|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
An official from
the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture and Rural
Resettlement, who only identified himself as Katone, told shocked settlers
they should leave the farm by 30 August or face arrest.
Katone, who was accompanied
by senior police officers from Nyabira and
Darwendale police stations, in charge of the area, did not tell the settlers
where they would be resettled, but insisted their eviction had been ordered
by the "highest offices".
He said: "We are not going to accept questions from
you. The time for
questions has passed and we are here to deliver the message. This is a
directive coming from the highest offices so I will not answer your
Katone told the settlers at a
meeting held yesterday at the farm’s
main gate that only 21 families out of the group now occupying the farm
would be allowed to remain at the property.
The late Innocent was the son of Mugabe’s sister,
who died two years ago, was a senior operative in the government’s dreaded
Central Intelligence Organisation.
widow, Merjury Winnet, who has been allocated 1 000 hectares at
the 6 000-hectare Little England Farm, is already occupying the farmhouse
vacated in 2000 by white farmer, Graham Smith.
Innocent’s sons, Joe and
Hugh, attended the meeting yesterday between
the government officials and the settlers, who moved onto Little England
during the invasion of farms by government and ruling ZANU PF party
supporters in 2000.
Daily News crew also attended the meeting held at the farm’s
The settlers, who told this newspaper that they
attempted in the past months to have the occupation of Little England
regularised by the government, vowed to resist any moves to push them off
the prime property.
Some of the settlers, who
include war veterans and government workers,
threatened to beat up Katone and his delegation and said they would remain
at the farm in order to expose corruption in the land reform exercise.
One female settler, who
identified herself as Mai Muzondo, told the
government delegation: "You are corrupt and delivering a corrupt message.
How did you come up with 21 people (selected to remain at the farm)?
"We have suffered enough and
we are ready to be killed by the evicting
policemen and soldiers.
"The President must know that his ministers and
Mashonaland West are corrupt and receiving bribes from rich people."
But Katone told the settlers "the law will deal
anyone who defied the order to leave the farm.
He said the settlers there were improperly settled on the
that apart from a few, none of the settlers had received letters offering
them land at the farm from the government.
"We have only seven people who have been issued with genuine
offer letters signed by (Lands, Agriculture and Rural Resettlement) Minister
"We don’t accept letters from party chairmen, village
heads and chiefs
because they have not been given the authority to distribute land."
Made and Local Government Minister Ignatius Chombo could
reached for comment on the simmering land dispute between the settlers and
Governor of Mashonaland West province,
under which Zvimba district
falls, Peter Chanetsa, refused to comment on the matter.
Chanetsa said: "Today is Sunday. I have better things to do than
answer your questions." By Precious Shumba Senior Reporter
Brace for fresh polls: Tsvangirai
HWANGE – Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party
leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday called on supporters of the party to gear
up for fresh presidential and parliamentary elections, which he said were
Addressing about 15 000 MDC supporters
here, the opposition leader
said the party should not fail to wrest power from the ruling ZANU PF party
in fresh elections.
do corrections you all know that you must not fail again,"
Tsvangirai said the MDC had embraced efforts by local
to revive talks between the opposition party and ZANU PF in a bid to find a
peaceful solution to Zimbabwe’s fast deteriorating economic and social
The opposition leader insisted his party
would not be swallowed up by
ZANU PF like what happened to the former PF ZAPU opposition party in the
1987 unity accord.
He said: "The MDC
is not capitulating but wants the talks because it
is putting the people first."
PF-ZAPU, led by the late revered nationalist Joshua
to ZANU PF after a bitter onslaught by the Zimbabwe National Army’s
notorious Fifth Brigade against its supporters in the southern Matabeleland
and Midlands regions.
An estimated 20
000 civilians are believed to have died in the
crackdown by the army against armed rebels in Matabeleland and Midlands who
were allegedly loyal to Nkomo.
Tsvangirai said his party had not abandoned mass action
calling on his
supporters to close ranks to put pressure on ZANU PF to agree to talks.
Although both Tsvangirai and ZANU PF and state
President Robert Mugabe
have told the church leaders that they are committed to the resumption of
dialogue between their parties, ZANU PF has in the last few weeks appeared
to be backtracking on dialogue.
ruling party is still to submit its position paper on dialogue to
the church leaders, arguing it will not be told how to "conduct its
The MDC has already submitted its position
paper to the leaders of the
Zimbabwe Council of Churches, Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops’ Conference and the
Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe leading the search for a negotiated
solution to Zimbabwe’s problems.
an earlier rally in the resort town of Victoria Falls, Tsvangirai
called on residents to vote for MDC candidates in mayoral and municipal
elections scheduled to take place in the town and other municipalities
across Zimbabwe on 30 and 31 August.
On the way to Hwange from Victoria Falls,
Tsvangirai and his convoy
had to clear boulders from the road allegedly placed there by ruling ZANU PF
party youths in a bid to prevent the opposition leader from reaching his
supporters in the coal mining town. Tourists travelling along the road were
also caught up in the blockade.
MDC youths travelling with their leader, stranded
motorists and bus
passengers cleared the boulders as anti-riot police kept the peace.
By Chris Gande
Chombo appoints new team to probe Mudzuri
LOCAL Government Minister Ignatius Chombo has appointed University
of Zimbabwe (UZ) academic Jameson Kurasha to chair a new commission to
investigate suspended Harare executive mayor Elias Mudzuri, the Daily News
Kurasha’s commission replaces
another commission appointed by Chombo
earlier this year to probe Mudzuri but which collapsed after its members
resigned before commencement of hearings.
Well-placed sources said Kurasha, who is chairman of
the University of
Zimbabwe’s religious studies, classics and philosophy department, was
expected to begin probing Mudzuri within the next two weeks.
"Minister Chombo approached Kurasha and asked him to
committee that will hear Mudzuri’s case at Kurima House," said a source, who
spoke on condition he was not named.
"Chombo is trying to find replacements for the other members
of the commission who resigned while still investigating Mudzuri."
Chombo yesterday could not be reached for comment on the matter.
Kurasha yesterday confirmed he had been appointed by
Chombo to head a
new commission of inquiry into Mudzuri’s alleged mismanagement of the
The UZ lecturer said:
"The minister appointed me to carry out this
responsibility and I will do it in a professional manner. My deputy is
Shingi Mutumbwa in the nine-member committee, all dedicated to the city of
what matters to us because it is the capital city. We want
to establish whether or not Mudzuri’s suspension was valid.
was elected by Harare residents The minister who
suspended him was appointed by my President so we will be professional in
Chombo suspended Mudzuri in March this year citing mismanagement
Mudzuri, who was elected to Town House on an
opposition Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) party ticket last year, denies the charges by Chombo
and instead accuses the government of undermining his council.
Chombo initially appointed a committee
headed by Harare Central
Hospital superintendent Christopher Tapfumaneyi to investigate Mudzuri.
But the committee collapsed after several
of its members, including
Tapfumaneyi, resigned under unclear circumstances.
Chombo has grappled with the MDC-dominated
Harare City Council for
control of the capital city, which is critically important in Zimbabwe’s
Last week Chombo barred
the city council from electing a new deputy
mayor to replace acting mayor Sekesai Makwavarara and her executive
committee, saying there should be no changes at Town House until the probe
on Mudzuri was finalised.
MDC shadow minister for local government Gabriel
said last week that the elections of a new executive committee and deputy
mayor would go ahead in accordance with the Urban Councils Act (UCA).
Under the UCA the council executive
committees and deputy mayors must
be elected by councillors after every 12 months.
The MDC is keen to have the internal election take
place at Harare
City Council in order to remove Makwavarara and her committee who some party
members have accused of conniving with Chombo against Mudzuri.
$1 m property lost as ZANU PF supporters turn against their own
MUTARE – Suspected ruling ZANU PF party supporters on Friday raided
the home of a member of the ruling party, Peter Maviza, and destroyed
property worth more than $1 million.
ZANU PF councillor for Mutare’s ward five, has angered the
ruling party here by standing for re-election as independent against orders
by his ZANU PF superiors not to do so.
The police yesterday told the Daily
News they had arrested three
suspects in the high density of Sakubva in connection with the attack. The
police said the trio was assisting them with investigations into the attack
on Maviza’s house.
suspects are to appear in court tomorrow (today) facing
charges of malicious injury to property and the other common assault," a
police spokesman said.
Maviza alleged that a group of known ZANU PF youths, not
his decision to run as an independent candidate, stoned his house, injuring
his seven-year-old daughter and destroying household property worth more
than $1 million.
"My seven-year-old daughter was
injured in the head during the attack,
she was treated for head injuries and has been discharged in the hospital,"
all the window panes at his house were destroyed in the attack
which he said was aimed at stopping him from standing as an independent in
the 30 and 31 August local government elections.
Maviza said he had left the
ruling ZANU PF following disagreements
with the party over his re-election bid.
Charles Pemhenayi, ZANU PF’s Manicaland spokesperson, who
is on record
saying his party does not condone any political violence, could not be
reached for comment yesterday
In no hurry to end Zimbabwe’s misery
REPORTS that the ruling ZANU PF party is not in a hurry to submit
its position on dialogue with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) should send a clear signal to tormented Zimbabweans that unless they,
and they alone, rise up to demand an end to their misery, then they and
their children’s future is doomed.
Taking a leaf from his leader,
President Robert Mugabe, ZANU PF
chairman John Nkomo told the state mouthpiece Sunday Mail newspaper that the
ruling party will take its sweet time to present its position to local
church leaders attempting to revive dialogue between the MDC and ZANU PF.
Nkomo said: "ZANU PF will
not be forced to draft an agenda by anybody,
or be blamed for not coming with an agenda for the talks.
"The fact that the MDC has drafted its
agenda is none of our business.
We will not be bothered by that and we do not wish the church leaders to
tell us how to conduct our business."
Only a week earlier Mugabe single-handedly attempted
to undo all the
good work done so far towards restarting dialogue when he demanded that the
MDC first "repent" before there could be co-operation with his government.
That the proposed talks, which Nkomo, Mugabe
and ZANU PF appear so
determined to scuttle even before they begin, are the only viable way to end
Zimbabwe’s political and economic crisis should be clear even to selfish and
would agree with Nkomo that the church leaders or no one
else should force ZANU PF to draft its position on the proposed talks.
only suggest that the cries of suffering Zimbabweans should
be enough to push ZANU PF, if there is anyone in that party who still cares,
to move with speed to engage the MDC and other stakeholders to negotiate an
end to the crisis.
The cold statistics are there for Nkomo and his ZANU PF
see. Ballooning inflation, which is now pegged at an all-time high record of
364.5 percent, has pushed the cost of living beyond the reach of about 70
percent of Zimbabweans.
Unemployment is around
70 percent. HIV/AIDS-related sicknesses are
killing 2 000 Zimbabweans each week because there are no drugs in the
We shall not mention the foreign and local currency, fuel and
How much more death and anguish must Zimbabweans
endure before Nkomo
and ZANU PF can realise the urgency of the situation?
But then the ZANU PF government has proved on
before that like the "caricature African dictatorship", it is there to serve
and protect the interests of the ruling elite, their relatives and
How else could one explain the
delay by the government to tell
international donors that 700 000 tonnes of food aid was required to feed
the nation until the next harvest in 2004?
Donors say because of the delayed appeal for help, food
be delayed by up to three months at a time when thousands of families across
the country will reportedly have run out of food by the end of September.
Clearly the choice is for Zimbabweans to make:
whether they shall
allow a power-drunk ruling elite to destroy the future of this country or
they should stand up in accordance with the country’s Constitution and
democratic practice elsewhere and put an end to this madness.
What guarantees do these ‘new farmers’ have?
I WOULDN’T think that many of the A1 farmers now sitting on Zimbabwe
’s commercial farms have the opportunity to read the newspapers,
particularly not the independent Press since these have been banned in many
centres around the country.
I am sure,
though, that most of the so-called A2 farmers do read the
papers because so many of them are only weekend and cellphone farmers.
if it has come to their attention yet that they are now fully
employed by the state and, in reality, are little better off than the farm
workers who were previously employed by white commercial farmers.
after the commencement of this so-called Agrarian
Revolution, all the A1 and A2 new settler farmers are not living on their
own farms, be they seven-hectare plots
or 1 000-hectare estates – they are living on state land and working
for the government.
"Our land is our
prosperity" is the slogan so often repeated by our
government, but the word "our" does not apply to the people of Zimbabwe, but
to the state.
A1 and A2 farmers, with no security of ownership and no
for the land on which they are living, must be the unhappiest people in the
country as we approach another rainy season.
What guarantees do these "new farmers" have that their fate will not
be the same as those of the so recently evicted white farmers? How do they
know that, one of these Fridays, it will not be their names listed in The
Perhaps, like the white farmers before them,
they will see their names
in Lot 120, they will be branded like cattle at an auction.
They will read that the "acquiring authority" (the
state) intends to
take back the plots and farms and give them to someone else.
Perhaps they will plant great fields of maize, tobacco or
and then, just when the crops are ready to be reaped, a man in a Pajero will
arrive and say that this is now his farm.
when the A1 or A2 farmer runs to the police to ask for help in
protecting his investment, his crop and his livelihood, the police will say
something comforting like: "Sorry for that, we can do nothing because it is
I can hear some of the cellphone farmers
laughing as they read this,
saying: "Aaah, the government cannot do it!" They can, they have and may
well do it again.
The white farmers,
don’t forget, had title deeds, transfer documents
and "Certificates of No Present Interest" from the government of Zimbabwe.
pieces of papers meant absolutely nothing when the state
decided that they were going to own all the farmland in the country.
lawyers, judges and courts of law declared the white farmers
as the legal owners of their homes, businesses and land, there were no
police prepared to enforce the rulings.
To the best of my knowledge, the vast
majority of A1 and A2 farmers
have no security of tenure whatsoever, not even long-term leases. With such
a fragile hold on the land they are living on, what incentive is there for
any of these new farmers to grow food for us?
As Zimbabwe goes into the fourth growing season in a row
starving population to feed, it is time for the state to come clean and tell
us just exactly what the long-term plan of action is in their Agrarian
Talking on ZBC-TV recently, Agriculture
Minister Joseph Made grinned
and squirmed as he described the Commercial Farmers’ Union as now being
Asked about the
myriad problems being experienced by new farmers, such
as not even being able to plough the land let alone buy the seed, irrigate
and fertilise, Made said that this was a "learning curve".
It has indeed been a learning
curve for the state – learning how to
change the Constitution, change the laws, ignore court rulings and persuade
the police to not do their job. For the rest of us, it has been a question
of learning how to survive. How to skip meals, how to darn tattered clothes,
how to walk instead of drive and how to barter for food instead of using
The sun is shining, the land is crying out for tender, loving care,
for seeds, irrigation and weeding. There is talk about talks, talk about
succession and talk about "repentance", but the ordinary people can talk
only of food. What is the plan, Made? Are you going to make us waste yet
another season? Will you be around this time next year to see what else has
been discovered on your "learning curve"?
This nightmare from which we seem unable to awake was first called the
Peaceful Demonstration, then the Third Chimurenga and now The Agrarian
Revolution. It has been little more than a grand plan to accrue assets and
land for the state. It is time for us all to wake up and see who has been
used, who gained and who now owns Zimbabwe.
By Cathy Buckle
Tsvangirai a different proposition
"We have no objections to unity government – ZANU PF" (Daily News,
26 July 2003). This was said by none other than Nathan Shamuyarira, a senior
member in the ruling ZANU PF, shortly after United States Secretary of State
Colin Powell had called for a transitional government.
further to trace unity government history in Zimbabwe
as far back to the 1970s. Was he referring to ZANU PF’s unity with his
(Shamuyarira) now defunct party, FROLIZI?
Do you know the kind of unity governments ZANU
PF talks about? Do you
remember PF ZAPU – a party which died and went to hell in 1987?
Historically, ZANU PF has never been comfortable with
the 1980s President Robert Mugabe openly preached and campaigned for a
one-party state. I recall in his rallies Mugabe sloganeering: "Pamberi ne
one-party state!" (Forward with a one-party state!)
However, some parties like NDU, NDP, UANC, RF, and
others died their
natural deaths, but PF ZAPU remained a thorn in the flesh. ZANU PF, as the
flesh, started to deal with the thorn. Mugabe started his trademark hate
speeches and propaganda. The Ndebeles hated the Shonas and vice-versa. Using
the same Herald and the same ZBC, ZANU PF sent a false alarm and we thought
there was a civil war in Zimbabwe.
Do you remember the Matabeleland atrocities?
PF ZAPU farm
properties were impounded as if it were not a legal
party. ZANU PF was hot on the heels of the late Umdala Wethu, Joshua Nkomo,
president and fellow nationalist leader of the then opposition party, PF
ZAPU. Nkomo could not stand the heat and decided to leave the kitchen.
After all the
hassles and humiliation, Nkomo finally decided to budge
and joined the elite ZANU PF to form a so-called unity government in 1987.
way, PF ZAPU met its demise and was buried into
It should be noted that an opposition
party leader in a ZANU PF-ruled
country is vulnerable, always suffering, always browbeaten, always accused
and forever condemned.
Since independence our Constitution has always been amended in
particular areas. With no opposition in Parliament for two decades most, if
not all, of the legislative amendments were formulated to entrench Mugabe’s
rule, thereby creating an atmosphere not conducive to opposition parties and
even presidential aspirants within ZANU PF itself.
Succession is a taboo topic within the ruling party.
Therefore, opposition parties appeared and still appear
enemies not what as they stand to be, that is opposition to the ruling
In the 1990 elections, Edgar Tekere ventured
with his ZUM party into
this lions’ den and, as expected in a carnivorous atmosphere, he became
During his campaign, Tekere
clearly stated how Mugabe was entrenching
himself as a dictator and lured us to "opt out of danger" (ZUM manifesto).
We did not take heed. Mugabe dismissed ZUM as a "joke" and so a joke it was.
elections, Tekere commented by describing the elections as
"too free to be fair". I have always liked Tekere’s language.
Zimbabwe are too free indeed to be fair because ZANU PF
freely tampers with the electoral procedures from the Registrar General’s
Office to the ballot box at the polling station.
ZUM was defeated, but, however, as
a consolation, people in Mutare
Urban managed to sneak their hero into Parliament.
In Parliament, Tekere attacked ZANU PF women for
singing songs such as
VaMugabe Zvachose (Mugabe Forever). He argued: "Vanoti Mugabe zvachose kuti
ava Mwari here?" (They say Mugabe forever, is he now God?)
In 1995, former chief justice Enoch Dumbutshena came with
party and it was a brief stay.
In 1997, Dzikamai Mavhaire came into Parliament with his "Mugabe must
go" statement and he suffered the consequences. Never dare challenge Mugabe.
However, Mavhaire showed what stuff some men are made of. 2000 elections,
enter the MDC. The MDC was born and bred in Harare in 1999.
A year had hardly gone by when the MDC won 57 seats out of the
contested 120 seats in 2000 parliamentary poll. At times there are losses
which could be counted as victories. For a one-year-old party and in
Zimbabwe, this was quite a victory indeed for the MDC. I still believe the
MDC could have defeated ZANU PF if elections in Zimbabwe were ever free and
Then came 2002 presidential elections which Mugabe controversially and
narrowly won by 400 000 votes over MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai. The MDC
cited gross irregularities and refused to recognise Mugabe as the legitimate
winner. The international observers cited irregularities too. The MDC
challenged the results in court. The case is still pending.
Then enter Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Nigeria’s Olusegun Obasanjo
as mediators. They posed as genuine mediators but alas! I believe they were
wearing masks and were laughing derisively behind them (masks). We were the
laughing stock. In Mbeki, there is less than meets the eye.
We watched in reluctance as Mbeki and Obasanjo clearly showed they
were intellectual and political minors to Mugabe and could easily be lured
by the Mugabe Pan-Africanist bait which they swallowed hook, line and
sinker. Then came Tsvangirai’s arrest on treason charges and two weeks under
detention and talk by Shamuyarira about unity governments.
This time around, unlike Nkomo before him, Tsvangirai, imbued by love
of liberty, is refusing to budge. It seems ZANU PF can tell the wind and
fire where to stop but not Tsvangirai. There ought to be a picture of him in
the dictionary under the word "perseverance".
Neville Mushawatu Shamva
Open letter to President Mbeki
This is an open letter directed to habo Mbeki, the South African
Mr Mbeki, in local Shona parlance, we say: (Kandiro
kamwe.) This translates to a good turn deserves another. Listen carefully,
In your dark years under the
yoke of apartheid, Zimbabwe gave support
to your party, the ANC, and the oppressed people of South Africa. We
sheltered your guerrillas, refugees and the asylum seekers.
This irked your oppressors. Look at what
they did to us. They bombed
Angwa House in Harare. They trapped and killed Tsitsi Chiliza at Earls’
Court. Why are we still holding Phillip Conjwayo in our prisons?
Again, in Shona we say: (Dindingwe rinonaka
rokwevehwa roti mavara angu ozara ivhu.)
Paraphrased, it would mean that what’s good for the goose, is good for
Despite all this, you restrict movement of our people
to your now free
country. You have even come up with a name for us, "makwerekwere". Most
probably you know what this means –I don’t.Our people are groaning under a
similar yoke, but under our liberators. We look up to you, Mr President, for
relief. But what do you do? You choose the "quiet diplomacy." This is a very
wrong and ineffectual strategy.
We have been denied the right to decide who to lead us now. We do not
have the means to reclaim our stolen presidency. But you, Mr President, can
flex a little bit of muscle, can you not? Are you a man or a mouse?
read and hear with regret that you, our southern neighbour always
insist that all is well in Zimbabwe. This Mr president is as dangerous as it
is unfair on us who are suffering.
We urge you to emulate Festus Mogae of
Botswana, at least, he has guts
to speak the truth.
President, its time to show the geriatriac president that the
longer he hangs on as the President of Zimbabwe, the worse it will become,
not only for us Zimbabweans, but also for the Southern African region.
Everybody will suffer.
Remember what Samson did in the biblical story.
In our rich Shona, we say, (Ndambakuudzwa akaonekwa
ignores good advise will one day face the music. Mark my words, Mr
Shocked by your ready acceptance of toll roads
I read your editorial of 7th August about the plan to introduce toll
roads, and am amazed at your acceptance of this new scam.
You do qualify your acceptance by saying that the plan
well-planned and implemented in a transparent manner, but I submit that this
is nowhere near enough.
Firstly, this is merely
another form of taxation, introduced because
government has already used the proceeds of one of the highest taxation
regimes in the world for many other dubious projects, and totally neglected
the infrastructure that should be its prime responsibility, including those
specifically earmarked for road maintenance. What has happened to the
surcharge that was placed on fuel some time back for the purpose? You refer
to "this long-overdue venture". What is long-overdue is that government uses
some of OUR money for essential maintenance.
Secondly, it is normal practice, where a toll
system is to be
introduced, to levy the tolls on the premium roads but not on the
alternative ones. In South Africa, as an example close to home, one pays to
go along the national highways, but can reach the same destinations by
taking the side roads, which may be less well-maintained, but do offer a
better chance to see the country.
Here we have the example
of the Limpopo bridge, where, as soon as the
new one was completed, the old one was closed, depriving travellers of any
choice other than a route through Botswana.
I cannot imagine that we will, for example, have
tolls levied to use
the main Harare-Bulawayo road, through Kadoma and Kwekwe, but be allowed to
travel toll-free via Chivhu and Lalapanzi. Far more likely that we will pay
separately for each stage – Harare to Chivhu, Chivhu to Gweru and then Gweru
Thirdly, I am very
unimpressed by the "encouraging" survey being
conducted close to Harare. One is asked whether one is for or against the
concept of toll roads – full stop.
No reasons are requested or welcomed, no supplementary
listed. This is totally unscientific and an obvious exercise in
window-dressing, merely wasting money which could go towards the national
duty of improving the road network.
make no comment as to the immediate beneficiaries, who
appear as pleasant and polite young people.
There may be a valid argument for the
introduction of tolls where a
new road is to be built, or an existing one up-graded, as by converting from
gravel to full tar.
the government has achieved in this respect since independence
has been mostly, if not exclusively, donor-funded and unfortunately often of
very poor standards. The dualisation from Harare towards Norton is a case in
point, with the new road starting to break up even before completion.
Finally, we all know what is going to happen. Some money will be spent
on the roads, mostly through dubious contracts, and much more will go into
the usual bottomless pit. The track record of those in authority leaves no
room for optimism on either the planning or transparency fronts. Luckily,
the fuel shortage will prevent most of us doing too much travelling!
Footsore and broke.
DA: Govt fails Zim investors
18/08/2003 22:13 - (SA)
Cape Town - The Democratic Alliance has written to the Public
ask for a progress report on his investigation into the government's failure
to assist South African investors against arbitrary expropriation by the
The DA submitted an appeal to the Public Protector on behalf of farmer
Crawford von Abo three months ago.
The South African government was exerting no pressure, and had demanded no
timeframes from the Zimbabwean government in which to meet the assurances
given, regarding South African and other Southern Africa Development
Community (SADC) investors, DA spokesperson Andries Botha said on Monday.
"A number of foreign governments have managed to secure their citizens'
investments in Zimbabwe with little more than a reminder of how much
Zimbabwe relies on them for aid.
"Zimbabwe is as reliant, if not more so, on South Africa, but the ANC
government refuses to put South African interests, let alone doing the right
thing, ahead of liberation struggle solidarity," he said in a statement.
Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma's acceptance of President
Robert Mugabe's regime's assurances was at best naive, and at worst,
"Her bland optimism about a possible agricultural recovery in Zimbabwe
exposes a gaping ignorance of the infrastructural destruction that has taken
place and the critical skills shortage resulting from Zanu-PF's
short-sightedness," he said.
Agriculture in Disarray, Says Farmers' Union
August 15, 2002
Posted to the web August 18, 2003
ZIMBABWE'S mainstay agriculture sector has been thrown into further
uncertainty after several farmers suspended land preparations until the
completion of the current land audit, The Financial Gazette learnt this
Douglas Taylor Freeme, the newly elected president of the Commercial Farmers
Union (CFU) said farmers were skeptical of the land reconciling exercise.
There were also farmers in Mashonaland East and West, Matelebeleland and
Manicaland provinces who stopped land preparations after a fresh wave of
land seizures by allegedly ZANU PF supporters.
"There is a lot of confusion on the part of the government regarding the
land exercise programme," the CFU boss said.
"No one knows who is meant to be where and this has created a sense of
insecurity among the old and new farmers in that if they start preparing
land, the next day they may be ordered to leave the farm because they would
have supposedly been wrongfully resettled.
"Most old and new farmers have stopped preparing land. The biggest problem
is that when the exercise began, infrastructures on commercial farms were
not taken into consideration and people were resettled chaotically."
"Now it has emerged that small scale farmers do not have the capacity to run
commercial farms hence a new wave of resettlements mainly to benefit top
government and ZANU PF officials."
Despite the disruptions in farming activities, which could bring about yet
another era of hunger, the government stuck to its guns saying the
displacements part of the process to reconcile the land resettlement to
ensure that landless people were properly resettled.
During the past months, some of the newly resettled farmers countrywide were
either being driven off the land they occupied or given notice to vacate the
property under the guise that they were wrongfully resettled.
Lawrence Meda, the district administrator for Goromonzi, last month said all
those wrongfully resettled would be moved to new areas.
He pointed out that some of the settlers were allocated land under the A2
model when in fact they should have been resettled under the A1 model.
Agricultural production has fallen by at least 50 percent since the bloody
land grab in 2000, which saw vast tracks of land under commercial use being
seized and their owners driven off the properties.
President Robert Mugabe last month ordered top ZANU PF officials with
multiple farms to surrender them within a fortnight.
Mugabe was reacting to a preliminary report by the Presidential Land Review
Committee, which-without mentioning any names -implicated top ruling party
officials of being proud owners of several farms.
The provincial administrator of Manicaland Killian Mupingo told The
Financial Gazette that he had put the reconciling process on hold until
finalisation of the Presidential Land Review Committee led by Charles Utete,
the former Cabinet Secretary.
"Currently we are waiting for the final report by the committee and we will
act accordingly," Mupingo said.
Country Moves to Fight Poverty With Irrigation
August 18, 2003
Posted to the web August 18, 2003
An idea of a winter maize crop mooted by Zimbabwean Government has brought
in a new agricultural dimension, which could turn the country into the
breadbasket of southern Africa.
Having endured long periods of drought and famine, Zimbabwe has now embarked
on an irrigation programme that is expected to turn around the country,
whose agriculture is on the brink of collapse.
The Government has embarked
on a plan to clear 150,000 hectares (ha) of
prime farming land as a pilot project, in partnership with Chinese Water and
The Chinese company has moved onto the site, signalling the start of a
multi-million dollar project that would see the southern region regaining
its breadbasket status of the 1980s. When fully implemented, the scheme will
produce about three million tonnes of maize every year.
This yield is enough to meet the annual national requirements of between 1.8
million to 2.1 million tonnes. It would transform Zimbabwe into a regional
net exporter of maize, a privilege currently enjoyed by South Africa.
Zimbabwe, which introduced land reforms in 2001 to economically empower its
indigenous citizens, has redistributed land proportionately by sub-dividing
large commercial farms previously owned by white farmers.
Indigenous farmers have been busy clearing land for irrigation farming.
More than 300,000 people have been resettled on fertile land under the land
redistribution programme. Although the programme offers hope to fight
poverty in a country of 11 million people, mismanagement of resources
earmarked for the programme threatens its success.
There have been reports of high-ranking government officials giving
themselves more than one farm, thereby depriving the majority poor peasants
Recently, President Robert Mugabe appointed a committee to review the land
reform programme to ensure that only one farm was allowed per person. He
admitted that all had not been well with his agrarian revolution.
Give Land to Those Who Really Want It
(Harare) The new ceiling on cash holdings, which comes into force on 24 August, is the
latest in a string of measures aimed at tackling an acute shortage of notes and
The cash crunch, together with soaring inflation, has led to long,
occasionally violent queues at banks and cash dispensers.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe announced the new limit on cash holdings in the
state-owned Herald newspaper, stressing that any breach of the threshold would
be a criminal offence.
"This cash may be in their physical possession, on any premises or land, or
simply under their control," the notice said.
Out of control
Businesses which generate more than Z$5m on any given day will be required to
deposit the surplus in the bank, and keep clear records to show their cash
receipts every day.
Last month, the government tried to lure people's money into the banks by
saying the Z$500 banknote was being replaced.
The central bank has also said it will issue travellers cheques for local use
in order to try and ease the crisis.
Zimbabwe is enduring its worst economic crisis since becoming independent in
Soaring inflation is coupled with unemployment of more than 70%, leading to
chronic shortages of food, fuel and cash.
August 18, 2003
Posted to the web August 18, 2003
Elsewhere in this issue we carry a story in which Lands, Agriculture and
Rural Resettlement Minister Dr Joseph Made is quoted as saying his ministry
is inundated with calls from people asking to be resettled.
Notable among the thousands of applicants are Zimbabweans working in the
They include, as Dr Made put it, Zimbabweans working in the United States
and the United Kingdom.
It is now a well-known fact that the UK and the US have tried to rubbish
Zimbabwe's historic land reform programme and shift the people's attention
to trivial issues.
Under the land reform programme, at least 350 000 families who until about
three years ago had no land, are now proud owners of productive land.
While those farmers did not produce as envisaged due to a number of factors
including drought, a significant number of them are now millionaires and are
smiling all the way to the bank.
There is money in tilling the land. The 4 500 white commercial farmers who
until the launch of the land reform programme held numerous huge tracts of
land would not have put up so much resistance if this were not true.
We salute those of our compatriots working abroad who have woken up to the
fact that millions of dollars can be earned from the land.
We are particularly excited by the interest that they have shown in
investing in the land because we know that they have the financial resources
needed to farm successfully.
Farming, in our view, is big business, which calls for a lot of money.
Some of our newly resettled farmers went onto the land with very little
money and this impacted negatively on the productivity.
Some straight-thinking members of the progressive international community
have hailed the land reform programme in Zimbabwe as a step in the right
Those who support the programme have observed that, if properly implemented
and supported, it can alleviate poverty and ensure that finite resources
such as the land itself are in the hands of the majority.
Others keen to see the land remaining in the hands of a few people of
British kith and kin, have tried to lampoon the programme, blaming it for
envisaged food shortages in the country between now and the end of the next
Yet even the World Bank, though without specifically mentioning Zimbabwe,
has concurred that land is a finite resource whose utilisation can have a
significant impact on any country's economy.
The Government has said all Zimbabweans regardless of their political
inclinations are entitled to land. The Government has kept its promise on
Today, even some senior MDC officials, who only recently were working with
the West to discredit the programme, are landholders.
The Meteorological Services Department has already predicted good rainfall
this year. The need to ensure that land is given to those who really want it
and are prepared to invest into it cannot be overestimated.
We therefore welcome reports that lazy landholders will be compelled to
relinquish the land for the purposes of resettling others.
The Government has earmarked 152 more farms for acquisition with a view to
resettling more people. It is important to ensure that people who have at
least some interest in producing for the nation get land.
The enthusiasm that is reportedly being exhibited by foreign-based
Zimbabweans shows the confidence that they still have in the Government to
sincerely implement the programme.
This was not a vote-catching gimmick.
Financial Gazette (Harare)
August 15, 2002
Posted to the web August 18, 2003
ZIMBABWE'S aviation standards have plumbed to new depths, with the country's
premier Harare International Airport's runway now reportedly unfit for
landing by the world's major airlines, giving another twist to the screws on
the faltering tourism sector currently laden with gloom and doom.
This development, which has forced leading international airlines to abandon
Zimbabwe, has prompted the cash-strapped government to issue a directive to
the Civil Aviation Authority of Zimbabwe (CAAZ) to expeditiously upgrade the
dilapidated infrastructure to meet international standards at a cost of $11
billion. There are however heightened fears that the hurried project could
come unstuck due to prohibitive costs.
Harare International Airport, the biggest and most developed of all airports
around the country, was constructed in 1955 and first used in 1956 but the
runway has never been strengthened or rehabilitated.
Runways have a life span of 25 years, according to international aviation
Zimbabwe is a signatory to the Chicago Convention of the International
Aviation Organisation (ICAO). As such, it has an international obligation to
meet the standards and recommended practices enshrined in 18 annexes to the
Convention on International Civil Aviation.
Well-placed sources within the aviation industry this week disclosed that
senior aviation officials would travel to the Middle East this month to
mobilise resources and lure technical expertise to undertake the upgrading
exercise as well as canvass Arab airlines to fly to Zimbabwe. The mission
would include CAAZ chief executive officer Karikoga Kaseke.
Last year, CAAZ issued a $2.8 billion tender to upgrade the Harare
International Airport, but sources said the tender had been put on hold for
unspecified reasons. Instead, the sources said the CAAZ directorate was now
mulling plans to mobilise capital from indigenous companies for the stalled
The indigenous companies would upgrade the airport on a build-own-transfer
(BOT) basis at an estimated cost of $11 billion. They would own the upgraded
facilities for about 20 years before surrendering them back to the
Apart from the runway, which requires resurfacing to strengthen its capacity
to hold huge carriers such as the Boeing 747, the new Boeing 777 and the
A340 airbus, the airport needs a new airfield ground lighting system and a
complete new approach system.
CAAZ also intends to refurbish the old airport terminal and turn it into a
business centre for revenue generation.
Industry sources said there were problems in attracting carriers from major
tourist source markets such as Gulf, Emirates, Pacific, Virgin, and Atlantic
airlines among others.
Already, Mauritius, Qantas, Air France and Lufthansa, among other major
airlines, heavily dependent on tourist attractions, have pulled out. This
mirrors the accelerated decline in the tourism industry, at one time
Zimbabwe's fastest growing sector.
Charles Samuriwo, the CAAZ board chairman, and Kaseke this week confirmed
work was in progress to upgrade and refurbish all airports in the country
but because of hyperinflation, the projected costs continued to rise to
Both men confirmed plans to travel to the Middle East this month.
"We should bring all stakeholders together with a view to work as a team to
revive the industry," Samuriwo said. "CAAZ cannot go it alone but we will
certainly take the lead in a joint vision to plan the revival of the
Samuriwo added that the Middle East trip was aimed at luring new players and
mending relations with the old ones who had deserted Zimbabwe.
Other major airports in the country in need of a facelift are Victoria
Falls, Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo and Buffalo Range airports.
Kaseke told The Financial Gazette that work at all airports was already in
"We're refurbishing and upgrading all airports around the country at various
costs," Kaseke said. "We have a tourist attraction in Zimbabwe which is the
Victoria Falls. Instead of us getting the biggest share of revenue, we're
getting leftovers as most carriers shun our airports because of their
conditions. We're operating as a spoke which is unfair because we're meant
to be the hub of tourism in southern Africa.
"Government wants us to go all out in bringing traffic into the country,"
Asked why it had taken so long to undertake such major upgrading and
refurbishment projects, Kaseke merely said: "It was because of the
government policy then."
The Victoria Falls airport currently accommodates 200 000 passengers per
year, but projections are that by the year 2010, the capacity should rise to
The initial cost for the upgrading of the Victoria Falls terminal building
alone, which is already underway, was $3.7 billion last year but has been
revised upwards to a staggering $51 billion due to skyrocketing inflation.
So far CAAZ has spent $250 million on enabling works at that airport.
Victoria Falls is the hub of tourist activities, boasting one of the world's
The Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo airport, based in the country's second largest city
Bulawayo, has no basic facilities. International and domestic traffic are
mixing, creating problems for customs and immigration officials.
It has a capacity to handle 120 000 people per annum but is currently
handling 200 000. In 1997, traffic was pegged at 300 000 people but dropped
to 120 000 because of political and economic instability in the country.
Buffalo Range, which can cater for a Boeing 737, needs refurbishment of the
terminal and an extension of the runway. A tender is to be issued in
September and work is expected to be complete sometime next year.
Zimbabwe's aviation industry is still fighting to redeem itself from its
condemnation by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in November
That year, the FAA found the government of Zimbabwe's civil aviation
standards not to be in compliance with international aviation safety
standards for oversight of the country's air carrier operations.
The Guardian, Tanzania
Zimbabwe envoy stages walk-out
Tuesday, August 19, 2003 .
By Peter Nyanje
The Zimbabwe High Commissioner to Tanzania, Chipo Zindonga, yesterday
walked out of a workshop organised by CIVICUS, a World Alliance for Citizen
Participation, to discuss, among other issues, human rights abuse in
The diplomat walked out when a presenter was in the middle of
presentation on a situational analysis of the Zimbabwe crisis.
Nakuthula Moyo was in the middle of her presentation when the
evidently disturbed High Commissioner rose from her seat and made for the
Prior to the presentation, Zindonga warned participants not to
demonise President Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwean government.
“I am here to listen, but we should not demonise President (Robert)
Mugabe,” she said before giving room to Moyo to proceed with her
In the presentation, Moyo hit at the Zimbabwe Government accusing it
of undermining and frustrating activities of civil societies,
non-governmental organisations and political parties.
Speaking with this paper later, a delegate from Zimbabwe noted that
the envoy’s action was a demonstration of “the Zimbabwe government high
degree of intolerance.”
David Kalete, a Director of Programmes with CIVICUS, told this paper
that the action by the High Commissioner was a disappointment.
“To us (CIVICUS), it depicts lack of tolerance, it depicts our
governments’ lack of commitment to engage civil society,” he said.
Earlier, Moyo said in her presentation that a number of civil society
organisations in Zimbabwe have been striving to engage the government in
nurturing the democratic process, but the government has remained adamant.
In response, the government has been enacting and amending law after
law with the intention to undermine and frustrate CSOs activities, she said.
She named such laws as the ‘Political Parties Finance Act, the Broad
Casting Services Act, the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy
Act and the Public Order and Security Act.
Moyo told the meeting that such problems were not confined to
Zimbabwe, as most CSOs in SADC countries have been experiencing more or less
‘‘It is clear that given the problems facing a number of SADC CSOs,
cooperation among us is necessary... we can also share information, skills
and resources in our common endeavours,” she concluded.
The new ceiling on cash holdings, which comes into force on 24 August, is the latest in a string of measures aimed at tackling an acute shortage of notes and coins.
The cash crunch, together with soaring inflation, has led to long, occasionally violent queues at banks and cash dispensers.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe announced the new limit on cash holdings in the state-owned Herald newspaper, stressing that any breach of the threshold would be a criminal offence.
"This cash may be in their physical possession, on any premises or land, or simply under their control," the notice said.
Out of control
Businesses which generate more than Z$5m on any given day will be required to deposit the surplus in the bank, and keep clear records to show their cash receipts every day.
Last month, the government tried to lure people's money into the banks by saying the Z$500 banknote was being replaced.
The central bank has also said it will issue travellers cheques for local use in order to try and ease the crisis.
Zimbabwe is enduring its worst economic crisis since becoming independent in 1980.
Soaring inflation is coupled with unemployment of more than 70%, leading to chronic shortages of food, fuel and cash.