all to publicise oppression By Jack Malvern, Arts
A ZIMBABWEAN performer at the Edinburgh
Fringe risked his life yesterday by speaking out against President Mugabe's
oppression of his countrymen. Gilbert Douglas was forced by
police to destroy his own home in Zimbabwe as part of a national "clean-up"
campaign that has displaced thousands of Zimbabweans who lived in densely
Despite losing his home and
needing to find a place for his wife and children to live, he managed to
attend rehearsals for Tambuka so that he could perform at the
He is one of six performers who have had their homes
torn down at the instigation of the Government. The other performers have
declined to speak to the press because they fear reprisals from the Zimbabwe
Criminal Investigation Office.
Mr Douglas, a dancer, said
that he had nothing left to lose. "I already lost my home. What can be worse
than that? I am past fear of talking to the press. The world has to hear of
what happened to us in Zimbabwe."
He said that the worst part
was being made to destroy his home himself. "Police told people to destroy
their homes or they would be beaten up. If we were to fight back then there
would have been an uprising. We don't want an uprising. We want to find a
solution through other means. People were not in the mood for fighting back.
They are too scared." Mr Douglas and his family had to share a three-room
house with 16 other people.
He believes that the
international community must step in to force the governing Zanu (PF) party
to work with the Opposition. The situation has become worse since the
Government forced non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which supported the
people, to move their operations to South Africa. "Because of new laws put
in place by the Government it has become very difficult for NGOs to help a
Zimbabwean," he said.
British authorities have been more
concerned that the performers do not seek asylum. Visa applications were
rejected at the last minute and were rescued only when Rory Kilalea, the
show's producer, and William Burdett-Coutts, the director of the Assembly
Rooms venue, made guarantees that the performers would return
Mr Kilalea, a former newsreader and film location fixer
in Zimbabwe, said that none of the cast from Tambuka or its sister show
Sing! Zimbabwe wished to remain in Britain. They wanted to return to their
families, he said.
But he said that the cast faced a very
real danger on their return.
"There are definite
potential ramifications if anyone is seen to be talking to the press," he
said. "The Criminal Investigation Office has agents everywhere. Fear stalks
the land. People can simply disappear."
opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) yesterday undermined the
basis of President Robert Mugabe's apparent rejection of a South African
bale-out for his country, saying it would not insist on bilateral talks with
the ruling Zanu (PF) as a condition for the assistance.
secretary-general Welshman Ncube said his party had "never demanded
bilateral talks with Zanu (PF)" or "asked to be in a government of national
unity with Mugabe's regime".
The MDC's move comes a week before a
possible South African cabinet announcement of an agreement with Zimbabwe on
the financial bale-out.
Ncube's statement indicates that the MDC position
supports the conditions laid down by SA in return for the bale-out,
estimated to be worth $500m. Cabinet agreed "in principle" last week to aid
the Zimbabweans, but said this should be tied to long-term economic and
constitutional reforms involving civil society, business, labour and
Responding to Mugabe's statement on Monday that
Zimbabwe would not accept South African aid if it depended on dialogue with
the MDC, Ncube said: "We have never demanded bilateral talks with Zanu
"We have also never asked to be in a government of national unity
with Mugabe's regime. But we can't have national consensus without national
discourse. It's nonsensical to think Zanu (PF) can talk to
Mugabe told a rally in Harare at the weekend that Zanu (PF)
would not sit down for "so-called talks with the MDC", and that it would not
accept aid if it had strings attached. Last week, Zanu (PF) spokesman Nathan
Shamuyarira said his party would not talk to the MDC.
Borain said last week that Mugabe was posturing.
But other analysts said
Mugabe's and Shamuyarira's statements amounted to a rejection of President
Thabo Mbeki's terms for the loan.
Mugabe's former spokesman, Jonathan
Moyo, said yesterday that Mugabe had put Mbeki in a tight
Analyst Lovemore Madhuku said Mbeki's diplomacy was in trouble.
"There is misplaced optimism SA can actually put conditions to a loan and
Mugabe will accept that. He won't. Mugabe has never and still does not want
national dialogue," Madhuku said.
Mugabe, denied significant
support by the Chinese, has had to turn to SA, analysts say. A loan deal,
struck last week between Finance Minister Trevor Manuel and his Zimbabwean
counterpart, Herbert Murerwa, awaits Mugabe's approval.
Eric Bloch said SA had merely stated the obvious to Mugabe. "They have not
really imposed conditions, but expect Zimbabwe to take measures to ensure
economic and political stability," he said.
Adam Habib, of the Human
Sciences Research Council, said the challenge for Mbeki was to devise
penalties on Mugabe if he reneged on the loan conditions. Habib said Mbeki,
who has come under pressure from his allies and the Democratic Alliance (DA)
to take the country into his confidence on the deal, could not conduct talks
He said the DA could use Parliament to make Mbeki account for
Robert Mugabe told Heroes' Day crowds Monday that he would rather talk to
British Prime Minister Tony Blair than his main opposition rival Morgan
Tsvangirai, whom he describes as Blair's puppet. Tsholotsho MP and former
Information Minister Professor Jonathan Moyo expresses shock at Mugabe's
Professor Jonathan Moyo Last updated: 08/10/2005 11:26:49 PRESIDENT Robert
Mugabe's widely reported remarks categorically refusing to dialogue with
Zimbabweans and preferring instead to talk to British Prime Minister Tony
Blair is the clearest indication that he has lost grip of the deteriorating
political and economic crisis in the country and that he now lacks the
necessary leadership, vision, understanding and capacity to resolve the
crisis. He clearly now needs to find a constitutional way out of office as a
matter of urgency. It is outrageous and objectionable in the extreme for
President Mugabe to proclaim, in a manner reminiscent of sell out chiefs in
the colonial era who thought only they and not their subjects had the sole
right to talk to imperialists, that he would rather dialogue with the Prime
Minister of Zimbabwe's former colonial master than talk to Zimbabweans. The
loud and clear message that comes from his reactionary stance is that he
does not trust Zimbabweans but that he trusts the very same Tony Blair who
was the object of Zanu PF's election campaign, dubbed anti-Blair" only four
months ago in March.
If Mugabe does not trust Zimbabweans to the
point of not wanting to talk to them, then he clearly has no business being
their President. The matter is that simple.
The media quoted Mugabe
saying yesterday that Zimbabwe's national heroes "sacrificed their lives to
free our country and its people from British imperialism" and that "he who
courts that imperialism and goes to bed with it is worse than a traitor to
those people who sacrificed their lives to free this country".
and good but if this is true, why then does President Mugabe want to talk to
Tony Blair in Britain and not to his suffering compatriots in Zimbabwe? Is
it Mugabe's position that he is the only Zimbabwean who has an
unchallengeable right "to court British imperialism and to go to bed with
it" by talking to Tony Blair when history and pathetic circumstances on the
ground beckon that he must swallow his wounded pride and talk to fellow
Zimbabweans for the common good of the country?
With the country's
economy having hit rock bottom with chronic shortages of food, fuel and
electricity, medical drugs, foreign currency while 70% of Zimbabweans live
under the poverty datum line and some 75% are unemployed while at least 18%
of the population has had their homes or livelihood or both destroyed by
Mugabe's government under a sinister so-called cleanup campaign that has
engulfed the whole country, there is no amount of reactionary bravado or
colonial wish to talk to Blair that will save Mugabe from the inevitable
fact that he and his government have failed the nation beyond
The only option left for Mugabe and his Zanu PF government is
to take an early constitutional exit by resigning now and giving Zimbabweans
a peaceful, democratic and constitutional opportunity to talk to each other
and resolve the country's worst crisis in living memory. Professor
Jonathan Moyo, is MP for Tsholotsho Constituency
Indonesian delegation to explore investment
Business Reporter AN Indonesian delegation will next
week tour the country to explore business and investments opportunities as
the "Look East" policy gathers momentum.
The delegation will be hosted by
the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce.
ZNCC chief executive Mr
Innocent Makwiramiti told Herald Business in an interview that the business
delegation seeks to establish business opportunities in
"This is part of investment promotion on behalf of us," he
said. Zimbabwe and Indonesia have always enjoyed good bilateral relationship
in various areas of economic development and we hope their mission Zimbabwe
will bear fruit."
Since the Government deliberately embarked on the
Look East policy following unprecedented rejection from the Western and
European countries over the Harare's land reform programme, the country has
registered a surge in investment, notably form China and India. Investments
have been recorded in various sectors of the economy which include mining,
manufacturing, agriculture and tourism.
Zimbabwe has also
successfully tapped into new Asian markets following its participation at
the Achi Expo in Japan which ends next month.
"The business tour will
also provide opportunities for local business to enter into business
partnership that will eventually promote growth," said Mr Makwiramiti.
Zimbabwe: Helping the people hit hardest by evictions By James
HARARE, Zimbabwe, 8 August 2005 - Barbara Fero has always been a
survivor. Having overcome poverty to raise her nine-year-old disabled
daughter after the death of her husband - all while living with HIV/AIDS -
Barbara felt she could surmount any challenge.
But in June her home
in the working-class suburb of Mbare was demolished as part of what the
Zimbabwe Government calls a 'clean up' campaign.
"Since the evictions I
have been constantly sick," she says. "I do not have a place to take a rest,
I can not afford adequate meals, I am on ARV [anti-retroviral] treatment and
I can not afford to get my next monthly supply. My daughter, Elaine, needs
to be accompanied to her school as the transport is no longer reliable and I
do not have money."
Enter the United Nations: In partnership with a local
NGO, UNICEF is assisting Barbara and her daughter with blankets, cooking
pots and soap. More importantly, Barbara is one of more than 100 women who
are members of the Zimbabwe Parents of Children with Disabilities
More than half a million made homeless
Association is receiving key emergency humanitarian assistance. UNICEF will
fund the location of rental accommodation for affected families with
disabled children, pay their rent, and provide support for transportation
and income generation projects.
"It's more than what I could hope
for," says Barbara, "it's exactly what we need."
Barbara is one of
more than half a million people made homeless by the Zimbabwe Government's
Operation Murambatsvina. According to the Government, the Operation is aimed
at "cleaning up cities and fighting the black market across
The situation has been exacerbated by the fact that Zimbabwe
is grappling with the combined effects of its worst economic crisis since
independence in 1980, a drought, an HIV/AIDS pandemic and the world's
fastest rise in child mortality.
Demand for help outstrips
UNICEF, the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), the
International Office of Migration (IOM), the Zimbabwe Red Cross Society and
local non-governmental organizations are providing hundreds of thousands of
people with protection from the cold (blankets and plastic sheeting),
sanitation facilities, food, and shelter. These organizations are also
providing chronically ill people with supplies for home-based
But as UNICEF's Representative in Zimbabwe, Dr. Festo Kavishe,
points out, demand continues to outstrip supply. "We have been working
around the clock for the better part of three months and are improving the
situation for tens of thousands, but such is the gravity of the situation
that we are asking the international community to support the people of
Despite the current shortfall in international aid,
humanitarian agencies are expanding their operations all across the country
to meet the challenges. UNICEF is now helping organize additional mobile
medical clinics and planning the distribution of more blankets and shelter
materials for children and their families. An IOM/UN-Habitat pilot project
is underway to provide accommodation for more people.
prepares to take her belongings to a new home, she says, "I still have much
to fight for. My daughter is my world and I will keep going for her. This
support gives me strength."
UN Emergency Relief Office Prepares Zimbabwe Package By Patience
Rusere Washington 09 August 2005
emergency relief officials are in talks with the government of Zimbabwe to
organize humanitarian aid for the victims of Harare's May-July slum
clearance drive, known locally as Operation Murambatsvina, or "Drive Out
Rubbish." A U.N. report on the eviction, demolition and resettlement
campaign concluded that the "disastrous" policy left some 700,000
Zimbabweans without home or livelihood - or both.
The U.N. Office of
Emergency Relief will appeal to international donors within days, the the
office's New York spokeswoman Stephanie Bunkers said in an interview with
reporter Patience Rusere of VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe.
trucks carrying food aid to Zimbabwe may possibly cross Beit Bridge today,
says Molefe Tsele, the general-secretary of the South African Council of
Tsele says the President Thabo Mbeki said last night
that they will receive "whatever assistance is needed".
it as an urgent matter ... we could not even wait a day. Our wish is for
stability; to seek political resolutions to their (Zimbabwe's) problems,"
Aid of 37 tons of food and 4 500 blankets, donated as part of
the SACC's Operation Hope campaign, have been blocked for a week due to red
tape. The Zimbabwean government asked for certificates that the donated
maize is not genetically modified.
Loan details The presidency has
meanwhile said that it would make the details of a proposed loan to Zimbabwe
public later this month.
Murphy Morobe, the head of communications at the
presidency, has downplayed reports of a snub by Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwean
president, by refusing some conditions of the loan. "Zimbabweans need to be
the masters of their own fate. South Africa's role is that of
11 August, every year is the time we reflect
our revolutionary beliefs for which our forebears fought for and pay
allegiance to the fallen heroes of all times. Every nation draws its pride
and strength from its historical past of vanguard sons and daughters whose
contribution to economic, social and political cohesion merits thus.
Zimbabwe although in limbo is no exception. We have our heroes and villains.
While we owe the reversal of imperialism to our heroes, political
independence remains elusive as villains continue to clog the wheels of
fortunes with disastrous political quagmire. Today, 25 years have passed, we
remain 1 step forward and 10 step backwards.
Who is then a
hero and who is a villain? We salute the sons and daughters whose bodies lay
scattered world wide in pursuit of freedom for Zimbabwe. The beacon of our
grief and pride is the tomb of the unknown soldier. Unknown, because we
remain ignorant of their resting places and anguish they went through as
they met their gruesome death. Josia Magamba Tongogara, Ziyapapa Moyo, Chief
Rekai Tangwena, George Silundika, Leopold Takawira, Herbet Chitepo, Joshua
Nkomo, Ndabaningi Sithole, Jairos Jiri and Sally Mugabe just to mention a
few. Zimbabwe is littered with heroes too many to mention whose heroism has
been erased because of politics of patronage. Who should declare one a hero
or a villain has always been a cause for concern given the irony that
villains have given themselves power of attorney over the issue, neither you
nor me will ever be heroes no matter what impact we will bring to Zimbabwe.
The only person living who is assured of a place at National Hero's Acre is
Robert Mugabe, who has already booked a grave in his solemn name. How does
Mugabe know that he will die a hero? Where do we draw a line between a true
hero and one fallen from grace? Lets look at the definition of a hero, the
Collins English dictionary define a hero as a man (sic) distinguished by
exceptional courage, nobility and fortitude. By all purpose it includes
consistent high morals coupled with a positive contribution to national
building and values, surely the same can not be said of my grandfather
Every Zimbabwean will find it difficulty
to deny that Mugabe is liberator cum dictator. Liberator because he is and
dictator because will continue to be. Mugabe used to be my political icon,
actually if there is person who gave me a positive influence into joining
the turbulent world of politics then its Mugabe himself. I wanted to
understand him and I have to admit he has been too elusive for my academic
taste. We Zimbabwean missed a golden chance in 1980, we should have
rehabilitated Mugabe and a transition from bush to office must not have been
left to the grace of God alone. Mugabe knows what is right for Zimbabweans
and so is ZANU (PF) but the problem that we have is that they seem to have
found a new school of politics, arrogance and brutal, despotic and myopic.
Otherwise there is no justifiable reason why the butterfly Mugabe of 1980
should be the poisonous larvae of today. As far as I am concerned, there are
no heroes left in the ZANU (PF) of today. Mugabe's combative threats to what
he called hypocrisy within his party criticising the operation clean up,
highlights a new understanding of what is going on in the closed doors of
ZANU (PF). Mugabe behaves like a School Headmaster who bullies his pupils
wily nily. He accepts no advice and takes no nonsense from his cabinet or
perceived advisers. He is in full control of his demise.
we morn our heroes let us worn our tormentors that we fully take them
responsible for our anguish knowing very well that history is on our