|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
well-placed sources the party, in the past accused of
donating money for development just before elections to win support,
requires about $3 million each week to finance its campaign activities in
But the party is said to have reorganised its campaign strategy
because there is no money.
"A group of over 200 national youth service
graduates were supposed to
be deployed in Masvingo Urban to spearhead the party’s campaign but the idea
has since been shelved due to financial problems," said one ZANU PF source,
who spoke on condition he was not named.
A spokesman for ZANU PF’s Masvingo provincial executive
Raymond Takavarasha, confirmed that the party did not have money but he
played down the matter saying his party was still able to carry out its
campaign programme for the forthcoming elections.
PF, which had been a dominant force in Masvingo Province but has
lost nearly all major elections in Masvingo city and other urban areas to
the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party since the opposition party’s
formation in 1999, battles it out with mainly the MDC in the 30 and 31
August ballot to choose councillors for Masvingo Town Council.
"Yes, we do not have the money but Zanu PF is not
for money mongers. We want people who have the party at heart. After all a
T-shirt does not campaign.
"The issue of splashing money is an MDC tactic, not ours.
"The campaign is going on smoothly and we are confident
of winning the
polls irrespective of the money problem."
Takavarasha said his party had had to abandon the use of T-shirts
and flyers for campaigning because it had no money to pay suppliers of the
"Yes, we do not have the money but Zanu PF is not for money mongers.
Both ZANU PF and the MDC have fielded
candidates in Masvingo and in
more than 10 other municipalities where elections are scheduled in two weeks
Tsvangirai demands progress on talks
OPPOSITION leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday demanded that the
ruling ZANU PF party reciprocate peace overtures, warning that his Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) party had not abandoned mass action but had
extended the olive branch only in a bid to find a peaceful solution to
Tsvangirai, who was speaking at the burial of Kadoma
Central Member of
Parliament Austin Mupandawana (MDC) in the town, accused ZANU PF of
insincerity towards dialogue, saying the ruling party was dragging its feet
on an initiative by Zimbabwe’s church leaders to resuscitate dialogue
between the country’s biggest political parties. Mupandawana died on
Tsvangirai said: "Mass action is not yet off
the agenda. The talks are
an olive branch we are giving ZANU PF to test its sincerity about ending the
crisis. But if we fail to make a breakthrough in the talks then we will
resort to mass action."
spoke as it emerged yesterday that there were sharp
divisions within ZANU PF over whether to endorse the church-led search for a
negotiated settlement to break Zimbabwe’s political impasse.
Sources said there was also
bitter disagreement within the ruling
party over issues that should be on the agenda, when and if talks with the
MDC are resumed.
well-placed sources said because of the bitter wrangling between
various and competing factions within ZANU PF, the ruling party had failed
to submit its written position on the talks to the church leaders.
was supposed to have submitted its position to the leaders of
the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe Council of Churches and the
Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference last week.
The MDC has already confirmed in writing it is ready to resume talks.
in submitting party proposals are mostly over the agenda
items and whether or not we should accept the clergymen’s initiative. The
party would want wide consultations before we make a firm commitment to the
proposals," a source told the Daily News yesterday.
A spokesman for the three-member
church team, Trevor Manhanga,
yesterday said his group was scheduled to meet ZANU PF chairman John Nkomo
on Monday to get an update on that party’s position on the issue of
Manhanga said: "We were
in touch with Minister Nkomo and he suggested
we should meet him this Friday or next Monday to hear their position. We
agreed that we should meet just to see what the issues are."
But ZANU PF spokesman Nathan
Shamuyarira dismissed suggestions there
was disagreement in his party over resumption of dialogue with the MDC,
which broke down last August.
Shamuyarira said: "That’s not a true allegation. That’s
a falsehood on
Zanu PF’s position. We should negotiate directly with the parties
The ZANU PF spokesman would, however,
not say when the party would
submit its position on resumption of negotiations in writing to the church
Both ZANU PF
and state President Robert Mugabe and Tsvangirai told
Manhanga and his group in separate meetings that they were committed to the
resumption of dialogue between their rival parties.
But Mugabe earlier this week
poured cold water on prospects for
dialogue when he demanded that the MDC "repent" first before there could be
co-operation with his government.
A week earlier, hawkish ZANU PF legal affairs
Chinamasa had trashed the church-led efforts to revive dialogue as
insincere, accusing the clergymen of being biased in favour of the MDC.
Tsvangirai yesterday warned Mugabe and his ZANU PF
party not to
misread the MDC’s readiness for dialogue for a sign of capitulation.
The opposition leader, who accused ZANU PF of
wanting to use the
proposed talks for propaganda purposes, said the MDC would not negotiate
He said: "We have our deadlines
because we cannot negotiate ad
infinitum, but we cannot discuss that because we don’t negotiate through the
"ZANU PF has failed to reciprocate our goodwill overtures to save this
country from total collapse. Instead we feel that they want to use this
whole process of talks to portray a picture of themselves to the
international community as a peace-loving party." By Zerubabel Mudzingwa and
Mugabe puts army ahead of starving nation
PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe this week promised to nourish and re-equip
his army in a move analysts said showed the ageing leader was more
preoccupied with shoring up his stranglehold on power than with resolving a
bitter economic and social crisis throttling Zimbabwe.
Mugabe’s decision to
prioritise security forces in a country where
five million people face starvation because of severe food shortages was a
clear signal the military remained the trusted guarantor of Mugabe’s
iron-fisted rule, they said.
University of Zimbabwe (UZ) political scientist Eldred
said Mugabe’s pampering of the military, which he also showered with praises
for crushing opposition protests in June, was also meant to tell opponents
that the army would always be called in to quell dissension.
Masunungure, who is head of the UZ’s political and
studies department, said: "It is a demonstration of the power of the
government that security issues rank high on its priority. It means the
coercive instruments of power – the security forces – will continue to be
deployed to quell any protests in the streets of Zimbabwe.
"The issues of starvation, drought and medical drugs
are subsidiary to
the overall imperative responsibility of maintaining the security apparatus,
hence the need to revamp it at any cost and making sure it is well-oiled and
lubricated so that it can dispense instant justice to those who (the
government) feels deserve it."
In a speech to
mark Defence Forces Day on Tuesday, Mugabe paid tribute
to the military for crushing internal demonstrations called by the
opposition Movement for Demonstration Change (MDC) in June to force him to
the negotiating table to resolve Zimbabwe’s deepening crisis.
Mugabe told the security
forces that his government would prioritise
provision of modern weaponry and training in modern warfare tactics in order
to ensure the military was well equipped to crush "internal and external
on Monday during a commemoration of heroes of Zimbabwe’s 1970s
independence struggle Mugabe had appeared to scuttle hopes for resumption of
dialogue between his ruling ZANU PF party and the MDC, demanding that the
opposition "repent" first before there could be co-operation.
said Mugabe’s obsession with with arming soldiers to
fortify his rule when Zimbabwe was mired in unprecedented poverty, hunger
and disease was blinding him from the real crisis choking the nation while
upgrading him into the elite squad of the tragi-comic African dictators.
hit an all-time high of 364.5 percent while the almost
valueless Zimbabwean dollar has also joined a list of several other basic
commodities in short supply in the once prosperous nation.
Unemployment is around 70
percent as commerce and industry, just like
everything else in Zimbabwe, hurtles towards total collapse.
A burgeoning HIV/AIDS crisis is
killing at 2 000 Zimbabweans each week
at a time the public health sector is collapsing due to years of
underfunding and mismanagement.
The government in a letter of appeal to international donors begged
for $23 billion worth of essential drugs to help stem the death tide.
And donor agencies warn the country could witness its first direct
deaths because of hunger unless the international community chips in with
700 000 tonnes of food aid required to feed Zimbabwe up to the next harvest
in 2004. But food relief would have to be delayed because the government
stalled in notifying the United Nations World Food Programme, the
co-ordinator of the humanitarian rescue campaign in Zimbabwe, the amount of
food needed to feed the starving nation.
MDC shadow minister of defence Giles
Mutsekwa said Mugabe’s apparent
preoccupation with keeping the army happy suggested he was prepared to
suppress Zimbabweans than deal with the myriad crises facing the nation.
Mutsekwa said: "Mugabe seemed to say
that the main job of the army
after their mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo was to oppress
and suppress the people’s basic freedoms of speech, movement and assembly.
"Equipping the army is not a
priority because we are not at war with
anybody. The priority area is to ensure that people are fed to avert mass
starvation, stem the increasing poverty, check the lawlessness pervading the
nation and the deteriorating health crisis in the country."
Masunungure said that Mugabe’s
obsession with buying more guns for a
starving nation was also a sign of paranoia associated with leaders unsure
of their rule.
respected UZ political analysts said: "When a leader reaches such
a stage when all he thinks of is the army and instruments of coercion such
as security agents, it demonstrates a sense of insecurity, real or
By Luke Tamborinyoka Chief News
Farmer faces eviction to make way for Barwe
THE government withdrew a land offer to John Davies, a Norton white
farmer, to pave way for Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) chief
correspondent Reuben Barwe, the Daily News learnt yesterday.
According to Barwe’s lawyer, Joel Mambara, Davies
was allocated 20
hectares of land at the disputed farm on 14 August 2002 by Agriculture
Minister Joseph Made.
But Made also allocated
the whole farm to Barwe only eight days later,
according to Mambara, who yesterday said he had applied to the magistrates’
court in Norton seeking an order to evict Davies’ colleague, Les Cooper,
from the disputed property.
Cooper is staying at the farm, known as Sunnyside
through an arrangement he made with Davies.
No comment on the matter was available yesterday from Made who
switched off his mobile phone each time this reporter tried to call him.
Mambara said: "Minister Made withdrew his offer of land to Davies on
13 February this year because there was a double offer. Davies was supposed
to make representations within seven days of receipt of the withdrawal of
the offer letter but he failed to do that."
But one of Davies’
workers, Sam Mpande, told this newspaper that they
were carrying on with farming operations on their part of the farm, which he
claimed was properly allocated to his employer.
Sam Mpande, who is Davies’ farm
manager, said: "The situation is
really confusing. Barwe wants us to be evicted.
"We have been to the courts on three occasions but the
matter has been
put on hold. We are continuing with our farming and we will not be stopped
because we have an offer letter."
Presidential Lands Review Committee, set by President Robert
Mugabe to audit the government’s chaotic farm reforms, is also said to have
probed how Sunnyside Farm was allocated to more than one person. The
committee, led by Mugabe’s former secretary, Charles Utete, interviewed
Barwe last week on his claim to the property.
Barwe yesterday confirmed being
interviewed by the committee, saying
the committee came while he was at the farm and asked him to explain how he
was allocated the farm.
He said: "They came to the farm and l explained to them how l was
allocated that farm. I told them there was a dispute with some few settlers
who claimed they had invaded the farm but had no offer letters."
Africa must now bear on Mugabe to step down
THE change of the guard in Liberia, where Charles Taylor resigned as
president on Monday and flew to Nigeria for political asylum, could provide
useful lessons for troubled Zimbabwe, where planned talks between the
government and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) could
fail to rescue the country from total collapse.
While Liberia has been torn apart by civil war in the past 20 years,
Zimbabwe is gripped by deepening political and economic anarchy after
President Robert Mugabe presided over the virtual destruction of the
Taylor, for all his sins of the past, should be commended for seeing
the light and stepping aside so that peace could return to the shattered
He obviously realised that Liberia is bigger than Taylor.
Soon after Taylor’s departure, his deputy Moses
Blah took over as
interim head of state. Understandably, the rebels who brought the war to
Taylor’s doorstep in the capital Monrovia are demanding a more neutral
figure to lead the country to a fresh start.
Although human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have called
for the arrest of Taylor and his subsequent trial at a United Nations-backed
court in neighbouring Sierra Leone, the Nigerian government was magnanimous
enough to offer him asylum.
In Zimbabwe, Mugabe still clings to power
despite mounting public
pressure for him to step down in the midst of a rapidly worsening economic
crisis created by his government’s poor policies.
Mugabe, accused both locally and internationally of
gross human rights
abuses, would need immunity if he were to step down.
Members of the late Joshua Nkomo’s ZAPU party have not
1980s military crackdowns in Matabeleland and the neighbouring Midlands
provinces in which thousands of people were killed by army troops.
In addition, state agents have been accused of waging
acts of violence
against perceived MDC supporters during and after last year’s disputed
If Mugabe does not
quit now, how long can he precariously cling to
power and at what cost to the tottering and anguished nation?
The MDC insists that both the
2000 general election and last year’s
presidential vote were rigged by Mugabe’s ZANU PF and regards the present
government as illegitimate, which has exacerbated Zimbabwe’s political and
Mugabe’s legitimacy is one of the issues that the opposition says must
be discussed in talks with the government, something Mugabe does not even
want to hear of.
Mugabe’s flawed land reform policy, hatched at the
last moment to head
off massive electoral defeat in the 2000 parliamentary poll and last year’s
presidential vote, has turned Zimbabwe, once the breadbasket of southern
Africa, into a humiliating beggar among sovereign nations.
Although Mugabe’s colleagues in the Southern African
region have been
working behind the scenes to try to put things right, much more needs to be
done at that level to make clear to the President that there can never be
normality until democracy is restored to Zimbabwe.
The African leaders could use their influence to
ensure that Mugabe is
not forced to go the Taylor route.
Whether or not an African country would be prepared to offer him
asylum would depend largely on the modalities and timing of his departure.
Only ZANU PF capable of achieving such incompetence
It seems that our leaders have no conscience and should never have
been elected to lead us.
We have the highest inflation rate in the world.
We are the only country to have run out of its own money.
We have the world’s fastest
shrinking economy. We need to beg for
We cannot afford
to pay our bills to Mozambique when it was once
regarded as one of the poorest countries in the world.
We cannot pay our international debts.
We are now the poorest country in the world. We cannot buy fuel.
We have no foreign currency. There are no medicines,
doctors in our clinics and hospitals.
Our teachers are among the poorest paid in the world.
agriculture base has collapsed. We are at the top of the list of
repressive regimes and human rights abusers.
Foreign journalists are
banned. Holiday-makers cannot take pictures
without the risk of being imprisoned.
Our President, parliamentarians and top business
people earn less than
a gardener in South Africa.
income employees earn under the United Nations, minimum of
US$1 (Z$824) per day. Seventy to 80 percent of our labour force is
unemployed, the highest in the world.
Ninety-nine percent of our population struggle to
survive, 80 percent
live in poverty.
Our main export is
human beings. Twenty percent of our population
prefer to live outside Zimbabwe.
We need visas to visit almost every country in the world.
Our President constantly accuses his politicians and
appointees of corruption and working against the nation, but is powerless or
unwilling to do anything about it.
organise talks between the two main political parties
without external assistance. We have daily been in international news for
three years for all the wrong reasons.
The list of our "achievements" over the last three years is endless.
In any other country, the government
would hang its head in shame and
resign. Not here. Instead, they blame everyone else in the world for their
incompetence. They carry on with blundering policies showing everyone just
how incompetent they are.
Travellers’ cheques! Imploring people to import fuel and then
confiscating it when they try to sell it! Still fast-tracking farms after
three years! Two land audits! Again the list is endless. Is there no one in
ZANU PF who has any shame, pride, moral fibre, guts or whatever it takes to
admit to having failed and resign? Or are they all brave men and women
waiting for the inevitable uprising that will see their heads on stakes? A
Happy 40th birthday, ZANU PF!
Kindly allow me to congratulate ZANU PF on the attainment of its
40th birthday. Kindly further allow me to give the following interesting
observation about the people’s party:
- The ability for the party to live such a
long life is commendable in
light of the fact that the life expectancy rate has in the past 23 years
slid down from above 60 years to 30 years or so.
- The party is about the same age as the wife of its Dear
Incidentally, the Dear Leader is about double the age of the party.
- In its 40 years of existence, the party has, like the
lived at least four lives. The first one in 1963 (Sithole era), the second
in 1976 (Mugabe era), the third in 1987 (Mugabe-Nkomo era) and the last one
(or present one) since 1999 (Mugabe-Moyo era).
The party used to celebrate the cockerel (jongwe/iqude) until about
1987. The domestic bird represents the dawn of a new era (post-independence
euphoria). But now the cockerel has been replaced by the Great Zimbabwe
Ruins, that possibly suggests what the party has done to this once beautiful
country – turning it from being a great country into a huge ruin!
party says it stands for "Unity, Peace and Development". But
ironically, one can easily note the following:
- Unity – What unity? The country is far from being united because a
party-led "hate" campaign has completely overcome the gains originally made
from the 1980 reconciliation policy.
- Peace – What peace? Under the party, Zimbabweans have hardly known
peace. From the political genocide of Matabeleland in the 1980s to the
political violence against the MDC in the new millennium, it has always been
"pamberi ne hondo, jambanja ndizvo!"
- Development – What development? In the 1980s, this country used to
be "the" African jewel. It had all the potential, but look at how
underdeveloped it has become. Today, Zimbabwe is as primitive as ever,
having returned to barter trade since the modern system of currency has
The party used to posture under Maoist-Marxist-Leninist dogma, but
has now abandoned the hypocrisy almost recklessly. Today, the party’s elite
own two or more farms and will not use any car unless it is a luxury
- The party was formed in a humble Enos
Nkala-owned home in Highfield.
Rightly so, because it was meant to be a people’s party. But where is it
based now? On a multi-storey office complex with the Sheraton Hotel and
Towers as its comfortable neighbours. Highfield has now been abandoned for
the political misfits and wannabes such as Chinos. It is now a party of
chefs (the bosses), sadly reminding us of George Orwell’s Animal Farm. What
more can I say except to hope that since some people say that life begins at
40, this month might mean that the party will abandon its bad-boy image and
re-invent itself as a mature party, ready at last to be of some good use to
Happy 40th birthday, ZANU PF!
ZBC must be public – not government – broadcaster
PUBLIC broadcasting in Zimbabwe is a rarely discussed topic within
the media industry. As a matter of fact, all matters concerning
broadcasting, be it commercial, public or community-oriented, have not
carved a niche within the public eye.
It is for this
reason that the Media Institute of Southern Africa
(MISA) (Zimbabwe Chapter) is convinced that Zimbabweans need to raise points
of concern around the nationally important issue of public broadcasting.
It is also
trite to note that the raising of concern on the
above-mentioned subject matter is within the context that in Zimbabwe the
airwaves are not yet free regardless of the much-touted Broadcasting
Services Act (BSA), as well as the undemocratic Access to Information and
Protection of Privacy Act.
As a fundamental premise upon which to understand where
in favour of public broadcasting comes from, I will share a lighter moment
with the reader. A friend of ours was sitting a final qualifying exam in a
law course and saw the least expected question confronting him. The question
was asking him to discuss the point of view of the Zambian and Zimbabwean
governments on fishing laws at Lake Kariba and the overall effect that the
latter have on the fishing industry.
Our friend was perplexed but decided to begin his essay saying: "I
know nothing about the point of view of the Zambians in the arbitration of
the fishing problem at Lake Kariba and neither do I have an insight of the
Zimbabwean government perspective. I shall, therefore, discuss the question
from the point of view of the fish."
As a media
advocacy organisation, MISA shall explain things only from
the point of view of the people as well as media workers because it is
within the citizens of Zimbabwe that you find the victims of the current
Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) propaganda, who are the equivalent
of the fish.
They (the people and journalists) do no partake in the
unjust media laws, but at least they can tell anyone willing to listen about
how the same said media laws are denying them the right to freedom of
information as well as to freedom of expression.
The ZBC is currently the only player in the broadcasting industry
Zimbabwe. It occasionally claims that it is a public broadcaster and exhorts
citizens of the country to pay licences in order for there to be progressive
and good programmes. Moreover, there is the regular claim that the
broadcaster is together with the people as evidenced through its tiritose or
What can immediately be discerned
from the activities of the ZBC is
that it is trying painfully hard to give the impression that it belongs to
the people of Zimbabwe. This is all well and good as an impression, but it
is a far cry from the truth.
Essentially, the purpose of a public broadcaster is to
there is the representation of the diversity of the public that the
broadcaster wishes to serve. There is no political correctness in the arena
of public broadcasting. If there is an opposition party in the country, if
there is a fraud of mega proportions, if there is an AIDS crisis, all of
these things must not skirt the eye of the public broadcaster. Public
broadcasting should seek to show to the people that it reflects their
lifestyles to levels that are reasonably acceptable in a democratic society.
Zimbabwe’s sole broadcaster does not reflect the
diversity of the
Zimbabwean people. It reflects the views of the government and where it
attempts to reflect other perceptions of our society, it does so in such a
piecemeal manner that no serious citizen can accept the broadcasts as a
critical reflection of their lifestyle.
greater emphasis on this point, it is important to quote from
a paper presented at an important meeting of public broadcasters that was
held some years ago in the United States of America:
"Public television must never be ‘government’ television. It must
never sacrifice its quality, It must not advocate, even by implication,
positions on partisan political issues and must be equally accessible to the
broad spectrum of mainstream political views. It must always work hard to
preserve the qualities that made it public."
We are all too familiar with what has been
happening during the
by-elections that have been held in the country over the last three or so
months. There has been limited reason to believe that ZBC is committed to
playing the role of an independent public broadcaster. More often than not,
it covers the issues of one party in a positive light and those of other
existing opposition parties in a very negative perspective.
As highlighted before, our matters of concern are
being raised within
the context of the lack of broadcasting diversity in our country. And that
because there is only one broadcaster that is in operation right now, there
is limited viewer choice for the citizens. It may sound like a cliché, but
it must be repeated again and again: the ZBC is not a public broadcaster; it
is a state broadcaster. It reflects the views of government over and above
those of citizens.
Another important aspect
that makes public broadcasting "public" is
the funding it receives from the state as well as from listeners’ licences
for its sustenance. This is obviously derived from taxes paid by citizens of
the country and ideally being funded by government should not be reasons to
impinge on the editorial independence of a public broadcaster. A public
broadcaster is one that also has a legal mandate to seek and acquire
viewing/and or listeners’ licences from members of the public. These
licences are more or less the equivalent of membership fees. The ZBC has a
legal mandate to ask for viewing licences from every citizen it deems to
have a television or radio receiver.
The distinction, however, between ZBC and a true
public broadcaster is
that it is not a criminal offence not to have a licence. It is also not an
issue that will mean being hounded out of your house by young men and women
threatening to arrest you if they do not see a copy of your listeners’ or
viewers’ licence. A public broadcaster must have a friendly and humane face
and cannot afford to be seen as working hand-in-hand with the police or any
other state security agents as has been the case with the ZBC.
Whether by design or by default, the ZBC has been
taking advantage of
its monopoly to provide shoddy and fairly uninteresting radio and television
programmes to the public. In fact, its slogan that it is Zimbabweans’ First
and Permanent Media Choice sends a serious chill down the spine of anyone
who believes in freedom of expression, freedom of information and the
promotion of media diversity.
It is, however, not
the business of a public broadcaster to be run
like a commercial broadcaster. Amongst some of the critical attributes of a
public broadcaster is the intention to ensure that educational and cultural
programmes are a regular feature of radio and television programmes.
In South Africa,
the public broadcaster (SABC) reflects the ethnic
composition of the state as well as ensures that there is no marginalisation
of any of the groups. That is why sometimes one will find Afrikaans
programmes on the public broadcaster in independent South Africa.
A public broadcaster does not
marginalise or appear vindictive. Where
and when there is political conflict, it should simply tell the story and
leave it up to the citizens to decide. As an ordinary citizen, the viewer or
the listener should view the public broadcaster as the only outlet of
national truth and the most impartial broadcasting agent. In Zimbabwe, the
opposite is clearly the truth. There should be public confidence in the
manner in which the public broadcaster is governed. The ZBC is at present
governed by the ZBC Commercialisation Act and is exempted from registration
under the Broadcasting Services Act (BSA). This Commercialisation Act also
separates the ZBC into two companies, one company being a signal carrier
company and the other a broadcasting company. The names of both companies
are self-defining and there is no need to delve into the details. The issue,
however, is the lack of public knowledge around the changes being effected
to the state broadcaster. Moreover, very few licence-paying viewers and
listeners really understand the implications of these changes to the
broadcaster. The Minister of Information appoints the board of governors at
the ZBC as well as Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe (BAZ). Whilst in any
democratic country the administration of national broadcasting services is
naturally entrusted to the government of the day, it is important to
understand the importance of having a democratic framework in which the
electronic media should operate. The government of Zimbabwe has extreme
arbitrary and undemocratic control of the broadcasting industry. The BSA
allows for the minister responsible for information and publicity to
determine with the non-compulsory advice of the BAZ who gets a broadcasting
licence, the duration of that licence as well as punitive action that can be
taken against those that violate any terms that are set out by the BSA. The
phenomenal powers of the minister run contrary to the open window that
should encompass the media. In South Africa, the Independent Communications
Authority of South Africa (ICASA) runs the broadcasting industry. ICASA is
not overridden by the powers of any minister. Its primary purpose is to seek
the promotion of a diverse broadcasting industry in line with constitutional
clauses that guarantee freedom of expression as well as freedom of
information. It is appointed after public participation as well as
parliamentary approval. In Zimbabwe, nothing of the sort occurs. The
minister appoints BAZ members without public participation and without
parliamentary approval. In addition, the BAZ has still not issued any
commercial or community broadcasting licences and the all-important
broadcasting regulations have not yet been issued. As a parting comment,
there is no public broadcasting in Zimbabwe. Instead, there is a state
broadcaster that is at pains to try and endear itself to the people. As
such, it is imperative that the mantle to establish a true and independent
broadcaster be taken up from the angle of advocating the freeing of the
airwaves. The ZBC, together with the government, stand to benefit more if
there are other broadcasting stations, other community radios and a vibrant
electronic media industry. We owe it to the people of Zimbabwe to ensure
that they have choices both in terms of public broadcasting as well as
commercial broadcasting and to guarantee that never again should a media
house claim to be "the first and permanent media choice" for all.
By Takura Zhangazha
Takura Zhangazha is with the Media Institute of Southern
Zim needs time frame
14/08/2003 16:06 - (SA)
Pretoria - A time frame should be set for the resolution of the
Zimbabwe, Dr Siphamandla Zondi of the Africa Institute of South Africa said
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) should also resuscitate a
task team it established in 2001 to deal with the crisis, and empower it to
ensure compliance with what Zimbabwe had committed itself to do, he said.
According to Zondi, the SADC should link up with the international community
to reward Zimbabwe with positive sanctions for every positive step taken.
Such sanctions could, for instance, include convening a donors conference or
lifting the sanctions imposed by the United States and the United Kingdom.
Zondi was speaking in Pretoria at the release of an Africa Institute report
on the effects of the Zimbabwean crisis on the SADC.
Che Ajulu, who co-ordinated the report, said that contrary to perceptions,
the SADC had played a major role to bring calm in the crisis.
"It is not like SADC has folded its arms. It has tried to do something, but
there are other dynamics over which the SADC has no control."
The efforts of the regional body had been hampered by internal divisions,
mostly due to strategic national interests, he said.
Many countries had benefited from Zimbabwe's woes.
"Possibly that is why they are tight-lipped."
Tourism, for instance, had decreased in Zimbabwe but had surged elsewhere in
"We have seen investment drop drastically in Zimbabwe; but it has spread to
other parts of the region."
Skilled labour, including farmers and professionals, had moved from Zimbabwe
to neighbouring countries.
However, Zimbabwe's ailing economy had hit countries like Namibia and
Namibia and Angola had long been strong supporters of Zimbabwe.
Namibian President Sam Nujoma, if he wanted to stand for a fourth term,
would not like to throw stones at Zimbabwe.
"If the SADC deals with Zimbabwe, and deals successfully with it, he
[Nujoma] might be the next target."
The land reform programme in Zimbabwe had also exposed the land
redistribution process in Namibia.
Zambia had its own political and economic crisis, so it was not really that
concerned about Zimbabwe, according to Ajulu.
South Africa stood to suffer most from the negative consequences of the
situation in Zimbabwe, he said.
Ninety percent of people leaving Zimbabwe were likely to seek refuge in
Because Zimbabwe was such a strong trading partner of South Africa, the
latter would not want to rock the boat.
"There is a fear that if South Africa comes out too strong, (President
Robert) Mugabe would try to isolate South Africa in the region. South Africa
still needs the support of SADC in general to be able to apply so-called
A unilateral approach by South Africa in imposing electricity sanctions, for
instance, would fail without the support of Zambia and Mozambique.
Furthermore, to isolate Mugabe could turn him into a kind of "loose cannon",
The most important step for SADC would be to try and get the Zimbabwe
African National Union Patriotic Front and Movement for Democratic Change to
enter into dialogue, he said.
Zondi said stumbling blocks in this regard included questions about the MDC
by former liberation movements in the region - the MDC had sought closer
ties with South Africa's Democratic Alliance and Renamo in Mozambique, for
Legal wrangles - the MDC's court challenge to the elections and the
prosecution of its leader, Morgan Tsvangirai - presented another, he said.
The region had to push the MDC to recognise Mugabe as president, and Mugabe
to acknowledge the MDC as a credible political opponent, Zondi said.
"Unless we can get that, there won't be a move forward."
Mail and Guardian
Churches call for pro-active policy on Zimbabwe
14 August 2003 15:50
The central committee of the South African Council of Churches (SACC) has
called on the South African government to be more pro-active in its efforts
to facilitate a resolution of Zimbabwe's crisis.
In a statement issued on Thursday, following the committee's meeting earlier
this week, the SACC also expressed its support for the continuing efforts to
ensure peace and stability in Zimbabwe.
Representatives of the council's 24-member denominations welcomed the
renewed communication between the government of Zimbabwe and the opposition
Movement for Democratic Change, the SACC said.
"They recognised, in particular, the Zimbabwean churches' united witness for
peace and human rights.
"The central committee expressed concern for and solidarity with the
churches in Zimbabwe, and made the resources of the SACC's reconciliation
and healing programme available to support the peace process."
The committee also acknowledged the efforts of the South African government
to promote peace and stability in Zimbabwe.
"At the same time, however, the delegates urged Pretoria to be more
pro-active in working for a just and sustainable solution to the nation's
political and humanitarian crises," the SACC said. -- Sapa
Farmers need inputs early
JOHANNESBURG, 14 Aug 2003 (IRIN) - A
shortage of inputs and inflation are hurting prospects for an agricultural
recovery in Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwe Farmer's Union (ZFU) told IRIN on
The country is once again badly affected by food insecurity as a result of erratic weather, the effect of the government's fast-track land reform on commercial agriculture and the impact of HIV/AIDS. Aid agencies estimate some five million Zimbabweans will require food aid by January 2004.
Tafireyi Chamboko, the chief economist of the ZFU said that "if farmers are provided inputs on time, if farmers get the necessary inputs support - given that the forecast is for normal to above normal rainfall this season - there should be an agricultural recovery".
However, there were significant obstacles to this.
"There's a shortage of some of the inputs. In terms of maize seed, we'll probably get about 50 percent of the requirement from local [seed] production," Chamboko said. While the government had been supplying inputs to new farmers through an inputs credit scheme, "there are not enough inputs to meet the requirements".
"It is a major constraint. We normally would prefer that inputs are in by, [at] the latest, mid-September, because our [growing] season begins about then. If we can get inputs, at the latest [by] mid-September, we would be able to plant ahead of the first rains," Chamboko added. But, "of course sometimes it does not happen that way. Inputs are critical in the beginning of the season, if they are given late it's not very helpful".
"Fertiliser is in short supply and it's also quite expensive, given our inflationary environment. The major factor impacting on farmers is the price of inputs - our inflation rate is now at 364.5 percent - so we have a question of shortages, compounded by the fact that companies that produce fertilisers are faced with a shortage of foreign currency to buy the raw materials they need," Chamboko explained.
"You can see the circle there - one thing affects the availability of another. Foreign currency shortage leads to the prices of what little is available on the local market, skyrocketing," he added.
Johannesburg - A South African group of health clinics on
travellers to Zimbabwe to take out insurance for medical evacuation, saying
health care there had declined dramatically.
Andrew Jamieson, medical director of SAA-Netcare, a joint venture between
South African Airways and Netcare clinics which delivers consulting and
treatment service to tourists, said health care institutions were on the
At Harare's main hospital, Harare Central, he said, "not only is the
physical structure shabby, with broken windows and leaking pipes lending an
air of abandonment, but the dispensary is poorly stocked with medicines and
"The situation is aggravated by a chronic shortage of qualified nurses,
doctors and pharmacists as well as poorly maintained and often
"Even the ancillary services, such as laundry, sanitation and housekeeping,
are not functioning properly, such that general hygiene levels are
atrocious," Jamieson said.
"Clearly, medical evacuation to a country that offers good quality health
care is a far better option."
SADC wary of Zim regime change
14/08/2003 16:04 - (SA)
Pretoria - Southern African countries are resisting putting
pressure on the
Zimbabwean government because they fear that foreign powers are trying to
topple President Robert Mugabe's regime, a study published on Thursday
The study, by the Africa Institute of South Africa, examined the impact of
the Zimbabwean crisis on Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and
Zambia and found that southern African countries saw Zimbabwe's opposition
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) as the "proxy of the western powers".
"There is resistance to foreign pressure among Southern African Development
Community (SADC) countries, who fear that there is some attempt at regime
change in Zimbabwe," Che Ajulu, who was involved in researching the study,
told a media briefing in Pretoria.
"The MDC is seen as the proxy of western powers in Zimbabwe," he said,
adding that dealing with Zimbabwe had been made more difficult by the MDC's
not recognising Mugabe's government.
Ajulu said the 14-nation SADC had tried to take firm action against Zimbabwe
at its summit in 2001, but this was effectively blocked by Angola and
Namibia, which are strong supporters of Mugabe's government.
He said the MDC had also tried to form an alliance with the opposition
Democratic Alliance in South Africa and with the opposition Mozambique
National Resistance in Mozamique, which had further complicated things.
The Zimbabwean government received world-wide condemnation for committing
human rights abuses as it embarked on a fast-track land reform exercise
three years ago.
Charles Taylor shows Robert Mugabe how it's done ...
August 14, 2003
By Max Du Preez
When will the day come that President Robert Mugabe uses the words
former Liberian president Charles Taylor uttered in his farewell speech on
Monday: "I'm out of here"?
As much as the bloodshed in Monrovia in recent times was reason for
Africa to be ashamed, Taylor's handing over of power and leaving Liberia was
reason to be proud.
This should be how Africa handles its problems: the bad leader,
flanked by three senior African presidents, resigning and being whisked
away. One could see the satisfaction in the body language of South African
President Thabo Mbeki and his Ghanaian and Mozambican counterparts, John
Kufuor and Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique.
It was good that the American troops did not have to leave their ships
lying off shore. Nigerian troops arrived to start enforcing the ceasefire.
The United States does have an obligation in Liberia, founded by freed
American slaves, but Liberia is a part of our continent and we should be
sorting out our own problems.
We should also know that we cannot keep on accusing the US of being
the world's ugliest bully and criticise it for interfering in the affairs of
other nations, and then pressurise the US to come and interfere in an
African state's affairs.
I was proud when I heard Mbeki announce in Monrovia that South African
troops would also be sent as peace keepers. It will probably stretch our
budgets and the SANDF's capacity, but it is a sacrifice I believe we should
It is not only good for African pride, it is also good for Africa's
image that helping herself is now becoming the norm.
Besides, long before it became fashionable to help the South African
liberation movement, Liberia did: they even welcomed Nelson Mandela there
before he went to Robben Island.
The developments in Liberia follow on the dramatic diplomatic
successes in the Democratic Republic of Congo, also an African initiative.
Mbeki should get a lot of the credit for this turnaround on the
continent. It was his near- obsession with the restoration of Africa's
dignity and his constant campaigning for the African renaissance that has
lit the fire under other African governments. And in Nigerian president
Olesegun Obasanjo he has a good leading partner.
I hope the African Union's successes in Liberia and the DRC will give
courage to the leaders of the different nations on our continent that they
can achieve the same in other conflict situations. Especially now that the
AU itself has publicly thrown out the old excuse of not being allowed to
interfere in the internal affairs of a nation.
African leaders should now turn their attention to the
civil war in
Sudan, the bloody conflict in Uganda and the brewing crisis in Swaziland
where the upstart young king is behaving as if we're still living in the
But first of all there can be no excuse any longer to postpone a
solution in Zimbabwe. What is really the difference between Taylor and
Mugabe, both elected presidents? Could it be that people were shooting each
other in Liberia, and in Zimbabwe they haven't started doing that yet?
Like Taylor, Mugabe is clearly the source of conflict and misery in
his country. Like Taylor, he would probably not walk out of any
international war crimes tribunal a free man.
Liberia's instability has been a fact of life for a long time. The
country was ruined long ago, and the rebuilding, if indeed it is now going
to have peace, will take generations. In short, it's always been a bit of a
Not so Zimbabwe. The people are well educated, there's a proper
infrastructure, until six years ago it had a sound and growing economy and
massive potential as a tourism destination. It used to be a model state in
Africa, a country that fed itself and exported food, a state with a
respected judiciary and civil administration.
The longer we wait to stop the further deterioration of Zimbabwe, the
more the fabric of that society will be fundamentally damaged.
Rumours have it that Mugabe plans to leave in December, but that is
five months away.
Imagine having waited five more months to boot out Charles Taylor. And
of course, we don't know for sure whether Mugabe will indeed leave in five
Mbeki should now tell us why he was prepared to be a part of the
unceremonious ousting of an elected president of a sovereign country, but
when it comes to Mugabe, he says it is up to the people of Zimbabwe and we
He and his African colleagues did not spend months and years trying to
persuade the government and opposition of Liberia to talk and find a
solution, why is he doing that in Zimbabwe?
If the only answer to that is that there was a war in Liberia, then
would Mbeki do the same to Mugabe that he did to Taylor if the Zimbabwean
anti-government activists actually took up arms and started shooting?
The conditions for registration are also highly suspect since it requires those who register to subscribe to a code of conduct that still does not exist. This still has to be tested in law.