Harare - Zimbabwe's main opposition party said on Wednesday
that one of its officials died after torture, in a report that would take the
death toll to at least 10 since last month's disputed presidential election.
The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) said that polling
agent Fanuel White had succumbed to injuries suffered when he was tortured
and assaulted by alleged ruling Zanu PF supporters. White was taken by
a security guard at his workplace, an agricultural parastatal in
the north-eastern Mushumbi Pools, and handed over to Zanu PF militias
who tortured him before releasing him. White died at a Harare clinic
last Thursday, the MDC said in a statement. The latest reported death brings
to 43 the number of fatalities in political violence since the beginning of
the year. The MDC has refused to recognise the outcome of the March 9-11
polls won by President Robert Mugabe, saying the vote was massively rigged
and thousands of its supporters suffered intimidation, torture, assault
or death. The party claims that the violence against its members and
supporters has not ceased even after the polling, but has even worsened in
the form of retribution against people known or suspected to support the
opposition. "We are concerned about the violence. The violence is worse than
it was before elections," said MDC secretary for economic affairs Eddie
Zimbabwe rights group says 50,000 people
HARARE, April 4 — A Zimbabwean human rights group said
on Thursday that as many as 50,000 people had fled their homes in fear of
revenge attacks in the wake of President Robert Mugabe's disputed victory
The Crisis in Zimbabwe group -- comprising labour,
human rights and other civic organisations -- said it had appealed to the
international community for humanitarian assistance to deal with the problem
of displaced people. Organisation spokesman Andrew Nongogo told
Reuters most of the people who had fled their homes were supporters of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), whose leader Morgan
Tsvangirai lost the presidential poll to Mugabe. Mugabe's victory
in the March 9-11 ballot has been rejected by Western countries as
fraudulent. Tsvangirai has called it ''daylight robbery.'' ''We
have a looming problem...displaced farm workers and political displacements.
Now that ZANU-PF has won they do not feel safe returning to their communities
where some of them were polling agents,'' said Nongogo. ''About 50,000
people have been displaced and we continue to receive reports from all over
the country.'' The group said most of the internal refugees people
were from the northern Mashonaland region, where there has been a high
incidence of political violence and white-owned farms have been invaded by
pro-government militants. Both the MDC and the Commercial Farmers
Union reported a rise in violence against the opposition after the election,
which they said was retribution for not supporting the ruling ZANU-PF
INTERNATIONAL HELP NEEDED Nongogo said his organisation
was now looking to the international community for urgent assistance to help
deal with the crisis. ''We approached the International Committee of
the Red Cross and they made an undertaking to feed 2,000 people a month. Our
initial request was for tents, but I think they were uncomfortable with this
because they would need government approval,'' said Nongogo.
Mugabe's government accuses some aid agencies of furthering the political
cause of the opposition under the guise of humanitarian work. ''We
initially thought of approaching the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner
for Refugees), but they do not deal with internal displacements,'' Nongogo
said. ''We are trying to look at U.N. mechanisms to assist through
local NGOs (non-government organisations) or put some sort of pressure on
the government to admit there are problems.'' Some of the refugees
were being assisted by the Amani Trust, a rights group which helps victims of
political violence. However, Nongogo said many displaced people were
reluctant to seek shelter at the trust, which has been accused by the
government of having a political agenda. ''With the food crisis it
is impractical to ask them to go and stay with relatives in town,'' he
added. Zimbabwe is in the throes of a food shortage blamed on
the government's controversial land reforms and drought.
Ncube Bulawayo Bureau Chief 4/4/02 1:26:50 AM (GMT +2)
West — Jonah Sithole, 81, is too weak to talk and only manages to squeak
something inaudible when asked by officials here to produce his identity card
to prove his age.
With trembling fingers, he fishes out an identity
card from a battered leather wallet in his back pocket and hands it over to
the official, who takes a look and then bellows: "Next".
speaking in a hushed and trembling voice, pleads with the youthful official:
"Please give me just a plateful. I have not eaten for months. I will
Because of his advanced age and his emaciated look, the official
allows him to jump the long winding queue of other dirt-poor villagers at
Nejambezi Secondary School here, patiently waiting for food handouts under a
World Food Programme (WFP)
Hunger is written
all over the faces of most of the villagers in the queue and many say they
have been at this rural government school, one of the five food distribution
centres in Hwange West, from as early as 4 am.
Some came on foot while
others arrived in relative comfort in donkey and ox-drawn carts, a popular
mode of transport in this poor district of Matabeleland
Sithole, defying his advanced age and hunger, erupts into a frenzy
of joy when he is handed about 13 kgs of mealie-meal, the staple diet of
the majority of Zimbabwe’s 13 million people.
"I will kill a chicken
today," he boasts as he makes his way to the ox-drawn scotchcart that will
take him to his village.
Aaron Mpofu, a headman from Bepenyuba-mangwana
who is also in the queue, says an elderly man in his village died the
previous month from hunger.
"We buried him there," Mpofu says, pointing
to some distant hills across
"When we say
people are dying here, we mean it but you people from the cities and towns do
not believe us," added Mpofu, as the queue moved at a snail’s
Most villagers said they survived on watermelons, a
drought-resistant crop that seems to defy odds and thrives in these hard
Norbert Dube, an official of ORAP — one of the five
non-governmental agencies helping to distribute WFP mealie-meal in
drought-hit Matabeleland — says Hwange is hardest hit.
have allegedly died of hunger here already," said Dube, who was re-launching
the official donor-supported food distribution programme in the
"We were forced to abandon the exercise in February because
some undeserving cases were registered but now we have had to do it all over
again to ensure that there is no cheating," said Dube, who is the national
coordinator of ORAP.
At the end of the day, only about 7 000 villagers
in Jambezi have managed to receive some food out of the 40 000 registered as
needing food aid.
"The figure goes up everyday. People are really hungry
here. We are only giving them mealie-meal and hopefully if funds permit we
will be able to give them some relish such as beans or matemba," Dube
Each registered villager receives 13.8 kgs per month of mealie-meal
but this is multiplied by the number of dependants in a
James Ndlovu, 55 and from Chenjeri
village nearby, blames the food shortages in Jambezi and other areas on
President Robert Mugabe’s misrule.
"The blame squarely falls on Mugabe
and that is why we did not vote for him here," says Ndlovu, even though
several ZANU PF supporters in party T-shirts are milling
"Those who voted for Mugabe voted for hunger. We know that this
food is not from him; it is from the United Nations and Britain and the
United States, the countries he always blames for our suffering."
relief operation in Jambezi is part of a wide network by the WFP
to distribute 110 000 tonnes of food to more than half a million people in
the drought-ravaged southeastern and southwestern districts of
The food aid is also being distributed in Matabeleland South,
Masvingo and Zvishavane with the help of other non-governmental
organi-sations such as World Vision and Christian Care.
The WFP began
to distribute relief food late in the area in February after the government
finally admitted that the country, traditionally self-sufficient and an
exporter of surplus food, faced a massive food shortage.
became clear that the country’s grain reserves were empty because
of mismanagement, erratic rains and the disruptions to commercial
farming caused by government supporters who seized farms in the name of land
According to the United Nations Development Programme, Zimbabwe
needs at least US$83 million to prevent mass starvation.
The WFP says
it has only received US$20 million from United States and Britain out of the
US$60 million it requested internationally for food aid for Zimbabwe
Telegraph’s Zimbabwe correspondent Peta Thorneycroft, cleared of all charges
and freed after being imprisoned for five nights under the country’s new
media laws, has returned to Harare to continue reporting. But her foreign
editor Alec Russell has warned that other correspondents there, and the local
press, can expect more harassment. Russell told Press Gazette: “Who knows
what hoops the authorities are going to put up for the journalists to go
through. It is a sign of the government’s intent, bumbling as the whole thing
was, and a reminder of how tricky it is to be a journalist in Zimbabwe. I
suspect there are more problems to come, not necessarily for Peta, but for
the handful of other correspondents or more likely for local
Thorneycroft had been very resilient and brave while in
prison, he said. She has said she will now sue the police for wrongful arrest
Her ordeal began when she was arrested in a cafe in
The Daily Telegraph was in touch with the Foreign Office and
the South African Government to get help with the Zimbabwean Government to
Zimbabwe's war vets give ultimatums to white farmers:
report HARARE, April 4 AFP|Published: Thursday April 4, 10:03
Zimbabwe's liberation war veterans have started issuing some
white farmers with ultimatums to vacate their properties, a state-run daily
The Herald, said today.
The paper quoted the war veterans
association's secretary for projects as saying the former fighters have
decided to give deadlines to the farmers whose land has been earmarked for
compulsory acquisition by government, because they "were refusing to
reconcile with the government".
"We have realised that the white
commercial farmers are using the farms left with them to re-organise
themselves against the ruling party and government for negative publicity on
Zimbabwe," Andrew Ndlovu, the war veterans official, said.
of the eviction ultimatums are given, but the paper published a picture of
one farmer being served with an ultimatum by Ndlovu.
Farmers Union said eviction orders to farmers were not a
Some farmers have in recent weeks been ordered by
settlers to vacate their properties to make way for new black
"Threats of eviction continue ... and there is an urgent need for
additional (police) support to stabilise the situation and prevent the
campaign continuing," said a recent statement from the CFU.
claimed that 19 farmers in one province, Mashonaland East, have
been "illegally evicted from their homes and there have been been 31 cases
of looting" in the period since the March 9-11 presidential
It said some of the evicted farmers have been unable to recover
their moveable assets such as livestock, machinery and household
"On most of the farms where farmers have been evicted, the farm
workers have also been told to leave," said CFU.
In a regular farm
invasions and security report, issued late last month, the CFU said many
farmers are given verbal warnings to leave their properties.
cases farmers are given anything from hours to several days to vacate their
Of those ordered to leave, some fearing for their security, have
packed up and gone to stay with friends or relatives in towns, while others
have defied the orders and stayed.
Zimbabwe has, under its
controversial land reforms, listed for acquisition 95 per cent of all land
owned by some 4,500 white commercial farmers in Zimbabwe, according to
The government of President Robert Mugabe says the land exercise is
aimed at correcting colonial imbalances which left less than one percent of
the population owning about 30 per cent of the country's prime farmland.
Zimbabwe civic groups to press ahead with
HARARE, April 4 — Zimbabwean civic groups vowed on
Thursday to go ahead with a planned weekend rally for a new constitution
despite a police ban on the nation-wide protest. State radio
reported on Wednesday that police had banned the planned demonstrations,
saying the political situation in the troubled southern African country was
not conducive to protests. On Thursday the National Constitutional
Assembly (NCA), a coalition of student and church groups, political parties
and human rights organisations said its right to hold protests were enshrined
in Zimbabwe's present supreme law which guarantees freedom of expression and
association. ''We are going ahead with the planned march which is
guaranteed under section 21 of the constitution although we know that the
police will probably try to stop us,'' NCA spokesman Maxwell Saungweme told
Reuters. He said the civic groups would seek legal recourse if police
tried to prevent the march from going ahead. In a separate
statement, the NCA said the reasons given by the police for the ban,
including an accusation that the civic organisation wanted to ''impose its
constitution on the government'' were ''grossly unreasonable.'' ''It
is neither the duty nor responsibility of the police to advise on the
appropriateness of a cause for a demonstration,'' the NCA said. In
February dozens of riot police armed with batons and guns broke up an
NCA-organised protest against the government's refusal to adopt a
new national constitution. The NCA says deeply rooted flaws in the
current constitution -- which critics says Mugabe has repeatedly used in the
past to entrench his rule -- make it impossible to hold free and fair
elections in Zimbabwe. The police, echoing the government's
sentiments, has accused the NCA of pursuing a political agenda and of being
an extension of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). MDC
leader Morgan Tsvangirai has rejected the validity of his defeat by Mugabe at
last month's presidential poll. ''That (police charge) is a
deliberate misinterpretation of the NCA which is just pursuing the goals of a
new constition after widespread consultations from all stakeholders,''
Saungweme said on Thursday. In 2000 the NCA was instrumental in the
rejection by the majority of Zimbabweans of a proposed new constitution
crafted by a government-appointed comission which critics said left Mugabe's
overwhelming presidential powers intact. Under a harsh Public Order
and Security Bill passed by Mugabe's government last month, Zimbabweans need
police permission to organise public protests and gatherings. Penalties for
illegal protests range from fines to a year in prison.
ZIMBABWE’S beleaguered cattle
farmers will this year be forced to drastically reduce their herd to survive
a severe drought ravaging the country, industry officials said this
Cattle Producers Association (CPA) chief executive Paul d’ Hotman
said the dry spell, which has already wiped out most food crops countrywide,
had begun to hit grazing pastures hard.
"The ongoing dry spell is
starting to reach serious levels in certain areas," he told the Financial
Farmers had already lost large tracts of pastureland to ruling
ZANU PF party supporters who seized these with the support of the government,
which defended the illegal land grab as a demonstration of support for its
Some of the farm invaders have burnt whole tracts of
The CPA said the prolonged dry spell meant that grazing
pastures were drying out fast and producers now faced the threat of veldt
fires which could also destroy the remaining pasture land.
urged farmers, who have been working to rebuild the national herd decimated
by a severe drought 10 years ago, to de-stock but still hold on to their
"The CPA maintains its stance that producers, where
possible, should hold on to their nucleus breeding stock. Those producers who
do will be well placed when the long- awaited recovery phase commences," he
D’Hotman noted that the closure of the abattoirs of the
government-run meat processing Cold Storage Company (CSC) last year had only
worsened the plight of the cattle farmers.
Farmers had been forced to
sell their cattle to private abattoirs that pay much less than the CSC. The
CSC itself, reeling under a $4 billion debt, has failed to pay producers on
time for cattle brought to its remaining abattoirs for slaughter.
as if things were not bad enough for farmers, the Ministry of Agriculture and
Rural Resettlement last month suspended the exportation of live cattle, one
of the most lucrative money-spinners for cattle producers.
producers are rather limited, with the CSC virtually out of the market as a
result of payment problems resurfacing," one senior farming executive
The CPA, which represents more than 2 000 large-scale cattle
producers, says its members are keeping about 1.25 million cattle.
small-scale producers and communal farmers are believed to hold an estimated
three million cattle but these producers only contribute 40 percent of cattle
slaughtered each year either for the domestic or
Massive de-stocking would severely hurt Zimbabwe’s
lucrative beef exports to the European Union, already suspended last August
following an outbreak of foot-and- mouth disease in
De-stocking would see a glut of beef on the domestic market but
this would be followed by severe shortages later in the year.
farmers more than three years to rebuild the national herd.
By Sydney Masamvu Political
Editor 4/4/02 1:55:28 AM (GMT +2)
PLANNED talks between the ruling
ZANU PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) will
ultimately pave the way for President Robert Mugabe’s exit from power before
the end of his controversial new six-year term.
The two parties though
still differ greatly on the modalities and the time frame for Mugabe’s
premature departure, it was established this week.
Among the governing
party’s bargaining chips that it intends to put on the table at the talks
which were due to start late yesterday is the shortening of Mugabe’s new term
by at least three years, highly placed sources said.
ZANU PF wants to
amend the constitution to allow the life of parliament, whose tenure is
currently five years, to run concurrently with that of the presidency which
is six years.
What that means is that Mugabe’s current six-year term,
expected to end in 2008, would be halved and end in 2005 when the term of the
present parliament expires.
The proposal, if accepted by the MDC,
would restore legitimacy to Mugabe’s government that has been widely
condemned by Zimbabweans and the international community as having stolen
last month’s bitterly contested presidential ballot.
party is also proposing that the transitional period be used to form an
independent electoral supervisory commission and to make other electoral
amendments acceptable to the opposition.
Zimbabwe’s current electoral
supervisory bodies have been blamed for favouring ZANU PF and for employing
numerous tricks that allowed ZANU PF to steal the vote for
Ruling party insiders this week said they were in favour of
breaking the political impasse caused by the disputed March 9-11 presidential
poll by amending some sections of the constitution.
sources countered by saying that the MDC would stick to its demands for a
fresh presidential election supervised by the United Nations and nothing
Official sources said ZANU PF’s proposals dovetailed with Mugabe’s
overall plan to hand over power to his favoured man, Emmerson Mnangagwa, the
head of the party’s team to the talks.
Mugabe’s choice of Mnangagwa to
head the crucial talks with the MDC, over more senior party leaders, was also
seen as an anointment of the Speaker of Parliament as his eventual successor
in ZANU PF and government, the sources said.
Other members of the ZANU
PF team to the talks include Frederick Shava, ZANU PF’s director of
administration who is Mnangagwa’s right-hand man.
former intelligence boss, is also being tipped for a vice president’s post in
a new Cabinet the ZANU PF leader might announce before the end of the
Some of the proposals being put forward by ZANU PF include
amendments contained in the draft constitution rejected by the majority of
Zimbabweans in a referendum in February 2 000.
"As our bargaining
gesture, we will accommodate proposals aimed at amending the constitution
because the sticking problems which are arising were contained in the draft
constitution which the MDC campaigned against," a member of ZANU PF’s supreme
Politburo told the Financial Gazette.
As part of its strategy to bring
the MDC on board, ZANU PF would in time drop treason charges levelled against
MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his secretary-general Welshman Ncube if the
talks made headway, the sources said.
Mugabe allies such as South
Africa’s ruling African National Congress have urged him to drop the treason
charges against the MDC leaders as the first step towards reconciling
Zimbabweans and ending the current economic and political
Analysts though say the talks, due to open in Harare last night
and possibly move out of the capital later, could bog down on the modalities
of Mugabe’s departure.
This is because the MDC insists that it is only
willing to participate in a transitional government that works towards the
staging of a new ballot before the end of the year, but ZANU PF is opposed to
However, should the MDC accept ZANU PF’s proposals, it
is hoped in government circles that Zimbabwe would be able to shed its image
of a pariah state and once again attract badly needed aid and
The southern African country, reeling from a devastating
drought and mounting poverty, needs about US$450 million to avert mass
starvation before the next harvest in March next year.
Rejected by the Commonwealth and abandoned by his
peers, despised in his capital and banned from most of the developed world,
it is just possible that President Mugabe, may now be starting to realise the
price of victory in last month’s disputed presidential poll.
years, critics of the ageing strongman have warned that his bloody and
lawless tactics would create a crisis that even he could not
Now, with Western donors uniting with Zimbabwe’s civil society
to condemn the election, it seems he has wasted his political capital on
buying a paper crown.
It is not hard to see Mugabe’s life as an
Elizabethan tragedy, and indeed the former schoolteacher still delights in
quoting Shakespeare in his increasingly infrequent public
Here is a man of parts, a brave resistance leader and a
preacher of love and reconciliation, brought low by his inability to give up
the power his gifts have brought him. Now he sits brooding in State House,
alone but for an assortment of paid thugs and sycophants, while beyond the
wall gather forces, which, through the veil of his vanity, he can only dimly
Mugabe feared becoming King Lear, who benignly abdicated
power only to be betrayed and ruined by his heirs. Instead, Mugabe is turning
into Macbeth, a brave man corrupted by power and pride, battling his fate to
the bitter end.
All this might be quite entertaining if it were only
fiction. Sadly for the people of Zimbabwe, and southern Africa in general,
the tragedy of Mugabe is being played out in real life.
78-year-old President and his ruling party cling desperately to power, the
forces that will eventually destroy them are already at work on the 12
million-plus unfortunate people they control. Despite the undoubted blow
Mugabe has received from the international community, these forces are not
diplomatic, and certainly not military.
They are economic, and they are
already biting the people hard.
All over Zimbabwe basic foodstuffs are
severely rationed. In some areas, particularly those that did not vote for
Mugabe, people are beginning to starve.
John Robertson, an independent
Harare economist and critic of Mugabe’s regime, says Zimbabwe urgently needs
more than a million tonnes of maize, 400 000 tonnes of wheat and US$2 billion
(about Z$110 billion) in donations. But with donors alienated by Mugabe’s
racist anti-Western rhetoric, and his government’s corrupt, lawless and
wilfully inept handling of the economy, there is no chance of that happening
any time soon.
“Nobody is going to talk to us while we have Mugabe in
charge but we need help desperately,” says Robertson. “I’ve given many
lectures saying that aid is a bad thing, how it soon becomes addictive, but
we are in the position of a country that has been at war with a very fierce
enemy for a long time. We need aid in the same way that somebody who has
fallen off a ship in the middle of the ocean needs a life belt.”
musters grim figures to back up his case. First, drought and State-sponsored
attacks on white-owned commercial farms have hammered Zimbabwe’s staple maize
and wheat crops.
Harassed, assaulted, driven off their land, and
sometimes murdered by gangs of pro-Mugabe “liberation war veterans”, many
white farmers have been unable to borrow working capital.
government’s “fast track” policy of handing out seized land to blacks means
white farmers no longer have bankable title to their land. According to the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the commercial maize crop
could be down as much as 90 percent this year.
The small farms run by
blacks that produce most of the annual maize crop, usually about a million
tonnes, do not have the capital for irrigation or fertiliser, and drought is
likely to halve their production.
The result is a looming humanitarian
Worse again, there are not enough trains and trucks to
transport the required volume of maize into the region. “We can’t move fast
enough to avoid hunger now,” says Robertson.
The second problem is
that Zimbabwe’s economy is in deep trouble. Staples such as wheat and maize
are only secondary crops for most white commercial farmers.
country’s biggest earner is tobacco, with exports worth US$600 million (about
Z$33 billion) in a good year. Now that, too, has been
Manufacturing exports have been affected by the
foreign exchange crisis and the fact is that much Zimbabwean industry is
based on the shattered commercial agriculture sector.
effectively robbing the country’s savings. “The borrowed money is being used
for consumption, not investment. It simply can’t go on,”
Yet go on it surely will, says John Makumbe, an
academic and chairman of the Zimbabwe branch of the anti-corruption pressure
group Transparency International.
“Mugabe is going to continue
printing money and borrowing money locally, so financial houses are going to
totter to the brink of collapse. Companies are already closing and I think
the exodus of skilled work will intensify and escalate,” he says. “There are
likely to be more street demonstrations than we’ve seen for some time. I
think if there is no agreement with the MDC, you are going to see a lot of
public resistance of various forms, which will be easily provoked into
violence by the State, so it can then crack down on the leaders.”
believes there is little that the outside world can or will do.
UN-supervised election would do, which Mugabe would resist with thevigour of
a maniac. I think he would even mobilise militarily
Makumbe believes that ultimately Zimbabweans will have
to save themselves, either by mass resistance or by means of a power shift
within the ruling Zanu PF.
“There is utter hatred for Mugabe right now
throughout the country. Anything can spark a revolt and believe me, a lot of
his comrades in Zanu PF are fed up with him and embarrassed by him. If the
MDC plays its cards well and resists and says we will not be compromised on
change, the people will be with them completely.”
Certain remarks recently attributed to
President Mugabe smack of the disdain, contempt and disrespect the government
now regards as normal when dealing with Zimbabweans who reside in the urban
areas, especially in the capital city of Harare.
In utterances at a
party organised for members of his clan at Kutama on Sunday to celebrate his
controversial victory in the presidential election, Mugabe was evidently
angry at being blatantly rejected in the urban areas.
The behaviour of
Ignatius Chombo, the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National
Housing, shows that the government is determined, without shame or
rationality, to frustrate the will of millions of
Chombo overturned an earlier directive from his
predecessor John Nkomo ordering the Harare City Council to reduce its
expenditure considerably by abolishing non-essential municipal posts and
laying off excess staff.
The council took the first step to cut costs, on
behalf of the city’s 825 000 voters, by announcing that it planned to audit
its staff complement.
Through a normal council resolution, Elias Mudzuri,
the executive mayor, decided to suspend about 300 workers hastily employed by
the illegal Chanakira Commission just before the presidential
election. Chombo would not have any of this.
“The rescission of the
resolution is taken with firm conviction that the interests of the public
were not taken into consideration,” he said.
What this means is that the
interests of close to a million registered voters must be sacrificed to
please a mere 300 people, mainly Zanu PF supporters randomly employed in
Part of the Chanakira Commission’s brief was to cut
Harare’s salary bill to about 28 percent of the council’s monthly
Like Chombo, Tobaiwa Mudede, the Registrar-General, has
joined Mugabe in displaying the growing official disaffection with
Mudede’s mischief first came to light last year when he virtually
had to be dragged to court in order for him to conduct municipal elections in
the city. He ignored court orders and managed to get away with it because
of official government blessings.
Mudede threw an array of impediments
in the way of residents wishing to vote.
He demanded a stack of
unnecessary documents as qualifications for voter registration. But the
residents persevered and remained resolute.
He further reduced the number
of polling stations in Harare and Chitungwiza from 240 in June 2000 to 167
last month, despite the demand for more outlets to clear a large turnout of
voters electing councillors, the executive mayor and the president
Through another court order, the opposition MDC forced a
third day of voting.
Again, Mudede took his time to comply with the
order, resulting in thousands of residents being denied their basic right to
While voting ended on 11 March, Mudede only published the winners’
names on 19 March, eight days later.
Even then, our defiant
Registrar-General, in clear violation of the Electoral Act, merely gave us
the figures showing the total votes for each new councillor and the new
Information on the votes won by the losing candidates,
as well as the number of spoilt papers and other related details have been
withheld to this day.
The results belong to the people, not to Mudede.
They must be published in full.
As the capital city, Harare is the
seat of government.
The city provides a window through which investors,
tourists and other visitors have their first glimpse of the country, often
leading to spin-offs that benefit the nation.
Mugabe, Mudede, Chombo,
and Jonathan Moyo must not be allowed to reduce such a metropolis to a
peripheral settlement where residents are seen as trivial and not worthy of
EFFORTS by minority
ethnic groups in Zimbabwe, such as Kalanga, Tonga, Sotho, Venda, Shangani and
Nambya to have books and other forms of literature published in their
languages have long faced resistance from publishers.
have claimed publishing books in minority languages was not commercially
viable as only a few copies would be bought, thus failing to justify the
As a way of overcoming the hurdle of persuading publishers
otherwise, the affected communities have sought the assistance of donors and
communities in neighbouring countries to get their literary works
In most instances, such languages are only spoken at home
while Shona and Ndebele, regarded by others as the “colonial” languages of
Zimbabwe, are spoken and taught in schools.
Although the government
has declared that such languages be taught in areas where they are
predominantly spoken, lack of literature and inadequate resources from the
government, will make it difficult for the minority languages to be
According to Isaac Mumpande, the author of the first book
published in Tonga, the affected communities will lose their cultural
identity if they are not allowed to preserve their way of life in the written
“For example, Tonga is spoken in districts like Hwange, Binga,
Gokwe and Kariba.
“In the case of Binga district, isiNdebele is taught
at school ahead of the Tonga language.
“The same case prevails in
areas like Gokwe and Kariba, where Tonga children speak the language at home
but learn Shona when they go to school.”
The chairman of the Zimbabwe
Indigenous Languages Promotion Association, Saul Ndlovu, said minority
languages faced demise as repeated efforts to have manuscripts published had
continuously faltered, while the failure to have them taught in their own
areas was not reviewed seriously.
“Previously, such languages were taught
up to Grade Three but it was not mandatory, as the decision on whether or not
to teach the languages was up to the headmasters.
“Now that it is a
requirement that such languages be taught at schools, the problem is that
there isn’t adequate literature and personnel for the proper implementation
of that language policy.
“It is totally unacceptable that a child at
whose home Nambya, Tonga, Sotho, Kalanga and Venda are spoken, is required to
learn a language alien to their home environment and later forced to use that
language to write letters to his/her parents who would need someone else to
translate the letter for them,” Ndlovu said.
He said as a result,
minority languages were threatened with extinction because they were being
marginalised partly through the education system, while it was almost
impossible to have literature printed by publishing houses in the
Ndlovu said in 1986, communities which speak Venda, Tonga and
Kalanga formed the Vetoka Association, which he led with the late Million
“Our aim was to produce literature in our languages but we failed
to achieve our goals because publishing houses refused to accept our
manuscripts and partly because I was sent to work in Swaziland while Malaba
became ill and died.”
The Zimbabwe Indigenous Languages Promotion
Association (Zilpa), which hopes to pursue the same agenda, was formed last
year, with the assistance of Silveira House, a developmental wing of the
Already, Zilpa has, through Silveira House, managed to
have the first book published in Tonga, Tusimpi (Proverbs) through money
donated by the World Bank.
Ndlovu said Mukani Cultural Organisation
from Botswana, had offered its printing facilities for books in
Sub-committees have been set up in some areas of the country to
produce manuscripts in Kalanga for printing in Botswana.
There is a
large Kalanga community in northern Botswana.
Ndlovu himself is working
on a manuscript in Kalanga, called Zwidiyo zwetjiKalanga, (Lessons in
The Catholic Church had assisted the Nambya-speaking community
with the publication of the First Testament in that language as well as a
The deputy president of Zilpa, Dickson Mundia, who is from
Binga, said: “Zilpa’s aim is to promote these languages so that they are
taught in areas where they are predominantly spoken.”
He said the
failure to have books published in the minority languages would see the death
of those languages and affect people’s culture. “The idea of promoting
people’s languages is a crucial one in any society that aims at preserving
“Language and culture are inseparable as both complement
the maintenance of the other. Language being a vehicle of culture means that
culture cannot flourish in the absence of language, especially in the written
form,” Mundia said.
Mundia said languages which existed only in the
spoken form could easily disappear as there would be no reference
“Literature, the written form of language, is central to language
and cultural promotion. When a language exists in written form, it becomes
a permanent reference for future generations.” he said.
AS the stand-off
continues at Town House, it emerged yesterday that Ignatius Chombo, the
Minister of Local Government, Public Works and National Construction, has
delivered two more directives to Elias Mudzuri, the new executive mayor of
Harare, and his MDC-dominated council.
The two directives, delivered on
Tuesday, follow hard on the heels of another directive issued last week which
nullified the new council’s decision to reverse all promotions and
recruitments of mainly Zanu PF supporters over the last six months.
one of the directives delivered on Tuesday, Chombo said Mudzuri would only
attend Cabinet Action Committees by special invitation.
While it could
not be established why Chombo had banned mayors from attending such meetings,
it is understood Mudzuri had only attended one such meeting.
invoked his powers in terms of the Urban Councils Act, that all resolutions
to do with personnel and financial matters be brought to him first.
hereby direct, in terms of Section 313 (1) of the Urban Councils Act chapter
29: 15 and in the interest of the public and the nation, that all future
resolutions touching on Personnel and Financial matters be forwarded to me
for my scrutiny before they can be implemented,” the directive reads in
The section gives the minister powers to give any council a
directive regarding policy.
Mudzuri refused to comment on the
resolutions while Chombo could not be reached.
But council officials
said the three directives, which were issued on two successive days, were
meant to show that while the MDC may have won the council elections, the Zanu
PF government was effectively in charge.
“It is a show of strength by the
government that the MDC may have won in council elections but Zanu PF can
always use the law to subvert the decisions of the opposition-dominated
council,” a senior official said.
He said the instruction that all
personnel matters should be referred to the minister was meant to render the
new council ineffective.
“The minister never used to invoke all these
clauses in the Urban Councils Act and the council would make all decisions
“The new directive makes the minister a Human
Resources director and a City Treasurer at the same time,” the official
Last week, MDC and Zanu PF clashed at Town House and had to be
dispersed by the riot police. Zanu PF supporters had besieged Town House to
protest the new council’s decision to terminate the contracts of 1 235 people
recruited by the government-appointed Commission just before they vacated
Earlier, two war veterans had stormed the mayoral parlour and
asked Mudzuri to rescind his decision, which they said was targeted at war
veterans within the council.
Mudzuri denied this charge.
same afternoon, Chombo issued his first directive asking the MDC-dominated
council to rescind their decision, which would have seen many Zanu PF
supporters losing their jobs.
Chombo acts to save Zanu PF supporters’ jobs
7:22:35 AM (GMT +2)
By Luke Tamborinyoka Municipal
THE decision by Ignatius Chombo, the Minister of Local
Government, Public Works and National Housing, to rescind a council
resolution freezing all appointments and promotions made in the last six
months was meant to save the jobs of 1 235 mostly Zanu PF
The council’s abortive move has resulted in the first
showdown between Chombo and the MDC-dominated Harare City Council
It has since emerged that the controversial appointments, made
between September last year and 10 March this year, were done at a time
the cash-strapped council was supposed to reduce the workforce in line with
a government directive.
Chombo did not answer his cellphone yesterday,
but information obtained by The Daily News shows that over the last six
months, the Commission replaced by the council engaged 1 235 people, mainly
Zanu PF supporters.
The post of public relations manager, to which a
known Zanu PF activist, Leslie Gwindi, was appointed, had been abolished by
the same Commission.
Gwindi was at one time tipped for the governorship
of Mashonaland Central Province.
Another beneficiary of the rushed
appointments is Joseph Chinotimba, a former patrolman who is among three
people who were clandestinely promoted to the rank of chief
Contacted for comment on Tuesday, the Harare executive mayor,
Elias Mudzuri, said council would soon meet to take a decision following
Chombo’s quashing of the council resolution.
“It is unfortunate the
minister took the decision. Our decision was not meant to victimise anybody,
but to carry out an audit which would explain the sudden influx of employees
at a time when the Commission was supposed to slash its salary bill,” he
said. “We are a labour-based party and the whole thing is not targeted at
individuals because we do not know those individuals in
Mudzuri said the council resolution was only meant to slash the
salary bill in line with the government’s directive and carry out an
evaluation of the posts.
“We want everyone to understand that we have
a mandate to run Harare from the people of this city and whatever we are
doing is meant to serve their interests.”
He said he was aware of
meetings among some municipal employees plotting to have him and his council
out within six months.
“I came here to do a job, but others came here to
set booby-traps and make sure the will of the residents does not prevail,”
“We are all answerable to the ratepayers as they are our
employer.” Sources within the council said 610 people were recruited
internally while another 625 were employed from outside council, mainly as
The highest number of recruits was in the Department of
Works where a total of 696 people were recruited in the run-up to the
CONFUSION surrounded the
talks between Zanu PF and the opposition MDC yesterday with the meeting being
delayed due to the late arrival of the Nigerian mission led by prominent West
African diplomat, Adebayo Adedeji.
However, as these developments aimed
at finding a solution to Zimbabwe’s deepening political impasse were taking
place, President Mugabe took off yesterday for a meeting in Lusaka aimed at
finding a solution to the long-running political crisis in the Democratic
Republic of the Congo.
The Nigerian delegation was initially scheduled
to arrive in the afternoon in time to allow the talks to start around 4pm but
by 6pm Adedeji was still to arrive in Zimbabwe.
The private talks are
being held at the behest of the South African and Nigerian governments to
discuss the way out of the chaos created by President Mugabe’s disputed
victory in the presidential election.
The talks were supposed to start in
Harare any time last night with the arrival of Adedeji.
There was also
a possibility of the talks being postponed to today. Reuters reported last
night that the MDC’s economic affairs secretary, Eddie Cross, had told them
the talks had gotten off to a slow start.
“The talks have started . . . I
don’t think you will hear anything for some days. They are discussing what to
talk about,” said Cross.
“The gulf between the two parties is so wide
that it will take some days to agree on what they are going to talk about.
Unless Mbeki and Obasanjo bring pressure to bear, there will not be much
The talks had been initiated by South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki and
his colleague, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, who were part of the troika
which recommended Zimbabwe’s suspension from the Commonwealth last month
after Mugabe’s disputed victory.
The period running up to the crucial
poll was marred by State-sponsored violence that saw more than 100 people
being killed in cold blood.
MDC spokesman, Learnmore Jongwe, said the
talks were definitely set for yesterday
MDC supporters living in fear following abduction
4/4/02 5:23:07 AM (GMT +2)
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) supporters in Sunningdale,
Harare, are living in fear following several abduction threats.
are being accused by Zanu PF of campaigning for the MDC during the recent
Kumbirai Muchechetere, the MDC’s information and
publicity secretary for Ward 10 on Tuesday said that party members were
living in fear, following death threats by Zanu PF supporters led by war
veterans identified as Marwa and Mutetwa.
Muchechetere said they had
information that the Zanu PF leadership wanted their supporters to bring
Seven Nehumambi, Right Time Masango, Bark Chikukwa, James Nyamunda, the Ward
10 organising secretary, Mucheza, and Master Nebvuma to them before the
presidential election was held.
He said the six had been approached
almost on a daily basis by the war veterans and ordered to join Zanu PF at
Zanu PF supporters launched a violent campaign to force MDC
supporters to renounce their party in favour of the ruling party ahead of the
9 -11 March presidential election.
They proceeded to set up bases
countrywide from where they carried out their violent campaign
“One of the war veterans who identified himself as Timothy
from Sunningdale, told us they will deal with us,” said
“He accused us of refusing to join Zanu PF.
resist any attempts by the Zanu PF supporters to capture or abduct any of our
“They have made it clear they want to capture six of our
members. We are ready for that,” said Muchechetere.
the war veterans’ chairman for Harare province was scheduled to meet with
party supporters at Maruza Shopping Centre on Tuesday.
was, among other issues, aimed at arranging President Mugabe’s election
victory celebrations and how to deal with the MDC supporters for their role
during the recent elections.
Chiredzi Zanu PF official, war veterans clash over
4/4/02 5:22:34 AM (GMT +2)
From our Correspondent in
Isaac Rukatya, a Chiredzi businessman and Zanu PF provincial
executive member, has clashed with war veterans in the district over
He allegedly purchased nine plots at Chipiwa resettlement area
in Mkwasine, against the policy of the ruling party.
Rukatya has since
instituted legal proceedings to have the sitting tenants removed from the
War veterans led by Simeon Magumire argued that Rukatya
acquired some of the plots through fraudulent means and that it was against
Zanu PF policy for one to have so many plots.
Rukatya, the Zanu PF’s
Masvingo provincial secretary for transport and welfare has denied any
wrong-doing arguing that he only managed to raise the required
The plots were allocated to the people in 1989 by the Mkwasine
Estate for blacks to enter into the lucrative sugarcane production
The estate surrendered the plots to government which later
allocated them to current plot holders.
Some plot owners who felt they
were unjustifiably being dispossessed of their plots by Rukatya have refused
to leave them arguing that the politician used his political influence to
snatch the plots from them.
Rukatya allegedly bought the plots without
the consent of all the tenants.
Some of the plot holders were shocked to
receive eviction notices from the businessman.
Among those who are
resisting eviction are Innocent Mavune, Pai Bhila and Antony
Relations between Rukatya and the war veterans reached
boiling point when a group of war veterans and plot owners led by Magumire
barred him from conducting any activity on some of the plots.
and the war veterans have threatened to forcibly repossess the plots from the
In his affidavit filed at the Chiredzi Magistrates’ Courts,
in which he was applying for a peace order against Magumire, Rukatya said:
“The war veterans led by Magumire came to my plot and stopped my workers
from working on the plot.
“They threatened them with death and
assaults if they ignored the advice. The war veterans argued that I
improperly acquired several plots which is against the spirit of Zanu
“They further stated that they had an audience with Vice-President
Joseph Msika to the effect that the plots should be returned to their
“The war veterans are taking advantage of the current
wave of lawlessness in the country to the detriment of law-abiding
Contacted for comment Rukatya’s lawyer Douglas Mwonzora said
there was nothing sinister about his client purchasing the nine
Police release MDC councillor without charge five days
4/4/02 5:22:01 AM (GMT +2)
Karimakwenda, the MDC councillor for ward 39 in Dzivarasekwa and five party
activists were yesterday released without any charges after spending five
days in police custody for allegedly leading party youths to stone a bus
carrying Zanu PF supporters.
Karimakwenda, 60, and five other MDC youths
were arrested last week and spent the Easter holiday in custody at Harare
Central Police Station.
Edwin Mushoriwa, the MDC Member of Parliament for
Dzivarasekwa yesterday said the six activists were arrested for allegedly
contravening the notorious Public Order and Security Act and were released
“The police told our members that they are investigating
the matter. There were no charges preferred against them,” Mushoriwa
Mushoriwa said they were arrested by the police at Mawadze shopping
centre last Thursday.
“I deny that Karimakwenda and our youths
committed any crime. He is a responsible parent who does not subscribe to
unlawful activities,” Mushoriwa said.
He said that there were
disturbances among Zanu PF supporters who were not happy about their party’s
failure to pay them for their role in campaigning for President
“Some Zanu PF supporters who were operating some bases in the
area had their own differences after they were not paid their
They started fighting each other but surprisingly, the police
arrested our supporters.”
A Commonwealth report has blasted the police
for failing to uphold the rule of law
Zanu PF supporters and war veterans
in Bindura on Monday last week embarked on a purge of suspected opposition
MDC supporters in the civil service in the aftermath of the presidential
People in the town said the group, who are camped at the
Tendayi Community Centre in Chipadze suburb, had lists of MDC supporters or
suspected supporters and used these to “dismiss” the civil servants from
The group was reportedly stopped by the police when they were
on their way to the Bindura Magistrates’ Court.
A man who refused to
be named for fear of victimisation said: “The police told them what they were
doing was illegal, but beyond talking to them they did nothing. The group
threatened to continue with the evictions.”
However, the Zanu PF
heavyweights in the province intervened last Monday and stopped the
Last Tuesday, Chen Chimutengwende, the Zanu PF Mashonaland
Central provincial chairman, said: “It was just a misunderstanding between
the two groups of people. There are some people who have disagreements
elsewhere and decide to settle them at a different place. This is what
happened. We settled the matter on the same day.”
confirmed that Elliot Manyika, the Member of Parliament for Bindura and
Minister of Youth Development, Gender and Employment Creation, Joyce Mujuru,
the MP for Mt Darwin and Minister of Rural Resources and Water Development,
and Edward Chindori-Chininga, the MP for Guruve South and Minister of Mines
and Energy, were at the meeting.
The so-called dismissals are viewed by
some people in the town as an interpretation of a statement by President
Mugabe during his inauguration speech last week, understood to mean that MDC
supporters or those perceived to be supporters of the opposition party would
be summarily dismissed from the civil service.
A DEFIANT National Constitutional Assembly
(NCA) yesterday said its planned peaceful demonstrations would go ahead this
weekend despite the police threat to stop them.
Dr Lovemore Madhuku,
the NCA chairman, said the police would not succeed in preventing his civic
organisation from demonstrating.
“Only an act of God will stop us from
demonstrating. We are aware that the police will try to stop us, but we do
not need the police to give us permission.”
The police yesterday said
they would not permit the NCA to go ahead with its marches on Saturday in
Harare, Bulawayo, Gweru, Masvingo and Mutare.
The police spokesman, Wayne
Bvudzijena, in justifying prohibition of the demonstrations was quoted on
radio as saying they would lead to violence because of what he said is the
association of the NCA with the opposition MDC.
Bvudzijena’s allegations of the linkage as “nonsensical”.
He said the
fact that some top officials of the MDC were once part of the NCA did not
mean the two were aligned.
The NCA is protesting against President
Mugabe’s refusal to accept a national constitution which it has drafted.
HARARE, April 4 — Nigerian and South African envoys
started separate talks with President Robert Mugabe's ruling party and the
main opposition to map out the agenda for talks between the two rivals, state
radio reported on Thursday. The consultations follow Mugabe's
controversial victory in March 9-11 presidential elections, which Western
countries and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) have
rejected as fraudulent. MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai, free on bail on
charges of plotting to kill Mugabe, has described the election as ''daylight
robbery'' and said he will discuss nothing but fresh elections with
Mugabe. Mugabe has ruled out a re-run of the polls.
''Consultations were held today separately between the ruling ZANU-PF and the
MDC in Harare with facilitators from Nigeria and South Africa,'' the Zimbabwe
Broadcasting Corporation said. It said the consultations were meant to
decide on the venue, date and agenda for a formal meeting between the two
parties. Formal talks were expected to start once the leader of the
ruling party's team, Justice Minister Patrick Chinamasa, returned to Zimbabwe
from an overseas trip. Chinamasa said on state television he
expected talks between the two parties to start early next week after his
return at the weekend. South African mediator Kgalema Motlanthe
declined to give details of Thursday's meetings. ''We have been
sworn to silence. We are not speaking to the media until both parties have
come up with some sort of agreement,'' he told Reuters. Nigeria's
High Commission in Harare also declined to comment. In remarks
broadcast on television, MDC Secretary-General Welshman Ncube, who is leading
the opposition team, said his party was fulfilling an undertaking made to the
Presidents of South African and Nigeria last month to pursue
dialogue. ''We are giving them a chance to have that dialogue. Our
view is that you will not be able to have successful talks until you have the
climate for successful talks,'' Ncube said. He was not immediately available
for further comment. Nigeria and South Africa have led efforts to
launch dialogue between the former British colony's bitterly divided parties
and are pushing for a government of national unity. Zimbabwe was
suspended from the Commonwealth for a year on March 19 after the 54-nation
group's election observers accused Mugabe of electoral fraud.
Zimbabwe's government dismisses the charges, saying they are being pushed by
Western powers keen to see Mugabe ousted over his seizure of white-owned
farms for landless blacks.
The United States government says it is poised to deliver
the first consignment of a 34 430 tonne contribution of maize meal to help
feed thousands of Zimbabweans facing severe food shortages. "The United
States is providing 8 470 metric tons of fortified maize meal and the
associated transport and handling costs," the US embassy in Harare says in a
statement. "The food is now on its way to Zimbabwe from Tanzania." The
embassy says the first consignment of the maize, part of the US contribution
to the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) emergency project for
Zimbabwe will be delivered in Bindura, 88km northeast of Harare tomorrow.
"Current US government plans also provide for an additional $7 million worth
of assistance for the UN food programme over the coming months. This
assistance will provide for an additional 11 650 tonnes of food, including
transport and handling costs," the statement adds. The US is also finalising
an agreement with aid agency World Vision International to provide 14
310 tonnes of maize meal and other food commodities for some 75 000 people
in Zimbabwe's Matabeleland and Midlands provinces in the coming year.
"The total US contribution is expected to be 34 430 tonnes. This amount will
meet the needs of approximately 170 000 vulnerable people in rural
Zimbabwe during the next 12 months," the embassy says.
southern African food security unit said regional countries including
Zimbabwe face widespread hunger as food imports were arriving too slowly in
areas hit by drought. The Southern African Development Community's (SADC)
Early Warning Unit said in its latest quarterly update that only 36% of
planned regional imports had been received, exacerbating already dwindling
food supplies in land-locked Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Slow deliveries
were mostly due to poor infrastructure, derailments of freight trains and
congestion of routes arising from competing demands on freight services from
here (South Africa). Zimbabwe is normally self sufficient in food but drought
and the invasions of white-owned farms since February 2000 by militants loyal
to veteran President Robert Mugabe have slashed maize output. With output
from the 2001/02 crop season seen at 1 million tonnes of maize at best,
against domestic demand of 1,8 million tonnes, industry officials says
imports of up to 600 000 tonnes of the staple grain are needed. Last week the
WFP said it urgently needed $69 million for 145 866 tonnes of food to ward
off an imminent break in food supplies for people in Lesotho, Malawi,
Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.