything has been cheapened, artificialised.
It's not just cars that
are dumped by the roadside. Furniture too is dumped. To be honest, the set of
sofas I have now, I picked up just up the block. They are still new and by Zimbo
standards, they are bound to be here for the next five years. Well, laugh, if
you want to, but I know of homes back there in Zimbabwe where you have to
test-sit a sofa first before sitting on it. Those are the sofas whose bottoms
have been eaten by age.
And it's not just sofas whose bottoms have been
eaten up by age. I think Temba Mliswa's mind is just like a sofa eaten, not by
age though, but by a profound ignorance which the bright lights of Luton could
His comments in The Independent of 12 April 2002 about the
people refused entry into the United Kingdom, were most unfortunate,
insensitive, irresponsible and disgusting. How could he claim that most Zimbos
who have been turned away at the British points of entry have Aids or are HIV
Temba runs an organisation known as Education UK which purports to
assist aspiring teachers to find placements in the education system of the
United Kingdom. According to the information I collected before I left Zimbabwe,
people are supposed to pay œ100 for their papers to be processed. They are also
supposed to be given letters to show immigration officers in order to facilitate
entry. But the letters have failed to perform miracles at entry points resulting
in some of the people being turned away.
Now Temba, typically of him,
refuses to take responsibility for this. He drags the equation of Aids and HIV
into it. What a shame.
By now, one would have expected the Aids pandemic to
have touched every family, village, city and soul. Many people have lost one or
more relatives and friends to Aids. I have lost relatives and friends to Aids.
It touches me and it touches all of us and the worst thing for us is to have
someone make irresponsible comments which dampen the hope we are trying to give
to those who are affected and infected.
I have yet to meet a Zimbo who has
been forced to undergo an HIV test here in London or at Gatwick, Heathrow,
London City Airport, or even Stanstead. So how does Temba know that people who
have been turned away are HIV positive? Does he have the records of such people?
The bottom line, Temba, is that you misled people into believing that you
could help them when you can't. By taking their money, you committed fraud,
especially when you now turn around and say those who were turned away were HIV
positive. If you knew their HIV status, why did you take their money?
However, I am not surprised that these comments are coming from Temba
because whatever Temba touches turns to dust. He should therefore be crowned
Prince Fiasco. He is known for taking to his heels when confronted with
But I digress.
The issue, however, is for you not to take
whatever a Zimbo from these parts of the world tells you about his/ her status.
There was this fellow who used to tell us that he was studying medicine
here. The cheeky fellow even posted this information onto a web site which seeks
to bring old school friends together.
He even returned home at one time
armed with various credit cards which he used to treat his friends to lavish
meals at posh hotels. At one hotel, however, the credits cards refused to yield
cash and, boy oh boy, what trouble there was.
Well what I know about this
guy is that he is not a doctor, or even a nurse. He tried training as a nurse
but was not able to sustain it. He does something in a psychiatric home. But
whatever it is, falls far too short of a nursing vocation.
Another Zimbo I
know used to tell me that he owned two BMW cars, a big house and various other
paraphernalia. When I phoned him informing him that I was in London and wanted
to see him, he began to tell me that he had sold his cars and moved house. When
I try to call him now, he switches off his mobile.
There you are. Just take
it with a pinch of salt.
At the time of going to press, Oliver Mtukudzi was
billed to perform in London at Strutford. Now, according to many Zimbos here,
getting lost in the Zimbo beat, merits foregoing the shift.
A few women I
spoke to a while ago said that they were taking two days off.
A flicker of
light in the dark.
Economic Woes Set to Escalate
Zimbabwe Standard (Harare)
Posted to the web April 21, 2002
the country enters its second quarter, Zimbabweans who had pinned their
for an economic recovery on the outcome of the March presidential
are bound to find 2002 the toughest year ever since 1980.
backdrop of political upheaval which started in February 2000,
analysts have ruled out an early respite for the country's long
citizens. To add to the country's woes, the precarious situation
exacerbated by the increasing isolation of the Robert Mugabe
regime, which is
now widely viewed as illegitimate following the
controversial March 9-11
So pessimistic are the projections for Zimbabwe's
economic performance that
economists have predicted that the economy will
shrink by a further 10%,
against last year's decline of 7,5%. It is also
generally agreed that
President Mugabe's rushed 10 point economic recovery
plan will not have any
impact on the country's economic
What is needed is a political solution to bring Zimbabwe back
to its feet,
say the economists. Harare-based economic consultant, John
Standard Business that 2002 was going to be particularly
Zimbabwe was under attack from its own
"I foresee a situation where much of the population is going
to lose most of
what they already have. The government has not been very open
they are doing to revive the economy. There is a lot of
year could be one of the worst. Basic commodities are not
present on the
market, where they are present, the prices are uncalled for.
It seems the
cost of living is rising uncontrollably every day," said
Prominent Bulawayo economist, Eric Bloch, has predicted that
currently pegged at about 113%, will shoot to 150% by the end of
Bloch warned of grim prospects in 2002 if the government did
reverse its policies. "Policies of price controls, mandatory
increases, rigid unrealistic exchange rate maintenance, tacit
and support of industrial unrest and disregard for the
fundamental tenets of
law and order are causing escalating and accelerating
Confederation of Zimbabwe Industry
(CZI) president, Jacob Dube, said 2002
was proving to be one of the worst
years as far as the cost of living was
concerned. Said Dube: "The
inflationary environment is having negative
effects on company production
costs for both domestic and export markets.
This is reducing the
competitiveness of the country's exports, thereby
compounding the current
foreign exchange crisis.
A lot of people are being retrenched, worsening
the situation in many
people's homes." Presenting the 2002 budget last
November, the minister of
finance and economic development, Simba Makoni, was
about 2002. Said Makoni: "The escalating prices of goods
and services in the
country, high unemployment and escalating retrenchments
have eroded the
quality of life for citizens... As a result, an estimated
over 75% of the
population will be living below the poverty datum
Last year all sectors recorded negative productivity, with
production declining by 12,2%; construction_5,2%; hotel
distribution_9,1%; manufacturing_7,5%; mining_7,4% and transport
communication_3,5%. Theses sectors are expected to decline further by
end of the year.
Zimbabwe accuses Senegal of betraying
HARARE, April 21 — Zimbabwe has accused Senegalese
President Abdoulaye Wade
of betraying President Robert Mugabe by joining
Western countries in
condemning Mugabe's controversial re-election last
month, state media
reported on Sunday.
In a statement in the
official Sunday Mail newspaper, Foreign
Affairs Minister Stan Mudenge said
Zimbabwe was surprised that Wade had
joined a ''chorus led by Britain and its
Western allies in discrediting''
the presidential poll.
ruling ZANU-PF party has insisted the March 9-11 election
was free and fair,
but his rival, Morgan Tsvangirai, has accused Mugabe of
electoral fraud. The
poll has been condemned by the Commonwealth, European
Union and United
In an interview with the New York Times published on April 10,
was quoted as saying: ''Mr. Mugabe did not respect the rules. The
could not wage its campaign. There were many deaths. Electoral
changed days before the election. We can't call that an
Wade said of African leaders who have endorsed Mugabe's
refuse to belong to this trade union of presidents. Mugabe or
not Mugabe is
not my concern. My concern is what the people of Zimbabwe
Mudenge said Wade had no independent information on the
noting that Senegal had not responded to Harare's invitation to
election observer mission to Zimbabwe.
Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) will
next month resume
talks seen as unlikely to result in opposition demands for
an election re-run
Mugabe 'dumping people in the wilderness'
April 20 2002 at
Zimbabwe's food crisis, exacerbated by drought, is
deepening as President
Robert Mugabe's economic and land-grab policies come
home to roost for
Shortages of basic commodities
spawned by Mugabe's decision to impose price
controls last year are worsening
by the day, and an expensive black market
for such daily needs as cooking
oil, sugar and maize meal has sprung up.
Queues for basic foodstuffs form
at dawn at supermarkets around the country
and last until dusk, often without
any such items being on sale. Desperate
citizens simply want to make sure
they won't lose out should consignments
Hundreds of thousands
of people in the arid southern parts of the country
are facing mass
starvation despite efforts by the United Nations to
60 percent drop in agricultural output
indiscriminate seizures of white farms, which started in February
combined with a crippling drought, have caused a 60 percent drop
agricultural output and the country needs to import 700 000 tons of
and wheat to feed its people. State hospitals and clinics that cater
needs of at least 90 percent of the population are short of basic
There is no end in sight to crippling foreign
currency shortages that have
been caused by the destruction of the commercial
agriculture sector, the key
foreign currency earner through tobacco
The business sector now buys all its foreign currency on the
One South African rand fetches 30 Zimbabwe dollars, one US
dollar buys Z$330
and the British pound is worth Z$450.
no option but to pass the costs of these hard currency
transactions on the
black market to the consumer.
Dumping people in the wilderness
is Zimbabwe's 113 percent annual inflation and the resultant price
shortages of basic commodities that have caused misery to many.
market for basic commodities is now thriving because of the price
which have forced manufacturers to either slow down or
Because of the extreme difficulties in getting these
basic goods in the
supermarkets, most of the fixed official prices become
irrelevant as those
who can afford it resort to the black
Economists have one explanation for Zimbabwe's debilitating
economic woes -
Mugabe's 22-year-long mismanagement of the economy and his
remain in power by whatever means, which culminated in his
the widely discredited March election.
They say the
only solution to reversing Zimbabwe's relentless slide towards
deprivation is to implement radical economic policies that
will bring back
international donor support and much-needed foreign
investment to help
alleviate the record unemployment rate of 60 percent.
has centred on force, which has led to human rights abuses
and disregard for
This has achieved the effect of attracting economic
sanctions from major
donor countries. The International Monetary Fund (IMF)
and World Bank pulled
out in 1999, citing Mugabe's
Mugabe has since said that his government officially
abandoned free market
policies and IMF and World Bank-sponsored economic
policies in favour of a
Marxist command system, which it followed in the
1980s with disastrous
Mugabe has also announced a new
agriculture-driven economic policy based on
productivity on farms seized from whites for
Economists say this policy is a recipe for
"His resettlement scheme has been about dumping people in the
without giving them the basic infrastructure needed for them to
productivity," said James Jowa, a respected economist
"Modern economies are not driven by agriculture, but by industry,"
His sentiments were shared by other economists, who argued
that Mugabe had
failed to implement agrarian reforms that were production
oriented in favour
of ad hoc land seizures.
"As far as things stand...
there is no hope for this country as long as
Mugabe hangs around," said a
central bank economist who preferred to remain
"This is why
all major firms in the banking, manufacturing and tourism
relocating to other regional countries."
The following items give
a guide to what food price increases mean in
everyday terms for Zimbabwe's
A 5kg bag of low-grade maize meal, which cost Z$50 (R4,30)
around this time
last year, now costs Z$125 on the official market and Z$400
on the black
A similar quantity of special- grade maize
meal, which cost Z$120 in April
last year, now costs Z$200 on the official
market and Z$500 on the black
A 750ml bottle of cooking
oil that cost Z$40 a year back now costs Z$150 on
the official market and
Z$300 on the black market. A kilogram of salt, which
cost $19 last year, now
costs Z$45. - Foreign Service
April 22, 2002
Mugabe's farm endgame recalls
From Jan Raath in Harare
AFTER about 50 years of
farming in Zimbabwe, Guy Cartwright and his wife,
Rosalind, are left with a
rented flat in Harare, two vehicles, furniture and
a pension worth £5.77 a
month after the Government seized their property.
Two weeks ago his
4,000-acre farm, Waltondale in Marondera, with assets
apart from the land
worth £900,000, including 260,000kg of tobacco just
harvested, 600 head of
cross-bred cattle, eight tractors and two dams, came
under the control of
Brigadier (retired) Ambrose Mutinhiri, the local MP for
ruling Zanu (PF) party.
On April 12, he allowed the Mr Cartwright, 69, to
take some of their
personal effects from the homestead. Much, including
valuable antiques, has
been destroyed or looted. Everything else he was
ordered to leave behind.
The farm had not even been listed by authorities for
resettlement. Mr Mutinhiri has produced an unsigned document
allocates him 1,000 acres of Waltondale.
Cartwrights’ flat is bare except for a couple of suitcases and two
“We’ve been through being scared, the anger. Now we’ve collapsed
in a heap.
What do we do now?” Mrs Cartwright, 61, asked.
Since the flawed
presidential elections last month, 150 white farmers have
illegally from their properties and the pace is gathering.
Among the new
occupants of the properties are Cabinet ministers, MPs and
senior officers of
the Army, police, secret police and the prisons
farmers have been told that they have to leave behind all their
equipment, crops and livestock.
Some managed quietly to move
their equipment into storage but since then
police have set up roadblocks in
many areas and ordered lorries caught
carrying farm implements to return the
Behind the wave of lawless seizures of land and equipment lies a
strategy comparable to Stalin’s collectivisation of farms, and it
the same frightening consequences. Maize meal, the national staple,
desperately short supply, and the situation is about to deteriorate
The maize crop about to be harvested has been reduced by drought
wholesale disruption of white commercial farms. Supplies of wheat
out in July. White farmers have traditionally produced almost enough
demand, but tens of thousands of acres of land in the winter
areas lie bare.
White farmers have been allowed to carry
out almost no planting. Instead,
Joseph Made, the Agriculture Minister, has
urged “emergent” black commercial
farmers to move on to land that has been
allocated to them. When the
Commercial Farmers’ Union (CFU) asks officials
how the new occupants will
manage to grow the wheat crop, they are told, “By
infrastructure” — the white farmers’ equipment.
said on April 12 that he would soon issue regulations to force
farmers to leave behind their equipment. None has been issued yet
seizures are being carried out anyway.
The only mention of compensation
was contained in a threat from Mr Made
yesterday. “Their (white farmers’)
objective is to destroy the
infrastructure in farms we have resettled by our
new farmers. There will be
no compensation for those who vandalise
equipment,” he said.
The wheat crop has to be planted by early next
month. Later than that,
yields diminish rapidly and before long late-planted
seed will produce no
grain at all. There is no sign of the seed and
fertiliser that Mr Made has
promised. Farmers forced off their land have
switched off the electricity
supplies for which they pay. It has not been
explained how the new occupants
are expected almost immediately to pick up
the complicated technicalities of
Mr Made’s plan
to grow winter maize has been greeted with disbelief. The
crop is highly
sensitive to frost and will not germinate without high
Government says that it has just planted 4,500 acres in
canal-irrigated sugar plantations in the arid south-eastern Lowveld
“It’s been tried before and it didn’t work,” Jerry Grant, CFU
“Even if they do manage to get germination, the
yields will be so low and
the whole operation would have been so costly that
it would have been
cheaper to import it.”
News update - Thomas Bayley is taken to Hospital
(On behalf of the Commercial Farmers’ Union)
(89 yrs), who walks with the aid of a frame had a fall on
Friday night and
had to taken to Hospital on Saturday morning. This ends 37
days of remaining
in their home under siege by war veterans and youth
militia. His wife Bobs
(Edith) 79 yrs, and their helper (unnamed for fear of
reprisals) have also
left the property. The couple came to Mazoe in 1936
from the United Kingdom
and built up their farm from virgin bush.
Danbury Farm owned by the
Bayley family is just 30 kilometers from central
Harare. The hilly farm
normally has 350 hectares of seed maize; soya beans
and runs beef cattle. The
farm is under a compulsory notice of acquisition
but the owners are due to
argue their case in administrative court. Before
the problems began, there
were eighty workers employed on the farm and most
lived there with their
Mrs Bobs Bayley is very shaky with Parkinson's disease whilst
senior, walks with a frame and needs assistance following a hip
operation 2 years ago. Members of the youth militia are on
around their house.
21st April 2002
more information, please contact Jenni Williams
Mobile +263 11 213 885 or
+263 91 300 456