independent review of the April Stay Away—
Wednesday 23 April
In most parts of the country, the first day of the
ZCTU-called stay away has been successful.
A few small shops and outlets were open, but almost all major shops,
banks and food outlets in Harare were closed, as were many businesses in the
industrial areas of the city.
In other towns,
reported that all banks and major shops were closed. Despite arrests and intimidation of ZCTU
officials before the stay away, the situation was largely
Chegutu reported a largely successful stay away,
with banks and most shops closed.
The major grocery outlets were open, but indicated that they may close
tomorrow (24 April).
reported that the banks were closed, but many shops were
Chitungwiza reported strong participation in the stay away, with most
businesses, shops and banks closed and most transport
reports were mixed. There was,
however, an unconfirmed report that the ZCTU officials who were arrested in
Gweru on Tuesday had been released.
Karoi reports indicate that many shops were closed in the morning, but
later opened after shop keepers were intimidated into opening. The ZCTU hopes that this situation will
be resolved by tomorrow, and that most businesses will observe the
reported that the stay away was observed in the morning, with most businesses
being closed. However, by lunch
time most companies were open, because many managers had been instructed by
members of the ruling party to open.
In one instance, there were reports that a bank manager’s home was being
sought by members of the ruling party, so that they could visit him at home and
force him to open. Officials from
the ZCTU in this area have communicated with the workers there, however, and
hope that tomorrow the action will be more successful.
reported mixed participation, in a relatively peaceful atmosphere. There was one unconfirmed report that
police had been to the home of MDC Member of Parliament Giles Mutsekwa, in an
effort to take him for questioning.
He was not home at the time, however, and is believed to be out of
Overall, reports indicate
that the first day of the strike was calm and peaceful. There were many roadblocks in the major
towns, and a strong police presence particularly in Bulawayo and Harare, but so
far at least few reports of violence or arrest.
There has been a surge in the number of
Landcruisers that have been hijacked over the past 6 weeks, both in Harare and
Another one was hijacked in Piers Rd, Borrowdale at
lunch time today (Weds). It is white and the Reg. No. is 765 355G, it belongs to
Mr. Steven Corbett. We have advised VTS by email of this hijacking which has
been reported to Borrowdale Police. We have asked the Police to comment on these incidents but so far they
have not. To all owners of
Landcruisers and Toyota Twincabs, please be very aware and alert at all
There is an ad in today's Daily News offering a
Z$10 million reward for the return of a hijacked Mercedes MM 55 SS which was
hijacked in Highlands on Easter Sunday. Although we fully understand the need
for owners to get their vehicles back no matter what, offering these kinds of
rewards merely encourages hijackers to commit further offences. If you own these
sort of expensive vehicles it would be better to fit an anti hijack device or install satellite
tracking in the car, both options considerably less than $10 million and you get
the car back anyway.
Mary van Heerden - Anti
From DPA, 22 April
union officials ahead of national stoppage
Harare - Police have
arrested five officials of the national labour movement
in a clampdown ahead
of a three-day national stoppage planned for Wednesday,
union officials said
Tuesday. A spokesman for the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions said its
chairman had been arrested Monday for handing out leaflets
urging workers to
join the stoppage, called in protest against massive fuel
announced last week. Another three officials were arrested
in the western
city of Bulawayo Tuesday morning, also for distributing
spokesman said, although one of them was later released. "More
expected as the police are in possession of a list of names of
of the movement, the spokesman said. Police comment was not
available. Observers say the fuel price increases - of up to 308
per cent for
petrol - announced on Wednesday last week take ordinary
exasperation with President Robert Mugabe's government to new
Inflation is running at 228 per cent, joblessness is at a record of
percent and people have to spend days in queues, often in vain, for
like petrol, maizemeal - Zimbabweans staple diet, bread and sugar.
government has ignored the union's demands to reverse the fuel
increases. Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena warned on state radio
that the strike was "illegal" in terms of repressive security
ZCTU president Lovemore Matombo said Tuesday that it meant
consumed 80 per cent of workers' take-home pay. "We do not
believe there is
any company capable of paying any minimum wage as triggered
by the fuel
price increase," he said. "One needs to be totally mad and very
support such an increase.Zimbabwe has become a dangerous place to
A national stayaway organised by the opposition Movement
Change last month shut down the country for two days, and was
followed by a
wave of violence as groups, made up mostly of soldiers, roamed
of Harare, picked up MDC organisers and subjected them to
and torture. About 600 people were arrested in the aftermath
of the MDC
action. The party says it is planning a major but peaceful
"people's power" to try and force Mugabe to resign from office.
the 79-year-old despot ignored an ultimatum from the MDC to
country to the rule of law or face "mass action." He said the MDC
would be "consumed in the fire." On Monday night he said in a rare
broadcast interview that "the majority of people are a happy lot,
the hardships they are going through," and promised that the regime
"overcoming" the difficulties. Economists, however, say there is no sign
government is doing anything to end the crisis. In a new
expected to drastically worsen the situation, the Zimbabwe
Supply Authority warned at the weekend that it had been forced to
daily power cuts all over the country. "The load-shedding has come
because there is insufficient generation to meet demand as a result
curtailment measures adopted by our external suppliers due to
ZESA is in arrears of 20 million dollars on payments to power
South Africa, Mozambique, and the Democratic Republic of the
warn that local output, dominated by the coal-burning Hwange
in north-west Zimbabwe, is under threat because coal mining
stricken by critical shortages of spares and
ReutersZimbabwe industry hit by strike
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwean armed police have mounted
patrols as a three-day strike by the main labour movement gets
but there has been no sign of the violence which marked last
The strike, in protest at fuel
price rises, closed shops and companies in
the industrial centres of the main
cities on Wednesday although some banks
and offices in the capital Harare's
central business district were open and
traffic in the city centre moved
Union officials said the stoppage was gaining
"At the end of the three days I think you are going to see that
the level of
support will have been quite high," said the official, who
declined to be
Backed by the opposition Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC), the strike is
the second against President Robert Mugabe in
just over a month and
increased pressure on a government facing its worst
political and economic
crisis since independence in 1980.
faces soaring unemployment and shortages of fuel, foreign exchange
which many blame on Mugabe's policies. Annual inflation hit a
percent in March.
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) launched
the latest stoppage in
protest at a trebling of fuel prices, saying action
indefinitely if the rises were not reversed.
government says fuel price rises, pushing petrol to Z$450 (35 pence) a
from $145 (11 pence), were needed to help improve fuel imports.
scarce because Libya halted shipments last year when a barter
The Commercial and Industrial Workers' Union estimates an
earning an average Z$25,000 a month (19 pounds at the
official exchange rate
or 12 pounds at black market rates) would now need to
spend 60 percent of it
The government has denounced the
strike as a bid by the MDC and the unions
to cripple the economy to try and
Labour Minister July Moyo told state television on Tuesday
unions and business were working on wage rises.
similar strike called by the MDC last month shut down an estimated 80
of industry and became one of the largest protests against Mugabe's
rule. It triggered a crackdown on the opposition by Mugabe's
Armed police on Wednesday mounted roadblocks and patrolled
of which were hit by violence during the last
A lawyer in Zimbabwe's second city Bulawayo said police were
eight union officials there over the latest strike, which police
illegal. But he said technically they were not under arrest and it
unclear whether they would be locked up or charged.
officials were unavailable for comment. Earlier this week police said
would be on guard for any disturbances.
In Bulawayo, a local newspaper
reporter said many businesses opened on
Wednesday morning but closed later
"What happened here is that some people initially went to work and
returned home after realising others were not going to turn up," he
the eastern border city of Mutare, residents said the majority of
The government-controlled Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation said some
company executives locked out workers and
some private transport owners had
withdrawn their buses to boost the
The MDC says Mugabe rigged last year's presidential election and
to lead street protests to drive him from
Union leaders arrested in first
day of strike
IRINnews Africa, Wed 23
Tensions reportedly high in the
JOHANNESBURG, - Police on
Wednesday arrested eight trade union leaders
on the first day of a three-day
strike called to protest fuel price
increases and hyper-inflation in
The Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU) orchestrated the
stay-away with the support of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change
ZCTU general-secretary Wellington Chibebe told IRIN on Wednesday that
the eight trade union leaders held in Bulawayo was the ZCTU's second
president, Elias Mlotshwa. "We understand they're still in custody,"
Agence France Presse reported there
was mixed response to the strike
in the capital Harare. Many people who
reported for work found their
workplaces shut. Others failed to make it to
work because many privately
operated bus services did not run on
However, the Associated Press
(AP) reported that banks, factories and
stores across Zimbabwe were forced to
close when workers heeded the call to
strike. AP reported that tensions ran
high as police manned roadblocks on
main highways and troops patrolled
impoverished townships in eastern Harare.
News24Harare comes to a standstill
15:57 - (SA)
Harare - Zimbabwe's capital Harare was shut down
on Wednesday - for the
second time in a month - by industrial action in
protest against President
Robert Mugabe's government.
It was like a
Sunday in the inner city and suburban shopping centres, with
supermarkets and shops closed. About the only signs of activity
petrol queues outside service stations and at fast-food outlets.
transport terminus in the city centre, only a small fraction the
commuter minibuses that usually ferry most of the city's working
to work were operating.
Bus services from Harare's surrounding townships,
where most of the city's
inhabitants live, were down to a handful. Some
people could be seen walking
Troops were reported to be on
patrol in some townships, while police
roadblocks were set up on major
arteries into Harare, but traffic was thin
and officers appeared to be
letting most vehicles through without
obstruction. An air force helicopter
was deployed to monitor the situation.
By midday, there had been no
reports of incidents.
Industrial areas were mostly deserted. Executives
said a small portion of
their staff turned up for work and most operations
had to be shut down.
The stayaway was called by the Zimbabwe Congress of
Trade Unions (ZCTU) in a
protest against price increases last week of up to
305% for petrol.
The union said price increases had made transport
consume 80% of workers'
The union's action followed a
national shutdown called by the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) last month which paralysed the country
for two days, to back demands
for Mugabe to resign and to restore the rule
The ZCTU urged
workers to stay at home to avoid victimisation by
said on Tuesday the action was illegal.
At least four senior union
officials have been arrested since Monday, but
ZCTU president Lovemore
Matombo said on Wednesday: "We know they will arrest
us but we are not
worried, since we are fighting for a genuine cause."
A state-owned radio
station said: "Thousands of workers, eager to go to
work, are being prevented
by the unavailability of transport. Shops are
closed because workers are
The ZCTU's action precedes a campaign of "people's power" by
the MDC in a
bid to force Mugabe to resign, and to have a transitional
government set up
to be followed by internationally supervised
The MDC had not yet set a date for the mass action, which
Mugabe has said
would see the MDC leadership "consumed by...
Zimbabweans are experiencing inflation at 228%, famine in some
shortages of basic commodities in towns and cities, and
unemployment at 65%.
Fuel shortages over the last three years were
expected to be complemented
soon by electricity cuts after power utilities in
South African, Mozambican
and the Democratic Republic of Congo decided to
reduce supplies to Zimbabwe
Times (SA)Zimbabwe still can't feed
Although Zimbabwe's forthcoming maize harvest is expected
to be better than
last year's, the country will still not be able to feed
itself, the United
Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said.
most optimistic forecast (shows) that Zimbabwe won't be producing
this harvest to feed themselves," WFP Zimbabwe spokesman Luis
Clemens said in
Zimbabwe used to produce about two million tons of maize
Some government officials expect the production to be around
tons this year.
Some areas, like Matabeleland South, would
virtually have no harvest, he
Due to the better maize harvest,
the WFP will be reducing its food aid to
the southern African country over
the next few months.
In March the WFP fed about 4,7-million Zimbabweans
in 48 of the country's 57
About the same number would be
fed in April, but less food was needed,
includes maize, which is the country's staple diet, beans,
vegetable oil and
a high-energy corn-soya blend.
He said the WFP would provide
significantly less food in May and June as the
harvest - usually in April -
would occur later this year due to late rains.
"Because there will be a
greater presence of food, more Zimbabweans will be
able to feed
The WFP was still establishing how much food it would
deliver during this
period, Clemens said.
The WFP is currently
involved in two assessments to determine how much food
aid is needed in
Zimbabwe - and where - and what the country's capacity is
The findings of the Vulnerability Assessment Committee should be
Clemens said figures on those needing food in the
country often differed,
but the WFP estimated about 7,2-million Zimbabweans
were currently in need
Zimbabwe has a population of around
Asked what the solution to the severe food shortages would
be, Clemens said
the WFP wanted the private sector to become involved in the
import of maize
In 2001, the Zimbabwean government gave the
parastatal Grain Marketing Board
a monopoly on buying and selling maize and
wheat in the country.
He said the price controls on maize and wheat
should be lifted, and the
grains sold at market price.
food and fuel are in short supply in Zimbabwe and most citizens
are not able
to afford the commodities.
Inflation has reached 228 percent and the
government almost trebled the pump
price of petrol last week.
Information Minister Jonathan Moyo reportedly said the government
at certain measures, including a review of salaries, to cushion
the latest fuel price increases.
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has
blamed the food shortages and other
economic problems on the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change.
"What's the cause of the shortages? Isn't
it the opposition that is calling
on the international community for
sanctions?" he asked during a television
interview to mark the anniversary of
the country's independence from
Zimbabwe used to be the bread
basket of Africa, and Clemens said he hoped
the food situation would return
"The WFP... used to buy food in Zimbabwe for needy other
countries, we would
like to go back there," he
Star Too little too late,
Last weekend, Zimbabweans were
supposed to have celebrated 23 years of
their independence from British
colonial rule. But with their hard-won human
rights becoming a distant memory
under the misrule of President Robert
Mugabe, they have little to
In fact, Zimbabweans are now a
nation in mourning. They mourn because
of the brutal repression of the
police, the suppression of the media, the
critical shortage of food, lack of
fuel, rising costs of living and the
hyper-inflation that has hit more than
Most of these problems could be
traced to the controversial
land-reform programme that started about three
years ago. The near collapse
of commercial farming has fuelled unemployment
and hunger for hundreds of
thousands of farm labourers. Almost half the
population has been surviving
on food grants donated by international
But with all these problems, the
most shocking statement was uttered
by Mugabe last week, when he finally
admitted that the country was in a
crisis. Where has the old man been living?
Clearly, if he was in touch with
his people, he would have realised that the
crisis he has only just
discovered has in fact become a
More importantly, though, is
what Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF are
prepared to do to get Zimbabwe out of
its political and economic dungeon.
far, Mugabe's regime appears to be unwilling or unable to end the
of the people who have to pay an equivalent of up to R3 200, more
times the salary of a teacher, for 50 litres of petrol. Basic food
unaffordable to most people.
For our part,
we can only hope that the admission by Mugabe that his
country is in a crisis
will change his attitude. We hope that he will move
away from the rhetoric of
blaming everything on Britain and America and
begin to admit to the failures
of his policies.
But above all,
Zimbabweans should take their future into their own
hands and demand
JUSTICE FOR AGRICULTURE PR
- April 22, 2003
- sokwanele - enough is enough
SUPPORT the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU) and stayaway from 23rd
April - 25th April 2003
congratulates the ZCTU for rallying its members and the people of
to show the mugabe regime that enough is enough by calling for a
stayaway. It is very apparent that a broad cross section of our
had their fill of abuse.
It is clear to all but a select few that runaway
inflation, "poverty datum
line" wages and massive unemployment are due to the
political crisis in
Zimbabwe. Nothing can move forward without the critical
issue of governance
being addressed. Messing with parts of the economy, such
as the panic
stricken increase of fuel prices, will go nowhere in the absence
The regime should make way for a competent
government that has the people
of Zimbabwe at heart and that understands the
socio-economic dynamics of a
developing and democratic
Zvakwana, who draws much of is membership from the working
class, ask the
employers to show support for this call to action by closing
It will be assumed that those that remain open can afford to
burgeoning costs of running a business, including paying wages that
ahead of inflation.
It is likely that those that remain open will
be the first to be lobbied to
meet a significant wage increase.
the previous actions Zvakwana will have activists monitoring the
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HooversMugabe says mining, manufacturing sectors next
after land seizures
April 23, 2003 7:18am
Robert Mugabe says the government-led economic empowerment will
other sectors of the economy, such as manufacturing and mining,
He said the government's major achievements in the past 23
independence is land redistribution, but problems have been in the
and manufacturing sectors.
President Mugabe said this while
speaking during a televised Newsnet
interview. He urged Zimbabweans to endure
the current challenges, since the
future of the country is promising. He said
drought and cyclones that
ravaged the country over the past few years could
not have been prevented,
and the suffering which ensued as a result of the
natural disasters is not a
result of bad governance.
also said that the government wants to have good relations
countries, including those calling for sanctions against Zimbabwe.
pointed out that the country will not let outsiders run the
affairs of the
country, adding that he is not prepared to be subjected to
President Mugabe said he is delighted that the land has finally
returned to its rightful owners, the blacks.
He added that, with
the land now in the hands of indigenious Zimbabaweans,
there is going to be
an improvement in people's lives, and the [word
indistinct] status that comes
with independent people.
Source: ZBC Radio 3FM, Harare, in English 0400
gmt 23 Apr 03
VOAZimbabwe Public Coin Phones to be
23 Apr 2003, 13:16
In Zimbabwe, the telecommunications utility has announced that it
decommissioning all public coin-operated telephones, a move that
seriously inconvenience millions of Zimbabweans for whom the phone
are an important means of communication.
In a press statement,
the phone company Tel.One says it is taking the phones
out of service because
the company that made them has declared they are
obsolete. This makes it
impossible to obtain spare parts to maintain the
decommissioning of the coin phones comes at a time when hundreds of
of Zimbabwean domestic and business consumers are on the waiting
list for a
A Tel.One engineer, who spoke on condition of
anonymity, says the current
telephone exchanges are fully subscribed and
applicants can only get a
number if another subscriber gives it up. He says
some people have been on
the waiting list for more than five years and depend
heavily on coin phones.
The engineer says the capacity of the telephone
exchanges cannot be
increased because the equipment would have to be bought
currency, which is in short supply in Zimbabwe.
phones operated by phone cards will continue to operate, but the
buy to pay for their calls are imported, and the foreign
makes it difficult to get them.
Mobile phones have proved to be popular
since the service became available
in Zimbabwe in the late 1990s. But they
are an option the majority of
Zimbabweans cannot afford.
it plans to set up phone shops to provide service to people who
do not have
their own phones. There are nine such shops operating across the
the Tel.One engineer says the effort to open more is also
hampered by lack of
foreign currency, and they are likely to be far less
convenient than were the
public phones that are soon to be inoperative.
Even if the coin-operated
phones could be maintained, Tel.One says there is
another problem with them.
The utility says that the Zimbabwean five dollar
coin, the largest in
circulation, is too small to pay for a basic phone
call. In fact, five of the
coins are needed to pay for a three minute local
call, priced at 40 U.S.
cents at the official exchange rate. The phones'
coin boxes fill quickly and
must be emptied frequently, and Tel.One says
that makes them uneconomical to
Government owned Tel.One has enjoyed a monopoly since the
the telephone to Zimbabwe. But this is to change before the
end of the year,
when newly licensed private company Tele Access starts
23 Apr 2003 18:31:34
GMT After messy Nigeria polls,
LAGOS, April 23 (Reuters) -- Nigeria's shoddy elections
are a setback for
attempts to cement democracy in Africa and to attract
foreign investment, analysts said on
President Olusegun Obasanjo's standing as a spokesman for the
been weakened by the manner of his re-election, they said in
"We are saddened that the allegations of vote-rigging will
credibility for the next four years," Emmanuel Bompande, a
specialist in African conflict resolution, said.
you do when the superpower in the West African sub-region is itself
in this sort of thing?"
In unusually blunt language, European Union poll
observers described last
weekend's presidential elections as "marred by
serious irregularities and
The largest Nigerian observer
groups, as well as teams sent by two
experienced U.S. institutes, were also
Official results of a series of elections gave Obasanjo and his
Peoples Democratic Party a firm grip over the presidency,
governorships and parliament. Obasanjo ignored criticisms and said the
had boosted Nigeria's democracy.
"If this kind of election had
been held in the United Kingdom or the United
States it would be considered a
disaster," said Ross Herbert of the South
African Institute of International
"You can only say it was a success by Nigerian
AFTER ZIMBABWE, NIGERIA
As the elected leader since
1999 of Africa's most populous state and the
world's eighth biggest oil
exporter, Obasanjo has criss-crossed the globe
With South African President Thabo Mbeki he is the engine
behind NEPAD, the
New Partnership for Africa's Development.
offers a deal to the Group of Eight richest nations: Africa will
corruption, fake elections and human rights abuses in return for
But NEPAD has already taken a big hit in the
corridors of power of Western
governments and corporations.
Mbeki, Africa has protected Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe
outcry in most G8 countries over his ruthless treatment of
opponents and white commercial farmers as well as a flawed
election in 2002.
Mbeki, as chairman of the 53-nation African Union,
congratulated Obasanjo on
Wednesday and said he was encouraged that AU
observers in Nigeria had
reported that "on the whole, the elections...were
conducted in a congenial
At the core of the NEPAD sales
pitch is something called the African Peer
Review Mechanism, a still nebulous
framework for eminent Africans to assess
how well a given government is
performing in terms of political and economic
whose election in 1999 ended 15 years of military rule in Nigeria,
But now that Nigeria's main opposition parties are accusing him
organising the biggest electoral fraud in the country's history,
Obasanjo -- a former military ruler himself -- voluntarily submit
actions to such intrusive scrutiny?
Analysts say there is zero
chance of the African Union or the Economic
Community of West African States
applying any public pressure on Obasanjo to
accept fresh ballots in the worst
areas of fraud.
In oil-rich Rivers state, to
take the most glaring example, the electoral
commission reported a 96 percent
turnout despite a widely observed boycott
called by the
"Some of the results we have received are very disturbing," a
Union official said from its headquarters in
"There are big implications for Africa -- if Nigeria cannot get
it right we
will have to submit to lower standards across the continent,"
official, who declined to be named.
"What moral authority
will Nigeria have to speak out?"
The test could come in June in Togo when
the small West African state is due
to hold its own presidential election.
The incumbent for the past 36 years,
Gnassingbe Eyadema, has changed the
constitution to allow him to stand
again, if he chooses.
Liberia are also gearing up for polls this year. Both are
involved in a
worsening rash of conflicts in West Africa.
The concern among some
analysts is that Nigeria, the region's big brother,
will add to the
instability because its own elections may aggravate ethnic
tensions that have cost 10,000 lives since 1999.
"Obasanjo must make
things right by at least repeating elections where fraud
was rampant," said
Bompande, head of the West African Network