Sat 21 Apr 2007, 13:49 GMT
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe received farm machinery worth $25 million from
China on Saturday in a deal to replace equipment damaged when President
Robert Mugabe's government seized white-owned farms to resettle landless
Western powers have imposed economic sanctions on Zimbabwe for what they say
are widescale rights abuses by Mugabe's administration, forcing the
80-year-old leader to look eastward, especially to China, for aid and
The equipment, which included 424 tractors and 50 trucks, was part of a bid
to replace machinery damaged in disturbances when the state seized
white-owned farms, the government said.
Agricultural production has fallen drastically -- deepening the troubled
southern African country's economic crisis -- largely due to lack of
equipment, funding and technical expertise among the newly resettled
Speaking at a ceremony to receive the machinery, which was attended by a
Chinese delegation led by senior Communist Party official Jia Qinglin,
Mugabe said the country's agriculture industry was now ready to "take off".
"This is the thrust of assistance by the People's Republic of China to the
Republic of Zimbabwe ... for us to sustain politically our sovereign right
to be ourselves," Mugabe said.
Critics blame Mugabe's controversial policies for Zimbabwe's deep economic
crisis, shown by the highest inflation rate in the world -- at over 1,700
percent -- 80 percent unemployment and shortages of food, foreign currency
Zimbabwe's minister of Agricultural Engineering and Mechanisation, Joseph
Made, said the farm implements were purchased under a $58 million loan from
the Chinese government. The southern African country will export tobacco in
"The total loan facility granted by the People's Republic of China is $58
million. These items cost $25 million as part of the first phase," Made
Zimbabwe will deliver 30 million kg of tobacco to China, with as much as 80
million kg of the crop to be exported by the fifth year, Made added.
Zimbabwe has seen a drastic reduction in tobacco output, down from a peak of
over 200 million kg in 2000, to about 55 million kg last year.
Mugabe has denied his policies are to blame for the country's economic
crisis and accuses the West of sabotaging the economy as punishment for his
government's land reform policy.
www.chinaview.cn 2007-04-22 00:05:22
HARARE, April 21 (Xinhua) -- Top Chinese Political advisor Jia
Qinglin said here Saturday that China will work with Zimbabwe to deepen
bilateral reciprocal cooperation in economy, trade and other fields.
Jia, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's
Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China's top political advisory
body, made the remarks at a meeting with Zimbabwean President Robert Gabriel
He spoke highly of the smooth growth of bilateral relations and
cooperation in various fields on the basis of mutual benefit.
Jia, who arrived here Friday on an official good-will visit as
guest of the Zimbabwean parliament, said the Chinese side values bilateral
traditional friendship and will maintain bilateral contacts at various
The Chinese side will join the Zimbabwean side in implementing the
achievements made during the Beijing summit of the Forum on China-Africa
Cooperation, especially the eight measures on supporting the development of
African countries announced by Chinese President Hu Jintao, said Jia.
He said China appreciates Zimbabwe's firm adherence to the
He said the CPPCC National Committee is ready to strengthen
exchanges with the Zimbabwean parliament to make contributions to the
further development of bilateral friendship and cooperation.
Mugabe reviewed the deep friendship between the two peoples that
was forged during Zimbabwe's struggle for national independence.
He said facts have proven that the two countries are sincere and
cordial friends as bilateral friendship and cooperation have been
continuously enhanced since the two countries set updiplomatic ties 27 years
After the meeting, Jia and Mugabe attended a signing ceremony for
four bilateral cooperation documents including an economic and technical
cooperation agreement between the two governments.
They also attended the handover ceremony of Chinese agricultural
machinery and equipment.
Zimbabwe is the third leg of Jia's visit to four African
countries, which has already taken him to Tunisia and Ghana, and will also
take him to Kenya.
By Tererai Karimakwenda
21 April, 2007
A prayer vigil at the Zimbabwean Embassy in London attracted over one
hundred participants on Saturday including visiting officials from the
Christian Alliance. The event was organised by the Zimbabwe Vigil group
which has been conducting demonstrations there every Saturday for some years
Useni Sibanda, coordinator of the Christian Alliance in Zimbabwe told us
they had been invited to share their experiences and ideas for the way
forward. He said the freedom to organise such an event without police
interference and brutality is part of what they are fighting for back home.
Several leaders from the Alliance were arrested and tortured by police last
September as they gathered for a prayer meeting at a church.
Sibanda explained that there is confusion on the part of the authorities in
Zimbabwe about the role of the church. He said: "The church duty is
primarily to deal with issues justice, issues of peace, issues of
righteousness. That's our duty as a church and we are conscious of that
mission. We have to speak things as we feel God wants us to do."
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
21 April 2007
Scores of WOZA activists who were arrested on Thursday for protesting at the
ZESA offices were released on Friday afternoon. But several people are said
to have been badly beaten including Clarah Makoni and Angeline Karuru who
had taken food to the victims at one of the police stations. WOZA
coordinator Jenni Williams told us both girls were severely assaulted before
they were released.
There had been concern for 18 year old Clarah's safety as she had been
reported missing after she returned to the police station to bring food for
others in custody on Thursday. A WOZA statement on Saturday said Clarah
returned home safe late Friday night.
It turns out the police told her to go away with the food because her name
was not on any lists. As she left two plain-clothed men approached and
identified themselves as police officers who wanted to know where Magodonga
Mahlangu and Jenni Williams lived. They told her she was under arrest and
allowed her to phone Mahlangu from a phone shop. She was forced into a cream
Kombi waiting nearby with two other officers and taken to Fairbridge police
camp, approximately 20km outside of Bulawayo. WOZA said this is a place
where police officers are taken to be "disciplined".
According to the WOZA statement, she was made to watch other people being
tortured by plain-clothed officers until 8.30 at night. The police then took
her into the bush nearby and interrogated her about Jenni Williams and about
WOZA's sources for funding. Clarah insisted she could not answer their
questions, and as punishment, they forced to crawl under an electric fence.
The statements said the activist escaped into the bush and found her way to
the main road where a passer-by gave her a lift back to Bulawayo in her
torn, filthy clothing.
She was immediately taken for medical treatment because she was vomiting and
urinating blood. According to WOZA, Clarah had been beaten in police custody
on Thursday by Sergeant George Levison Ngwenya and Detective Assistant
Inspector Tshuma. This aggravated earlier injuries from beatings received in
SW Radio Africa Zimbabwe news
I set out in the following table the growth in sales in a local supermarket
over 12 months in the past year.
What is really scary are the results for the first week of April - 13 081
per cent!! I know there were other influences of this latest increase (it
was Easter) but all the same there has been another huge jump in prices in
April. Certainly more than in March and I do not think this supermarket
owner would claim that the volume of his sales are rising like this!
If we add to this the outturn of the worst agricultural season in perhaps 50
years (we have grown barely 20 per cent of our food requirements), the near
collapse of the mining industry under the burden of completely unrealistic
exchange rates (the official exchange rate is 1,25 per cent of the market
rate) and a nonsensical gold price of Z$16 000 a gram when the market price
is nearer half a million dollars a gram in the market. The continued, even
accelerated collapse of industry and the almost complete absence of tourists
and you get the picture of an economy in even deeper trouble than last year.
The IMF has revised its estimates of the decline in our GDP but even that
does not reflect what is happening right now. The response of the government
has been catastrophic - the Governor of the Reserve Bank has abandoned any
attempt to influence exchange rates - he simply handed that over to the
Minister of Finance who is the most ignorant Minister we have had in that
portfolio since independence. The Ministry of Industry is trying to hold
prices down and we have not seen sugar for three weeks, cooking oil has all
but disappeared and bread is selling at ten times the controlled price. The
Statistics office simply suspended publication of the inflation rate,
knowing full well that the rate for March - even after they had massaged the
figures and used the fictional controlled prices for key commodities, had
surged to new heights. My personal view is that inflation in March was about
4000 per cent for the average consumer in Zimbabwe.
To compound the crisis the Customs department is now demanding payment of
import duties in hard currencies. To give you an idea of just what that
means my son imported a second hand vehicle from the Far East a month ago.
He paid US$8000 and Z$1,7 million for the vehicle. If he were to try and do
that deal today he would have to pay US$6 800 in import duties - the market
rate for that would be Z$136 million. In addition he would have had to find
the additional currency because he could not get it from the Bank.
The immediate effect was a huge accumulation of vehicles and goods at the
border - people could not clear their imports, as the foreign exchange is
simply not available. So essential imports that have been keeping the
country going are now being strangled by the new regulations. This will make
conditions very much more difficult for all Zimbabweans - unless of course
you belong to the elite in power in which case you get your foreign exchange
at less than 2 per cent of its value and a new vehicle imported from South
Africa will cost you about US$85 - with import duty.
Does this mean anything to the regime here - on the surface, no! On
Independence Day we saw the usual performance from Mr. Mugabe - the MDC were
the puppets of the western powers, our economic problems are caused by the
denial of my right to shop in London (targeted sanctions) and our business
leaders are "greedy".
More seriously he made no reference to the SADC initiative to resolve our
crisis, he made no concessions to the mediation of Mr. Mbeki. He swore ("on
his ancestors grave" - about the strongest term a Shona leader can use) that
he would "never" allow the MDC to come to power. Quite a statement for a man
whose sole constituency is now about 2000 individuals living the life of
Riley in a starving nation and some 40 000 thugs on government payroll whose
task it is to beat and bludgeon the perceived enemies of Zanu PF in
preparation for another farcical election.
For the benefit of those who will have read the SADC statement that Mugabe
was elected democratically in 2002 we need to remind ourselves of that event
which was the turning point in his relations with other genuine democracies
around the world.
In the 2002 presidential elections the regime here used massive violence and
intimidation in the run up to the election. Food was rationed only to those
who supported Mugabe in rural areas. He disfranchised at least 500 000
voters prior to the election and in the election itself the authorities
fabricated up to 800 000 votes and allowed 53 000 Zanu PF functionaries to
vote more than once. In addition the postal ballot was clearly manipulated
with the armed forces voting under supervision and some 400 000 potential
MDC supporters were denied the vote on the day when polling stations closed
without registering their votes.
Mugabe claimed he won the election by 400 000 votes and this point of view
was faithfully endorsed by South Africa and the AU - but not be the SADC
observer mission. Other observers rejected the result as a travesty. MDC
challenged the result in the Courts and have yet to get a hearing. Mugabe
lost his status as a democratically elected leader. Prior to the election
the armed forces said they would not accept the result if Mugabe was not
elected and since then they have been rewarded with heavy salary increments
and perks and are now effectively running the country. Cabinet and
Parliament are largely sidelined in the exercise of power.
If nothing is done soon to turn this situation around we are headed for a
catastrophe - and I do not think that is too strong a word. Already 3
million Zimbabweans are in South Africa, 80 per cent illegally. Their
numbers are rising by the day and I would not be surprised if another
million flee the country this winter. Just on Thursday I spoke at a local
meeting organised by Civil Society (Transparency International) on the
subject of corruption in local authorities. Members of the audience who
subsequently asked pointed questions about national politics or made
statements suggesting that what we needed was regime change, were followed
after the meeting and beaten. I spoke to three of them yesterday and sent
one to a medical center for attention for what looked like a broken arm, the
others had not eaten since the day before so we fed them then gave them
money to get out of town. They were frightened for their lives.
Mr. Mbeki better understand that he is running out of time.
Bulawayo, 21st April 2007
OUTSIDE LOOKING IN
Saturday 21st April 2007
Dear Friends. Londoners have a saying, 'You have to laugh.' It refers to
situations that could be described as tragi-comic, where laughter is the
only recourse which will save you from downright heartbreak and tragedy. In
other words, you have to laugh or you will weep.
Zimbabwe is like that. Sometimes, when you listen to the ministers and top
cops defending the indefensible, you simply don't know whether to laugh or
cry. Is this man serious you ask yourself. Can he really mean what he's
saying or is he so brain-dead that he no longer knows the difference between
sense and nonsense.
Last week it was Kemba Mohadi in an interview with SW Radio Africa that was
pure slapstick. Tears of mirth at the utter stupidity of the man as he
denies the sickening brutality going on all over the country. He doesn't
even make excuses; he simply denies the evidence! An estimated six hundred
people beaten and bruised, two murders and parrot-like the Minister repeats
' Not true, not true.' You have to laugh!
This week it's the Department of Statistics trying to find ways of NOT
telling us the true rate of inflation in the country. At first, we were told
that there would be a delay while 'the technical glitches were ironed out'.
We all know what that means; it's called 'massaging the figures' After the
rate for February shot up to over 1730%, it was patently obvious that the
government simply hadn't a clue what to do about it. There was no way they
could disguise the fact that the country was in hyper-inflation with the
rate probably nearer 2.500%. But you know what? It doesn't really matter
whether they tell us or not. Zimbabweans don't need statistics to explain
their desperate poverty as they struggle to put even one meal a day on the
table. It's not statistics the people need, it's solutions.
Today I read the latest excuse from the Dept of Statistics is that their
computers have a virus! And we all know what the virus is called, don't we?
It's the Zanu PF virus and there is no known cure for this deadly condition
except total eradication in free and fair elections. This virus clearly
affects the whole body politic but particularly the brain function where
powers of reason and logical thought are seriously impaired, if not
destroyed forever. How else could otherwise normal human beings talk such
Look back over the last seven years and remember some of the excuses these
brain dead officials have come up with; the failure of Zesa to deliver
electricity was caused by a naughty monkey tampering with the transformer,
it was obviously an imperialist primate imported from Blair's Britain; the
food shortages that were just not going to happen because the then
Agriculture Minister Made had flown over the country and seen for himself
the flourishing harvest - of grass! Read the Herald or listen to ZBC and you
will find dozens of similar examples of Zanu PF idiocy. You have to laugh!
It all reminds me of my favourite homework story. The village boy who says
he was crossing the flooded river on his way to school when a crocodile
leapt from the raging waters and devoured his homework. Result: the whole
class and the teacher collapse in side-splitting mirth. But, and here's the
rub, the boy still gets punished - and he still has to do his homework. So
these brain dead Zanies can invent as many nonsensical excuses as they like,
no one believes them. And in the end they will have to pay for their
criminal stupidity... What goes around comes around!
This is my last Letter from the Diaspora. The Litany Bird will return to her
nest next week; let's hope she finds it as she left it.
Keep smiling through the tears, Zimbabwe. We shall overcome.
Ndini shamwari yenyu. PH
19 April 2007
The illegal commission running the City of Harare has come under heavy
criticism from disgruntled city employees over alleged corruption,
mismanagement of municipal resources and unfair labour practices.
At the same time, city workers in the Department of Housing and Community
Services have staged sit-ins at various offices scattered around the city
demanding that they be given protective clothing as they risked contracting
infectious diseases through their continued exposure while at work.
Director of the department James Chiyangwa denied there were sit-ins when
contacted for comment. He said the gatherings of city employees were 'merely
to receive their protective clothing and to address other issues'.
In separate interviews today, disgruntled workers told CHRA that last month
senior Municipal managers including the Town Clerk awarded themselves hefty
salaries' increments, while the majority of the workforce received nothing
in remuneration adjustments.
City employees alleged that the Town Clerk Tendai Mahachi and Chamber
Secretary Josephine Ncube have both been allocated new vehicles bought last
month at a cost around $2 billion yet the majority of city employees
continue to toil for peanuts.
CHRA reiterates its demands for elections to be held in Harare to resolve
several outstanding issues, including the welfare of employees and the
return to legitimate authority at Town House. The Commission is illegal!
Elections for Harare Now!
"CHRA for Enhanced Civic Participation in Local Government"
For details and comments please write to us on firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit
us at Exploration House Corner Robert Mugabe Way and Fifth Street. You can
also call us on 011 862 012, 011 612 860, 0912 924 151 and 011 443 578 or
visit our website www.chra.co.zw
Combined Harare Residents Association
Mobile: 011 612 860
April 21 2007 at 04:22PM
President Thabo Mbeki's having written letters to both Zimbabwe's
ruling Zanu-PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change was welcome
news, the Democratic Alliance said on Saturday.
"Failure to do so (writing to both) would have suggested a partiality
which is inappropriate in the person requested to mediate between the two
sides," the party's Douglas Gibson said.
He said the people of Zimbabwe and the whole of the region was looking
to Mbeki to achieve a breakthrough. The DA would back Mbeki's efforts.
"Firstly, in order to make a success of the policy that government has
embarked upon, President Mbeki must first admit that Zanu-PF has become a
dictatorship. Any one president who stays in power for 27 years is a
dictator. Secondly, South Africa must insist that President Mugabe does not
run in the 2008 elections."
Mbeki wrote to both parties laying out the scope of the work to be
accomplished, the Zimbabwe Independent reported earlier in April.
April 21, 2007, 18:30
Shocked police found 12 Zimbabwean women and two children locked up in a
small room north of Johannesburg this morning, after arresting a man for
kidnapping. Lungelo Dlamini, a police spokesperson and captain, said police
started an investigation after the mother of the 17 year-old girl reported
that a 41 year-old man had got her daughter into his vehicle under false
pretences at the Beit Bridge border.
He later demanded R300 in taxi fare and refused to release her. After three
days the amount for her release was increased to R3 000. Her mother
negotiated her daughter's release and police accompanied her to a filling
station in Ivory Park, north of Johannesburg, where she was to hand over the
Police arrested the man and secured the release of the 17 year-old girl. She
then took them to a house. Dlamini said police were shocked to find the 12
women and the two children all crammed into one room.
"They were all hungry," said Dlamini. They were freed and taken to a place
of safety until the case has been finalised. It is believed that other
victims were either kidnapped or taken from the border and brought to South
Africa and the man would extort money or demand money ranging from R1 000
upwards from families and friends who are already in the country.
The man's Nissan bakkie with heavily tinted black windows was also
confiscated. More charges including the contravention of Immigration Act
will be investigated against the man, who will appear in the Newlands
Magistrate's Court on Monday. - Sapa
April 21 2007 at 10:02AM
Simon Mann, the alleged mastermind of a foiled coup in Equatorial
Guinea, told a court yesterday that Zimbabwean security agents coerced him
into confessing that he was the plot's ringleader.
"The statement was dictated to me and I wrote what I was told," the
Briton, who is serving a jail term in Harare, said at Chikurubi Maximum
Security Prison during a hearing into his extradition to Equatorial Guinea.
"I was taken to the airport by unknown men and they showed me the
plane, threatening to extradite me to Equatorial Guinea if I did not sign
Mann, who lived in Cape Town, and 61 other men were arrested when
their plane landed at Harare international airport in March 2004.
They were said to have been stopping off to pick up weapons en route
to Malabo to join an advance team led by South African Nick du Toit, who was
himself arrested and then sentenced to 34 years in prison in Malabo.
Mann said he and his co-accused were in transit to the Democratic
Republic of Congo (DRC) when they were arrested in Harare.
He said they needed the weapons for a security contract they had won
in northern DRC which he said was then occupied by armed former rebels.
"As you may know, northern DRC is a rough place," Mann told the
"There are ex-rebels, ex-this and ex-that and they are all armed."
Mann denied having any contacts with the opposition in Equatorial
Guinea and said he feared he would be tortured if extradited to the west
"I don't think they are reasonable people," he said.
"They are torturers. I don't think they even know what a fair trial
The former officer in Britain's Special Air Service was handed a
seven-year term for the purchase of weapons that prosecutors said were to be
used to topple President Obiang Nguema.
The sentence was later cut to four years.
Most of those arrested with Mann were released from a Zimbabwean
prison in 2005 and the Briton is due to be freed next month.
Equatorial Guinea authorities want him to face another trial in
However, attorneys at the extradition hearing argued that Mann could
not get a fair hearing in the west African nation and faced execution there.
But state prosecutor Joseph Jagada said Equatorial Guinea undertook to
provide an independent judge selected by the African Union for Mann.
If convicted on allegations of terrorism and leading the 2004 coup
plot, the death penalty would not be applied, Jagada told the court.
Mann is a friend and associate of Mark Thatcher, the son of former
British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.
In a South African court, Thatcher earlier pleaded guilty to
unwittingly helping to bankroll the coup attempt. He was fined and received
a suspended sentence.
The hearing was delayed for several hours by a power outage. Mann
appeared frail, officials said. Prosecutors said the hearing was convened in
the jail for security reasons and was expected to continue for several
days. - AFP, Sapa-AP
This article was originally published on page 6 of Cape Argus on April
Germano Vera Cruz
Fri, 20 Apr 2007
Mawise Gumba was confident that he would have little trouble finding work in
his old profession as a maths teacher when he turned his back on his native
Zimbabwe and crossed the border into Mozambique.
But like so many of the estimated three million Zimbabweans who have fled
the chaos of President Robert Mugabe, he found that his qualifications
counted for little in a country that was once seen as a poor relation.
"I've had a pretty hard time of it so far: hunger, thirst, sleeping in the
street - the whole lot," says the 38-year-old who now has to hawk
traditional sculptures and paintings from a street stall in the capital
"I thought that I would be easily able to get work as a teacher but when I
got here I found that it was impossible because of my lack of Portuguese so
I had to set up this stall."
Zimbabweans were best educated in Africa
Zimbabwe was considered one of Africa's post-colonial success stories in the
first two decades after independence from Britain in 1980, with Mugabe
credited with producing one of the continent's best-educated populations.
In contrast, Mozambique spent the 1980s mired in civil war that continues to
stunt the growth of the former Portuguese colony which had gained
independence five years earlier than its western neighbour.
But a programme of land reforms launched in 2000, involving the often
violent expropriation of white-owned farms, precipitated a downward spiral
in the economy of Zimbabwe. It now has the highest inflation rate in the
world at 1,730 percent and 80 percent of the population is living in
"I left when I decided that for as long as Mugabe stays in power, the
situation is only going to get worse," says Gumba.
Staying behind in bid to topple Mugabe
While Gumba came to a decision to quit his homeland a couple of years,
journalist Mike Mpani wanted to stay and try and bring about the 83-year-old
But Mpani, an active supporter of Zimbabwe's main opposition Movement for
Democratic Change, eventually fled at the start of the year when he began to
worry about his personal security.
"Towards the end of last year, by taking part in a public protest, and
through my articles, my membership of the MDC became clear.
"After that, both myself and a number of other MDC supporters were arrested
and beaten by Mugabe's men. They threatened that we would end up dead if we
continued campaigning for our party."
The political climate has become even more repressive in the last few weeks
with the authorities announcing a ban on political protests in February and
then crushing a planned mass prayer rally, assaulting MDC leader Morgan
Tsvangirai and other opposition activists in the process.
Accompanied by a fellow activist, Mpani travelled across Zimbabwe by bus and
crossed the border into the central Mozambican province of Manica before
eventually making it to the capital, without a cent to his name.
"When we arrived in Maputo, we had nothing. After two days, we went to the
UNHCR (the United Nations' refugee agency).
"They told us that they couldn't do anything for us. But even so, they gave
us some money to buy some food and to catch the bus to wherever we want."
No refugee status in Mozambique
Mozambique, in common with all the countries in southern Africa, does not
accord refugee status to those who flee Zimbabwe.
"Since the end of the year, nearly a thousand Zimbabweans, especially in
Manica province, have come to see us and asked for refugee status."
"But that's not possible at the moment", a source at the national migration
office told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"All that we can do is to to advise them to go to the immigration services
to see if there is another way to regularise their stay," added Alberto de
Deus, director of Mozambique's national refugee support institute (INAR).
The UNHCR, which drew up a special emergency plan to deal with Zimbabwean
refugees, estimates that around 5000 of them need help in Mozambique but
admits that it is largely impotent.
"At the end of last year, we wrote to the Mozambican government asking it to
change their stance but we have not received any response so far," said
Victoria Akyeampong, the UN agency's local representative.
"Many Zimbabweans come to us for help ... We give them enough money to buy
food for a couple of weeks and to travel where they want to go. It's all we
Mpani has used the money to rent out a small room in Maputo but he has no
intention of hanging around in Mozambique for the long-term.
"I am giving some English courses, while waiting for something better. I am
going to try and get to South Africa. I have some family over there."
By Nowell Marufu
The Zimbabwean can reveal that several hundreds of ex-National Railways of
Zimbabwe (NRZ)employees are living in abject poverty and a life of near
destitution in Zimbabwe and South Africa after their voluntary early
retirement funds (VER) were looted by the senior ZANU PF hierarchy.
The looted funds, amounting to more than US$5 million, were illegally
diverted to the construction a private business project, the
Bulawayo-Beitbridge Railway line , in which some of the most notable key
shareholders are the late Vice President Joshua Nkomo,Minister of State
Security, Didymus Mutasa, and Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.
The NRZ, through a programme funded by the World Bank, was to reduce its
workforce from 17 000 to 11 000 between the years 1990 and 2000.
Government was involved because the funds to manage the the VER exercise
were coming from the World Bank.
A total of 6 000 workers applied to go on voluntary early retirement after
having been invited to do so by the NRZ Board of Management.
The three representatives of the World Bank to monitor the fund were Mr
Thomas Johnston (Credit Controller), Mr Yash Pal Kedia ( a committee
member), and Mr Roger Edgeton (the Actuary).
"Everything went well until the whole process was later designated to one
Abedinigo Sibanda who became the actuary after these three had left after
seeing to the initiation of the whole process," said Mr Josphat Steven Moyo,
the Chairperson of the VER Associoation.
Moyo says that they were tricked into applying for voluntary early
retirement on the basis that they would be duly compensated; only to have
Sibanda changing the payment formula.
Sibanda designed a two- pronged payment formula that saw some workers
getting more than others.
Moyo , now living in exile in South africa, alleges that relatives of
ministers and other senior officials in the ZANU PF government were rewarded
larger payouts in comparison to those who were without the 'right
"We were supposed to get a lump sum payment of 1/3 at first, with the 2/3
coming in as monthly payments.
"But through a hastily crafted statutory instrument , our 2/3 monthly
commutations were stopped in 1998; and as a result we are now living in
Moyo goes on to further state that all efforts to track down their monies
were replied with threats from the dreaded spy agency,the Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO) and senior ZANU PF officials.
"The VER Association even took the NRZ Board and the government to court
over the issue, but we lost the case , (Judgement No HB47/2001) ,because of
the partisan nature of the High Court judge presiding over the case and his
assessors, who were all known to be ZANU PF loyalists," added Moyo.
Moyo indicated that they were now enlisting the services of human right
organisations based in South Africa to appeal to the World Bank to ensure
that they got their monies.
One of the organisations that was approached by Moyo and other affected
ex-NRZ employees is the Pretoria-based Zimbabwe Exiles Forum (ZEF).
"ZEF is appalled by such corrupt behaviour of a governmental parastatal like
the NRZ.It is corruption among other things that has caused our economy to
deteriorate at such an alarming rate.
"Every employee or ex-employee is entitled to their severance or retirement
packages and denying them this package is an abuse of their socio-economic
rights,"said ZEF Executive Director, Gabriel Shumba.
"We are appealing to the World Bank to see that we get our retirement
packages, and that our monthly retirement benefits be restored from the day
they were stopped.
"There is a great need for the USA, European Union, Britain, and the United
Nations to intervene to bring harmony to the politically and economically
beleagured Zimabweans who are suffering as result of the corrupt Harare
administration,"said Amen Ndhlovu, another ex-NRZemployee based in
ZIMBABWE police officers are no longer having off days during weekends
amid reports that they got surprise salary adjustments this month to
mollify them in the face of rising political tensions and violent
incidences in the country.
The salary adjustments for the security forces are efforts to calm
discontent among junior officers who have not been spared from the
harsh effects of Zimbabwe's unprecedented economic meltdown.
Police officers are now working seven days a week with 'no off' and
'half days' on Sundays and Saturdays respectively as usual during
normal circumstances amid revelations that new leave applications are
also being denied.
Police sources say this is part of moves to step up efforts to have
the police on standby against rising violent disturbances. This comes
against reports that the police are now authorized to use live
ammunition in response to violence.
According to reports, this followed concerns in the government that
police have been over-stretched by recent disturbances and are
ill-prepared to deal with violent opposition protests.
The Home Affairs Minister, Kembo Mohadi and Wayne Bvudzijena, the
police commissioner refused to comment.
This follows reports that about 2500 Angolan paramilitary police,
feared in their own country for their brutality, are to be deployed in
the country to boost numbers of the police force. But the government
denies the allegations saying they are in the country for an exchange
Analysts credit soldiers and police with keeping President Robert
Mugabe and the ruling Zanu-PF party in power as they are always ready
to crush public discontent in the face of an unprecedented economic
Analysts also rule out the possibility of well paid security force
staging a coup against President Mugabe despite warning that the
worsening economic crises running havoc ion their salaries could force
them to openly revolt or refuse to defend the government in the event
of a civil rebellion-CAJ News.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Every single day courageous and faithful Christians in Zimbabwe are
suffering and dying through their resistance of the brutal reign of
president Robert Mugabe. You would never know this is true from the lack of
interest or response of conservative Christians in America. Of all the
causes that are taken up by the Christian Right I have not heard a single
voice lifted on behalf of the church in Zimbabwe and their struggle to
resist the reign of terror led by President Mugabe.
In January, eight high-profile Christian leaders were arrested by security
forces as they, and hundreds of supporters, opened a new office of the
Zimbabwe Christian Alliance, an international agency that promotes
non-violent resistance to Mugabe's rule. But Mugabe's government continues
to crack down on this resistance as the nation faces total economic and
social collapse. Zimbabweans struggle to survive with an inflationary rate
of 1,700% as well as widespread unemployment and profound poverty. More than
3/4ths of the people live in poverty, unemployment is at 80%, and hordes of
people are escaping to South Africa as refugees. Mugabe has led the nation
since 1980 and every call for political and social reform has been met with
more force and resistance. Other African leaders are complicit in allowing
this to happen, including the president of neighboring South Africa.
Thankfully, the Lutheran World Federation has called on the international
community to respond. And the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, with 75
million members in 216 countries, has also urged action by a pan-African
Union to act to end this oppression. I support the actions of the World
Alliance of Reformed Churches as a Reformed Christian.
While the Christian Right struggles to "rescue" America it almost
universally ignores the plight of the poor and oppressed around the world,
as well as in our own country. Evangelicals are rarely heard from when
issues like Mugabe and Zimbabwe rise to international attention. Why? Could
it be that what I have called our "America-centric" mindset is in fact a
form of worldliness? Could it be that we simply don't care about profoundly
Christian concerns beyond our own land unless they represent efforts to win
individual souls to Christ through our flawed approaches to mission?
Look, I believe the free-market is needed to help Africa lift itself up
economically and to experience and practice real freedom. But the
free-market will not work when the leadership is corrupt and the economy is
a disaster because of oppressive governments. The problem is simple--most of
the world doesn't care enough to do anything about Zimbabwe. While we fight
a war in Iraq, ostensibly to build freedom and to protect our own national
interests and what we believe to be peace in the Middle East, we treat
places like Zimbabwe as unimportant at the very best. To my mind, something
is very wrong with this picture. Evangelicals need to join their Catholic
and mainline Lutheran and Reformed brothers and sisters in resisting Mugabe
and fighting for true reform in Zimbabwe. If we will not defend the helpless
and the weakest then our witness will be blunted and our prophetic edge, if
we still have one left, will be lost entirely.
Pray for Zimbabwean Christians. Better yet, do something about Zimbabwe if
you have an opportunity. Your brothers and sisters need you to truly love
them. Talking about politics is easy, doing something that saves lives and
cultures is what really matters. Consider James 2:12-26. I don't hear much
serious preaching on James in our conservative churches. I fear that I know
why. We are American Christians first, and kingdom Christians second, if at
all. We love the message of faith, but we shun works of mercy and compassion
when it costs us something. Something is very wrong with this picture.
John H. Armstrong is founder and director of ACT 3, a ministry aimed at
"encouraging the church, through its leadership, to pursue doctrinal and
ethical reformation and to foster spiritual awakening."
Sunday Times, Kenya
The peoples of the African continent have been given very good reasons to
feel proud and honoured to have a leader like you. Thankfully, the South
Africa your party, African National Congress (ANC) inherited from the
obnoxious white minority government of Frederick De Klerk, back in 1994, is
a very different one.
There is economic prosperity everywhere; millions of South Africans have
received economic empowerment, many have received housing, racial relations
have improved markedly, your government has allowed for a very vibrant and
effective Opposition and South Africa has now taken its position as a key
voice on the continent and even beyond.
These, we must admit, are as a result of good, workable policies that have,
in themselves, allowed for stability and a big source of attraction to
foreign investment. Little wonder that South Africa, despite all that it has
gone through in past decades and eras, has become our continent's most
viable economy, as well as a power-house of prosperity and a beacon of hope
for the rest.
Mr President, 42 million South Africans, and another 800 million brethren of
yours around the continent, will never forget the mighty role you played in
helping to bring the FIFA World Cup to Africa.
Come 2010, the world will converge in your country and history will be made
for Africa as a whole, when several cities in your country and environs will
not only be opportuned to show-case the legendary African hospitality, but,
also show to hundreds of thousands of guests, as well as to some six billion
members of the world community, that excitement, good organisation, good and
modern infrastructure, profits and corporate success can come from Africa.
Your party, the ANC is one of Africa's oldest and most enduring movements.
But, more importantly, it's about one of the few if not the only, political
party on the continent that was, and has remained, driven by a manifesto and
Maybe, the ANC's many years, first as a movement for black African freedom
fighters, and second, as a legalised political party, has helped you and
your party to gain one thing that the majority of parties around Africa
badly lack: namely experience. Yet, no one can deny this other fact that
good leadership is key to what the ANC has been able to achieve for all
South Africans- black, white and mixed race.
South Africa, and the ANC in particular, has been blessed with a succession
of good, committed and visionary leaders, such as, your predecessors,
President Nelson Mandela and Frederick De Klerk, Govan Mbeki your father,
Oliver Tambo, Steve Biko, Winnie Madikezela, Jacob Zuma, Cyril Ramapozah.
These great men and women, including you. Mr President, and many others, had
given their all, their freedom, their lives, riches and comfort, in order
that South Africa should be free; in order that Africa as a whole should be
rid of a big blight, if not a major wound, in its long history: that of
apartheid - a wicked system that consigned the majority of the population to
second class status.
Mr President, the leadership provided by the ANC is exemplary, because it
remains one of the few ruling parties on the continent that has not been
accused of hounding the Opposition or incarcerating or beating people up for
lawfully opposing government policy.
Since you took office as president eight years ago, you have led a
constitutional government, and like your predecessor, the great elder
statesman himself, Dr Mandela, you have wisely avoided the temptation of
using the big majority gained by your party to try to change the
constitution, and all South Africans, minority and majority alike, have been
the better for it.
Remarkably, too, the ANC dominated government, which you lead, has
consciously refused to function within a winner-takes-all atmosphere, in the
interest of stability and national unity, and most importantly your
government has consciously avoided exploiting deep-seated racial and ethnic
differences or inequalities still embedded in South African society for
selfish political ends.
For so long, apartheid regimes in the country had dwelt on it making South
Africa hell on earth, as a result. Today, many leaders across Africa are
still adopting such tactics in order to strengthen their power bases and to
remain in power, and their countries have been thrown into long-running
Interestingly, land re-distribution policy being pursued by your government
has forced many of your country's 4.5 million white citizens to flee in
anger or fear, now has it triggered any form of open resentment among the
black majority; but, still, it is ongoing.
The truth and reconciliation commission, which your government set up in
1999 to look into the atrocities and excesses of the past, proved so
effective as a tool of national healing that other countries, such as
Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Cote D'Ivoir and Liberia, followed suit.
Indeed, the report card for South Africa, and particularly for the ANC-led
government, since the introduction of majority rule in 1994 has been very
good, not least in the domestic front.
Looking at how much South Africa has achieved so far, those in Europe and
America, who think the black man is less capable of governing himself than
he was two centuries ago, are always confronted by a living example of the
African success story, and why not?
The crusade your government has launched against corruption has not spared
some of the most powerful sons and daughters of the land, including top
people in the governing party, like your former deputy, Jacob Zuma. Your
courageous efforts in that regard has been replicated by some of your
counterparts across the continent, such as, Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo,
Zambia's Levi Muanawasa and Malawi's Binguwa Mutharika. It is unfortunate,
however, that here in Kenya, we are still struggling to tame the dragon! No
one can be in any doubt, Mr President; of the kind of legacy you would wish
to leave behind for your country and the wider continent, when you conclude
your second and final presidential term in two years time.
Surely, you will want to be remembered, Mr President, not just as someone
who gave his all for the sake of his country, South Africa, but, you will
also want to be remembered as the man who stood for justice and for equality
elsewhere in Africa. For that reason, the long-suffering people of Zimbabwe,
12 million in all, are urging you to intervene to end theirs and their
country's downward spiral. Your friend and colleague, President Robert
Mugabe, is driving his people into the ground, and everyone reckons that you
and your government are about the only ones that can make him listen to the
belated cries of his people.
Mr President, you are grossly wrong to continue to argue that what is taking
place between Mr Mugabe and the opposition is merely an internal matter. It's
also wrong for you, Mr. President, to regard President Mugabe alone as the
Zimbabwean freedom fighter who had helped end white minority rule in his
country and proceeded to give his unqualified backing to the ANC in its own
bloody war against the white (Pretoria) regime.
Ordinary Zimbabweans had also been part and parcel of the liberation
struggles, and many gave up lives and families, and came under constant
bombardment from the South African airforce and army, in solidarity with
their brothers and sisters on the other side of the border.
It's in the interest of the people of Zimbabwe that you and the rest of the
government of South Africa think along these lines: that President Mugabe's
quarrel with Western governments is one thing, and his problem with the
domestic opposition, another. Besides, your colleagues in SADC have chosen
you as the one to meditate peace between the government of Zimbabwe and the
But, as you set to begin your new task, please, consider these: that someone
must have to take responsibility for the economic and political mayhem that
has hit Zimbabwe since 2001, a land redistribution policy that has
transformed that country from the region's bread basket to an impoverished,
grain -begging one; three, the fall of life expectancy among the general
population to about 37 years; four, rise in infant and maternal mortality;
five; the dislocation or displacement of 700,000 inhabitants of Harare, the
capital and opposition stronghold via a mass demolition of their dwellings;
six, the repeated use of the police and other security agencies, as well as
ruling party militants, to brutalise, harass and physically batter members
of the opposition and lastly, the highest inflation rate in the world.
Surely, nobody, including you, Mr President, will tolerate such madness,
such disrespect for human rights and such disregard for basic freedoms
inside South Africa. The time to do something, President Mbeki, is now,
before Zimbabwe implodes and a humanitarian disaster thrust upon the region
in a degree never before seen. To be sincere, Rwanda's case could be just a
tip of the iceberg!
If one way of resolving the crisis in Zimbabwe is getting the president out
of the way for the good of the millions of Zimbabweans, then, you, Mr
President, should lead the way in telling him to go, in the interest of his
Let free and fair elections happen in that country, next year, and if
President Mugabe, at 86 will prove as an obstacle to that taking place, you
Mr President should take the lead; do the right thing by garnering the
government of South Africa, the SADC countries, as well as the rest of the
African union, to launch an economic and diplomatic boycott of the ZANU PF
President Mugabe's personal interests and wild fantasies cannot be allowed
to supersede those of the millions of ordinary men, women and children of
Zimbabwe who are currently bearing the brutal brunt of poor governance and
The writer is a Policy Advisor based in Nairobi.