Minister holds post 'illegally' By Valentine
SITHEMBISO Nyoni, the Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises
Development is now in Cabinet illegally, The Standard can reveal. The
Standard understands that Nyoni's term of office expired on 15 July this
In what appears to be a flagrant disregard of the laws of Zimbabwe,
President Robert Mugabe continues to accommodate the minister in his Cabinet
despite the expiry of a constitutional three-month grace period that allowed
him to regularise her appointment. Under Zimbabwean laws, a person can
only occupy a ministerial position if he or she is a duly elected Member of
Parliament or a Non-Constituent MP.
Appointing Nyoni, who lost the
Bulawayo South constituency in the 31 March parliamentary elections to the
Cabinet in April this year, Mugabe said he wanted to ensure gender balance
and promised to make arrangements for her to become an MP.
since the swearing in ceremony for the Sixth Parliament and the subsequent
parliamentary sessions, Mugabe has not found a way out of the legal
Up to now, Nyoni has not set foot in Parliamentary chambers.
Her name and ministry do not appear in the official parliamentary
publication, the Hansard. Only that of her deputy minister, Kenneth
Mutiwekuziva, the Member of Parliament for Uzumba-Maramba-Pfungwe is
Nyoni could have either gotten into parliament through a
by-election or if Mugabe had asked one of the appointed MPs to resign.
Another avenue would have been if Zanu PF had fast-tracked the
re-introduction of the senate where a number of party officials who did not
win parliamentary elections are expected to find sanctuary.
could have contested the Mudzi by-election, in Mashonaland East, but the
Zanu PF provincial executive said they could not accommodate the minister as
they had already come up with their own candidate, Christopher Muza. The
constituency fell vacant after Ray Kaukonde was appointed the provincial
governor for Mashonaland East.
Arnold Tsunga, the director of the
Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights (ZLHR), said they were filing a court
application against the minister's position in Cabinet.
according to the Constitution, Nyoni was now sitting in the Cabinet
"The President should have regularised that position
during the three months grace period provided for in the Constitution. We
are already filing court papers for her position to be declared illegal
because she has no mandate to be in Cabinet," Tsunga said.
the President failed to use all the available options to ensure Nyoni found
"It is very unhealthy to have a minister who does not
seat in Parliament," he said.
When contacted for a comment Nyoni said
she was operating legally: "If you want to know about my status, why don't
you talk to the President because he is the one who appointed me. There is
no illegality about my appointment."
Zanu PF national chairman and
Speaker of Parliament, John Nkomo, said he was not in the executive. "That
question is best answered by the executive," he said.
Chinamasa, the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs said:
"Refer that question to the President's Office."
Mugabe is out of the
country on official visit to China. His two Vice Presidents were not
immediately available for comment.
Austin Zvoma, the Clerk of Parliament,
said he was not the best person to talk about the Cabinet
"She has never attended Parliament and if you need a clear
position on the issue talk to Patrick Chinamasa," Zvoma said.
Chombo faces prison term for contempt of court By Linda
LOCAL Government, Public Works and Urban Development Minister
Ignatious Chombo faces up to 30 days imprisonment with a fine of up to $20
million dollars if a court application by Eddies Pfugari Properties (Pvt)
Ltd is granted by the High Court.
George Gapu of Scanlen and
Holdernness, who is representing Edward Nyanyiwa, the managing director for
Eddies Pfugari, has filed for contempt of court against Chombo whom they
accuse of deliberately flouting a high court order, granted three weeks
ago. The Order, a copy of which is in The Standard's possession, ordered the
government to stop the construction of houses at White Cliff farm where the
government says "Operation Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle" is in full
Issued on 28 June, the order instructed the minister to destroy
any structures or sample houses put in place at White Cliff before the
applicant went to court within 48 hours.
"We have filed for contempt
of court against Chombo because it seems he has deliberately defied the high
court order.We await to see how things progress and I anticipate the
application will be upheld," Gapu said.
The fresh application, filed in
the High Court on Thursday last week, also seeks to bar Chombo from
constructing sample houses or any structures at White Cliff and allocating
stands at the farm.
Part of the draft order submitted before the court
"Ignatious Chombo shall be committed to prison for a period of
thirty days unless he publishes a notice in The Herald reversing the
allocation of the stands to the alleged beneficiaries and demolishes all the
structures constructed at 'White Cliff' within 48 hours of the date of this
Gapu, however, expressed fears that his client risked losing his
property if the controversial constitutional amendment on land acquisition
sails through Parliament.
"Ultimately, I do not know if my client
will continue holding on to White Cliff," said Gapu.
proposed constitutional amendments, government will be granted powers to
acquire any land and aggrieved owners will not be able to resort to the
courts for redress.
Thousands forced to go on leave as fuel crisis bites By
BULAWAYO - AS many as 300 000 drivers and conductors in
the public transport sector around the country have been sent on forced
leave as effects of the crippling fuel situation worsen, The Standard has
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) chairman, Lovemore
Matombo, said an estimated 100 000 long distance drivers and 200 000 from
the informal transport sectors (kombis) had stopped going to work due to the
fuel shortages. "About 40 percent of the transport sector has been
adversely affected and we can't see the situation improving at the moment,
as there are no efforts to address the pathetic situation.
end of the day it's politics that takes precedence over these pressing
socio-economic issues. I can't see Zimbabwe getting back to where it was if
governance issues are not addressed," said Matombo adding: "We won't see any
economic growth until something has been done."
He said ZCTU could not
blame operators for failing to pay their workers under such
Former Zimbabwe Passenger Transport Association (ZPTA)
President, Edward Chawasarira said the transport industry had been badly hit
by the fuel crisis but expressed concern that the trade unions body only
cared about salary increments without looking at the economic factors
affecting the industry.
"The trade unions do not care about
employers' grievances as they are only concerned about the plight of workers
only otherwise the situation in the transport sector is really
"Most buses are now off the road due to the fuel situation and we
hope things will improve," Chawasarira said.
A snap survey by The
Standard revealed that big transport operators such as Kukura Kurerwa Bus
service, Masvingo province's leading transport operator Mhunga, Tenda,
Chikozho and several others had sent more than 12 000 workers on leave as a
result of the crippling fuel situation.
"How can we pay the drivers and
conductors when there is no diesel on the market? Worse still, we don't have
foreign currency to import diesel from either South Africa or Botswana,"
said one transport operator who requested anonymity for fear of
As the fuel crises continued with no solution in sight,
the government last month called on people with open trucks to carry people
to and from work.
Meanwhile Commuter bus operators in Bulawayo are
cashing in on crippling transport problems, charging up to $20 000 for trips
and forcing thousands of thousands of low income workers to walk to and from
The exorbitant fares mean that a person who works in the Central
Business District (CBD) would fork out between $800 000 to $1.2 million on
transport a month, a sad development condemned in strongest terms by the
Zimbabwe Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU).
Residents from Gwabalanda,
Cowdray Park, Luveve, Magwegwe North, Magwegwe West and Lobengula say they
are being subjected to abuse by the commuter bus operators who take
advantage of non-availability of transport to charge them twice for a
Commuters from Luveve, Gwabalanda and Cowdray Park are picked and
dropped off at D-Square or Magetsini centres and pay another $10 000 for the
rest of the trip to the city centre, bringing the total fare for the journey
to $20 000 a passenger.
As a result, several families have since
withdrawn their children from school citing failure to afford the $800 000 a
child needs a month to travel to school.
"I earn less than $2 million
but I pay $800 000 for transport a month. My three children require $2.4
million excluding money for their lunch. What do I do for
rent/accommodation, food at home, accounts and medication?
become unbearable for many in this country and I appeal to President Mugabe
and his government to put the interests of the nation first and step down
for they have completely failed this once great nation," said one war
veteran who requested anonymity.
Bulawayo based economic commentator,
Erich Bloch, said the standard of living would not improve as long as the
economy was not right.
"Until such a time the government changes its
policies, especially overspending that has become the worst enemy of
inflation, life will not improve.
ZCTU Secretary-General, Wellington
Chibebe, said wage negotiations at this point would not solve anything
arguing that what the country was experiencing was a national
"I am sure mass action is the only solution to the national
crisis because wage negotiations would not yield anything because we have a
national disaster. Our economy is actually down and those running high
offices have totally run out of ideas."
Murerwa has some explanations to make By our
FINANCE Minister Herbert Murerwa has some explanations to make when
he delivers his mid-term fiscal policy review on Thursday.
this was only meant to be a fiscal policy presentation, Murerwa will have to
go cap-in-hand to the legislators to ask for extra funds to shore up empty
coffers in troubled ministries. Ministries in dire need of extra funds are
Social Welfare, Agriculture and Finance, and a host other government
Murerwa will also announce the supplementary budget to
accommodate the three new ministries created in President Robert Mugabe's
Cabinet reshuffle in April.
Mugabe split the Finance and Economic
Development ministry into two and added two new ministries of Public and
Interactive Affairs and Rural Housing and Social Amenities.
number of targets outlined in the national Budget having been missed,
Murerwa will have to come up with real targets, analysts say.
2005 Budget Murerwa anticipated that inflation would be in the region of
50-80% by year-end. Year-on-year inflation for the month of June is now
Analysts say Murerwa has the unenviable task of explaining the
differences that arose from the original Budget.
economic consultant at Robertson Economic Information Services said: "A lot
of explanation is needed to put across reasons of variations in Budget
deficit and revenue forecasts."
In the 2005 Budget Murerwa said he was
forecasting a deficit of $4.5 trillion (5% of GDP). Robertson said the
Budget deficit was much higher than anticipated.
Murerwa said in the
statement that he was anticipating revenue forecasts of $23.0
Tony Hawkins, an economic analyst, says a number of questions
remain unanswered on the financing of Operation Garikai and subsidies given
to tobacco and cotton growers as well as gold producers.
University of Zimbabwe Graduate School of management lecturer said the RBZ's
50-80% inflation targets by year-end were not possible. Positive growth
targets, Hawkins said, will remain a pipe dream.
Tibaijuka to feature in Politburo
meeting By Walter
UNITED Nations Special Envoy Anna
Kajumulo Tibaijuka's report will top the agenda at the Zanu PF Politburo
meeting this week as pressure mounts on President Robert Mugabe to fully
comply with her recommendations.
has called on the government to stop the demolitions of homes and markets,
pay reparations to those who have lost housing and livelihoods and punish
those who, "with indifference to human suffering," carried out the evictions
of some 700,000 people. Zanu PF National Chairman
John Nkomo told The Standard yesterday that the party's supreme decision
making body was going to look into the
"That is the matter that will be
discussed at the next politburo meeting. A decision will be taken by the
party. Personally, I have not seen that report in full but I have been
reading extracts," Nkomo said.
did not meet last week since President Mugabe was away in China where he
sought Chinese help in an unsuccessful bid to stop Tibaijuka from briefing
the UN Security Council.
Patrick Chinamasa, the
Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, said yesterday
government was preparing a detailed response to Tibajuka's
"What Cde Simbarashe Mumbengegwi
(Minister of Foreign Affairs) said was a preliminary report. So you have to
wait for a detailed one."
told The Standard on Friday that major players in world politics were not
taking lightly Tibaijuka's report, which condemned the government's eviction
and demolition exercise that made 700 000 people homeless and affected about
A US State Department official told
The Standard on Friday that Tibaijuka had produced an "excellent report" on
the brutal housing demolition campaign in Zimbabwe and her country endorsed
the key points made by Secretary General Kofi Annan in his 22 July Statement
". the Government of Zimbabwe
should end the demolitions immediately and work with the international
community on relief and reconstruction operations; the architects of the
housing demolitions should be held accountable for their actions; and there
should be dialogue between the Government of Zimbabwe, domestic groups, and
the international community to resolve Zimbabwe's pressing social, economic,
and political problems," said the official.
He added that the US was ready to help Zimbabwe end serious food
"As we have said before, we stand
ready to assist with food aid, as we did in 2002-04, should the government
request such assistance. We urge the Government of Zimbabwe to engage with
the World Food Programme and with donors to resolve any operational problems
that may be obstructing increased food
Kristina Svensson, Swedish
Ambassador to Zimbabwe, urged the Zimbabwe government to fully co-operate
with the recommendations in order to avert a possible large-scale
multilateral co-operation to be the most important instrument in dealing
with issues of human survival. This task requires a strong United Nations
and close cooperation of all countries seeking to guarantee human rights and
the rule of law within their borders," Svensson
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights,
Louise Arbour, on Friday said she was encouraged by the attention that
demolitions and evictions in Zimbabwe had received since the release of
"I hope it will also
bring home to the government the necessity to desist from this extremely
misguided operation," Arbour said.
FORMER Movement for Democratic Change legislator for Masvingo
Central, Silas Mangono, two of party's councillors, Francisca Sheya and
Misheck Gapare, and six supporters on Wednesday appeared before a Masvingo
magistrate, Crispen Mberewere, facing charges of public
Mangono and his co-accused were remanded out of custody to 10
August. Mike Chimombe for the State told the court that on 8 February this
year Mangono and his party sympathisers disrupted an MDC meeting at the
Civic Centre, which was being addressed by party President Morgan
It is further alleged that Mangono, who had already been
trounced by Tongai Matutu, who together with his supporters were denied
access to the meeting, tried to force their way in, resulting in clashes
with party security officers. Matutu won the Masvingo Central Constituency
for the MDC.
The state also said the supporters beat up three party
activists using logs and seriously injured them. They are also accused of
throwing stones and breaking city council windows.
LOCAL Government, Public Works and Urban Development minister,
Dr Ignatious Chombo, is trying to block the investigation of Chitungwiza
Town Clerk, Simbarashe Mudunge, who is on suspension on allegations of
failing to account for more than $220 million of council money and employing
Official documents obtained by The Standard show
that Chombo, who claims that the suspension ordered by Chitungwiza mayor
Misheck Shoko was highly unwarranted and not in the public interest, wants
Mudunge to be reinstated. Mudunge is alleged to have employed 850 "ghost"
casual workers for the project without authority of Chitungwiza Town Council
or permission to pay them.
The casual workers are suspected to have
been Zanu PF supporters who were recruited ahead of the 31 March
parliamentary elections when President Robert Mugabe announced that his
government had taken over "sewer maintenance and upgrading" in
Mugabe said as a result of this, the nagging problem would
become a thing of the past.
Soon after the announcement, several Zanu
PF youths were recruited to dig sewer trenches without the approval of the
However, five months after the elections, the sewer
problem continues to dog Chitungwiza and the trenches, which were left
uncovered, pose a health hazard, especially during the rainy
In a letter dated 24 June, the Chitungwiza mayor said the Town
Clerk failed to follow council procedures.
"It is alleged that you
authorised Messrs C Chigumba and P Nyaruwata to manage $224 686 110.00 and
to pay ghost casual employees. This resulted in a shortfall of $32 969 110.
As stated above no official paysheets were used," wrote Shoko.
money had been released by the Ministry of Local Government but was not
receipted into council coffers in terms of the "Head Office Accounting
Under section 51 (h) of the Council's General Conditions of
Service only council workers can manage council funds.
also accused of unlawfully instructing the council treasurer to release a
cheque for $53 582 290 for the purpose of paying the "ghost"
On 15 December, wrote Shoko, council resolved to transfer
employees at Unit F Bottle Store in Chitungwiza to other sections but
Mudunge allegedly refused to implement the resolution.
"The facts of
this case have clearly shown that you have failed to properly carry out
those functions, especially the management of council finances,
implementation of council resolutions and supervision of council employees,"
However, in a letter dated 18 July to Shoko, Chombo,
ordered the reinstatement of Mudunge with full benefits, claiming that the
suspension was not in the public interest, among other
"Wherein I have no option but to, in accordance with the
provisions of Section 314 of the Urban Councils Act (Cap, 29:15) direct that
you reverse the council resolution in question and forthwith, reinstate the
town clerk without any prejudice whatsoever," Chombo wrote to
Shoko last week stuck to his guns and wrote back to Chombo saying
he would not reinstate Mudunge until investigations were
"We suspect that an offence was committed. We don't hold him
guilty or innocent until the investigating committee finishes its work,"
Shoko said that Chombo, partially acknowledged in his letter
to him that there was an anomaly in the way the funds were
"If he agrees, I don't know why he (Chombo) is trying to stop
the investigations," questioned Shoko.
Chombo's letter says: "The
method and manner in which the funds from my ministry were administered and
managed is currently being reviewed with the objective to take corrective
measures on those items that may have been overlooked due to the urgency of
the assignment beforehand then."
Call to prosecute the architects of 'Murambatsvina' By
CIVIL society leaders in Zimbabwe last week said that
all those behind the implementation of "Operation Murambatsvina" must be
brought to book despite the challenges the victims may encounter in pursuing
their cases through available legal remedies.
Speaking at a meeting
held in Harare last week, the civil leaders drawn from the church, local and
international non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and human rights
activists expressed full support of the United Nations Special Envoy, Anna
Kajumulo Tibaijuka's report and called for the government to fully implement
all the recommendations. They resolved to offer financial support to the poor
so that all those responsible for the widely vilified operation must be
Arnold Tsunga, the director of the Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human
Rights (ZLHR), said a co-coordinated approach within the civil society was
needed in order to make sure that all those behind the operation were held
accountable for their acts and that compensation was paid to all the
"In any democracy, the will of the people must be the basis for
good governance. What happened in this country over the past two months are
clear acts of human rights abuses by the government on its own citizens and
they must be held accountable," he said.
Caroline Sande, the director
of Actionaid, a regional NGO that deals with human rights abuses among the
urban poor also concurred with Tsunga and added that the perpetrators were
"The (UN) report calls for accountability and it has been
established that the whole operation is as a responsibility of a few known
overzealous and misguided individuals, who must be brought to
"It is very clear who is responsible and they must be held
accountable," she said.
Tibaijuka's report notes that the government
caused large sections of its population serious suffering and it was
"collectively responsible" for what has happened. "The people and government
of Zimbabwe should hold to account those responsible for the injury caused
by the operation," says the report.
Reverend Andrew Muchechetere
representing the Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe (EFZ) said the church
had, from the onset, taken a bold stance against the operation. "The
operation has done more harm than good to the general population in Zimbabwe
and the church must and will continue to advise on the basic needs of the
people without any bias," Muchechetere said.
UNITED Nations envoy, Anna Tibaijuka, visiting Zimbabwe
from 28 June to 8 July 2005, to assess the impact of the widely condemned
slum clearance operation, appeared a willing tool in the Zimbabwean
government's unending quest to improve its vastly tattered image.
made all the right statements during sanitized government tours of affected
areas and proposed new housing sites. The government's rebuilding programme
following the demolitions was "commendable", a sign of "seriousness and
clear vision" she gushed.
She was rewarded with a trip to the fabulous
Victoria Falls. But she was only flattering to deceive. Underneath the
smiles and demure exterior was a technocrat, an expert in her field, seeking
serious answers and getting inadequate responses from a government, which
believed it, had her in the palm of its hand.
She would play ball as
others before her had done.
Being allowed unlimited access, she sought
the answers she needed from the victims, civil society groups and
non-governmental organizations. The picture was not a pretty one. She was
clearly appalled, but kept her cards close to her chest.
was stunned then when Tibaijuka slammed the slum clearance exercise as a
"disastrous venture" carried out in "an indiscriminate and unjustified
manner" with little or no warning and involving the "wanton destruction of
homes, business premises and vending sites" and affecting 700 000 people.
"This humanitarian disaster" she said, would take several years to overcome
and then only with the assistance of the international community. She called
for an immediate halt to the demolitions.
She saw no systematic plan on
the ground for devastation of this scale and by implication, no logic to it
and was even drawn into urging government to embark on a practicable plan
and implementation programme and in to promising UN assistance.
attempt at damage control, government first dismissed the report as a biased
British plot and then President Mugabe, seeing the implicit criticism of his
leadership in the report, wangled a promise from UN Secretary General Kofi
Annan that he would visit Zimbabwe to assess the situation for
But the damage has already been done. In an interview with Voice
of America (VOA)'s Studio Seven, after the release of the report, Tibaijuka
said: "I met with the victims, the people affected, the mayors and others
dealing with them. The report reflected the general feelings on the
Everywhere she went, she was met by disaffected people calling
on her to rescue them from their misery. At Caledonia Farm holding camp, a
transit point for displaced people waiting to be allocated building stands
or relocation to their rural homes, there was a clear lack of sanitation,
drinking water and tent shelter.
This mirrored the plight of many
others living in the open or in churches to avoid forced repatriation to
their barren and congested rural homes. She felt compelled to tell
government officials: "Rural repatriation does not work and has never worked
Local and international statutes requiring some notice to
victims and provision of alternative housing before eviction had clearly
At Porta Farm squatter camp, she witnessed first hand,
police defiance of two high court orders barring them from demolishing
structures without availing alternative accommodation.
structures set up with Council approval or sanction of government officials
were razed to the ground.
Government's avowed aim of availing Z$3
trillion for its vast rebuilding programme following the demolitions was
always suspect given government's urgent debt to the IMF of US$209 million
and lack of money for the importation of 1.2 million tones of maize, fuel,
power, drugs and spares.
It also made the far-fetched claim that it would
build 1.5 million houses over the next four years to deal with the general
backlog and 20 000 for the displaced by the end of August.
mean the government building thousands of houses every day! Tibaijuka will
have witnessed many being granted housing stands but little serious building
on the ground.
In the second city, Bulawayo, she was drawn to ask: "The
houses you are talking about, have they been built? Because you have only 40
days to build 1003 (the stated number for that city) houses and I feel
timewise it is not feasible." It's no wonder her report dismissed government
submissions as "allegations" and "rhetoric".
Mugabe claimed it to
have been "well-thought" out operation which had been put on hold till after
the March elections to stop it being deemed an attempt to disenfranchise
opposition MDC supporters in the urban areas.
But his pronouncements
seemed to contradict those of finance minister Herbert Murerwa's in the
Press that the clean up had been unbudgeted for and that a supplementary
budget was being conceived to cater for the unplanned expense.
was also no evidence of Mugabe campaigning on the basis of a clean up after
the election. Tibaijuka was aware of the confusion.
that it was based on improper advice by a few architects of the operation"
and she urged prosecution of "all those who had orchestrated this
But it was likely to have been a Mugabe initiative and no
prosecutions are likely. He is given to knee jerk reactions when he feels
threatened. The urban electorate had rejected him twice in a row. Some kind
of measure was likely but the chosen architects disagreed on procedure. -
COUNTERFEIT drugs are a major threat to health in the country and
constitute 10% of global medicines available on the market, The Standard has
Dr David Parirenyatwa, the Minister of Health and Child Welfare,
said recently: "In Zimbabwe we cannot overlook the fact that there are some
people who sell drugs on the streets and backyard shops taking advantage of
the suffering public." He said that his ministry had put in place the
Medicines Control Authority of Zimbabwe (MCAZ) meant to curb the sale of
harmful drugs and to protect the country's health sector.
during an occasion to mark International Nurses Day in Harare, Parirenyatwa
said that during "Operation Murambatsvina", several people were caught by
the MCAZ selling counterfeit drugs.
"The MCAZ's duty is to go around the
country making sure that people get drugs that are effective," he
Parirenyatwa also said a lot of people now resort to using
counterfeit drugs to seek instant remedies for diseases such as
tuberculosis, dementia, skin disease and meningitis which are related to HIV
He said that this year's theme, Nurses fighting counterfeit
drugs, was a challenge to the nurses.
"Nurses must be vigilant. The
people should know that buying and using counterfeit drugs affects the user
and one can be poisoned by mislabelled drugs, may develop resistance if the
drug does not contain adequate quantities of the ingredients and will
eventually erode public confidence in the health care system," he said.
ILO raps Mugabe over ZCTU, COSATU links By our own
THE Confederation of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu)'s
camaraderie with its Zimbabwean counterparts, the Zimbabwe Congress of Trade
Unions (ZCTU) is legitimate and permissible, the International Labour
Organisation (ILO) has said.
In a report released at the 93rd annual
conference of the ILO in Geneva, the international labour body's Committee
on Freedom of Association criticised President Robert Mugabe's government
for the arbitrary arrest, detention and dismissal of labour union leaders
for the exercise of legitimate trade union activities. The government twice
expelled a Cosatu fact-finding team last year accusing it of being a front
for western nations. However the Committee considered that it was fully
legitimate for a trade union movement to seek advice and support from other
well-established trade union movements in the region to carry out its role
of defending or developing the national trade union
"The Committee requested the government to allow in future
such mutual support missions and noted with deep concern that the trade
union situation in Zimbabwe has not evolved and may have even worsened,"
reads part of the ILO report.
More trouble for
government over Tokwe-Mukorsi Dam
By Godfrey Mutimba
Salini Impreligo, the Italian company contracted to build Tokwe Mukorsi Dam
in Masvingo, has demanded that the government pays it 300 000 euros (about
Z$6.4 billion) a month backdated to 1999 for breaching contractual
agreements, before it can resume work at the giant water reservoir in
In addition, the company says the government should fork out $127
billion, in monthly instalments of $14 billion for the minor works that are
in progress at the dam due to be completed next March.
works are being carried out by small indigenous companies, which were
subcontracted by the company before it relocated to Italy after failure by
the government to meet its contractual obligations
halted operations at Tokwe Mukorsi in 1999 after the government failed to
pay its debt in foreign currency, breaching terms of the contracts it had
signed in 1998 when the project started.
The government owes the foreign
company 12 million euros (about Z$255 billion) including the 300 000 euros
charged every month as a penalty fine from the time it breached the
The assistant project resident engineer, Charles Nyamaruwata,
told the Minister of State for Policy and Implementation, Webster Shamu, and
his counterpart at Water Resources and Infrastructure Development, Munacho
Mutezo, that no work would commence on the main project unless the
government cleared the arrears.
"The main contract is on suspension
because of the arrears and if they are cleared the suspension will be
lifted. The government has to pay 12 million euros for work to resume and
for breaching the contract, the company needs 300 000 euros as per
agreement," he said.
The dam construction, which started in 1998, was
supposed to be completed in 2002 but up to now only minor work has been
undertaken owing to the government's failure to pay the company on
The company said it had completed about 50 % of the project but
could not finish because it needed foreign currency to import construction
equipment, which is not available in the region.
When completed the
dam will cover 7 120 square kilometres and will displace more than 200
Nyamaruwata said if the government paid the debt, work would
only commence next year after the rainy season.
The United Nations Children's Educational Fund (UNICEF) has
intensified efforts to curb malaria, particularly in children and pregnant
women in the remote district of Kariba.
UNICEF is working in
collaboration with the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare in reaching more
children through immunization, as part of Zimbabwe's Child Health Days and
malarial prevention. UNICEF supported the distribution of long lasting
insecticide treated mosquito nets and vaccination of children with Vitamin
"The Kariba Campaign aims to reach 15,000 children and pregnant women
from all corners of the remote district, providing each with a world-class
insecticide treated net, while raising Zimbabwe's worryingly low Vitamin A
vaccination rate for eligible children," said UNICEF.
is a key part of the country's Child Health Days, launched by the Ministry
of Health and UN agencies, to reach all under five children."said UNICEF
head of health, Dr Juan Ortiz:
"The success of this campaign is critical
for several reasons. Firstly, malaria is the biggest killer of Zimbabwean
children behind HIV/AIDS. Secondly, amid strong vaccination rates, Vitamin A
among children under one is worryingly low, and finally, we must take the
successes of this campaign nationally so that the benefits of Child Health
Days can be enjoyed by all Zimbabwean mothers and their
The Kariba campaign has seen hundreds of health workers
trained, a sustained drive to inform parents of the importance of taking
part, and thousands of person-hours in overcoming logistical challenges of
fuel shortages, remoteness and local capacity. The campaign comes at a
critical time, as Zimbabweans face challenges on multiple fronts, noted
"Less than 10% of Zimbabwe's children are adequately protected
with Vitamin A, and UNICEF and the Ministry of Health aim to increase this
to at least 60% by the end of this year. Vitamin A protects children against
infections (particularly diarrhoeal diseases) and viral diseases; while
severe Vitamin A deficiency will lead to blindness."
of all Zimbabweans live in malarial areas, and yet only seven percent of
children (under five years) sleep under insecticide treated nets
"This campaign seeks to take the first step on the road to
reaching the globally accepted targets of 60% ITN coverage among children
and pregnant women."
Malaria not only kills, but also hampers
productivity and halts development. A malaria-stricken family spends an
average of over one quarter of its income on treatment. Thus malaria has far
reaching effects on health and economic productivity, according to
Said Dr Ortiz: "It's a tremendous advancement and one that
Zimbabweans can now enjoy. At this stage the Kariba campaign is looking like
a stand-out success, but we must now go nationwide."
The second round
of Child Health Days will be in November and December this year.
Die is cast for Bulawayo mayoral poll By our
BULAWAYO - The opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)
tests its urban support base when it locks horns with the ruling Zanu PF
party in what promises to be a low-key Bulawayo mayoral
Japhet Ndabeni-Ncube, the MDC candidate, who will square up
with Dickson Abu-Basuthu on 13 August, was on Friday confident that he would
win the polls at a time when there are reports of divisions within the
opposition party. Ndabeni-Ncube said Abu-Basuthu, an ordinary member of
Zanu PF whose selection as the ruling party candidate came as a surprise to
outsiders, should have just refused to stand in the race to avoid
embarrassment to himself and his party.
"I wonder why he
(Abu-Basuthu) didn't refuse to stand against me. However, his participation
is welcome, as it will create the much-needed sense of competition, which is
what elections are all about. As MDC we thrive on competition, and
Abu-Basuthu's involvement will work towards that goal," he said.
said latest attempts by Zanu-PF sympathisers to demonise him through the
Bulawayo-based state-owned newspaper, The Chronicle, would not
"We know some people are working flat out to tear us apart, but
evidence shows who has been torn apart. Four years on, my council is still
solid. Our achievements over the past few years are our testimony. Our
performance has been above board and the people will vote for us for as long
as they want Bulawayo to be in safe hands," Ndabeni-Ncube
However, Abu-Basuthu said he had a role to play in the development
"After serious consideration, my party and I felt
Bulawayo needs a person like me, one who is conscious about what is
happening in Bulawayo and the development needed in the city. The people are
not getting what they deserve from the money they pay to council. That is
why I thought I should come in," he said.
Abu-Basuthu said he was
confident he would win the election.
"Bulawayo citizens will vote for me
because they want the city to regain its status. We are tired of burst water
pipes, sewers, non-functional tower lights and potholes all over the place,"
While the candidates work on their election strategies,
Bulawayo residents appear not moved by the forthcoming election, and
seemingly do not take it with the same seriousness they did in 2001.There is
little political activity on the ground as people prefer to go about their
A former ruling party official in Bulawayo province said
the recent "clean-up" exercise could work against Abu-Basuthu in the
elections, as voters still had fresh memories of the destruction of their
homes and market stalls.
"The people are still angry over Operation
Murambatsvina, and this could work against Abu-Basuthu. This is worsened by
the fact that the most affected areas are in his neighbourhood, that is
Makokoba, Babourfields and Mzilikazi," said the
Ndabeni-Ncube was elected executive mayor of Bulawayo in 2001
after thumping former Bulawayo City council Engineer George Mlilo, in the
mayoral polls, which also saw the MDC winning in all the seven contested
THE Ministry of Education may have acted properly by closing
down Macheke Primary School in Mashonaland East after repeated cases of
abuse of school girls, but it blundered by transferring the staff.
must be accepted that all the staff at the school shoulder the blame for
allowing at least 53 pupils to be sexually abused, by among others teachers
and a caretaker, for some time. It may never be fully established how long
this cancer was allowed to fester, but one thing is certain; there was no
mechanism in place and there is very little that has been done to forestall
such abuse. Merely addressing the pupils on the subject of sexual abuse
is not adequate. When parents leave their children at school, in the care of
the school authorities, the headmaster and his/her staff assume the role of
parents. It is therefore inconceivable that a parent could allow the
children to be unattended in their dormitories. Such laxity is criminal and
all the staff at Macheke Primary School have an awful lot of answering to
Unfortunately the Ministry has acted unwittingly by dispersing the
problem. It is a frightening thought that some of the abusers could be
savouring an opportunity to try out their dastardly acts in their new
environments. So the abusers and their accomplices have their jobs, what
about the traumatised and abused children, just where are our priorities? We
seem to care for the abusers and those who were negligent in their duties
than for the victims. What happened at Macheke is a national
All the staff must return to Macheke where they should be
subjected to rigorous grilling. There are experts in the country who can
assist in detecting sexual abusers. Their expertise must be called in to
help identify these child murderers. They are child murderers because in all
probability a thorough investigation may establish that some of the abusers
maybe suffering from life-threatening conditions such as HIV or AIDS and
that they may have infected innocent children thus virtually sentencing them
to death. The advent of new drugs to prolong the lives of people suffering
from conditions such as HIV and AIDS should offer no comfort because the
inescapable truth is that innocent children have been traumatised and their
lives adversely affected and permanently scarred.
What is distressing
about this tragedy is that it appears the ministry gives the impression that
this is just another case and so what is the fuss about.
societies - and Zimbabwe is by no means normal - the whole top brass of the
ministry, that is the minister and his deputy and possibly the secretary and
regional director for the province in question would have done the decent
thing and resigned in shame. But that is to expect too much from our
politicians and their officials.
The government should set up a
commission of inquiry, starting with an investigation into the apparent lack
of leadership at Macheke Primary School but extending to boarding schools
throughout the country.
In order for such a commission to do a thorough
job the staff that was at Macheke should be back at their station. A
commission cannot conduct an investigation in the absence of such material
witnesses. It will be important to establish what factors the ministry
considers when appointing staff to schools such as Macheke.
be most reassuring if the commission comprises more people from outside the
ministry, because at this juncture it is difficult to resist the temptation
that they are part and parcel of the problem and that the Macheke scandal is
but one of the manifestations of problems whose origins can be traced to the
ministry's head office.
There are a lot of experts both in the private
sector, other institutions of higher learning, the non-governmental sector
and the ministry's schools psychological services. These would be able to do
a professional job if they are members of the commission of
Of critically equal importance is what should happen to the
affected children. Every effort should be made to ensure that every single
child who was at Macheke Primary School receives professional counselling.
If Zimbabwe does not have such expertise, the government could consider
asking for help from countries with which the country has
bilateral/reciprocal agreements in areas of education and health.
is important that this aspect be treated as a matter of urgency and that
advantage is made of the school holidays. Whether the children should return
to Macheke should be the choice of individual parents, although it would be
better to remove all the pupils from that school, as part of helping them
get over the trauma of what the pupils experienced or what their colleagues
were subjected to.
The parents can also seek expert legal opinion.
There are so many instances of negligence that are tolerated and condoned
precisely because there are no penalties. It's time to tell all those
concerned or involved that the honeymoon is over. We must do something for
the sake of those children.
being revered and well-paid, today's teacher is an underpaid, scorned,
chided, abused, down-trodden and literally forgotten pauper.
of many societies' values and traditional traits, a role model, a leader
(look at President Robert Mugabe and several of his Cabinet ministers who
are all former teachers), but the Zimbabwean teacher today is leaderless and
literally defenceless. Our employer, the Public Service Commission does not
talk about us. It talks about civil servants in general. Our minister and
his deputy do not remember and recognise us. They only think of
Our own minister labels us drunkards and harlots. Our own
deputy minister prefers and suggests that the problem of shortage of
teachers can only be addressed by offering "respectable remuneration to
university and college staff".
I say give teachers a living salary
and decent accommodation and the ministry will be able to retain them, even
in the remotest parts of the country.
Already, there are existing
colleges that are producing enough teachers for existing educational
institutions, but the only problem is with the pathetically low salaries and
poor conditions of service. This is the reason why a lot of teachers are
leaving the profession for better lucrative employment. For as long as the
issues of salaries and conditions of service are not urgently addressed, we
will continue to witness massive flight of personnel from the profession for
better paying jobs, within and outside the country.
I am surprised
that Aeneas Chigwedere (education minister) and Sikhanyiso Ndlovu (his
deputy) do not see sense in emulating what the Minister of Health has done
for personnel under his ministry.
I would want to appeal to the President
that next time he gives us someone who is prepared to listen to our
grievances. Ever since Chigwedere's appointment, he has with supersonic
speed successfully managed to confine to the grave, what was once a vibrant
noted with great concern a tendency by the governor of the Reserve Bank of
Zimbabwe, to either evade some of the questions he is asked, or attack, with
impunity those who dare to ask questions.
The most vulnerable are those
in the tourism and hospitality sector. He called them all sorts of names. He
cited the number of tourists he said had entered the country and put these
at around 500. He argued that out of this number hoteliers had only remitted
US$6million. The hoteliers tried, in vain, to convince the governor by way of
explanation that not all the visitors were booked into their hotels, because
some of the visitors preferred to stay with friends. The explanations fell
on deaf ears.
Instead, the explanations were viewed as defensive tactics
on the part of the hoteliers. They were accused of either charging too
little or "panel-beating" their books while stashing away their foreign
currency. He described this as indiscipline of the highest order.
Gono continues to believe in this view oblivious of the fact that there are
many people in the hotel industry who are well versed in the field of
finance and banking. They keep quiet after his attack, out of frustration
and fear of raising the dust. It is not possible for anyone to know
I have also noted with concern that the governor tends to
respond to questions not specifically meant for him. Would it not be a good
idea for the governor to have key economic ministers with him when he
undertakes his road shows? This would give them the platform to respond to
questions relating to their ministries. I am sure they would feel highly
honoured to do so.
"WOE unto you
who lie awake at night plotting wickedness. You rise at dawn to carry out
your schemes; because you can, you do. You want a certain piece of land or
someone else's house (even though it is all he/she has got). You take it
through fraudulent means or threats and violence." Micah 2:1-2.
June at around 10AM a low loader carrying a bulldozer drove to the gate of
our home industry accompanied by a paramilitary police unit in a Defender
vehicle. "We give you 30 minutes to leave this place," shouted policemen in
the Defender. They had guns at ready in their hands.
home industry was established in 1997 by the city council. It has had a
variety of shops and factories. It was bigger than Mbare's Siya So. It had
Like ants, we ran in different directions of the
security walling. We carried as much as we could from our shops and
factories. Unfortunately, some of the factories had equipment, which
required cranes for them to be removed. What can a person do in 30 minutes?
In no time, the bulldozer started to demolish the structures
except toilets. They task was enormous enough such that it took the
bulldozer two whole days. This is how we lost our "fields".
before that all my 11 workers had lost their cottage homes. Like me, they
all have dependants. We could have gone to our rural homes if we had them.
We are trained and skilled factory workers, not peasant farmers.
tools of our trades and not tools for farming. Can someone tell me what to
do? I am very very angry and I don't have a gun. I now have a lump in my
throat, which doesn't want to clear. Desperate is my second child. Totally
WITH all due respect
to the honourable Minister of Education, Sport and Culture, I honestly think
that a government minister should not be given powers to prescribe fees for
private schools or any school for that matter.
Surely a minister who has
pegged primary school fees at $500 in this day and age should not be taken
seriously. This is far less than the cost of the receipt that is issued
ZANU PF secretary
for economic affairs and Finhold chairman Richard Hove has taken over at
troubled Intermarket Holdings (IHL) as the new chairman after Finhold
emerged as majority shareholder early this month.
The new board is mainly
constituted of representatives of Finhold. Elisha Mushayakarara is CEO at
Finhold, Sijabuliso Biyam is MD at Syfrets Merchant Bank, a subsidiary of
Finhold while Ronald Mutandagayi who takes over as Acting CEO was Finance
Director. Both Victor Muchatuta and Passmore Matupire who are chartered
accountants were picked from the outgoing board. Mutandagayi takes over the
baton from Rindai Jaravaza who was appointed Acting CEO in March 2004 by the
RBZ. Jaravaza relinquished his position last week alongside Timothy Matangi,
who was a non-executive director.
Said Jaravaza, "I have delivered my
Finhold and the RBZ both creditors of IHL are now the prime owners
of IHL after they converted their gargantuan debts into equity. They own 80%
of IHL while other IHL founding shareholders who include the Zimbabwe
Development Bank (ZDB), Old Mutual, the Mining Industry Pensions Fund
(MIPF), the Local Authorities Pension Fund (LAPF) and Fidelity Life now
control the residual 20%.
Bankers welcome Gono plan marketmovers with Kumbirai
THE ZSE sustained the upward thrust beyond the crucial level of 4
000 000 points four days after the central bank set lending rates to
Share values raced toward the new chart levels with cement maker
PPC blasting through the $1 million/share price while green insurer Old
Mutual also puffed out taking the sensitive industrial index to a magical 4
204 282.37 points Tuesday. The 44 323 186 points sharp rise gained
between last Friday and Tuesday's trading sessions demonstrates that the
next target is 4 500 000. Market strategists were wondering how many other
barriers would be broken during the next couple of weeks when the CSO
release crucial inflation data while corporates will be reporting profit
Plus signs were strewn Monday and Tuesday most of them on
leading gainers such as Econet, Meikles and Delta.
Bulls had appeared
to be in no mood to take a breather until Wednesday when the highly
overbought market took a correction. Econet, which is profiteering from the
current fuel crisis, as subscribers rely more on mobile phones to
communicate and conduct business, lost some of its steam Thursday alongside
DZL, Circle and CBZ, which shed $300 to $1 200.
Winners for the day were
Colcom, Mashold and clothing retailer Truworths. Market veterans attribute
the weakening to profit taking.
"Small investors tend to have a certain
target. So when they beat that target they relax," remarked one market
veteran. Strategists are quite sanguine that the bulls will be back on the
market considering that the July inflation data is expected to scale-up
considerably owing to the doubling up of fuel prices and a 94%
ZIMBABWE'S largest mobile phone network operator, Econet Wireless
Holdings (EWH), says it will introduce a new electronic method of recharging
cellphones that will get rid of physical recharge cards following the
country-wide "Operation Murambatsvina" that has rendered thousands of
Douglas Mboweni, Econet's CEO said the mobile group
wanted to introduce the new methods because the old cards were now hard to
sell after the government banished vendors from the streets. "We want to
keep ahead of the market and we are working on the new recharging method
because we realised that most of the card vendors were removed from the
streets," Mboweni said.
He said the new method would involve banks and
one would command his/her bank to transfer money by using cellphones. The
new system will affect both Buddie and Libertie subscribers.
government embarked on the controversial clean-up campaign code-named
Operation Murambatsvina/Restore Order in May removing all street vendors and
informal traders saying it wanted to get rid of all criminal
The Econet boss also revealed that they had finished installing
the central nodes on their network and engineers were now busy planting base
stations countrywide to enable the company to accommodate new
Mboweni, who was voted the 2004 Manager of the Year, said
Econet had finished installing "the heart" of the network and was now
putting finishing touches on its expansion exercise.
"We are only
left with the planting of base stations, we have already installed switches
and nodes that will accommodate 500 000 plus subscribers," Mboweni
The company committed more than $200 billion to the expansion
programme with a view of increasing its subscriber base to 500 000 by
year-end. Econet got US$14million from its disposal of its 14% stake in
Mascom of Botswana and the money was directed towards its expansion
Clean-up violated basic human rights sundayopinion By
IN peaceful and tranquil moments, most governments if not
all, will publicly profess, though in ostrich-style fashion, to be deeply
committed to ensuring that fundamental human rights for all segments of
society are respected.
It is in time of civil and political strife that a
government's commitment to observance of human rights gets really tested. It
is during such periods that it is found out whether or not the commitment to
human rights is real or merely a cosmetic disguise assumed for political
expediency or for purposes of retaining a modicum of respect in the face of
the international censure. Often, when trouble comes, the human rights
disguise or veneer of concern is quickly and contemptuously disregarded in
favour of the iron fist.
Respect and guarantee of human rights is one of
the cornerstones of democracy. For any government to be truly labelled as
fully democratic, it entails that it has to demonstrate respect and
commitment to the rule of law in the broadest sense.
Laws enacted and
all governmental activities have to conform to certain minimum standards of
justice which are fair and reasonable to all sections of the
But once a government professes a contemptuous, intransigent,
dilatory and incongruous disregard for the rule of law, problems abound. The
problems usually emanate from mismanagement, which results in inherent
social and political instability as the citizenry lives in dire conditions
of destitution and deprivation.
When this happens, the government
becomes hostile and insensitive to looming social problems, serious misrule,
gross economic mismanagement and profligacy, waste and rampant corruption
rapidly take root. Ultimately, such autocratic regimes run their fragile and
impoverished economies into the ground. This in turn, exacerbates social
tensions, public discontent and civil unrest.
When this time bomb of
social unrest finally explodes, human rights will be the first casualty.
Repression becomes the norm. The regime will try to justify and legitimise
its use of repressive and oppressive measures as necessary to obviate the
outbreak of disorder and violence, which might lead to
However, the regime will not admit its authorship of the problem
and will look for scapegoats to alienate itself from the problems. After use
of brutal and brazen force and other stern measures to quell upheavals, they
will unashamedly proclaim that normality has been restored.
government has recently invoked "Operation Restore Order" throughout the
country. The Zanu PF-led government said that the programme was aimed at
cleansing the country of all unwanted criminal activities and also to return
the country to sanity.
In contrast to this, the general urban civil
society has different perceptions altogether to what is being proffered by
the government. They view the action as a political gimmick that is meant to
punish the urban people for supporting the opposition Movement for
Democratic Change in the 2005 general elections.
A clean and crime
free environment is a necessary habitat for a just society, but "Operation
Murambatsvina" has brought nightmares to the general populace. The end
result is that the operation has become an oppressive apparatus employed by
the government to achieve some nebulous objective.
With the benefit of
hindsight, the major question to be posed is that of legality versus public
interest. Legality entails that every undertaking should be in accordance
with the letter and spirit of the law. It does not take into account other
competent factors such as what the law says is what is to be done no matter
how malevolent it is.
The concept of public interest, as the legitimate
aspirations of all underscores that whatever administrative issue is to be
undertaken, the rights and interests of the public should be legitimately
considered and the balance of interests weighed before any action is
To this end, the concept of public interest is of paramount
importance and should take precedence over the concept of legality. Even if
it is being conceded that Zimbabwean people had committed administrative
illegalities by electing illegal building structures as their habitats,
regard should have been taken of their interests before "Murambatsvina" was
put into motion.
The Administrative Justice Act of 2004, a fairly recent
piece of legislation states that every Zimbabwean does have a right to
administrative justice. Although not guaranteed in the archaic and
anachronistic Lancaster House Constitution, the fact that there is a
separate Act providing for such right should be viewed with great
importance. The right to administrative justice entails a number of issues
which, among others, include that whenever an administrative decision is to
be implemented, the individuals to be affected by such action should be
given a fair notice before the decision is brought to life.
fair notice usually varies depending on the nature and complexities of the
case. In the case of "Murambatsvina", it is unassailable that it was going
to impact heavily on the rights of people hence it was necessary that
reasonable notice should have been given for example, three months - the
guiding principle being that the rights and liberties of the people were at
But in contrast, Zimbabweans were only given something like 48
hours to reorder the affairs which were put in place in a period of around
As a result of failure to adhere by the simple principles of
fairness as required by the Administrative Justice Act of 2004, quite a
labyrinth of individual rights and freedoms as enshrined in the Constitution
and other international instruments have been swept under the carpet as mere
aberrations by the government.
First, is the right to shelter. All
these people who have been deprived of their shelter have not been able to
secure decent accommodation and are reported to be sleeping in the
The government also failed to take into account the imperatives of
the Convention on the Rights of the Children, called the Child Charter that
is to ensure that the rights of children have been protected and catered for
since they are the ones who are most vulnerable to any political
miscalculations. The Convention underscores that the rights of children are
an overarching aspect that should be given best and maximum insurance from
all political or administrative decisions. To this end, "Murambatsvina" has
disrupted the most fundamental and basic child rights, which among others,
include the right to education, shelter and clean environment.
right to education has been disrupted by virtue of the displacement of their
parents or guardians. In short, the right to life is now under threat
because of the social ramifications of "Murambatsvina", which is tantamount
to deleting section 15 of the Constitution because the "Operation" has the
effect of subjecting the people to inhuman and degrading
The "Operation" can be viewed as a flagrant and contemptuous
disrespect by the government of our constitutional liberties.
mere fact that such countries as Britain and Zambia committed such heinous
and barbaric activities is not good justification for the government to
"punish" the people of Zimbabwe. To any student of history, it now seems to
be a line of defence by the government whenever it tries to justify its
substantive excesses. It raised the same argument during the enactment of
the Public Order and Security Act, saying Britain at one time had a similar
statute - the Public Order Act of 1993.
In conclusion, the government
has ushered an era of tyranny. Zimbabweans find themselves in the same
situation as liberals and churches, even academics during Nazi Germany.
Helpless against a determined regime holding al levers of power, Zimbabweans
watch aghast as tyranny permeates all segments of civil society and a
fascist regime takes control of every facet of social
Defence against tyranny ultimately lies in the hearts of the
Ideological confusion dogs Zanu PF sundayopinion By Itai
THE multi faceted crisis that besets Zimbabwe today has been
explained in many ways. The ruling Zanu PF party attributes poverty and
hunger ravaging the country to international sanctions and drought while
civil society believes it partly has to do with the chaotic land reform
However, Other scholars and economists link this socio-economic
collapse to Zanu PFs policy inconsistencies and incongruencies as well as
its disrespect for the rule of law. In an historical context, the crisis in
Zimbabwe can best be matched with an acute deficiency of ideology in the
ruling Zanu PF party. After the first decade of so called scientific
socialism, the government dived into the dark pool of capitalist structural
adjustment programmes. Having excelled in the provision of social services
like education, health and housing provision in the first decade of power,
the Zanu PF government would have done well by maintaining a people-centered
The abrupt change from a "humanist" to a cost-recovery
economic system was the era of reversing the gains of the liberation
struggle. In this context, evils such as "Operation Murambatsvina" and the
wholesale nationalization of non-Zanu PF businesses are but manifestations
of years of ideological bankruptcy.
Present day Zimbabwe is under
siege from militarism. As Father Zimbabwe, Dr Joshua Nkomo noted in 1985:
"The people of Zimbabwe are defenceless and live in fear, not of enemies but
of their own government"
In its history of ruling after 1980, the ruling
party has resorted to a dangerous system of pseudo nationalism, violence and
chauvinism. The Matabele massacres of the 1980s, the violent retribution to
student activism since the early 90s, the land reform exercise and the
current anti-MDC campaigns confirm this assertion of Zanu PF's belief in
President Robert Mugabe explains his power more because of his
history of the liberation struggle than being a people's choice through
elections. Thus, after independence, the Zanu PF elite converted themselves
into the bourgeoisie class, and this explains the ideology currently
reigning supreme in Zanu PF. This also explains why land, allowances and
chiefs' salaries are rewarding war veterans and chiefs, the merchants of
Social pessimism and disbelief in dialogue has engulfed
Zanu PF, and has contributed to its resorting to virtual war to solve any
problem whether within Zanu PF or outside the party. The callousness with
which Zanu PF carried out its evil plans of evicting millions of poor
workers from their homes and razing them to the ground because they were
"illegal structures" is a clear example that Zanu PF has long forgotten that
the liberation struggle was fought by these very same poor
The black government in Zimbabwe appears to have adopted a form
of racist apartheid against indigenous Zimbabweans in favour of the Chinese
who are seen as providing economic salvation. The delicate trick here is the
dilemma that racism is the oppression of a few by the majority or only
occurs between blacks and whites.
The Zimbabwean economy, in the
meantime, is suffering from asset stripping and primitive accumulation of
capital by the ruling elite. The land grabbing exercise by Zanu PF chefs and
the so-called war veterans is part of the accumulation project. The taking
of corporations accused of expropriating foreign currency is part of this
capital project. Gideon Gono, the Reserve Bank Governor is an accomplice in
this project. His call for the extermination of corruption is sterile as he
searches far and wide while the real looters surround him.
peasants were used as ponies in the land reform exercise. They were asked to
occupy peripheral lands and warned not to construct permanent structures
while the elite were commandeering government trucks into fertile green
lands. In the urban areas, workers face the most savage form of exploitation
when the authorities make a monetary statement that freezes (without
consultation) wages on the background of an above 120% inflation rate and
acute shortages of basic commodities. Fraud, plunder and propaganda make the
day for the ruling Zanu PF elite.
Professor Jonathan Moyo, despite being
a political mercenary, best describes Zanu PF's bankruptcy of ideology when
he says - "they just make slogans and declare them policies. "Operation
Murambatsvina" is one such slogan that was converted into policy overnight
at the Police General Headquarters".
Before the March 2005 elections
Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the MDC, described the numerous and
haphazard constructions on the farms with a remarkable simile. He said: "The
settlements were sprouting like mushroom." He was taken to task by the State
media which irrelevantly accused him of "cursing the descendants of Mbuya
Nehanda and Mzilikazi".
In agreement with Karl Marx's theory of primitive
accumulation of capital, Gideon Gono, the untrained economist prescribed the
destruction of flea markets and informal business merchants in the towns and
cities of Zimbabwe with many shallow aims.
Firstly, he argues that
flea market traders waste foreign currency by buying non-essentials from
South Africa, Zambia and Botswana. Therefore closing them will lower the
demand of forex in Zimbabwe and scuttle the parallel market. This has a
tendency to lower the inflationary pressure and divert most forex in
informal hands to the productive sector.
Operation Murambatsvina is a
well-calculated political project. The agrarian revolution can not be a
success without labour. It has emerged that there is a critical shortage of
labour on the farms to an extent that all agrarian targets remain a mirage
until this issue is addressed. The plot therefore, is that displacing people
from the urban areas and banning urban agriculture will force people to work
as farm workers in the commercial farms.
It is a shame for Zimbabwe that,
25 years into independence, the government which ought to have been working
for the people, chooses to implement a 16th century and failed plan to force
people into their labour traps. Operation Murambatsvina is much like,
according to Marx, the 16th century bloody laws of France, Britain and
Holland, which targeted at vagabond peasants who were driven into capitalist
factories and habituated to wage slavery by the threat of flogging and
The answer to this madness is simple and just. The current
political leadership must go to pave way for a new beginning. It has to be a
calculated people's reclaim of their independence from opportunists that
want to build empires on the blood of sons and daughters of
The colonial constitution has to be archived while a new
people-written constitution, one that separates powers between the
executive, the legislature and parliament comes to effect. The leadership
code has to be built around sound corporate governance systems. All
prospective members of senior government positions must declare their worth
before assuming duty so that the current white-collar crime is checked. It
will not, however, be sustainable not to revisit the injustices of the
current government on the people of Zimbabwe on the political and economic
fronts. Another Zimbabwe is possible as nothing is constant but change.
Why 'Murambatsvina' is a disaster sundayopinion By
THERE is nowhere in the world where you destroy a
person's only roof over their head, whether it's legal or not, without
providing them with an alternative except perhaps in Israel and Fallujah.
And now Zimbabwe.
The objective of "Operation Murambatsvina" is noble,
but the way the operation was executed is blatantly inhuman and unjust.
"Operation Murambatsvina" would probably have been okay in some aspects if
"Operation Garikai" had taken place ahead of it not before. As it is
"Operation Garikai" has all the hallmarks of being hastily cobbled together
as an afterthought in order to do what in Harare street lingo is called
'kuvhara mahwani' (try and ward off trouble). Operation Garikai was
announced a day before the arrival of Tubaijulka in an attempt to pull the
wool over her eyes. The government are accusing Tubaijuka of completely
ignoring "Operation Garikai" but my own analysis differs. If Tubaijuka had
not taken into account "Operation Garikai" she would probably have
recommended the more serious charge of crime against humanity
Zimbabwe as a country (meaning the President would be held acountable). As
it is she recommended the lesser charge of criminal negligence against some
officials which means she took into account the good intentions of
government but could not afford to ignore the incompetent manner in which
the whole operation was carried out.
"Operation Murambatsvina" was poorly
planned and caused suffering which could have been avoided if it had been
better planned. That cannot be denied.
The first major flaw was the
failure properly classify problem areas. Illegal commercial activities
should have been treated differently from so called illegal dwellings.
Nobody would object to the immediate clearing off of a flea market located
in the middle of a car park or too close to a road and posing a hazard to
road users. But destroying a dwelling which though illegal does not pose an
immediate hazard and leaving the occupants exposed to the elements is cruel
The second flaw was failure to give people sufficient
notice. As far as I know no formal written demolition notices were ever
issued to any of the affected people. Prior to the actual demolition a lot
of mixed signals had been coming from informal sources such as the media and
the rumour mill.
At first, it was said that people were going to be asked
to pay hefty fines as long as illegal dwellings stood on their premises.
Then there was talk of a three months grace period to regularise illegal
structures being given and indeed Minister Ignatious Chombo once appeared on
TV saying something to that effect. But none of this was formally
communicated to affected people by means of formal letters from local
authorities or national government.
I understand a blanket notice was at
one time drafted, but this apparently was never distributed. In most cases
minimum notice period is normally one month written notice and adequate
notice is considered to be three months written notice for each and everyone
of the affected residential premises.
The third flaw was that the
operatives tasked to perform the demolitions where not the competent parties
for the task. The police are not competent rural and town planners and in
many cases they could not even tell legal structures apart from illegal
ones. I know of
two cases where people with approval from city planners
were forced by police to demolish their perfectly legal dwellings. In both
cases the affected people had complete documentation and had verified the
status of their houses with city council officials and had been told they
would not be demolished. But the police acting on their own destroyed or
forced these people to destroy their houses. The role of the police should
have been restricted to offering protection to urban planners identifying
and demolishing illegal structures.
They should never have been
allowed to go about ordering demolitions, for the simple reason they are not
technically competent for that. Knowing how to throw teargas is not a
qualification for planning houses, or administering a city.
for safety reasons owners should never have been made to demolish their own
structures. Assessment of the structures should have been carried out by
competent demolition experts who would then have carried out or supervised
the demolitions in order to minimise the risk of fatal accidents. Where it
would have been deemed safe for owners to demolish their own structures,
they should have been given some rudimentary safety information such as the
need to keep toddlers away from demolition areas; the need to wear
protective head gear or other protective clothing.
Murambatsvina" probably contravened Zimbabwe's constitution. The right to
property is enshrined in the constitution and where the ownership or
legality of such property is disputed, sufficient time should be given to
competent judicial courts to consider the facts of the matter and come to a
verdict. Under the operation many of the affected people were denied that
right to this due process of the law as enshrined in the constitution. They
were simply not given the chance to ask the courts for a
Right now the government ministers are scrambling about
(kuparapatika) blaming everyone else except themselves for Tubaijuka's
negative report. What do you call it when a man continually accuses others
of poking him in the eyes when in fact he is bathing his own face with a
towel made of dry twigs? The government carried out "Operation
Murambatsvina" with too much haste and did not seek expert
When it was clear that the operation was being wrongly
implemented to the extent of inviting the attention of the UN, instead of
pausing and taking proper stock they chose to press ahead against all
advice. Nobody forced the government to embark on "Operation Murambatsvina.
They planned it and implemented it and therefore they should accept
responsibility for mistakes made during the operation.
As it stands,
the minister responsible is Ignatious Chombo and the government should have
censured him a long time ago. If his colleagues want to protect him, it is
entirely their decision, and they should not blame anyone else when blame
meant for him spills
Blame games aside, I remain
greatly concerned that no concrete and coherent action is being taken to
address the suffering of those affected. People are still sleeping in the
open, children among them. The UN has sent Tubaijuka and she has written her
report, but a report is not a roof over their heads. Government officials
who have proved incompetent in planning and implementing "Operation
Murambatsvina" are not going to become competent overnight. Prompt action is
overdue, first to provide proper shelter and care for the affected people
and second to capacitate the government so that is can plan properly in
future. Meanwhile the government should press ahead with "Operation Garikai"
which stands to benefit the victims of operation Murambatsvina in the medium
term. However they should ensure that it is competently implemented and
corruption should be thoroughly kept out of the housing allocation
UN pledge gives hope to PLWA's Aidswatch with Bertha
THE United Nations (UN) estimates that at least 80 000 people of
over 15 years of age living with HIV and AIDS have been displaced by
"Operation Murambatsvina" and are no longer able to access related services
as a result.
The UN 10 days ago released a report on "Operation
Murambatsvina" following a two-week assessment visit by UN Secretary
General's Special Envoy on Human Settlement Issues, Anna Kajumulo
Tibaijuka. In her recommendations, the UN special envoy ordered the immediate
end to the government's "clean up" campaign, declaring it to be in violation
of the national and international legal framework.
According to the
report, "Operation Murambatsvina" cost 700 000 people their homes or
livelihoods and affected 2.4 million others in one way, or the
During her two-week visit to Zimbabwe to assess the impact of
the operation, Tibaijuka met President Mugabe, some members of his cabinet,
a number of non-governmental organisations and those affected by the
One of Tibaijuka's submissions in the report, is that the
clean-up campaign had created a humanitarian crisis and the government had
to stop the demolitions and create an enabling environment for humanitarian
Tibaijuka Said: "There is an urgent need for the
government of Zimbabwe to facilitate humanitarian operations within a
pro-poor, gender-sensitive policy framework that provides security of
tenure, affordable housing, water and sanitation, and the pursuit of
small-scale income generating activities in a regulated and enabling
But as expected government has dismissed the report saying
it is biased and invited UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan to visit Zimbabwe
and make his own assessment. Politics is definitely at play here. We know
the situation on the ground and the reality of the issue is that we have a
humanitarian crisis at hand.
It is a fact that people are sleeping in
the open because they have no alternative accommodation after their houses
were demolished. There is more than enough evidence to show that government
did not serve adequate notices to people whose homes were destroyed. Also
education representative bodies estimate that more than 300 000 children are
out of school after being displaced.
And these are issues that
Tibaijuka submitted in her report and suddenly she is a monster. Zimbabweans
are not fools; they can read between the lines.
Mugabe and his ministers
must do us a favour and for once admit failure and not blame it on Tony
Blair or George W Bush or whatever. This cheap politicking is not helping
anyone nor will it help avert a crisis already created.
The UN has
pledged a total of US$10.1 million for the immediate needs of those affected
by the operation and is willing to work with government in dealing with this
Of that US$10.1 million, the UN will offer support
to at least 10 000 people living with HIV and Aids (PLWAs) at a cost of
US$1.7 million over three months.
"An estimated 24.6 percent of adult
Zimbabweans are infected with HIV and AIDS. Assuming that the displaced
population had an HIV and AIDS prevalence rate similar to the rest of
population, the mission estimates that over 79 500 persons over 15 years of
age living with HIV and AIDS have been displaced," reads the
"Priority interventions will include care for the chronically
ill, continued home-based care, monitoring ARV compliance, information on
HIV prevention, voluntary counselling and testing, promotion of condoms, and
care for orphans and vulnerable children," said Tibaijuka in the
The UN envoy said this disruption in HIV and AIDS programmes was
likely to result in shortened life expectancy and death owing to lack of
treatment and care, malnutrition and exposure to
"Testimonies from the affected population and service providers
indicate that a number of AIDS patients have had their ARV treatment
disrupted as a result of the evictions. Several hundred persons receiving
such treatment have been reported displaced in Harare alone."
has already dispatched a UN-Habitat desk officer to assist the Ministry of
Local Government, Public Works and Urban Development under "Operation
Garikai/Hlalani Kuhle." This and the assistance pledges UN has made show
they have good intentions.
Why would the UN be wasting its money to avert
a humanitarian crisis that does not exist, as the government would want us
It now remains to be seen whether or not the Zimbabwean
government is willing to join hands with the international community for the
benefit of Zimbabwe's poor.
We urge the government to stop cheap
politicking on this issue and work with the UN and other organizations
wishing to offer assistance to those affected by the operation, particularly
vulnerable groups such as PLWAs.
Last week Aids Watch focused on the
sexual abuse cases that continue to be reported at Macheke case, which has
received widespread condemnation. Here is some of the feedback we received
from our readers.
Memory Maposa wrote:
It is horrifying to say the
least to hear what is happening at Macheke. I wonder whether this school
still has some authorities who run it. Why is it that they did not learn
from past experiences and put in place measures to ensure that our children
are safe from these sexual marauders?
In fact, I now sincerely believe
that this is just a tip of the iceberg. There is more to this than merely
what we have been told or heard, hence the need for an in depth
Another reader, Jonathan Chawora, former police officer who is now
working in the United Kingdom as a Child Protection officer also
Your report of sexual abuse cases at a school in Macheke left me
in a state of shock. What is even more worrying is that nobody seems to
bother at all. If it is a one-off incident we may blame the perpetrator
alone, but where there is a pattern of abusing girls at a particular school
we should ask questions from the school authorities. Incidents of sexual
abuse against school children has been widely publicised
for a long
time now but it seems there is no shift in policy in order to deal with the
problem. Am I missing something here because it seems it is nobody`s
bussiness and yet there are people being paid to protect children in
schools. Given the AIDS pandemic surely somebody somewhere should be doing
something about this problem. Does anybody at all care about the sort of
people who should be entrusted to work with children?
There are major
social policy gaps in our country and it is very sad. I have always believed
that our criminal justice system does not serve the interests of ordinary
people. It serves the interests of the ruling elite and lawyers.
are supposed to have a generation free of AIDS and this is our only hope of
containing the disease and yet this will be impossible if the authorities do
not have a clue at all about preventing child abuse and taking tough
decisions on dealing with paedophiles. However, I must congratulate those
journalists who work hard to expose child abusers.
Someone who signed
off as the 'girl child' spat out:
In regard to your 24 July, 2005 article
entitled Macheke sexual-abuse case, a shocking outrage, I was a bit
disappointed in Betty Makoni response to the rape of these girls. In your
article you stated that Ms Makoni said "Young girls have a right to
education and should not be turned into wives by teachers." These men are
not turning these girls into their wives. They are raping them and doing
unimaginable horrible things to them. Let us not confuse being made a wife
with the violent act of rape of a primary school girl.
THE leading lights of Freedonia's Revolutionary Party were masters
of double speak. For example when they spoke about having the best health
facilities on the continent or in the world they were being economical with
words. However, their actions showed that whenever they needed
hospitalisation they travelled to neighbouring countries or were flown
When they said they had accomplished the goal of establishing
major hospitals in each of the country's provinces or districts they
conveniently omitted to say the said health facilities had no drugs,
doctors, nurses or technicians to run them. When they spoke of health for
all, they conveniently did not say this was on the basis of cost recovery
and when they pointed to outsiders and in their annual reports that
Freedonians paid less visits to these institutions they made sure that they
masked the real reason why fewer and fewer people were visiting hospitals
and clinics. Ordinary Freedonians said the services were far beyond their
reach, meaning the revolutionary party had made health for all
While Freedonia's Revolutionary Party celebrated the
achievement of what they described as a "healthier" population, since the
attainment of self-rule, there were others who believed that the governing
party had embarked on a deliberate "population control" programme. A
population that could not afford treatment because it was either
unaffordable or absent could not be fit enough to plan any mischief because
it would be pre-occupied with the health challenges confronting
The revolutionary leadership let it be known that Freedonia had some
of the best institutions of education in the region and on the continent.
While this may have been true, it was also a common secret that children of
Freedonia's ruling elite were enrolled in institutions outside the
Students at the country's institutions of higher learning
pointed out that the reason there was so much unrest on campuses was because
none of the children of the ruling elite attended Freedonia's
Sororenzou Changamire, one of the student leaders said: "If
their children attended colleges and universities at home they would tell
their parents how standards have declined. They would also explain how
inadequate the student grants are and this could save the country a lot of
time lost when students take to the streets to demonstrate against
inadequate resources to education or how these were being allocated and
When Freedonia's Revolutionary Party denounced the West,
it secretly craved its embrace and when it fervently promoted a policy that
appeared opposed to the West, Freedonia hoped to panic the West into
welcoming it as one of the nations invaluable to the West.
claimed to understand the psyche of Freedonia's revolutionary leadership
pointed out to recent visits to the Far East by the Don of Freedonia's
revolution and said this was a throwback to an era that gave rise to such
terms as the "Iron Curtain", when it was possible to play one super power
against the other. Whether the visit produced what the revolutionary
leadership hoped for remained a matter for debate, but what most Freedonians
knew was that there was no let up on what the West demanded of the
leadership of Freedonia.
But the Don of Freedonia's revolution, himself
the master of hyperbole, declared his sojourn to the Far East had been an
unparalleled success, to which those who claimed to be experts in
doublespeak by Freedonia's leadership suggested such explanations needed to
be subjected to test.
The quiet old man of Freedonia seemed to sum up the
general view on the "unparalleled success" to the Far East, when he said:
"We need to understand such statements against other statements made by the
Don after he visited oil producing nations, on a mission to bail out
Freedonia. The evidence is there for everyone to see. There are fewer
vehicles on the roads because Freedonia has no fuel, contrary to the
pronouncements by the revolutionary leadership."