Political thugs to pay for their murderous acts
through mental illness
4/27/02 10:14:07 AM (GMT +2)
Dongozi Features Reporter
DURING his campaign rallies, President Mugabe
met traditional leaders whom
he acknowledged deserved respect as custodians
of Zimbabwean tradition and
But the perpetrators of the
campaign of terror by the ruling Zanu PF party
descended into the abyss that
is spawning mental crises.
After Mugabe’s exhortations it later emerged
that 56-year-old James Sibanda,
a headman in the Mathendele area of Nkayi,
took his last breath when his
voice rang eerily across the village on 7
February at about 8pm.
Headman Sibanda bellowed in agony, as suspected
members of Zanu PF’s youth
brigade bashed his head with logs.
the rest of Zimbabwe, especially Mashonaland, Masvingo and
suffered under Zanu PF and State-sponsored brutality during the
run up to
the 9-11 March presidential election, for the people of
parts of the Midlands, it was a case of deja vu as the
harassment and terror
was a re-enactment of the early 1980s.
difference is that while in the 1980s government soldiers were deployed
suppress dissident activities, this time villagers are being harassed
persecuted by their own children for suspected support of a
opposition political party, the Movement for Democratic Change
Sibanda’s wife, Judith, said: “We are living in fear, terrorised
scared of our own children because some of the youths who came looking
my husband were young boys that I have known from the time they were
She is still trying to come to terms with the reality of becoming
under such unnatural circumstances.
Earlier on that fateful
day, 15 Zanu PF youth brigade members under the
leadership of a former
notorious dissident, Rainfall Msimanga, descended on
looking for him.
After ransacking the homestead, the group disappeared
into the nearby bush.
“When they arrived, he was not at home and they
left a message ordering him
to report at the Zanu PF terror base set up at
the nearby Mathendele Primary
School,” Mrs Sibanda said.
it is improper for young people to summon their elders, more so,
She spent the whole night praying that her husband would return
“In the morning, he still had not returned so
I decided to find out from the
base commander, Rainfall Msimanga, what had
become of my husband,” she said.
The former bandit and Zanu PF youth
brigades became uncomfortable when she
enquired on the whereabouts of her
She reported to the police that her suspicions were that the
were behind his disappearance because they were the ones who
looking for him.
“The police questioned them, but they were
immediately released,” she said.
The disappearance, like numerous others
around the country in the run-up to
last month’s presidential election, was
about to be written off as another
minor election mishap when the horrific
discovery came from an unlikely
source - their cattle.
February, since I no longer had anyone to assist me with looking
livestock, I was driving the cattle through a dense forest.
surprised when they started bellowing and mooing around a certain
area as if
She said for about 20 minutes she failed to remove her
cattle from the spot
while they “mourned” around the scene.
a cow had been slaughtered at the scene because that is how
when they get to a place where one of them has been killed.
“But I became
very frightened because there was something intense about
When the cattle moved off, she went to investigate.
branch had been thrown over a small pile of charred remains.
she noticed, was a piece of black jeans, similar to those worn
by her husband
when she last saw him.
Nearby, was his handkerchief.
faint, she sat down. She broke down in tears.
It had dawned on her that
Sibanda had been murdered and burnt.
She collected the charred clothes
and took them to the police in Nkayi.
She says some of the officers appeared
annoyed that she had cracked open the
case on her own.
But after that,
the police were all business and immediately arrested more
than 30 members of
the youth brigade who led them to the remains of their
remains were buried at the headman’s homestead at the end of
Youths who have participated in the gruesome murders of political
throughout the country now suffer from varying degrees of mental
Manicaland governor, Oppah Muchinguri, warned Zanu PF supporters
presidential election that if they killed opposition supporters,
not the party - would be haunted by avenging
Professor Gordon Chavunduka, the president of the Zimbabwe
Traditional Healers’ Association, warned of a wave of psychotic
In 1980, he said, there were vast numbers of cases the
because of the trauma of the activities carried out
during the liberation
He said: “We have been dealing with these
cases since 1980 when the freedom
fighters returned from the war because of
people they killed.
“The association did its best. The same thing is
happening now, but our head
office is not kept up-to-date.
psychological problems and it is true that people who are killing
political opponents are the ones who will be haunted, not the parties
whose behalf they carry out the killings.
“Our members are dealing with
such cases, but we do not have the exact
numbers at the moment.”
resettlement of former dissidents in Nkayi district in 1988 cowed
community into submission.
They led the terror campaigns which saw
the district record high incidents
of politically motivated violence in the
run-up to last month’s presidential
Some of the former
dissidents were reportedly deployed to Kwekwe, about 100
km away where,
according to MDC members, they led about 40 youths to a house
The youths allegedly took turns to rape an elderly woman and
daughter-in-law in the same room. The elderly woman is reported to have
a few days later, while her daughter-in-law received medical
before fleeing to relatives in Harare.
psychologists said Zimbabwe should prepare itself to deal with
consequences of a society infested with people haunted by their
Reward Marufu grabs farm
4/27/02 10:08:09 AM (GMT
By Pedzisai Ruhanya Chief Reporter
REWARD Marufu, the
brother of the First Lady, Grace Mugabe, has reportedly
grabbed a farm near
Bindura after chasing away the manager, and proceeded to
harvest crops he
found on the farm, already planted and ripe, using
equipment forcibly taken
away from the farmer worth millions of dollars.
More than 200 workers are
now jobless and, consequently, without wages after
Marufu took over the farm,
including property worth more than $200 million.
Bob Duncan, the manager
at Leopardflair Farm, who is now in hiding, said
trouble started on 21 March
when a group of 10 people driving a Mazda
pick-up vehicle, registration
number 630-415H, came to the farm at night and
ordered him to vacate the
“I called the police in Bindura after the youths had cut the
to the workshop and my house. These people left after 15
The officer-in-charge at Bindura Police
Station, who identified himself as
Inspector Sande, yesterday refused to
Sande said: “I think you know that we do not speak to the media.
information from our spokesperson.”
Duncan said a war veteran
identified only as Matangira, who occupied the
neighbouring Thrums Farm,
later came to the farm to investigate the incident
and concluded that it was
the work of criminals.
He said he also approached the National Employment
Council (NEC) for the
agricultural sector to facilitate payment of his
workers, but the NEC
officials indicated that they could not assist because
involvement in the matter.
Duncan said on 1 April, 24
people descended on the farm in three vehicles,
broke the locks to the gate
and stole workshop and irrigation equipment
worth over $50 000.
invaders also surrounded his house and told him to leave the farm.
reported the matter at Bindura Police Station and the case number
RB056614,” he said.
Duncan said that on 2 April, Matangira arrived
at the farm in the company of
Marufu, who was driving a Mazda pick-up
vehicle, registration number
“Matangira introduced Marufu as
the new owner of the farm and told me that
Marufu wanted to immediately move
into the farmhouse and plant his winter
crops,” Duncan said.
President Mugabe’s brother-in-law, yesterday confirmed he had moved
farm, but refused to give further details.
He said: “What do you want
from me? Go to the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture
and Rural Resettlement to
get those statistics. Is it me alone who is
at the time of the incident he had hired 150 contract workers to
workforce of 58 as it was time to harvest soya beans, maize and
Matangira yesterday confirmed that Marufu was his neighbour,
being involved in the wrangle.
Matangira said: “Why can’t
you come so that we can have a face-to-face talk?
I have nothing to do with
Marufu’s presence on the farm. Marufu is Mugabe’s
brother-in-law, so why
should I not visit him?”
Duncan said he told Marufu and Matangira that
the farm was no longer listed
for resettlement after it was delisted in
February, but the two insisted
they were not interested in the legal status
of the farm.
He said on 5 April five youths from Matangira’s farm invaded
and told him to leave the farm but he did not
Duncan said on 9 April Marufu arrived at the farm driving a Mazda
truck with eight youths and chased the workers away before they
inside a farm office.
“They broke into the office and
demanded to know why I was still at the
“Marufu went away and
brought back 10 more people. He took away all the keys
to the doors of my
house and instructed his people to remove some of my
property from the
house,” he said.
Duncan said Marufu ordered him to take some of his
property out of the main
house, but he could not take away everything at
He said the police were alerted of the developments at the farm but
bother to come to the property.
The district administrator’s
office in Bindura was equally unhelpful saying
they could not do anything
because it was a difficult situation, Duncan
“On 13 April after
the police arranged that I remove some of my property,
Marufu later arrived
and ordered me not to take away anything. He told
employees of the removals
firm I had hired to off-load the property,” he
Duncan said on
Tuesday he received reports that Marufu was harvesting his
soya beans, maize
and paprika worth over $35 million.
He said he immediately reported the
alleged harvesting of his crops to the
police in Bindura and the case number
Duncan said he had not yet established the actual value of
properties which include two houses, six tractors, grading
dryers, irrigation equipment, 12 horses and other workshop
estimates that they could be worth over $200 million.
November 1999, Marufu was quizzed by the police over allegations that
looted the War Victims Compensation Fund of $822 668,55.
former Zanla combatant, was recalled home from a diplomatic
posting in Canada
in October 1999 after the Canadian police raided his home
over charges of
assaulting his daughter, whose name was not revealed.
Dear Family and Friends,
Last Saturday morning a war veteran named Wind,
accompanied by a bunch of young men, arrived on my farm in the morning. He gave
my tenants and their young children two days to get off the farm and out of the
house as he says it now belongs to him. Wind then went over the road and issued
a verbal eviction order to my neighbours and then to the family living in their
cottage. These eviction orders were all non negotiable and backed up by threats
of violence. One of the threats was to throw a four year old deaf child into a
silage pit. Wind and his men then went to the houses of all the people who live
and work on these farms. All the men, women and children were also ordered out.
Wind closed the trading store on my farm and said it was now his. He ordered
that all the dairy cows on one of the farms and all the laying hens on the other
farm were not to be moved as they now belong to him. He ordered that all the
agricultural equipment be left behind as this also belongs to him - including a
tractor and plough, borehole motors, feed tins, water pipes, wheelbarrows, drums
of fuel, rakes, shovels etc. The police were informed but said they could not
get involved as it was political.
I went out to my neighbours and tried to help them
pack. Driving towards the farmhouse gate I was met by Wind. He was wearing
orange overalls, a brown leather belt, a big hat and carried a large Zimbabwe
flag on a pole in his back pocket. At his side was a thin dog and a number of
youths were hanging around, many with shaven heads and wearing Ray Ban
sunglasses. I had phoned ahead so a friendly face was waiting at the gate for me
and I drove in rapidly before Wind and his helpers could get in. There were no
friendly, barking dogs to meet me as usual; they had been put to sleep the
evening before because there will be no room for them in the tiny cottage the
owners are moving to. Inside the house was utter chaos. The contents of a 22
year life on this farm were strewn everywhere. Boxes and crates were filled,
curtains taken down, pictures removed from walls, furniture moved outside onto
the lawn. Everything was done in haste and all under the watchful gaze of Wind
and his men. Throughout the packing and loading they patrolled up and down the
driveway, leant against the gate, climbed trees and just stared. When we were
finally done and the removal truck was loaded, we all sat on the front step of
the little porch and looked for one last time out onto the farm. We shared a cup
of coffee out of the only things not packed - a cracked plastic cup and a
chipped china mug without a handle. There was not much to say that didn't
include swear words. For me there were a million memories of happy days, lunch
parties, fat cattle at the feed tins, burning firebreaks together under the pine
trees, glossy starlings at the bird bath, trying to corner a nightape which had
been stealing eggs. For the owners there were just silent tears. For them this
is the end. They are too old to start again anywhere else. They had invested
their life in this farm which is not even designated for government acquisition.
They have been forced to just walk out and let a bunch of thugs move into their
home. There is no money, no compensation, nothing - just get out or .... . When
we were ready to leave Wind was waiting at the gate. Bored louts lolled against
the fence and trees down the driveway and we all thanked God we had got out
alive. There had been no time to harvest the vegetables in the garden, the paw
paws or bananas dripping from the trees; there had been no time to dig up
treasured plants from the flower beds.
The tenants on my farm had a much more torrid time.
Wind and his men supervised the loading of their furniture; at one point
barricaded them in for some hours and later changed the lock on the gate so they
couldn't get back in to collect the last load. They demanded all the keys to my
house, dairy, workers houses and the trading store. Wind and his men are now
living in my house, lying in my bath, sitting on my veranda. My tenants have
lost their home and livelihood. I have lost the farm it took a decade to pay for
and establish and the rent I was getting which was my only income. In an article
I wrote for a local newspaper about the events of last weekend I pointed out the
immediate results of Wind's actions. 63 people are now homeless, 28 adults and
35 children. Because of these evictions, Zimbabwe is immediately deprived of 110
dozen eggs a week; 1500 litres of milk a week and 1000 kgs of beef a
The events on my farm and that of my neighbours
were not the only evictions this week. It is happening all over the country and
this week war veterans have made a new pronouncement - this time to Asian
Zimbabweans who they say are hogging commercial enterprises. War veterans have
threatened to take over these commercial properties as "the wealth must be
shared." I apologise for not telling you of any of the other horrors from
Zimbabwe this week, including a woman in her fifties who was beheaded by
govenment supporters in front of her two daughters. I also apologise for not
answering any of your messages this week. Until next time, with love, cathy. http://africantears.netfirms.com
Government increases price of milk, cement
10:06:20 AM (GMT +2)
THE government has
increased the retail, producer and wholesale prices of
milk, washing and bar
soap, margarine and cement with effect from today.
The price of the 500ml
fresh milk goes up by a whopping 72,75 percent and
now costs $39,82, up from
The Ministry of Industry and International Trade announced these
increases in four Extraordinary Gazettes released yesterday.
retail prices for all brands of margarine were all increased. For
the price of a 500g of Stork Refrigerated block is now $161,36, up
$124,14, while 1kg of Buttercup Table margarine block price was raised
$255,01 to $297,06.
The 250g Geisha bath soap now costs $95,45, compared
to the old price of
The 750g Key bar soap, which is more
readily available in supermarkets in
the country than other soaps, has had
its price increased from $99,65 to
$145,23, an rise of about 52,1 percent.
The 750g Brilliant bar soap now
Brilliant, like other
brands such as Big Ben, Dolphin and Perfection, has,
however, been scarce in
supermarkets since the government imposed controls
on basic commodities last
A 50kg bag of cement now costs between $450 and $588,23, up from
price range of between $245 and $341. The price of cement was reduced
between $500 and $750 for a 50kg bag to between $245 and $341 when
government introduced price controls last year.
A tonne of cement
now costs between $9 016 and $11 764.
These increases are the second
round of price reviews effected by the
government since the introduction of
price controls on basic commodities.
On Monday, the government increased
the wholesale, producer and retail
prices of bread and cooking oil despite
promises made before last month’s
presidential election by President Mugabe
that his government would not
The price of a loaf of
bread was increased from $48,50 to $60,44. Zanu PF
promised voters during its
campaign for the presidential election that it
would not raise the prices of
basic commodities if Mugabe were re-elected.
Harare consumers this week
blasted the price increases of bread and cooking
oil, saying they would make
life unbearable for Zimbabweans already
struggling to make ends meet in a
country whose economy had virtually
The Confederation of
Zimbabwe Industries, which represents the industrial
the bread and cooking oil price increases saying it
would see producers of
basic commodities improving their viability.
MDC members sacked from Shamva mine
4/27/02 10:02:42 AM
EIGHT workers at Shamva Gold Mine were
on Tuesday forced to resign from
their jobs because of their support for the
opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC).
The affected workers,
Kaifu Tito, 29, a mill attendant, Rogers Chakanda, 32,
Morgan Makunda, 27,
Douglas Hamamauswa, Prince Chikono,
Tedius Maiswa and Shake Kanengosha were
MDC polling agents during the June
2000 parliamentary and the 9-11 March
presidential election, controversially
won by President Mugabe.
workers said some members in the mine’s administration were active Zanu
members and victimised workers suspected to be MDC supporters.
workers identified them as Titus Mutsvairo, a senior security officer,
Mutsvairo, the chairman of Zanu PF at the mine, Chris Tembo, the Zanu
secretary for the Shamva district, Brian Mupambi, Asher and
Chiyanike, Haji Mugwe and Elliot Masanzu, a supervisor in the
One of the workers, Brian Mudzanga has fled to
Kwekwe, after receiving death
threats from Zanu PF youths brought to the mine
by Mutsvairo and his
John Chinamasa, the Shamva Mine human
resources manager, said:
“Unfortunately, l cannot comment on the goings-on at
the mine. Phone our
Harare office or speak to the manager.”
Parshotam, the manager, was said to be in a meeting when The Daily
sought his comment. The workers said their union assigned a Mr Sithole
deal with the matter but he was barred from entering the mine
Lawyer Ray Gumbo is representing the workers in the wrangle
with Shamva Gold
Gumbo said the workers were dismissed a
fortnight ago, but denied this was
because of their MDC
“It is just speculative. That is not tangible.” Gumbo said.
“From a legal
point of view, the eight workers were absent from duty for a
period of five days without a lawful excuse, in terms of the
“From a political point of view, my clients were
evicted from their
respective residences at the mine on grounds that they
were members of the
MDC. They have been forced out of Shamva and their goods
were thrown out of
their homes and dumped in the open.”
reason the workers could not risk reporting for duty, let alone
Shamva, said Gumbo.
Their goods, up to now, remain dumped at Shamva,
while one of his client’s
goods were burnt.
Gumbo said the workers
were discharged and recourse from the mine management
was not forthcoming
because of political pressure on the management. He said
his clients first
appeared before a junior official at the mine and later
before a mine
captain, who was threatened with death if he entertained the
The workers are scheduled to appear before Parshotam
on Monday next week, in
terms of the Labour Relations Act.
he would seek redress in either the High Court or the labour
Parshotam officially dismissed them.
Some Church leaders being used to fulfil a
4/27/02 10:13:15 AM (GMT +2)
and grisly murder of a defenceless mother by suspected Zanu PF
thugs left me
numb with shock.
My wife, Winnie, dropped tears and couldn’t eat her
lunch after reading
about the gory details in The Daily News.
daughter, Mavhu, sent an e-mail message from the United States asking:
can’t believe what I hear is going on there. Is this the beautiful and
Zimbabwe I grew up in?”
Yes, this is what our beloved country
has become - a pitiful, chaotic,
lawless and brutal jungle.
We now have wild animals which speak and move on two legs.
ferocious and bloodthirsty. They rape, torture, maim and kill
Much as I abhor violence, I sometimes wonder
whether maybe it is not time
that concerned peace-loving Zimbabweans
organised to defend themselves and
their families from these terrorising
animals. Those entrusted with
peace-keeping and law enforcement have failed
miserably to carry out their
On the whole, the
Church in Zimbabwe has openly deplored the violence and
lack of justice in
They have fearlessly declared: “Thus saith the Lord . . .”
are some denominations which are conspicuous by their
I will not mention them by name, but their silence makes one
they know what their prophetic role as shepherds of the sheep
Isaiah says clearly: “Learn to do good, seek justice, reprove the
defend the orphan, plead for the widow.” (Isaiah 1:17).
the Sixties, the Tremeloes sang the song, Silence is Golden and we all
and danced to the tune. Today I beg to differ. In our situation
not golden, but disastrous.
In Nazi Germany Pastor Martin Niemoller was
disturbed by the silence of the
Church in the face of state
In a fiery sermons he implored the German Church to speak up
against this pl
anned violence against the people. I have here quoted him but
names of the victims to fit our own situation.
“In Zimbabwe they came first for the white farmer, and I did not
because I wasn’t a white farmer. They came for the MDC, and I didn’
up because I was not in the MDC. Then they came for the Zimbabwe
Trade Unions, and I did not speak up because I was a
businessman. Then they
came for me, and by that time no one was left to
whoever you may be in Zimbabwe, don’t ask for whom the bell tolls. It
for thee. The Chewa people say: “Chaona munzako chapita. Mawa chizaona
(The misfortune which befell your friend is gone. Tomorrow it will be
As Zimbabweans, we must speak loudly as one voice against the
unleashed among us.
The only one I would exempt from speaking
at this time is Jonathan Moyo,
unelected Minister of Publicity and
For him silence would really be golden. His forked tongue
has caused more
harm to this country than the drought.
unbelievable but true that some church leaders have actually applauded
endorsed the illegal, violent and unjust so-called land reform
which has plunged this country into violent anarchy and poverty.
utter astonishment of us all, these bishop, prophets and pastors
declare that there is peace in Zimbabwe.
Prophet Andrew Wutawunashe,
Chairman of the Faith for the Nation Campaign,
actually described the chaotic
Zanu PF land reform programme as a “Godly
Bishop Nolbert Kunonga of the Anglican Church claimed that
was more Christian than himself. Well, that says a lot
about the bishop,
From what we know about our President, Kunonga is not fit for
By the way, I am not used to idle gossip, but I think that
for me to keep
the juicy tit-bit which I have just received would not be fair
to my country
The rumour emanating from Zambia is just too much
for me not to be tempted
to spread. I heard from reliable sources that
Archbishop Malango, who was
instrumental in getting Kunonga installed was
recently defrocked for his
windfall. Godly Anglicans in this part of the
world may really have some
house-cleaning to do.
This is what God said
about church leaders who say there is peace where
there is none: “From the
least to the greatest, all are greedy for gain;
prophets and priests alike,
all practise deceit. They dress the wound of my
people as though it were not
serious. Peace, peace, they say, when there is
ashamed of their loathsome conduct? No. They have no shame at all;
not even know how to blush. So they will fall among the fallen; they
brought down when I punish them.” (Jeremiah 6:13-15).
I have just
finished reading Kingdoms in Conflict by Charles Colson. Colson,
special assistant to United States President Richard Nixon, was
for his role in the Watergate scandal.
He wrote this book, as a
born-again Christian, out of his experience in the
book Colson explains how he and Nixon used Christian leaders for
They curried the favours of desperate interest groups,
leaders, through well-thought-out dramatic
Colson says: “I frequently scheduled meetings for evangelical
denominational councils and individual religious
They would give selected church leaders a tour of the White
House, dinner or
tea with the president and invitations to state
He goes on: “Henry Kissinger’s briefings in the Oval Office
were always a
big hit. The weekly church services Nixon scheduled most
Sundays for the
East Room provided great opportunities as well. To select the
determined who would give us the greatest impact - politically,
that is, not
“ . . . Ironically none were more compliant
than the religious leaders. Of
all people, they should have been the most
aware of the sinful nature of man
and the least overwhelmed by pomp and
protocol. But, theological knowledge
sometimes wilts in the face of worldly
This is the tragedy that has befallen some of our Christian
are being used to fulfil a political agenda.
one of his ministers, Elliot Manyika, have done very well in
They now have some of our hitherto most promising, church
leaders eating out
of their hands and singing the Hondo Yeminda
In concluding this chapter, Colson says: “I’m not advocating
groups or leaders boycott the White House or the palaces and
the world. That’s where the political action is, and
Christians need to
influence policies for justice and
That is in the best biblical tradition of Jeremiah, Amos,
Micah, Daniel and
a host of others -though many prophets preferred the desert
to the palace.
“But, Christians (and others as well) need to do so with
eyes open, aware of
the snares . . . the demon inherent in every (political)
party is at all
times ready enough to disguise himself as the Holy
He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
Council overturns decision to give war vets
4/27/02 10:07:29 AM (GMT +2)
By Luke Tamborinyoka
THE Harare City Council on Thursday night overturned a
decision by the
government-appointed Chanakira Commission, which it has
allocate 100 residential stands to war veterans in Crowborough
The full council, at a meeting presided over by the
deputy mayor, Sekesai
Makwavarara, adopted a suggestion by ward 32
councillor, Last Maingehama, to
rescind the commission’s resolution that gave
preference to the war
The mayor, Elias Mudzuri, was not at
the meeting as he is attending the
Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in
The councillors argued that the council was an institution of
opportunity and preference was to be given to people on the housing
The debate emerged after it was discovered that the
commission allocated 905
stands in Crowborough North to housing
co-operatives, individuals on the
housing waiting list, the Homeless People’s
Federation, war veterans, and to
an unnamed co-operative in Glen
“The Harare City Council must cater for all people and there must
discrimination. Every Zimbabwean is equal before this council and if
preference is to be given to any particular group of people, it must be
disabled persons,” said Fani Munengami, the councillor for ward
Munengami had asked why the war veterans were part of the people
stands in Crowborough.
Other councillors said preference
must be given to people on the housing
waiting list and not to war veterans.
The councillors said the council must
not set a precedent of favouring a
particular interest group.
An official from the Department of Housing and
Community Services said the
decision to allocate the stands to war veterans
was taken by the commission.
The official said their office had since
written to the war veterans telling
them that the stands would be repossessed
if they failed to develop them.
But the councillors were adamant that
priority be given to people on the
Civic society dismisses Chronicle story on alleged
4/27/02 10:04:37 AM (GMT +2)
Mujokoro in Bulawayo
CIVIC society and the United States embassy have
dismissed as baseless and
alarmist stories published by the state-controlled
daily, Chronicle, on
Monday and Tuesday this week alleging the MDC planned to
bomb buildings and
cause chaos in Zimbabwe.
“Utter nonsense,” is how
the US Embassy Public Affairs director, Bruce
Wharton, described the
In the first story, with a bold headline declaring “Extreme
“exclusive” in red, Chronicle alleged the MDC was planning a
terrorist attack to bring down several tall buildings in Harare
Bulawayo, as part of plans to fast-track Morgan Tsvangirai, the MDC
The stories authored by the acting “special
projects” editor, Blessing
Ruzengwe, alleged that five buildings in Harare
and three in Bulawayo were
being targeted and that this was being
co-ordinated by a “political affairs”
officer at the US Embassy.
newspaper also reported that another operation was dubbed “Ivory Coast”
involved Britain and the US.
The paper alleged that people would be
carried to the city with an intention
to march to State House and demand to
be addressed by President Mugabe.
The demonstration was expected to
provoke a violent reaction from the
country’s defence forces, causing loss of
lives. This would then give the
British and American governments an excuse to
send troops into Zimbabwe and
then install Tsvangirai as president after
Mugabe is defeated.
Daniel Molokela, a political analyst based in
Bulawayo, said although
Chronicle has a duty to warn the nation of any
impending danger, they had
abused the privilege for too long and they could
not be given the benefit of
Molokela said: “It is the same
Chronicle which alleged that the
multi-million rand bank robbery in
Johannesburg, South Africa, earlier this
year had been staged by MDC
“It is the same Chronicle which published stories on alleged
on their offices and other public offices. No one can take
anymore,” he said.
The National University of Science
and Technology student leader, John
Bomba, said this was a futile attempt by
Zanu PF and Professor Jonathan
Moyo, the Minister of State for Information
and Publicity, to deny the
inevitability of a spontaneous mass
He said the current food shortages, coupled with the increased
cost of basic
commodities, were likely to trigger mass protests.
government is continuously hammering on the point that the foreign
portraying a negative image of the country while causing the
image are they portraying, especially when there are visitors
Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo?” Bomba asked.
an exhibitor from China think about the political situation in
reading such a story?” he asked.
“Residents of Bulawayo have long since
stopped believing in the propaganda
churned out by the State-controlled
newspapers and stopped reading them,” he
Sizalobuhle Sibanda of
Khumalo said: “I used to buy the Chronicle for its
adverts at one stage, but
now I have stopped because there is no benefit to
be derived from reading the
Zanu PF propaganda.”
Economic commentator, Dr Eric Bloch, said
allegations by Chronicle were too
far-fetched and incredible.
just an abuse of journalistic ethics by sensationalising
impact they hoped to create by writing such stories
will not be achieved
because no-one believes them anyway,” he said.
The MDC has dismissed the
whole story as a blatant lie, bent on discrediting
the party and has filed a
lawsuit against the publication.
Schools to start teaching minority languages,
4/27/02 10:04:02 AM (GMT +2)
From Our Correspondent in
The government of Zimbabwe has now publicly committed itself to
of what it generally refers to as minority languages.
languages will be introduced into the primary school curriculum from
to 7. The programme is expected to start running this year
The decision to introduce the languages programme was
announced through a
document titled Secretary’s Circular Number 1 of 2002
issued to schools
during the week ending 12 April 2002.
Regarding Language Teaching and Learning”, the document
states, among other
things: “ These are languages that are spoken by a
indigenous group in various parts of Zimbabwe.”
The languages include
Kalanga, Tonga, Venda, Nambya and Sotho.
The communities in which these
languages are spoken, especially the Tonga in
the Zambezi Valley, have always
felt marginalised because their languages
However, the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation has been
audiences which speak the languages through their various radio
particularly on Radio 4.
“These languages are currently
being taught up to Grade 3. From January
2002, the languages will be assisted
to advance a grade per year until they
can be taught up to Grade 7,” says the
It adds that this year the languages should be taught in Grade
to Grade 5 in 2003, Grade 6 in 2004, and Grade 7 in
The government decision came after concerted pressure by the
Indigenous Languages Promotion Association (ZILPA) to get the
be compulsorily taught in those areas where they are
ZILPA is an umbrella body grouping language and
cultural organisations of
the five languages plus Shangane.
the languages, except Shangane, are spoken in parts of the Midlands
Asked to comment on the development, the ZILPA chairman,
Ndlovu, said: “This is what is called cultural democracy,
should have been done when Zimbabwe won its independence in
“The government decision recognises not only the existence of
communities concerned, but their basic right to the foundation of
respective cultures. That foundation is that each community should
“It is now the duty of each language group to
work tirelessly to produce
literature to facilitate and accelerate the
teaching and learning of these
Mugabe cronies take pick of stolen farms
Peta, Zimbabwe correspondent
28 April 2002
President Robert Mugabe's
cronies are moving in the wake of marauding "war
veterans" to grab prime
commercial farms for themselves, giving the lie to
Mugabe's claim that he is
dispossessing white farmers for "peasant
Mugabe has repeatedly justified his land seizure programme as
colonial injustices, several of his henchmen are now
cherry-picking the best
farms for themselves, often forcing out indignant
Commercial Farmers Union (CFU) said they were seizing not only prime
but more recently farm equipment and other property, offering no
compensation. Even under Zimbabwe's questionable land
resettlement laws –
frequently dismissed by courts as unconstitutional – the
supposed to reimburse farmers for moveable property that
The CFU sees this week's instruction by top officials of
Zanu-PF for the police not to get involved in cases were
white farmers are
being stripped of their land and property as part of the
campaign by the
''chefs'' (élites) to become landowners.
The CFU said
top Zanu-PF officials Stephen Nkomo and Kembo Mohadi had warned
police not to
intervene in events that were politically driven.
Nkomo and Mohadi's
mission was preceded by the seizure of a prime farm by
one of Mugabe's
deputies, Vice-President Joseph Msika and the influential
Resident Minister of Matabeleland South Province, Obert Mpofu.
Mpofu partitioned a prime farm called Umguza Block for themselves.
veterans and squatters, who had earlier occupied the farm in the hope
being allocated land on the property were relocated.
Mugabe's sister, Sabina, visited a farm and expressed an interest
it some time before its owner, Terry Ford, was murdered by war
White farmers say they have discerned a strategy pursued by the
Once they have inspected huge farms, militant war veterans evict
clearing the way for the chefs to take over.
The CFU said in
some provinces farmers were unable to move their equipment
and property to
secure locations because senior government officials were
Agriculture Minister Joseph Made has announced a new policy reducing
farms to a maximum 2,000 hectares. But he specifically exempted the
black landowners, a move that CFU chairman Colin Cloete called racist.
is unfortunate and impractical and will serve only further to
investor and donor confidence," said Cloete.
Mugabe has actively supported the land seizures. While his cronies
spoils, economists say the country, which is already facing
shortages attributed to the farm seizures, will lose $1.12
billion in GDP
this year because of the decline in agricultural output.
Doubts over woman's 'decapitation'
Harare - Controversy has
erupted in Zimbabwe surrounding claims by the
opposition that a woman was
decapitated last weekend in front of her two
local officials in the woman's village have denied, in the
newspaper, that the incident took place.
Police in the past have been
unable to confirm all incidents of political
The editor of
the privately-owned Daily News, Geoff Nyarota, said in his
edition that his reporters have been unable to find the
grave of Brandina
The woman's husband, Enos Tadyanemhandu, stuck by his
story recounting her
murder by people he said belonged to militia backing
Mugabe. His story was published in the paper on
"It is not the police whose wife was murdered," he told the Daily
did not accompany the Daily News reporters to find his wife's grave,
he was still arranging funeral rituals.
But Nyarota has
nonetheless apologised to the Zimbabwe African National
(Zanu-PF) for publishing the claims.
"It is difficult to believe Mr
Tadyanemhandu could have made up such a
detailed story. But if his wife's
so-called grave cannot be found, then that
must be exactly what he did -
create the elaborate story," Nyarota said.
Brandina Tadyanemhandu still
has not been found alive.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) said in a statement on
Monday that the 53-year-old woman was
decapitated on April 21 by
pro-government militia who forced her two
daughters to watch her die in
their family kitchen.
her, the militia said they had been ordered "to weed out all
from the constituency" of Hurungwe East, the statement said.
A total of
20 militia members were in the house when they chopped off
head in front of her 17-year-old and 10-year-old daughters,
The militia burned down the family's home and destroyed all their
before leaving, the statement said.
Tichaona was killed on June 20, 2001, apparently for his
opposition politics, the statement said. - Sapa-AFP
Mugabe's gravy train gathers momentum
Zimbabwe's 79-year-old Vice- President, Simon
Muzenda, has become the latest beneficiary of the redistribution of white-owned
land and equipment, according to farm union officials.
The Commercial Farmers' Union claimed in its latest bulletin that Muzenda had
led a delegation of officials to Chris Nel's Chindito farm , about 200km south
of Harare, and gave him and his family a week in which to leave.
Muzenda told Nel he could "take his household goods and furniture but nothing
else," the bulletin reported .
Earlier this week the Daily News reported that Joseph Msika, Zimbabwe' s
second vice president , had seized part of a state-owned beef and game ranch in
the western province of Matabeleland North - sharing the farm with the local
governor, Obert Mpofu.
Since the mid-March presidential elections in which Mugabe was declared the
winner, a wave of illegal evictions by ruling party chiefs and their militias
have seen at least 150 farmers forced off their farms and prevented from taking
Fearless animal rescuer defies Mugabe's
IN the lawlessness of rural Zimbabwe, Meryl Harrison risks her
life to save the mutilated and starving farm victims of the `war veterans'.
Fred Bridgland, in Johannesburg, reports
IT was the one time Meryl Harrison allowed herself to cry. More
than 600 pigs were dead or starving on a farm taken over by
Robert Mugabe's "war veterans" from a white Zimbabwean given less than an
hour to quit his property.
"There were scores of rotting carcasses, and the desperate
surviving animals were feeding on them," said Ms Harrison, the leader of a
project to save or humanely destroy some of the hundreds of thousands of animals
that are dying, starving or being mutilated as a result of the assaults
on Zimbabwe's commercial farms .
"In the mayhem, a sow was trying to give birth next to dead
animals," she said. "A large sow I thought was sleeping in a feeding trough had
died where she lay. Piglets were so weak they were just falling over when they
tried to walk."
Harrison and her team from the Zimbabwe National Society for the
Prevention of Cruelty to Animals brave difficult and dangerous circumstances to
rescue animals each day.
"As well as rescuing some of the animals deserted on the farms,
Meryl and her men put down animals they find with broken backs, broken limbs and
gaping wounds as a result of attacks by the war vets," said Estelle Walters, a
fund raiser for the ZNSPCA's emergency rescue campaign.
"Cows and sheep are having their hamstrings cut as some kind of
political warning by the war vets. Cows have been found alive with axe heads
embedded in their bodies. In one case a cow's leg had been cut off for meat and
the animal left alive. Un-milked cows are dying in agony, and hooves have been
sliced from children's pet ponies."
In the lawlessness
that characterises much of rural Zimbabwe , Ms Harrison must remain
apolitical and calm, especially when physically threatened by war veterans. She
and her colleagues have been barricaded into farms, and their ageing Land Rover
bears scars where rocks have been hurled at it.
Ms Harrison, 64, depends on the police to negotiate her passage
through roadblocks to reach deserted farms where abandoned dogs are killing
sheep and lambs; where war veterans are slaughtering any animals they find -
even the farm cats. On a crocodile farm at Mutorashanga, war veterans had
released 36 of the reptiles into the bush.
The ZNSPCA's chairwoman, Bernice Robertson-Dyer, said of Ms
Harrison: "I just cannot tell you where we would be without this remarkable
lady. She is known to everybody and will rarely take no for an answer as long as
there are animals in need of help."
Ms Harrison, who was born in London but moved with her parents to
Zimbabwe when she was nine, is divorced with two sons, one living in Zimbabwe,
the other in Australia.
In addition to horses, cattle, pigs, sheep, dogs and cats, Ms
Harrison and her team - black Zimbabweans whom she describes as "fearless" -
have rescued abandoned guinea pigs, chickens, geese, turkeys, guinea fowl and
lovebirds. On one farm, the team discovered a farmer who had locked himself in
his house with his award-winning bulls in an attempt to save them.
Last week the police gave Ms Harrison an armed escort to save 12
tortoises from a farm, while they refused an escort for an ambulance for a
90-year-old couple who had withstood a 40-day siege but needed to be rescued
after the man fell and broke his leg.
She and her colleagues extend their help to black traditional
farmers and even war veterans. In one black communal area, with 22,000 donkeys,
Ms Harrison treats the animals, holds education classes, mends harnesses and
distributes reflectors for the donkey carts. War veterans beg her to treat their
newly-acquired sheep, goats and donkeys.
Of the 600 pigs from the farm at Beatrice, 60 miles south of
Harare, where she broke down in tears, she managed to save 250. The rest either
starved or were slaughtered by the war veterans she had bribed to help her to
load the survivors on to a truck.