|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
42 MDC supporters arrested in Zim - report
April 29 2005 at 12:20PM
Harare - Police in Zimbabwe have arrested 42 opposition supporters
after they allegedly assaulted ruling party supporters and stoned houses in
a district of southeastern Zimbabwe, the state- run Herald newspaper claimed
Police spokesperson Brian Makomeke said the 42 Movement for Democratic
Change (MDC) supporters were arrested earlier this week in the Chipinge
South constituency in Zimbabwe's eastern Manicaland province, the Herald
The paper claimed "millions of dollars worth" of property had been
destroyed. Opposition spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi said that he had not
received any information on the arrests and could not comment.
The MDC lost to President Robert Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African
National Union - Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) in disputed elections held on
ZANU-PF won 78 seats to 41 for the MDC.
The opposition says Mugabes party used vote-rigging and intimidation
to win the polls, and has launched court appeals against 13 of the seats won
by the ruling party. - Sapa-dpa
Armed police summoned as fuel crisis worsens
Sat 30 April 2005
HARARE - Armed police were yesterday called in to control rowdy
motorists at the few garages in Harare that still had petrol or diesel as
Zimbabwe's five-year old fuel crisis deepened this week.
With the majority of workers preparing to go on holiday mostly to
their rural areas to celebrate Workers Day on Monday, long and winding
queues characterised most filling stations in Harare as motorists waited for
fuel deliveries - which in most cases never came.
Prices immediately shot up on the illegal black market where fuel is
readily available but at more than four times the official pump price.
Black-market traders risking arrest by the police could be seen doing
brisk business ironically just outside NOCZIM House, the head office of the
government's fuel procurement National Oil Company of Zimbabwe. Prices there
were ranging between $80 000 to $90 000 per five litre gallon of petrol
compared to about $18 000 garages charge for the same quantity.
At a Total garage, a few metres away from NOCZIM House, baton-wielding
and gun-toting policemen could be seen battling to bring to order agitated
motorists who had started gathering at the garage as early as 5am.
After showing signs of easing a little a few months ago, the fuel
crisis is worsening with only a few filling stations receiving fuel in
Harare this week. But there were virtually no deliveries outside the capital
except in the second largest city of Bulawayo where the government has made
contingent plans to ensure supplies to ensure the on-going Zimbabwe
International Trade Fair is not disrupted.
The shortage of diesel and petrol has left commuters countrywide
failing to get to work on time and arriving home late.
Meanwhile, commuter omnibus operators have taken advantage of the fuel
crisis to hike fares with some charging as much as $10 000 a trip that would
normally cost $2 000.
Fuel is one among a long list of vital commodities including food,
electricity and essential medical drugs in short supply in Zimbabwe because
there is no hard cash to pay foreign suppliers.
Zimbabwe has grappled an acute forex crisis since the International
Monetary Fund withdrew balance-of-payments support to the country over
differences with President Robert Mugabe on fiscal, land policy and human
Mugabe's seizure of farmland from white farmers only helped worsen the
forex crunch after destabilising the agriculture sector that generated the
bulk of Zimbabwe's export earnings.
The Zimbabwean leader denies he is to blame for the unfolding economic
crisis saying it is the result of sabotage by Britain and other Western
nations opposed to his expropriation of white farmland for redistribution to
landless blacks. - ZimOnline
MDC supporters flee retribution campaign in Chipinge
Sat 30 April 2005
MUTARE - Dozens of opposition supporters from Chipinge town fled their
homes for dear life this week as war veterans and ruling ZANU PF militants
intensified retribution against opposition supporters in the small farming
town, 200 km south of Mutare city.
Some of the families - who told ZimOnline yesterday they had fled
after receiving death threats from ZANU PF militants - alleged that some
members of the police in Chipinge were actively assisting the ruling party
militants in persecuting people suspected of having voted for the main
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party in last month's
A spokesman for the police in Manicaland Province under which Mutare
falls, Brian Makomeke, refused to discuss the matter when contacted by
ZimOnline last night.
But MDC provincial vice-chairman, Prosper Mutseyami, said ZANU PF
leaders were moving around Chipinge, a stronghold of the opposition party,
urging their militant supporters to weed out opposition sympathisers. He
said the activities of the local ZANU PF in Chipinge had been brought to the
police who had so far not moved to stop harassment of opposition members.
Mutseyami said: "In rural Chipinge, traditional leaders, ZANU PF
supporters and the police are actively involved in the evictions. In
Chipinge urban, ZANU PF leaders are moving around urging their militias to
weed out MDC sympathizers."
A senior clergyman in Mutare, whose church has offered sanctuary to
displaced MDC supporters in the city, also said the families had told him of
widespread victimisation of opposition supporters in the small town.
"We are helping about 12 families from Chipinge who fled their homes
after the elections. But we are doing it clandestinely because we too will
be targeted for helping these people," said the church pastor, insisting
that his name and that of his church not be mentioned for fear of reprisals.
The run up to last month's election, controversially won by ZANU PF,
was relatively peaceful compared to previous elections in 2000 and 2002 when
war veterans and ruling party militias tortured and murdered MDC supporters.
But the MDC has rejected the poll result claiming President Robert
Mugabe and ZANU PF secured victory through fraud. The opposition party has
filed petitions in court challenging the results of 16 constituencies in an
exercise it says is intended to demonstrate how Mugabe and ZANU PF stole the
March 31 ballot.
The situation has remained relatively peaceful but tense across the
country with several reports of militant supporters of ZANU PF victimising
MDC supporters as punishment for backing the opposition party. - ZimOnline
Media institute bemoans cowing of free media
Sat 30 April 2005
HARARE - The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) says there has been
a 54 percent drop in incidents of media freedom violations in Zimbabwe but
said this was more a reflection of how repressive laws had effectively cowed
A more determined enforcement of the Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act, inhibiting independent and free journalism and
the Public Order and Security Act that prohibits criticism of President
Robert Mugabe, meant journalists had to be extra careful in what they
The closure of at least four independent newspapers including the
country's largest non-government-owned daily paper, the Daily News, also
effectively reduced capacity for critical and independent reporting, meaning
less clashes between journalists and the state, according to MISA.
As a result, the regional media rights watchdog issued 47 alerts on
Press freedom violations in Zimbabwe last year compared to 102 such alerts
issued the preceding year.
"The closure of the Daily News in September 2003 and that of the
Tribune in 2004, impacted decisively on critical and independent reporting,"
MISA said in a report on media freedom in the region released this week
ahead of World Press Freedom Day on May 3.
The report entitled "So this is Democracy? - State of Media Freedom in
Southern Africa 2004", assesses media laws and operating environments for
journalists in southern African countries.
A total of 169 incidents of media freedom violations were recorded
across the region in 2004, a drop of 10 percent compared to 188 reports in
Zimbabwe, where journalists can be jailed for up to two years for
writing stories without obtaining a licence to do so from a
government-appointed Media and Information Commission, is considered one of
the most dangerous places for the media.
The southern African nation was last year listed by the World
Association of Newspapers among the three worst countries for journalists in
the world. The other two are Iran and the former Soviet Republic of
Meanwhile, the chairman of the government's media commission Tafataona
Mahoso, yesterday called off a meeting he was supposed to hold with
management of the banned Daily News to discuss the possibility of the paper
returning to the streets.
Mahoso's action puts a damper on hopes that the Daily News might
resume publishing soon. - ZimOnline
Trade unionists arrested
Sat 30 April 2005
MUTARE - Police in the eastern city of Mutare on Wednesday swooped on
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) leaders planning May Day
celebrations in the city and arrested them for meeting without police
ZCTU information officer, Mlaleli Sibanda, said the five trade
unionists: Eliah Mandipe, Tambaoga Nyazika, Stephen Chakandibata, Superior
Boka, Medicine Muringi and Hilarious Ruyi were still in police custody by
late yesterday afternoon.
"The five were arrested and detained at Mutare charge office," Sibanda
told ZimOnline. The ZCTU official said the police had indicated that they
were arresting the unionist because they had not sought permission from the
police for their meeting.
"The police said they have to apply for permission from the police if
they want to hold any meetings ... (but) the ZCTU should not apply to the
police (to hold meetings) under POSA (Public Order and Security Act)," he
Under the draconian security Act, Zimbabweans must seek police
approval first before meeting in groups of three or more to discuss
politics. But professional bodies, trade unions and churches are exempt from
Police spokesman Wayne Bvudzijena could not be reached for comment on
why the unionists were arrested or what charges the law enforcement agency
will lay against them.
The police have routinely used the tough security law to prevent the
main opposition Movement for Democratic Change party, civic society
organisations and other groups perceived as opponents of the government from
holding meetings with ordinary Zimbabweans to propagate their ideas and
programmes. - ZimOnline
Water Crisis Hits Schools
The Herald (Harare)
April 29, 2005
Posted to the web April 29, 2005
SOME schools in Harare's eastern suburbs are ending lessons at mid-morning
due to the critical water shortages that have continued to haunt the
Although there have been intermittent water shortages throughout Harare, the
situation has remained critical in the eastern and southern suburbs of
Mabvuku, Tafara, Zimre Park, Waterfalls, Uplands, Ruwa, Hatfield and
Epworth, forcing most residents to rely on untreated water from streams and
So acute is the problem that there has been interruption of classes at most
schools in Tafara and Mabvuku, which are now conducting lessons only for a
At Donnybrook Primary, Tafara Primary, Mabvuku Primary, Simudzai Primary,
Batanai Primary, Tashinga Primary, Tafara High 2 and Mabvuku High, pupils
could be seen leaving at around 10:30am.
A visit to the affected schools on Wednesday and yesterday saw pupils being
released at break time as school authorities moved to avert a looming health
"We have to turn away the students at tea break because we cannot keep them
for the whole day as there is no drinking water and none for toilet use,"
said a headmaster at one of the schools who declined to be named.
The headmaster told The Herald that schools in Mabvuku and Tafara were
facing difficulties due to the persistent water shortages.
"We are appealing to the responsible authorities to at least drill boreholes
at all schools because schools cannot do without water. It's unhygienic and
hazardous to operate without water," the headmaster said.
Another school head said some officials from the Ministry of Education,
Sport and Culture toured schools in Mabvuku and Tafara to assess the
"They (ministry officials) came here on Wednesday and we discussed the
problems facing the school due to the persistent water shortage. They
assured us that they were going to look into the issue and see how best they
can address the problem as soon as possible," he said.
City of Harare director of works Mr Psychology Chiwanga yesterday ascribed
the water supply cuts to the low levels in most of the city's reservoirs.
"Most of the levels are low. This can be attributed to the current dry
spell, which has led to increased demand for water.
"Water supplies which were cut in the southern suburbs will be restored in
line with our demand management programme.
"However, we will be reviewing the programme and we will advise residents
accordingly," said Mr Chiwanga.
But by late yesterday afternoon, there was no water in the long-affected
Several residents of Mabvuku expressed displeasure with the City of Harare,
saying the municipality should urgently come up with ways of addressing the
"We have not received a drop of water since last week. The scarcity of water
has been persistent for the whole month and it's seriously inconveniencing
us," said Mr Togarepi Gandiwa of New Mabvuku.
Mr Gandiwa said the water cuts had forced many residents to resort to
untreated water from streams and wells.
"Unless supplies are restored urgently, a serious health hazard is looming.
The city fathers have to do something before this time bomb explodes," he
Another resident, Mr Mike Banda, said the water woes had to be addressed as
a matter of urgency to avert the increasing likelihood of a disease
Mr Banda said although the Commission running the affairs of the Harare City
Council had commendably worked hard since its appointment to solve the many
deep-seated problems faced by the city, it should act without delay to find
and implement effective and lasting measures to address the water problem
which has become perennial.
"Residents have been patient and we are so happy that there have been no
cases of violence arising from the water shortages," he said, commending the
Zimbabwe National Army, which has voluntarily come to the aid of the
residents by delivering water in bowsers to the suburb.
This, Mr Banda said, was proof enough that the Government was concerned with
people's needs. He dismissed claims from some quarters that the cause of the
water woes was political.
"Anybody who wants to politicise the water problems because the ruling party
lost in urban areas is merely expressing hogwash," Mr Banda said.
In Waterfalls, residents were relying on Mukuvisi River, which carries
industrial effluent, for washing clothes while they turned to deep and
shallow wells for drinking water.
"We are suffering as it is. You just cannot do anything without water.
Please tell the responsible authorities to address the problem," said an
She said it was sad that they had to rely on dirty water they fetched from
Mukuvisi River and streams flowing into it.
In a related matter, some Mabvuku and Tafara residents have been vandalising
water pipes that feed Donnybrook reservoirs from Letombo in order to draw
the water from the resultant leakages. This has had the effect of scuttling
efforts by council to address the long-standing water supply problem in the
The Herald observed at least six points along the pipeline which were either
vandalised by residents or by sand poachers. At all the points, residents
were fetching water, doing laundry and taking bush baths.
Yesterday, the Deputy Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban
Development, Cde Morris Sakabuya, Harare Commissioner Professor Jameson
Kurasha and senior council officials visited the area to acquaint themselves
with the situation.
Cde Sakabuya was, however, not impressed with the city's public relations
department, which has failed to regularly update residents on the situation
by way of issuing notices, resulting in blame being heaped on the
"Your public relations unit should tell the people what is happening. It
should have explained the problem. If the residents are told the truth, they
will appreciate," he said.
Cde Sakabuya said it was worrying that Government only got to know of the
extent of the problem through the Press.
Chamber secretary Mrs Josephine Ncube said plans to sink boreholes had
reached an advanced stage. The boreholes are envisaged to augment supplies
in the absence of a new source of water.
Engineer Dumisani Sithole said the construction of Kunzvi Dam would solve
the problem. He said council was unable to supply the required amounts of
water because of the heavy pollution of Manyame River and Lake Chivero, the
Cde Sakabuya said the commission should deploy more bowsers in the area,
especially at schools and clinics.
"We should not close schools because there is no water," he said.
The deputy minister took time to address residents at the vandalised water
points, urging them to desist from the practice.
He said destroying the pipeline only delayed the filling-up of reservoirs at
Donnybrook and worsened the problem.
The residents, however, shot back, saying they "vandalised" the pipe out of
desperation because authorities were not updating them on the situation.
US$2 Billion Needed to Avert Power Crisis: Zesa Chief
The Herald (Harare)
April 29, 2005
Posted to the web April 29, 2005
ZESA Holdings says there is an imminent shortage of electricity in the
country due to an envisaged shortfall in power supplies in the region in the
next two years and the power utility needs to spend over US$2 billion
between this year and the year 2010 to avert a crisis, chairman Dr Sydney
Gata said yesterday.
Addressing delegates at an international business forum held on the
sidelines of the ongoing 46th edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade
Fair, Dr Gata said Zimbabwe was already experiencing power shortages as a
result of the deficit in power supply in the region.
The shortfall, which is expected to widen in 2007, is attributed to the fact
that South Africa will not be generating excess electricity to export to
neighbouring countries beyond that period due to its expanding economic
Zesa imports electricity from Eskom of South Africa and other regional power
utilities to offset local deficit during peak hours.
The country would need to generate an extra 650 megawatts to compensate for
the imports and a further 600 megawatts required to support the forecast
economic growth between this year and 2010. An extra 450 megawatts would be
required for new irrigation and rural electrification demands.
"Zimbabwe needs to address the basic issue of self-sufficiency in
electricity generation in respect to the projected shortfall in the supply
of electricity in the region by 2007. There is an absolute need to deal with
the projected deficit," Dr Gata said.
"We, in Zesa, might sound alarmist but there is a real problem that will
emerge in 2007. Already there have been times where we have failed to get
electricity supplies from Eskom at peak hours even after making payments in
"I have no doubt that Eskom has the capacity to service the South African
economy beyond 2007, but it will not have surplus to export to us."
He said there was no hope that Zimbabwe could secure a new power supplier
elsewhere in the region when Eskom stops exporting.
"I do not think there is anything coming up in the region in terms of an
alternative. As we speak no one is building a power station in the region,"
Dr Gata said some of the projects that Zesa is planning to embark on include
generation projects through investments in coal mining, heavy engineering
and power telecommunications, among others.
However, Dr Gata said Zesa had already secured agreements with China, India
and Iran who have committed themselves to funding some of these projects.
"Zesa alone will not afford to address the imminent deficit, thus, there is
need for the public sector to get involved to finance the shortfall," he
Some of the projects where the private sector could be involved in include
the increasing of power generation at the Hwange and Kariba hydro-power
stations and the exploitation of the Lupane Methane Gas Project.
He said there were also areas where Zesa could join forces to mine coal for
electricity generation in the country.
On a positive note, Dr Gata said Zesa had managed to reduce debt to Eskom
from $66 billion last year to about $10 billion this month.
Dr Gata added that some of the problems faced by the power utility included
the shortage of coal and foreign currency, which have forced the parastatal
to default on payments. Some of the utilities that supply the authority such
as HCB of Mozambique now demand that Zesa should pay for electricity
supplies in advance.
"The operational challenges that we face include the shortage of coal at all
the power stations and the projected power deficit in the region in 2007.
"Due to the shortage of foreign currency we have not been able to honour our
payments on time and as we speak, we only have one firm import contract for
2005 from Snel of the Democratic Republic of Congo," he said.
"We have to make prepayments for current power imports from Eskom and HCB of
Mozambique and all the new import contracts are now under much tougher terms
for the period 2006 to 2007.
"There is also the threat of reduced power generation at Kariba due to a
suspected wave of droughts."
Dr Gata paid tribute to South Africa for its continued support to Zimbabwe
during the difficult economic period characterised by shortage of foreign
From: Elliot Pfebve
Sent: Saturday, April 30, 2005 7:12 AM
Subject: Mathew Pfebve remembered: Murdered by Mugabe.
Today the 30th of April in 2000, my brother retired Inspector Mathew Pfebve
was murdered by Robert Mugabe in cold blood. Mathew a family man and a
symbol of the Pfebve family was murdered by ZANU(PF) in cold blood, his
crime being a brother to Elliot Pfebve the MDC political National Executive
member and MP candidate for Bindura. He was murdered 2 months after having
retired from the ZRP after having served the same government that killed him
for 21 years. Today Mathew could have been 50, energetic and contributing to
the development of his country. His Death Certificate number 672017
registered at MT Darwin District Office confirmed the cause of his death as,
"Massive brain injury from trauma, assault and laceration of right lung" and
this was signed by Dr. Kabanda and countersigned by the informant Officer-
In- Charge Mkumbura Police, Inspector Daniel Dennis Makaure. 5 years after
he was murdered nobody has been brought to book for the murder despite the
fact that the people who murdered him are well known and moving freely doing
their normal business, scaring and probably murdering more people in
Robert Mugabe and his ZANU (PF) government did not issue any statement to
condone those who murdered my brother other than unilaterally declaring an
amnesty to all those who could have been involved in political crimes and
murders. 5 years down the line more and more people continue to die, maimed,
raped and displaced from a country of their birth. The massive exodus of
Zimbabweans fleeing the country meant that Zimbabwe will never be the same
again. The impact this had on social and economic factors is beyond human
imagination yet today the international community has watched from the
terrace while we Zimbabweans continue to live under the yoke of tyrant and
systematic persecution. Zimbabwe today has even been rewarded by being
elected to the UN Human Rights Commission in New York on the 27 April 2005.
What this means is Mugabe for the next 3 years will advice the UN on Human
Rights Issues in the region and beyond, what a shame!
I dream of a Zimbabwe where the young get charge and the old get change. I
believe in a country where the President is from the people and by the
people. I believe in a new Zimbabwe where the people of Zimbabwe are free to
be free. I believe in a world of peace liberty and stability. I don't
believe in politics of patronage, I believe in a natural selection of
leadership which is democratically changeable. At 81, we Zimbabweans are
fighting with our ancestors. I salute all those who had been murdered in
cold blood in pursuit of a true democratic Zimbabwe. I salute those who
languish in filth jails serving politically motivated crimes they did not
commit. I salute those who voted in the past election against the lord of
Long live Zimbabwe! Long live the struggle for peace and justice! Long live
civil disobedience against tyrant!! Long live the match to victory!! Aluta
An illegal foreign exchange dealer holds a $US10 bill
and its Zimbabwe equivalent, $Z350,000.
The foreign currency black market booms as the economy goes into freefall.
A shonky market fringing Zimbabwe's second city, Bulawayo, shows little enthusiasm for selling its hoard of clothing, kitchenwares and stereos: The real business here is the deals behind the stalls - selling foreign cash.
With the devastated economy plunging further into the financial abyss since last month's disputed elections, the black market is increasingly eager for US dollars, British pounds and euros.
Dubbed "The World Bank", Bulawayo's illegal foreign exchange dealers run the only bank without a queue and ready stocks of foreign cash.
This is a seller's paradise, securing up to three times more than the official rate, with a staggering 30 per cent rise in black market payments for foreign cash since the March 31 election.
But first you have to know where to find it.
Rickety wooden tables displaying goods of dubious origin are manned by up to 100 women, mostly dressed head to toe in the white dress-code of a local religious sect.
This is all a charade - the real game is brokering foreign currency deals for the local dollar in a dilapidated shack behind the market stalls.
Say the magic word - "forex" - and the white-cloaked women will step back and allow you to pass into their inner sanctum, behind the makeshift high wall that surrounds the dealer's shack.
The white-cloaked woman who led me behind the partition is crestfallen to learn I have come without forex and hisses, with urgency, for me to return with cash. "Don't change in the street, my friend, they will cheat you. You will cry, my friend," she warns.
In the past few weeks, Zimbabwe has almost run out of the staple maize meal, power supplies are erratic, fuel supplies have run dry and basic commodities are scarce.
After five years of seizures of white-owned farms, compounded by a drought, Zimbabwe has harvested only 500,000 tonnes of maize, and another 1.3 million tonnes is required to feed 4 million people - a third of the population.
But the Zimbabwe Government does not have the estimated $300 million in foreign cash to buy the necessary maize and its hostile new laws targeting aid agencies have helped scare away donor funds.
Government department officials have been seen visiting Bulawayo's "World Bank" where the black market dealers hold the strings to the foreign exchange.
Zimbabwe economist Eddie Cross says the parallel market of foreign exchange dealers is a response to the Zimbabwe Government overvaluing the Zimbabwe dollar and pocketing the difference.