PF By Foster Dongozi
POLITICIANS from Matabeleland and the Midlands have broken ranks with
their colleagues in Zanu PF, saying the current repression of the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change should not spread to their provinces as this
would revive memories of Gukurahundi.
Between 1981 and 1987, the government, under Prime Minister Robert
Mugabe, who doubled as Minister of Defence, unleashed the North
Korean-trained 5 Brigade, which massacred more than 20 000 people - most of
them PF ZAPU supporters - in Matabeleland and the Midlands provinces.
A senior Zanu PF official from Matabeleland yesterday told The
Standard in an interview: "We have made very strong presentations that if
our colleagues from the old Zanu PF want to unleash Gukurahundi Part Two,
then it should be in areas outside of Matabeleland and the Midlands.
"We will not have our people being subjected to another Gukurahundi
and if the guys in Zanu PF want to launch another fresh assault on the
people, then they should target their former supporters in their strongholds
of Mashonaland, Manicaland, parts of the Midlands and Masvingo and stay out
of the south- western parts of the country."
The recent arrests of the opposition MDC leaders and supporters have
generally been restricted to areas outside Matabeleland and appear to
confirm the concern by the senior Zanu PF leaders from the western region of
"We were brutalised a lot by the government in the 1980s under trumped
up charges and we can not let our people go through another brutal
experience of being tortured for alleged acts of banditry," said the Zanu PF
PF ZAPU stalwarts such as former Home Affairs minister Dumiso Dabengwa
and current Home Affairs minister, Kembo Mohadi, were traumatised by the
government and faced charges almost similar to those opposition MDC leaders
are facing now.
The then PF ZAPU president, the late Vice-President Joshua Nkomo, fled
the country to Britain as government forces sought to eliminate him.
Dabengwa was only released as negotiations for the 22 December 1987
Unity Accord were being concluded.
However, Home Affairs Minister, Mohadi, denied there was such an
"I am not aware of that. Anybody who breaks the law will be arrested.
There is no segregation."
Speaker of the House of Assembly, John Nkomo said: "I have no response
to what you are saying but generally that kind of feeling would be generated
among the people if they were to be beaten and arrested. I am not aware if
anybody has come up with that kind of position but that kind of sentiment
would be understandable based on the nasty experiences of the 1980s.
"But let me emphasise that I am not aware of the stance that you are
Police brutally broke down a Harare Save Zimbabwe Campaign Prayer
meeting last month but did not disrupt a similar rally held in Bulawayo.
Zanu PF insiders said Dabengwa and Vice-President Joseph Msika made it clear
they would not countenance any police brutality against the people of
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
SOLDIERS have started seizing farming inputs from communal farmers who
failed to fully utilize assistance they accessed under the
government-sponsored Maguta project last year, The Standard has established.
The soldiers, accompanied by officials from the Department of
Agricultural Research and Extension Services (Arex) recently confiscated
herbicides, fertilizer, seeds and chemicals from villagers who failed to
The visit by the soldiers caused pandemonium in Masomere village some
40km south-east of Marondera in Mashonaland East province recently, as the
villagers feared their scotch carts, wheelbarrows and ox-drawn ploughs would
The villagers, most of them struggling to make ends meet, sold the
fertilizer, seed and implements to raise school fees and buy food and other
basic necessities because of the hardships the country is undergoing.
"Most of us received chemicals, seed and fertilizer," said a villager
who requested anonymity for fear of victimisation. "I sold them to
businesspeople in Marondera to raise school fees for my two children. Now I
fear that they will take away my scotch cart."
He received 50 litres of herbicide called MCPA, 50 kg of maize seed
and 10 bags of fertilizer.
Because of the fear, some villagers had fled their homes to Harare
when the soldiers visited the area. They only returned days later.
Another villager told The Standard: "The soldiers promised to come
back for those who failed to account for what they were given. Some of us
will have to buy the fertilizer to return what we got."
On Wednesday an Arex official in Marondera, who also asked not to be
named, confirmed the visit by the soldiers.
"First, as Arex we identified the people in this area who benefited
from the project," he said. "After that the Maguta team came and took away
chemicals and seeds that the villagers had not used. They wanted to
distribute them to other areas that are in short supply."
The official said those with crops that wilted in the fields because
of poor rains were spared, "as long as they provided evidence that they used
the seeds and fertilizer".
Describing the seizures as "rather sensitive", the official blamed the
government for the poor selection of the beneficiaries saying some people
without any capacity to grow crops were given large quantities of seed,
fertilizer and herbicides.
The farmers signed contracts that say the government reserved the
exclusive right to recoup the actual cost of the inputs and running cost in
the form of produce or in cash and that it will determine the price.
The project is supervised by army officers and others from the
security forces, working with local administrative structures, with the
ultimate objective of increasing productivity on farms, thus ensuring food
The Army director of public relations Lieutenant Colonel Simon Tsatsi
declined to comment.
"Cases involving Maguta are dealt with by the ministry of
Agriculture," Tsatsi said.
Efforts to get comment from the Minister of Agriculture Rugare Gumbo,
and Operation Maguta acting director of operations Brigadier General Douglas
Nyikayaramba were fruitless.
An official who answered the phone at the Operation Maguta office in
Harare and refused to identify himself said: "Who told you that? Who gave
you this number? Go and ask our offices in Mash East, we have structures."
By godfrey Mutimba
AN orgy of violence by thugs sponsored by different factions rocked
Masvingo yesterday in the run up to Zanu PF provincial elections held last
Chivi North MP, Enita Maziriri, was injured after she was severely
assaulted by Zanu PF supporters who were backing the candidature of Retired
Major Alex Mudavanhu, widely believed to be a protégé of Dr Samuel
Mumbengegwi, for the post of provincial chairman.
Maziriri was backing prodigal son, Paul Mangwana, who was bidding to
launch his political career after being ejected from Mashonaland West by
Zezuru politicians who said they would not be represented by a Karanga in
The MP was injured when the District Coordinating Committee (DCC) for
Chivi was about to board a bus at the local growth point.
Mumbengegwi's executive reportedly dissolved the Chivi DCC which is
suspected of supporting Mangwana and imposed one allegedly sympathetic to
However the two DCCs turned up to board the bus to take them to
Masvingo town, resulting in the fight that led to the MP being injured.
A delegate from Chivi told The Standard: "During the fighting at the
growth point, Mangwana's supporters lay in front and behind the bus to
prevent Mudavanhu's supporters from leaving for Masvingo. Another bus was
quickly organised before the two bleeding DCCs left for Masvingo town."
At the election venue yesterday, the Chivi DCC chairman, Nyasha
Shamhu, was assaulted as tensions boiled over which delegates from Chivi
would be admitted for the elections.
Zanu PF political commissar, Eliot Manyika, held an hour-long meeting
with political heavyweights from the province, who included Senator Dzikamai
Mavhaire, Retired General Vitalis Zvinavashe and Mumbengegwi before agreeing
to endorse pro-Mudavanhu delegates from Chivi.
Mangwana looked forlorn as he sat with Gutu South MP, Shuvai Mahofa.
Mangwana is reportedly favoured by the old Josaya Hungwe faction, with
backing from Stan Mudenge and Mahofa, while Mudavanhu has the support of
Mavhaire and Walter Mzembi.
Meanwhile Zanu PF elections to choose a new provincial executive in
Bulawayo, scheduled for today, hung in the balance yesterday after rival
factions clashed over the selection of grassroots structures that will act
as an electoral college, The Standard has learnt.
The ruling party was on 21 April forced to suspend elections for a
district co-ordinating committee that covers high-density suburbs of
Magwegwe, Pumula, Luveve and Gwabalanda after rival factions clashed over
Police were called in to quell the fighting, which pitted factions
aligned to deposed war veterans' leader, Jabulani Sibanda, and another one
which supports politburo members from the region. No one was arrested during
Zanu PF Bulawayo province administrator, Amos Ngwenya, confirmed the
elections were disrupted by violence but insisted the polls to choose a new
executive would go ahead today as planned.
"The elections for DCC2 were postponed following disturbances but they
were held on Wednesday, which means the provincial elections will go ahead,"
He refused to comment further on the weekend violence but party
insiders said tension was high as the rival factions were battling each
other in the race for control of the province ahead of presidential and
parliamentary elections next year.
The Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Nicholas
Goche is expected to supervise today's elections.
Zanu PF has been riddled with factionalism especially in Bulawayo
where an elected executive is yet to serve its full five-year term since
The old guard in Bulawayo province has lost appeal with the younger
generation in Zanu PF who prefer to be led by younger politicians.
The ruling party has embarked on a purge of all provincial executives
in a bid to stuff them with President Robert Mugabe's loyalists ahead of
next year's Presidential and Parliamentary elections.
BULAWAYO - The curtain came down yesterday on what has been described
as the worst Zimbabwe International Trade Fair (ZITF) in the past 48 years,
with few people visiting the country's premier trade showcase on the last
There were 730 exhibitors at this year's fair and 90% of them were
local. Only 13 countries were present.
Snubbed by foreign heads of state, President Mugabe officially opened
the fair on Friday. In the past few years, government has struggled to bring
a foreign leader to open the fair and last year Tanzanian President Jakaya
Kikwete, who had just been voted into office, was roped in at the last
In his address, Mugabe struck a rare conciliatory tone calling for a
"strong and genuine partnership between government and the private sector".
"One that is synergistic and collaborative," he said, "rather than
adversarial and confrontational."
He noted that the fair was taking place at a time when the economy was
on its knees under the weight of "declared and undeclared sanctions by the
western countries, resulting in the absence of balance-of-payments support,
the stagnation in capital inflows and escalation in prices of goods and
The official opening ceremony, a major crowd puller during previous
fairs because of the various displays and the entertainment programme, was
Observers said the only amusement was the unusually heavy security
agents trailing the First Family to the show grounds as they continuously
pushed people, including entertainers and ushers, away from Mugabe and his
Another major highlight of the fair, the International Business
Conference on the second day of the showcase, was a flop after
Vice-President Joice Mujuru, who was schedule to be the guest speaker,
failed to turn up.
Several government ministers who were expected to present papers on
the theme of this year's conference, which was on tourism, also failed to
turn up. Exhibitors said they recorded fewer deals compared to previous
Although figures on the number of people that had visited the fair
were not immediately available, lack of enthusiasm from members of the
public who trickled in to the show grounds between Thursday and yesterday
But ZITF chairman, Nhlanhla Masuku, maintained the fair was "a
success" saying the number of foreign exhibitors had increased by 40%
compared to last year.
By Nqobani Ndlovu
BULAWAYO - Police on Thursday night barred organisers of the
Umthwakazi Arts Festival from launching the annual festival at the Large
City Hall after raising security concerns and claiming they were
Police reportedly ordered the launch not to go ahead because they did
not have enough officers to ensure security.
This comes amid increased government-sanctioned repression and
violence against opposition voices. The government has barred opposition
parties from holding rallies saying they compromise state security.
Organisers of the annual Arts Festival complain that they incurred
huge losses as a result of the police action. However central bank governor,
Gideon Gono presented his interim monetary policy statement at the same
venue and day, attracting an equally large turnout.
Umthwakazi Arts Festival seeks to promote local culture and upcoming
artists and has grown in popularity since its launch in Bulawayo five years
Kholiwe Nyoni, the Umthwakazi publicity officer confirmed police
barred them from holding the launch of the annual festival at the Large City
Hall. Nyoni said the police indicated the launch could not go on as "it was
"We got a directive that the launch could not take place as it was not
cleared. To us it was a private function like the ones we usually have.
Police also said they were understaffed," Nyoni said.
She said they incurred huge losses. "I do not have the actual figures
with me as of now but we incurred huge losses."
Under the notorious Public Order and Security Act (POSA), Zimbabweans
are required to seek police clearance before holding gatherings.
Bulawayo Police spokesperson, Inspector Shepherd Sibanda could not be
reached for comment despite repeated efforts. His mobile phone went
BY OUR STAFF
BULAWAYO - Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social
Welfare, Abednigo Ncube, was last week found guilty of insulting and
threatening former Gwanda deputy mayor, Petros Mukwena.
Ncube, the MP for Gwanda, was on Monday convicted of violating the
Miscellaneous Offences Act when he appeared before Gwanda provincial
magistrate, Lungile Ncube.
He faces a one-year jail term. He will only be sentenced on 7 May
because the prosecutor asked to be given time to check if the minister has a
Ncube verbally abused Mukwena in October 2005 over comments the latter
made in a story published in The Standard.
The paper reported the minister hastily applied for a mining licence
after learning that small-scale miners at Caesar East Two Mine near Gwanda
had discovered "a rich" gold mining claim.
He was alleged to have used the mining licence to evict panners with
the assistance of heavily armed anti-riot police.
Mukwena, who was the acting mayor, confirmed the incident, saying
there were pitched battles between the police and small-scale miners who
refused to leave the gold claim.
Ncube on 21 October 2005 visited the Mayor's office in Gwanda looking
for Mukwena where he "used abusive and vulgar threatening language" towards
the then acting mayor.
The State proved in court that through his actions, the minister
breached Chapter 9: Section 7 (b) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act.
BY VALENTINE MAPONGA
CRIPPLED by a three-month long strike, the University of Zimbabwe has
proposed "desperate measures" to bring striking employees back to the
University Registrar S M Chevo last week asked deans, chairpersons and
heads of departments to work out flexible working conditions for employees
to cut down on transport costs.
Students said the move was unprecedented and feared it would seriously
affect their studies as lecturers were also affected.
In his memo dated 11 April and entitled "Flexible Working Arrangements
to cut costs of travel to and from work by employees", Chevo wrote: "The
Vice-Chancellor is requesting the Deans, Chairpersons and Heads of
Departments to work out flexible working arrangements to cut costs of travel
to and from work by employees in their departments on condition that the
working arrangements do not disrupt the efficient delivery of service."
In order to ensure that University work is not disrupted, Chevo said
there should be commitment from other employees to shoulder additional
responsibilities and cover for fellow employees who fail to come to work.
But in another attempt to resolve the ongoing job action, Chevo wrote
another memo last week advising employees they could convert their leave
days to cash.
The memo, dated 25 April, announced that Vice-Chancellor Levi Nyagura
had approved requests by some employees to be allowed to cash in ordinary
leave days up to a maximum of 30 days.
By Kholwani Nyathi
BULAWAYO - Former Information and Publicity Minister, Jonathan Moyo,
will seek to increase his claim against Zanu PF national chairman John Nkomo
and politburo member Dumiso Dabengwa to $2 billion when his high-profile
defamation case against the two politicians opens next month, his lawyer has
Job Sibanda of Job Sibanda & Associates filed papers at the Bulawayo
High Court on 11 April indicating that when the case resumes, his client
will seek to revise his claim upwards from $200 million to $2 billion.
Moyo sued Nkomo and Dabengwa over statements they were alleged to have
made linking him to the so-called Tsholotsho Declaration.
The two reportedly claimed that Moyo organised a meeting at Dinyane
High School in Tsholotsho, attended by six Zanu PF provincial chairpersons,
"to plot a coup against the presidium".
In his fresh application, Moyo advised: "Please take note that at the
resumption of the above matter, the plaintiff shall apply to amend the
amount of his claim by deleting the amount of $200 million claimed by him
and its substitution with the sum of $2 billion.
"Further note that the plaintiff may apply to re-open his case in
order to lead evidence to justify the amendment."
He said the intended revision was necessitated by the "hyperinflation
affecting the economy of Zimbabwe".
Ironically, Moyo initially demanded $2 billion but the amount was
revised after the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) knocked off three zeros
from the Zimbabwe dollar.
Unofficial reports say the three zeros are back, as Zimbabwe's
inflation continues its skyward spiral.
The case is expected to resume before Bulawayo High Court judge
Francis Bere next month and Nkomo and Dabengwa will continue leading their
Last year, Nkomo told the court Moyo was "a mercenary" who joined Zanu
PF "for money" and wanted to destroy the party from within.
Nkomo also gave an insight into the Zanu PF infighting in the run-up
to the elevation of Joice Mujuru to the vice-presidency in 2005, saying the
ruling party ignored its own guidelines when she was elected.
By Our Staff
BULAWAYO - Seven senior journalists have resigned from the
government-controlled Zimbabwe Newspapers Bulawayo branch since the
beginning of the year amid fears of a mass staff exodus over poor pay,
insiders said last week.
Hardest-hit was The Sunday News where four journalists resigned last
month alone after the company refused them permission to attend training
courses outside the country.
The branch's flagship, The Chronicle also lost two journalists while
the vernacular Umthunywa lost its deputy editor last month.
ZIMPAPERS' chief executive officer, Justin Mutasa, reportedly wrote a
letter to the branch advising managers to stop allowing journalists to
attend courses organised by "people that are hostile to the government".
The Sunday News was left with one reporter after two journalists
defied the directive and attended a course organised by the NSJ Southern
Africa Media Training Trust and the European Union respectively.
The other two left for "greener pastures".
Disgruntled journalists told The Standard more workers from the branch
were preparing to leave the company, citing deteriorating working conditions
and low remuneration.
Zimpapers, listed on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange, has always claimed
it is the best-paying media company in the country.
But workers at the Bulawayo branch disclosed most of them were earning
below $200 000 a month, which they said was eroded by compulsory medical aid
and funeral policy schemes.
"The situation is so desperate that The Sunday News has been left with
one junior news reporter and the rest are students," said a journalist who
requested anonymity. "The resignations could be attributed to a statement by
Mutasa who told workers last month that journalists not happy with their
remuneration were free to leave as there were many colleges churning out
By Kholwani Nyathi
BULAWAYO - The Tsholotsho rural district council has suspended its
chief executive officer, Ronnie Dube, on allegations of stock theft.
The suspension has sparked serious divisions in the Zanu PF-controlled
local authority, it emerged last week.
Dube was suspended at the beginning of the month after he was accused
of moving 31 cattle belonging to the council to a farm owned by a
businessman in the district.
It is alleged he did this without the authority of the councillors.
But council chairman, Leonard Mthombeni (Zanu PF) immediately resigned
in protest, claiming the suspension was engineered by unnamed senior ruling
party officials who wanted to "fix Dube".
The councillors alleged that Dube moved the cattle to "his friend's
farm" and changed the council's brand marks so that he could take over the
On Monday two weeks ago week, Dube appeared before a disciplinary
committee in Tsholotsho where he was formally charged.
The disciplinary committee is yet to deliver its judgment but sources
said Dube might be allowed to return to work as the case had already caused
divisions among the councillors.
"The case has divided the council into two camps," said a council
official, "with one camp made up of Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
councillors teaming up with some Zanu PF councillors to challenge the
"The other camp is made up of Zanu PF councillors who have supported
Dube's suspension and this is why Mthombeni resigned as chairman."
Mthombeni was not immediately available for comment as he was said to
be at his rural home, but a council official confirmed he had resigned.
In an interview, Dube said he was "surprised by the suspension",
claiming he had sought grazing land for the council cattle and that
"everything was done above board".
"Those allegations (of stock theft) are unfounded as all the council
committees were consulted before the cattle were moved," he said.
He refused further comment, saying the matter was still sub judice but
vowed to clear his name.
Last year, Dube was arrested, allegedly on the orders of the Zanu PF
national chairman John Nkomo, but he was later released without charge.
Nkomo, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, hails from Tsholotsho.
BY OUR STAFF
A GERMAN Member of Parliament last week condemned the government's
brutal assaults on opposition leaders and activists, calling it an attack on
He asked the world to act on the Zimbabwean situation.
Social Democratic MP Reinhold Hemker was in Masvingo last week to
attend a meeting of the Masvingo-Kenern Association at the Town House. He
has in the past been a notable supporter of Zanu PF.
He said it was illegal for the government in any democracy to abuse
the security forces by ordering them to assault opposition leaders and
leaders of civil society.
"If the police are forced to beat up people during demonstrations or
rallies, then more and more violence will grow and eventually that can lead
to civil unrest," he said. "What is needed is for the ruling government to
stick to the principles of democracy."
Hemker expressed concern over the way protests were being crushed by
State security agents.
"Stayaways must be peaceful and the people have the right to do so, "
Hemker said, "but when the ruling party is violent to its people and sends
police officers to assault them, then that can only help to increase the
violence. No matter how peaceful people are, one day they will fight back.
"We need a civil society in Zimbabwe. We say in Germany demonstrations
are a special symbol of democracy and that must be the same all over the
Hemker said Zimbabwe needed urgent help from the international
community for it to change its politics.
The Zimbabwe government continues to face wide criticism from the
international community for intensifying its brutal attacks and abduction of
opposition leaders in a bid to silence opposition to its 27-year rule.
President Robert Mugabe has announced his intention to seek another
term of office in the March 2008 elections.
By Tapiwa Zivira
DISGRUNTLED by their paltry wages, representatives of farm workers
last week took the unprecedented step of knocking on the door of Minister of
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Nicholas Goche's office pressing
for a review of their pay.
Ten representatives of workers from farms around Karoi, Tengwe and
Magunje visited, without making an appointment, the Minister's office at
Compensation House to seek an explanation over slow wage negotiations.
The farm workers told The Standard they want to lobby the minister to
put pressure on their employers to quickly consider meaningful wage
increments. They said the Minister had listened to their grievances and
asked them to list their proposals.
On Friday afternoon, another 12 workers from farms around Chegutu
visited the Labour ministry offices at Makombe Building where they left a
list of their proposals, among them the speedy review of wages and the
improvement of working conditions on the farms.
The workers, who should go through the National Employment Council for
Agriculture (NECA) and the General Agriculture and Plantation Workers' Union
(GAPWUZ) decided to go straight to the minister in anticipation of a quick
Asked why they were not negotiating through their representatives, a
Beddington Farm worker said: "We organised ourselves at our farms and agreed
to select a representative from each farm in Chegutu because it seems as if
our representatives, GAPWUZ and NECA, are too slow in negotiating for better
wages and by the time they agree mari dzacho dzinenge dzisisatenga."
The farm workers wages are currently pegged at a mere $32 000 a month,
up from $8 000 in January.
The wages are reviewed every four months and this year there has been
a stalemate between the stakeholders resulting in the January wages being
adjusted in March. Farm workers say they rarely get the back pay due to
With the consumer basket of a family of six above $800 000 a month,
farm workers' wages fall well below the poverty datum line as their wages
can only buy less than five loaves of bread.
The chief executive officer of the National Employment Council for
Agriculture, Simon Jera, said he was unaware of the farm workers' visits to
the ministry but he admitted that the negotiations had been delayed. He also
conceded that inflation is "outpacing" the wages.
"We expect to start the negotiations on 27 April with GAPWUZ, farm
employers and the relevant stakeholders," he said.
By Bertha Shoko
THE International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has launched a
nationwide campaign to educate youths against the dangers of cross-border
jumping, especially in the southeastern region of Zimbabwe where a large
number of illegal migrants originate.
The IOM is the lead agency on migration whose main mandate is to
ensure "safe and orderly" migration in the world.
The nationwide awareness raiser, which is called the Safe Journey
Multimedia Information Campaign is going to specifically target youths with
the aim of educating them on the dangers of illegal migration and how to
The roadshow is made up of a truck that converts into a stage and
giant movie screen, and will tour the south-east region of Zimbabwe,
Bulawayo and Plumtree, with an energetic crew of actors trained in
Audiences will have the opportunity to participate and tell their own
stories, as well as be entertained by music, dance and film, win t-shirts,
posters and music cassettes, while they learn the benefits of safe migration
and safe sex.
The roadshow is expected to start in Harare and, for three months,
visit a total of 66 locations, disseminating information at a grassroots
level and providing great entertainment at the same time.
IOM Information officer, Nicola Simmonds, said in statement, the main
aim of the campaign is to reach as many potential and experienced border
jumpers who stay near border towns.
In the 10 months since IOM's Reception Centre and Support Centre
opened in Beitbridge, more than 130 000 migrants have been received by the
Zimbabwe Government Immigration Department and Zimbabwe Republic
Police,having been deported from South Africa. The most common "sending
areas" are Chipinge, Chiredzi, Mwenezi and Bulawayo, comprising 70% of all
returned migrants. These findings helped IOM plan the route for the
three-month travelling show.
Simmonds said: "Around 50% of those returned from South Africa request
IOM's assistance from the Centre, and, apart from being fed, checked
medically and transported home for free, for more than 100 returnees this
has meant being able to report to the police on both sides of the border -
through IOM - on the physical and sexual abuse they have encountered,
including rape, sodomy and even murder of companions.
"All migrants at the Centre are also given advice on safe and legal
migration, but the roadshow aims to take these messages to those who have
not heard it and to reiterate and reinforce it to those who have heard at
least some of the campaign messages."
Unaccompanied children also end up at the Centre and, so far 1 450
have passed through IOM. Through its implementing partner, Save the Children
Norway these children have been accommodated temporarily at the Centre until
they are reunited with their families.
Simmonds explained: "The Safe Journey Roadshow reinforces the messages
that as well as the increasingly dangerous situations a border jumper finds
themselves in during the journey to another country, undocumented migrants
also face xenophobia, violence and abuse by employers, locals and
authorities, little or no access to health care, a lack of legal rights, and
the risk of HIV infection.
"Irregular migration also puts people at great risk. Low or no pay,
sexual abuse and human trafficking which are some of the risks IOM also
wants to combat."
Singer Dudu Manhenga has volunteered her services to the youths as a
BY JENNIFER DUBE
THE government has cast its Look East net to the Middle East desert
kingdom of Kuwait, with the Minister of Environment and Tourism, Francis
Nhema, recently returning from the Kuwait World Travel Expo with promises of
Kuwaiti tourists visiting Zimbabwe.
Addressing stakeholders in the tourism industry recently, Nhema
confessed the sector faced a mammoth task if it was to reap anything from
the potential market that is understood to have insisted on high-class
Consisting mainly of the Kuwait royal family, the potential visitors
are understood to have shown much interest in five-star hotels, business
class airline service and top of the range nightclubs.
"We spoke to a lot of well-positioned guys and they were enthusiastic
about coming to Zimbabwe. The first group of about four to five would be
coming soon to scout around. Kuwait is a closely-knit family that relies on
word of mouth advertising. So, if we manage to impress the first group, we
might end up with the quality industry which we want. Money is not a problem
to them, they are big spenders and all they need is to be given the highest
standards of service," Nhema said.
He hoped the local industry would capitalise on Kuwait's unbearable
desert climate and said the potential visitors were prepared to spend more
than 21 days during one trip in Zimbabwe due to the scorching temperatures.
Kuwait is a dry desert characterised by intensely hot summers and short cool
winters. Average temperature is in the 45+ region.
Nhema said there were good chances of the Kuwaiti pouring investment
into the local industry.
"They invest a lot outside their country and if we take good care of
them, we might land big business," he said.
Nhema urged ZTA to start preparing for the Kuwaitis whom he said were
also being eyed by Kenya and South Africa. He challenged the authority to
improve its website, which he said caused him a lot of embarrassment as it
failed to open when he wanted to show staff from a Kuwait publishing house
some information on Zimbabwean tourism.
He also challenged the authority to improve its video whose commentary
he said was too general.
Depending on its perennial infrastructural and service delivery
problems, the local industry's success in this experimental project could
hang in the balance.
The government adopted the Look East policy in a bid to compensate for
visitors from the West who began to shun the country at the onset of
economic and political decay in 2000.
Since then, tourism has been on the free-fall, with receipts tumbling
from US$145 million in 1995 to US$99 million in 2005 and tourist arrivals
dropping from 1.9 million in 2000 to 1.5 million in 2005.
The Look East policy remains relatively barren in as far as both
investment and visitor inflows are concerned.
The vast natural and cultural resources could not save Zimbabwe from
falling among the bottom 20 countries in a recent World Economic
Forum-sponsored analysis that compared the potential of 124 countries to
develop their travel and tourism industries.
The 2007 Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report blames Zimbabwe's
sorry position squarely on a weak policy environment, stringent foreign
ownership restrictions and a lack of property rights.
The top rankings of Switzerland, Austria and Germany, Hong Kong and
Singapore in the same study were said to demonstrate the importance of
supportive business and regulatory frameworks, coupled with world-class
transport and tourism infrastructure, and a focus on nurturing human and
natural resources for fostering an environment that is attractive for
developing the travel and tourism sector.
By Pindai Dube
BULAWAYO - Uncertainty shrouds a bid by perennial loss-maker, the Cold
Storage Company (CSC), to list on the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange (ZSE) amid
revelations that its management had failed to meet basic listing terms.
Two years ago, the government instructed the CSC to diversify part of
its shares to private investors as one way of securing enough liquidity for
Standardbusiness understands private investors are unwilling to put
capital into the company because of persistent low production.
ZSE chief executive officer, Emmanuel Munyukwi this week said CSC had
not yet approached the listing committee two years after the government said
the company was going to be privatised.
"In the 2005 National Budget, the former finance minister Herbert
Murerwa said government wished to privatise the CSC but eventually nothing
came of it and the parasatal's management has not yet spoken to us over the
listing," said Munyukwi.
The CSC plunged into problems as early as 1996 when it started losing
its market share after it was stripped of its monopoly as a meat processor.
Addressing the business community in Gweru last week, the Reserve Bank
of Zimbabwe (RBZ) governor, Gideon Gono called on the government to speed up
the privatisation of parasatals so as to meet annual importation
Gono said: "It's regrettable to note that those stakeholders who hold
key positions in the implementation of these decisions liken all state
enterprises to silverware that can be allowed to gather dust for years in
wait for occasional visitors.
He claimed the RBZ had worked hard in the past in search of investors
of which many responded and showed an interest in the parastatals.
Contacted for comment, CSC chief executive officer Ngoni
Chinogaramombe was said to be out of office while the public relations
officer, Patience Madambi, was not co-operative. "Why don't you talk to
Chinogaramombe since you always prefer to talk to him than to me?" said
Madambi before cutting off the call.
From 1988 to 1996, the CSC's market share slumped from about 88% to
45%. Over the past decade its market share has slumped further as it battles
pressure from commercially and efficiently-run private abattoirs.
says erratic sugar supplies have adversely affected its operations in the
past four weeks.
In a statement, the sugar company's chief executive officer, Pattison
Sithole, dismissed as "false" allegations that "unviable prices" had forced
his company to suspend operations while withholding available stock in
anticipation of a price increase.
Standardbusiness last week learnt that the company had suspended
operations at its Harare plant citing "unviable prices" fixed for its
It was also understood that the company hoped the government would
allow it to increase the prices within a month.
". . .The erratic supplies of sugar have been due to inadequate raw
sugar from our suppliers," Sithole explained. "Supplies of sugar have been
erratic for the past four weeks,"
He said both the Harare and Bulawayo refineries had not been running
at normal capacity due to limited quantities of raw sugar available for
refining. - By our staff.
THE trouble with peddling myths is that, sooner rather than later,
reality catches up.
During recent years the government has portrayed the Zimbabwe
International Trade Fair (ZITF) as a business showpiece that has continued
to experience phenomenal growth, thereby countering the view that Zimbabwe
is increasingly becoming isolated from the rest of the world because of its
undemocratic tendencies and appalling human rights record.
But this year, South Africa, our major trading partner, distanced
itself from Harare by not participating at the ZITF, which ends in Bulawayo
today. It was a pronounced vote of "no-confidence" on what is happening in
this country. It is a statement that must compel those in charge to sit back
and reflect on how they can pull Zimbabwe from the edge of the precipice.
The fact that the ZITF could not get any regional leader to come and
officially open the event speaks volumes of the extent the "showpiece" has
been shunned. President Robert Mugabe has officially opened the trade fair a
record six previous times. He occupied the fallback position again this
But the fixation with political figures is quite perplexing for a
trade exhibition. Perhaps that is why there is increasing disinterest in the
event. The impact would be different if the guest happened to be someone
with a track record in the business world. But that they have been
completely excluded suggests inability to think outside the box. Trade fairs
are about business. Politics has its own space, elsewhere.
All along, the pitch has been that the ZITF has seen more regional and
international participants, adding up to 18. That is a remarkable admission
that over the previous years we had hit rock bottom.
In fact, the ZITF concedes the point when it says that this is the
first time all the six halls within the Exhibition Park would be in use.
"Over the years, we have been using three and at most four." The truth
always has a way of finding its way out.
In reality the equivalent of the Harare Agricultural Show - and not
the trade fair - has been running in Bulawayo.
If we can confront the truth, we will have started on the road to
finding the long-term solution to the crisis Zimbabwe is facing. The worst
form of betrayal would be in beginning to believe the lies that we are daily
For example, Malaysia and Libya were once considered the country's
main trading partners. This was evidenced by the numerous visits and
exchanges of delegations. Now China, we are informed, has become the largest
single investor in Zimbabwe!
The painful truth is that the ZITF has suffered from a steady decline.
No amount of shouting or papering over cracks will alter this.
As long as we play cheerleaders to the disaster that Zimbabwe has
become, we will continue on the path to Purgatory.
Each year at the conclusion of the trade fair, we are informed
numerous lucrative deals have been signed. It is time we were told what
happened to those agreements when Zimbabwe remains perennially short of hard
currency and trade dries up.
Sunday 0pinion by Bill Saidi
THE Nigerian election farce, fiasco or charade - even they spoke of it
with a sneer, a smirk - reminded me of this quip by John Makumbe a few years
The President can run this country without Parliament.
And now, we hear noises the Chinese will finance the construction of a
new Parliament building.
Zanu PF intends to boost the number of Senators and Members of the
House of Assembly.
That strategy is not in the national interests, but those of Zanu PF
and the dignified exit of their president. The party has other strategies up
its sleeve, most dedicated only to its survival.
Who needs a pretension monstrosity when ordinary people are jobless,
food-less, water-less and power-less?
Moreover, who needs Parliament when Zanu PF can bash its way to power?
The Nigerian charade was held after Olusegun Obasanjo failed to
persuade, coerce, browbeat or seduce his people into giving him a third
His retribution was to unleash his wrath on his Vice-President, Atiku
Abubakar, using trumped-up charges, which, like defective glue, could not
Abubakar, like many other Nigerians, saw an Obasanjo third term as an
Moreover, he only managed to get his name on the ballot after the
Supreme Court decided there was no reason for him not to challenge for the
Obasanjo's party did well in other elections before the presidential
poll. How those elections could have been fairer and freer than the big one
is impossible to imagine.
Obasanjo himself admitted the elections were "flawed", now
acknowledged as a euphemism for "rigged".
But the former soldier ruler said this was not enough to make a
difference to the outcome, by which he meant "you can take it or lump it".
Yet, as I write this, Abubakar and his opposition partner, Mohamed
Buhari - himself a former military dictator - were announcing a plan to call
out their people into the streets to protest.
It's difficult to predict how Obasanjo's "dummy", Umaru Musa Yar'
Adua, will survive the opposition onslaught, or the fury of the military,
who may want to influence matters in the only way they know how.
After a bold attempt to return the country to another civilian
administration, Nigeria could be back to gun rule.
It makes you wonder whether there is something about African genes
which reacts violently to the injection of freedom enzymes. Are we happiest
Is the idea of a real Parliame-nt alien to the African psyche?
Tafadzwa Musekiwa might tell us a thing or two. He was an MP, but
decided it wasn't worth dying for. He fled to the UK.
What prompted Makumbe to say what he said was that, under an
all-powerful executive president, there was very little for Parliament to
do, except to shout the occasional Aye! and Nyet!
The history of the Parliament of Zimbabwe since independence is one of
Dzepfunde! After a few sentences, the Shona storyteller pauses for the
listeners to acknowledge with Dzepfunde!
The former Zanu PF MP for Mhondoro, Mavis Chidzonga, delighted her
audience of journalists and MPs with that characterisation of the then
single-chamber Parliament at a 1998 meeting in Nyanga.
There have been patches of humour, drama and passion during these days
After 2000, there were many expulsions from the House, giving us real
fun for a change.
Before that, exchanges between white and black MPs during the 20
Reserved Seats period provided pure comic theatre.
Edgar Tekere and Margaret Dongo made their own magic with telling
barbs at their former party.
Before the executive presidency removed the Prime Minister, Question
Time provided memorable comic relief to the deadly dull business of the
As Prime Minister, Robert Mugabe was put through the wringer by
Backbenchers, some of who delighted in embarrassing the often stern-faced
Prime Minister with questions cooked up in such gobbledygook. Mugabe could
only mumble something about referring them to his officials.
As an instrument for real democratic change, Parliament has been as
effective as a willow in a windstorm. On a number of occasions, Mugabe has
used the Presidential Powers Act to put into effect laws not debated in
One effect was to settle the ownership of a house in a high-density
suburb, another on the speed limit of buses.
These laws are effective only for a specified period, but their effect
has often changed people's lives.
All this has made Parliament mostly redundant. So, what purpose does
an election serve? Stuffing a whole building with more than 250 or more
people in stuffed shirts, designer suits and skirts and blouses and Gucci
shoes, to engage in a never-ending charade of backslapping, is hardly the
stuff of which good governance is made.
In Zimbabwe today, everything must start and end with a new
constitution. Otherwise, abolish Parliament and give me back my tax money.
Or let the Chinese buy and operate ZINWA, Zesa and Zupco with the
THE Godfather cannot be complete without
a sequel. This contribution considers the behaviour of African leaders
towards Mugabe, applying the image of the Mafia, as outlined in Part I of
For us to understand why the African leaders behaved the way they did
in Dar es Salaam in March, it is necessary to extend the Mafia analogy to
the African platform. It can also assist in forecasting the aims and
modalities of the Mbeki-led mediation process. Against this background, I
fear that predictions of a "Zimbabwe after Mugabe" may be too presumptuous,
given that the devil is in the system.
The task of removing the Capo di tutti Capi (the Boss of all Bosses)
is an arduous and daunting one, given the extent of his power and influence
and the support that he commands from his peers. The Dar es Salaam meeting
was akin to the emergency meetings of the bosses in the typical Mafia
Family. When these bosses meet, they do so not to publicly humiliate one of
their own, but to find ways of helping their peer.
"There is a stone in my shoe", is how Mugabe might have presented his
case to his fellow colleagues, pointing to the West and the MDC as the
stones causing him discomfort. Their purpose was therefore to remove the
stone in Mugabe's shoe. The reality is that they all realise that the stone
in Mugabe's shoe could one day become the stone in their respective shoes.
Don Thabo Mbeki, representing the ANC family, knows that the labour movement
causing discomfort for Mugabe could well become an irritating stone in his
own shoe. There are precedents in Zambia where the labour movement became a
very uncomfortable stone in Kenneth Kaunda's shoe.
A lot has been expected against little delivery from South African
President Thabo Mbeki. He wields control over a rich territory, but in
reality, he does not occupy the same position as Mugabe in the hierarchy of
the African family. Like the Mafia, there is a distinct hierarchy in this
family. Mbeki is probably no more than an Underboss. Similarly President
Hifikepunye Pohamba of Namibia is also an Underboss, with former President
Sam Nujoma retaining the position of Capo di tutti Capo in the Namibian
Likewise, President Armando Guebuza of Mozambique is an Underboss in
Frelimo, with former President Joachim Chissano retaining the ultimate
position. The host President Jakaya Kikwete remains in the shadow of the
elders in the Chama Cha Mapinduzi family in Tanzania. In fact, when they met
in Dar es Salaam, Mugabe was probably sitting there as the Capo di tutti
Capi. The others being effectively his Underbosses, coming to help him out
rather than crucify him.
But the Dons that gathered in Dar es Salaam would have also told
Mugabe, respectfully but very strongly, that his activities were posing a
threat to their own interests. Don Mbeki might have pointed to the 2010
Football World Cup and the murmurs coming from rivals in the West that it
might have to be staged elsewhere on security grounds. He knows the Zimbabwe
question hangs dangerously like a dagger. This would have influenced the
decision to have elections in 2008 rather than in 2010, as Mugabe had
envisaged. But ever the wily-fox, Capo Mugabe may well have calculated his
earlier 2010 proposal as a bargaining point with his colleague Mbeki.
espite the veneer of democracy in all these countries, many of them,
in reality, run their affairs on a Mafia-type family system. The SADC system
will assist transition in Zimbabwe, but only in so far as that transition
retains power within the family, membership of which is based almost
exclusively on liberation struggle credentials. The approach of the SADC
leaders is to remove the stone in Mugabe's shoe and in the process seek to
open a way for his "graceful" departure, but ensuring that a member of the
family takes over. There are two ways: either voluntary retirement or the
Hand of Nature.
"I can't do it anymore", remarks a tired and resigned Don Michael
Corleone, as The Godfather Part III concludes. As he leaves the room,
members of the Corleone family proceed to kiss the ring on the hand of Vinny
Mancini, Don Michael Corleane's nephew, to whom power has been handed down,
saluting him as the new Don Corleone.
When Mwalimu Julius Nyerere realised that he was tired and could not
do it anymore, he took the Don Corleone way and handed over to Ali Hassan
Mwinyi and the process has been in motion ever since. Mbeki himself is a
product of a similar system of succession in SA, as is Guebuza in
Mozambique, Pohamba in Namibia, Kikwete in Tanzania, Kabila in the DRC, etc.
Even the relatively quiet Botswana has followed a similar Mafia-type
The other way, of course, is if the Hand of Nature strikes. In The
Godfather Trilogy, Don Michael Corleone himself had succeeded his father,
Don Vito Corleone, after his death. Likewise, Chissano rose to the
leadership in Mozambique following the death of Samora Machel in 1986. When
Laurent Kabila, the Don of the DRC, was assassinated, the same system
ensured that his son, Joseph Kabila, became the new Don. This is just the
way things are.
Voluntary retirement or the Hand of Nature, either way everything
revolves around the person of the ultimate Boss.
There is a danger of creating great but erroneous expectations in next
year's elections. The mechanisms that tilt power in the ruling party's
favour have become deeply woven into the social fabric. Like the Mafia, it
is a way of life. If the Zanu PF Family agrees to have elections, it is
because they know that the system is created in such a way that they will
triumph. And sadly, they will as they have done before receive ample
recognition from the fellow African Mafia because it is not in their
interests to promote what is otherwise considered a stone in a colleagues'
The SADC process could therefore be no more than a Mafia type approach
to legitimise the selection of the next Don in Zimbabwe. The spirit-sapping
part, of course, is that whatever happens, Mugabe would remain the Capo di
tittu Capi, forever pulling the strings in the shadows.
ll this might sound ominous and pessimistic. But there is a lesson to
be drawn from attempts to make in-roads into the Mafia, a tactic that could
assist in the Mbeki-led negotiations. Pentito - he who has repented - is a
term often used to describe
gnate former members of the Mafia who have abandoned it to collaborate
with the authorities. The plural is Pentiti. Pentiti receive the protection
of the law; shorter prison terms, sometimes complete freedom, new
identities, even employment, in exchange for information they provide about
The question therefore is whether one could make Pentiti out of some
leading members of the Zanu PF Family, in the broader sense of willingness
to co-operate and assist the pro-democracy movement, because clearly, in
order to stand a chance in breaking the compromised electoral system, this
movement needs those with insider knowledge and influence in the system.
Indeed, justifying the use of Pentiti, a former President of the Italian
Anti-mafia Commission, Luciano Violante, remarked: "We do not find
information about the Mafia among nuns". There are many people that feel
strongly against Zanu PF leaders but arguably, the opposition needs the
co-operation of Pentiti to neutralise the institutionalised electoral
But the problem is that becoming a Pentito is very risky - it puts one's
personal family at risk, which is often why the family publicly disowns the
Pentito for disgracing the family. This means that the incentive for
abandoning the Family must be greater for one to become a Pentito. Indeed,
to extend the definition of Pentito in the political context, it is about
giving incentives to the key figures in the Zanu PF Family to retire in
return for their own protection against retribution. Indeed, the question
must be whether or not in the negotiation itself, Mugabe can be persuaded to
become a Pentito?
This is where the idea of immunity from prosecution, suggested more
recently by leading Zimbabwean publisher, Trevor Ncube, among others,
assumes relevance. Perhaps Mugabe's biggest personal fear is the spectre of
prosecution when he loses the protection of the presidential immunity once
he leaves power. The question therefore is, as part of the Mbeki Mediation
process, whether or not Zimbabweans are prepared to privilege pragmatism
over principle, and offer the immunity in exchange for the Capo di tutti
Capi's departure? There is understandable pain, visible anger and a
voracious appetite for retribution but is there not a high price to pay to
secure a fresh start for the country?
When law enforcement authorities grant privileges to Pentiti in
exchange for information, they are criticised because the system has risks
but it is a system that in some cases has enabled authorities to make
considerable in-roads against the Mafia. Granting a safe harbour to Mugabe
in exchange for a fresh start might have its own limitations, but it is
certainly a pragmatic option to consider in the Mbeki-led mediation process.
Anything to arrest the current decline is necessary. But are Zimbabweans
ready to allow the Capo di tutti Capi to become a Pentito?
Alex Magaisa can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
IT seems these days when matters "become
elephant," if we may use the expression, they bring them to Dar es Salaam.
Over a month ago, the world's Anglican bishops were in Dar to discuss,
among other things, the place of gays in the church.
Weeks ago, the leaders of the Southern African Development Community
(SADC) gathered in Dar to try to dissuade Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe
from plunging his country into further misery and madness.
Perhaps because the matter has come to East Africa, an observer of the
goings-on in Africa called from the US to ask me a tough question: "Why is
it," he wanted to know, "that African strongmen tend to seem more powerful
and entrenched at the point when their political record is at its worst?"
It had always puzzled him, he said, because at the point when African
presidents are presiding over flourishing economies and therefore have the
money and groceries with which they can buy support, they also seem to be
But when they turn their countries into a shambles, with inflation
soaring over 2 200% as in Zimbabwe and nothing to bribe their people with,
everyone seems helpless to remove them. Today, the Zimbabwean government
cannot maintain the army and police in the style they are accustomed to, yet
they are more zealous in cracking the skulls of the opposition than when
life was better.
East Africa offers some answers. In the bad old days of military ruler
Idi Amin in Uganda, for example, we learnt that when an economy collapses or
is in crisis, the few parts of it that are still working are almost always
in the hands of regime officials and supporters.
The opposition supporters have nothing, and therefore they can't fund
anti-government politics. The opposition needs an economy that is doing well
to thrive, which is the lesson we glean from Kenya today.
The only problem with that is there may not be enough anger, because
things aren't bad enough, to cause enough people to kick the government out
at elections. And by the time matters are bad enough and there is sufficient
anger, there is no economic infrastructure to support rivals.
A situation where people have nothing, however, is fertile for armed
rebellion. Therefore, if people don't take up arms or resort to drawn-out
street action (as in Kenya during Daniel arap Moi's rule), then the
strongman will survive. Militant action brings results (though not always)
partly because there is a limit to how long policemen on empty stomachs can
chase demonstrators around, or hungry soldiers can dig in against rebels.
But since this year we are commemorating the 200th anniversary of the
outlawing of the slave trade, it might give us another explanation for the
apathy of many Africans in the face of bad government.
There is a view that peoples who have endured the long and painful
history of slavery, which then gave way to colonialism, have a strong
tendency toward self-preservation.
For that reason, of all the people in the world the African is the
least likely to be a suicide bomber. An offshoot of this is that many of us
cannot easily be persuaded to put our necks on the line and die in the
Moreover, one senses that because a lot of the liberation wars and
"people power" revolutions that have swept corrupt and brutal old-style
governments out of Africa in the past 20 years have failed to bring a better
life, the distrust of politics among ordinary people has grown deeper.
Where the line between the good and bad guys is fuzzy, it is always
the bad guys - like Mugabe - who benefit.
* Charles Onyango-Obbo is Nation Media Group (Kenya)'s managing editor
for convergence and new products.
Zanu PF abuses Chikomba war legacy THERE is need for a visionary and
committed leadership for Chikomba in Mashonaland East and for the nation in
That leadership must have the capacity, vision and willingness to
listen in order to marshal private and public investments and turn the
fortunes of the district and the nation at large.
Such private and public investment, in infrastructure, education and
social services, would include involving the general public and the private
sector in developing a short-term, medium-term and long-term blue print for
The essential point is that this can only be done through a
participatory and democratic process that results in practical intervention
schemes where there are measurable outcomes and performance indicators, not
just the rhetoric of a liberation war which is being used as a national
The consequences of decades of past neglect are evident; the district
remains one of the most marginalised areas in the country. Basic
infrastructure like roads, electricity and telecommunication services remain
All these factors have pushed away any meaningful investment in the
area and in the country in general. Yet this sordid state of affairs need
not be so. It is a consequence of the perennial failure by the political
leadership in that constituency to asses the economic, educational, health
and social needs of the district and develop a strategic plan to mobilise
public and private resources to transform such a sad state of affairs.
The blame falls squarely on the Zanu PF leadership in the Chikomba
Rural District Council and the string of absentee members.
Like many rural areas in Zimbabwe the district is pregnant with a
liberation war legacy that has been abused by Zanu PF. People in the
constituency are threatened that "we will go to war" if the opposition wins.
The list of the people who have been MPs for Chikomba reads like a
who-is-who list from Zanu PF.
During that period business centres like Sengwe, Sadza, Mushipe,
Chambara, Chivhu and Nharira became no go zones for the opposition. In fact,
the police and intelligence services played a pivotal role in intimidating
candidates including raiding, without search warrants, the homes of
opposition activists and candidates.
Lawyers from the NGO Human Rights Forum were assaulted, intimidated,
threatened and had to flee even from the police station where they had
sought refuge. The Human Rights NGO Forum has documented and reported on the
political violence in the district and particularly commented that it was
"clear from the evidence presented that the active operation of the rule of
law has not been demonstrated in Chikomba, and rather that the law
enforcement agencies were demonstrating a partisan position".
What these leaders, like the general public, must understand is that
it is fine to retire from active duty and act as a guide and inspire other
young people to take over leadership. Like any other country we want to
visit these men and women and let them tell their memoirs so that we fully
appreciate our history but also that we move forward with our own
contribution, so that they are not nervous about where this country is
We have made this public and we continue to make this clarion call
that we are serious about our national duty to develop the country and make
our contributions. It does not make us proud to have to face the world as
the objects of ridicule, case studies, and humanitarian interventions and be
the subjects of so many theses on why post-colonial states are doomed.
We are fortunate to have the historical evidence to assess Zanu PF in
all this and the verdict is only negative.
Chikomba is becoming NGO- run due to the spectacular failure of
political leadership in that district. The people have been left prone to
the effects of drought and diseases which can all be mitigated. NGOs have
virtually taken over the provision of social services in the district, a
loud indictment on the government. Due to the inadequate health services and
infrastructure the district remains one of the most socially vulnerable
regions in Zimbabwe, a situation which is further compounded by the lack of
doctors, nurses or community health workers.
While the work of NGOs is commendable and welcome in helping the
communities this is only a short-term measure that must not make us sleep
comfortably. There is need for the district and the nation to develop a
vision that is sustainable which can set Zimbabwe on a course for greater
social and economic transformation, and shake off the tag of being an "NGO
Buying army loyalty with luxury vehicles FOR a country that is
supposed to be financially crippled, I cannot for the life of me understand
why it is necessary for the military to be issued top- of-the-range vehicles
such as Toyota IMVs.
Of late I have seen army officers driving the IMVs, not to
mention Toyota Prados - cars that company chief executive officers on
performance related contracts do not drive and I ask myself, what could
possibly be the logic behind such decisions.
It is not that I do not wish to see the officers well looked
after but this has to be relative to the rest of the sectors of the economy.
Would not locally assembled vehicles such as Mazdas do? After all they are
made for our environment and buying local would be supporting domestic
As long as we carry out such ill-considered decisions it is
difficult to see us getting out of the rut. When calls for belt-tightening
and austerity measures are made this is supposed to be across the board. We
cannot have rules being applicable to certain sections of our society but
not to others.
This whole business smacks of favouritism, and given recent
internal developments, one is led to believe that the government is making
all these decisions because it wants to keep the military happy and firmly
on their side in order to pre-empt any ideas the people might have.
How can these people be happy to drive such top-of-the-range
vehicles when they can hardly afford the cost of educating their children,
do not own their own houses and do not enjoy government issue rations, which
would shield them from the vagaries of ever escalating prices of just about
The problem with the people running this country is that they
are yet to learn to cut their clothes according to their garments. There isn't
commitment to get things right. They believe that rules and regulations are
for others and not for them.
Struggle for emancipation must not lose steam THE important
role being played by the media in exposing the level of repression in
Zimbabwe must be applauded. The media must sustain that vigour in its
Residents of Harare are constantly in difficulties. They
go for weeks on end without electricity, water, and they have now gone for
over two years without legitimate authority at Town House.
Since 11 March 2007 they have been subjected to intense
repression, with victims sustaining serious and life-threatening injuries.
Police testimonies in the ongoing terrorist hearings have revealed the depth
of fear within the regime's political structures.
My letter will not dwell on that but on other issues that
affect Harare residents.
The Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban
Development Ignatious Chombo, who must respond to local governance issues in
Harare and elsewhere in Zimbabwe, has become an "enemy of truth and the
law". In everything he has said concerning the City of Harare, he insists
that Sekesai Makwavarara is doing "a great job paying workers on time" and
"turning around the fortunes of the City of Harare".
A government minister should be ashamed of himself for
openly celebrating such mediocrity. Harare has collapsed as a direct result
of Makwavarara's incompetence. Since coming into office in December 2004,
the illegal commission running the City of Harare has only refined the art
The High Court ruling on 2 March 2007 by Justice Lawrence
Kamocha in the case of Nomutsa Chideya vs City of Harare, the eight
commissioners who were in charge of Harare last year and the four-man probe
team that investigated Chideya, the court was categorical and unequivocal in
its determination of the status of the Makwavarara commission.
The Combined Harare Residents' Association believes that a
new leadership will mark the beginning of the development process that
Harare has been robbed of since the takeover of Harare by Makwavarara, as
chairperson of the illegal commission ruining Harare.
Residents are concerned that a bunch of political puppets,
masquerading as commissioners and lacking both the legitimacy and mandate to
act on behalf of the City of Harare continue to make important decisions on
their behalf. Service delivery has collapsed, refuse continues to pile up in
residential and industrial areas and the quality of life continues to
Return Harare to electoral legitimacy! The commission must
go! CHRA remains committed to the path of self-emancipation.
Pius Ncube needs support
I LISTENED recently to an interview conducted by
Violet Gonda of Short Wave Radio Africa. One of the interviewees was
Zimbabwe's brave forthright and outspoken cleric, Archbishop Pius Ncube.
In answering one of Gonda's questions the Archbishop
advised that His Holiness the Pope is not really "in touch" with the local
situation. He then confirmed that His Holiness has a representative in most
countries including Zimbabwe. I have discovered that Benedict XVI's
representative in Zimbabwe is in fact Edward Joseph Adams.
He most certainly keeps a low profile, and even
Archbishop Ncube didn't refer to him by name. Despite the fact that human
rights abuses in Zimbabwe have captured most of the world's attention, and
despite the fact that the Pope has Edward Joseph Adams on the spot, it seems
to me absolutely incredible that His Holiness is not really "in touch" with
the local situation.
The perpetrator and man responsible for causing
destructive mayhem and extreme suffering to millions of Zimbabweans is a
practising member of the Catholic Church, and we all know who he is; except
it seems the Vatican in Rome.
In my opinion the Catholic Church hierarchy have
remained ignorant of what is happening in Zimbabwe for far too long.
Archbishop Ncube should have, and needs, all the moral support he can
Ban the ZRP! WHY should the United Nations continue to
engage the Zimbabwe Republic Police for world peace missions when the local
police openly violate human rights?
Recently respectable opposition and civic society
leaders Morgan Tsvangirai, Lovemore Madhuku and many others were heavily
assaulted by the police, yet the UN continues to engage them.
Why should the UN continue to engage an arrogant,
brutal, uncivilised and barbaric police force that violates human rights
openly without fear of world opinion?
As the suffering masses of this country, we appeal
to the new UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, to stop forthwith the practice
of engaging the ZRP for world peace missions because they are not worth the
The UN should find other countries that have the
right credentials to do the job. However, if the UN continues to engage the
ZRP for UN peace missions, then the world body's Human Rights Day will be
rendered hollow, meaningless and totally irrelevant.
D R Mutungagore