The ZIMBABWE Situation Our thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.

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Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Demolitions May be Mugabe's Biggest Mistake
Assailed on all sides by a collapsing economy and dissenters in his own
party ranks, the Zimbabwean leader may have taken one step too far with his
all-out campaign to destroy urban homes.

By Dzikamai Chidyausiku in Harare (Africa Reports No 40, 14-Aug-05)

With Zimbabwe's economic troubles deepening and cracks widening in his
ruling Zanu PF party, President Robert Mugabe's decision to destroy
thousands of homes may prove to be the great mistake that destroys him after
more than a quarter of a century in power.

Such predictions have been made before, but this time it looks like
President Mugabe is in real trouble, facing the biggest crisis both within
his party and in the country as a whole since it became independent from
Britain in 1980.

Operation Murambatsvina (Operation Drive Out the Rubbish), which led to
thousands of urban homes being bulldozed and torched in the name of urban
renewal, may be the catalyst for change.

Mugabe's circle of friends abroad has been getting smaller and smaller,
especially among other African leaders who until recently lent him their
moral support in the face of widespread condemnation of his rule from
further afield.

The international pressure on Mugabe has mounted inexorably as a result of
the human crisis created by the Murambatsvina campaign, which has touched
the lives of more than two million of the country's 11.5 million people and
left more than 200,000 families homeless.

At the same time, the government is grappling with the fastest collapsing
economy in the world, with gross domestic product falling in real terms for
each of the past seven years. Inflation is in triple figures, wiping out
people's savings and social security funding, while unemployment has risen
above 80 per cent as a result of continuing company closures.

The government lacks the resources to import fuel or food for the some 5.5
million people who international agencies say face starvation. The country's
health delivery system is a shambles, with HIV/AIDS wreaking havoc and the
government unable to buy medicines to combat the epidemic that claims more
than 13,000 Zimbabwean lives each month.

A new report released by the Washington-based Centre for Global Development,
CGD, says that in the past five years, the standard of living for
Zimbabweans has fallen back more than 50 years.

"The signs of collapse are everywhere," say CGD research fellows Michael
Clemens and Todd Moss. Manufacturing has fallen by 51 per cent since 1997
and exports have shrunk by half in just the last 48 months.

The report notes that Zimbabwe, once an exporter of food, now requires
"massive" food aid.

The Zimbabwe dollar, once on par with its American counterpart, is now
trading at 45,000 to the US dollar on the widely-used black market.

The CGD researchers concluded that, "In mid-2005 the average Zimbabwean had
fallen back to that [1953] level, wiping out the income gains over the past
52 years.

"The scale and speed of this income decline is unusual outside of a war
situation. In fact, the income losses in Zimbabwe have been greater than
those experienced during recent conflicts in Ivory Coast, Democratic
Republic of Congo and Sierra Leone."

Government policy has been characterised by "absurd" macroeconomic
management as well as the "general undermining of property rights" and the
damage done to agriculture by the mass appropriation of mainly white-owned

"Unfortunately, the mismanagement and economic lunacy continues," the report
concludes. "This suggests that economic misrule will continue to cost
Zimbabweans not only their children's opportunities for a better life but,
for many, any life at all."

Perhaps the latest indicator of the scale of the problems is Zimbabwe's
recent approach to South Africa for a six billion rand (one billion US
dollar) rescue package so that it can pay its debts to the International
Monetary Fund, which is threatening expulsion, and import food. This is the
first visible admission that the government has failed to extricate the
economy from its self-inflicted crisis.

"Mugabe is cracking," University of Zimbabwe political scientist Eldred
Masunungure told IWPR. "He is buffeted by problems from all angles. The
economy is crumbling while domestic and international pressure is mounting
on him."

Within the president's ZANU PF party, which he has led with an iron fist for
more than 30 years, loud dissenting voices about his leadership can now be
heard, threatening a previously unthinkable split.

ZANU-PF is divided more than ever along clan lines, mainly between Mugabe's
Zezuru and the Karanga, the two largest clans of the wider Shona tribal
grouping, while the succession battle that almost sank the party early this
year remains a real threat. Nearly all the top positions in government and
the military are held by Zezurus who, shielded by the President's patronage,
have accumulated vast wealth.

Party insiders insist that the group which attempted a palace coup against
Mugabe's new female vice-president, Joyce Mujuru - also a Zezuru - in
December last year still remains strong enough to rock the battered ZANU PF
ship. The group, led by Emmerson Mnangagwa, a Karanga and once one of Mugabe's
most trusted lieutenants, still has the clout to make a move when the
question of succession to the 81-year-old president next surfaces publicly.

The budding division in ZANU PF was dealt with ruthlessly by Mugabe, who
expelled six provincial chairmen - key party men who were Mnangagwa

"Mugabe has clipped Mnangagwa's wings for the time being by giving him an
ineffectual ministerial post [in charge of rural housing]," said
Masunungure. "The succession issue, which Mugabe silenced by imposing
Mujuru, is still highly divisive, with Mnangagwa waiting to pounce when
Mugabe steps aside."

Mugabe's grooming of Mujuru to succeed him in 2008 has stirred strong
emotions and widened fissures along clan lines. The Karanga provided the
bulk of ZANU's fighting forces and military leaders in the 1972-80 war
against white rule, and are now bitter that they have been elbowed out of

Members of the Ndebele - related to South Africa's Zulus, and Zimbabwe's
second largest tribe after the Shona - are also grumbling. Ndebeles
dominated ZAPU (Zimbabwe African Peoples Union), until the party was
swallowed up by ZANU PF in 1987, in an deal that followed an army assault on
ZAPU supporters in western Zimbabwe, costing 20,000 lives.

Although he puts on a brave face, Mugabe now has fewer friends in the region
and internationally than he had three years ago.

Even his staunchest African friends are wavering. Zimbabwe's independent
Financial Gazette reports that South African president Thabo Mbeki and
Nigeria's Olusegun Obasanjo have been pressuring Mugabe to negotiate a
solution to the political crisis with Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the
opposition Movement for Democratic Change, MDC.

Mugabe has said he would sooner talk to the man he regards as his
arch-enemy, British prime minister Tony Blair, than Tsvangirai.

It seems the president's reaction to the internal and external pressure is
to resort to ever greater repression. Laws have been promulgated to outlaw
demonstrations and political gatherings, and the media has been muzzled with
newspapers closed and journalists arrested.

"All these are signs of a regime under siege from its own people," said MDC
spokesman Paul Themba Nyati.

History may show that Mugabe finally pushed Zimbabwe over the edge with
Operation Murambatsvina, which according to John Makumbe, a political
scientist at the University of Zimbabwe, "only helped focus international
attention on Zimbabwe. Mugabe is showing the world that he is a ruthless man
and in the process he is losing more friends."

Furious at losing almost all urban seats in parliamentary elections last
March, he launched a campaign to drive out the "rubbish" from the towns, to
disastrous effect. He told millions of people to go back to where they came
from, even though many had been born and brought up in the shacks that
government bulldozers reduced to rubble.

The action has only widened fissures in ZANU PF, with some senior officials
speaking out against the policy and threatening to quit the party. The most
prominent case was the resignation last month of Pearson Mbalekwa, a party
official and a former agent of the Central Intelligence Organisation.

Mbalekwa said that the demolition of homes showed that ZANU PF was no longer
working for the people who elected it. The Zimbabwean leader immediately
punished him by confiscating the former white-owned farm he had been given
as a privileged member of the presidential inner circle.

Operation Murambatsvina impelled United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan
to send a special envoy to Zimbabwe. The envoy, Anna Tibaijuka, subsequently
published a report lambasting the government's mass demolition of poor
people's homes as inhuman. She said Mugabe had shown "indifference to human
suffering" while her boss Annan described the situation as "profoundly

As his erstwhile friends tiptoe away, a desperate Mugabe has turned to China
for economic support. He visited China in July looking for help, but
received minimal aid. That leaves him with few places left to turn as the
economy heads towards meltdown.

Dzikamai Chidyausiku is the pseudonym of an IWPR contributor in Zimbabwe
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Institute for War and Peace Reporting

Comment: Thoughts from a Petrol Queue

Long lines of cars waiting for fuel that rarely arrive form a strange
subculture, with engine-less vehicles joining the queue, and street kids
sleeping in Mercedes.

From Benedict Unendoro in Harare (Africa Reports No 40, 14-Aug-05)

I have been waiting for the past 48 hours in a "fuquel". Don't reach for the
dictionary yet - in Zimbabwe, the words "fuel" and "queue" are so closely
interconnected that the words have fused together.

So what exactly is a fuquel? It's a queue at a petrol station that has no
fuel to sell. Like every other petrol station across the country, it has not
received any fuel for two weeks or so.

But because its storage tanks have been empty for so long, we desperate
motorists delude ourselves into thinking we might get lucky and find
ourselves in the right place when there is a delivery.

The lack of petrol is because of the crippling shortage of foreign exchange
resulting from a sharp decline in export earnings, an international donor
community suffering both fatigue and irritation, and the International
Monetary Fund's withdrawal of funding to support the balance of payments.

The National Oil Company, a state-owned monopoly, is finding it hard to
import petroleum because its debt to foreign companies more than 80 million
US dollars and growing.

Our once-rich tobacco industry has collapsed, but the small amount that is
still grown cannot get to market because the farmers have no petrol for
their trucks.

Even Air Zimbabwe flights are grounded because of fuel shortages. More than
100,000 bus drivers and crews have been laid off because there is no diesel
for their vehicles. Education is collapsing because teachers either cannot
get to school, or have joined the fuquel.

The reason I am in this particular fuquel is that the last time it received
any petrol was two weeks ago. S, I reckon it's high time for another
delivery. I have been here for two whole days and nights.

The length of each fuquel ranges from a handful of cars to hundreds. Some
are five kilometres long. If a filling station has only just run out, most
of the motorists will drive away in search of a better prospect.

But even then a few will remain - the cars with no engines. This bizarre
concept is purely Zimbabwean - in any given fuquel, at least ten of the cars
are mere shells, in which only the petrol tanks are still intact. They
belong to the black marketeers, a patient and resourceful lot who can win
great rewards. After pushing the car bodies along for a few days in the
queue, they will eventually get them filled up. Then they will drain the
tanks off into jerry cans, and rejoin the queue.

The black market requires a short course in mathematics, but we Zimbabweans
are experts by necessity because of runaway inflation which sees prices
changing every day, sometimes every hour.

The pump price of one litre of petrol is 10,000 Zimbabwean dollars, but on
the black market it will fetch anything up to 70,000. So for a 40-litre
tank, the traders pay 400,000 dollars but will earn as much as 2.8 million.
That will at least pay their rent and buy them a few groceries.

The fuquel brings rich and poor together. The flashy cars - Mercedes, Pajero
4x4s, that kind of thing - belong to guys aged between 28 and 40. They dress
in the latest fashions, and carry several mobile phones which ring
continuously, so that their owners have to juggle them to answer them all.

But these men don't spend the night here. Instead, they hire street kids to
sleep in the cars and to push the vehicles forward if the fuquel begins to
move. They themselves sleep in the comfort of hotels and lodges.

The ordinary guys in the fuquels drive 20-year-old Peugeots, Datsuns and
Mazdas, but they have their own fun. They spend most of the waiting time in
the pub drinking lager, maize beer or the cheaper spirits. The pubs close at
1030 in the evening, but the men don't go home. They pick up prostitutes and
take them back to the fuquel to "keep the cold away".

When the fuquels started, some six months back, people at first stood around
in groups discussing politics.

"Mugabe has failed this great country," the conversation would begin. They
would hold forth on how President Robert Mugabe has proved such a
disappointment after leading the country to relative prosperity. Then they
would discuss the prospects of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai and his
Movement for Democratic Change party.

But now the fuqueller are suffering from politics fatigue, and spend the
time reading about their favourite football teams in the newspapers. The
national team, the Warriors, are doing well for a change, and stand a good
chance of qualifying for the African Nations Cup finals in Egypt and the
World Cup finals in Germany next year. There is almost universal agreement
that the only good news to come out of Zimbabwe in the past five years is
the Warriors.

All fuquellers agree that Zimbabwe's cricket team, on the other hand, is a
national disgrace and say their grandmothers could bat, bowl and field

The war in Iraq is a big story among fuquellers, who generally supported the
regime Saddam Hussein. Why this sympathy? Mugabe has always hated the West,
particularly America, and this has rubbed off on most Zimbabweans, including
my fellow fuquellers. Because the Seventies war of liberation is still in
living memory, Zimbabweans remember American policy towards the black
fighters whom they called terrorists.

But in plain contradiction, Zimbabweans admire American technological feats.
The fortunes of the latest Space Shuttle flight were followed very keenly
here, and the lines of petrol-starved motorists were alive with would-be

Another man in the queue has read on the internet that in the far-off town
of Mutare, police bullied their way to the front of a fuquel after a petrol
delivery. He tells us how riot cops with dogs were called in after our
fellow-fuquellers threatened to beat up the police bullies.

Someone gets fed up and leaves his car to go off for a beer or two. We all
laugh when he says he is not worried in the slightest about his car's
safety. "I doubt that any car thief will manage to get enough petrol to fill
it and steal it while I'm in the pub," he says.

But excuse me - I have to go. There's a petrol tanker arriving, and the
queue-jumping is about to begin. The drivers of shared taxi buses are highly
skilled at aggressively pushing in to the front of the queue, and they are
at it already.

Benedict Unendoro is the pseudonym of a IWPR contributor in Zimbabwe.
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The Scotsman

Mugabe's 'clean-up' drive brings poll defeat


PRESIDENT Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front
(ZANU-PF) party lost a key election yesterday as Zimbabweans showed their
disgust at his devastating campaign of shack demolitions.

Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC), polled five times the number of votes won by Mr Mugabe's candidate in
mayoral elections in the second city of Bulawayo.

 State radio announced yesterday that Mr Ndabeni-Ncube, the sitting mayor,
had received 29,575 votes against 5,509 for Dickson Abu-Basuthu, a virtually
unknown candidate from ZANU-PF.

Mr Ndabeni-Ncube said his victory pointed to the government's growing

The clean-up exercise "was just the last nail in the coffin" for the ruling
party, he told The Scotsman. "This government is not for the people. It (the
clean-up exercise) makes them more hateful of ZANU-PF."

More than 700,000 people have lost their homes across Zimbabwe's towns and
cities since the launch in mid-May of "Operation Drive Out Trash", Mr
Mugabe's infamous "clean-up" campaign.

Bulawayo, with its wide avenues and old townships, was particularly
hard-hit. Thousands of people took refuge in 17 churches across the city,
according to a recent report by UN envoy Anna Tibaijuka. They were later
evicted by armed police.

Political analyst John Makumbe said the MDC's victory was "a continuation of
the urban people's resistance" to Mr Mugabe. "We can see that after the
(clean-up) operation people are even more opposed to the Mugabe regime," he

The 81-year-old Zimbabwean president maintains he wants to "restore dignity"
to Zimbabweans, but the MDC says the operation was an attempt to chase its
supporters into the countryside.

Yesterday Mr Ndabeni-Ncube said the displacement of voters contributed to
Saturday's low turnout of just 10.7 per cent. But the main reason for the
poor showing was "the misery of the people" who felt their vote had become
useless, he said.

The government has done all it can to neutralise the power of opposition
mayors. Elias Mudzuri, the MDC mayor of Harare, was sacked in 2003 for
alleged mismanagement while the mayor of Mutare, Misheck Kagurabadza, was
suspended in July on similar charges.

Mr Ndabeni-Ncube was threatened with disciplinary action last month after he
held a closed meeting with the UN envoy during her two-week tour.
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New Zimbabwe

Air Zimbabwe plane impounded at Gatwick

By Staff Reporter
Last updated: 08/15/2005 12:42:58
HUNDREDS of passengers were stranded at London's Gatwick Airport late last
night after an Air Zimbabwe plane was impounded with their luggage over
outstanding landing fees which the national airliner has failed to pay.

Passengers who arrived at Gatwick Airport just after 7pm aboard a Boeing 767
from Harare International Airport were still at the airport three hours

Many were forced to book hotels near the airport, at their cost.

A passenger who was on the flight told New by telephone last
night: "We have been told that our luggage has been detained because Air
Zimbabwe has not paid landing fees.

"I was supposed to catch a connecting flight to Scotland but that's no
longer possible because I have missed the flight and now have to book a
hotel which I hadn't budgeted for."

No comment was immediately available from Air Zimbabwe.

Air Zimbabwe has been hit by a foreign currency crisis that has brought
Zimbabwe's once thriving economy to its knees. Aviation experts say
passengers' security is seriously compromised as Air Zimbabwe currently has
no financial capacity to carry satisfactory repairs on its ailing fleet of
passenger airplanes.

Recently, Air Zimbabwe has been forced to cancel flights at the last minute
owing to a critical aviation fuel shortage.

Flights to South Africa, Britain as well as to Zimbabwe's premier tourist
destination, the Victoria Falls, have been disrupted.

Zimbabwe has only a tiny fleet of planes. The London route is serviced by
two Boeing 767-200ER.

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Zim Standard

Envoy avoids Mugabe
By Caiphas Chimhete

US donates US$52m worth of food A VISITING US ambassador, Tony Hall,
yesterday said he avoided meeting President Robert Mugabe because he did not
want his trip, focused on assessing Zimbabwe's humanitarian and food
situation, to look political.

Speaking after a three-day tour of the country, Hall, who only met one
government minister, the non-governmental organisation (NGO) community and
civil society, said Zimbabwe's food crisis was largely "man-made and
The US Ambassador, who last visited Zimbabwe in 2002, announced a donation
of US$51.8 million or 73 500 tonnes of food to six southern African

The donation is set to benefit between five and six million people in
Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

However, much of the donation is expected to benefit Zimbabwe, where the
World Food Programme (WFP) estimates that one million people are desperately
in need of food aid. But the number could swell to about 4.3 million people
before the next harvest.

Hall said Zimbabwe's food situation was "desperate" and attributed it to
Mugabe's "counter-productive" land reform policies and the "clean-up
operation", which rendered at least 700 000 people homeless and unable to
feed themselves.

"They (those affected by clean up operation) don't have enough to keep
themselves warm. They are hungry and their children are hungry. This tragedy
was entirely avoidable," Hall said.

The WFP estimates that the number of people desperately in need of food aid
could swell to about 4.3 million "in the next few months".

The US has provided US$300 million in food assistance to Zimbabwe since

Hall said Zimbabwe previously recognised as the breadbasket of the Southern
African Development Community (SADC) had since reduced itself to a basket
case because of its self-destructive policies.

"Today, the breadbasket is empty, thanks to counter-productive land reform
policies and a drought that has made the situation even worse," Hall said.

The US envoy visited Mutare and Hatcliffe and Hopley farm in Harare, where
thousands of families rendered homeless by internationally condemned
operation are camped.

Hall said the situation in the camps was worrying as the people had no food,
blankets and shelter.

But it was at Hopley Farm, which is manned by the military, that the US
envoy got a rude awakening.

"I was told in hushed tones that the government doesn't want me at this
place because old people are dying. We can't address the suffering of these
people if we can't see them and assess their needs," he complained.

Hall, who met several NGOs, said several tonnes of relief food were being
held up by bureaucratic paperwork.

"For example, I have heard that the US NGOs have 10 000 tonnes of food aid
in Durban bottled up, waiting for import licences," he said, adding that
another 15 000 tonnes were in the country but government had not sanctioned
its distribution.

Hall, who left for South Africa yesterday, is the US ambassador to the
(WFP), the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the International
Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), based in Rome.

He told a Press conference before leaving: "I did not seek to meet Mugabe
because I did not want my trip here to look political. It was only to assess
humanitarian and food security," he said.

Earlier last week, the government spokesperson, George Charamba, said the
government was not aware of Hall's visit.

Mugabe blames Zimbabwe's economic woes on Western powers, accusing Britain
and the United Sates, in particular, of working to unseat him because of his
land policies.

Washington has slapped Mugabe, his ministers and members of the ruling party
government with targeted sanctions for gross human rights violations.

But notwithstanding political stand-off between Harare and Washington, Hall
said the US will continue assisting needy people in Zimbabwe.

"The United States will stand by the people of Zimbabwe, because there is no
place for politics when it comes to feeding hungry people," he said.

Hall only met the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare,
Nicholas Goche, who said the government, was "coping" despite the critical
food situation on the ground.
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Zim Standard

Bulawayo residents stay away from mayoral poll
By Savious Kwinika

BULAWAYO - The outcome of yesterday's mayoral election could turn out to be
tightly contested because of voter apathy.

Residents said their confidence in the electoral process had been shaken by
the government's total disregard for the people's wishes, especially if the
opposition won.
Voter apathy favours the ruling party, but the government has deliberately
refused to work with mayors from the opposition party, suspended or
interfered with their work as happened in Chegutu, Harare and Mutare.

A snap survey conducted by The Standard yesterday revealed that most polling
stations in and around the city had fewer people voting while many others
failed to vote after they were internally displaced or for other reasons.

By 10AM yesteray 9 863 people had voted, while 955 were turned away.
Counting was due to begin last night, with the results due later.

In separate interviews carried out in various wards in Bulawayo, voters said
they saw little point in voting because the Minister of Local Government,
Public Works and Urban Development, Ignatious Chombo, meddled in the affairs
of local authorities headed by the opposition.

Bongani Mnkandla, who cast his vote at the Large City Hall, said people saw
no reason for voting because their problems would continue to persist after

"People have chosen to stay indoors because they see no reason for voting.
Personally, I feel that it is unwise for people to boycott the election
because voting is the only way of choosing the candidate who will properly
represent us," Mkandla said.

Outgoing Bulawayo mayor, Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, expressed confidence that the
electorate would re-elect him because they had faith in him.

"The people of Bulawayo are going to retain their faith in me as their
mayor. I can't go against the confidence that the people have in me after
our great achievements in maintaining standards in the city", Ndabeni-Ncube

However, Ndabeni-Ncube acknowledged that he was likely to face interference
in his work from Chombo, who in the past has succeeded in meddling in the
affairs of MDC-run councils.

Chombo dismissed Harare executive mayor, Elias Mudzuri, and recently
suspended Mutare mayor, Misheck Kagurabadza.

During the run up to the mayoral election, Ndabeni-Ncube said that he had
faced numerous problems, but soldiered on, holding up to 15 rallies - two or
three times a day. Twelve of his supporters were arrested at Emakhandeni
while campaigning for him.

The crippling fuel crises, he also said, adversely affected their campaigns
although the MDC supplied them with the scarce commodity.

Zanu PF secretary for information and publicity for the Bulawayo
metropolitan province, Effort Nkomo, dismissed Ndabeni-Ncube's assertions
that he will win. He said the MDC-led council did not work towards improving
the lot of residents' lives.

"Our candidate (Dickson Abu-Basuthu) will take advantage of the voter apathy
to win the election. Our preparations were not all that good but we will
definitely capitalise of the voter apathy," Nkomo said.

Abu-Basuthu said yesterday he was confident of winning the election.
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Zim Standard

Zim refuses entry to SA food-aid trucks
By Vusumuzi Sifile

EFFORTS by the South African Council of Churches (SACC) to assist victims of
"Operation Murambatsvina" in Zimbabwe suffered a major setback yesterday
when two trucks with a consignment of foodstuffs were barred from entering
the country.

Speaking from South Africa, Eddie Makue, SACC's deputy secretary general,
said the two trucks were still waiting in Johannesburg after failing to
secure documents to cross into Zimbabwe.
"We are hoping to get the certificate to transport the goods free of duty on
Monday (tomorrow). We are consulting widely with the authorities and
hopefully they will be supportive. Only one truck with blankets was cleared
and it has already left for Zimbabwe," Makue said.

Although he could not estimate the value of the goods in the two trucks,
Makue said the goods would go a long way in assisting the affected
individuals who are in desperate need for aid.

"The trucks are ready, what is lacking is the duty-free certificate only. We
were told we would get the clearance on Friday, but there were a few
complications, but I am optimistic we will get it this week. The trucks will
be leaving for Zimbabwe once we get the certificate," he said.

Once the two trucks are cleared, Makue said, the SACC would start mobilising
the second consignment of goods to be sent to Zimbabwe at the end of this

Zimbabwean authorities refused to issue clearance certificates to the two
trucks as they were suspicious the foodstuffs they carried could be
genetically modified. Interventions by the South African Department of
Agriculture and Land Affairs to facilitate the clearance did not bear much

Last month, the SACC, initiated "Operation Hope" to assist victims of the
government's "clean-up" exercise that destroyed a number of shacks in urban
and sub urban areas. This followed a visit to the country by a group of
church leaders, led by Bishop Ivan Abrahams, who chairs the South African
Church Leaders' Forum to assess the impact of the "clean-up" exercise and
consult with Zimbabwean church leaders on the way forward.

Zimbabwe Revenue Authority (Zimra) Commissioner-General, Gershom Pasi, said
he was "not in the picture" of what was happening in relation to the trucks.

"I haven't received any reports on that matter, why don't you call Priscilla
Sadomba, our public relations officer? I normally don't concern myself with
daily operations, as there are officers on the ground to do that," Pasi

Sadomba could not be reached for comment yesterday.
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Zim Standard

Survey exposes evils of 'Murambatsvina'
By our staff

HARARE - More than 90 percent of the people living in Harare's high density
suburbs were adversely affected by the government-sanctioned "clean up"
operation, which left hundreds of thousands of people without shelter, food
and deprived thousands of children of education, a recent survey on
"Operation Murambatsvina" has revealed.

The survey, carried out in 26 wards of the city's high-density suburbs, was
conducted by ActionAid International together with Combined Harare
Residents' Association (CHRA).
Of the 13 712 households visited, 97 percent of them had been affected by
the internationally condemned operation in varying proportions.

"Overall, 79 percent of interviewed households reported that they had lost
their sources of income," said the survey, which sampled a population of 81
995 people.

About 73 percent of urban dwellers were engaged in informal trading prior to
the operations, the survey found.

The primary sources of livelihood that were disrupted include tuck shop
business (98 percent), flea market (11 percent), fruit and vegetable vending
(17 percent), offering accommodation (18 percent), cross border trader (6
percent) and petty trade (5 percent) such as sale of firewood.

The survey said the welfare of children especially in terms of their ability
to attend school was affected by the operation. School drop out was reported
to be 22 percent.

However, 45 percent of households interviewed reported that they were in a
precarious situationregarding the funding and accessing schools for their

"This may be a clear indication on the future prospects of school enrolment
for children in the near future," noted the survey.

About 60 percent of households sampled claimed that they had become food
insecure as a consequence of the operation.

Being urban areas, most of the food supply to the family is sourced from
market places.

Apart from loss of food, 75 percent of the respondents reported losing

The survey noted that 37 percent of the interviewed homesteads acknowledged
that women and children had become more vulnerable to abuse as a consequence
of the operation.

It said there was urgent need to resolve the accommodation/ shelter question
for all affected families.

"There is urgent need to grant and guarantee access to appropriate treatment
and quality care for people living with HIV/AIDS," said the survey.

It called for urgent donor commitment for support to affected communities.
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Zim Standard

ANZ legal battles gobble $10bn
By Valentine Maponga

ASSOCIATED Newspapers of Zimbabwe (ANZ) chief executive, Sam Sipepa Nkomo,
says his company has so far spent more than $10 billion in legal fees and
other operational costs as it battles to bring its banned papers back onto
the streets.

ANZ published two titles, The Daily News and The Daily News on Sunday, which
ceased operations on 12 September 2003 after being shut down by the
The company then launched a series of legal battles hoping to compel the
Media and Information Commission (MIC) to grant it an operating licence.

These battles culminated in the Supreme Court, which ordered the MIC to
consider a fresh application by ANZ. However, this did not bear any fruit as
the MIC, headed by Dr Tafataona Mahoso, again turned down the company's
application for a licence last month.

"We have paid over $10 billion on legal issues and the payments of salaries
to our remaining employees, although we are not operating," said Nkomo, who
was speaking at a public discussion organised by the Zimbabwe Journalists
for Human Rights (ZJHR) under the theme "The Daily News and the People of

Nkomo said the closure of the newspapers has denied the people of Zimbabwe
the right to information and destroyed many people's livelihoods from
journalists to vendors.

"We had given them everything that we thought was required and additional
information that the Act does not entail. My own understanding is that the
MIC should have looked at our application based on the information brought
before them," Nkomo said.

Sipepa Nkomo said he strongly believes that the MIC misdirected itself in
refusing to register the publishers of The Daily News and The Daily News on

He said ANZ has filed yet another application in the High Court seeking a
review of the MIC decision and a return of its equipment, which was
confiscated by police and which is being kept at Chikurubi Maximum Prison.

Also, speaking during the discussions, Thomas Deve, the chairperson of the
Media Institute of southern Africa (MISA) Zimbabwe Chapter, said the story
of The Daily News was a sad one.

"When you are plunged into darkness others take advantage of that darkness.
I think The Daily News should not have been closed for the good of this
country and I believe it will bounce back," Deve said.

Matthew Takaona, the president of the Zimbabwe Union of Journalists (ZUJ),
said the closure of the two newspapers dealt a major blow to the development
of the industry in the country.
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Zim Standard

CSO fails to release 2002 census figures
By Nqobani Ndlovu

BULAWAYO - THE Central Statistical Office (CSO) is yet to release the
official 2002 population census results, making it difficult for planners to
plan for the future.

This serious anomaly became apparent last week when John Henderson, theMD of
the Zimbabwe Advertising Research Foundation, (ZARF) revealed that they were
using outdated figures in their research work.
"We are still to get an update from the CSO. It must be affecting the
research findings, it's bound to have an effect, but we have no option but
to rely on the official 1997 population census results," Henderson said, at
the launch the Zimbabwe All Media Products Survey (ZAMPS) second quarter
results in Bulawayo.

ZARF is a foundation that produces quarterly research results mainly for
media houses, companies and organisations that are into advertising. Acting
Director of the CSO, Moffat Nyoni, told StandardBusiness that his
organisation had the 2002 figures but had failed to publicise them.

"The results are available from our offices and the figures have not changed
at all. We missed the schedule of holding publicity workshops where we go
out to the provinces, invite stakeholders and go through the report and get
feed back for future improvement," Nyoni said.

However analysts last week expressed concerns over the lack of openness
surrounding the figures. They said, apart from being ill-equipped to produce
accurate figures, the CSO had become politicised by the Zanu PF government
with a view to manipulating the electoral system.

Felix Mafa, the chairman of the Post Independence Survivors Trust (PIST),
said: "The truth is that the CSO is using archaic methods of research. They
are afraid to publicise them because people will dispute them."

He added that the department was not only understaffed but used equipment
that was obsolete and thereby incapable of coming up with accurate figures.

"They always underplay the population of other regions for political
reasons. For example, there was a conflict over the Bulawayo population
figures whereas Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe (UMP) had an inflated population
figures. When they don't reveal the statistics, development patterns become
distorted," Mafa said.

Opposition MDC spokesperson, Paul Themba Nyathi said it was difficult to
plan ahead in the absence of accurate data.

"It's either the CSO is not adequately funded or it is facing political
interference for the purposes of advantaging the ruling party. We live in a
country that has many abnormalities," Nyathi said.

Echoing the same sentiments, National University of Science and Technology's
(NUST), Oscar Chiwira, said developmental planning was difficult without
accurate figures. He added that CSO produced outdated figures.
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Zim Standard

Court orders Chief Serima to return extorted cattle
By Valentine Maponga

A Gutu magistrate has ordered acting Chief Serima of Gutu, George Chivande
to return three cattle he took from one of his subjects, a widow.

Priscilla Chimhanda, a widow from Chivhande Village, which falls under Chief
Serima's area had reason to celebrate when the court granted her permission
to recover her cattle, which had been taken by the chief.
In her affidavit before the court, Chimhanda said on 2 July this year, her
son Robert Nhigo (23), unhappy that he had been fined two cattle by the
chief for allegedly stealing 20 chicken from Kanongovere Secondary School,
assaulted Sofia Chiduza (the Chief's mother).

The widow said on 16 July, instead of calling Nhigo to his court, the chief
called her and ordered her to pay three cattle and an additional $6 million
for the assault.

Chief Serima sent his messengers who took the three cattle from Chimhanda.

An aggrieved Chimhanda took the matter to the court where a provisional
order that allowed her to have her cattle back was granted.

The Chief and his mother were given up to 16 August to return the cattle at
Gutu Magistrates' Court or show cause why they should not be ordered to
return the three cattle.

This is not the first time the chief has been dragged to the courts. Just
before the March Parliamentary elections Chivande, a teacher by profession,
pleaded guilty to inciting Zanu PF youths to commit acts of public violence
in the area.

He appeared before Masvingo magistrate Shortgame Musaiona for contravening a
section of the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act. The State alleged that
Chivande incited the youths to evict a local businessman, Abel Gandidza,
from his shop because of his "undesirable" political affiliation.

The following day the youths beat up patrons and workers at Gandidza's bar,
before deflating the tyres of his vehicle.
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Zim Standard

NUST sets acting-staff record
By Vusumuzi Sifile

BULAWAYO - The National University of Science and Technology (NUST) has
earned the dubious distinction of being run almost entirely by an acting

From the Vice Chancellor's position right down to senior academic and
administrative staff, officials in various acting capacities are running the
affairs of Zimbabwe's premier scientific and technological learning centre,
The Standard can reveal.
Insiders say this has plunged the university into an administrative crisis,
as the acting officials cannot make key decisions which are crucial for
day-to-day operations at the university.

They attribute this scenario to delays in the appointment of a substantive
Vice-Chancellor (VC), a position which fell vacant following the retirement
of Professor Phineas Makhurane last year. Former pro-vice chancellor,
Lindelo Ndlovu, is acting.

The Standard understands that because of the delay, this has also
jeopardised appointments for other influential positions at the institution.

"From the Vice-Chancellor to the deans and chairpersons of quite a number of
faculties and departments, the positions are held by people who are acting.
Decisions are made by way of voting in committees, to avoid having one
individual being accountable," the sources said.

One such case is the Faculty of Communication and Information Science, whose
three departments: Journalism and Media Studies; Library and Information
Science; and Records and Archives Management are all headed by acting
chairpersons. Lawton Hikwa is the faculty's acting dean following the death
of Professor Stan Made in a car accident in May.

The Standard understands during the last examinations, NUST failed to raise
enough funds to bring external examiners from out of the country. As a
result, examination results were released without the approval of external
examiners, as required by the university's ordinances.

Under normal circumstances, external examiners go through marked examination
scripts and approve the results before they are released.

"The department of appointments and personnel delayed in the appointment of
external examiners. This resulted in them failing to raise the required
foreign currency to cover their expenses, and subsequently led to exams
being marked by our own lecturers, but were not approved by external
examiners as required," one source said.

The cash flow problems have also seen NUST failing to raise the required
foreign currency for its personnel who are attending staff development
courses in neighbouring countries. One of the affected lecturers attributed
this to inefficiency in the department of Appointments and Personnel.

All NUST officials contacted by The Standard refused to comment, referring
questions to Felix Moyo, the university's director of information and
publicity, who was said to be attending a series of meetings.

However, Higher and Tertiary Education deputy minister, Dr Sikhanyiso
Ndlovu, says the "NUST issue is being given top priority" by his ministry.

"We are new ministers who have just come in and it is too early for us to
have made appointments already. We met the council during our
familiarisation tour, a number of concerns were raised and they gave us
recommendations, which we are currently going through," Ndlovu said.

He said the university officials who were acting had a right to make
decisions just like a substantive official.

"The concept of acting should be understood. A person who is acting has
every right to make decisions expected from that office, even major
decisions. The acting VC has made major decisions," added Ndlovu, who says
he has also acted in a number of capacities and made key decisions.
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Zim Standard

Nuanetsi project, another pipe-dream
By Godfrey Mutimba

MWENEZI - It is just an open space of cleared land stretching for about 5
000 hectares.

Young boys from nearby villages are occasionally seen there playing social
soccer, using dried logs for goal posts.
At dusk, women cross the vast expanse of land in groups, with their strident
voices echoing across the empty space as they engage in noisy conversations,
while others, clutching babies on their back, gather firewood from the
remnants of the forest that once covered the area.

The women are obviously grateful to the "Chinese" who have made their lives
much easier as they no longer have to travel long distances to fetch
firewood, a task that has increasingly become difficult in such communities,
owing to the rapid deforestation.

Welcome to what is supposed to be the giant Nuanetsi irrigation scheme in
Mwenezi, which for now, is no more than a playing ground for children and a
source of firewood for women in Mwenezi.

The project's promoters, who included former Masvingo governor and resident
minister Josiah Hungwe, claimed a few years ago the government initiated
project would be the answer to chronic food shortages experienced in the

Yet right now, there is nothing at the site that shows any serious land
preparation activity taking place or a resemblance of any other government
project of a magnitude that both the government and the ruling party
promoted so vigorously.

The government engaged China International Water and Electric Corporation to
clear the land and install irrigation facilities, but to date, only 5 000
hectares of land have been cleared. The target remains 150 000 hectares.

The Chinese company, said to be owed a staggering $59 billion, has since
scaled down operations as uncertainty continues to cloud the project.

Hungwe's successor, Willard Chiwewe, last week pleaded for funds from the
private sector and government for the completion of Tokwe- Mukorsi Dam,
expected to provide water to the massive project.

"The province urgently appeals for the completion of Tokwe-Mukorsi dam which
can irrigate above 25 000 hectares in the Nuanetsi and downstream areas. A
lot of innovation and investment is called for in this sector," said
Chiwewe, while speaking at the National Economic Consultative Forum workshop
in Chiredzi.

Chiwewe added: "The province has plenty of water and yet irrigation funds
are insufficient for both new schemes and rehabilitation of existing ones.
There is need for more equipment such as combine harvesters as well as
necessary back up services to be availed."

While Nuanetsi is moving at a snail's pace, several other projects in the
province are yet to be completed. These include the Masvingo - Renco road,
and the Gutu-Kurai road which started in 1995.

And in the event that the giant scheme gets completed, it would remain dry
since its source of water is Tokwe Mukorsi Dam has not been completed,
several years after construction work started.
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Zim Standard

CFU bemoans continued violence against farmers
By Thomas Kwaramba

ZIMBABWE will continue to experience food shortages next year because
farmers are not free to produce crops for the nation, the Commercial
Farmers' Union (CFU) has said.

CFU Vice President, Stoff Hawgood, said farmers remained bogged down by
continued listings and acquisition notices, disruptions and acts of violence
and expropriation of equipment, among many other things.
Hawgood castigated government over what he said was the lack of policy on
the land issue.

"The land ownership system will create multiply farm owners. Investment in
agriculture is impossible in view of this", Hawgood said.

The biggest part of all the challenges is the crisis of illegitimacy facing
commercial agriculture said the CFU official.

"Farming today was born out of wedlock, a bastard unable to work and
produce," Hawgood said.

The union said giving land to new farmers would not make the problem of
illegitimacy go away. "The laws have created a state of insecurity and an
environment of conflict that is not conducive to agriculture".

Speaking at the same occasion the Union's president, Doug Taylor-Freeme,
said: "The situation at the farms today is what it was in 2000. There is
still intimidation and harassment."

Freeme called on the international community to assist in the rebuilding of
agriculture and added that the 99-year leases proposed by the government
will further accelerate the collapse of agriculture.

He said white farmers and their workers had been subjected to "Operation
Murambatsina" since 2000. "It seems that there is some form of ethnic
cleansing taking place," he said.

Before the controversial land reform programme agriculture was the backbone
of the economy.

"Agriculture has declined further despite claims of improvements from those
in authority and Zimbabwe has not produced for the past five years. Our land
has been lying idle", Hawgood said.

Hawgood said calls for the return of white commercial farmers were only
rumours and unrealistic.

"How can farmers go back to the same situation that threw them out of

Most farmers who fled their farms have found new homes in other African
countries such as Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi and Nigeria, among others.

Those who are still in the country are still waiting for compensation, which
is fast becoming a pipe dream as the courts continue to "sleep over" their
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Zim Standard

Mayoral roll-of-honour snubs Mudzuri
By Caiphas Chimhete

IN what is being widely seen as a vindictive act, the Commission running the
affairs of Harare has left out Elias Mudzuri, the ousted Harare mayor, from
a list of former city fathers that are supposed to benefit from free motor
vehicle parking facility in the capital city.

The facility was also extended to aldermen and serving commissioners in
recognition of their services.
Mudzuri, who was fired by the Minister of Local Government, Public Works and
Urban Development, Ignatious Chombo, in 2003 on allegations of
mismanagement, was elected Harare executive mayor on the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) ticket.

Harare City Council spokesperson, Leslie Gwindi, said the chairperson of the
commission, Sekesai Makwavarara, was the only person privy to the reasons
why the democratically elected mayor was not accorded the same status.

"The only person who can give you the reasons is the chairperson of the
commission and she is out of the country," Gwindi said.

MDC secretary general, Professor Welshman Ncube, said the commissioners were
just being vindictive.

"These guys are just being vindictive. But there is nothing he can do to
challenge that because it is just a privilege and not a legal right," Ncube

Most of the people who are benefiting from the newly introduced scheme are
known sympathizers of the ruling Zanu PF party.

Some of the beneficiaries are former mayors Alderman Tony Gara, Charles
Tavengwa, Tizirai Gwata, Oliver Chidawu and Jabulani Thembani.

The serving commissioners are Professor Jameson Kurasha, Tendai Savanhu,
lawyer Terrence Hussein, Noel Muzuva, Michael Mahachi, Viola Chasi and
Prisca Mupfumira.

The new council facility comes after the Commission introduced strict
parking regulations, which saw several vehicles being towed away and owners
paying fines of more than $1.5 million.

Harare city council authorities last month said they were collecting more
than $10 million on a daily basis from fines.

Mudzuri, who has vowed to contest the mayoral position once mayoral polls
are sanctioned by government, was last week out of the country.

The commissioners' term of office has expired and the Combined Harare
Residents' Association (Chra) has challenged their continued stay in office
in the courts.

The six-month term of the Makwavarara Commission expired on 9 June 2005. The
Urban Councils Act requires that before expiry of its term, "any
Commissioner so appointed shall organize for elections to take place to fill
any vacancy arising in council".

CHRA applied for an urgent hearing of the matter to avoid prejudice to
residents in terms of rates and charges payments and prevention of their
right to be represented by democratically elected councillors.

"Our urgent chamber application has still not been heard, nearly two months
later and this is unacceptable.

"Residents are being forced to pay huge increases in their rates and
charges, despite numerous objections that were lodged with the Municipality.
The Makwavarara Commission has failed to respond to these objections in
clear contravention of the law," said Trudy Stevenson chairperson of Chra's
legal committee
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Zim Standard


THE government's propensity for destruction is astounding. Zimbabweans have
allowed misguided individuals to wreck their lives and those of their
children. They have had enough.

Five years ago Zimbabwe had one of the most successful agriculture sectors
on the continent, if not the world. That was until the government conjured
up its disastrous "agrarian revolution", to which many today attribute the
country's acute food deficit.
Next, the government turned its attention to newspapers. By the time it was
finished, four titles had been closed down and hundreds of breadwinners
thrown onto the streets.

Third destination was the non-governmental sector. While it did not go the
whole hog, the damage had already been done. What it has effectively
succeeded in doing is to create considerable fear and insecurity among the
few remaining non-governmental organisations.

The targets of the fourth destination in this destructive trail were the
dwellings in the country's high-density areas. When the government was over
and done with this "operation" nearly a million people had been rendered
homeless. Despite calls by civil society organisations to halt the forced
mass evictions until alternative mechanisms to mitigate the plight of the
affected are put in place, the government stepped up its campaign. Few
understood and many today still do not understand the urgency and underlying
compulsion to implement a programme, comparable in modern times only to the
pre-democratic apartheid South Africa policies.

In its wake, it left people without homes, without livelihoods and many
without both. The United Nations warned that the government had created an
internal refugee/humanitarian crisis and trashed the myth that informed the
idea of rural repatriation. The government believed it was right.

Not content with the trail of destruction during the last five years, the
government has now set its sights on education and appears determined to
introduce another "Jambanja" to this sector. As an exercise in demonstrating
its destructive capacity, this is unparalleled. It seems the government's
intention is to do to education what it did to the commercial farms.

Most of the sections under the Education Amendment Bill have been rejected
in the past, with even the High Court ruling last year that all private
schools in the country could increase fees without the consent of the parent

But once again, as has become the pattern during the past five years, the
government does not like to lose. It is therefore determined to stampede
these amendments through parliament in order to have its own way, even if
this may be in breach of the Constitution.

The government's obsession with the amendments is almost obscene. It has
also proposed the Constitutional Amendment Bill, under which anyone with an
interest or right in land will lose their right or interest, once the
government acquires the land. A pattern is beginning to emerge: the
government wants to own, control and direct everything is this country never
mind the consequences or protestations from representatives of the people.

MPs are good at claiming that they represent the people, once they are in
power. If this indeed is true, when the Bill comes up for its second
reading, they should throw it out, because this is the view that emerged
from the hearings conducted last week.

They must also ask why the government spent so much time and resources in
setting up the Presidential Commission of Inquiry into Education and
Training, which reported its findings in August 1999 and what its intentions
are on the recommendations it made. The amendments that the Ministry of
Education is pushing for are not informed by the Presidential Commission of
Inquiry into Education and Training.

The Commission was able to get a comprehensive picture of the strengths and
weaknesses of the current education system. It recommended the establishment
of structures which ensure good quality education and efficient management
of resources. There is no mention of nationalisation of education. That
investment has to be justified and its recommendations implemented.

There are other more pressing matters for the Ministry of Education than
this pursuit by control freaks. Dzingai Mutumbuka and Fay Chung must be
looking on in utter dismay to see the post-independence education foundation
they established being whittled down so mindlessly.

Under their able leadership, Zimbabwe's education received worldwide acclaim
and it became a model for other developing nations. Now all this is under
attack. For once the MPs must exercise their power and stop this self
destruction from taking place.

There is something sinister about a minister setting the benchmarks for
teachers' qualifications. If our understanding of how the government and the
ruling party operate is correct, Minister Aeneas Chigwedere is trying to
railroad a project that will ensure jobs for graduates of political
education colleges (Border Gezi graduates) and have spies to report on
"activities" in private schools.

Last year Chigwedere closed down 46 private schools. That is a measure of
his and the ministry's commitment to education and the children, who under
international conventions have a right to education.

For once the MPs must have the courage to stop this madness.
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Zim Standard

Independent body needed to confer national hero status

THE Zanu PF Politburo confers hero status on national leaders based on
certain ambiguous and unclear criteria. For instance, two leaders who
participated either in the liberation struggle or national development are
treated differently. This leaves one wondering why there are inconsistencies
and discrimination.

Is political affiliation a factor? Does the deceased's ethnic or tribal
origin matter? Do family ties or personal relationships matter? Do one's
mistakes or blunders wipe off one's sacrifices and achievement?
Ndabaningi Sithole, the founding president of the original Zanu, played a
very important role in the struggle for independence in the National
Democratic Party, Zapu and Zanu. But he joined the internal settlement
towards the end of the liberation war.

In comparison, George Nyandoro played an equally important role in the
struggle. In fact, he and James Chikerema are identified with the origins of
the nationalist struggle in the 1950s. Later, he joined Bishop Abel
Muzorewa's Zimbabwe-Rhodesia regime in the late 70s. When he died a few
years ago, he was a declared a national hero.

Zapu vice president Josiah Chinamano, who died in 1985 at the height of the
bloody and disastrous conflict in Matabeleland and the Midlands, was buried
at the national shrine.

However, Samuel Munodawafa, Zapu national chairman died a week before the
Unity Accord between PF Zapu and Zanu PF was signed on 22 December 1987. He
lies buried in Masvingo with no recognition as a national hero, although his
participation goes back to the 1950s.

Chief Jeremiah Chirau, who together with Muzorewa and Sithole participated
in the internal settlement as leader of Zupo, received semi-hero status and
a state-assisted funeral.

Among the first cadres to be trained as guerrillas was Fibion John Shoniwa.
His group included Albert Nxele, Dumiso Dabengwa and Emmerson Mnangagwa.
When Shoniwa died, he was buried in Gutu, his home area but Nxele was
interned at the national shrine.

One of the first women guerrilla leaders, Sheba Tavarwisa lies buried in
Gutu. Could her contribution be less important than that of Joseph
Culverwell, Chenjerai Hunzvi, Solomon Tawengwa or Witness Mangwende?

Did Culverwell play any role at all? Noel Mukono dedicated most of his life
to the liberation struggle. At some point in the 1960s, he was Zanla
Secretary for Defence. Why did the Politburo not recognise his sacrifices?
Is it because he remained in Sithole's Zanu?

The history of the struggle and of Zipra cannot be complete without Lookout
Masuku. He was wrongly and unfairly incarcerated after independence. His
noble efforts are still not recognised.

Dr Joseph Taderera was known for the huge risks he took to smuggle weapons
into the country in the 1960s. He later trained as a guerrilla and led
fighters at the launch of the 1976 offensive. He fell out of favour and was
imprisoned in Mozambique between 1978 and 1980. When he died in Zimbabwe in
a car accident, his immense contribution was not recognised. The same
applies to Hlupo Shumba Chigowe, at one time Zanla's security chief.

Why was Michael Mawema not recognised despite his various roles in the
struggle, including that of acting first president of NDP? What crime did he

Do his sacrifices not compare with those of Rekayi Tangwena?

Who played a bigger role in the struggle between Davies Mugabe and
Christopher Ushewokunze? Professor Mugabe was eulogised by Eddison Zvobgo
and others at his burial outside Masvingo town.

Obviously there is no consistency either in the criteria used to confer hero
status or in their application. Something appears to emerge from the above
scenario. Tribalism or ethnicity, political affiliation and/ or patronage
have a role in considering hero status for individuals. Being Zezuru
automatically qualifies one to be declared a national hero. If you are
Manyika, Ndau or Karanga you face an uphill struggle to be recognised.

The answer lies in establishing a national, independent and apolitical body
to come up with comprehensive criteria for individuals to qualify for
national hero status and confer it on them for their contribution towards
the liberation struggle, national development or any other national
outstanding achievements. If this is not done, history will judge the
current (and recent past) Zanu PF leaders harshly for deliberately making
political blunders to accomplish selfish interests.

War veteran

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Zim Standard

The Herald complicity in Govt failures
Sundaytalk with Pius Wakatama

I WOULD have found The Herald's editorial of 2 August most entertaining had
the issue it commented upon not been so vital to the survival of the nation.

It is indeed tragic that the widely read major government mouthpiece is so
confused in regard to the real causes of the shortage of basic commodities
in the country.
It is with tongue-in-cheek that I say "widely read" because people have no
other choice. People read it out of desperation for information since the
banning of The Daily News, The Daily News on Sunday and later The Tribune.

The reasons for government's proscription of these newspapers are two-fold.
The first is jealousy. The government papers, led by The Herald, which are
mostly puerile government propaganda sheets, were losing money because not
many people bought them. They could not compete with the credible and
independent Daily News, which did what newspapers are supposed to do, namely
to inform, educate and entertain.

The second reason is that The Daily News was relentless in its exposure of
the weaknesses, ineptitude and corruption in government. It also commented,
without fear or favour on national events as they happened.

In efforts to hide their failures and misdeeds, the governing elite have now
reached the extremes of absurdity. Instead of admitting that the country is
in a crisis of great magnitude caused by their ineptitude, failure at
governance and poor economic management, they desperately cling on to power
by subterfuge, outright lies and cheap propaganda which even school children
can see through. Instead of admitting that the once great Zimbabwe is now a
failed, bankrupt pariah State they glibly say that the country is facing
"challenges" and prescribe all manner of crazy stop-gap measures for the
disaster staring us in the face.

They talk about an imminent "economic turn-around" through these dubious
strategies while they scurry all over the world with a big begging bowl.

God blessed Zimbabwe with some of the world's most respected experts in many
fields, including economics, business and political science. For years these
have bravely tried to stem the tide of disastrous government policies
without success. In President Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe, anyone who does not
pander to the political agenda of Zanu PF and tries to offer realistic
solutions is immediately labelled a puppet of the West.

Anyone who does not agree with them is by default associated with some
nefarious forces arraigned in a conspiracy against the country's
"sovereignty and independence". Such a traitor is, therefore, an enemy upon
whom State sponsored censure including violence may be visited. Apparently
oblivious of any dire consequences, they prescribe this and that ad-hoc
solution to the country's myriad problems as they blindly soldier on in
their Mickey Mouse world of make-believe.

I quote from The Herald editorial referred to: "The shortage of basic
commodities that has been with us for the past four months needs to be
investigated thoroughly not only to determine the causes, but to find a
lasting solution to this disturbing trend."

The Herald is right in saying that there is a shortage of basic commodities.
Everybody knows that. However, it is wrong to say that this has been going
on for the past four months only. We have had these shortages ever since the
chaotic, unplanned and often violent so-called land reform programme. Also
to call the shortages a "disturbing trend" is the understatement of the

They may just be a disturbing trend to the well-fed fat cats who belong to
the ruling elite but to the poor working class, it is a disaster and a
nightmare. Apparently, the writer has never had to see his family go to bed
without eating sadza on his pay day. He has never had to see his children go
to school in the morning without eating porridge or tea and bread.

To say that the shortages need to be investigated to determine the causes
proves what some of us have been saying all along. Our government is totally
ignorant of the nature of the problems facing the country and has no inkling
as to how they may be solved. In other words, they are a confused lot.

The Herald goes on to comment: "Manufacturers have lamented the shortage of
foreign currency to import raw materials, machinery and spare parts, among
other constraints forwarded for not producing some product lines."

You have got it. The scarcity of foreign currency and, if I may add,
unreasonable price controls have contributed to the shortages of basic

After stating this real fact, does The Herald suggest how the problem can be
overcome? No, Sir. It goes off on a tangent to say: But the availability of
these goods on the parallel market is baffling.

How do they explain this? Elementary, my dear Herald, as Sherlock Holmes
would say. However, it does not need a skilled investigator like Holmes to
discover why goods in short supply, whose prices are controlled by the
government end up on the parallel market. There is nothing baffling about
that. It is the basic and natural law of supply and demand which is at work
here and nothing, not even police action, can stem it. One does not need a
degree in economics to understand that. There is nothing warranting an
investigation here.

The Herald goes on to give a rather puerile lecture to business people. It

"Manufacturers as partners in development need to behave responsibly and
desist from feeding the black market. The consequences of doing so are
obvious, chief among which are the inflationary pressures induced into the
economy due to the high prices charged for products on that market. This is
sadly happening at a time when Zimbabwe is on a disinflation campaign. The
government and the Reserve Bank have played their part ." blah, blah, blah,
blah, on and on with more of the same gobbledygook.

The sum total of it all, of course, is subtle scapegoating. In other words
the government and the Reserve Bank are failing to control inflation because
of unscrupulous business people. This may then justify the taking over of
all private business by the government. Maybe another tsunami is on the way.

May I take this opportunity to inform The Herald that people do not go into
business in order to assist the government with its development programmes?
They go into business in order to make a living for themselves. They need to
make reasonable profits to pay their employees, feed, clothe and house their
own families, pay for services, rents, rates and taxes and have something
left over for leisure.

First and foremost people go into business to make money, fullstop. Any
business that does not strive to maximise its profits will definitely go

It is the duty of the government to create an enabling environment in which
business can operate freely. It is also its duty to see that there is fair
play and market forces are allowed to operate with only minimal and very
necessary interference. Instead of lecturing to disgruntled Zimbabwean
business people, The Herald should lecture the government on the need for it
to create a stable political environment, to attract foreign investment,
with the necessary economic fundamentals which our seasoned economists with
no political axe to grind have been talking about for so long.

He, who has ears to hear, let him hear.
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Zim Standard

The strategy of talks about talks
By Dumisani Mpofu

"No," thundered the man. "I know him too well. He would never do that. Spare
us the fiction."

"But," explained his colleague, "nothing is impossible. After all,
situations and circumstances change. Let me remind you that this was the
position someone in this country took, but a decade and half later, they sat
across the table and began talks. There are at least three more recent
examples in our region; therefore it seems logical he should countenance
The cause of their argument was a recent declaration by the most
revolutionary of them all - the Don of Freedonia's revolution. A few days
earlier he had declared he could only meet a man, who for a decade he had
portrayed as a bogeyman, a personification of repugnance and a
co-conspirator in trying to bring down the revolution. The Don had even
called him "inimigo do povo - an enemy of the people". Now he was saying:
"This is the man to speak to."

Covert emissaries under all manner of disguise were sent to sound out what
the representatives of the bogeyman thought. They were duly rewarded with as
vague and diplomatic a response as one could extract in such circumstances:
there had been no overtures from Freedonia or anyone on its behalf to press
for an indaba with the most revolutionary of them all.

Depending on one's understanding of international diplomacy, this could mean
a polite rebuff or "it's worth giving a try".

The intelligence community went into overdrive mode. Discussion groups
purportedly representing civil society organisations began holding meetings
to discuss, gain national consensus and lend a patina of legitimacy to this
idea. Freedonia could then say it was acting on the advice and direction of
its people.

The truth, however, was that the Don of Freedonia's revolution was trying to
extricate himself and his country from a tight spot.

If the man he had held responsible for every problem that had beset this
beloved nation - and Freedonia had enough problems to break the back of even
the sturdiest of mules in the land - could agree to an indaba the Don would
have achieved an unparalleled feat in international diplomacy.

There could be no robust demonstration to dialogue and engage the
international community than offering to meet the man at whom he reviled at
every available opportunity. After all, it takes considerable guts for a man
of the Don's pride.

But this gesture of an indaba on talks about talks on Freedonia's internal
political condition was being impelled by an earlier invite to the chief
administrative officer of the world body to visit Freedonia and see what a
model State and society the country was constructing.

If the offer of an indaba could materialise or send signals of a thaw in
relations between Freedonia and the rest of the world, then the Don would be
able to exploit the visit by the chief administrative officer of the world
body, by pointing out to a level of progress on internal political dialogue.

The scenario was that the world body's chief administrative officer would be
impressed by this "sincere" gesture to iron out internal political problems
and engage the international community. It was reasoned that, "in the
interests of suffering Freedonians" the visiting world top dignitary, would
recommend that every available assistance be extended to the reconstruction
of Freedonia. Secondly, he would recommend that strained relations with
other nations in the world cease, because of a willingness to turn over a
new leaf by the revolutionary leadership in Freedonia. This would open the
floodgates of assistance and opportunities in Freedonia.

Now if that became achievable and deliverable, who needs an oppositional
political organisation to bring about change in the fortunes of the citizens
of the land of the brave and free? Freedonians, ever the optimists, would
hail this as a "second" liberation and guess who would have reclaimed the
centre stage of both domestic and global attraction? The Don, of course.
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      Is Africa dying before our very eyes & The Frontline Fellowship
      [Some days ago, I wrote to Dr Peter Hammond of the Frontline
Fellowship. I am sure, in the dim recesses of my mind, that I remember these
brave people from the days of Rhodesia. The Frontline Fellowship does what
Priests really should be doing, if they want to call themselves priests, and
that is to spreak out about Terrorism, Communism, destruction, etc.

      Dr Hammond has written several books, and I will get details of them.

      He tells me that he wants to write a book about the national suicide
going on in Zimbabwe. I think it is an awesome idea. We are watching history
in the making in a big way.

      A friend in the USA... in fact, probably the first American I ever had
as a friend, Dave, sent me a Christian publication from the USA which
contained an article "Is Africa dying before our very eyes?". It lists the
incredible destruction and death going on across Africa... with thousands
dying every day. The authors point out that the regular destruction in
Africa makes things like the December 2004 Tsunami look trivial.

      I couldn't help smiling to myself though, because the Americans who
wrote the article pointed out that these same countries were THRIVING when
they were part of the British, and other Empires! I smiled a big smile,
because the honest-to-God truth, is that Colonialism was the best thing that
ever happened to Africa. The article asked if "God has cursed Africa".

      People can try to solve the problems of Africa, but as I have said
many times, the Marxist Liberation of Africa, was a big mistake, and it
could take Africa 100 or more years before it finds its feet again.

      I smile - because the Whites made progress look easy. But it wasn't
easy, and many think they can replicate what our forefathers did, and they
will see how difficult it is.

      I watch TV news here in S.Africa and often find our ANC-dominated Govt
to be quite good at comic relief. I watch as President Mbeki runs around,
trying to motivate people. Its too funny. These people are basing all their
thoughts and ideas on principles and methods which haven't got a hope in
hell of succeeding. The same with Mugabe. Destruction, and economic failure
is endemic to their system. Their system CANNOT succeed. It will fail.

      I receive Rhodesian publications which I subscribe to, and I smiled to
myself. Rhodesia may have been killed off, because the world was stupid
enough to let it be killed, but Rhodesia stands tall a proud. Rhodesia
represents the greatest Zenith which "Zimbabwe" could ever aspire to. And
Zimbabwe is being wiped out. As Dr Hammond aptly called it: "National
Suicide". All Mugabe can do is: Smash, terrorise, oppress... that's the sum
total of it, because his stupid system, and his stupid philosophies CANNOT
lead to progress.

      The ANC is the same. This evening I watched FOKUS - an excellent
Afrikaans TV news program - and they showed so many things which made me
shake my head. As unbelievable as it may seem, this country, S.Africa, is
going to end up a complete flipping RUIN, just like Angola, or Mozambique or

      And when it does, people will remember APARTHEID and AFRIKANERS and
the National Party. Imagine, 50 years from now, people might be saying: Do
you know, APARTHEID South Africa was awesome - it was vibrant, it was
successful, it was the most progress that country ever knew. Look at the
unbelievable miracles of progress which took place under Afrikaner-dominated
rule in the 1950's and 1960's - and look at how the ANC came and levelled
that country to the ground.

      You think it won't be like that? Stick around... and be SHOCKED!

      I must say, with each passing day, I am finding myself become prouder,
and prouder and PROUDER, of my forefathers and the things they did here in
Africa - because, with muskets and oxwagons, they achieved, what the United
Nations, and the EU and $25 billion in foreign aid can't achieve in 2005.
Our forefathers ROCKED!!!

      If we had any brains, sense or courage, we would be like them, and
rebel and chart our own course in Africa, in a country of our own one day -
because we're the only people, who ever lived in Africa, who ever made it
prosper. What our forefathers achieved, has never been duplicated by anyone
since. Jan]

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