Nyasa Times, Malawi
Ruby Suzgika on 11 August, 2007 05:58:00
Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika in a political arrangement with dictator
Robert Mugabe, has sent a group of local journalists on tax payer's money to
Zimbabwe to learn knowledge in propaganda reporting.
Mutharika has sent a group of eight journalists from public media houses;
TVM, MBC, MANA and from unscrupulous Guardian newspaper owned by President's
daughter, Duwa-Kafoteka Mutharika.
"The group is in Zimbabwe to master some tricks in manipulating the public
through the media in readiness for 2009 general elections," government
"President Mutharika discussed with his Zimbabwean counterpart, Mugabe to
offer the Malawian journalists training in Zimbabwe," said other sources at
the Malawi High Commission office in Zimbabwe.
The journalists arrived in Zimbabwe on Wednesday and were immediately taken
to Victoria Falls for a tour. On Friday, they met with Zimbabwe Minister of
Information and Publicity, Dr Sikhanyiso Ndlovu.
Ndlovu defends the tour of the Malawian journalists as "fact-finding
Nonetheless, the Zimbabwe information minister in his remarks to the
visiting journalists, took a swipe on former colonial master, Britain.
"We have not given up. We are still unflinchingly revolutionary and
defending our country against imperialism," said Ndlovu in direct reference
He blamed Britain of imposing Economic Structural Adjustment Program (Esap)
on Zimbabwe to "sell" State enterprises to them under the pretext of
privatization, but said they ignored and affected the relationship with the
"We were the first country in Africa to discard Esap, which made our people
suffer and strangulated our economy. We came up with our own economic
turnaround programs," Mugabe's spin doctor said.
The Malawi journalists will also are meet government officials and
strategists of ruling Zanu-PF.
Saturday 11th August 2007
Dear Family and Friends,
At the beginning of August the Interception of Communications Act was signed
into law and the government of Zimbabwe can now legally intercept emails and
faxes, listen to telephone conversations and open and read letters. At a
time when there is no fuel to buy at petrol stations and almost no public
transport on the roads, just getting to the local Post Office has become a
major outing for most people. Sending a simple fax has become a joke and it
often takes thirty or forty attempts to connect to a telephone number and
even then success is not guaranteed. Sending SMS/text messages is a mission
of major proportions and requires the patience of a Saint as scores of times
in a row the words flick up:" Message sending failed" until eventually you
give up in disgust. Then we get to the aspects of communications that
require electricity and the joke of the Interception Act gets even funnier.
This week the electricity cuts in my home town have been so bad that they've
lasted for 18 hours a day, starting at 4 am in the morning and going on
until 10 pm at night. And so, all things considered,you have to wonder just
exactly what it is our government thinks we are saying to each other and how
we are finding the time or means to say it.
Most people I've met this week are walking around like zombies. We are
utterly exhausted as the simplest of daily chores require great ingenuity,
considerable amounts of time and vast amounts of energy. People everywhere
relate the absurd, upside down routine that has become life here. Cooking
outside on open fires. Doing washing in the middle of the night if you're
lucky enough to have both water and electricity on at the same time. Ironing
clothes at midnight after frantically rushing around plugging in and
recharging batteries, torches, cell phones, fridges and deep freezes and
hoping the power stays on long enough to store energy for another 24 hours.
In the rare times when the electricity is on people are doing things to
physically survive and frankly communication is not one of them. Everyone
knows this is a completely unsustainable situation that now prevails in the
country with no food to buy, no fuel for transport, very little water and
even less electricity and it has become a question of remaining alert and
focused and trying to stay positive.
This week, tired as we are, the sheer beauty of spring in Zimbabwe, is
reason enough to be positive. The Msasa trees have begun displaying their
new leaves and the crowns of red and their promise of new life are a real
delight. The Mahobohobo trees are crowded with golden fruits and the wild
orange trees are weighted down with their great green cricket balls, soon to
ripen and at least give food to people who have nothing. Conducting an
errand by bicycle this week I came across five young children dragging tree
branches across a dirt road back to their homes in a high density suburb.
The kids paused from the heavy chore for a minute and stared open mouthed as
I passed. "How are you?" I called out and as always this standard greeting
led to a chorus of echoes from them and then great gleeful giggling. Later
when I got home and was tending a pot of soup over a smoky fire I looked up
and saw my latest distraction. A red headed weaver is building a nest on the
telephone line against the wall of my house. I can't help but wonder what
this will do to the intercepting of my communications and watched in
amazement as the female weaver arrived. After just three days the skeleton
of the nest is built and is obviously strong enough to hold her. The female
weaver sat herself down in the sticks and leaf midribs as the red headed
male spent the next hour going backwards and forwards busily constructing
the house around her. Zimbabwe is a country so rich and yet so poor but
surely soon we will turn the corner.
Until next week, love cathy.
Embracing and Enhancing the Legacy of Zimbabwean
The Case for our Brand and Unique Value Proposition
13th August 2007; Harare, Zimbabwe
The Essence of Heroism
As Zimbabwe remembers and acknowledges its outstanding citizens let us take
stock of the essence of greatness. A hero is a patriot of elevated moral
stature and superior ability who pursues a goal indefatigably in the face of
powerful antagonists. Heroes have the moral and physical courage to confront
challenges, make a difference; self-transcend and leave a legacy. Because of
their clear devotion to the good of a nation, in spite of the gravity of the
task, heroes attain spiritual grandeur; even if they fail to achieve
practical victory. There are four components of heroism: moral greatness,
ability or prowess, action in the face of adversity, and triumph in at least
a spiritual, if not a physical form. Heroism is marked by servant leadership
and sacrificial attributes.
Of these, the hero's moral stature is unquestionably the most fundamental.
An uncompromising commitment to morality is the foundation of heroism. The
fallen heroes of our great liberation struggle produced a historic result in
the form of our political independence in 1980.
The Generational Expectation
As we reflect on the significance of our heroes, there is a generational
expectation for us to enhance their legacy. We have to continue with their
struggle for a peaceful, democratic and prosperous Zimbabwe. The question is
what is our generational result? What has been achieved in the last 27
years? Our country is going through an unprecedented national crisis with
both economic and political manifestations.
Our generational challenge is now to restore the economy and the moral
fabric of our nation. At the root of our national crisis are three
inter-related challenges: political illegitimacy, poor country governance,
and the lack of both economic vision and strategy. In addressing these
problems we have to ask ourselves what kind of political party would
effectively embrace and enhance the legacy of Josiah Tongogara and Nikita
Mangena? There are three questions that we have to ask.
· Firstly, who are we as a party, what do we stand for, what should we
be known for, i.e., what is our brand as a political party.
· Secondly, what is it that the people of Zimbabwe want that we can
provide better than other political parties, i.e., what is our unique value
proposition to Zimbabweans?
· The third question speaks to our proposed path and strategy to
power, i.e., what is the game plan toward the attainment of political power.
We are an African opposition party rooted in the history of Zimbabwean
nationalism and the liberation struggle. We represent and seek to address
African aspirations within a Pan-Africanist framework. This entails a
socio-politico-economic world-view, as well as a movement, which seeks to
unify and uplift both Africans on the continent and in the Diaspora, as part
of a global African community. The redemptive paradigm is regional
integration inspired by regional sovereignty leading to continent-wide unity
of both politics and economics. While embracing and leveraging
globalization, we stand opposed to any forms of imperialism. We condemn
Western double standards, duplicity and hypocrisy. For example, while we
appreciate Western pronouncements on the democratic deficit in Zimbabwe we
condemn the democratic exemption they extend to Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and
Kuwait. There is need for consistency if the West is to be effective in its
support for democratic and progressive movements. We note that when we in
Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa were fighting for our freedom we
received no arms of war from Britain and the USA. Why did they not provide
weapons to the FRELIMO, ZIPRA and ZANLA, MK and APLA freedom fighters and
yet they found it appropriate to arm and support Mobutu Seseko, Jonas
Savimbi, Saddam Hussein (in his war against Iran) and Osama Bin Laden (in
his skirmishes with the Soviets in Afghanistan)? This begs the question what
really informs Western foreign policy? It seems permanent interests outweigh
both permanent values and principles. We stand viciously opposed to these
In Zimbabwe we believe there was a case to redress the grave historical
injustices in the distribution of land. One of the reasons for the
liberation war was access to land by the African majority. Hence there was a
clear case for a land revolution in Zimbabwe. The fact that at Lancaster
House the terms of reference, processes and funding (including UK and US
assistance) for agrarian reform were verbal and not written means that this
fundamental issue was not taken seriously. The British and their US
colleagues acted in bad faith. Of course as the Africans at Lancaster we
take responsibility for our foolishness and dereliction of duty. We should
never have accepted a verbal understanding on land. While we take issue with
Mugabe's motivation behind the chaotic land grab, and disagree with his
processes and perverted outcomes, we do not seek to go back to the pre-2000
February situation. However there must be a land audit, rationalization and
fairness to all Zimbabweans in the allocation of land. As regards the
question of compensation for farmers whose land or properties were
expropriated, we believe that the international community must contribute
funds for this purpose, in particular the UK and USA. There will be no such
money from the Zimbabwean fiscus. Assessment of the quantum of compensation
should be based on a number of factors such as:
· The history of the ownership, use and occupation of the land;
· The price paid for the land when it was last acquired;
· The cost or value of improvements on the land;
· The current use to which the land is put;
· Investment which the State or the acquiring authority may have made
which improved or enhanced the value of the land.
Our agrarian revolution will be based on enhancing land access by the poor,
productivity, food security, self-sufficiency, fairness and collateral value
of land. We seek to ensure fair, secure and effective use of land with new
strategies that will make the land green again. What is required is a
democratic and participatory framework that seeks to achieve equitable,
transparent, just, and economically efficient distribution and use of land.
Respect of property rights and collateral value of land must be guaranteed
by establishing security of tenure through the provision of title or
meaningful 99 year leases (not the ZANU(PF) worthless leases). Land should
never be used as an instrument of political patronage. With an effective
land revolution in Zimbabwe land owners should be motivated towards
beneficiation where emphasis is placed on secondary agriculture.
Our value system is defined by respect for human rights, democratic
tolerance, results orientation, business principles, and a performance
culture. We are a political movement driven by values and not personalities.
This is why the president of our party is not automatically the party's
presidential candidate for national elections. We are committed to building
democratic political, economic, socio-cultural and legal institutions that
are self-perpetuating and which will outlive present and future generations.
Effective and sustainable institution building and value system development
should be inspired by the demands of posterity.
We make commitments and not promises because we believe in our delivery
capability and in the right of the people of Zimbabwe including the business
community, to make free choices that assure them of access to affordable
goods and services that meet their needs and value expectations in real
time. We commit to make a difference in the quality of Zimbabwean lives and
the profitability of businesses.
We are committed to devolution of power to elected self-governing provincial
entities in order to entrench the concept of a government of the people, by
the people and for the people. A reduced power distance will ensure a
provincial government that more readily responds to the needs of local
On human rights violations in our country such as gukurahundi and
murambatsvina we believe in victim based and restorative justice. It is
important to involve the victims, understand what they went through, and
evaluate their current challenges created by the violations. It is also
important that we hear from them how they believe justice can be achieved
and restored. There is need for rehabilitation of the violated communities,
surviving individuals and families. If we allow Ian Smith and Robert Mugabe
to get away without even acknowledging, showing remorse and accounting for
their crimes, what will stop future regimes from doing the same.
Consequently, there will be no blanket immunity. We need to break the cycle
of impunity. We need to know the truth of what transpired, and establish
some modicum of responsibility even if it is moral responsibility. We need
to establish a systemic and institutional framework that enables us to
ensure that never ever again should there be any such violation of the human
rights of our citizens.
The Unique Value Proposition
What is it that the people of Zimbabwe want that we can provide better than
other political parties? Our vision is Zimbabwe as the leading democracy in
Africa characterized by people-centered social development and economic
growth. We desire a nation characterized by inclusive and sustainable
development that is based on substantive participatory democracy. Zimbabwe's
GDP and per capita income should be in the top three in Africa. We want a
society where human rights, individual freedoms, property rights, non
racialism, women's rights, workers' rights and economic rights are cherished
and respected. We want a nation of prosperity, economic opportunities,
affordable high quality public services, social justice, equity, and gender
justice. We want a country of business growth, productive commercial
agriculture, innovative entrepreneurship, creative managers, and productive
workers whose working conditions are decent. We seek a Zimbabwean economy
that leverages science and technology, while emphasizing valued added
manufacturing, export based investment and a thriving services industry. We
desire technology transfer, local processing of all our minerals, and
increased domestic and foreign direct investment.
All these endeavors must be established within the context of a small
government philosophy, respect for free market principles, respect of
property rights and entrenched rule of law. Nonetheless, there is need for
targeted state intervention to develop enabling physical infrastructure
(such as roads, water, electricity, housing, and telecommunications) and
promote economic socio-economic justice. It is essential to have an
independent central bank which concentrates on core monetary policy
functions of maintaining both price and financial market stability. This
should then be coupled by effective macro-economic policy coordination
between fiscal and monetary strategies.
Given the extent of the economic damage in Zimbabwe, recovery will require a
whole range of internal measures together with large scale external
financial and technical assistance. There will be need to rebuild the
productive sectors to create employment and to allow for meaningful economic
development in the future. We need to attract back Zimbabweans with skills
that can be used to restart the economy and to retain within the country
people who have important skills. It is also essential to systematically and
optimally leverage those who will remain in the Diaspora, in terms of access
to global institutions, investment, expertise and markets.
The extreme conditions of Zimbabwe's economic plight suggest that the
revitalization of the economy will require many of the elements typically
associated with a strategy of post conflict reconstruction. The framework
for international support for Zimbabwe's economic recovery should involve
addressing the heavy indebtedness to the IMF and other multilateral
institutions. The main impetus for recovery will of course come from within
Zimbabwe itself. Initially, this process will require an injection of funds
from the international donors - the World Bank, the IMF, UN agencies, the
British and American governments and other key players who will need to play
an active role in shepherding and supporting the locally-owned recovery
Once the critical debt has been paid, then the other donors will come in
with a package to help with the initial economic recovery programme. Recent
experience with mounting such recovery programmes demonstrates the need to
be buttressed by certain broad priority tasks including:
· Establishing security and rule of law;
· Fostering political reconciliation and legitimate institutions of
· Rebuilding the institutional capacities of the state and non-state
· Encouraging a comprehensive and inclusive recovery, including timely
normalization of relations with the international community.
· Rapid support for debt relief comprised of aid, debt relief and
Also pertinent to the Zimbabwean case, the proper economic recovery can only
take place if there is respect for property rights, the rule of law and
constitutionalism. Without fixing all the economic fundamentals it does not
matter how much money is poured in, things will not change for the better.
The economic recovery plan will immediately lead on to a programme of
economic stabilization encompassing things such as improved business
confidence which should stimulate economic activity in all sectors;
agriculture, mining, tourism, and service sectors. The foundation of the
economic stabilization policies should be based on positive development in
the Government's consistency in emphasizing the maintenance of
macro-economic stability, poverty reduction and addressing of development
issues for long term economic growth. The stabilization programme would
involve various multilateral and bilateral co-operating partners, such as
the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB) as well as certain key
Beyond recovery and stabilization there is need for transformation of the
Zimbabwean dualistic economy inherited from the colonial period and deepened
during the post independence economic melt down. In the colonial period the
dualism divide was synonymous with race as whites had more access to
resources than the blacks. It is therefore imperative that the economy
should be transformed into an integrated globally competitive economy in
both its production and service sectors. In all these efforts there must be
deliberate efforts to promote broad based economic empowerment of the black
majority. The Zimbabwean economy has the potential to be transformed from
the present dualistic and largely agrarian economy into a modern industrial
economy. There is need to maximally optimize our potential in terms of human
capital, natural resources and infrastructure in pursuit of the desired
The Path to Power
The strategy to victory has to be through democratic and constitutional
means. This is only possible if we all fight together to create conditions
for free and fair elections in our country. The primary drivers of change
should be Zimbabweans themselves. This means in addition to embracing the
SADC initiative we must develop an independent programme of action on the
ground that we control as Zimbabweans. Here we refer to a programme of
action that seeks to bring about democratic change in our country, as a
precondition for the economic transformation of Zimbabwe. In particular
through actions of defiance, strikes, demonstrations and general mass action
we must drive this illegal kleptocracy to its knees. We must create
conditions for free and fair elections by any means necessary. All the
political parties, civic society organisations, the labour movement and the
churches must work together in the streets in pursuit of liberation and
emancipation. We must be demanding that the Zanu PF government stops the
torture, murder and the incarceration of members of the opposition and civic
society. Just recently, members of the NCA were brutalized. We cannot have
free and fair elections when members of the civic society are being
brutalised. We also need a new constitution and we must fight for it in the
streets. There must be new electoral laws that will allow free and fair
management of our elections. POSA and AIPPA must be removed from our
statutes. We want to allow every Zimbabwean the opportunity to vote,
including those in the Diaspora. Lastly, we want international supervision
of our first election under the new constitution. These are the demands we
should be fighting for in the streets through an alternative programme of
action. Yes, we should also pursue the same matters through the SADC
mediation. What is criminal is for Zimbabweans to sit passively while
waiting for President Mbeki to rescue them. It is our strong contention that
it will be easier to dislodge the illegitimate regime in Zimbabwe if all
democratic forces in the country work together. This is even more critical,
given the fact that our elections are likely to be unfree and unfair. In
spite of the challenges the opposition parties are experiencing in
establishment a united front, they will continue to work as one entity,
presenting common positions in the SADC mediation.
As we reflect on the significance of our heroes it is important that we
create political parties that are rooted in their values, principles and
aspirations. What we stand for and what we offer should be a continuation of
our great liberation struggle. However we must understand that the aims of
the liberation struggle and its heroes who gave their lives for the
emancipation of our great land have been subverted by those who claim to be
the current living heroes but who in reality have stolen the hopes and
aspirations of millions of Zimbabweans since 1980. This group of heroes
turned villains has lost any semblance of the redeeming values of shame and
The real heroes of our generation will be those who will restore Zimbabwe as
nation in which we can all be proud; a country which can hold its head high
amongst all the nations of the world, a state which meets the dreams of its
people. We must have the moral and physical courage to step up to the plate
and make our generational contribution. History will never absolve us if we
prevaricate or equivocate.
There will be no Compromise, Retreat or Surrender
We Shall Overcome
The Struggle Continues Unabated
Arthur G.O. Mutambara; MDC President
BY CAIPHAS CHIMHETE
A new political party, the Zimbabwe People's Party (ZPP), is headed
for what might turn out to be a bruising legal encounter with another
opposition party, after allegedly snatching its logo and concept.
The ZPP has over the past few weeks flighted full-page advertisements
in the media,Its spokesperson is Justin Chiota, described as the interim
president by unidentified officials who answered the telephones at the party's
offices in Harare.
Last week, in a telephone conversation with The Standard, Chiota
strongly denied an internet news report linking him to the Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO).
Chiota said if the ZimDaily website was a local newspaper, he would
have "taken it to the cleaners" for libel.
He denied the website report that ZPP had been formed with the mandate
to split votes in next year's presidential and parliamentary elections in
favour of Zanu PF.
For three weeks, The Standard had been trying to arrange an interview
with Chiota, whose political background includes candidature in the 2000
According to the Wikipedia free Encyclopedia, he contested the Harare
North constituency as a candidate of the Zimbabwe Progressive Party (ZPP),
ending up with 222 votes, against the winner's 18 976.
The winner was the MDC's Trudy Stevenson, who retained the seat in the
2005 parliamentary election. Chiota did not run in that election.
The other contestants in the 2000 poll included Zanu PF's Nyasha
Chikwinya (4 852), and independents Nhamo Chester Mhende (707) and Lily
Angela Anne Murapa (202).
Chiota said he was not prepared for an interview as it would
jeopardize his political strategy. He said he would only grant the newspaper
an interview after he had registered "several vehicles and a building" he
had bought for the party.
"There is a strategy which we want to use and talking to the press now
would kill that strategy," he said.
Asked about his alleged CIO links, Chiota said: "That's totally
nonsense; I'd rather be a gardener than a CIO. Whom would I report to? To
Mugabe himself? Make sure what you publish is correct because I have already
spoken to my lawyers, I will sue you."
Questions sent to the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to confirm whether
ZPP was registered had not been answered by the time of going to print.
The party, which has maintained silence on its manifesto and the names
of other senior officials since the adverts began appearing in the press,
last month, has a thumbs-up symbol and underscores integration, a concept
allegedly developed by the Zimbabwe Integrated Programme (ZIP).
ZIP president, Professor Heneri Dzinotyiwei, now a member of the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), said he would "soon seek
clarification" from the new party
The ZIP, formed in 1995, stresses integration and uses the thumbs-up
symbol, said Dzinotyiwei.
"When I left the country a few days ago, I got information that part
of ZIP logo was being used by some other party. We are still to look at it
critically because as ZIP we underscore the aspect of integration. I will
seek clarification from them," he said.
In its advertisements, ZPP says it stands for "genuine democracy" and
urges all Zimbabweans to fight poverty by joining its ranks.
"Fight poverty, join ZPP. Be active - it is your future," says one of
By Our Staff
BULAWAYO - Two former ministers claim to have blown Ernest Tekere's
cover - they say he was a senior operative in the deadly Central
Intelligence Organisation (CIO) during the Gukurahundi massacres in
Matabeleland and the Midlands.
Enos Nkala, a cabinet minister in the first government under prime
minister Robert Mugabe, and former Matabeleland North governor, Welshman
Mabhena, claim to have had different encounters with the "mysterious"
"Tekere featured during Gukurahundi," said Nkala, who did stints in
the defence and home affairs portfolios. "He was a CIO operative and I am
prepared to confirm that. If he continues denying it, I will reveal more."
But it is Mabhena who claims to have experienced Tekere's "dark side"
when he was arrested, along with liberation war stalwart,
Nevison Nyashanu, when they were detained for allegedly planning to
topple the government.
They were detained at Eiffel Flats, where Tekere, then in charge of
the CIO in Kadoma was their interrogator.
"He interrogated me and Nyashanu when we were arrested for allegedly
plotting to overthrow the government," Mabhena recalled on Thursday. "He was
in charge of the CIO and he later came to Bulawayo."
Tekere, who owns Home Guard Services, the company at the centre of a
$20 billion adultery lawsuit against Archbishop Pius Ncube, has vehemently
denied any links with the dreaded security agency.
He allegedly obtained video evidence showing Ncube being intimate with
several women, including Rosemary Sibanda, whose husband Onesimus - a
soldier - is suing Ncube for adultery.
It is now widely speculated that Tekere took part in the "sting
operation" against Ncube, a fierce critic of the government excesses.
Nkala said he was prepared to reveal more about Tekere's role and
other individuals before a commission of inquiry.
"This time Mugabe has gone too far in his fight against Pius," Nkala
said. "The archbishop has been very critical of Mugabe and Gukurahundi and
it is clear those trying to silence Ncube have skeletons in their closets."
Despite these revelations, Tekere insists he was only a CID officer in
the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP).
Although, information about his activities after the so-called
retirement from the spy agency is hazy, investigations by The Standard have
established that he registered Home Guard Services in 1994.
He is a co-director with his wife, Grace. The company address at the
Deeds office is given as 2 Jameson Court, 12 Avenue and Herbert Chitepo
But his company operates from 125 A Tongogara Street on the outskirts
of the city's Central Business District.
He himself stays with the first wife in the low-density suburb of
On the business front, his workers complained they are not given pay
slips and that they are forced to take soft loans, which are paid back with
"We don't know how he calculates the salaries because he doesn't give
us pay slips," complained one of the security guards. "Most of us take home
less than $1 million after he deducts the soft loans."
On Friday Tekere refused to comment on the issue, saying he does "not
trust telephone conversations".
BY WALTER MARWIZI
SOUTH AFRICAN President Thabo Mbeki has agreed to meet Zimbabwean
civil society leaders ahead of this week's Sadc summit in Lusaka, Zambia, it
has been confirmed.
This represents a major breakthrough for civil society organisations,
who for long lobbied to be included in Mbeki's mediation efforts.
The talks have been confined to Zimbabwe's two major parties, the
ruling Zanu PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
Civil society organisations have argued for a "multi-sectoral
approach" to the mediation process, saying other players, besides Zanu PF
and MDC, must be involved if a meaningful solution to the economic and
political crisis was to be found.
Among groups invited will be non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
dealing with governance and human rights, labour, churches, youth and women
organisations. These groups have been formally invited to Pretoria to meet
Mbeki either on Monday or Tuesday, sources said yesterday.
They said the timing of the meeting was particularly important
considering that Mbeki has to report back on the progress of the talks to
other regional leaders at the SADC summit where the Zimbabwean issue is
expected to feature prominently on the agenda.
A South African embassy official said yesterday: "I would not like to
comment on that issue at the moment but you should know where there is
smoke, there is a fire."
Jacob Mafume, one of the co-ordinators of the civil society
organisations, confirmed they would present their position to the mediators
"We have just got a response from the embassy, saying early next week
(this week) we need to go and meet the negotiators in SA," said Mafume on
Friday, hailing the invitation as a breakthrough.
"We have always maintained that whatever process needed to solve the
Zimbabwean crisis has to be a multi-sectoral approach and we are pleased
that we will be meeting the negotiators."
The National Constitutional Assembly, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions, Crisis Coalition and Churches are among some of the organisations to
be represented at the meeting.
NCA chairman Lovemore Madhuku, said they would impress upon the
negotiators the need for a new constitution.
"The (constitution) is central to resolving the problems in Zimbabwe.
The meeting will present an opportunity for us to talk about that crucial
issue," said Madhuku, who will attend the talks.
BY OUR STAFF
MORE than 500 families in Masvingo were left homeless after a war
veterans' leader reportedly ordered their eviction from South Will farm,
seven years after they invaded the land during the chaotic land invasions.
The affected families told The Standard they were ordered to leave the
farm by the provincial war veterans' leader, Isaiah Muzenda.
But Muzenda denied ever ordering the eviction of the settlers. He said
his political rivals, fearing he would challenge them in next year's
elections, were out to spoil his image.
"I didn't order their eviction," Muzenda said. "That was a decision
from the district lands' committee. Whoever is saying that has been sent by
my rivals who think that I want to stand in next year's elections."
The families alleged their eviction was designed to pave the way for a
Mr. Khan, perceived to be sympathetic to the Zanu PF provincial leadership,
to take over the farm.
Muzenda is the secretary for lands in the Zanu PF executive.
The families said they were living in the open, despite the cold
weather. They said they had nowhere to go, as they bade farewell to their
relatives and traditional leaders at their original rural homes at the
height of the land reform programme.
"We were resettled here in 2000 and got our offer letters from the
then provincial governor, Josiah Hungwe," said a representative of the
settlers who declined to be named for fear of victimisation. "We were
surprised when Muzenda came here in the company of police officers and
ordered us to move out, for a Mr. Khan to take over."
He said when they tried to explain their legal status, Muzenda ordered
the police to destroy their homes.
The settlers said they failed to secure alternative land after they
were referred by the Masvingo governor's office back to Muzenda.
Efforts to get a comment from Masvingo provincial governor, Willard
Chiwewe, were fruitless as he was said to be out of office for the rest of
By Vusumuzi Sifile
OPERATIONS at a multi-million dollar oil seed extraction company in
Chitungwiza were suspended last week after a worker lost a leg and a number
of others were injured in a serious factory accident.
The police and officials of the National Social Security Authority
(NSSA), after a visit to the plant, immediately ordered it to suspend
Sources yesterday said the company would be allowed to resume
operations only after it convinced NSSA and health authorities that it met
the required safety and health standards for such operations.
Surface Investments is jointly owned by an Indian company, Midex
Overseas, and IDC Agrotech, a subsidiary of the government-owned Industrial
Evans Nyaumwe, a 20-year-old general worker at the refinery, was last
week in a serious condition at a Chitungwiza hospital after he was trapped
in a conveyor belt for more than an hour.
His right leg was severed above the knee and ground to pulp in the
machine. Only the foot, still in his shoe, was left intact. It has been
preserved in a plastic bag stored in a refrigerator in the hospital.
NSSA general manager for Safety and Research, Benjamin Mthethwa,
yesterday confirmed they ordered the immediate closure of the company.
"They can only resume when we are convinced that they meet the
required standards," he said.
A weak and tearful Nyaumwe, speaking from his hospital bed, said on 4
August he started work at 6AM, and continued till late in the evening,
without a break. He said on that day he was assigned to do tasks normally
handled by a front-end loader, moving waste cotton.
"The driver of the front-end loader did not turn up for duty," said
Nyaumwe, "so I had to use a shovel to clear the waste. In the evening, just
after 6PM, when we were about to knock off, I was very hungry and exhausted.
It was then that I was trapped in the conveyor belt for more than an hour,
and my leg was cut off."
A relative who had joined us on the bedside picked up the story,
alleging that after Nyaumwe had been trapped in the conveyor belt, his
superiors spent close to two hours looking for other alternatives to rescue
him, but without switching off the machine.
One unwritten rule in industry, they said, was that powerful equipment
such as conveyor belts cannot be switched off wily-nilly.
One of the workers is alleged to have tampered with the motor that
powers the conveyor belt, forcing the chain to break.
When Nyaumwe was ready to give more details of his ordeal, one of his
superiors, identifying himself only as Chinembiri from the human resources
department, walked into the ward, silencing Nyaumwe without uttering a word.
After establishing the other visitors were journalists, Chinembiri
"Who gave you the story?" he barked. "If you want the story, call
Takundwa on this number. He is the one who will give you the story, and the
permission to publish the article."
Yesterday, The Standard called Takundwa, to be told by a woman that he
would be back after 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes, and for the whole of
yesterday, Takundwa was not reachable.
Last year, S & M Bricks, a Chinese company, was forced to close
because of dangerous working conditions.
It resumed operations after improvements.
BY OUR STAFF
BULAWAYO - Zimbabwe could soon run out of milk after stock feed
producers cut down production in protest against the government's
controversial price blitz.
Dairy farmers told a meeting here two weeks ago they had reduced milk
production "marginally" because milch cows were no longer feeding on the
The farmers revealed their plight at a meeting of National Association
of Dairy Farmers (NADF) and the Cattle Producers' Association.
They said most dairy cows in Zimbabwe were exotic, making it necessary
for them to be given artificial stock feed to achieve maximum production.
"If you stop giving a dairy cow artificial stock feed today, within a
week the milk would run dry," said NADF regional chairman Ezra Ndlovu. "We
are already in a crisis and it is going to get worse within the next few
days, if something drastic is not done immediately."
Since the government decreed a 50% cut in the price of most essential
commodities about a month ago, many such items have disappeared from
supermarket shelves. NADF members said the price controls had been wrongly
applied by targeting retailers before dealing with the supplies of raw
They said cotton seed producers were now holding on to the commodity,
which is essential in the production of stock feed because the government
had not given them any guidelines on the new pricing method.
"While stock feed producers here cannot get enough cotton seed, which
is produced locally, the same product is plentiful in South Africa," Ndlovu
said. "We have proposed to lobby the government to stop the export of cotton
Zimbabwe's milk production has tumbled from 24 million litres a day
before the start of the land reform programme in 2000, to between seven and
By Kholwani Nyathi
BULAWAYO - Zanu PF founder-member, Enos Nkala, alleged last week the
dreaded Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) tried unsuccessfully to
steal the draft of a book he says "will expose the dark past" of his former
colleagues in government.
Nkala, a former confidante and cabinet colleague of President Robert
Mugabe, says the book he is writing will "set the record straight" on his
role in the Gukurahundi massacres.
He claims it would expose "the hidden secrets about the country's
liberation struggle" and his 10-year stint in the first government.
Nkala insists the book will only be published after his death. He is
now a member of the opposition Patriotic Union of Matabeleland.
Nkala said his threat to "spill the beans" could have unsettled many
figures in the government and Zanu PF, hence the "mysterious" break-in at
his house late last year.
"It happened (the break-in) while I was visiting South Africa with my
wife," Nkala said at his home in Woodlands, Bulawayo last week. "They took a
trunk full of books in theology and politics, which I have been using for my
The former home affairs and defence minister says he did not think
much of the break-in until someone "associated" with the CIO warned him that
"we almost got your manuscript".
He said the matter was not reported to the police because it took him
a long time to realise the books were missing.
"I think they used one of my former workers to gain entry," he said.
"But I am not stupid enough to leave such material at their mercy."
The book, likely to be completed soon, would be in two parts: the
first dealing with the country's pre-colonial history, the second with the
liberation war and the first years of independence.
"The first would be serialised in newspapers, as soon as I finish it,
but the second can only be published after my death because it will be too
hot," he said.
Nkala said he was prepared to reveal the "authors" of Gukurahundi if
invited to a forum alongside Mugabe, Emmerson Mnangagwa and Sydney
Sekeramayi, said to be key players in Gukurahundi.
He was prepared to give evidence to a commission of inquiry on the
atrocities if one was constituted before his death.
Nkala said: "I have challenged him (Mugabe) to tell the truth about
Gukurahundi and I am prepared to reveal a lot of devastating things in
public about him if he can challenge what I say."
By Vusumuzi Sifile
THE Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR) has announced it is
considering challenging in the courts the Interception of Communication Act,
signed into law by President Robert Mugabe on 3 August.
The ZLHR's acting director, Irene Petras, said they were currently
researching the possible avenues for a court challenge.
She said the major hindrance so far had been technical issues such as
"We want to make sure that when we go to court, we would have done
enough research, especially on such technical issues as locus standi (the
right to challenge the matter in court)," said Petras.
Under common law and under many statutes, lawyers are required to
demonstrate to the court sufficient connection to and harm from the law or
action challenged to support their participation in the case.
In this case, ZLHR would have to provide valid reasons to participate
in the case.
In 2004, the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ) successfully challenged the
constitutionality of sections of the Posts and Telecommunications Act, which
had provisions almost similar to the Interception of Communication Act.
Last week, legal experts told The Standard the law could be
successfully challenged in court. They said the government would find it
difficult to adequately monitor communications. This would require expensive
equipment to be sourced with scarce foreign currency.
Meanwhile, international media bodies have warned the sweeping
surveillance law would further isolate Zimbabwe from the international
On Wednesday, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) warned that
the law "creates an even more oppressive environment than ever for the
press" in Zimbabwe.
In a statement Joel Simon, the executive director of the New York
based CPJ said: "This surveillance law further cuts Zimbabwe off from the
world and creates an even more oppressive environment than ever for the
press. The international community needs to be aware that Zimbabwe is
attempting to suppress any remaining press freedom in its country."
Simon said "urgent action is required" to protect mostly journalists
who send their reports to international media outlets and online
publications based outside the country. Several Internet news sites have
flourished in recent years as alternative sources of information in response
to the government's strict accreditation regime.
The CPJ statement came a day after another international journalists'
body, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) issued a statement lambasting the
government over the enactment of the Act.
The Paris based RSF said "Zimbabwe had already given itself one of the
world's most repressive legislative arsenals as regards press freedom",
adding that the "promulgation of this law was further evidence of President
Robert Mugabe's desire to keep news and information under close control."
There were also fears the lawful interception of communications could
expose investigative reporters and create a climate of fear, as sources
would be sceptical to release information by phone or email.
The government, through Transport and Communications Minister
Christopher Mushohwe has defended the new law, saying it was necessary to
protect the country from international terrorism and espionage, and "is not
unique to Zimbabwe".
By Nqobani Ndlovu
BULAWAYO - Zambian farmers are reportedly reluctant to export maize to
Zimbabwe, citing high transport costs and the unfavourable exchange rate, as
a maize-meal shortage worsens in parts of the country.
The crisis comes at a time when the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) said
it was negotiating with several Southern African countries to import maize
to meet a huge grain deficit.
The southern parts of the country have gone for more than a month
without regular supplies of maize-meal, which the GMB has blamed on
Although Samuel Muvuti, the acting GMB chief executive officer could
not disclose the targeted countries, in the past the parastatal has
confirmed plans to import maize from Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania.
But last week, Millers' Association of Zambia (MAZ) president Caleb
Mulenga told the African Press Agency (APA) farmers in his country were
reluctant to export to countries such as Zimbabwe.
His comments coincided with reports that Zimbabwe was struggling to
pay for 400 000 tonnes of maize it wants to import from Malawi because of a
foreign currency crunch.
Zambia recorded a huge maize surplus last season after luring a number
of Zimbabwean white commercial farmers who were displaced during the chaotic
land reform programme.
"Exporting the product (maize) to countries such as Zimbabwe is not
competitive," Mulenga was quoted as saying, "because of the high transport
costs and the high exchange rates."
Recently, the GMB said it had secured 200 000 tonnes of maize from
Zambia and a similar amount from Tanzania to cover a huge maize deficit
recorded during the 2006/7 season.
On Thursday, Muvuti denied the parastatal had problems sourcing maize
from Zambia because it could not offer competitive prices.
"It's not about viability but about feeding our people," Muvuti said.
"They (MAZ) could be having other complaints but it's not their
responsibility (exporting maize)."
He said the GMB recently reviewed upwards the transportation rates it
offered private operators to transport maize.
Aid agencies say more than four million people would need food aid
between June and the end of the first quarter of next year.
The country harvested about a third of the 1.8 million tonnes needed
to feed the population of over 12 million people annually. GMB has also
denied that the country's silos were empty, insisting the imports were
designed to consolidate grain reserves.
Zimbabwe has moved from being the main grain exporter in the region to
importer following a disastrous land reform programme that has destroyed
By Kholwani Nyathi
BULAWAYO - Opposition to the government's controversial price blitz
continued to mount as several Zanu PF-controlled rural district councils
defiantly increased tariffs with effect from July.
Last month government ordered all business, including parastatals and
municipalities, to reduce prices by 50% in a desperate, reckless effort to
tame rampaging inflation.
Municipalities were barred from effecting quarterly tariff reviews,
most of which were expected to come into effect on 1 July.
Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, the Urban Councils' Association of Zimbabwe
(UCAZ) vice-president, said all municipalities were advised to put on hold
proposed supplementary budgets, awaiting government approval.
The government has said the directive to roll back prices to mid-June
levels was designed to deal with businesses and service providers allegedly
working with Western powers to achieve regime change.
But several Zanu PF-controlled rural district councils have openly
defied the freeze by increasing their tariffs with effect from 1 July.
Mangwe Rural District Council in Matabeleland South said it had
increased its tariffs with effect from 1 July.
It joined several RDCs, including Matobo and Mzingwane who flighted
adverts in the government-controlled media, to announce tariff adjustments.
It is understood, the issue took centre stage at the recent Zimbabwe
Local Government Association (ZILGA) conference in Harare where councils
declared they would not abide by the price controls.
"Six officials representing urban and rural councils were appointed to
negotiate with the Minister without Portfolio, Elliot Manyika, on the way
forward," said a source at the ZILGA closed sessions.
"Councils cannot do without supplementary budgets in this
hyperinflationary environment because they also have to review workers'
Ncube confirmed the local authorities were negotiating with the
government to reverse the freeze as most of them were facing financial
Manyika could not immediately be reached for comment as his mobile
phone went unanswered.
Industry and International Trade minister, Obert Mpofu, who chairs the
Cabinet Taskforce on Price Monitoring and Stabilisation, was also not
available for comment.
Reserve Bank governor, Gideon Gono was among a number of high-profile
government officials openly opposed to the price blitz, which threatens
thousands of small and medium enterprises with collapse
BY OUR STAFF
THE State has withdrawn charges against top human rights lawyers Alec
Muchadehama and Andrew Makoni.
The two lawyers were arrested at the High Court after they made a bail
application for Amos Musekiwa, a Movement for Democratic Change activist,
arrested for allegedly petrol bombing State properties in March. The State
claimed they were trying to obstruct the course of justice.
The arrest, which alarmed fellow lawyers who sent a petition to the
Ministry of Justice, attracted widespread condemnation in Zimbabwe and
State prosecutor Austin Muzivi told the Harare Magistrate Court two
weeks ago that they were withdrawing the charges before plea. "The charges
are withdrawn," Muzivi told the court.
Harrison Nkomo of Mtetwa and Nyambirai Legal practitioners, who is
representing the two, yesterday confirmed the two were free."There was no
way that those charges would stand," Nkomo said.
Zimbabwean lawyers regarded the arrest at the High Court as a way to
intimidate them as the State unsuccessfully tried to secure the conviction
of several MDC activists it accused of carrying out a spate of petrol
But the cases collapsed spectacularly in the courts.
BY KHOLWANI NYATHI
BULAWAYO - The city council is headed for a potentially explosive
clash with the government after they last week reiterated their vow to
resist the takeover of the city water and sewer infrastructure by the
Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa).
The council was responding to a strongly worded letter from the
Minister of Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development, Ignatious
He said the government was not interested in discussing the takeover
In the letter dated 22 May, Chombo ordered the council to co-operate
with the provincial administrator and Zinwa to facilitate the takeover.
But the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)-dominated council said
defiantly it would "rather let Zinwa grab the facilities than us handing
them over" before issues of compensation, among others, were clearly spelt
Zinwa is preparing to take over water purification, reticulation and
billing as well as sewer reticulation in all urban areas and rural centres
following a government directive earlier this year.
But the council, which says it stands to lose more than 60% of its
revenue if the takeover goes ahead, has so far refused to budge.
"Just about all the local authorities in the country have handed over
their facilities to Zinwa," the mayor, Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube said, "but we
were the first to stand up to them and say no to the takeover.
"They will take over if they want to but our position remains clear:
we will not hand over to Zinwa and I am proud of our stance."
Battling to cool rising temperatures at a full council meeting
recently, Ncube said the government was avoiding discussion on compensation
for the infrastructure that would be taken over by Zinwa and its legal
He announced that a special full council meeting would be called soon
to discuss "the possible Zinwa takeover".
"I have been told to resign, once we allow Zinwa to take over and I am
not prepared to do that," said Councillor Angilacala Ndlovu of Emganwini.
Outspoken Alderman Charles Mpofu of Nketa said councillors were not
"prepared to sell out".
"We were mandated by residents to reject Zinwa and if we go back on
that decision we will be doing a disservice to the electorate," he said.
Alderman Martson Hlalo warned of a "mass uprising" if the council gave
in to pressure, saying the Minister of Water and Infrastructure Development,
Munacho Mutezo, was "told in no uncertain terms that residents do not want
Zinwa to take over".
Rodger Sibanda, the chairman of the council's Future Water Supplies
and Water Action Committee, said the government was "negotiating in bad
faith and the council would not give in to its arm-twisting tactics".
The council enjoys the support of civic groups and political parties
who say allowing Zinwa to take over would see the quality of water
deteriorating, as happened in Harare.
By OUR STAFF
BULAWAYO - Riot police two weeks ago evicted workers from one of the
few remaining white-owned commercial farms in Matabeleland North, a few days
after forcing their elderly employers off the property at gunpoint.
Heavily-armed officers rounded up the 16 workers at Portwe Estates in
Bubi District before bundling them into waiting trucks.
The shell-shocked workers were dumped at their villages, some as far
away as Nkayi, about 100km away.
Their unidentified manager was taken to Shurugwi in the Midlands. They
were warned never to set foot in the district again.
A fortnight ago, Margaret Joubert and her 83-year-old mother, Ellen
Maud Dolphin were evicted from their farmhouse by armed officers who dumped
them at a neighbouring farm with a few of their belongings.
The evictions were in contempt of a High Court order interdicting the
police from disrupting operations at the safari farm.
"When they evicted Mrs Joubert and her mother they asked us to work
for them but we refused," said one farm worker who requested anonymity. "We
were told never to come back to the district again."
Narrating their ordeal in Bulawayo, where they have sought temporary
refuge, Joubert and Dolphin said they were still traumatised by the
"They arrived early in the morning and forced open the security gate
after the guard refused to open for them," Joubert said. "I spoke to them
through the kitchen window and I told them I needed to speak to our lawyers
before allowing them in.
"But a few minutes later about 50 of them in riot gear and carrying
AK47s were inside the house, demanding that we should pack our belongings.
"They said they could only take us to a distance of 20km and I asked
them to take us to our neighbours.
"We arrived at 1pm and at 5pm an armed policeman came, demanding my TV
set, the sound system and DSTV decoder, but he refused to give me written
confirmation for the things that he took."
Joubert said they took away elephant tusks.
The family has since made an urgent High Court application for the
release of the property, including three vehicles and guns seized early this
Joubert said they would be staying with well-wishers, as they wait for
the court case to be concluded.
Dolphin is a veteran bowls player who represented Zimbabwe at
international tournaments in a long career.
The police first invaded the farm in March this year and have ignored
several court orders to vacate the property.
Recent media reports have indicated a fresh wave of farm invasions
following a government circular to all chief land officers in all provinces
ordering the police to arrest white farmers remaining on land earmarked for
acquisition after the expiry of the notice of eviction.
Last week, the Commercial Farmers' Union, representing an estimated
600 remaining white commercial farmers, was quoted as saying contrary to
assertions that white farmers were resisting the government's land reform,
most of those still on their farms were awaiting the outcome of their
applications for land lodged with the government, in some cases as far back
as two years ago.
Didymus Mutasa, the Minister of Lands and Land Reform has, however,
said he is working out a plan to sort out the confusion on the farms.
By Bertha Shoko
THERE was controversy created by renewed claims that a herbal
concoction, Gundamiti, can reduce the viral load (among other things) in an
HIV positive person by more than 90% after two months of use. Standardhealth
last week decided to follow lead researcher on Gundamiti, Dr Peter Mashava
to his laboratory at the University of Zimbabwe (UZ) campus for a
Dr Mashava is a senior lecturer in Chemistry at the UZ.
Two weeks ago, we featured a discussion forum organised by SAfAIDS
where scientists attacked Mashava's research and findings. They said the
research has not been properly and scientifically conducted.
In this Q&A session, Mashava defends his research . . .
Bertha Shoko (BS): Gundamiti has in the past weeks definitely stirred
a lot of controversy. Please tell us what made you temporarily abandon the
lecture room and start this research to come up with a herbal concoction
that is alleged to stop the progression of HIV antibodies in an infected
Dr Peter Mashava (PM): This all started as far back as 1992. I just
felt something deep inside me telling me that I must play a part in ending
all this suffering (HIV and Aids). I then approached the University of
Zimbabwe Chancellor and asked him for permission to do this research on
We did not have enough sponsorship to look for premises elsewhere. So
the university agreed to accommodate us.
BS: Other than the need to help humankind, what exactly pushed you to
want to make a difference? At the discussion forum two weeks ago I heard you
say that while you were visiting in United States you came across some
scientists who were doing research on various plants and how they react to
cancer cells. Then you decided to also test how these plants reacted to the
PM: Yes that is how it all started. We had 600 different plant
species, which I tested and found that they reacted very well to HIV and
decided there and then that I would continue research with these three
plants. As soon as I got back home and with the help of botanists I looked
for these same plants and continued with the research and the results were
BS: What plants are these and what did you find out about them?
PM: We discovered that these plants, especially two of them, had the
ability to stop the replication of HIV in the body. These plants could
protect the cell from being engulfed or destroyed by HIV and to us this was
the most important thing:preventing HIV from destroying the T-cells (white
blood cells) in the body. That is why I say what we found was amazing. We
don't know exactly what these plants do in the body but all we knew is that
they stopped the HIV virus from multiplying and we thought to ourselves:
this is what we have been looking for!
BS: Yes, I suppose this was very exciting but how about the
accusations from scientists that your research is not above board and that
until your Gundamiti has been thoroughly proven to work, you must stop
selling and manufacturing the drug? Also the names of the plants, you still
haven't answered me.
PM: That is totally unacceptable - that we should sit and wait and
watch people dying because scientists think that my work is not above board?
I have said that in this research I have absolutely nothing to hide and will
be willing to work with anyone who has the resources to sponsor me to redo
the research on a large scale, with more people. But as for now I am saving
lives. We have not heard one single complaint from anyone who has used our
There is no liver or kidney damage, as in the prolonged use of
Antiretroviral Drugs and I am convinced that Gundamiti works. We will give
it to anyone who wants it. We are not forcing anyone. The problem is, like I
said last week, we are used to accepting medical breakthroughs from the
developed world. Nekuti ndiDr Mashava, nhasi zvaipa? (Today, because it's Dr
Mashava, it's no good?) As for the names of the plants I cannot tell you
that otherwise you will find Gundamiti in every street corner after this
article comes out.
BS: In what form is Gundamiti found?
PM: In capsule form and it costs $1 million for a month's supply. This
is way cheaper than most medications that are being used in HIV management
and this is our point; we want to offer an alternative to many people who
cannot afford some of these medicines.
BY OUR STAFF
ARMED police and Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) officers
yesterday barred opposition supporters from travelling to Mushayavanhu in
Gutu for a memorial service for Isaac Matongo scheduled for today.
They told party supporters who had travelled long distances for the
memorial of the late MDC national chairman; Isaac Matongo, it had been
cancelled because police had not given the go-ahead.
MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa described the police and CIO conduct
"It's is a private function and they have no right to stop the
memorial service," he said. "That decision can only be made by the Matongo
A Standard reporter who visited Zvavahera turn off, a few kilometres
from Mupandawana growth point along the Gutu/Kurai road yesterday said MDC
supporters were stranded after being barred by police from proceeding to
Some of these activists had travelled from as far away as Masvingo,
Bulawayo and Harare. There were also civic organisation leaders who had come
for the memorial.
Officials from the Restoration for Human Rights were detained for two
hours. They were carrying kits which they intended to donate to youths,
taking part in games at the memorial.
One of the officials, Shadreck Zvorwadza said: "We were stopped by
police and when we told them we were going to memorial they told us it had
Police spokesperson Wayne Bvudzijena could not be reached yesterday to
explain the ban.
THE recent introduction of the
$200 000 bearer cheque by the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe was an indirect
admission by the governor Gideon Gono, that he had lost the war against
inflation, his Number One Enemy, economists said last week.
Responnding to questions on the issue, RBZ said in a statement:
"Please note that the introduction of the $200 000 bearer cheque note is not
in anyway equivalent to the slashing of zeros by any imagination, as this
does not have a bearing on the market prices of goods and services in the
"It was simply an introduction, in due response to the genuine
submissions from the business community, the financial sector and the
transacting public, on the need for added convenience on cash transactions."
But in separate interviews, economists said the new bearer cheque was
introduced because of high inflationary pressures.
"The move is just a cosmetic way of making things look better," said
John Robertson, a Harare based independent economist. "It is a wish by the
government to save paper. They are only trying to avoid printing more money.
"The currency's decreasing value now required that they print more of
the lower denominations."
Although it managed to heighten shoppers' buying "ability", the
slashing of prices failed to control the inflation scourge as people hoarded
goods for resale at inflated prices on the black market, an economist who
preferred anonymity said.
He said the move resembled the slashing of three zeros from the
currency last year, as it also sought to achieve convenience for the
"The move was aimed at providing more convenience to the person
carrying the money, especially when prices were rising at a fast rate before
the government's decree on prices," conceded Witness Chinyama of Kingdom
The introduction of higher denominations basically countered the
transactions' demand for money which increased with inflation, they said.
"It is very, very dangerous to the economy," said Oscar Chiwira of the
National University of Science and Technology, "to slash prices to a certain
percentage without addressing other economic fundamentals, such as interest
rates, inflation and export competitiveness."
Slashing prices alone put the economy on a disequilibrium position
which spurred shortages, he said.
The Central Statistical Office, official source of the Consumer Price
Index figures, has not released inflation figures since February. The RBZ
said the May figure stood at 4 530%, although independent analysts said the
real figure was far above that.
The Consumer Council of Zimbabwe estimated the June figure was more
than 13 000 percent.
BY OUR STAFF
RIOZIM Limited has recorded a 5.36% increase in total gold production
in the second quarter compared to the same period last year, according to a
quarterly production report.
RioZim mines gold at Renco Mine in Masvingo province.
The quarterly production report shows that in the second quarter of
2007, Rio produced 6 332 ounces of gold compared with 6 012 in the same
period last year. The figure was also 836 ounces higher than production in
the first quarter.
At Empress Nickel Refinery, nickel produced in the second quarter were
172 tonnes higher than last year's output of 1 396 tonnes.
Murowa Diamond Mines recorded an over 100% decline in diamonds
recovered to 30 972 carats in the second quarter.
In the year comparable, diamonds recovered at Murowa were 84 526
RioZim also owns 22 percent of Murowa Diamonds.
At Sengwa Coal Mine, coal sold declined to 44 394 tonnes in the second
quarter from 47 417 tonnes in the year comparable. RioZim owns 50% of Sengwa
The increase in gold output will come as a relief to the economy which
is desperately looking for foreign currency to finance electricity, fuel and
Last month, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe increased the gold support
price in a move meant to revive the sector. The gold support price for June
was increased to $1 million per gramme from $350 000. A week later, it was
increased to $3 million effective 1 July.
Gold is a precious mineral prone to smuggling. Last year, the RBZ
govenor Gideon Gono, said smuggling of precious minerals was costing the
country US$50 million.
Gold production has been plummeting over the years from a high of 27
000kg in 1997 to 11 354kg last year.
by OUR STAFF
THE signing of the Incomes and Stabilisation protocol, sensationally
heralded by state media as a landmark demonstration of unity of purpose in
stabilising the economy, remains nothing but what it is - mere signatures,
says the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).
Its secretary general, Wellington Chibebe, said in an interview, the
ZCTU was concerned that most employers had yet to peg salaries to the
Poverty Datum Line as agreed under the social contract protocol.
"Most managers are deliberately failing to interpret the protocol," he
said, adding that the employers said they were waiting for a government
directive, two months after the protocol was signed.
Employers were still entertaining the ordinary negotiations, linked to
inflation, although the protocol became effective on 1 June, the day it was
signed, Chibebe said.
He said according to the protocol, the current minimum monthly wage
should be pegged at $8.2 million, to match the PDL figure.
But wages remained far below that, with the average farmworker's
monthly wage pegged around $350 000 and the average worker's monthly salary
estimated at $2 million.
Chibebe said the ZCTU was also concerned that the ongoing price blitz
had stalled wage negotiations in sectors of the economy.
While some companies had proposed to reverse agreed increases, most
businesses from the rural council sector had completely suspended wage
negotiations, he said.
The Federation of Food Workers' Union, Airways Workers' Union and the
Zimbabwe Construction and Allied Trade Workers' Union are among those who
have lodged complaints with the ZCTU, said Chibebe.
"Those proposing to reverse increases, such as the construction
sector, are arguing that they had negotiated before the price slashes but
could not continue with the agreed increases due to the effects of the
slashes", he said.
The ZCTU was challenging both issues at the Tripartite Negotiating
Forum, he said.
In a written response to questions from Standardbusiness, Employers
Confederation of Zimbabwe director Johnson Manyakara conceded that some
sectors of the economy were now facing challenges in complying with the
government directive but said his organisation was "surprised" to learn of
the suspension of negotiations.
"It comes as a surprise to us that some businesses have started
suspending labour negotiations, presumably on account of viability
constraints following the government directive that prices should revert to
the pre-18 June 2007 levels," Manyakara said.
The development was "very serious" as it was an indication there were
sectors on the verge of collapse,he said, urging business to comply with the
government directive until a new price structure that allows for sector
viability was unveiled.
"While we continue to engage the government through various forums,the
National Employment Councils are expected to negotiate incomes packages as
envisaged in the Incomes and Pricing Stabilisation Protocol, taking into
account any industry specific viability constraints",Manyakara said.
By JENNIFER DUBE
AFRICAN countries and the European Union are going 50-50 in
negotiations for a new trade deal between the two blocs, a senior trade
negotiator with the Kenyan government said recently.
Addressing journalists at a Reuters Foundation workshop in Nairobi,
David Nalo, the trade ministry's permanent secretary, dismissed as
misconceptions sentiments that the EU was forcing African countries to
finalise the deal before the end of this year.
"Europe has not pushed the 31 December 2007 deadline on us," he said.
"It is part of the Cotonou agreement that we all agreed to and signed. The
deadline was jointly agreed." Nalo said African states were eager to beat
the deadline as they were negatively affected by the delayed conclusion of
the new plan, known as the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs).
"If we have finished 70% of it, we will put that on the table and sign
it, because the world is not ending on 31 December. Whatever is remaining .
. .we will negotiate and engage with the EU on how we deal with parts that
are not concluded."
The Cotonou Agreement was signed in June 2000 between the EU and a
group of African, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP). It was signed in
Cotonou (Benin) by 79 ACP countries and the then 15 EU states.
The deal has allowed ACP countries non-reciprocal market access to EU
member states at preferential tariffs since 2000, meaning ACP did not have
to give EU products market access in return.
The EU obtained a waiver from the World Trade Organisation until
December 2007 for its deals with the ACP bloc countries, among them
This will change from January 1, 2008 because the EU now wants access
for the goods and services offered by its member states to ACP countries.
Zimbabwe and 15 other countries in the Eastern and Southern Africa
(ESA) group are negotiating the reciprocal free trade agreement (EPAs) with
Upon signing, the EPAs will open developing country markets to the
products and services from the EU bloc, which now has 27 members. They cover
trade issues in six fisheries, trade in services, and trade related
Critics of the plan have continuously argued that African countries
are ill-prepared and would face detrimental effects from the deals, such as
loss of much-needed revenue.
There have been sentiments that the EU was using "dirty tricks" to
coerce ACP countries into concluding the deal before January 2008 with some
critics even advising the African bloc not to sign it.
It has been estimated that the new deal would result in an overall
loss of government revenue of about US $473 million.
Zimbabwe understandably stands to lose a staggering US$18.4 million in
import tariff revenue if it adhered to the new provisions of the deal.
Kenya tops the losers' chart with the expected loss of US$107m, Sudan
(US$73m), Mauritius (US$71m), Ethiopia (US$55m), Seychelles (US$24.9m) and
Other potential losers include the Democratic Republic of Congo
(US$24.7m), Zambia (US$15.8m), Uganda (US$9.45m), Madagascar (US$7m),
Burundi (US$7.660m), Eritrea (US$7.38m), Malawi (US$7m) and Rwanda
Nalo said research had shown the trade benefits to the East African
Community (EAC) states comprising Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and
Tanzania will offset the revenue loss in that bloc after the new trade deal
But the story looks different for Zimbabwe, currently battling a
severe foreign currency crunch against an increased need to import almost
everything, including maize, wheat, fuel and electricity.
BY NDAMU SANDU
ZIMBABWEANS should brace for bread shortages over the Heroes' holiday,
as it emerged last week the Grain Marketing Board (GMB) had run out of
Industry sources said on Friday the GMB had not supplied millers with
wheat for the whole of last week, the result of which was that the millers
could not supply bakers with flour.
Bakers told Standardbusiness last week they were in a quandary as to
how they would provide bread over the Heroes' holiday which runs from
tomorrow to Tuesday, 14 August.
"We won't be baking over the Heroes' holiday," said an official with
the National Bakers' Association. "It's not that we are defying the
government. We have just run out of flour. We have communicated this
quandary to the Ministry of Industry and International Trade."
The baking industry has been operating at a loss since the government
ordered all businesses to slash prices by half.
On Thursday the government increased the price of bread to $30 000 a
loaf from $22 000. It also reduced the price of flour to $6 million from
between $10 million and $12 million.
But baking industry sources said on Friday the review was
insignificant as the industry still maintained that the realistic price of
bread was $49 500 a loaf.
They say the major cost drivers in the production of bread were flour
and fuel, both of which were not readily available.
Flour and fuel constitute 20% and 17% respectively of the costs for a
Th sources said the National Oil Company of Zimbabwe (Noczim) had
promised to provide bakers with half of their fuel requirements at $15 000
"Noczim has failed to provide the fuel because there is no fuel," a
source said. Bakers require 600 000 litres of fuel a week.
MUCH is expected of President Thabo Mbeki's mediation in the
Zimbabwean crisis when regional leaders meet this week in Lusaka for the
Southern African Development Community (SADC) Summit.
South Africa's mediation efforts in East, Central and West Africa have
produced successes; however Zimbabwe has been a different, if not stubborn
The one thing that is very definite in South Africa's initiatives on
Zimbabwe since 2000 is that Mbeki dislikes being pre-empted, second-guessed
or appearing to conduct himself in a manner that could suggest he is doing
so because of external influence.
It is precisely because of this that President George W Bush's
reference to Mbeki as "our points man" produced the exact opposite. He
resents any impression he could be doing someone's bidding.
The parties to the mediation process are sworn to secrecy. They argue
that they would not like to been seen to be posturing or negotiating through
the media. As a result, it is unclear whether or not the report that the
Zimbabwean parties to the talks are edging closer to some kind of
understanding is authentic.
It is curious that these details should be coming from Lusaka and not
Pretoria. The only significant observation is that South Africa has not
commented officially on the leak. So the report needs to be approached with
care and its authenticity interrogated.
However, the fact that South Africa has not commented on the matter
could mean this is its view of the progress of the talks, but it could also
mean as chair of the process it would not want to complicate the matter and
will reserve any views until the meeting in Lusaka this week.
What is clear, however, is that South Africa abhors attempts at
agenda-setting, especially by external forces. By the same token, it would
oppose strongly any actions that would portray it as engaging in the sort of
conduct it has so much contempt for.
The confidential report suggests that the government and the
opposition are nearing a deal to end the political crisis in Zimbabwe. The
report talks of "progress" and that, "It seems there are no real
substantive issues between the government and the MDC. There are strong
indications that the two sides are sliding towards an agreement."
It is significant that on the even of the SADC Summit in Dar es
Salaam, Tanzania, in March this year, Zimbabwe conducted subterfuge that
persuaded regional leaders not to read the riot act to Harare. It is
questionable whether the Lusaka leak is not a re-enactment of Harare's
"image management and perception" project.
The aim of such action, on the part of Harare would be to buy time,
ahead of this week's regional indaba. Then in Lusaka the government would
point out to the verbal standoff between the two MDC formations as the real
stumbling block to the conclusion of the talks.
Harare can point to the removal of Sekesai Makwavarara from the chair
of the Commission running Harare, as indicative of its willingness to meet
opposition demands ahead of elections expected early next year.
The government can also inform SADC leaders that it has begun a
process that reinforces media plurality by instructing the Ministry of
Information and Publicity to appoint a special committee to deal with the
matter of the licence of the banned Daily News, even though in reality there
is no progress likely to take place until after the elections.
It would be a welcome development if the government and the opposition
are nearing an agreement but there is a danger of raising expectations that
are well off the mark.
ZIMBABWEANS holding out the hope that
Zanu PF will allow free and fair election in 2008 invest a superabundance of
confidence in this party.
Unfortunately, most countries of the Southern Africa Development
Community (Sadc) have swallowed its red herring that all opposition to its
intentions is on the payroll of the USA and Europe.
Sadc heads of state meet this week in Lusaka. If they publicly
demanded of President Robert Mugabe that he give the world a written
undertaking that the elections will be free and fair, then all of us might
confess to having misjudged them.
That demand, if it was accepted, would persuade many sceptics that the
man who has threatened to bash the opposition into submission might be given
a chance to redeem himself.
Yet even if Mugabe made that undertaking in the capital of one of his
fiercest critics, President Levy Mwanawasa, people would still demand the
strictest election monitoring.
Mugabe has always harped on sovereignty. In his own quirky
interpretation, this translates into "Leave us alone!"
He hurled that rejoinder at the Commonwealth leaders in Abuja when he
pulled Zimbabwe out of that multiracial grouping in 2003. The consequences?
The cessation of closer political, economic and social inter-action between
Zimbabwe and the 50-odd European, Asian, Australasian, American or Latin
American countries which constitute "The Club", as it has at times been
Recent evidence hardly promotes the forlorn hope that the government
has turned over a new leaf.
To tackle the economic crisis, embodied in hyperinflation, the
government applied the vintage Zanu PF panacea: force.
Forcing retailers and wholesalers to cut prices by 50%, without the
politeness of a hearing, is not a negotiating method espoused by a
government respectful of consensus.
It is not the cool, collected act of a player keen to be fair to
opponents before the game starts.
Take it or leave it; you're either with me or against me; if you don't
like it, you can lump it; you can go hang. That's the party style.
Dragging captains of commerce and industry from their beds in the dead
of night, to cart them off - in their pyjamas, presumably - to the police
cells, can hardly be viewed as the conduct of a government respectful of
common human decency.
Having these same high-profile people photographed as they do
community labour as part of their penance and having such pictures published
in the state media is such crass vindictiveness there cannot be wisdom in
conceiving of its perpetrators being fair-minded.
Watching on the sidelines, as huge supermarkets empty their shelves of
all foodstuffs; as hundreds of citizens queue for hours for fuel, transport,
sugar, bread and cooking oil, and not feeling a sense of guilt, is the stuff
of which corrupt, cruel, uncaring, self-absorbed governments are made.
Again, it would be disastrous to hope such people possess a shred of
human decency when dealing with others in a political contest.
Conversely, if such a government expects these voters to swarm the
polling stations in their favour, then it must have an ace up its sleeve.
Either there is a loaded deck or someone is going to take a dive.
There is no chance this is going to be a fair fight.
Whether or not they cast their ballots, in the end, the outcome will
be the same: the cockerel will crow lustily in victory.
The perennial optimists insist that Zanu PF has changed. The elections
will be free and fair. If the MDC loses, it will be because of their stupid
There are some basic home truths: Zanu PF has frightened the voters.
First, they beat up union and opposition political leaders, including Morgan
Then they killed at least one demonstrator, in cold blood. Then they
hijacked the body from a funeral parlour in Harare and buried it in his
Edward Chikomba's body was found far away from his home in Harare. In
all the cases, not one person has been arrested and charged.
On what grounds would you believe that Zanu PF is now this squeaky
clean democratic party, as anxious as St Peter and the ghost of Voltaire, to
give the opposition a fair chance at the polls?
On which road did they see The Light?
On the way to bury Gift Tandare? Or to dump Chikomba's body near the
sunday view by Judith Todd
HALFWAY through September, Dr Nkomo told me that his tiny secretary
Primrose had been seen at the Bulawayo police's Stops Camp with her arms and
legs shackled and that his brother Stephen and Kembo Mohadi were probably
being held in Gwanda police camp.
I had learned that it is vital that authorities are made aware that
others also know of the existence of their victims. So, without telling
Nkomo, I rang Gwanda police from home. This kind of work I never did from
the office. The policeman who answered was clearly flustered when I asked to
speak to Mr Kembo Mohadi. He had to go off and talk to someone else.
When he came back, he said he'd never seen Kembo Mohadi, didn't know
him and he wasn't with the Gwanda police. I said, okay, could I then speak
to Mr Stephen Nkomo? Who? I said well, you know, he's another member of
parliament, and I am told you are holding him too. He went off to get
A new, rough voice came onto the telephone. "Who are you?" I gave my
name and telephone number. This man denied any knowledge of Nkomo and
Mohadi, said they weren't in his custody, asked where I got my information
from (I said "friends"), and said he was going to check with the post office
to see I'd given the correct telephone number and address, and then tomorrow
he was going to come and pick me. I said fine, but it's a long way for you
to drive from Gwanda, and tomorrow I won't be here. I'll be at Great
Zimbabwe. But, I said, I was going to be in his area the following week and
I would call on him. What was his name?
He wouldn't give it. Eventually he said, "Ask for the
Member-in-Charge." I said I would next Tuesday.
What seemed to make him particularly angry was that I said: "The
information you have given me is important enough anyway. I can now tell
anyone that Gwanda police deny knowledge of the existence of these two
members of parliament."
It was just like old times under Ian Smith's Rhodesia Front, except
now the abusers of power were black, although maybe there were still some
whites helping to arrange the scenery. Another difference was that I couldn't
recall any members of parliament being detained and tortured under Smith.
So, on the last Tuesday of September, I went to Gwanda police camp
from Hokonui Ranch. I told my parents I was just going to drive around,
which they knew I loved doing, especially at that time of the year with the
delicate new leaves of the msasas and the mountain acacias shimmering in all
their most brilliant colours. But I left a note in my bedroom saying that if
I was very late returning, they should contact the Officer-in-Charge at
Gwanda, as I was going to see him.
What a big camp it was. I was taken to a dour and bleary bloke, the
one who had said he was going to pick me up in Harare. I tried to appear as
light hearted and breezy as possible. Eventually, when he again took my name
and telephone number and asked where I was born, long-lost memories started
tumbling in his brain. Was Mrs Judith Acton in fact Judy Todd? It turned out
he had been a student at Dadaya. He denied any knowledge of anyone I thought
was at the police camp. A young, much brighter policeman with him said: "But
she's come a long way, shouldn't we find out from the CIO . . .? The
beginnings of his kindly question were silenced with such a threatening
"I have the keys of all the cells. I know who is in all the cells. I've
never heard of Kembo Mohadi and if Stephen Nkomo was here, I would know him.
I've seen him. But he is not here."
I spent about seven minutes with them and then retreated.
On the way home, I wished I hadn't been so scared, and that I had gone
to the CIO, especially when I later discovered that Stephen Nkomo had been
there, at least during that week. Had our police been through a fast course
on how to be fluent liars since the advent of Enos Nkala as Home Minister?
In the recent elections, PF Zapu's Naison Ndlovu had soundly thrashed
Nkala in the Insiza constituency by 27 602 votes to 3 392. Mugabe then
torpedoed the electorate by appointing Enos Nkala to the Senate and giving
him the powerful portfolio of Home Affairs. Nkala obviously hadn't enjoyed
his electoral defeat, and was now exacting revenge from the winners like
Mohadi, who had thoroughly trounced his Zanu PF opponent, John Mbedzi.
Stephen Nkomo had also won his Matobo constituency against Zanu PF by a
dramatic 10 to one margin.
I tried to call on an old PF Zapu stalwart in Gwanda, Sikwili Moyo, an
uncle of Zimbabwe's future fighter, Jenni Williams of Women of Zimbabwe
Arise (Woza). Sikwili had been kidnapped a few months previously by men from
5 Brigade, and, through a series of miracles, had escaped death, albeit with
a bloated head and a tortured body. When he thought he was dying, a soldier
had come in the night and smuggled him to safety. But now his house appeared
deserted. Maybe I was at the wrong house. I looked round the back and found
an old white man, so old he could hardly walk, staggering around. I fled. To
me, everything that day appeared the stuff of nightmares.
The previous week, in Bulawayo, I had seen the wives of three
detainees, one Mrs Agrippa Thembani, at the request of her father, S G Mpofu
. . . I told her a lawyer had been engaged and that she could go and see her
husband at Stops Camp the next afternoon. I rang her the next night and
found she had seen her husband . . . I had to tell her that I discovered
that her husband was being detained for recruiting dissidents
. . . or so they said. It was said of everyone in detention, or that
they had been in touch with foreign powers with the aim of overthrowing the
government. I managed to get hold of one of these incredible orders being
showered like confetti by the detaining authorities. It was a ministerial
(Home Affairs) detention order, and whoever served it on someone just filled
in the gaps. It read, verbatim:
REASONS FOR YOUR DETENTION
1. Intelligence received from Zimbabwe African Peoples' Union (Zapu)
indicates that you posed a clear threat to the Public Security and Order in
that between the month of June to July 1985 while within the country you . .
. plus other persons yet to be identified, did hold several meetings on
diverse occasions with certain members of the Zimbabwe African Peoples'
Union (Zapu) and did agree to supply (ex-Zipra combatants) now called
bandits to further their activities in the Republic of Zimbabwe.
2. That during the aforementioned period on diverse occasions, you
held meetings with certain elements of the former (Zipra) (referred to as
bandits now) against the Republic of Zimbabwe with whom you maintained close
links and did plot and agreed that you would supply them (and did supply to
them) at various points in Matabeleland North and South certain quantities
of foodstuffs (which matters are under investigations). The activities are
clearly prejudicial and injurious to the maintenance of Public Order in the
Republic of Zimbabwe.
3. You held these meetings with these elements whilst you were still
in Matabeleland (Zimbabwe) area.
* Excerpts from Judith Todd's latest book, Through the Darkness, A
Life in Zimbabwe, available from www.zebrapress.co.za.
In our submission
a few weeks ago on voter registration, we discussed the principles and
expectations of the public in the process amongst a plethora of other
issues. Overwhelming response was received but of interest was the question,
which was posed by one reader who wanted to know why the Zimbabwe Election
Support Network (ZESN) was encouraging the electorate to register when at
the onset there already were allegations of an already flawed voters' list
and an uneven electoral playing field.
There is an opinion that voters' registers are not just one additional
element of the electoral process; they are in fact a crucial factor in the
establishment and consolidation of a democratic system of government. Having
comprehensive, accurate voter registers should be considered a prerequisite
for free and fair elections. There have been however, exceptions to the rule
such as the independence elections in Zimbabwe in 1980 and the elections in
South Africa in 1994 where no rolls were used because both these countries
were coming from war.
The main function of a good voters' register is not only to promote
high voter turnout, but also to enable any turnout at all. In general, it
can be expected that comprehensive, continuously updated voters' registers
will produce higher voter turnout rates, although as an indirect effect. In
fact, voter turnout rates are over 70% in most well established democracies
where comprehensive and continuously updated voter registers exist.
It is ZESN's belief that the people can only make their choice or
voice their sentiments by voting in elections hence the need to curb voter
apathy in elections. Voter apathy can in actual fact dilute the value for
democracy. But however, though high voter turnouts are desirable also among
political scientists and economists specialising in public choice, the issue
is still debated. A high turnout is generally seen as evidence of the
legitimacy of the current system. Dictators have often fabricated high
turnouts in showcase elections for this purpose. For instance, Saddam
Hussein's 2002 referendum was claimed to have had 100% participation.
Assuming that low turnout is a reflection of disenchantment or
indifference, a poll with very low turnout may not be an accurate reflection
of the will of the people. On the other hand, if low turnout is a reflection
of contentment of voters about likely winners or parties, then low turnout
is as legitimate as high turnout, as long as the right to vote exists.
Still, low turnouts can lead to unequal representation among various parts
of the population. In developed countries, non-voters tend to be
concentrated in particular demographic and socio-economic groups, especially
the young and the poor. In India, however, the opposite is true.
The poor, who comprise the majority of the demographic, are more
likely to vote than the rich and the middle classes. In low-turnout
countries, these groups are often significantly under-represented in
elections. This has the potential to skew policy and is food for thought for
voters. Some nations such as Serbia have rules that render an election
invalid if too few people turn out to vote.
Against the backdrop of the earlier observations in our last
submission, it is not surprising that successes in African electoral
democracy have been scanty and several challenges persist. Challenges are
acute in a plethora of areas of the electoral process: the legal framework,
management of voters' registration, uneven electoral playing fields,
conflict management and resolution, use and abuse of incumbency, and
effective voter education.
These, in our view, are areas in dire need of reforms particularly in
Zimbabwe. But reforms are possible only where there is democratic consensus,
a commodity that unfortunately is in short supply in our country, where
political divisiveness and polarisation has become rife.
Political consensus should therefore be achieved in a divisive and
polarised society. Though this is not a simple matter, but democratisation
is difficult without it. It is common knowledge that consensus requires the
political elite to put aside narrow-minded interests and agree and commit to
a common national agenda towards democratisation. The point here is that a
prerequisite for reforming the legal (constitutional) framework for
political and electoral conduct is political consensus.
Zimbabwe's electoral legal framework should ensure that Zimbabweans
are not disenfranchised and should boast people's confidence in the
electoral process of the country. It is our argument that whilst several
processes are taking place in pushing for consensus between the two main
political parties (Zanu PF and MDC), activities around political campaign
and other processes like voter registration should be halted otherwise the
nation will be caught unawares.
The appointment of the Electoral Commission, timing and the process of
conducting elections, eligibility criteria for political parties and
candidates, registration of voters, voting procedures, election observers'
rights or lack thereof and other election-related matters are all defined by
the legal framework.
The starting point for reforming the electoral system and processes,
therefore, is the review of the legal framework to ensure that rules and
regulation are consistent with best practices, particularly as outlined in
the SADC Principles Governing Democratic Elections. According to these
principles clause (2.2.1& 2.2.6) "all citizens should be given the right to
participate in the political process and an equal opportunity to vote and be
In contrast to this fundamental clause, the current situation in
Zimbabwe is that not all citizens are able to vote since the Electoral Act
stipulates that only people resident in a constituency are able to vote.
Postal votes are only allowed for certain classes of state employees, to the
exclusion of citizens in the Diaspora. It is ZESN's submission that there is
need to allow individuals who are not in their constituencies the right to
vote using the postal voting system. This should be done in a transparent
manner which should include publicising the total number of people, criteria
of people who would have applied to cast postal votes and this should be
extended to Zimbabweans living in the Diaspora.
A pertinent area, which contributes immensely to the electoral
processes, is the management of the voters' roll. Overally the issue of
voter registration process presents a recurring challenge to elections in
Africa. Most African countries have laws that allow for registration of
voters within a specified timeframe and those who miss it are consequently
disenfranchised. No notable efforts are made to educate and conscientise the
electorate about these fundamental exercises in the electoral process.
Zimbabwe's voters' roll as alluded to in the previous article has been
a source of controversy with allegations of ghost voters, disenfranchisement
and duplicated names. These difficulties have not escaped even countries
with acclaimed elections, such as Ghana whose four successive elections have
included one that replaced one elected government with another in 2000. The
problem with the voters' registration can be resolved by adopting modern
information and data management technology to streamline and create a
transparent voter registration system.
In Africa many countries are now considering online registration to
increase accessibility and convenience and to avoid long and arduous
registration processes. The goals of an on-line voter registration system
are said to provide improved service to electors through fast, timely,
secure, and convenient access by enabling them to add, change, or confirm
elector registration information via the internet. In addition online
registration also seeks to improve the quality of data contained in the roll
by registering members of difficult-to-reach groups such as the youth, in
this case the urban youth of course.
In effect, an on-line voter registration system would largely
circumvent many problems and improve voter confidence and might also boast
voter turnout. Even though initial investment could be prohibitive in terms
of equipment and infrastructure, the long-term benefits of increased
transparency and accountability that reduce controversies and inconveniences
would justify such reforms.
The ongoing mobile registration faces a number of challenges, which
include lack of adequate human and material resources, and insufficient
publicity. There is also lack of a clear outline on the target groups, which
would have assisted the electors in boosting confidence in the process.
It is therefore pertinent that the responsible authorities need be
reminded that voter registration should not be a cosmetic exercise but
should be a meaningful and all-inclusive electoral process in order that it
may amply serve its purpose in the conduct of fair elections. Comprehensive
voter registration should be the starting point of increasing turnout in
If Zimbabwe expects a higher turn out in next year's elections, then
the ongoing voter registration exercise should be taken seriously to ensure
that all eligible targeted electors are registered and that they are then
also given ample time to inspect roll. A massive publicity campaign on the
process and importance needs to be conducted so that voters turn out in
large numbers to exercise their democratic right to vote in any impending
ZESN continues to call for the extension of the mobile voter
registration period, which is ending next weekend, in order to cater for all
eligible citizens who wish to participate in the 2008 elections and all
other future elections.
Comments and views to this article to: firstname.lastname@example.org
SOME of you may have been wondering where the Fiddler has
been in recent times (or more correctly this thought might fleetingly and
very vaguely have crossed the mind of his dear old mum).
No, the Fiddler was not attending an advanced course in regime change
or even regime tweaking. No, he was not off studying the effects of global
warming on the Harare City Commission. No, he was not contemplating the fate
of Blair toilets now that Brown has ousted Blair, although there is always
some unavoidable Brown stuff associated with toilets, whatever their
design - even the ablutions of pissed American astronauts whizzing around in
space. No, he was not engaged in the industrial strength introspection to
discover the meaning of life and of athletes' foot.
What actually happened was that the Fiddler was suddenly unexpectedly
seconded to the Ministry of Misery Enhancement as a special advisor. The
Fiddler has unsurprisingly found this job exceedingly difficult. It is an
indisputable fact that the Fiddler is the prototype eternal optimist who
never takes off his rose coloured spectacles, even when he is reading
Manheru, and believes that all governments, only act for the common good,
are incapable of messing up people's lives and perpetually work towards
After all, in our own fair land, the latest price controls have, in
one brilliant fell swoop, managed to resolve the dilemma of ordinary people
not having enough money to buy basic goods by ensuring that there is
absolutely nothing available to buy. So too, with the brilliant plan to
relieve petrol shortages by ensuring that people remain stationary in
interminable queues and thus do not waste fuel by going to and from work or
visiting their paramours which are something like parawives or parahusbands.
Another successful plan was the one to reduce unemployment drastically
by driving as many employable people out of the country as possible. And
then there was the scheme by our esteemed constabulary to encourage
tolerance and pluralism by teaching people to sing raucously the words of
the well known incentive song The Beat Goes On.
Thus it was indeed an Herculean endeavour for the Fiddler to dispel
from his mind (loosely so called) all naively hopeful and positive thoughts
(loosely so called) and concentrate his mind (ditto) on the important task
of devising ways of greatly intensifying suffering of the general and
So that's the reason why the Fiddler has been out of circulation for
some time like a ten cent coin. He has been locked away inside a torture
chamber at Matapi wracking his brains (loosely so called) trying to
discharge well his duties so that persons of a more violent disposition than
the Fiddler do not decide to discharge the Fiddler in a most unpleasant way.
His first scheme was rejected as being old hat. "What about," the
Fiddler suggested, "an irrebutable presumption of guilt for all persons of
the wrong political persuasion?" "Silly boy," his boss responded, "we
introduced this way back."
His next idea similarly was given short shrift. This was that we
should take to its logical conclusion the 50% reduction policy and apply it
to everything else. For instance we could reduce happiness and enjoyment by
50%; we could reduce adultery by 50%; we could reduce food by 50%; we could
reduce government planning by 50% (which would be tantamount to a deduction
of minus 50%); we could reduce the efficiency of the civil service by 50%
(which would be tantamount to a deduction of minus 50%, we could even reduce
each Minister by 50%.
My commandant told me that some aspects of this plan had potential but
that one portion of it amounted to a capital offence under the Public Order
and Security Act as it was an even more serious offence than Beatrice's
battered and much publicised thigh.
So back to the drawing board but the Fiddler was now at his wits end,
which is always a very painful experience for his wits. Like the economy, he
was experiencing a Blochage in the area of ingenuity. But then it came to
him like a flash of a flasher's dirty grey raincoat. What about declaring a
National Misery Day?
Instead of spreading misery over 365 days we could concentrate it into
one grand day of wretchedness. The Fiddler proudly presented this fabulous
scheme to his boss. The Fiddler was, however, mortified when his idea was
rejected on the basis that it would be impossible to compress everything
into just one day and, in any event people would just be unable to cope with
364 misery-free days.
This rebuff left Fiddler completely devoid of ideas, which poses a
threat to his continued employment.
The Fiddler would therefore ask the many readers of this column (one
and a half at last count) urgently to assist him by suggesting the way
forward. Communications should be addressed to Fiddler@ M mail.net.uranus.
For the slow witted M Mail is Misery Mail.
Police, army brutality akin to Nazi Germany
I was watching a very harrowing video called The Piano Player, which
depicts life in Nazi Germany. I have been watching horror films for a long
time and I have watched our own security forces in action against the people
What I saw in the film left me cold with horror. Jews and Gypsies were
shot down at point blank range, made to sing while their relatives and
friends were being brutalised and slaughtered.
The actions of our own protectors, the security forces, are not
different from the Nazi actions. In fact, watching The Piano Player made me
believe that our forces are made to watch this film during training. The
level of depraved cruelty by our armed forces has reached unacceptable
The reputation of our once respected armed forces is in tatters
because of greed and love for power in our leader. The armed forces are now
loathed and dreaded by every normal Zimbabwean who has had a brush with
them. The police, army and intelligence people have become the scum of the
country because of their love for cruelty.
President Robert Mugabe being the head of the country will shoulder
all the responsibility regarding the behaviour of these groups of law and
order enforcement agents.
The President has unwittingly exposed himself to world scrutiny. No
wonder he is trying to muzzle all forms of news. World broadcast are giving
detailed accounts of President Mugabe. Books about Mugabe are being written
on a regular basis. His former comrades-in-arms are now revealing his darker
side. And because of these revelations, the whole country is suffering. Had
the man gracefully retired earlier on, his past would have been gladly
forgotten and forgiven.
Evil-minded ex-combatants should not have been incorporated into the
security agencies. These former fighters have discredited the country and
themselves by their thirst for shedding blood. The horrors of the war of
liberation have revisited Zimbabwe and the whole country has been dragged
into the dark past.
The abductions, torture, rape and murders have rendered attainment of
independence a mere mirage. The majority of Zimbabweans have not tasted the
true fruits of independence. It seems that President Mugabe delivered us
from one coloniser only to hand us over to a new coloniser - the Chinese. We
are soon going to realise the height of Chinese cruelty if we are not
already experiencing it.
President Mugabe, please spare us a thought and save us from the
horrors of your making.
THANK you for an informative newspaper. Please kindly publish my open letter
to Morgan Tsvangirai:
This letter is addressed to you as the leader of the so-called main wing of
the MDC. You are the sole person responsible for everything happening to us
because of your refusal to unite with Arthur Mutambara.
You must exercise your conscience and see if you are not the one celebrating
the people's misery because of your refusal to consider and implement unity.
This is now a big hindrance and I am puzzled how you could be benefiting
from this crisis and how much of an effect the financial support from the
donor community is.
You have the voice and experience of being in the opposition trenches, but
the strategic mind is firmly situated in the Arthur Mutambara faction. A
combination of the two would make for a formidable opposition.
With only nine months before the election, you have to accept the
inevitability of unity, come to Matabeleland and address rallies as a united
MDC and apologise for your remarks during the split.
Without unity the chances of moving into State House are slim. Matabeleland
is already MDC and so you will need to concentrate on the other provinces in
the country. However, your greatest weakness is that you are surrounded by
some immature politicians.
Lastly, for the time being, cut down on foreign visits and concentrate on
the job at hand - unity and preparing to fight Zanu PF during next year's
If by the time this letter is published, you have decided on unity, I
apologise unreservedly for my remarks.
Saboteurs on wheels
THE country is losing a lot of grain through post harvest leakages
because the producers appear unconcerned about inspecting the condition of
the wagons/trailers being used to collect maize, soya beans and later in the
A drive along the main highways leading to Harare will show a lot of
maize and soya beans littering the routes - the results of leakages from the
haulage trucks ferrying the grain to various points.
I suggest that the Grain Marketing Board officials and the police be
empowered to effect arrest of truckers engaged in this sabotage of the
nation's grain. But I would also encourage the farmers to ensure that the
transport they contract do not cause these post-harvest losses.
Aiding regime change agenda
TO the Chancellor, Sir, the Midlands State
University led by Prof Nqwabi Bhebhe has hiked the fees from $120 000 to $8
million. This is definitely based on the regime change pricing model; given
that you have ordered all businesses to revert to 18 June 2007 prices.
What then is Professors Bhebhe's and Zvobgo's justification? This kind
of fees determination is obviously going to set a trend for most of your
State universities. I suspect this is a move to stimulate a protest vote
against you as Chancellor in the next elections.