Zimbabwe bans farmers from driving off
with their equipment
April 22 2002 at 10:55AM
Harare - Zimbabwe's white farmers
have been banned from exporting equipment
used on farmland destined for
redistribution to the country's black
majority, minister of lands Joseph Made
told the Mail newspaper yesterday.
"All borders across the country have
been issued with a directive not to
allow any farming equipment to leave the
borders," he was quoted as saying.
The pro-government Mail reported that
white farmers had been seeing taking
tractors and irrigation equipment off
land slated for acquisition by the
government under its land reform
Police had intercepted some of this heavy equipment as its
trying to export it to neighbouring countries such as Mozambique,
South Africa, the paper said.
"No farmer should be given
such [export] permits," Made said. "What exactly
can we expect from a group
of persons who claim to be Zimbabweans when they
do this? Their objective is
to destroy the infrastructure in farms [where]
we have resettled our new
"In fact such truckloads should be detained. There will be no
for those who vandalise equipment."
In 2000 the
Zimbabwean government introduced land reforms aimed at handing
all the farmland held by white commercial farmers who, two
independence, still owned 70 percent of the most fertile soil.
reform programme has been accompanied by the often violent
hundreds of farms by groups spearheaded by veterans of the
Zimbabwean war of
A severe drought and the uncertainty over tenure have
helped turn the former
breadbasket of the region into a net food
To Europe, Zimbabwe hardly
FROM Europe, Zimbabwe seems a mere speck, a distant
object seen through the
wrong end of the telescope that is trained,
fearfully, on the line of
conflict that runs between Christian and Muslim
worlds. Or on Israel, the
Except for a couple of paragraphs
in the International Herald Tribune, I
have seen no reference in three weeks
to Mugabe, or to quiet diplomacy, or
to any of the other trivial issues of
southern African policy that have
recently loomed so large in South African
politics. The Congolese
negotiations rated less attention than Retief
What matters to Europe these days is Palestine, breathtakingly
the Israeli army, and President George Bush's stated intention
to get rid,
somehow, of Iraq's recalcitrant leader, Saddam Hussein. And
where the Americans have embroiled their allies in a war that
increasingly messy and dangerous.
The Americans themselves seem
shaken by Israel's ferocity. The Washington
Post summed it up: "Israel's
right to target the authors of (such) murderous
attacks is undeniable. But
with its killings of women and children, its
torture and terrorising of
unarmed men, and its mass destruction of the
property and dignity of people
in the West Bank, (Israeli Prime Minister
Ariel) Sharon's army is achieving
the opposite of its aim."
The European reaction has been worse, leading
to sanctions on Israel and to
a visible rift with the US. Germany no longer
promises the unlimited support
for Bush's campaign against terrorism that it
offered last September.
Europeans everywhere are inclined to observe that
they have spent years
trying to develop the Palestinian economy it was
growing at better than 6% a
year only to see their efforts destroyed by
Israeli arms supplied by the US.
The French see ominous parallels to
their experience in Algeria.
They use an old, familiar term to describe
the Israeli raids on crowded Arab
That was the
word they used for the French army's raids in Algeria which
inevitably, into atrocity and torture, and eventually
the moral basis of France's struggle to maintain their
colons, in that country.
Today, inevitably, they call the Israeli
settlers on the West Bank colons,
and anticipate their eventual eviction.
Twentieth century experience,
including SA's, has shown that no army can win
a war against a people. To
see the Israelis erecting fences along crazy lines
to confine Arabs to
"separate areas" certainly sends a chill down a South
I mention these things not to pose as an expert on the
Middle East (it is 40
years since I did any serious work there), but to
convey, if possible, the
flavour of European comment. It is underlaid by a
growing concern that the
new, unipolar American world may prove less stable
than the bipolar order of
the Cold War.
Europe has a thousand-year
collection of good reasons to fear that the clash
of ideologies is being
replaced by a clash of religions or, since the west
is now no more than
nominally Christian, a "clash of civilisations". The
Mediterranean is a lake,
ringed by mutually dependent states, and
half-integrated populations: Arab,
Jew, and for want of a better word,
Christian. Nobody in Europe wants to
rekindle those old fires.
So the Europeans watch, filled with misgivings,
as the Americans rampage
across a vast landscape stretching from Mauritania
to the borders of China
in search of "terrorists", and as the intertwined
conflict in Palestine
threatens to ignite a terrible conflagration. There is
a sense here of vast
forces gathering, of tectonic plates shifting.
may all be exaggerated, of course, and may simply pass away. That
happened often enough in Europe's long history. But "Christianity", in
geopolitical sense, has not survived by inattention to threat. The
know when to worry, and when to posture.
Zimbabwe (to return to my original point) is posture. It is the
sort of thing
Europeans do when they are bored, or free of serious worries,
playful. In the greater scheme of things, seen from Europe,
exists, and SA is a side-show.
So long as the Middle East boils, Mbeki is
free to practice diplomacy as
quietly as he likes. Nobody in Europe gives a
Apr 22 2002 12:00:00:000AM Business Day 1st
22 April 2002
Statement - Tommy Bayley email : email@example.comUpdate -
Danbury Park Farm 21 April 2002
Since the last report we wrote
on 11 April, we have been barricaded out of
house and my father fell
and broke his leg, so my parents and their cook /
assistant had to be
On Friday 12 April my parent's cook / assistant
returned. He had had to
two days at the bus stop at Mazowe
before he was able to get a lift to take
wife and furniture back to
his rural home. We had a very peaceful day and
suspected that this was
the calm before the storm. It was.
Following threats by the "war
veterans" and the police saying they were
to secure their safety,
our tenants had arranged to have their belongings
removed from their cottage
in the early morning on Saturday 13 April. It
began early because there was an enormous build up of
that morning, and the resident "war vets" lit fires around the
mobbed around them as they were loading the trucks.
We had agreed to move
the belongings of our tenant's cook, but during the
morning the "war vets"
wired up the gate to the field, which we had been
to access our
house. The only other access being our main entrance, which
barricaded for the last three weeks. Suspecting trouble, we
cook obtain the assurance of the "base commander" that we
would be able to
return if we went out to move the furniture. The "base
cook that we would be able to return, so we left
through the main entrance.
Amid much abuse, we had to wait for the youth
militia to remove the chains
blocking the road.
When we returned, we
found a new barricade and a fire at the end of the
We were denied
access inspite of the earlier agreement with the "base
we were barricaded out and my parents and their cook /
We spent the afternoon with a neighbour trying to get some
response from the
police. They visited the farm, but said they could
not help, apparently,
the District Administrator and the Lands
Committee could make any decisions
regarding this issue!
As it was
evident that this issue would not be resolved quickly, on Monday
we contacted Meryl Harrison of the ZNSPCA and requested she
five cats and three of my parents' four dogs. We had no
way of getting food
water to the cats, and while the younger ones
could catch rats, we were
particularly concerned about the mother cat, who is
no longer fast enough to
hunt. My parents were having problems whenever
they let the dogs out of
house, because the "war vets" would crowd
around the door as it was being
and try to hit the dogs as they ran
out. My mother wanted to keep one dog
Unfortunately the ZNSPCA were only able to find the mother cat,
four were obviously in hiding. A friend of ours kindly agreed
after the three dogs, and the cat is living with us in our
The whole of the following week we tried to
get some response from the
DA and Lands committee. Finally,
late on Friday afternoon (19 April), they
at our house on the farm and
we were asked by the police to accompany them
there. The meeting had
already started when we arrived and we were not
to join in.
We were there for about two hours and in this time we were
taunted and insulted by the youth militia. They felt they
two year old daughter for their wife and told us they would like to
like chickens and assured us that they could do what they liked
arrest. Unfortunately they are correct on the last
issue as the murderers
our worker's brother were at this meeting,
gloating at us, infront of the
police, that they were still free. My
daughter could not understand why she
not allowed into the house to
play with her toys.
At the end of the meeting the DA, police and "base
commander" came to us and
said they were unable to resolve the issue because
differences" between us and the "war veterans". They
proceeded to list
we had "committed". We did not recognise
any of these stories and were
horrified that such outrageous lies could have
been dignified by being
The DA advised that he will refer
this issue to the Provincial
and the Provincial Lands
Meanwhile we have been advised that the remaining maize in our
silo and our
workshop have been completely looted. We requested that
police go with us
the yard to check this but the "war veterans"
denied us access. At this
the situation became extremely
volatile and the police advised us to leave.
On that Friday morning I
reported to the police that more of my cattle had
that one cow had been chopped up and distributed to my
investigating, the police phoned me back, while I was in my
office. They advised that the cow had died, so the war vets
up. They did not seem to think this was a
crime. They then put me onto the
"base commander" who told me that I
had to take my parents out of their
remove all their household
belongings and my household belongings and we
be allowed one
car. Everything else was theirs, including the other cars,
tractors, machinery and cattle. I had to do this by Sunday or
trash the two houses. The police, it would seem, had no
problem with these
My parents have been denied visitors
for some time, so on Friday 12 April,
had to ask a charity organisation
to take food and medicine to them. We had
ask these people to
take more food on Friday 19 April, as all other visitors
access. Jenni Williams, on behalf of the CFU, was denied
take them food on Wednesday 17th.
Throughout the day on
Friday 19 April the "war veterans" were threatening to
pour petrol into my
parent's house and set fire to it. This was a
situation because my mother has no sense of smell. The stress
this situation obviously made my father more unsteady than usual and
resulted in him falling badly onto his knee in the toilet. My
cook / assistant managed to get him into bed, but
suspected he had broken
knee. When he awoke during the night in
considerable pain my mother asked
call an ambulance to get him
out. She was determined to stay behind, but
family decided she
should be evacuated too. The police would not provide an
escort for the
ambulance and my two sisters when they went in to collect my
When the ambulance and my sisters arrived at the barricade,
initially denied access and had to wait some time before they
entry. While the evacuation was taking place, my sisters,
drivers were subjected to continual verbal
harassment by the "war veterans".
they were leaving the "war vets"
assured my mother that our houses were now
going to be looted and
The doctors advise that my father has broken his femur just
above the knee,
he has been admitted to hospital, where he will need
an operation. My
their cook / assistant and the fourth dog
are now staying in Harare.
We managed to retrieve one more terrified cat
on Friday, but the other three
are still missing and we fear for their safety
in the proximity of such
merciless and brutal people.
We have not
given up on the farm, our home and livelihood and are very
the assistance given to us by family, friends, neighbours,
organisations, our lawyers who have spent many hours and
at all times of the day and night, working on resolving
For more information, please
Jenni Williams Mobile (Code +263) 91 300 456 or 11 213 885
(+2639) 72546 Fax 63978
Pro-democracy officials arrested in Zimbabwe
HARARE, April 22 AFP|Published: Tuesday April 23, 1:17 AM
Zimbabwean police today arrested three top officials of a pro-democracy
movement, one day before it planned to hold national anti-government protests,
the group's spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said.
Lovemore Madhuku, chairman of the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA),
national coordinator Edna Zinyemba and information officer Maxwell Saungwene
were arrested early this afternoon, Mwonzora said.
Police arrested the three at NCA's national headquarters in Harare, one day
ahead of anti-government protests the group had planned in Zimbabwe's five main
cities, he said.
"They were taken by police to the law and order section at Harare Central"
police station, Mwonzora said, adding that the current location of the three was
unknown, with NCA's lawyers unable to find them.
Mwonzora said the protests would go ahead despite the arrests.
"It goes on. Lovemore is not supposed to be at the protest anyway," he
Police in Harare and the southern town of Masvingo have banned the
protests, but NCA is asking a court to overturn the ban.
The planned demonstrations are part of a series of national protests the
group has organised in the aftermath of President Robert Mugabe's controversial
re-election last month, which was declared illegitimate by independent
Zimbabwean observers and the opposition.
The first protest on April 6 was quickly broken up by police.
The NCA wants to force the government to accept a more democratic
constitution, which the group says would prevent the abuses that aided Mugabe's
re-election in the March 9-11 presidential poll.
The current constitution, negotiated with Britain at independence in 1980,
gives Mugabe broad executive powers, which he used to change electoral rules up
to the day before voting began.
Zimbabwe gets huge agricultural export deal to Malaysia
Pana has reported that a state-run agricultural agency announced that
clinched a $2.5 billion deal to export various agricultural products
Malaysia. The agency has signed an agreement with Malaysia
Trading Corporation. The exports will include products such as
beef, beans, paprika and coffee. The deal is to be reviewed
deal is characteristic of the new type of deals that the
entering into as it moves away from European markets as a
sanctions imposed by these countries. Other deals include a beef
Libya and cotton exports to
Human Rights Watch
U.N.: Many Countries Escape
Human Rights Commission Fails to Pass Critical
Resolutions on Many Countries
(Geneva, April 19, 2002) -- Human Rights
Watch sounded an urgent alarm at
today's votes by the world's highest human
rights body, which chose one by
one to ignore severe human rights violations
in several countries on its
agenda, such as Russia/Chechnya, Zimbabwe, and
"This is a frontal attack on one of the most effective
human rights tools:
the naming and shaming of human rights violators," said
Human Rights Watch's United Nations Representative.
recent years, many highly abusive governments facing censure by
Commission on Human Rights (CHR) successfully fought to gain seats on
U.N. body as a way of fending off criticism. Today, as the period in
the CHR considers the records of individual countries began drawing to
close, that cynical strategy reaped big rewards.
disturbing human rights records now command a significant
bloc of votes on
the commission. Those countries include: Algeria, Burundi,
China, Cuba, the
Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia, Kenya, Libya,
Russia, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Togo and Vietnam.
In addition, many
Western countries, particularly those from the European
Union, have been less
outspoken this year than in the past. In a bow to the
opponents of "naming
and shaming," the European Union departed from its
of naming the worst violators in its speech under
the agenda item dealing
with country situations. Instead it chose to
distribute that part of its
statement in a separate written text.
"Today's votes underscore a serious
crisis at the Commission on Human
Rights," said Weschler. "Governments around
the world that profess
commitment to human rights must undertake immediate
steps to prevent the
current situation from recurring or degenerating
further." Weschler said
those steps should include making a country's human
rights record the
decisive factor in election to the CHR and working
year-round on issues
related to the CHR, rather than making it a discreet,
largely confined to Geneva.
Africa Must Fulfill Pledges
The East African (Nairobi)
Posted to the web April 22, 2002
If there is one thing that the East African region and
Africa in general lack, it is private-sector initiatives aimed at steering
national development. The reason for this has been the inherent mistrust between
governments and entrepreneurs over the control of wealth largely created by the
Underlying this mistrust is the manner in which governments
shrink the cake baked by individuals and corporate bodies in the form of tax and
doubts as to whose benefit the tax proceeds are utilised.
That is why two recent developments are worthy of note. Last
week's meeting in Dakar, Senegal, ended with African leaders pledging democracy
and good governance in return for greater investment from developed nations. The
aegis was the New Partnerships for Africa's Development (Nepad) initiative.
A week earlier, Kampala had hosted the now familiar meeting
between presidents from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania, who appear intent on
establishing regional institutions that will eventually form the pillars of a
vibrant East African Customs Union, if not a political federation.
The icing on the cake at the Kampala summit was the official
launch of the East African Business Council (EABC) - an umbrella body for the
region's business organisations established in 1997 to lobby governments into
formulating and effecting policies conducive to attracting foreign
Nepad is essentially the brainchild of Southern, West and
North African economic heavyweights in South Africa, Nigeria and Algeria. An
Africa Economic Summit, under the initiative, is scheduled for Durban, South
Africa, in early June.
Of concern to East Africa is the absence of its active input
in the Nepad initiative despite the fact that it receives the least portion of
foreign direct investment destined for the continent. That poses the first
challenge to the region's governments and EABC.
For instance, will the council and the governments have a
common position to present at the summit, or will the region's aspirations be
crowded out by those from other regions? In South Africa, the South African
Development Community (SADC) has a voice, as does West Africa through the
Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) in Nigeria, while Algeria
speaks for North Africans. Where is the East African voice? Since Tanzania is an
SADC member, who speaks for the common aspirations of Kenya and Uganda?
Representation aside, there is a more fundamental issue that
could, despite the hullabaloo, make Nepad stillborn. Since the collapse of the
Berlin Wall and the democratisation wave across the globe, Africa has offered
the West the rule of law, human rights, democracy and zero tolerance to
corruption in exchange for capital, technology and technical support.
But one can point to numerous occassions when African
leaders have appeared to be dishonest brokers in the deal. The latest was the
Zimbabwean election, which the West unanimously agreed was stolen.
With the exception of a few silent leaders, Africa eschewed
international condemnation of President Robert Mugabe's tactics in surviving the
opposition's onslaught. The message: Africa was not yet ready to change. Kenya's
coming election presents another ground for scrutiny.
With Africa failing the Harare test case, what hope does
Nepad have? Will the West provide the $64 billion-a-year needed to push Africa
out of the woods on broken promises? In the absence of tangible guarantees, the
answer might simply be no.
Copyright 2002, Nation Media Group Ltd. All rights
The Daily News
War vets torch settlers’ homes
4/23/02 12:59:43 AM (GMT +2)
From Brian Mangwende in Mutare
TWELVE families in Makoni East and North constituencies narrowly escaped
death last week when about 30 war veterans and Zanu PF youths set on fire six
dwellings and 12 tobacco barns belonging to members of the opposition MDC.
Property worth millions of dollars was destroyed during the attack last
Tuesday. The families have now been rendered homeless and are living by the
The rampaging war veterans and Zanu PF youths accused their victims of
backing Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC leader, during last month’s presidential
Elvis Mhiripiri, an MDC election agent in Chirimutsitu resettlement area,
Makoni East, said: “About 30 war veterans and Zanu PF youths came to my house at
around 11am and ordered my family to leave the constituency and go to Britain.
Two of them had pistols. They burnt six adjacent dwellings belonging to MDC
“Part of my property, which I managed to save, is now out in the open on
the roadside. But the rains have already destroyed it. I do not know where to
start. My wife was beaten up and my children were almost burnt had it not been
for the burglar bar on the window which thwarted the attackers’ intentions.”
He said the Zanu PF attackers set the dwellings on fire using petrol bombs.
Mhiripiri’s brother, Newton, of Bingaguru resettlement area, Makoni North,
said he lost 23 bales of tobacco worth thousands of dollars.
He said: “They beat me up taking turns for about 20 minutes. Then they
burnt my house and bales of tobacco demanding that I denounce my membership of
the MDC. I have never seen such savagery. Have we gone back to war? It seems as
if this is where we are heading.”
Other MDC members whose dwellings were burnt are Cephas Makungwa, Fungai
Kanda, Taurayi Nyamapote and an agent identified only as Marondera.
A police report was made and is recorded as case number 192/2002, which is
being investigated by one Constable Gatsi.
In a related incident in Rushinga in Mashonaland Central province, war
veterans have evicted from the Department of Water Development houses all people
suspected of being loyal to the MDC.
The war veterans have also taken over the recruitment of untrained
schoolteachers, workers for Cottco and Agricom and the sale of maize from the
Grain Marketing Board, according to a statement from the MDC office in Harare.
In the Mudzi district of Mutoko, war veterans on 4 April abducted two
brothers, Alois and Peter Bob, from Karimbika village for supporting the MDC.
Their whereabouts are still unknown.
The Daily News
NCA defiant over demo ban
4/23/02 1:00:27 AM (GMT +2)
By Rhodah Mashavave
THE National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) will go ahead with its planned
peaceful demonstration tomorrow, despite a police ban.
Douglas Mwonzora, the NCA spokesperson, yesterday said: “The police in
Harare said the demonstration would lead to a breakdown of law and order that
would trigger violence, but we are going ahead with the marches.
“The police have never allowed us to hold any of our demonstrations against
the government, citing the same reasons every time, but it’s obviously a way of
crushing our rights,” Mwonzora said.
He said this time the demonstration would take a different form from the
one held on 6 April and that more people would be involved.
“We are not going to disclose where we are starting our marches, but I am
certain this time we will succeed,” Mwonzora said.
Dr Lovemore Madhuku, the NCA chairperson, said: “The police have no power
to ban a peaceful demonstration and, as before, we are going to ignore the
so-called police ban because it is unlawful.”
About 400 protesters, including Madhuku, were arrested for taking part in
the NCA’s thwarted demonstrations on 6 April.
They were arrested under a section of the draconian Public Order and
Security Act (POSA), which the police say compels protesters to obtain
police permission first before they engage in any public demonstrations. But the
NCA says that the Act only requires that the police be informed.
Madhuku said the last arrests gave them more determination to push for a
“The NCA will continue with demonstrations until the government accepts a
new constitution,” Madhuku said.
He said the decision by the NCA to embark on another demonstration in less
than three weeks was clear evidence of the organisation’s resolve to have a new
“We have already experienced the worst forms of repression from President
“The only way to have a democratic future is through fearless and
consistent struggle and no amount of repression or brutality will stand in the
way of our resolve to have a new democratic constitution,” Madhuku said.
He said the NCA believed in the primacy of a new constitution that even the
rerun of the presidential poll under the current constitution would not be free
The NCA has blamed Mugabe’s disputed win on the defects and flaws in the
current constitution that enabled Zanu PF to manipulate the outcome of the March
election in which the opposition MDC leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, lost because of
alleged massive rigging.
The Daily News
Ben-Menashe signs contract
4/23/02 1:01:17 AM (GMT +2)
ARI Ben-Menashe, a key player behind the sting operation of an alleged plot
to assassinate President Mugabe, says he has signed a contract with the
government to launch an international economic lobby.
Ben-Menashe said this on SW Radio Africa’s Saturday programme, News This
Week. SW Radio Africa is an independent station which is run by Zimbabweans and
broadcasts from the United Kingdom.
“I have signed a contract with the Zimbabwean government to embark on an
international economic lobby,” said Ben-Menashe, the director of a Canada-based
public relations consultancy firm, Dickens and Madson.
However, in the same radio interview he said he had decided not to be a
witness in the case anymore, repeating what he was quoted as saying in The
Zimbabwe Independent’s Friday issue.
Ben-Menashe was expected to be the State’s star witness in the treason
charges against Tsvangirai, Welshman Ncube, the MDC secretary-general, and
Renson Gasela, the party’s shadow minister of agriculture. They are due to
appear in court next week to answer charges arising from a meeting they held
with Ben-Menashe in London and Montreal in which they allegedly plotted to kill
Mugabe. The trio, if convicted, face the death sentence or life imprisonment.
Ben-Menashe said of the Tsvangirai case: “That is now something else, I am
now concentrating on this contract.”
Asked if he got the deal because of his links with Zanu PF, he said: “The
contract was signed with the government of Zimbabwe and not Zanu PF.”
He refused to say how long the contract was for.
There was no immediate
confirmation from the government.
Ben-Menashe is involved in a number of deals, including several
multi-million dollar contracts concluded in 1997 and 1998 with the Zambian
government of former president Frederick Chiluba.
It is alleged that Ben-Menashe, representing a Canadian company, was
introduced to Chiluba. The Zambian government allegedly paid US$7,8 million
(Z$429 million) for maize procurement, which was never delivered.
The Zambian government also contracted Ben-Menashe to play down allegations
of gun-running by the Angolans in 1998. Angola accused several senior Zambian
politicians of selling arms to Unita. Chiluba’s government allegedly paid US$1
million to Ben-Menashe to use his alleged contacts in the United States’ Central
Intelligence Agency and the United Nations to downplay the allegations.
The Daily News
180 students flee as youth brigade descends
on Chinhoyi University of
4/23/02 1:01:57 AM (GMT
THE Chinhoyi University of Technology was
deserted on Saturday after most of
the 180 students left the campus in a
hurry following attacks by members of
the Zanu PF youth brigade and
university security guards on Friday.
The president of the Students’
Representative Council (SRC), Tivaone
Gwatidzo, said he left the campus
hurriedly on Friday morning when he learnt
that six Zanu PF youths, known as
the Top Six Squad in Chinhoyi, were
looking for him.
“I am worried
about the fate of Honest Munatswa, the secretary-general of
the SRC, whom I
left in Chinhoyi,” he said from the safety of Harare.
Gwatidzo said there
were disturbances triggered by the students who demanded
their payout from
the university authorities on 17 April.
He said students were supposed to
get a loan of $ 58 000 a year, but this
was far too little as most of it, $49
000, went into paying for tuition,
leaving a student with only $9 000 to
cover for boarding and book expenses.
He said the Chinhoyi students were
particularly not happy that they were
being charged $49 000 for tuition yet
their counterparts at the University
of Zimbabwe in Harare, the National
University of Science and Technology in
Bulawayo, the Bindura University of
Science Education and the Midlands State
University were paying $30 000 a
year for tuition.
“We were concerned by the delay in the disbursement of
our payouts and the
$19 000 discrepancy. When we demanded an explanation,
soldiers who had been
rehearsing at the university campus for the
started beating us,” Gwatidzo, who sustained
injuries on his left hand
during the commotion, said.
He added that
the violence began in the morning but in the evening of the
university security guards unleashed dogs on a group of students
gathered at the main gate, to bar the Zanu PF youth brigade from
campus in order to beat them up.
“At least three girls were injured in
the melee and I don’t know what their
condition is because there was a lot of
confusion after that,” Gwatidzo
The Vice-Chancellor of the
university, Dr Chris Nherera, was away during the
disturbances and could not
be reached for comment yesterday.
Most of the affected students are
pursuing studies in production engineering
and tourism degree
The Daily News
Andrew Ndlovu accused of leading fresh farm
4/23/02 1:02:43 AM (GMT +2)
AT LEAST eight farms have either been looted or besieged by war
Zanu PF supporters after the owners received letters of eviction
Andrew Ndlovu, the projects secretary for the Zimbabwe National
War Veterans’ Association.
Ndlovu visited Gwanda and
Beitbridge last week and issued farmers with the
eviction letters in what
appears to be an intensification of farm evictions
At Joco Farm in Beitbridge yesterday, Sam and Janet Cawood, aged
74 and 70
years respectively, were besieged in their house. With them were
grandchildren aged 15 and 13.
Jenni Williams, the
spokesperson for the Commercial Farmers’ Union, said the
Cawoods were among
several farmers in the West Nicholson and Beitbridge
areas who have been
seriously affected by the disturbances.
The war veterans and Zanu PF
supporters came on donkey-driven carts and
looted the farmhouse and barred
the Cawoods from carrying out any
agricultural activities on their
“Several farms in the two areas, specialising in market gardening
fruit, have been targeted by the war veterans. Fruit and
thousands of dollars have been destroyed or looted during
the last few
weeks,” Williams said.
On Saturday, the provincial
Governor for Matabeleland South, Stephen Nkomo,
instructed Beitbridge police
officers not to “interfere with the farm
invasions as this was a politically
motivated issue because the end of the
farmers’ stay in the country was
The governor, accompanied by the Member of Parliament for the
senior Zanu PF officials and war veterans, is alleged to have
Inspector Mapurisa, in charge of Beitbridge police, and warned
him not to
deploy his men to arrest or restrain the war
Nkomo was not readily available for comment last
In West Nicholson, 35 employees on a safari operation were evicted
their homes by the war veterans and Zanu PF youths on Wednesday last
to force the operators to wind up their business.
Ranch, a cattle ranching and citrus fruit farm owned by Shannon
also besieged yesterday by about 50 war veterans who demanded
Wheelers move off the farm.
Wheeler, who was on the farm with his wife,
two teenage children and farm
manager, said the war veterans told him they
would not harm him because they
simply wanted to get the farm.
said he had received a message from the District Administrator,
Mbedzi, advising him to leave as he had overstayed in the area. He
until yesterday to vacate the farm. It was not clear at the time
of going to
press whether or not he had acceded to their demand.
Mbedzi could not be
reached last night.
At least three farmers telephoned The Daily News
offices in Harare yesterday
to report the latest disturbances in the area.
They expressed deep concern
about the failure of the police to take action
against the farm invaders.
Dr Joseph Made, the Minister of lands,
Agriculture and Rural
Resettlement, is on record warning his officials not,
“to seem to be putting
brakes on the implementation of the land reform
The Daily News
Feeding scheme for farm workers’
4/23/02 1:03:47 AM (GMT +2)
A PROGRAMME that intends to rescue farm workers’ children from
has been launched in two provinces in the country.
programme is a response to the negative effects of the disruption to
activities and the subsequent inability of farm workers to provide
for their families. At the last count at least 250 000 farm
workers had been
displaced as a result of farm invasions.
The Farm Community Trust of
Zimbabwe (FCTZ) said at the weekend it was
feeding nearly 1 500 farm workers’
children in Mashonaland East and West
The feeding programme
began last month and is aimed at enhancing the
nutritional status of children
of farm workers, through provision of a
Kaday Sibanda, the deputy director of the FCTZ, said the
intention was to
increase the number of children benefiting from the
10 000 by the end of next week.
Sibanda said while the
exercise was being conducted at play centres
established in the two
Mashonaland provinces, plans were already under way
to extend the programme
to other provinces.
She said more than 2 600 children from 22 farms had
been identified in
Marondera and Seke districts of Mashonaland East, as
consolidation of the
number of children to benefit from the programme
She said more than 1 800 children from 43 farms in Kadoma and
districts of Mashonaland West province had also been identified under
“To ensure that the programme adheres to
the nutritional and hygienic
standards set by the Ministry of Health and
Child Welfare, the FCTZ has
worked in close collaboration with the ministry
before the launch of the
feeding programme,” Sibanda said.
extension workers were trained in rapid nutritional assessment
using the upper arm circumference method.
Sibanda said: “This procedure
is the preferred method for a quick assessment
of malnutrition in
“FCTZ trainers working within the provinces are responsible for
the children, distributing the food and monitoring the
She said because winter was approaching, they would be
changing the feed
from mahewu to hot nutritious porridge.
West alone has seen more than 50 000 farm workers displaced
since the onset
of the farm invasions and it is some of these workers’
children who will be
among the beneficiaries of the drive to enhance the
nutritional status of
farm workers’ children.
The farm invasions have attracted worldwide
condemnation, but the government
has remained defiant in its implementation
of the exercise.
The Daily News
MDC polling agent
4/23/02 1:05:36 AM (GMT +2)
THOMAS Manyika, 31, the MDC polling agent for Mt Darwin in the
presidential election is still missing after he was abducted by
Zanu PF supporters in Mabvuku last month.
Manyika was in the
company of another MDC member, Kelvin Nzimba, when he
disappeared on 6
Nzimba said: “Manyika was carrying 17 T-shirts when he opened his
bag to get
a wallet to pay for the commuter omnibus and the T-shirts were
seen by all
the people in the bus.”
He said Manyika dropped off at the
Mabvuku turn-off because everyone had
seen what he was carrying in his bag.
Six men followed him.
“I had told him that we would meet in town but
Manyika never came to town
and I have never seen him since that day,” Nzimba
He said Manyika fled Mt Darwin after Zanu PF supporters threatened
him for supporting the opposition party.
Nzimba said he
reported the abduction to the police, who said they
Gift Sambana, 33, shadow MDC parliamentary
candidate for Mt Darwin South,
during the June 2000 election, said: “Manyika
told me that there were some
Zanu PF supporters who wanted to kill him and he
had always been in touch
with me, but I am now worried because since his
disappearance last month he
has not contacted me.”
political incident, Terry Marodzi fled Mt Darwin after Zanu PF
threatened to kill him.
“I left all the doors to my home unlocked and I
heard that all my property
was stolen,” Marodzi
The Daily News
Muchinguri says defiant land invaders face
4/23/02 1:06:24 AM (GMT +2)
Correspondent in Mutare
OPPAH Muchinguri, the provincial Governor for
Manicaland, says the
government will not hesitate to arrest all invaders
land in the province.
Speaking at the
independence celebrations at Sakubva Stadium Muchinguri
said: “Don’t resettle
yourselves on land that you have not been allocated.
We have a problem with
people invading allocated land for selfish gains. Let
me warn you that we
will send the police to evict you from those pieces of
land. We don’t need
anarchy in this country. The election has come and gone,
it’s now time to
live in harmony.”
About 12 000 people thronged the stadium on Thursday to
mark the country’s
22nd birthday. Muchinguri read President Mugabe’s
Independence Day speech in
Shona, at times putting it aside and dwelling on
issues pertaining to
At the same occasion, she lashed out
at a decision by the Mutare City
Council to repossess all undeveloped stands,
including that of Saviour
Kasukuwere, the MP for Mount Darwin
Dr Ignatius Chombo, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works
National Housing, quickly moved in to save Kasukuwere’s stand.
said: “The minister responsible said that exercise must be stopped. He
coming to Manicaland to put an end to it.
“One cannot be seen to be
giving land with one hand and taking stands with
the other. The minister’s
policy is housing for all by the year 2010.”
Muchinguri said due to the
drought, resettled farmers were no longer
required to pay for agricultural
inputs loaned to them before the
The Daily News
ZCTU, ZFTU head for May Day
4/23/02 1:07:05 AM (GMT +2)
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) and the Zimbabwe
Trade Unions (ZFTU) are headed for a showdown in Harare on 1
Day, when they stage rival commemorations of the
The ZCTU will hold its celebrations at Gwanzura Stadium in Highfield
it found its traditional venue, Rufaro Stadium, already booked by
government backed Zimbabwe Federation of Trade Unions
Wellington Chibhebhe, the ZCTU secretary-general, on Friday said
organisation had been facing problems booking its traditional venues in
major urban centres because of what he termed “politics and
Chibhebhe said: “The police say they can only provide
security at Gwanzura
Stadium for three or four hours, starting at 8am. There
is no way we can
hold our commemoration in such a short period. We will go
ahead with or
He said the ZCTU was aware that there
would be attempts to disrupt its
Joseph Chinotimba, the
ZFTU vice-president, said: “Rufaro Stadium used to be
the ZCTU’s traditional
venue for Workers’ Day but they no longer represent
the workers. It is now
ours. The ZCTU can come as workers if they want but
it is now our
Chinotimba, who is the Zanu PF political commissar for Harare
the ZFTU had booked all the traditional Workers’ Day venues in
urban centres, including the White City Stadium in Bulawayo,
in Mutare, Mucheke Stadium in Masvingo, and Mkoba Stadium in
But Chibhebhe said: “We have already booked White City Stadium in
and that is where we will be.“
Both the ZCTU and the ZFTU
have invited July Shamu, the Minister of Public
Service, Labour and Social
Welfare, to their events.
The Daily News
Chegutu council ignores court order, ejects
4/23/02 1:08:26 AM (GMT +2)
Tamborinyoka Municipal Reporter
THE Chegutu Municipality has barred Ward
6 councillor, Cephas Magaso, from
attending council meetings, almost two
months after the High Court quashed
his suspension by Ignatius Chombo, the
Minister of Local Government, Public
Works and National
Magaso said he was on Wednesday ejected from the council chamber
Deputy Mayor, Phineas Mariyapera, despite a High Court order obtained
March allowing him to continue with his duties as a
He said Mariyapera and two other councillors ignored the
court order he
produced, insisting that the council would only reinstate him
In October, Magaso, the only MDC councillor
in Chegutu, was suspended by
Chombo in unclear circumstances at a time he and
his Zanu PF counterparts
had teamed up to fight graft and maladministration
affecting the smooth
running of the council.
Magaso was handed his
suspension letter by Willie Muringani, the then mayor
of Chegutu, who
immediately ordered him to vacate the council premises.
Magaso’s lawyer, Obert Gutu of Gutu and Associates said Chegutu
was in contempt of court for failing to reinstate Magaso in
line with an
order granted by High Curt judge, Justice Ben Hlatshwayo.
“This is a
clear case of contempt of court. I am going to institute contempt
proceedings against the municipality because Hlatshwayo’s order
unequivocal,” he said.
“For anyone to say he will not respect the
decision of the court but wait
for political instructions from the minister
is pure hogwash.”
Mariyapera could not be reached for comment yesterday but
the Chegutu mayor,
Francis Blessing Dhlakama, confirmed that Magaso was
ejected from the
council and that the mayor had in turn written to the
“I consulted the council’s lawyers and
they said failure to obey court
orders was contempt of court. I then
communicated to the councillors who
insisted that we had to await instruction
from the minister and that is why
I wrote to him,” he
The Daily News
New movement wants to press for the right to
4/23/02 1:09:52 AM (GMT +2)
THOUSANDS of people in Harare and Chitungwiza, who failed to
cast their vote
in last month’s tightly contested presidential ballot, have
agreed to form a
pressure group to be called the Disenfranchised Voters’
The movement’s sole purpose is to press the government to grant
their right to vote in a fresh election.
Members of the
group allege they were denied the right to vote for a leader
of their choice
last month. The election was controversially won by
President Mugabe in
circumstances that are now a subject of international
sizeable number of people was not able to vote in Harare and
after the Registrar-General, Tobaiwa Mudede, drastically reduced
of polling stations in urban areas, which are MDC
Some of the voters agreed at a meeting held last week in
the movement was necessary because it would help push the
government to hold
fresh elections under the supervision of non-partisan and
organisations such as the United Nations.
In a statement,
Tinashe Mutamba, the movement’s interim spokesman said: “We
decided to form
this movement so that we can collectively urge the
government to give us the
opportunity to vote for the person we want to lead
us. The movement is a
pressure group and our specific objective is to
jealously guard the voting
rights of all people.”
Mutamba said the movement included a large number
of people who were
arrested on the second voting day after they were falsely
attempting to vote twice.
Hundreds of people, including
priests, lawyers and teachers, were locked up
by the police but, to date, not
a single person has been successfully
prosecuted in the courts.
significant number of eligible voters were deterred from voting after
chased away by the police, especially in Glen Norah, Budiriro,
Mufakose and Chitungwiza.
“We will not give up the fight. To some of us
this was a nasty experience
which we never expected to encounter in our own
country,” said Mutamba.
The Daily News
Hardships affect celebrations:
4/23/02 1:11:16 AM (GMT +2)
FOR many people in the high-density suburbs of Harare
Independence Day has
lost its excitement over the years because of the
economic hardships they
And they blame the failed
economic policies of the government that have seen
hundreds of businesses
collapse, and, together with the violent farm
invasions, thrown hundreds of
thousands of workers out of employment.
For the thousands of farm workers
who have been evicted from commercial
farms by Zanu PF in the name of land
reform, there certainly was nothing to
Wet and bitterly
cold nights by the roadside and constant harassment by the
supporters, is now their lot in independent Zimbabwe.
Generally in some of
the high-density suburbs of Harare, Independence Day
was just like a normal
mid-month Saturday afternoon, as people went about
Dzivaresekwa 2, Trainos Mukova, 44, said there was nothing to
He said: “What is there to celebrate when I cannot feed my
and there are chances that I will be out of a job before the
end of the year
because of the government’s mismanagement of the
Johannes Mwambi, 32, of Mufakose said: “I don’t find it
exciting at all
because Zanu PF turned it into a party celebration rather
than a national
event long ago. They have done the same with the Heroes’ Day
in August. The
only thing I look forward to on Independence Day is the soccer
In Highfield, Gladys Nyatengwa, 36, said: “I was 14 years old
became independent in 1980. I remember the excitement during
the first few
years but now things are very bad economically and it’s really
find anything to cheer about. Life is so tough for the ordinary
the government seems to care only for itself.”
Muzvonga, 29, of Mbare said: “Hundreds of thousands of us were
denied the chance to vote in the presidential election last
month. Tell me,
what is there for people to celebrate?”
The Daily News
Soldiers accused of harassing
4/23/02 1:12:49 AM (GMT +2)
WHILST President Mugabe was delivering his 22nd Independence
speech at the National Sports Stadium on Thursday, some officers
army were busy harassing members of the public in Bays 13 and
President Mugabe said the country was commemorating its independence
unprecedented threats from the West.
“Our democracy was not
made in England, America, Denmark or Germany. If
anything, it was unmade by
those countries. We got it from the war of
Zanu PF youths
were, at the same time, threatening people making their way
into the stadium,
accusing them of being supporters of the Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC)
only interested in watching the soccer match between
the Dynamos and
Highlanders football clubs.
People coming to the stadium after Mugabe’s
address found it difficult to
enter the stadium as Zanu PF youths blockaded
the gates, accusing them of
boycotting the celebrations in favour of
The Border Gezi Training Centre-trained youths barricaded the
said the stadium was already filled to capacity.
people attempted to force their way through the gate, a government
registration number number G-BL-03 carrying soldiers blocked the gate.
driver, a soldier in uniform, alighted and together with Zanu PF
threatened to beat up anyone trying to force their way into the
Noah Katabvu, 33, of Milton Park was thrown out of the stadium.
brought with him his two-year-old daughter, Tadiwa. Three of the
suddenly became impatient, grabbed him and forced him out of the
“If you think we are here to watch soccer, you are lost,” one of
soldiers said, “We are here to celebrate our independence. If you want
make noise, go to Rufaro Stadium.
“Be very careful you people. If
you misbehave, we will discipline you today.
Those who do not listen should
go to London and stay with Blair,” he said.
The British Prime Minister,
Tony Blair, has been the subject of ridicule by
Mugabe since the MDC emerged
as the strongest party to challenge his
iron-fisted rule since
Katabvu was taken outside the stadium, where he was
assaulted and ordered to
He identified one of his three
assailants as Chishana E, the name sewn on
The Daily News
LEADER PAGE Tuesday 23 ,
Who will save us from our fellow
4/23/02 12:10:54 AM (GMT +2)
they carved it up into colonies at the 1884 Berlin Conference, and
settled their nationals on the continent, Europeans used to refer to
as the Dark Continent.
Dark, not because there was no sunshine or
just because it was inhabited by
people with dark skins, but dark because its
peoples conducted their lives
in the most uncivilised manner imaginable. A
chief could torture, brutalise
or decimate his subjects at will and other
chiefs in nearby territories
would not lift a finger to restrain
The way the Africans behaved reminded the Europeans of their own
when the law of the jungle ruled supreme: no governments, no
respect for individual human rights, no judiciary but only
monarchs whose word was law.
The colonial powers brought
with them all those aspects of civilisation
although, to begin with, those
standards were largely the preserve of
members of their own “white”
community. With time, however, it seemed we had
truly cottoned on to those
But, as is becoming only too obvious, with each passing
day since the
continent threw off the colonial yoke, Africa is fast slipping
what it used to be ‘ a very dark continent‘ courtesy of its leaders
although educated, want to base their rule on the feudal
African leaders seem united by one rotten factor. They are so
power that, once elected, they quickly put in place mechanisms
virtually impossible for the people to remove them. That in itself
be such a bad thing if they weren’t so oppressive, repressive and
The most worrying aspect in Africa’s ongoing slide back to its
dark past is
the emerging pattern among its leaders of rallying to each
in complete disregard of the people’s will and
It is what the highly principled Senegalese President, Abdoulaye
clearly is an exception to the rule, derisively referred to as
union of presidents”.
The political crisis in this country
has exposed that evil developed for the
whole world to see.
neutral observers saw last month’s presidential election as a
contrived to give victory where it did not belong and so
refused to endorse
But, incredibly and to their eternal shame, “the trade union
presidents”, who must be told in no uncertain terms that they have
hands the blood of all Zimbabweans being tortured and killed to keep
in power, chose to gloss over all the glaring flaws and declared the
legitimate and the results acceptable.
We really think their
action was not just irresponsible, but must be
As if these leaders’ false declaration on the election
was not a cruel
enough blow to the long-suffering people of this country, the
went on to deal us two more cruel blows in rapid succession last
At a three-day Commonwealth conference on democracy and the media
Cape Town, South Africa, early last week, African delegates lined up
a resolution, supported by Australia, Britain and India,
President Mugabe’s crackdown on the independent Press in
Indications are the delegates were not following their
If the confession of the Kenyan delegate who said he feared he
arrested on arrival in Kenya if he supported the resolution is
go by, all the African delegates were driven by the same fear
The second cruel blow was dealt us on
Friday at the 58th Session of the
United Nations Commission on Human Rights
in Geneva, when a
British-sponsored resolution by the European Union, calling
investigations into alleged gross human rights violations in Zimbabwe,
thwarted after Nigeria managed to persuade 14 other African countries
The question must be asked: Who will save us from the
cruelty of our selfish
While there may be no obvious
answer to that question, all despotic African
leaders can be sure of at least
one thing: Those who make peaceful political
change impossible make violent
The Daily News
LEADER PAGE Tuesday 23 ,
Mistaken defence of Mugabe by African
4/23/02 12:12:48 AM (GMT +2)
getting closer to legacy time. Soon Mugabe will be known as an
leader in spite of his history as a freedom fighter. He has
politics over institution-building. Through foul means, he has
himself as President of Zimbabwe for another term.
the presidential club of Africa, the African Union, supports
him. Mugabe, now
78 years old and already 22 years in office, is in for
another six years. How
one could not see this as a greedy and brazen act, or
not be angered by it,
is unimaginable. The members of the presidential club
of Africa do not,
because their own chances for victory at the next local
poll demand tactics
Thus an opportunity to solve a critical issue like smooth
succession to a presidency in Africa is ignored, and one
crucial act of
institution-building is disregarded. The message is clear:
do not want self-government in Africa.
fiefdoms. Mugabe was elected to office in 1980. His new term will
2008. By then, he would have been in office long enough for a baby
first year of his presidency to be 28 years old. Together with
older, they will suffer the same cruel fate of knowing only one
leadership in Zimbabwe, one exercised by none other than Mugabe.
simple terms, is a deprivation that promotes political immaturity.
Zimbabwe today, the talent pool that should flow to nourish the
stemmed while all wait for Mugabe’s exit.
Soon, this young country will
emerge emaciated, looking nothing like she was
at independence, and the white
man will say: “I told you so!” This is the
same white man we want to prove
wrong for colonising Africa.
Yet, with characters like Mugabe around, it
has been difficult to do so.
They stand in the way, and use up every resource
Africa has to mobilise for
self-emancipation to serve their own selfish
interests. The land question in
Zimbabwe is a case in point.
It is a
critical issue that will dog all in southern Africa. On it also rest
critical issues affecting all Africa. Its solution depends on
leadership, which Mugabe has proven lately that he does not have.
has proscribed from the position all who show promise.
the process, he has managed to turn the prosecution of the land
issue into a
hand-to-hand combat with the whole white world. Sadly, some in
cheering Mugabe on. And some are condemned to watch him
pathetically flay at
the windmill. Yes, there was a man who once fought
windmills in a similar
It has become disconcerting to watch Mugabe, who could have been
resource as an elder statesman at his age, carry on in this manner: A
who could have served with Nelson Mandela behind the parapet, is now
there on an arthritic horse, waging a battle he has already
Unfortunately, he is the same man African leaders side with;
solidarity with tyranny over good governance in Africa. While the
presidential election was unfair to most, they appeared fair to
for all the talk about African Union, it took urging from mostly
members of the Commonwealth for Nigeria and South Africa to backtrack
their initial position of support for Mugabe.
For some in Africa,
to support Mugabe is the thing to do, the black thing so
to speak; also known
as knee-jerk reaction to all presumed white offences.
In such manner, Africa
keeps wrapping legitimate issues around sham leaders,
even when these fellows
are dangerous to black interests. The white man
knows this and has
consistently exploited this weakness.
Perception-wise, the white man ends
up taking the higher ground in some
issues that are intricately bound to
African interests. Believing falsely
that every single move by a white man is
against Africa’s interests, some
Africans are forced to contrary positions,
and end up siding with unsavoury
characters like Idi Amin, Samuel Doe, Sani
Abacha and the like in a
delusional defence of Africa. Supporting Mugabe on
this election issue is a
perfect example of these failings.
Morgan Tsvangirai? It is highly likely that Tsvangirai hates the
grab as much as Mugabe does. With Tsvangirai or another political
the lead, the struggle could have been given a different ethical
than with Mugabe as the flag bearer.
After 9-11 March, the land issue did
not change with Mugabe in charge. One
could argue that conditions in Zimbabwe
today are the direct result of
machinations of whites. But would these
conditions now change because Mugabe
is again the President? Fat chance! The
solution will be postponed while all
eyes are fixed on
Conditions might not even change under Tsvangirai. But in that
perfidy of those who claimed to stand for peaceful resolution
was around would be exposed. In response to a question posed by
International in the 11 March 2002 issue on whether another six
in office “is enough time to have completed (his) mission”, Mugabe
“The mission is just about completed.
“The white man has lost
most of the land that he controlled. We want to
conclude the exercise of
acquiring the land. But also empowering the people,
ensuring that they have
access to the means of production, fertiliser,
tillage, seed and even the
know-how. Also we must improve their cattle
farming. We can do that in two
It has taken Mugabe 22 years so far. Now, he says, he can
solve it in two!
Was there ever a land problem? Suddenly, two years are long
enough for him
to turn once landless peasants into productive farmers. And
there is no
worry about turbulence in the national economy even
Zimbabwe is an agriculture-dependent country. Does Mugabe really
the size of the problem?
But the final blow came when asked
in the same interview that, “there’s been
talk that if you win, you might
turn over power to somebody else if you are
satisfied the land issue has been
resolved”. Then the real Mugabe came out.
He said: “No, there is no deal like
Some think the moment we go, then things will fall apart. Leaders
emerge just like that.” In this simple statement lies the golden
Mugabe is not overly anxious to leave. He has no apparent heirs;
constitutional Vice-Presidents who are 80 and 78 years
Tomorrow when pent-up frustration explodes in a
coup or unrest, some in
Africa will blame it on others knowing fully well
that they have chosen the
cult of Mugabe over institution-building. As an
lamented to me the other day, Liberia, he said, “was
founded some 130 years
ago, the only country not colonised in
Yet, when Doe and a bunch of rascally soldiers decided to take
country there was no institution strong enough in Liberia to stand
way.” That is sad, indeed! (c) Accra Mail (Accra,
The Daily News - Feature
At 22, Zimbabwe’s signs of aging
are now showing
4/23/02 12:13:11 AM (GMT
HAPPY birthday, Zimbabwe!
You are 22 years old and the
signs of maturity the African style are
showing. You could not possibly go
your own unique way. After all, you are
an African country for Africans in
Africa. You are ruled by Africans, the
I would like to
extend my sincere congratulations to Zimbabwe on the
occasion of its
twenty-second birthday. For this great motherland, I wish
her many more
fruitful years ahead.
As the great country celebrates her national day,
it is not a crime to
reflect on her past performances with regard to the
aspirations of the
people. A fair comparison of her socio-economic
achievements with those of
the greater African continent may provide a
perfect barometer towards a
True to our pledge to
uphold the African spirit, we have built a little of
this here and a little
of that there and at the same time we have managed to
reverse some notable
gains. We have made small strides toward development,
yet at the same time we
have taken giant leaps to our own undoing. We have
built bridges here and
there, yet at the end those bridges have been
destroyed by our own
One would easily acknowledge the number of hospitals that
have been built
over the years. There are many and varied in size. It is
that the people’s government has seen it fit to build so
institutions, more so in the advent of the HIV/Aids pandemic.
True to the
call of the African spirit, many health institutions have been
built. As a
negative compliment to the African way, the hospitals stand as
institutions where the sick painfully await their death. There is
competent staff and no drugs to deal with the sick and the
Educational institutions are also mushrooming with alacrity.
From a single
university that used to cater for the minority elite, now the
of eight fully fledged universities. Above that number the
is also open to all who think that they can obtain their
degrees from home.
The issue of competent staff comes to light again.
True to our African
syndrome, the universities have to be there even if they
competent staff. Educational materials are also scarce with
to struggle to learn. The end product is always not ready for
posed by life.
Food production and food availability
has been greatly reduced over the
years. Since independence, the best harvest
season was the 1980 season when
there was a lot of surplus grain. Over the
years, food deficiency has been
experienced whether there has been too little
rain, too much of it or
whether the rain season has been normal. Our failure
to export some grain
during normal seasons is a perfect measure to the
African way which limits
agricultural production to subsistence
The land reform programme, which was violently launched during
of 2000, has not helped the African cause on food
self-sufficiency. It is
actually a way of eliminating commercial productivity
in favour of
subsistence agriculture. In order to survive, everyone has to be
small-time farmer. Perhaps this is the African way of self-sufficiency!
great African way actually scoffs at urban dwellers as “people who
even grow tomatoes”.
As a result of some miscalculated land
gambles and a dry period, the country
has to import its staple food mainly
from South Africa and South America.
True again to the African syndrome,
not much can be imported from other
African countries as they also face
cereal shortages of a serious
proportion. If we have to extend that idle talk
that urban people do not
grow even small things like tomatoes, we certainly
should be prepared to be
laughed at as a great African country that cannot
grow its own food!
Apart from the Nazi’s Holocaust of the Jews during the
Second World War, the
worst pictures of starving people have come from
Africa. The rest of the
world may have only given us the sad pictures from
North Korea. There is no
reason to be apologetic about the sad pictures that
we saw from Ethiopia and
the Sudan. There was no foreign power to blame for
those pictures of
emaciated babies suckling nothing from their mothers. Now
we are being shown
the pictures from Malawi. There is a serious humanitarian
crisis in the
making in Malawi.
As for this great African country of
ours, the pictures have not yet hit our
screens. Even though, a crisis in the
making can be seen. There is no staple
food on the shelves and, worse still,
there is none in the grain silos.
People have to spend long hours queuing
for maize-meal. No one has an idea
as to when the situation will improve. The
rest of the world waits for the
pictures to start making the
If I have to speak for my home area, I can say with authority
situation is a humanitarian catastrophe that needs other powers
intervene. Possibly central government thinks the people in my area do
I have seen those who were panel-beating the people into
the “party line of
thinking” during the campaign period having nothing to
show for their
diligence. There is nothing in the form of maize-meal.
Survival is truly
detected by our being Africans. As Africans, we are made to
like animals than people where the fittest pass the
When the pictures start hitting the headlines, the hard-liners will
that the pictures are not from this country. After all, they have
endlessly that starvation will be averted, yet they are doing
improve food availability. This is another attribute that goes
being Africans. We hardly accept blame or failure. We always have
dodge our responsibilities. Suddenly the drought will be blamed
for our food
situation. Our lack of foresight will be blamed on the
All the same, this country is 22 years old. The signs of aging
The limpness of the economy shows that we are indeed ripening
The starvation we have to face is only a
baptism into the real African
world. We are slaves to our own
Just like during the Great Slave Trade when African chiefs sold
slave traders, our modern chiefs can sell us off to