Mugabe opponent accuses ECB of political
LONDON: A prominent opponent of Zimbabwe President
Robert Mugabe accused the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) Saturday of
colluding in a "political loyalty test" ahead of the Africans tour
Peter Tatchell, organiser of the London-based Stop the Tour
campaign, said the ECB had accepted the right of the Zimbabwe Cricket Union
(ZCU) to politically vet its players.
This, Tatchell said, flew in the
face of the ECB's previously-stated policy that cricket and politics should
be kept separate.
"The Zimbabwe Cricket Union is not an independent
sporting body," said Tatchell, best known as a homosexual rights campaigner
"President Mugabe is patron of the ZCU. His authority was required before the
tour could go ahead. He controls the ZCU. All Zimbabwe's players are
"Only those uncritical of Mugabe were eligible for
selection", Tatchell added.
Flower confirmed during the World Cup he
would be retiring from international cricket at the end of the tournament and
is currently playing for English county Essex.
"There can be no normal
sporting relations with an abnormal regime that uses torture, rape and murder
as weapons of repression," Tatchell insisted.
England, after months of
wrangling, controversially withdrew at the 11th hour from their February 13th
World Cup match in Harare primarily for safety reasons after the team
received a threatening letter.
The players also voiced moral doubts about
playing the match.
England's decision, despite Zimbabwe safety
assurances, sparked fears that Mugabe would order a retaliatory boycott of
their forthcoming two-Test tour which also features a triangular one-day
series involving England and South Africa.
According to the ECB's own
figures such a boycott would have cost English cricket 10 million pounds (16
Last month ECB chairman David Morgan made a two-day
visit to Harare in order to save the tour and, after meeting with the ZCU
board, confirmed that England would go to Zimbabwe in November
The ECB also agreed to pay the ZCU an undisclosed sum as
compensation for the boycott.
In March, the International Cricket
Council (ICC) said it was witholding 3.5 million dollars of England's
nine-million-dollar World Cup cut in lieu of any commercial compensation
claims resulting from the Harare boycott.
Tatchell, who together with
other members of the Stop the Tour campaign disrupted a pre-World Cup ECB
press conference at Lord's, promised that there would be further
demonstrations at the two Test matches.
These are due to take place at
Lord's from May 22 to May 26 and at Durham's Riverside ground from June 5 to
Zimbabwe are due to start their tour with a match against
British Universities at Edgbaston on Saturday May 3.
THE Grain Marketing Board,
while allowing anyone to move 3 bags (150kg) of grain without a permit, is
intensifying preparations for maize deliveries to its depots and has set
aside $68 million to buy grain bags.
The money has been disbursed to
GMB's depots countrywide to buy the bags and enhance delivery of harvested
crops to the board.
"Our depots are buying empty gain bags from
the public," Colonel Samuel Muvuti, acting GMB chief executive, told The
Herald in an interview yesterday.
"This is to add on to what we are
buying from other suppliers."
He said most bags had been used for grain
distribution under the drought relief programme and there was need to build
up stocks for the marketing season.
Maize deliveries from this year's
harvest have started trickling in at GMB depots countrywide with a total of
more than 3 000 tonnes having been delivered since the marketing season
opened on April 1.
Col Muvuti said individuals were allowed to carry up
to 3 bags of maize (about 150kg) at any given time without a permit from the
"There has been an outcry that the GMB could be overdoing its
grain monitoring exercise particularly at roadblocks," he
"People with just a bucket or a maximum of three bags of maize can
move their grain without the approval from our Loss Control
He said the grain monitoring was not being done to
antagonise the public but to prevent illegal trafficking of grain in large
quantities for profiteering or smuggling across the borders.
hasten to say people should appreciate the spirit with which the GMB is
carrying out the monitoring exercise.
"We are doing this in an effort to
make sure that the little we have is equitably distributed amongst our
people. We also want to build our strategic reserve," he said.
regional food security agency says Zimbabwe will harvest close to 1,3 million
tonnes of maize this season leaving just one third of its requirement to be
met from imports or the winter irrigation harvest crop.
much of southern Africa last season prompting humanitarian agencies to appeal
for food aid for more than 14 million people in the region.
had to import 1,1 million tonnes of grain at a cost of US$207,9 million to
cover the shortages caused by the drought.
Col Muvuti said GMB would
continue to tighten loopholes to ensure that all the grain is sold through
"There are some dealers who are purchasing grain from people
for purposes of profiteering through exportation," he said.
that these are the same unscrupulous dealers who have been exporting maize
imported by the Government using scarce foreign currency.
"I must say
that these are the people we are mostly targeting."
"These are the
criminals and we have got statutory instruments which are there to protect
Zimbabweans in as far as food security is concerned,"
According to Statutory Instrument 235A of 2001, maize,
maize-meal, wheat and wheat flour are controlled products and the GMB has the
monopoly to trade in these products.
Col Muvuti said there were some
companies which were buying maize from farmers at above Government stipulated
prices focussing on their interests and forgetting that their workers would
come to GMB when they had no mealie-meal.
He urged all new farmers to
deliver maize to the GMB as they had a moral obligation to feed the nation
through the board and give meaning to the land reform programme.
Muvuti said farmers in and around Harare who were losing their crops
to thieves should approach the GMB Loss Control Department for permits to
move their grain to their urban homes for drying and shelling.
urged farmers who may want to retain their grain for consumption and poultry
and livestock feeding to GMB offices to fill in GM4 forms.
as baseless reports in some sections of the media that farmers were not
responding positively to Government's call to deliver maize to
"This is obviously not true," he said. "It is only fair to
say that it's too early for farmers to have harvested, dried and shelled
their maize for delivery to the GMB. This normally happens from July
He said GMB would accept any grain which comes from farmers and
would pay $130 000 per tonne for grades A and B, $128 000 and $125 000 per
tonne for the C and D grades respectively and $115 000 for the
The GMB has set up more collection points to reduce distance
and transport cost to farmers.
It says it will pay farmers timeously
after receiving grain from them.
THE Principal Judge, Justice Herbert
Ntabgoba, has attacked the proposed no term limit for the presidency, saying
it would damage democracy and abet abuse of human rights, reports Milton
He criticised African leaders who cling to power, designating
themselves as life presidents.
Ntabgoba said human rights abuses arise
out of desperate attempts to quell the views opposed to misrule, damaged
democracy as well as state-inspired corruption, leading to social injustice
Ntabgoba, on Friday quoted an article in The New Vision by
Dr. George Keeler which said, "Many of the difficulties in African countries
can be attributed to no-term limits." The writer gave Zimbabwe as an example
of such African countries with a no-term limit.
"In Africa today,
examples of what Dr. Keeler describes do abound. As I have pointed out,
damaged democracy means the violation of human rights," Ntabgoba said at a
public lecture and launch of the Makerere Law Journal at Makerere University
Faculty of Law.
The journal is a scholarly publication with its
contributors coming mainly from the Judiciary.
It covers various
topics including the need for reforming the sentencing system, relevant
technology for Africa, alternative dispute resolution, retirement and pension
trust in Uganda, among others.
A university law lecturer, Dr. Sylvia
Tamale, disagreed that the movement system of governance offers better
opportunities for gender equality than the multiparty system.
G.W Kanyeihamba and Patrick Tabaro and the faculty dean, David Bakibinga,
attended the function. Ends
President Mugabe, under heavy
local and international pressure to step down, has called for a
constitutional amendment that will allow an interim President to be appointed
by his Zanu PF party and pave the way for fresh elections for a new
in Johannesburg said this was the message that had been communicated to
President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa, who is seen as a key player in
delicate manoeuvres towards a transition from a dictatorship to democratic
rule in Zimbabwe.
It is understood that
Mugabe wants his long-time personal aide, Emmerson Mnangagwa, to be the
interim President, although this could not
Mbeki is scheduled to
lead a three-member, high-powered team to Harare within the next two weeks to
iron out Mugabe's proposed exit plan, according to the
Mbeki's delegation will comprise
Presidents Bakili Muluzi of Malawi and Olusegun Obasanjo of
The Sunday Times of Johannesburg
reports that South African officials want the three African heads of state to
keep the momentum going following Mugabe's positive signals in an interview
on ZTV last week.
In the interview to mark
Zimbabwe's 23rd independence anniversary, Mugabe hinted that he was
considering stepping down as land redistribution that he had so much wanted
to see implemented had been addressed.
three leaders are expected to work out a safe exit plan for Mugabe that will
make him immune from prosecution for human rights abuses committed during his
Mugabe is particularly
worried about the Matabeleland and Midlands massacres of the mid-1980s after
he unleashed the Korean-trained 5 Brigade, led by the now Air Force of
Zimbabwe boss, Perence Shiri, on the people of those provinces in suppressing
an armed dissident uprising.
innocent civilians died in what is now referred to as the Gukurahundi
Mugabe has not apologised
officially to the people of Matabeleland and Midlands for the atrocities,
although he expressed regret for "the madness" at Vice-President Joshua
Nkomo's burial in 1999.
The Sunday Times
quotes Zanu PF insiders as saying Mugabe is concerned about "the future of
his family and property, his party's simmering succession problems, a
possible power vacuum after his departure and subsequent infighting within
The MDC leader, Morgan
Tsvangirai, a key player in any power transition, is on record as saying that
Mugabe's security after he steps down will only be guaranteed in the context
of a negotiated settlement of the current Zimbabwe
Mugabe has stated that he is
prepared to talk to the opposition leader if he drops his election results
court challenge and recognises him as the legitimate President of
Tsvangirai has flatly refused to
agree to those conditions.
Mugabe won the
presidential election last year in controversial circumstances. The poll was
condemned internationally as being fraught with irregularities and glaring
COMMUTER bus operators in
Bulawayo have vowed to defy the government's newly gazetted commuter fares
announced last week, describing them as "unsustainable and suicidal to
The government gazetted
the new fares following hefty fuel price increases that resulted in operators
raising their fares without
argued that the government prices cannot sustain them in business as they are
out of sync with the ever-rising costs of fuel and spare parts, both of which
are in short supply in the country.
Operators plying routes within the 6km range are expected to charge a maximum
$60, while those on the 6-10km routes should charge $100
Those in the 10-20km zone
are to charge $200 and those operating in the 20-35km peg will charge
Francis Malunga, the Bulawayo
Transport Owners' Association (BTOA) chairman, said his organisation proposed
that they charge $300 regardless of the distance, but government
He accused government of
hypocrisy, saying commuter omnibuses are not plying the 20 to 35km distance
whose fares government pegged at $300.
Malunga said it was baffling why government wanted to appear more concerned
about the commuters but was turning a blind eye to the
He said his
association would stick to its proposed $300 fare despite the distance
travelled, as long as it is an urban trip.
"We are not going to comply, we are sticking to our minimum of $300 per
single urban trip.
"By stipulating such
ridiculous fares the government says it wants to cushion commuters. And the
question is who will cushion the operators?" asked
He said the gazetted fares were
not in line with the fuel prices hence the need for government to review its
"What we are saying is we are
openly defying government fares. There are many aspects to consider besides
the fuel prices. There is the issue of spare parts. How are we going to buy
them when we are operating at a loss?" said
Another association of commuter
omnibus operators, the Bulawayo Passengers' Transport Association, agreed
with BTOA's position and said the new fares were not
STATE security agents from the
Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) are reportedly visiting companies and
factories in Bulawayo compiling names and residential addresses of workers
who took part in last week's
The country was last
week paralysed after workers heeded a call by the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions to go on a three-day stayaway from Wednesday to
The stayaway was in protest
against the increase in the price of fuel which went up by by up to 300
A bank manager said the CIO
demanded the names and addresses of workers at the
bank. "I told them that the information they
wanted was privileged and could only be obtained through our head office,"
said the manager.
A worker at a city
factory said plain clothes police officers told the manager that they wanted
a list of the people who have the keys to
He said they told him that
they wanted to find out the reason why he had "locked out" the
"I told them that no one had been
locked out as the workers did not turn up for work on their own. They went
away but promised to come back on Monday," he
A worker from another bank said the
CIO operatives visited their branch on Saturday and said they would come
again later for the names and addresses of the
He said: "They wanted to find out
about us, how we joined the bank, our party affiliation and addresses. As a
result, we now fear for
Ten ZCTU leaders in
Bulawayo were arrested for organising the stayaway. Only three of the trade
unionists were charged under the Public Order and Security Act for allegedly
circulating pamphlets urging people to heed the stayaway
The other trade union leaders were
released without charge.
Shambare, the vice-chairman of the Zimbabwe ZCTU western region, thanked the
people of Bulawayo and the surrounding areas for heeding their call for the
"We believe that this is a
serious violation of our liberty to express our rights as liberated workers,"
SEVERAL people in Chitungwiza,
Seke, Harare and Mutare sustained injuries over the weekend as men in army
uniform reportedly cracked down on residents they suspected to have heeded
the ZCTU's call for a three-day stayaway last
The assaults came only one
day after Joao Bernardo Miranda, the Angolan Foreign Minister who is
spearheading a task force on the Zimbabwe crisis, left the
Angola, the current Sadc
chairman, was mandated by regional leaders to lead the task force looking
into allegations of gross human rights abuses, including illegal detention,
rape, torture, murder, assaults and the muzzling of the Press, at the behest
of the government.
Between Wednesday and
Friday last week, business ground to a halt countrywide as people heeded the
call for the stayaway to protest against the recent increase in the price of
fuel which shot up by up to 300 percent.
On Saturday and Sunday, The Daily News offices were inundated with telephone
calls from people who claimed they were victims of the
Peter Mlambo of
Chitungwiza said: "Soldiers surrounded us at a beerhall and beat up people
indiscriminately. They accused us of supporting the
"But why should we be victimised
for not going to work when business premises were
John Badza, another victim, said
he was ambushed in Mabvuku by two soldiers who demanded to know why he was
walking about and not at work.
came out from a nearby bush and began to assault me,"
"They asked me why I was
not at work as if they knew whether I am employed or
He said Mabvuku was infested with
Last month, a man was beaten to
death in Harare and several others, including Giles Mutsekwa, the Member of
Parliament for Mutare North (MDC), were assaulted and/or arrested as State
security agents cracked down on people suspected to have taken part in an
MDC-led two-day mass action.
high-density suburbs, including Highfield, Glen Norah and Mufakose, State
security agents reportedly pounced on anyone they suspected had heeded the
Meanwhile, the ZCTU has pulled
out of the Tripartite Negotiating Forum (TNF) and dismissed as meaningless
the new monthly minimum wages announced by the government last
Agricultural workers are to be
paid a minimum of $23 070, employees in the agro-industry and horticulture
sector $42 168, and those in industry and commerce $47
Lovemore Matombo, the ZCTU president,
said the union stood by its assessment that $125 000 was now the realistic
Poverty Datum Line.
far too numerous to recount, the government has complained that it is getting
too much bad Press both locally and in
Many of its senior
members, in particular President Mugabe himself, Information and Publicity
Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo and Foreign Minister Stan Mudenge, have not
lost an opportunity to loudly protest that the media are obsessed with
reporting negatively about Zimbabwe. By "Zimbabwe" they would, of course, be
referring to the nefarious
What they have
stubbornly refused to acknowledge is the simple truth that every individual,
organisation or entity under the sun gets the publicity they deserve - more
or less. No news organisation or reporter will go out of their way to
manufacture false reports about anyone and get away with it. Penalties under
the laws of libel and defamation have always seen to it that perpetrators of
such injudicious acts are deterrently
The truth, with regard to the
irredeemably wayward Mugabe regime, is that it invariably invites bad
publicity upon itself. In fact, it could be strongly argued that the Zanu PF
government often goes out of its way to ensure it acts in ways which
guarantee something negative is said or reported about it on almost a daily
Its abuse of the police, the army
and the CIO, in addition to its own militia, to daily harass citizens and
deny them their basic human rights in a bid to silence opposition to its
glaring misrule, will perhaps go down in the history of governance as a
classic case study in self-engineered bad Press any government has ever
achieved for itself anywhere in the world.
Last week, the regime added two ad hoc acts of insanity for which
it thoroughly deserved to get negative publicity. In fact, to say
the government got negative publicity is to misrepresent things somewhat. The
Pr ess merely did its job of reporting truthfully some actions of the
State which happened to be unwholesome.
First, there was the issue of applications made by the MDC for permission to
hold victory celebrations in both Highfield and Kuwadzana following the
party's crushing defeat of the ruling party in by-elections held
simultaneously at the end of last month which the police, now openly part and
parcel of Zanu PF, refused to grant - not
It was one of those things
which the police now do routinely - in their new and shameful role as the
Mugabe regime's most effective and powerful tool of repression - that are
daily strengthening the people's resolve to see to it that all senior
officers in the Zimbabwe Republic Police will have to be removed and
prosecuted once Zanu PF gets out
In a way it is a natural
extension of the people's now growing determination - in the face of Mugabe's
continued refusal to heed their call upon him to go - to make him stand trial
once he leaves office.
The police will
always find some excuse, such as the potential for violence, for example, to
justify the prohibition of those planned victory celebrations through the use
of their new sweeping powers, most of which are ultra vires the Constitution,
under the Public Order and Security Act.
But, whatever excuse they may give, it cannot hide the fact that it was an
act of vindictiveness. Being the party in power, Zanu PF used the police to
stop the celebrations as an act of revenge. But it was extremely petty.
Clearly there is no level that is too low for the party leaders to sink
Zanu PF has never been a good loser.
Nor has it ever been a magnanimous victor for that matter. When it wins, in
addition to feasting, it also goes on the rampage, assaulting everyone known
to belong to the opposition. And when it loses, the party makes sure no one
But, even more shameful than
refusing the MDC permission to celebrate, was the police's most reprehensible
and callous act in not only arresting mourners attending the funeral of MDC
activist Tonderai Machiridza, killed by the police, but also barring his
widow, Lydia, from the burial.
This is an
abomination. Mugabe's failure to condemn the police for that act, which flies
in the face of basic human decency, speaks volumes about the state of his
DELIVERIES of flue-cured tobacco
at the three major auction floors remained poor for the third day running on
Most farmers chose to stayaway
from the floors, in sympathy with the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions,
which called for a three-day mass action. The stayaway ended on
Some farmers were affected by the
critical shortage of fuel, while others were still grading their
Only 130 bales were laid for sale at
Burley Marketing Zimbabwe (BMZ) on
At the Tobacco Sales Floors (TSF),
650 bales were sold, up from the previous day's 230 bales, while 200 bales
were auctioned at the Zimbabwe Tobacco Auction Centre (Zitac). Under normal
circumstances, tobacco auction floors sell up to 2 500 bales a
BMZ managing director, Bruce Searls
said: "We don't think there will be much tobacco to be traded on Monday
(today) because there are no bookings. We will bank on the small holder
farmers who normally deliver without formal
Prices remained firm, ranging
between US$0,90 cents a kg (Z$720/kg) to US$2,80/kg (Z$2
Deliveries were expected to
pick-up today since 800 bales and 1 200 bales had been booked at TSF and
Zimbabwe was expecting a total
flue-cured tobacco crop of between 110 million kgs and 120 million kgs this
year, down from last year's 168 million kgs, which earned Zimbabwe $60
Tobacco production has been
dwindling in the past three years due to disruptions caused by the chaotic
and violent farm invasions.
constituted about 40 percent of the country's agricultural base with an
ability to earn 30 percent of the country's foreign currency, employing
around 16 percent of the national labour force.
The Department of Information and
Publicity in the Office of the President and Cabinet published three
full-page advertisements in The Financial Gazette of 24 April
These adverts are obviously mighty
mouth Jonathan Moyo's response to the adverts placed in The Daily News by the
The adverts allege that MDC
supporters have committed violent acts during mass action stayaways, and at
other times. If the allegations are true, which is highly unlikely given the
amount of proven untruths that come from that office, the rule of law must be
applied firmly but justly.
These days this
is no longer possible, as we have seen in the Cain Nkala murder case, for
Justice in Zimbabwe has been
corrupted by Zanu PF. They use this corrupt justice as a tool to deny us the
right to live in a free and democratic society. We are not even allowed to
choose the leaders that we would like to serve us. If we demand fair justice
from them, we are given Zanu PF justice - rape, murder, torture and
Our so-called President has
been imposed on us, while our true President spends his time in court
defending himself from, among other things, trumped-up charges that are based
on testimony from a shady
The MDC has the
support of the majority of Zimbabweans - millions of people. In an
organisation as large as this, there are always bound to be a few black
sheep, and these black sheep must be punished
The MDC, unlike Zanu PF,
encourages passive resistance. This is the reason, I believe, that the MDC
tells its supporters to stay at home as a form of
Zanu PF, on the other hand,
has minority support, bought mainly from a few black sheep within Zimbabwe's
generally respectable and decent population. Zanu PF encourages these Selous
Scout-type mercenaries to use violence against those that oppose them - the
majority of our population. Proof of this is
Zanu PF officials have even
been caught red-handed on film telling their thugs to maim and kill. Our
so-called President has on many occasions called for violence against those
he calls traitors of the struggle.
mighty mouth, please continue with the adverts. We all need a good giggle now
Besides, the independent Press
needs as much support as it can get, and if you have the extra cash for this,
instead of feeding our starving nation, it will not surprise us at
hard-heartedness has forced me to air my grievances through the Press as I
have exhausted all official channels.
Members of the uniformed forces who retired on pension on or after the 1
January, 2001 are entitled to a re-assessment of their pensions that
would see all of them being paid lump sums slightly above what they were
paid initially and consequently their monthly pensions increased
The government has decided
to hold on to those benefits for reasons which cannot be explained by anyone
at the Pensions Office.
If a pensioner was
not paid a sum of $600 000 in the year 2001 and that money remains unpaid up
to date, then who will deny that the pensioner was denied access to durable
property worth that amount in 2001 and will never own such property in his
lifetime all things remaining equal?
example, a standard urban house in Zimbabwe's high-density suburbs was less
than $200 000 in 2001 which he could have bought then, but which he can't buy
now because it is now probably priced at $2 000 000. Because the government
has kept that money, it cannot be disputed that the concerned individual was
deliberately denied a chance to own three houses of his
This is food for thought. Something
is going wrong at Mukwati Building.
Perhaps an investigation could unearth something unholy there because there
is already evidence on the ground that the quick ones who visited the offices
personally got their monies.
It is us who
got addicted to honesty who have been left to wait until the pensions officer
decides to do his work.