|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Kunonga had attended a
service at the church to conduct a confirmation
Angry parishioners confronted him after the service, accusing him of
dragging his feet on an investigation into the circumstances in which more
than $300 000 was allegedly withdrawn from the church’s account.
money was allegedly withdrawn by a pastor and a church warden
(names supplied), who failed to account for the funds.
The drama, part
of which was witnessed by this reporter, began when
the church council invited Kunonga into the vestry after the service.
wanted to quiz the bishop on the circumstances under which
part of the money raised for the extension of the church building early this
year went missing.
Witnesses told the Daily News that Kunonga responded
by advising the
council officials to "follow the right channels" on the matter.
But emotional church members argued that they had
grievances through the relevant channels, but had not received a response
from him. They vowed not to let him leave the vestry until he had addressed
the issue of the missing funds.
other channels? We have followed all the channels!" shouted a
member of the Mothers’ Union, who refused to disclose her name.
"You are our
Father, we have done everything in terms of the rules of
the church, but there has been no answer. Where else do you want us to go?"
Kunonga insisted that the angry congregation should
through the church’s archdeacon and refused to accept a petition signed by
A group of women in the church
office broke into song and dance,
insisting: "Tinoda kutaura nemi, Baba. (We want to have an audience with
flared, Kunonga’s wife, Agnes, who had stood nearby
throughout the drama, asked members of the Mothers’ Union, who had formed a
human barricade at the door, to make way for her.
The women obliged. Kunonga then
slipped out of the church with his
wife and the couple drove off in their Mazda 626 car.
As Kunonga drove out off the church yard, angry
after him, accusing him of promoting corruption.
Several church members nearly resorted to
fisticuffs after Kunonga’s
departure, as they accused two of their colleagues of trying to protect the
bishop and the church officials who are accused of embezzlement.
One group held an impromptu court, surrounding a
man they said had
tried to rescue Kunonga from the angry parishioners, while another church
member challenged colleagues to a fight outside the church.
"What we have done is the right thing," Emmanuel
Mutinhiri, a former
church secretary, said afterwards. "We have the right to talk to the bishop
when we have problems and he should not ignore us. Even at home, when a
father tries to run away from problems, his own children can block his way."
A visibly angry Francis Makombe, the chairman
of the parish’s ward 12,
added: "By not acting on this clear case of abuse of church funds, the
bishop is protecting thieves and we will not accept that."
It was not possible to secure comment from Kunonga on
before going to press last night. His telephone was being answered by an
The Anglican bishop has clashed with parishioners several times in the
past few years, with many of them criticising what they say is his close
relationship with the ruling ZANU PF party. Kunonga is the only Zimbabwean
clergyman targeted by smart sanctions slapped by the United States of
American against ruling party officials and their cronies in the aftermath
of last year’s irregularity and violence-marred presidential election. By
Fanuel Jongwe Staff Reporter
Midlands Observer journalist attacked
GWERU – Flata Kavinga, a journalist with a privately-owned local
newspaper, was briefly admitted to Kwekwe General Hospital last week after
he was attacked by suspected ruling ZANU PF youths who accused his
publication of being anti-government.
Kavinga, who works for a Kwekwe-based
weekly, The Midlands Observer,
said he sustained a deep cut on the head and multiple body injuries.
He said the incident occurred last
Friday at Mbizo Inn, a nightclub in
"A group of six
ZANU PF youths confronted me when I was coming out of
the nightclub and started accusing me and my newspaper of supporting the
Movement for Democratic Change," said Kavinga, who is now recuperating at
home after spending two days in hospital.
"Before I could say anything,
they dragged me into a dark spot behind
the nightclub, where they further accused me of being anti-ZANU PF because
of some of the stories carried by the newspaper and the message on the MISA
(Media Institute of Southern Africa) T-shirt I was wearing," he added.
He said the youths
attacked him with logs and iron bars and left him
Although Kwekwe police confirmed the incident and said the matter was
still under investigation, it was not possible to secure comment from ZANU
PF officials in Kwekwe.
The Midlands chapter of the Zimbabwe Union
of Journalists (ZUJ) and
MISA yesterday condemned attacks on journalists.
"We condemn the attack on journalists in the
strongest of terms and
urge the police to leave no stone unturned as they hunt down the culprits,"
said ZUJ provincial secretary Richard Musazulwa.
"Let it be known that journalists do not belong to
any political party
and it is grossly unfair to label them party activists. After this incident,
all journalists in the province no longer feel secure to discharge their
duties, especially with the urban council elections just around the corner,"
Local government elections are
scheduled for the end of this month and
preparations for the polls have already been marred by violence, mostly
directed at opposition and independent candidates.
Rufaro workers on strike
WORKERS of the Harare
City Council-owned liquor company, Rufaro
Marketing, have embarked on industrial action to press for better pay and
working conditions, it was learnt yesterday.
The workers went on strike on Friday and are
demanding a minimum
monthly salary of $150 000, up from the current $54 000.
The strike has resulted in the closure of all Rufaro
in the city.
"On Thursday, the (company’s)
management refused to meet with the
workers’ committee members who had tried to seek an audience with them.
"As a result, we resolved to go
on strike on Friday until they give in
to our demands," one of the striking workers said yesterday.
The workers are also alleging that they are working under unhealthy
and unsafe conditions. "Most of the Rufaro Marketing outlets are not being
properly maintained. At times they have no water or electricity, a situation
which puts the workers and patrons at high risk," the worker said. By
yesterday afternoon, none of the workers had returned to work. Rufaro
Marketing could lose millions of dollars worth of revenue from its 104
outlets during the Heroes’ and Defence Forces’ Day holidays today and
tomorrow. The company would normally have witnessed a boost in sales during
the holidays, with Harare residents taking advantage of their time off work
to entertain themselves at the firm’s outlets. It was not possible to secure
comment yesterday from representatives of Rufaro Marketing management. Own
National Heroes, please accept our sincere apologies
ACROSS our beautiful land, in every town, city and village, lie the
remains of the men and women who made Zimbabwe into the great country that
it is. On 11 and 12 August every year, Zimbabwe stops to commemorate some of
No man or woman knows what death
holds, no matter how powerful they
are or where on this planet they live. This is the great unsolved mystery of
mankind, the question to which an answer will never be found.
We do not know what happens to us
when we die. We do not know if the
dead can see and hear, laugh and cry about those who are left behind or
about things that happen in the places where they spent their lives.
We do not know if the spirits of people
who have died need to be
apologised to for our wrongdoings after their passing.
Addressing the ZANU PF politburo recently, President
said that top government officials had taken too many farms.
The President said that these people should choose only
one farm each
and give the rest back.
Three years into the
so-called Agrarian Revolution, food production in
Zimbabwe has dropped to its lowest ever levels in our post- and
pre-independence history. According to Press reports, only 6 percent of our
normal wheat crop and 50 percent of the usual barley crop has been planted
tobacco production has dropped by half and more than 50
percent of the people of Zimbabwe survive on food which is labelled: A gift
from the USA. All attempts to again become an independent nation in terms of
food supply are failing dismally. The government continues to seize
productive farms and does not hear our calls for food. The first consignment
of 224 tractors meant to enhance agricultural production by the so-called
new farmers recently arrived in the country. Newspaper reports tell us that
there has been wide-scale looting of these tractors by government officials.
Growers’ Trust official is reported to have grabbed 35 of
these cheap tractors for himself. For this tragic state of affairs and for
the shame of us not being able to feed the children of our ancestors, I say
to national hero Joshua Nkomo: Zimbabwe apologises.
are dying every week in Zimbabwe from AIDS. Press
reports tell us that the morgue at one Harare hospital, which should hold
164 bodies, is now holding close on 600 corpses. Bodies, covered in cotton
sheets or pieces of canvas, are lying on the floor and in the corridors.
The relations of
the dead cannot collect their deceased loved ones
because there is no petrol or because they simply cannot afford the cost of
the transport or the coffin or the funeral. People who wish the remains of
their loved ones to be cremated are waiting for weeks on end because there
is neither gas nor diesel with which to run the incinerators.
Children who should be in
school are begging on the roads, eating out
of dustbins and sleeping in gutters and doorways, looking death in the face
every day. Seven out of every 10 people we see in our streets do not have
work, or food; they too look death in the face every day.
For this tragic state of affairs,
for our unburied brothers and
sisters and for the children and unemployed, I say to National Hero Amai
Sally Mugabe: Zimbabwe apologises.
There is no money in our banks and inflation in the country now stands
at 365 percent. People queue for hours, and even days, to draw pathetically
small amounts of their own money out of their savings accounts.
police come with their truncheons to beat us away from the doors
of the banks. The Minister of Finance tells us that the red $500 note is to
be replaced by one of another colour, but he does not produce this new note.
He tells us now we should hand in all our money and buy traveller’s cheques
instead, even though we are not travelling anywhere.
For this tragic state of affairs, I say to National Hero Bernard
Chidzero: Zimbabwe apologises.
There are laws which have taken away our
liberties. The Public Order
and Security Act and the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act
have stripped us of freedom of speech, movement, association and even
worship. Our children, if they want to go to university or get jobs, have to
be retrained in Youth Training Centres. These children are given green
uniforms and they turn on their own siblings and parents, they beat and
harass and intimidate. These children are being recruited to become polling
officers in coming elections.
For this tragedy and for the lost freedom, I say to National Hero
Josiah Tongogara: Zimbabwe apologises.
To all the deceased men and
women who made our country great, the
people of Zimbabwe apologise – not the government or ZANU PF, just the
ordinary people. We are sorry for being lazy and apathetic, for not voting
when we should have.
sorry for giving so much power to such a few people. We are
sorry for not doing anything when we saw corruption and nepotism.
We are sorry for being too busy making money, blaming others and
living the good life when we should have been saving the ideals you died
for, preserving the heritage you left us. To all our heroes and ancestors,
personal and national, we have shamed you and await your judgment when our
turn comes to die.
Heroes’ Day is a time for reflection
ZIMBABWEANS today "celebrate" another Heroes’ Day amid unprecedented
economic and social haemorrhaging, and with all signs indicating that they
will have to endure much worse.
people who would normally have travelled out of congested cities
to spend the long weekend with relatives and friends in the rural areas have
been forced to stay home during these holidays.
The reason? A combination
of soaring transport costs and shortages
caused by unending, severe fuel and spare part shortages, themselves the
result of a worsening foreign currency crisis to which there is no end in
operators, like most motorists, are being forced to
buy the bulk of their petrol and diesel on the black market, where prices
are significantly higher than those set by the government, leaving them with
no choice but to pass their costs on to passengers and to reduce the number
of vehicles on the roads.
Even worse, Zimbabweans are, for the first time, partly
travel because of cash shortages that have led to banks rationing money.
Zimbabwe’s rate of inflation is so high that banks
cannot keep up with
the daily demand for cash. The fact that the central bank is unable to print
enough bank notes, partly because of hard cash shortages, has only worsened
And with some financial
institutions giving their customers as little
as $5 000 a day in cash, unnecessary travel out of the city, or even within
urban areas, is out of the question for most people during these holidays.
As if that was
not bad enough, the food shortages that have plagued
the country for the past two years continue to stalk most Zimbabwean
parents will struggle in the next few days to put the most basic
meal on their tables, let alone to give their children the holiday treats
that are now a luxury they simply cannot afford.
Indeed, warnings from
farmers indicate that already food insecure
Zimbabweans can expect another inadequate harvest unless urgent steps are
taken to restore stability to the country’s embattled agricultural sector.
Also during this
holiday, many Zimbabweans are contemplating
joblessness, either because their companies have closed down or are on the
verge of doing so.
A large number of local firms battling foreign currency and fuel
shortages, as well as soaring operating costs that are being pushed up by
rampant inflation, will soon have no choice but to cut their losses and shut
Already, companies have had to cut production and
lay off staff in an
attempt to remain viable, a fight that many are losing.
Meanwhile, the optimism generated by a church-led
initiative to broker
talks between Zimbabwe’s main political parties – which had led many to hope
that it was only a matter of time before there was a solution to their
problems – has been somewhat dampened in the last few days.
Failure by the ruling ZANU PF to timely make its
proposed talks to church leaders has tempered the cautious enthusiasm
Zimbabweans had begun to feel.
hungry as they may be during this holiday, we
nevertheless hope ZImbabweans will take the opportunity provided by the
Heroes’ and Defence Forces’ Day holidays to reflect on the state of their
now than they were before the independence fought for and
won by the heroes they are honouring today, Zimbabweans will have all the
time today to take a hard look at their situation.
While they contemplate their
dwindling incomes, plan how they will
manage to queue for both money and food on Wednesday and still be able to
report for work, Zimbabweans should also ask themselves how long they are
prepared to endure these hardships. How long will the people of this country
continue to accept less than they are entitled to? Only they can decide.
Land cover-up no longer an option
GOVERNMENT officials did not attend the Commercial Farmers’ Union
(CFU)’s conference because of embarrassment and because they are too
arrogant to admit their failure and greed. For the Minister of Agriculture
to say that the CFU is no longer relevant in Zimbabwe is just more childish
behaviour from the powers-that-be.
Do they intend to turn the commercial
agriculture sector into
subsistence, part-time farming consisting of war veterans and ministers?
What a backward way of doing things!
The problem is that ZANU PF has failed the people, not the other
War veterans are no longer relevant because they
are more of a
liability than the CFU, which is an organisation of professional,
experienced, well-researched farmers who share a common goal of producing
food on the land to feed the whole world and get paid for it.
War veterans, on the other hand, want to be given land
which they do
not even intend to work, just because they fought a war, support President
Robert Mugabe and will kill just to make a living while getting paid from
the public coffers.
Shifting blame will
not produce food, nor will food grow on slogans
without people doing the manual work. Too many chiefs and very few Indians
is the major problem in Zimbabwe today.
Everyone is important and needs to live
comfortably, yet they are not
prepared to work for it.
rules of life will not change just because one is in Zimbabwe: you
reap what you sow. You sow hatred and you will reap war. You sow strife and
you reap rebellion and produce nothing.
Wasting time, energy, resources,
skills just to remain in power is an
irresponsible act for a political party that does not care about its people
but is interested only in self-preservation.
Just to demonstrate the facts, most of the new farmers are mostly ZANU
PF politburo members, ministers, ministers’ relatives, former ministers,
governors and military and police chiefs – former and current.
That is the way things are and we cannot pretend otherwise.
The way forward is to have independent
experts to come and assess the true picture and condition of our
agriculture, who is on which farm and who has what.
This inner circle of bigwigs that believe in stringing
along is no longer acceptable. How can Mugabe think he can continue to fool
the people with his game of hide-and seek, move and blame?
Words fail us when he speaks as if he does not know who
is to blame
for all this mess.
Cover-up is no longer an option.
The way forward is to have serious farmers work in
support of those
that want to enter farming as a career, not a part-time hobby or retirement
prospect. Farming is not easy, neither is learning. But the lesson has to be
learnt that not all people are farmers, nor doctors.
Even businessmen are not farmers just because they
have the money, and
because a person holds a PhD does not make him a professional farmer.
Farming is a scientific-based business and colour does not matter.
Just because a person works the land does not
necessarily mean they
are qualified to run a farm. Just like factory workers or workers at large,
they may know how to do the work, but are not necessarily the owners of the
For there is more
behind the scenes that makes the business function
properly. Just like being in government making policies is easy, but
sticking to them and making them work is something else.
Sticking to the budget is not easy, as
proved by the Zimbabwean
government. In theory, everything balances.
Take that farm from the white farmer there and move
Mr Minister there.
If the farmer made millions on it, then Mr Minister can do it too. On paper
it looks so easy, but the time, work and investment put in the soil is not
taken into account. Mugabe looks at the end result but not the foundation of
what made the farmer prosper whilst his ministers are failing to produce on
the same farm. Zimbabwean bigwigs were given the first chance to choose the
best farms, then come slogan singers, and whatever remains may be given to
some experienced farmers to develop from zero. The officials have another
chance, just in case they will want in the future to exchange for another
farm after ruining the ones they have just chosen. Exchange policies are for
those that fail to run their farms properly. You return it and find another
one and then people will be resettled on the old rundown farm as a going
concern from the ministers and their relatives, that is if they are not
interested in developing cluster homes. Farms cannot just be destroyed
willy-nilly to please a handful of spoilt brats. Zimbabwe was a breadbasket
and exporter of food. Fuel, electricity, foreign currency, just to name a
few, are all scarce as a direct result of refusing to listen to advice and
those with the know-how. Agriculture is the backbone of the economy and
disturbing that has a serious ripple effect that Mugabe and ZANU PF will not
be able to solve without engaging outsiders. All the PhDs, MScs, CAs and all
the highest qualifications that they may have will not stop this downward
spiral until they quit office and engage other people to solve this dilemma.
Injection of lethal dose to an already crippled health system
What a pity that the standards of our universities have gone to the
It’s disturbing to learn that some of the
institutions, like the
medical school and the school of pharmacy, had to eat humble pie and admit
that they could no longer cope with the loads they had.
A closer look at this whole scenario will tell us that
this is not an
event in itself, but the beginning, or more accurately, an injection of a
lethal dose to our already crippled health system.
I do not see an end to this and I have every reason to
our health system is now in such a critical state that it might be almost
impossible to resuscitate it.
Look at it this way
– we are already hit by a massive shortage of
pharmacists and doctors, right?
Assuming that all the pharmacists and doctors the
going to produce will be retained, which will happen if this life is a fairy
tale, it still remains inevitable that in the next four to five years, there
is going to be yet another big drop in the inventory of this invaluable
This situation looks pathetic
even before we start mentioning the
shortages of drugs, the obsolete and useless equipment we have in our public
hospitals – the list goes on.
The question that we need to answer is: will this ever come to an end?
Whatever your answer is, the one fact we cannot deny
is that we are in
deep trouble, and unless our leaders do something to try and address the
situation before it gets out of hand, we are doomed.
And I think it is our responsibility as citizens to
ensure that we put
in power leaders who are ready and willing to address this and the many
other problems our nation is facing.
this every time you vote, otherwise you will need to be very
rich to get you cold-treated,
Unfortunately there are very few of us who can
afford trips to China
and Spain to see a doctor.
The Team Zimbabwe site continues to grow and flourish as an ever more
important resource for those of us now living abroad and also those still at
There have been 2 exciting developments since the last update, both of which
we hope brings more value and help to some of you, or people that you know.
Firstly, we have been provided with a definitive UK Government fact sheet
pertaining to Zimbabweans immigrating to the UK. There is a lot of
confusion, some mis-information and occasionally downright falsities flying
about, and we hope that this document which was produced and written
specifically for our Team-Zimbabwe project will help clear some of this up.
It is available for download directly from our sites homepage at
http://www.team-zimbabwe.net, and it is available both in Microsoft Word and
The second major bit of news is that we are now being provided with a lot of
useful information and specific advice for those of us in New Zealand. Our
sincere thanks go out to the Kamina Kawena organisation for making this
possible. Kamina Kawena produces a fortnightly newsletter for Zimbos in NZ,
and they can be contacted through the NZ section of the Team-Zimbabwe site
Our Forums, Announcements and classifieds continue to be busy and useful
sources of information, jobs, accommodation, assistance and general
community spirit. We hope very much that this will continue and that we will
continue to grow this site to become more and more useful to us all.
We ask you to spread the word, tell people you know about the site and get
people contributing. And we ask that you contribute yourselves. It is all
free . (always will be too!), useful, and even fun! Any little tips, pieces
of advice or information that you can share, no matter how trivial you think
it may be just may be invaluable to someone. Remember how hard it was to use
the tube when you first went on it? It is from this kind of teamwork and
community spirit that a successful and vibrant community will grow. Help us
to achieve that, please!
For now our best regards,
Comment from Business Day (SA), 11 August
Weird economy is consuming itself
By Dianna Games
A friend in Zimbabwe, normally
astute in his economic observation, had me
wondering recently when he asserted that business in the country was
actually booming. He said the South African press had created unnecessary
gloom and doom about the economic situation across the Limpopo, and
challenged me to update myself on the situation. I took him up on it. During
a trip to Harare last week I saw what he was on about. There was indeed a
sense of greater normalcy about the city's everyday life than I had
expected. The streets were full of people, cars and buses, imported goods
were flying off the shelves, basic foodstuffs appeared to be available, the
stock exchange was on an extended bull run, new houses were going up in
upmarket suburbs and four major companies reported results well ahead of
inflation. But, of course, you just need to scratch below the surface to see
a rather different picture. This is an economy feeding off itself, that will
soon cave in on a hollowed out centre. While cars clog the streets, the
regular petrol stations are deserted, with the whole fuel industry having
"gone private" and migrated to backyard caches, roadside tankers and smalls
adverts in newspapers, with prices determined by the desperation of the
buyer. On the pavements outside banks the throngs are actually lengthy
queues of people, often patrolled by riot police, waiting for the paltry
sums of precious cash they are allowed to withdraw from their accounts. The
shops might be full, but they are rapidly turning ordinary Zimbabweans into
paupers with prices few can really afford.
400% inflation rate is fuelling the stock market, the spending spree in
the retail and housing sectors, and the quick fortunes being made by local
entrepreneurs exploiting shortages. Of course, these include many senior
government officials and top ruling-party politicians who have used their
positions to enter the money-trading business on the side, capitalise on the
foreign exchange shortage and become instant millionaires. In the past
fortnight alone, the value of one US dollar on the black market has nearly
doubled to more than Z6000. Local currency, too, has become tradeable with
banks offering up to 30% commissions on the value of cash sold back to them.
In the weird world of the Zimbabwe economy, an IPO is known among cynics not
as an initial public offering but as an "individual profit opportunity". The
banknote shortage is about more than a lack of foreign currency to print
money. It is the culmination of a series of interlocking distortions
propping up the economy. It has been a rude wake-up call for many
Zimbabweans, a reminder of this rather Alice in Wonderland-like environment
in which they function.
The boom boast is
unsustainable. Outside of the profiteers, desperate
poverty is consuming the people. The government is without a plan. Domestic
debt spirals as it borrows madly to prop up a malfunctioning land programme
and keep restive public servants at bay. While the basis of most of the new
capitalists' wealth will disappear with the hoped-for return to normality,
an intriguing and compelling irony is emerging from the chaos. The very
ruling party stalwarts that are currently skinning the masses could actually
be turning into one of the major forces for change. Zanu PF heavyweights who
used their often dubious gains to buy companies that are now doing nicely,
including a number listed on the soaring stock exchange, are actually
starting to hanker for a return to international acceptance and long-term
sustainability as any sensible businessman would. The government's
diminishing capacity to dispense patronage and largesse has the sometime
faithful looking beyond the current mess to a new order in which their
acquisitions and wealth will really mean something. It is no longer just the
opposition that is pushing for change.
Dianna Games is director of Africa @ Work, a conferencing and
company focusing on Africa
Monday August 11, 01:05 PM
Mugabe says opponents must "repent"
By Stella Mapenzauswa
HARARE (Reuters) - Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe has warned local
opponents they must "repent" and cut ties with his foreign critics or he
will not revive talks with them on the country's political and economic
"Those who would go together with our
enemies abroad cannot at the
same time want to march alongside us as our partner," Mugabe said in a
speech marking Heroes Day, which commemorates those who liberated Zimbabwe
from white rule in 1980.
"No, we say no to them. They must first repent," Mugabe said.
dismisses the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) as a puppet of former colonial power Britain and other critics of his
government's policies, particularly its seizure of white-owned farms for
redistribution to landless blacks. The MDC denies the charge.
Mugabe spoke a day
after the MDC said it was taking a risk by seeking
dialogue with his government because critics might consider it had sold out.
Zimbabwe church leaders have sought to revive stalled talks between
Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party and the MDC, which has accused the 79-year-old
president of rigging his re-election in disputed polls last year.
also says Mugabe has mismanaged the country, where annual
inflation now tops 365 percent, 70 percent of the people are unemployed and
consumers grapple with shortages of food, fuel and cash.
Mugabe on Monday
appeared lukewarm to the idea of political compromise
with his opponents.
"There cannot be unity with the enemies of the
people, enemies of the
struggle and enemies of our independence. Those who seek unity must not be
enemies," Mugabe said.
Morgan Tsvangirai -- charged with two counts of treason by
government lawyers who say he sought to assassinate Mugabe and spark a coup
d'etat -- has launched a legal challenge to Mugabe's 2002 election victory,
further complicating efforts to bring the two sides together.
church leaders said in a statement their mediation efforts
would not be torpedoed by "those who continue to benefit from the crisis and
therefore have no desire to see the situation return to normal" -- an
apparent reference to hardliners on both sides who might want to block
Mugabe: Botswana denies plot
11/08/2003 14:49 - (SA)
Gaborone - Botswana denied on Monday it was involved in plans to
government of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe.
Reports of such a plan have proliferated since the visit to Botswana in July
of United States President George W Bush.
"We are outraged by these statements of vilification," said Botswanan
foreign minister Mompati Merafhe of the allegations.
He was speaking in Maputo at the fourth meeting of the Southern African
Development Community (SADC) Organ on Defence, Security and Politics.
"This is a matter of serious concern to our government. We are being accused
of working with the Americans and British to bring about a forceful regime
change in a friendly SADC member state, our friendly neighbour Zimbabwe,"
"It is alleged a US military base in Botswana will be used to launch such a
There have been press reports alleging meetings in Botswana between US
assistant secretary of state for Africa Walter Kansteiner and British
foreign secretary Jack Straw, to hatch the plan.
Kansteiner was in Gaborone in May to open a US trade office, but, said
Merafhe: "Jack Straw has never been to Botswana."
'Botswana will never allow itself to be used'
The only visit on record of a British government minister this year was that
in April of parliamentary under-secretary for foreign affairs and minister
for Africa, Baroness Valerie Amos, who said there was increasing frustration
in Africa about the failure to resolve the situation in Zimbabwe.
Merafhe said that even if the Americans and the British were planning action
to topple Mugabe, it would not be mounted from Botswana.
"Botswana would never allow itself to be used for such treacherous
activities," he said.
Since the Bush visit, Botswana has had to repeatedly deny any links between
the US and a military air base about 100km northwest of Gaborone.
The one billion pula (about R2.6bn) Thebephatshwa base was opened in August
1995 by Merafhe, who was then commander of the Botswana Defence Force.
Own resoucres and funds used
Speculation that it had been funded by the US surfaced immediately.
"The US does not own any military base in Botswana. Thebephatshwa air base
is wholly owned by the government of Botswana," he said.
"It was constructed during my term as commander of the BDF, with our own
resources, without any assistance from the US or any other country."
The US and Botswana co-operate in training of police to combat terror,
disaster training and officer training for the BDF.
The US has also provided military equipment to Botswana, although not on a
scale that would promote conflict.
Mail and Guardian
Mugabe hardens heart toward MDC
11 August 2003 13:39
Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe signalled on Monday he had dug his heels
in against international and local attempts to bring his government and the
opposition to talks to end the country's crisis.
In an emotional address at the annual Heroes' Day commemoration of the
fallen in the war against white minority rule, Mugabe said: "There cannot be
unity with the enemies of the people.
"Those who seek unity with us must not be enemies. Those who would go
together with our enemies abroad cannot want to march alongside us as our
"No, we say no to them," he said, repeatedly banging the podium at Heroes'
Acre where hundreds of ruling Zanu-PF party faithful had gathered.
He made no direct mention of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change,
or its leader Morgan Tsvangirai. However, he has repeatedly denounced the
party as "the enemy" and claims it is controlled by the British and American
governments, who he says are trying to recolonise Zimbabwe.
Mugabe also commended president Thabo Mbeki and Nigeria's president Olusegun
Obasanjo for refusing to "pander to the whims of America and Britain to
cause commotion and instability" in Zimbabwe.
"Zimbabwe has received outstanding support and greater solidarity from our
African brothers, notably Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Olusegun Obasanjo
of Nigeria, and we really commend them for that," said Mugabe.
Mbeki and Obasanjo are the two main brokers seeking to bring Mugabe's
Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) to negotiate.
Talks between the two parties stalled last year as Mugabe demanded that the
opposition, which rejected his re-election in March last year, acknowledge
his legitimacy as the president.
Mugabe also extended his gratitude to the Southern African Development
Community (SADC) and the African Union for their "unwavering support for
"We also appreciate the SADC's efforts and that of the African Union to
reject attempts by Britain and the United States to destabilise our country
and we want to thank them for their support."
Mugabe's land reforms, in which the compulsory seizure of white-owned
commercial farms without compensation took place, have been condemned by
In a reference to the chaotic and violent land reform, Mugabe urged the
newly resettled farmers to take farming seriously and help resuscitate the
declining agricultural sector.
Zimbabwe is currently grappling with shortages of food, fuel and other
Mugabe's remarks follow optimism for negotiations, after Mbeki and
Olusegun's mediation efforts and the country's leading church organisations
have led mediation efforts to start discussions.
However, there have been indications in the last two weeks that the attempt
has foundered. - Sapa
'The real starvation is in Zimbabwe's jails'
August 11 2003 at 01:30AM
By Basildon Peta
thinks the millions of people relying on donor food aid in rural
Zimbabwe are the real faces of starvation, they are wrong.
Visit a jail in Zimbabwe and encounter hunger first hand, according to
inmates of Zimbabwe's notoriously filthy and overcrowded prisons.
One prisoner, Kizito Mulenga, 28, who gave a graphic description of his
ordeal in prison to Zimbabwe's Daily News, equated life in Zimbabwe's jails
The government's failure to pay food suppliers because of a crippling cash
crisis in the country, combined with general economic hardships, have taken
a toll on the prison population.
Even prominent politicians and activists such as Movement for Democratic
Change spokesperson Paul Themba Nyathi, National Constitutional Assembly
chairperson Lovemore Madhuku, and others who have been jailed by President
Robert Mugabe, say the pain of a even short stay in a Zimbabwean jail is
equal to being given the death penalty.
Mulenga said that his overcrowded cell, equipped with one malfunctioning
toilet that resulted in human waste, urine and water "sharing" the cells
with the inmates, was to prove the least of his worries.
Inmates have to learn how to survive on a single "meal" a day. Mulenga, who
was released after the charges against him were dropped, said: "We were
always hungry. That is where I really witnessed starvation."
Prison officials said they could only afford to use about Z$10 000 per
prisoner per month. But with a loaf of bread now costing more than Z$1 000,
from about Z$50 last year, it is not difficult to explain the food crisis.
MDC goes all out for dialogue
HARARE - Zimbabwe's main opposition party said it had been forced to take
"risky" actions as a way to facilitate dialogue with the country's governing
"We as a party have taken risky measures as way of creating a conducive
environment for dialogue with the Zanu-PF," said Morgan Tsvangirai, leader
of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
The MDC leader who now faces fresh treason charges for organising
anti-government protest marches, accused President Robert Mugabe's party of
driving the country to ruin.
Of late the MDC has toned down its confrontational stance to prefer dialogue
because "Zanu-PF has not idea on how to solve" Zimbabwe's crises.
The opposition party has ended its boycott of state occasions addressed by
It has also dropped the contentious issue of Mugabe's legitimacy from a
draft agenda it is proposing for resumed talks with the ruling party
following recent overtures by church leaders to get the two sides to start
The MDC said Zimbabwe on the "brink of collapse" as more than half of the
population face starvation while inflation stands at more than 365 percent.
Electricity and fuel supplies are erratic as the country has run dry of
foreign exchange to import them, while local bank notes are also in short
Unemployment levels have unofficially hit more than 70 percent and 75
percent of the population live in abject poverty.
The MDC said, having recognised the "gravity" of the situation, chose to
resort to talks in a bid to solve the crises.
"We have chosen the path of dialogue in the hope that this will bring about
a speedy and peaceful resolution of the country's problems and stop all the
suffering," Tsvangirai said in a statement.
Tsvangirai now faces two treason charges for trying to oust Mugabe from
power after the High Court on Friday refused to drop those charges against
The MDC last month ended a boycott of Mugabe's address to parliament as a
conciliatory move to break the long-standing impasse with the government.
Talks between the two broke down in May of last year after only the agenda
Mugabe May Be Tarnished Now, But Once He Was Pure Gold
August 10, 2003
Posted to the web August 11, 2003
ZIMBABWE'S liberation struggle was in the doldrums by the early 1970s. The
Rev Ndabaningi Sithole, the leader of the Zimbabwe African National Union
(Zanu), had sold out and failed to galvanise the organisation and mount a
sustainable, effective and credible armed struggle.
Other leaders, such as Herbert Chitepo, had been killed, and the struggle
seemed almost lost.
It was at this point that Robert Gabriel Mugabe, released from prison in
1974, received a message: "Get out of the country and go and lead the
struggle." He obliged.
On reaching Chimoio in Mozambique, he was faced with a despondent crowd of
disillusioned fighters and party members.
After Mugabe's address exhorting them to continue the struggle, one man
stood up and said: "But, comrade, if pure gold rusts, what will iron do?"
The man was referring to the disappointment they had all felt when Sithole
had sold out.
Mugabe looked intently at the man and replied: "Comrade, truth is pure gold
and never rusts. We had mistaken iron for gold."
In effect, Mugabe was saying, put your faith in me, I am not going to let
you down. I am pure gold .
The leadership of Zanu gathered in that corner of Mozambique understood him
and took him at his word. Others, such as Magama Tongogara, were sitting in
a Zambian jail, but they, too, gave their support to Mugabe.
And they were not disappointed. Mugabe set about reorganising the party and
its structures, moving its head office from Zambia to Mozambique. He
underwent basic military training and undertook trips to China to lobby for
He travelled the continent, mobilising African leaders and updating them
about the new Zanu. And it worked.
Support grew and, with that, came resources to wage an effective war. More
recruits came through.
The party was run properly, with a leadership corps dedicated to meeting the
challenges of the time. Tongogara headed the army and produced a fighting
machine that relaunched the war from the east.
Mugabe, at the head of Zanu and as commander-in-chief of the Zimbabwe
African National Liberation Army (Zanla), transformed the war. Where the
Zimbabwe African People's Union (Zapu) had been seen as the major fighting
party, this changed.
Mozambican President Samora Machel and Zambian leader Kenneth Kaunda, both
of whom had an affinity to Joshua Nkomo's Zapu, came round to seeing that
the struggle for Zimbabwe was being waged in the main by Mugabe's forces.
And so the Chimurenga went on, with liberated zones where Ian Smith's forces
went in at their peril.
The war went to the cities, with a spectacular attack by Zanla on the petrol
depot in Salisbury in 1978. Rhodesia had to crumble. And when it did, in
1980, the people of Zimbabwe did not need a spindoctor to know who should
lead their country. They chose Mugabe and Zanu.
And they were not wrong. For, in office, Mugabe threw everything into
creating a democratic country that looked after the poor. Small-scale rural
resettlements were done, with large-scale land redistribution inhibited by
the Lancaster House agreement that had ushered in independence. Education
was made free for everyone, and health facilities were built.
Agriculture boomed and Zimbabwe became a food basket for the region. It was
given responsibility for food security, communications and transport within
the Frontline States. A nation of highly educated professionals and
administrators emerged in Zimbabwe.
There were some shortages of luxury goods, but no one slept on an empty
And then something happened. Mugabe, the man who led for the benefit of his
people, lost it all after 1999 as economic stagnation saw the rise of trade
unionism and an opposition party.
Repression, economic chaos and intolerance are the hallmarks of Mugabe's
later reign. It is in his land that people are today being killed and beaten
for saying that life is tough.
People are beaten by police for wanting their money from banks. It is there
that many a child goes to bed hungry. The new Mugabe is an unfeeling man who
allows his cronies to be corrupt around him.
The thawing of relations between him and Movement for Democratic Change
leader Morgan Tsvangirai in the past two weeks is a glimpse of the old
Mugabe re-emerging. This is to be encouraged, because it puts Zimbabwe first
and provides a ray of hope in an otherwise hopeless situation.
And so, as we prepare to bid him farewell under extremely problematic
conditions, we must not forget the old Mugabe, the one who gave his all for
his people and who, until fairly recently, had nothing to his name but
service to his people.
We must not forget the revolutionary who rescued Zanu and Zimbabwe from the
clutches of Abel Muzorewa's neocolonialism and led the revolution to its
successful conclusion. Despite his aberrations, he remains the father of his
country's independence and should be allowed to leave with honour.
Daily News (SA)
'White farmers destroyed Zim economy'
August 11, 2003
Harare: Zimbabwe's Agriculture Minister Joseph Made has blamed white
farmers for the collapse of the economy.
He was retaliating to criticism from the mainly white Commercial
Farmers Union, which this week said President Robert Mugabe's controversial
land seizures had made the former breadbasket of Southern Africa reliant on
Speaking to the Zanu PF mouthpiece newspaper the Herald, Made said:
"There are a few remnants of former white commercial farmers, about 200 of
them, and the tendency is to lecture to 11 million Zimbabweans about the
destruction of the economy. Really, if we look at how they say we have
destroyed the economy, you wonder why they don't see how they destroyed it
through their racist view on the land issue."
Made went on to accuse former large-scale farmers of slaughtering
dairy herds and setting fire to pastures.
"They started exporting crops grown here, retaining foreign currency,
banking it outside," he said. "They were growing flowers instead of food
crops and they even slaughtered dairy cows and now they're burning
Made said the Commercial Farmers'
Union, which once represented about
4 500 farmers, was irrelevant. "This group played mischief all the time
because they think they are a special race," he said.
Made's comments came in the wake of the CFU's annual congress, it's
60th, in Harare this week.
A meagre 120 farmers attended what was once a vibrant event,
presenting what outgoing CFU President Colin Cloete called "a gloomy
Cloete said that "greed and self-interest has left Zimbabwe's
commercial agriculture in ruins", while the union pointed out that levels of
food production had plummeted as a result of the seizure of farms across the
While Zimbabwe once fed Southern Africa, it is now dependent on food
handouts from foreign donors and imports from neighbouring countries that
once relied heavily on Zimbabwe for food, Cloete said. - Independent Foreign