|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
Zimbabwe has the world's
fastest-collapsing economy, marked not only
by hyperinflation but also a currency whose value has halved in the past
three weeks and whose gross domestic product has fallen 30% in three
years. - Sapa
The Guardian, Tanzania
SADC wants Zimbabwe sanctions lifted
Wednesday, August 20, 2003
By Lwaga Mwambande
The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has called on the
international community to lift santions on Zimbabwe because they were
affecting the whole southern Africa region.
“SADC ministers have recognised that sanctions are hurting the
Zimbabweans and the region...Sanction is not helping Zimbabwe and is not
helping the region,” SADC Executive Secretary Dr Prega Ramsamy noted
He said the region recognised that Zimbabwe is facing serious economic
problems as a result of sanctions and that the organ on Politics, Defense
and Security was dealing with the matter.
The SADC executive secretary called upon the international community
to engage in removing the economic sanctions in order to ease sufferings to
Zimbabweans and people in the region.
Dr Ramsamy was responding to questions at a pre-summit briefing in Dar
es Salaam yesterday.
Western governments led by the United Kingdom, have imposed sanctions
over Zimbabwe accusing President Robert Mugabe’s government of human rights
abuse, particularly because of its land reform programme
Asked why SADC was quiet on the Zimbabwe issue and whether it was true
that the United States plans to sever its ties th it, Dr Ramsamy said until
now the relations with the US were normal.
He said SADC has good relationship with the US Agency for
International Development (USAID) and that there was no problem with ongoing
programmes. However, he said the organ would meet with USAID in the near
future to discuss their co-operation.
The executive secretary of SADC also said Seychelles has indicated
that she wants to pull out of SADC because of sanctions she experiences
because of non-payment of the contributions for a long time.
He said the country has paid some of the contributions but has
accumulated arrears that have not yet been paid. He said procedures in
accordance with SADC would be followed in case of any measure.
Western Morning News (UK)
PROTESTER, 83, VOWS TO OPPOSE MUGABE
09:00 - 20 August 2003
westcountry minister will today take to the streets to publicise suffering
in Zimbabwe after being imprisoned in squalor by Mugabe's regime. In an
exclusive interview with the WMN, retired Methodist minister Rev Merfyn
Temple, described his imprisonment in an overcrowded, flea-ridden cell at
Zimbabwe's central police station in the capital, Harare.
He also spoke of his determination to ring the changes for the Zimbabwean
The 83-year-old was imprisoned in shocking conditions after trying to
deliver a letter to tyrant leader Robert Mugabe demanding that he should be
removed from power for his "crimes against humanity".
Today, with first-hand knowledge of the intimidation Zimbabweans suffer at
the regime's hands, Mr Temple will don a plaque emblazoned with the words
"Arrest Mugabe" and march outside the Houses of Parliament.
He will protest over the Government's handling of the situation in the
And he insists that he will continue his campaign "for as long as it takes"
hoping that others who believe in the cause will join his protest.
Mr Temple, who lives in Honiton, has spent 50 years of his life living in
different African countries. He said that as he approached State House with
a letter for the president, he was surrounded by Mugabe's armed militia but
kept his nerve.
He said: "This was something I knew I had to do - I did not feel scared as I
approached State House because I knew what I was doing was right and I knew
I would be protected by my British citizenship."
The letter read: "The sufferings of the people of Zimbabwe are an
abomination in the sight of the Lord. I am praying that you soon be arrested
by the British Government and charged with crimes against humanity."
Mr Temple was determined to wait for a reply from Mugabe before leaving
State House, but the letter was opened and read by the president's guards,
who may have feared it contained dangerous substances.
Mr Temple was hauled into the back of a pick-up truck and driven for miles
before the vehicle stopped and, in what may have been a reconsideration of
plans, was taken back to the police station on Sunday, August 10, just one
day after he arrived in the country.
He was arrested and bundled into a six-man cell inhabited by 18 men where he
was kept for nearly three days before being given access to a lawyer.
His family were oblivious to his arrest and the conditions in which he was
being kept. Mr Temple said: "We had to sleep two to a bed and on the floor -
when one turned we all had to turn, space was so tight.
"The lavatory was a hole in the concrete covered by a blanket to try to dull
the stench - but the smell of urine was unbearable especially at night when
all we had for ventilation was a small grill measuring one foot by one
They were fed one chunk of maize meal and one spoonful of beans just once a
day - but never at the same time, adding to the disorientation and
intimidation. Mr Temple is certain he would have been killed had he not been
a British citizen.
He was interrogated for what seemed like hours and demanded legal assistance
twice before being granted a lawyer. He was freed after being taken to court
on Wednesday, August 13.
JAG OPEN LETTER FORUM
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Letter 1: Farm Sizes
Ben Freeth's letter "Large Scale Commercial Agriculture - The Way To The
Future" has parallels closer to home. I was initially amazed at how many
multiple farm owners there were in Zimbabwe, but on reflection realised
that the initial farm sizes carved up by Conex were no longer appropriate
for a decent living. I am sure that there are many more people more in the
know than I am, but I believe that it was generally accepted in the 50s
that one farmer could not handle more than 80 acres of tobacco. Tobacco
farms seem to have been divided up around this premise (in Guruve anyway).
It seems to me that as costs crept up on farming incomes (which has
happened worldwide) the only way to assure a reasonable income was to grow
more, hence acquire another farm. Improved management techniques, better
equipment and more skilled labour allowed farmers to grow larger
hectarages. I can already hear the critics say they improved incomes by
cutting back on hectarages grown, but that is a recent phenomenon of better
prices for quality.
Even if the above observations are not entirely correct, it would seem to
be reinventing the wheel to reduce farm sizes as the present government is
doing. It also amazes me that no-one who has the public ear has picked
this up and challenged the Government on this issue. There are many other
anomalies in present Government policies that have gone unchallenged -
growing maize in Chivu district when farmers went broke trying before,
trying to water 100 000 ha of winter maize in the lowveld (is there enough
stored water?) and certainly 100 000 ha would never yield the 3 million
tonnes Made initially boasted of, small scale tobacco farmers being able to
compete with their Brazilian counterparts who have completely different
growing conditions, et al.
It would also be interesting to hear from some of the older farmers and
Conex guys the history behind the development trends of agriculture as we
Letter 2: CFU Information Bulletin Thursday 14th August 2003.
I make reference to the meeting you had in Harare and in particular the
section where our new CFU President made a contribution :
HARARE FARMERS' MEETING WELL ATTENDED
Vice-President, Commodities, Doug Taylor-Freeme .....
....................reported on his recent opportunity to fly over some of
the country's major crop-producing areas and said he was astounded by the
lack of winter crops in the ground and the little evidence of preparation
for summer crops. He also said the damage to infrastructure was highly
apparent from the air."
Perhaps he should now tell us where he has been all this time that he was
not aware of the situation on the ground and was therefore "astounded". How
is it that we all knew what the true story was but that the man at the top
was so blissfully ignorant?
Perhaps he ought to come down to earth and learn what is what before taking
on the job of CFU President. The last man who made pronouncements having
flown over the cropping areas was the Minister of Agriculture and we all
know what a mess he made of things.
Letter 3: Matabeleland
Dear Mr. Taylor-Freeme,
Congratulations on being elected President of CFU.
Ex CFU Vice President J.M. Crawford Esq. and Matabeleland President T.G.
Conolly Esq. have reported back to their members some of the matters
arising from the CFU Congress, at a meeting held at 1200 Noon on Friday,
I shall not attempt to get involved, but feel that the least I can do is
attempt to brief you and your vice President of some of the factors that
could form some of the background to some of the matters arising.
1. On 29.8.2002 a circular was sent out by the President of the CFU:
"The Council has taken the decision to work with Government on the land
reform issue and not confront it."
2. It has been reported that T.G. Conolly Esq. was referred to as a mujiba
by your now Vice President in a Council meeting at some stage.
3. It has been reported that you suggested to J.M. Crawford Esq. that he
should not embarrass himself by standing for the post of President.
4. An amount of less than two million dollars has been budgeted for the
coming year for legal fees, and yet about five million dollars has been
budgeted for water affairs.
Reference 1: this statement was made after Martin and Gloria Olds, David
Stevens, Henry Elsworth, Alan Dunn and Terry Ford had been killed, and many
other members severely beaten over the last three years. Both yourself and
your Vice President sat on that Council. The statement came out ten days
after about three hundred farmers/wives were detained exactly a year ago.
Based on the fact that over fifty farmers and their family members were
murdered in Matabeleland (including a number of young children, and the New
Adams massacre which included a six week old baby) in the eighties, I
believe that Matabeleland farmers, and other farmers, have a good
understanding of just how imperative the RULE of LAW is in any country - be
it Zimbabwe, America, Liberia or Iraq.
J.M. Nkomo's reference to 'casualties at around 20 000' in the eighties, in
his autobiography reinforces that understanding further, and wider, I
The reference to T.G. Conolly Esq. as a 'mujiba' is somewhat beyond my
comprehension. I believe that both he and J.M. Crawford Esq. have stated
all along that it is imperative to have The Rule of Law, and continue to.
The farmers in their region understand this fact, and support them as
elected representatives - as shown by the support given to them at the open
meeting on Friday.
Farmers country wide have spent many millions of dollars on legal fees
which might have been avoided had the CFU Council had acted timeously, as
suggested by R. Passaportis Esq. - the CFU's appointed attorney - a year
ago when he was appointed.
I believe that my facts are correct, and hope that they are of assistance
to you and your Vice President (and are not deemed divisive in any way.) I
believe that with these facts at hand you will have a better understanding
of farmers in Matabeleland, and possibly other areas, to negotiate with
All letters published on the open Letter Forum are the views and opinions
of the submitters, and do not represent the official viewpoint of Justice
'Don't let Mugabe get hands on food aid'
August 20 2003 at 02:35AM
By Basildon Peta
Stop all food
aid to Zimbabwe, say donor agencies, unless President Robert
Mugabe reverses his latest directive for them to surrender it to
Human rights groups said the United Nations and its partner aid agencies and
Western diplomats in Harare should reject his latest demand and refuse to
hand over food aid for distribution by party militants.
Transparency International (Zimbabwe chapter) chairperson John Makumbe said
on Tuesday: "It's well within the rights of the donor agencies to refuse
food aid to protest against its politicisation by the Mugabe regime."
He said thousands of opposition supporters could die of hunger if Mugabe
took charge of the redistribution of food aid and discriminated against
opposition supporters, as he had done in the past. The aid agencies should
refuse to be part of such a conspiracy, he added.
"The food distribution by the agencies has been going well... The question
that everyone ought to be asking is what has now changed for Mugabe to want
to take charge of food distribution, especially at a time when we are due to
hold local council elections," said Makumbe.
There was unanimity among Zimbabwean civic groups that Mugabe's directive
was aimed at manipulating food aid to the benefit of his party ahead of
provincial and district council elections in two weeks.
The Crisis in Zimbabwe coalition urged donors to stand firm in rejecting
Mugabe's directive, while the opposition Movement for Democratic Change's
spokesperson on agriculture and farming matters, Renson Gasela, said
Mugabe's officials should not come anywhere near the donor food aid.
"The whole idea is for the regime to ensure that it starves to death all
those who are likely to vote for the opposition," Gasela claimed.
"We have seen this brutal victimisation of opponents of this regime before,
and donors must stand up and say no to the politicisation of their food
The directive was issued last week but made public on Tuesday.
It shocked aid agencies such as the World Food Programme (WFP) that had
struck an agreement with the Mugabe regime to distribute emergency food aid
without any political interference.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister July Moyo said
beneficiaries of food aid were now to be selected from village, ward and
neighbourhood committee registers. In Mugabe's main support base, these
structures are all filled with supporters of the president.
"Where the food is delivered... the ward and village food distribution
committees, with the assistance of local government structures, will be
responsible for the physical distribution of food," Moyo's directive stated.
"No international donor can tell us that the government should not be
involved in food distribution when we are the ones who asked for the food in
the first place," he said.
The WFP office in Harare said it was reviewing the new injunction. It said
it was consulting its partner NGOs and Zimbabwean government authorities
about the practical implications of the new policy. - Independent News
. This article was
originally published on page 6 of The Star on August Zvakwana Newsletter #37 – The tide of resistance must rise August 19, 2003
Zvakwana Newsletter #37 – The tide of resistance must rise
August 19, 2003
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African governments are never bankrupt until the pantry in the state house is empty.
- Zimbabwean novelist, Chenjerai Hove
I hear that there is supposed to be a by-election in Harare Central at the
end of this month. Perhaps it is just a rumour, since I have seen no evidence of
a campaign. The only thing I have seen is a somewhat disturbing interview in the
Daily News with the MDC candidate who came over as extremely arrogant and
complacent that his victory is a given. In fact he sounded like a typical
zanuist type. I hope I'm mistaken. Perhaps the candidate could tell the
electorate why we should vote for him rather than any other candidate. We do not
want to hear that the main reason is because he is against zanu. We want to know
what he is for, and what he is going to do to improve the lives of his
constituents. We should have learned from the mistakes of the Harare City
Council elections where we all voted on party lines. For example, we have seen
neither hair nor hide of the Ward 5 councillor, who has also not bothered to
reply to any letters. We are not voting for the MDC so that we can have more of
the same. Surely the change we need and desire is not only for a change in
government, but in a change of attitude and philosophy. It seems that most
Zimbabweans think all that is needed is a change in government and that all
their problems will be solved, and that they will not need to do anything.
Non-participation and an abrogation of responsibility got us in to this mess in
the first place. I often think that the national anthem should be replaced with
Shaggy's "It Wasn't Me".
We are running out of hope, and we are running out of love
And we're running out of everything that I've been dreaming of
And we are running out of oil, we are low on light and air
And we're running out and digging holes and finding nothing there
It just ain't fair, running out,
There's nothing there, running out
Now, the car won't go, and the pool won't
And we're eating beans 'cause there ain't no meat
And the lamps which once lit up our street no longer light the way
Visit www.zvakwana.org to listen to this song
When she opened the front door to her house, 28 year-old Patience Makoni (not her real name) thought she was letting in a friend who had called earlier to say she would be visiting her later that day. Thirty minutes later, with a split upper lip, a severely bruised neck and bleeding from her vagina, it became clear to her that she had opened a door to the biggest violation of her life. Events of that day are still vivid in her mind. Makoni, a vegetable vendor and supporter of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), was brutally and repeatedly raped by seven soldiers during the mass action organised by the opposition and civil society groups in June to protest gross human rights violations in Zimbabwe. In a moving testimony that left many in tears, Makoni described how she was attacked. "Ten men came to fetch me. They accused me of receiving support from (MDC leader) Morgan Tsvangirai. They walked me to a bush nearby, started assaulting me with their guns and fists. One of them tore off my underwear and they took turns to rape me, while holding me down by the neck," she testified.
Makoni is just one of the hundreds of women in Zimbabwe who are bearing the brunt of politically motivated violence. The government refuses to acknowledge that violence exists and has been accused of further perpetuating it. Survivors, trying to report beatings, rape, ransacking and looting of their property and other criminal acts are, sometimes, arrested, while the perpetrators are walking freely in the streets, unleashing violence on helpless people.
If you or someone you know has been abused or assaulted for political reasons contact the Accountability Commission for assistance firstname.lastname@example.org
Struggle is not a destination,
But a river that runs forever.
- Freedom Nyamubaya, Zimbabwean poet
Grace on the move
Thank you to over 800 people who wrote in saying where they thought Grace was going. Our favourite was:
Hie the zvakwana crew. Good job u are doing. With the strange going ons at
state house it’s a wonder she did not leave a long time ago. Maybe she is off to
Jamaica where she can be a true sistren rasta without the limitations of the old
man, she is stil young mind u.
Byee sista grace don come back
Our feedback is saying that the MDC is losing some momentum when it is coming to deciding whether their expensive press advertisements calling for this and that are actually working. For example like when we are talking about the cash problem, are the MDC top dogs and shadow Ministers of Finance entering into any negotiations or discussions with banking executives or even seeking advice on this situation from friends in the region. Zvakwana notes that we recently had a strong delegation of Zimbabwean economists and business leaders attend the World Economic Forum in Durban. So maybe they were talking about big ideas but meanwhile back home we the Zimbabwean people cannot even get our cash out the bank. The MDC always fails to take advantage of occurrences in our everyday living in order to ride on the swell of the people’s anger or frustration. Examples have been:
There have been no direct action campaigns to exploit
these issues. Why?
Zimbabweans are not only enough with zanu pf we are also getting restless with a weak and unfocused opposition political party.
If Zimbabweans have to starve to death for them to know they are being
misgoverned, so be it. Zimbabweans must learn to take responsibility for their
own lives, including making people who lead them accountable for their official
actions. Until we learn to do that, we should continue to suffer and live in
abject poverty because that is what we deserve.
Sydney Masamvu, Financial Gazette
The other day there was this story in the opposition press The Daily News that talked about a cash queue jumper getting a beating from the other people in the queue. We must ask ourselves what is wrong with us Zimbabweans? When someone jumps a queue, we beat him up. When we catch a tsotsi bag snatcher we kick him. But when 6 riot stand guarding us in the cash queue we stand there meekly not saying anything but instead muttering our anger under our breath. Is it not time that we directed our anger at the very people who are causing our pain instead of taking our frustration out on each other.
Zvakwana! Sokwanele. Enough is enough.
God won’t be saving this queen
This placard was seen recently at a gay pride March in London. Who says individuals can’t make a difference? Peter Tatchell the gay rights campaigner has caused mugabe the queen of tyranny to forever end his stop-overs in England for fear of getting jumped on.
Warning: If we buckle, we go under The movie houses should do us all a favour and simultaneously put on reruns of Braveheart, Gladiator, Ghandi, Cry Freedom and A Beautiful Mind. MNET should consider rerunning Legacy. I am seeing everywhere a hopelessness, a turning to selfishness, a growing "looking out for number one culture". Families are under strain: The one spouse wants to leave, the other wants to stay. The kids are fleeing the nest. Is the nation dying? I want to say to my friends and foes out there that you do not always build a nation on a feel good solution. Sometimes, not preferably, but sometimes one can build a better foundation through suffering. Are we called to suffer? Hell no! Yet if we must suffer for a season to build a better future then we must take up the challenge and not flee to the airport. As Myles Munroe has pointed out "you do not drown by falling in the water, you drown by staying there." we must persevere in our quest for equal rights and justice. All those who are looking for peace of mind are only prolonging the suffering. There will be no peace as long as there is no justice. Teach your children to stand up for what is right in tomorrow’s Zimbabwe by doing it yourself right now. Speak up and speak out in your circle of influence! get involved in sustainable development. Get your boss at work to continue investing in the future. Get your colleagues to support sustainable charity and not simply cheque handouts. Plant trees and nurture them, get involved in HIV AIDS awareness campaigns in the workplace, in the church, in the community and do something positive with your energy.
Albert Gumbo, Harare
Like Albert questions above: why are Zimbabweans resorting to this "looking out for number one culture"? Shouldn’t we be rejecting black markets, cash deals and behaviour like this (below).
Q Tees (or Quick and Tasty) in Msasa have for years made fine bread and scrumptious take-away meals. I have, for many years, made a point of stopping there two or three times a week. Unfortunately their business ethics do not match up to the quality of their food. There is nothing "tasty" about the sheer unadulterated greed with which they have launched themselves into a new venture - namely selling money, and penalising customers who are not able to provide the cash with which they can make a quick buck. On Friday, August 1st, I stopped at Q Tees and ordered a take-away. Not having any cash on me, I enquired as to whether they would accept a cheque. The supervisor said that there wouldn't be a problem, provided I was prepared to pay a 10% penalty surcharge. Irked, I asked to see the manager and enquired as to why I should be penalised for paying by cheque. Poker-faced, he replied, "Well, Sir, I can sell my cash." Now very annoyed, I told him that if he was intending to penalise me for being unable to provide the cash with which to make a profit, on top of the profit he was already making on his take-away, then I would forthwith cease to be a customer. His reply? "If that's how you feel, Sir!" Are they in the business of baking bread and making hamburgers or are they turning into usurers? The 10% penalty surcharge levied by the Q Tees management on my take-away would have amounted to less than $500. As a matter of principle, I will no longer support them and they have, consequently, now lost tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in custom over the years to come. Short-sighted greed?It is sad that the hardships we encounter in our day-to-day lives, have turned people to greed, back-stabbing and a mercenary way of life.
The tide of resistance must rise! Let it start with YOU.
A mysterious marriage
Once upon a time
there was a boy and a girl
forced to leave their home
by armed robbers.
The boy was Independence
The girl was Freedom.
While fighting back, they got married.
After the big war they went back home.
Everybody prepared for the wedding
Drinks and food abounded,
Even the disabled felt able.
The whole village gathered waiting
Freedom and Independence
were more popular than Jesus.
But Freedom was not there.
An old woman saw Freedom’s shadow passing,
Walking through the crowd, Freedom to the gate.
All the same, they celebrated for Independence.
Independence is now a senior bachelor
Some people still talk about him
Many others take no notice
A lot still say it was a fake marriage.
You can’t be a husband without a wife.
Fruitless and barren Independence staggers to old
Since her shadow, Freedom, hasn’t come.
Freedom Nyamubaya, Zimbabwean poet
to promote dialogue
between the country’s main political parties, it
was learnt yesterday.
The local organisation was tasked to dispatch a
letter to the UN by
southern African human rights groups that met in South Africa last week to
discuss the worsening Zimbabwean crisis.
ZHRF chairman Albert Musarurwa said the organisation, which groups
non-governmental organisations (NGOs) working in the field of human rights,
would send a formal request to the UN next week and would also send copies
of resolutions made at last week’s meeting to the ruling ZANU PF party and
the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
had a meeting today (Tuesday) to finalise the modalities of
sending our request and that should be done by next week. We have to make
sure that we don’t just dump the document at the UN, but that we should
submit it to the relevant office," said Musarurwa.
"We will also petition the
African human rights commissioner who came
to Zimbabwe last year, Barney Pityana, to release his mission’s findings
because we know that the document is ready.
"We suspect that the African Union wants to tone it
down so that a
member state is not embarrassed, but we want it to be released in its raw
form," he added.
The government has denied
involvement in political violence and human
rights abuses that have affected Zimbabwe in the past three years.
In reports received by human
rights NGOs, state security agents have
been accused of assault, unlawful detention and torture, among other abuses.
have, however, dismissed the accusations as the
work of the opposition and MDC-biased NGOs attempting to tarnish the image
of the ruling party.
But human rights groups that met in South Africa last
that those responsible for rights abuses in the past three years should be
made to account for their actions as part of moves to end the political
impasse in Zimbabwe.
ZANU PF and the MDC are under
pressure to resume dialogue to end their
week’s meeting was organised by South Africa’s Themba Lesizwe, a
human rights group involved in the rehabilitation of torture victims, and
the Institute for Democracy in South Africa, one of southern Africa’s
leading democracy lobby groups.
Other organisations represented at the meeting
were the International
Bar Association, The Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation in
South Africa, the Accountability Commission of Zimbabwe and the ZHRF.
The regional NGOs said in their resolutions:
"Human rights abuses of
the past, both during the colonial and post-colonial eras, must be redressed
and mechanisms must be put in place to guarantee that human rights abuses
never again occur in Zimbabwe.
amnesties for human rights abusers should not be allowed, and
specifically there should be no further general amnesty for human rights
The human rights groups recommended that a
tribunal be set up to deal
with human rights abuses.
"Necessary institutions should be set up to deal with past and present
human rights abuses, and such institutions (must) be empowered not only to
investigate and seek the truth, but also to recommend criminal prosecution,
provide for redress and reparations for victims, and lead to healing of the
nation," the NGOs said.
must encourage and sensitively deal with the
special needs of victims."
The NGOs called for an immediate end to political
intimidation, an immediate disbanding of the pro-government militia, and an
immediate return to non-partisan police, army and intelligence services and
non-selective application of the law.
The groups called for an immediate repeal of all repressive
legislation and that charges brought under these laws be withdrawn and
sentences previously imposed be annulled. They also called for an immediate
opening-up of political space, including the immediate and complete overhaul
of electoral laws and institutions to enable all elections to be held under
free and fair conditions. Meanwhile, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Association
(ZimRights) yesterday deplored the wave of violence and intimidation that
saw at least 40 opposition candidates failing to file their nomination
papers last month for the urban council elections scheduled for the end of
this month. The human rights body urged the government to comply with its
obligation to ensure a free and fair environment for the holding of
elections. "ZimRights finds it a paradoxical but sad reality that despite 23
years of independence, the citizens of Zimbabwe still cannot fully enjoy the
rights attendant on full sovereignty such as the right to vote or be voted
into public office without attracting the risk of organised violence being
visited upon them," ZimRights national chairman Arnold Tsunga said in a
statement yesterday. Staff Reporter
1.4 million people need food aid in Masvingo
MASVINGO – At least 1.4 million people in Masvingo province could
need food assistance from next month when their food reserves run out, the
Daily News has established.
administrator, Alphonse Chikurira said 600 000
villagers mostly from Chivi, Mwenezi and Chiredzi districts were already in
urgent need of food aid.
He said another 800 000 people in the drought prone
would need relief food by the end of next month, bringing the total of
food-insecure people in the province to 1.4 million.
He said although maize supplied to the Grain Marketing
insufficient, some of it was now being moved to district depots to avert the
"We are doing all we can to make sure that
people get food. Most
villagers in Chivi, Mwenezi and Chiredzi are currently surviving on the
government’s public works programme," Chikurira said.
He added that some rural district councils that
administer the public
works programme had run out of money, but the government had since chipped
in with an injection of funds to feed the starving villagers.
Masvingo province received $880 million
from the government last week
to feed thousands of hungry villagers under the public works programme.
From the funds received by the
province, the largest allocation of
$141 million went to Gutu district to feed 71 000 villagers. Bikita,
Mwenezi, Chivi, Zaka and Chiredzi districts also received allocations, while
urban areas such as Chiredzi and Masvingo were given $130 000 each.
Worsening food insecurity in the
province is the result of severe
drought that affected most parts of the province in the last farming season,
and of a controversial government land reform programme that has cut
agricultural output by more than half in the past three years.
Several non-governmental organisations (NGOs)
that have been providing
humanitarian assistance in the province have scaled down their operations
because of slightly larger harvests this year.
However, although many households harvested more than
they did in
2002, the harvests are not enough to meet their needs.
An official with a local NGO yesterday said the
was presently providing food aid to the terminally ill, the elderly and AIDS
"After carefully examining the
situation, we may consider resuming
some of the abandoned programmes," the official said.
Officials with humanitarian agencies, however,
said a directive from
the government last week for NGOs to leave all food aid distribution to the
government would adversely affect humanitarian operations.
The government has appealed for about 700 000
tonnes of food to feed
5.5 million food-insecure people, but international donors are reluctant to
provide food that will be distributed by the state, which is accused of
denying aid to supporters of the opposition.
RBZ introduces lower denomination TCs
BULAWAYO – The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ), which yesterday met
Bulawayo bankers and retailers over severe cash shortages, has introduced
lower denomination traveller’s cheques to make transactions easier.
RBZ acting governor, Charles Chikaura met with bankers, retailers and
other stakeholders in Bulawayo to discuss ways of easing the cash shortages,
which the government has sought to alleviate by introducing TCs.
Press statement issued after the meeting, the central bank said
$1 000, $ 5 000, $10 000 and $20 000 TCs were issued to banks yesterday to
complement the $50 000 and $100 000 TCs distributed two weeks ago.
who was in the company of RBZ director of financial markets,
Stuart Kufeni, could not speak to the Press after the meeting because he was
said to be rushing to board a Harare-bound evening flight.
But the central
bank said in a statement: "Retailers were concerned
that customers were using high denomination TCs as a means of raising cash."
More Zvimba settlers ordered to leave farms
THE government has ordered nearly 5 000 settlers in Zvimba district
to vacate 11 farms that it allowed villagers from Chief Nyavira’s area in
Mashonaland West to occupy in 2000, the Daily News has established.
Representatives of the villagers said they were
told on Monday to
vacate the properties by 30 August or face arrest.
The communication was received barely a day after 1 000
at Little England Farm in Zvimba were ordered to vacate the property to make
way for the widow of President Robert Mugabe’s late nephew, Innocent Mugabe,
68 State House officials and 21 "selected settlers".
Representatives of Chief Nyavira’s clan – which lost
after the passing of the Land Apportionment Act during the colonial era –
yesterday vowed that the settlers would not leave the 11 farms until they
were given valid reasons why they should do so.
The villagers say they want an explanation from Local Government
Minister Ignatius Chombo, ZANU PF provincial chairman for Mashonaland West
Philip Chiyangwa and the province’s governor, Peter Chanetsa.
refused to comment on the matter yesterday and switched off
his mobile phone.
Calls to Chombo’s mobile phone were being diverted to
where his secretary said he was not available.
There was no comment from the Lands Ministry.
Manyora, a Nyavira clan representative, said a
delegation of government officials led by an official from the Lands
Ministry only identified as Katone, visited the settlers on Sunday and
Monday and ordered them to leave or face arrest.
He said: "Chief Nyavira was authorised by
government and ZANU PF to
return to his ancestral land and live with his people in a traditional
set-up," Manyora said. "We allocated each farm a village head to oversee the
well-being of in-coming families from Nyavira clan and others from outside
"We did not know then
that the top people who were encouraging us to
do that were wolves in sheepskins. They have betrayed the struggle and
President Mugabe must send a team to investigate this before ZANU PF loses
thousands of votes."
He added: "Over 5 000 people will soon have no homes
after we had
directed our resources to constructing houses on the farms. It’s now three
years since we abandoned our communal homes. The President should know that
his ministers have made us homeless in our fathers’ land. The world should
also know who is wrong between us and the government."
The affected settlers occupy Paradise Gwebi,
Rayndon, Mede, Audley End, Worselly, Gordonsbury P/L, Gwebi of Sigaro,
Sodbury, Sigaro Eastwood and Coker, and two farms under Burney Investments,
known as Little England.
Merchants of hunger
NOT content with the hunger and suffering imposed on Zimbabweans by
its ruinous land policies, the government is now actively seeking to scuttle
efforts by international relief agencies to avert starvation in the country.
In total disregard
of assurances given last year by none other than
President Robert Mugabe himself to World Food Programme director James
Morris that the government would not interfere with food aid distribution,
the government last week ordered donor groups to surrender all food aid to
The headmen, most of them known ruling ZANU PF
according to a directive issued by Social Welfare Minister July Moyo, be
responsible for selecting recipients and giving out food aid.
Local government structures will assist the headmen and
committees and food aid distribution will be linked to the government’s
public works programme, under which food-insecure people perform community
work in return for food.
Why the government wants
to wrest control over food distribution from
non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which have been operating without
interference from any quarter, only Moyo and his comrades in the government
the government’s past record, Zimbabweans will be forgiven
for cynically concluding that this must be yet another attempt by the ruling
ZANU PF to maintain its stranglehold on power.
In its strange logic of
putting its own political survival before
everything else, the government clearly sees food aid only as a political
tool with which to buy support or punish opponents.
The village and ward heads the government
wants to run food aid
distribution are mostly powerless peasants who could and will be easily
intimidated by ZANU PF thugs into withholding food from perceived opposition
Movement for Democratic Change party supporters.
Indeed, there have been numerous reports – and
reports that have not
been disproved by anyone – that the little food relief the state’s Grain
Marketing Board was giving out was being distributed along partisan lines,
with only ZANU PF supporters benefiting.
forbid that all food aid coming into Zimbabwe should be left
within reach of the government’s filthy hands!
Predictably, NGOs – wary of the
possibility that food aid could be
manipulated for political gain – have warned that they will not be party to
the government’s machinations.
The NGOs have made it clear that if the government insists on
implementing this ill-thought-out policy, international donors will cut off
food aid supplies to Zimbabwe, where about 5.5 million people are said to be
in need of humanitarian assistance.
needs 700 000 tonnes of food aid between now and the next
harvest, in the second quarter of 2004.
Food aid the government does not have
the capacity to provide, hence
its appeal to international donors, whose efforts it is now attempting to
frustrate for reasons best known to itself.
We can only appeal and hope that sanity will prevail
rulers to prevent the death of millions of people, many of who have had to
endure untold suffering in the past three years.
It will be sheer irresponsibility and downright criminal
on the part
of the government if a single person dies in the next few months because of
a decision taken by a party that seems to have lost its compassion and
History will judge not only the government
harshly should this come to
pass, but all Zimbabweans if they silently acquiesce to this unacceptable
allow themselves to continue to suffer in silence like
sheep while their very existence is threatened by the reckless and selfish
actions of a power-drunk regime, this will indeed be an indictment against
Producing, not looting, is the source of prosperity
"WE are tired of feeding the people. Let’s provide them with seeds
and fertilisers so they can grow their own food once more," said a
True. But you have no choice, you have to
keep supplying people with
food until the new crop is ripe for harvesting. Otherwise, they may, in
desperation, eat the seeds instead of planting them. Famine will have been
delayed, but not done away with.
a man a fish, and he will be hungry again tomorrow. Give him a
fishing rod, and he will feed himself once and for all. Provided he uses the
fishing rod for fishing. Provided there are fish in the pond. Provided he
knows how to fish.
Maybe he cuts the fishing rod into small pieces and cooks
with them. Or he sells the rod and goes with the proceeds to buy himself a
The easy optimism of that slogan with which
fund-raising aid agencies
used to rouse the enthusiasm of their supporters has long given way to
scepticism, even outright pessimism. Donor fatigue, this malady has been
People vote for the chef who
promises them most goodies, taking him
for Father Christmas. They support whoever opens the door to the infinite
wealth the government is supposed to have. And they fight for dear life on
their chef’s behalf since their very livelihood is thought to depend on
chefs and their friends do the same. Their mouths are watering
when they see big, sprawling farmhouses, beautifully furnished, making the
new occupant feel he is as big a baas as the original owner.
It never occurs
to them that only if they had developed unused land
themselves and built their own homesteads on it could they be truly proud of
People want a big fat slice of the cake others have baked. Once that
has been eaten and digested, it is back to hunger and starvation. But it is
not the looters of other people’s wealth who will be prosperous, but the
producers of new wealth.
Eating other people’s cakes does not solve your
problem, but only
being able to bake a cake yourself.
should be compensated for the loss of so many of her sons and
daughters sold cruelly into slavery, it is said. Even though money can never
compensate for such unspeakable human suffering, a token payment in
acknowledgment of the terrible injustice perpetrated may be appropriate.
compensation alone will not make the slightest difference
to Africa’s woes. Especially if the funds fall into the wrong hands and make
some fatcats even fatter and the rest of us all the poorer.
Land is not our
prosperity. Land and capital are dead objects. They
only come to life in the hands of skilful, knowledgeable, imaginative,
creative and hard-working people. Only if the funds in compensation for the
injustice of the slave trade are given into the hands of such people will
they make a difference.
Such people exist. But where are they? Either in
hiding at home or in
exile. And they will not come back as long as they see Africa controlled by
crazy, drugged, gun-toting kids.
rebels make the rest of the world despair of Africa. They should
be in college or learn a trade, using their brains and their hands. Instead,
they dream wild dreams of their guns giving them the power to lay their
hands on fantastic wealth, produced, needless to say, by others while they
themselves cannot even grow cabbages.
In the meantime, they destroy the
crops, ruin the weak
infrastructure – schools and hospitals, churches and social centres – of
their countries and inflict wounds on their fellow citizens that will take
generations to heal.
And now our own
Zimbabwean youth, too, is made to fantasise about
driving the white man and his allies off the land so as to be able to grab
the riches he leaves behind. And what will they do once they have eaten
those scraps from the rich man’s table? Lazarus remained a beggar until the
It seems to
me that the Ten Commandments make even economical sense –
"Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house." (Exodus 20: 17) What you want
is not his house, but his skills.
Just dancing to Rambai Makashinga and wiggling
your bottom will not do
the trick. Dancing to the big men’s tunes and shouting their mindless
slogans is not going to create magically wealth and good living.
Where the old living in the past shackle the
young, the world is
moving backwards. People living in fear and terror will never dare think big
or come up with a real surprise.
Africa needs freedom, otherwise her energies will never be released.
Take the media, for example. There is a general complaint that the continent
is dominated by Western news services, even in the coverage of African
events. But then, what is to stop our own news services to come up with our
own stories? Well, our own restrictive information policies, for one.
Governments which do not speak to their own media are not going to build up
communication networks continent-wide. Creative writing and publishing is
another case in point. Our own national market is too limited. We need the
market of the whole of Africa to make book publishing viable. But customs
barriers, endless red tape and corruption make it very cumbersome getting
books across national boundaries. We complain about cultural imperialism,
readers going for Western mass-produced books imported by travellers, while
our own writers starve. Why do we fail to liberate ourselves and break down
those barriers? Is it because most creative writers make us uncomfortable
with their questioning minds? Only the land of the free will be able to feed
itself. By Father Oskar Wermter Father Oskar Wermter is a Catholic priest
and social commentator
Poverty, squalor, dictatorship go together
THE owner of a fleet of buses doing the lucrative Harare-Chitungwiza
run – which, by now should be serviced by the Zimbabwean version of the
Tokyo Bullet Express train – appeared on ZBC-TV the other day, appealing to
the government to legalise the illegal.
argument: in view of the shortage of foreign currency for
transport operators to buy spares, the government should let them operate
without some of the equipment the law insists they ought to have to be
legally recognised as passenger transporters.
I thought about this: for instance,
they could travel without fire
extinguishers or spare wheels or complete gearboxes – ones without reverse;
or steering wheels made of maize cobs stuck together with glue, which could
be converted into firewood, in case they get stuck in the middle of nowhere
and have to cook something to eat – or die.
About that railway line: the man who happily wielded a
shovel to turn
the first sod of soil on the site of the projected railway line from
Chitungwiza to Harare those many years ago, it now seems, Enos Chikowore,
has not been in the government for a couple of years now. He had the decency
to resign after the scandal at Noczim and the fuel shortage.
If he had resigned after the failure of the
project, he probably would have saved the country a lot of money. It’s not
improbable that we might not have had a fuel crisis, at least not one of the
magnitude to turn thousands of perfectly law-abiding motorists into
Today, the police
officially ignore the many pick-up trucks on the
Chitungwiza highway, with passengers hanging on the sides for dear life. I
suppose at some point they must have arrested the drivers. But they have now
given up, understandably.
Our prison population has swelled the jails to
bursting point. Apart
from the hardened criminals in there, we have the political prisoners, men
and women whose crime may have been to speak out in loud denunciation of
some government outrage.
offenders would just compound the problem, apart from raising
the incidence of HIV/Aids, TB and the sexual thuggery that we hear goes on
So, it is true today that the government has legalised
What scares most people is: to what extent can such liberties be taken, in
the name of adapting to an emergency situation?
The "emergency taxi" period spawned such lawlessness the country has
still not recovered from it.
I hope we don’t get carried away to the
extent that no eyebrows will
be raised when we see four-wheel vehicles fitted with bicycle tyres.
Once you start tampering with the law,
there is no telling how far you
It happened with the
land reform programme. Once the farm invasions
and the forcible occupations were termed "political", other brutalities
against which the police would have routinely acted were permitted on the
same grounds – they were politicalAs far as I know, there has been no audit
of the number of people who profited from the company invasions, brief as
they were. Many such people became instant millionaires. And how many were
reassigned to overseas jobs in case charges of blackmail, extortion and
robbery were brought against them by aggrieved CEOs?
We could have people who are theoretically
fugitives from justice
representing us in some obscure capacity in foreign countries.
Once Zanu PF got away with the farm and company
invasions, nothing was
sacred any more. Opposition MPs were dragged out of their houses, stripped
People relaxing in a
bar were ordered to lie down and were whipped
with chains. In one incident which illustrates the extent to which the law
has been abused, men and women having a drink in a bar were reportedly
ordered to have sex.
Much earlier than that soldiers reportedly tortured Ray Choto and the
late Mark Chavunduka over their controversial army coup attempt story. I
must have missed it but the men who committed this outrage have not been
brought to book, even after Chavunduka’s death.
Even earlier than that,
the men who killed thousands of innocent men
and women and children in the Matabeleland and Midlands massacres have still
not been punished.
People have said, with grave solemnity: this
government has got away
with murder. What I have not heard is people swearing not to allow the same
crowd to get away with murder again.
Idi Amin, who died in Saudi Arabia last week, got away with thousands
of murders. His murderous reign in Uganda had similar beginnings – a beating
here, an expulsion there, a brutal whipping here, a murder here, a
mini-massacre there and then a full-scale purge to round it off.
Amin is accused of killing hundreds of thousands of his own people.
Those who try to rationalise his bloodlust present the reason that he was
frightened of his rivals and struck at them first before they could strike
at him. Other politicians, more educated, more intelligent and more
sophisticated than the boxing buffoon have used the same methods to outfox
their rivals. Africa is in this dank hole of poverty because of people like
Amin, because people have been so frightened of their brutality they have
not dared to challenge them. The enlightened, the educated and the
sophisticated in Uganda must have laughed into their gin and tonic, whisky
and soda or brandy and Coke as they listened to Amin verbally abuse the
Indians, then the English, then finally, the Ugandans themselves. They could
only get rid of him with the help of neighbouring Tanzania. Julius Nyerere
would not normally have been associated with the sort of war-like
disposition that would have resulted in the invasion across the border into
Uganda. Amin was so insanely excessive in his savagery, the Mwalimu was
forced to act. But If he had not helped them, can you imagine what would
have happened to Uganda? Thirty-one years of Mobutu-size corruption and
repression. Some Zimbabweans have said the same about their own country
under Zanu PF and Robert Mugabe: if, by some miracle, a new party had
emerged to challenge that party in 1985, we would probably have saved
ourselves much pain and poverty. Now, the poverty is almost universal. In a
historical context, such poverty would have led to a "Bastille" of our own
and the overthrow of the regime. But the fear of the oppressor among the
poor is palpable. Yet history, even in Africa, cannot be trifled with. The
end of the Amin regime in Uganda and the flight into exile of the former
heavyweight boxer who butchered thousands of his own people with impunity
provides a salutary lesson for all dictators. We have had other such
worthwhile lessons in the recent past: Mobutu Sese Seko, Jean Bedel-Bokassa
and this month Charles Taylor. Each of these men proclaimed themselves as
the champions of the people’s rights, the defenders of the people’s freedom
and prosperity, the guardians of their independence. Zimbabweans cannot
believe they, as a nation, are the rare exception, that they can meekly
endure such deprivation of their inalienable right to the pursuit of
happiness and the end of poverty because their oppressors are of their own
race. I recently passed through Jubheki Lines in Mbare. The house we
occupied in the 1940s now has ten or more corrugated iron shacks added to
it. It’s so ugly it brought a lump of shame to my throat. To think I had the
kitchen all to myself as a bedroom. I am not blaming it all on Zanu PF. I
join others who accuse the party of bludgeoning the people into accepting
their poverty. By Bill Saidi email@example.com
It’s morning coffee time
Zimpost is about to issue – if it is not yet in circulation – a
piece of paper measuring 27 mm x 23 mm valued at $5 000.
Yes, alive to the national situation,
there is (or will be in the
immediate future) a Zimbabwe postage stamp of this value. It was supposed to
be available from 24 June. Clever old Zimpost!
Come on, Herbert Murerwa, everyone is imploring you to
doctorate intelligence to wake up and, yes, produce that new blue banknote
but make its value $5 000 and not the $500 that seems to haunt you.
If you outlaw the red $500 note, all those $24 bank notes
just issued will be worthless and will have to be replaced too – what a
frantic waste of resources.
And please, start serious
planning for $10 000 and $20 000 notes to
follow as soon as possible. Haven’t you seen the way inflation is rocketing
Ninety-six percent, I think you said it would be by the end of this
year. Add a nought – and then some more, minister.
Please! Please! Please! Wake up – it’s morning coffee time.
Even some dogs can’t take Zimbabwe anymore
TIMES are changing. When times change everything changes too, for
better or for worse.
Unfortunately, better days are not coming for Zimbabwe and
It does not take a
soothsayer to tell that Zimbabwe is going to the
dogs. Rather, it has already gone to the dogs and even some dogs cannot
stand it any more.
In the 1980s, the government wasted a lot of money on
on promises that there would be "health for all" by the year 2000.
Who would have thought then, in the optimistic 80s, what
would be? Crippled government hospitals, shortages of proper medicines,
exodus of professionals to greener pastures and persistent strikes by
medical doctors – all this in the year 2003.
to only have changed for the better at the Zimbabwe Ruins.
After two centuries in exile, the bottom part of our Zimbabwe Bird has
returned home. President Robert Mugabe made a lot of noise about it, but the
question is: does the return of a sculpture bring sadza to our tables?
United States Secretary of State Colin Powell said recently: " . . .
there is a man in Zimbabwe who is ruining that country. If he is left like
that . . . he will ruin it until there is nothing left to ruin . . ."
there need to explain further in what ways Powell was saying this
country is being ruined? So much ink and paper is being wasted every day on
this subject in the private and government Press in accusations and denials
For four years in a row, this country
has been in economic recession
due to poor governance, corruption at ministerial level, lawlessness, and
human rights abuses, to mention but a few anomalies.
Therefore, at this juncture, with the return of the
other half of the
Zimbabwe Bird, I believe that we should change Great Zimbabwe’s name from
Zimbabwe Ruins to Zimbabwe Ruined.
can add, if we like, the names of the destroyers. It could be
Mukoma "J" or Uncle Bob. If it is Mukoma "J" then it would be Zimbabwe
Ruined by J (ZIMRUJ) or ZIMRUB, in the case of Uncle Bob. We should do this
in our minds, so that we may remember our "heroes" of destruction, just as
we remember our liberation heroes.
Reading this, Mukoma "J" may cry "violation
of POSA", but we must
ignore him. He is full of theatrics. His time has come and gone, if I may
borrow from Powell.
There is a political
wave and the ship seems to be sailing away with
the tide. For too long, Mukoma "J" and Uncle Bob have taken us for a ride,
destroying a country once the breadbasket of the entire region south of the
Zimbabwe cannot be listed among the poorest countries of the world
like Chad, but the Zimbabwean populace is living in poverty equal to that of
the people of Chad, where most of the population lives on about US$250 a
year. Converting US$250 at our thriving local black market rate of Z$2
000-plus against the US dollar gives us more than Z$500 000.
ordinary Zimbabweans and, until recently, teachers among them are
living on much less than US$250 a year. With inflation at nearly 400 percent
and the price hikes in our country, Chad is a haven in comparison, for the
In the 1970s and in yesteryear rebellions, we
fought against white
oppression. In 2003, we are fighting against oppression by fellow blacks.
Tave kudzvinyirirwa nemafesi edu (we are being oppressed by our fellow
Where will this take us to?
We are always struggling for freedom while other nations
To the powers that be, I have this to say: a
nation is a living
organism. You cannot kill a
nation but you have to be careful about what you do to it.
A nation is not
willing to give what you tear away from it, but what
you put into it.
Tell me, what does it profit a leader if by overstaying at State House
he loses the support of his own people? To wind it all up, I say our once
beloved leader has failed us. ZANU PF is now a minority, yet it ironically
remains the ruling party. It does not enjoy a majority any more, as
witnessed by the stolen ballot which the Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) is challenging in the courts and the recent successful mass action
organised by the MDC. What ZANU PF is lacking in numbers it is making up for
in terror. Mugabe is only clinging onto power through sheer muscle. He has a
monopoly on state machinery. If the truth be said, he is not a peace-loving
man. I leave you to remember that God created man but the gun made all men
equal. Neville Mushawatu Shamva
Media reform a top priority for Zimbabwe
WITH the possibility of dialogue between the ruling ZANU PF and the
Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) in the offing, ordinary Zimbabweans
need to ask themselves these questions: Are these leaders going to represent
And are the media going to be objective when
unleashed before, during and after the talks?
The recent years saw the eruption of significant
developments in the
country. The arrival of the MDC changed the political complexion of Zimbabwe
Coincidentally, the launch
of the independent Daily News earlier the
same year also changed the thinking of many Zimbabweans, especially those in
Leading politicians, media practitioners and information organisations
stand accused of misinforming and disinforming the public on matters
important for the shaping of their destiny. Draconian legislation against
the media, abuse of journalistic privilege and distortion of information are
all testimony to that.
If the adage that "the pen is mightier than the sword"
then the role of the media in development and democracy can no longer be
swept under the carpet.
Zimbabwe’s supreme law,
the Constitution, is vague where the
journalism profession is concerned. Constitutional reform must be
prioritised by the two rival political camps in their discussions.
This inevitably means that the new
constitution should have an entire
section that is holistic, comprehensive and specifically guarantees media
freedom and liberalisation in order to protect independent journalists from
harm, harassment, disappearances and death in the line of duty.
Legal matters concerning the media
can only be fairly solved when
Press freedom is not compromised by any other piece of legislation like the
Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act (AIPPA).
The law itself, though harsh on objective
reporters, is not so much
problematic as some might think. It is the selective application of the law
by the "apolitical" police force against those investigative reporters with
a nose for exposing the evils and shortcomings of the high and mighty.
The AIPPA is the biggest
misnomer in the country. It sounds as if it
promotes easy and ready access to information from public institutions, yet
it effectively militates against citizens’ right to access of essential
38, 39 and 40 of the AIPPA talk about the establishment of a
Media and Information Commission, its functions, powers, appointment and
composition. This body is currently headed by one Tafataona Mahoso, who is
infamously known for parroting insipid government propaganda.
responsible minister has been given overwhelming powers over the
media by this Act. The interests of ruling party politicians are protected
by these sections.
Board members appointed by Information Minister
Jonathan Moyo are
obviously apologists of the status quo, and will not hesitate to muzzle the
independent Press as espoused by section 39:1(a) of the AIPPA.
The AIPPA is, thus, unconstitutional, the reason why
the Supreme Court
dismissed as ultra vires section 20 (1) of the Constitution, and section 80
(1) (b) of the AIPPA. Its draconian sister, the Public Order and Security
Act, has been viewed by many Zimbabweans, compos mentis, as one form of the
reincarnation of Rhodesian legislation.
Because of the existence of such legislations,
inevitably abuse the Acts to cover up scandals, theft and corruption – and
enjoy the protection of the same pieces of legislation.
The public media have shown their serious lack of
understanding of the
preferences of Zimbabweans. It makes no sense to ban the airing of Western
comedy shows only to replace them with local "comedies".
The decision to introduce more local programmes
than foreign ones is
noble indeed, but it is an ill-timed move because the local "artistes" make
hasty productions of half-baked films and programmes, thus discrediting the
country’s "first and permanent (only) choice".
The public media have, thus, been reduced to private
new role is to reflect minority interests of public officials elected into
office by the majority who wish them to represent their interests.
The Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation’s
business editor always
presents himself as a willing clown. The corporation ignores the economic
difficulties faced by people, evades crucial points of economic debate and
instead prefers to report "nationally important news" like the sale of
onions and cabbages at the Jahunda and Kudzanai markets!
Freelance journalists have been consigned to the periphery of media
developments in the country. Media reform must include the full and
competitive participation of freelancers in the mainstream media. Their
mother body needs a complete overhaul. It needs leaders with objective
minds, not leaders who choose to become conduits of government propaganda on
land and other failed policies. Failure to do so will result in the
continued existence of a national association of fringe journalists. The
government’s reluctance to free the airwaves and let other players into
broadcasting has produced an undesirable breed of lapdog journalists and
bootlicker reporters. Limited and conditional media pluralism is indubitably
a stumbling block to the promotion of democratic developments in any
society. An undemocratic administration is content to have an ignorant
population that is kept well in the closet, and this is the reason why in
Zimbabwe non-conformist views are never aired on the country’s sole local
broadcaster. The other side of the coin is not, all things considered, rosy
at all. The private Press deserves its share of blame. The oligarchic
deportment by the so-called media magnates and other economic heavyweights
has led to media polarisation. A confrontational situation has been created,
and this does not rescue the country from its sorry plight. The media must
earn their respect as the Fourth Estate by putting the national interests at
the forefront, instead of selfish individual concerns. Media watchdogs and
advocacy organisations continue their daunting task of promoting and
defending media freedom. The Media Institute of Southern Africa (MISA) has
come under fire from the government, which continues to pursue its
relentless jihad against the private media. MISA has made significant
contributions to the promotion of media pluralism in Zimbabwe. Political
reforms will create an enabling environment for the much-needed
participation of locals in the dissemination of information without undue
government interference. The apparent reluctance by journalism training
institutions to provide essential tools for students has led to the
production of "crippled" journalists whose credibility has been questioned
even by the most celebrated village fools. With the advent of a new world
order of information technology, the nation becomes a subject of ridicule
and contempt by more developed and liberal states like South Africa. It is
incumbent upon the political leaders to respect the media fraternity by
creating an even playing field for media practitioners, especially
investigative journalists who perform their watchdog role by their
relentless scrutiny of public figures, and by unravelling scandals and
political intrigue. Politicians are known for performing the impossible task
of splitting hairs while studiously avoiding important issues. If and when
the two parties meet, the people expect issues like media and constitutional
reform, economic solutions and political improvement to be the salient
subjects in order to save the country from its economic and socio-political
rot. By Munyaradzi Wasosa
Cash Crisis Worsens
UN Integrated Regional Information
August 20, 2003
Posted to the web August 20, 2003
The effects of the cash shortage crisis in Zimbabwe are being felt in all
spheres of society and everyone from ordinary citizens to the security
services and parliamentarians has voiced their disquiet over the situation.
Soldiers recently trashed a bank because it ran out of notes, President
Robert Mugabe used special presidential powers to pass a new law limiting
the amount of hard currency individuals can carry, and parliament has told
the Reserve Bank management to quit over the currency shortages.
The cash squeeze has seen productivity drop, as many workers now spend a
large part of their time in winding queues outside banks and building
societies, hoping to withdraw money.
Over the weekend, Mugabe used his presidential powers to enact the
"Promotion of Banking Transactions, Statutory Instrument 171 of 2003", which
makes it an offence to hoard money. News reports said four unnamed people
became the first victims of the government's new ban on "hoarding cash" when
they were arrested on Monday.
Many Zimbabweans have been keeping money at home because banks are limiting
individual withdrawals to a maximum of Zim $5,000, slightly over US $5.
According to the new law: "It will be a criminal offence for any individual
to be in possession of cash exceeding $5 million [about US $6,000] at any
As of Sunday, 24 August, police are authorised to seize from individuals
amounts exceeding Zim $5 million.
"Once seized, this cash will be held for safe-keeping in trust accounts, to
be opened by the Reserve Bank in various banks across the country. Its
release or forfeiture to the state will generally rest with the state,"
reads part of the law.
Analysts said the new law was not likely to result in an increased
availability of cash, as numerous other measures to arrest the trade in
currency had not improved the situation.
Only last week the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe introduced internal traveller's
cheques in denominations of $1,000, $5,000, $20,000, $50,000 and $100,000.
However, many sectors of the economy refuse to accept the traveller's
cheques as legal tender.
The ongoing cash crunch is starting to cause disgruntlement across the
On Saturday, close to 50 angry members of the Zimbabwe National Army stormed
the Beverley Building Society in Chitungwiza Town, about 35 km outside the
According to shocked bank tellers, the soldiers threatened them and broke
some glass panels after they were told the bank had run out of money. They
left only after the bank's management intervened and assured them that there
really were no notes available.
Meanwhile, the official Herald newspaper reported that the Zimbabwe
parliament had urged the management of the Reserve Bank to resign.
There were calls for the "complete overhaul of the central bank ...
following its failure to arrest the cash crisis, reduce inflation and curb
the foreign currency parallel market", the paper reported.
It said the cash shortage had compounded Zimbabwe's economic problems.
Zimbabwe's runaway inflation rate hit 399.5 percent in July this year,
putting prices at five times their level of a year ago, according to
official figures released on Tuesday, the South African Press Association
The rate, announced by the Central Statistics Department, meant prices had
doubled in the past five months.
ZIMBABWE: Govt directive could hamper relief efforts
JOHANNESBURG, 20 Aug 2003 (IRIN) - Aid groups in Zimbabwe were awaiting
clarification of a directive issued by the government that would see the
distribution of international food aid shift from relief agencies to local
government and village authorities.
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) on Wednesday confirmed that the new
directive, "Policy on Operations of Non-Governmental Organisations in
Humanitarian and Developmental Assistance in Zimbabwe", was issued by the
ministry of public service, labour and social welfare last week.
According to the local Daily News the directive reads in part: "The
beneficiaries of the NGOs food distribution programme will be selected from
the ward/village assembly and neighbourhood committee registers."
WFP's regional spokesman Richard Huggins told IRIN: "WFP can confirm that it
has received this document, and we are seeking clarification with the
relevant authorities as to the implications of the new policy directive."
World Vision (WV), a WFP implementing partner, added that the issue was
"extremely sensitive" and the NGO would reserve comment until the government
had responded to a request to clarify its position.
WV's Zimbabwe director, Rudo Kwaramba, said: "All those who are likely to be
affected by the directive have sat down to discuss the repercussions the
regulations may have on our operations. However, distributions have
continued as normal and we continuing to manage a very difficult situation."
Aid agencies estimate some five million Zimbabweans will require food aid by
January 2004. Food shortages have been blamed on erratic weather, the effect
of the government's fast-track land reform on commercial agriculture, and
the impact of HIV/AIDS.
The main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) has objected to the
directive, saying NGOs were "justified in trying to protect their
"In Zimbabwe the only real currency at the moment is food. The implications
of this directive are extremely worrying, as it gives the government free
rein over who receives food and who does not. The country really does not
need this at this juncture, especially since it is the NGOs who are keeping
the most vulnerable communities afloat," MDC spokesman Paul Themba Nyathi
The Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, July Moyo, had
dismissed concerns that village leaders would be biased in distributing
The Daily News quoted Moyo as saying: "They (the NGOs) have always been
working with the headmen, so nothing has really changed. All we are saying
is that the NGOs should use local structures such as chiefs, headmen and
councils, because these are the people on the ground. Everything else will
remain the same. But no international donor can tell us that the government
should not be involved in food distribution when we are the ones who asked
for the food in the first place."
Nyathi also raised concerns that donors would react negatively to the
possibility that the government could seize control of food relief
distribution. "International donors may be reluctant to assist the country,
should the directive be implemented, especially since there have been
incidents where government supporters have been given preferential treatment
when it comes to food aid."
Human rights groups and the MDC have accused Zimbabwe's ruling ZANU-PF of
using food aid as a political weapon against opposition supporters. The
government has dismissed the accusations.
Inputs crisis looms
By Innocent Gore in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Isd
WITH a few months to go before the onset of the rainy season, the country is
facing a severe shortage of maize seed, draught power and fertiliser, it has
However, a deal reached with Malaysian investors to supply agricultural
equipment and machinery, chemicals, seed and fuel for the coming season
could salvage the situation.
The Malaysians are prepared to fund the purchase of 1,5 million tonnes of
ammonium nitrate fertiliser, 500 000 tonnes of urea, 50 000 tonnes of maize
seed, 20 000 tonnes of soya bean seed and 10 000 tonnes of wheat seed.
This comes at a time when seed industry officials said they could only
provide 30 000 tonnes out of about 80 000 tonnes required, leaving a deficit
of 50 000t.
The 30 000t of maize seed to be provided by the seed industry would be
enough to plant only 1,2 million hectares yet farmers planned to plant more
than two million hectares.
The 30 000t of maize seed are yet to be harvested.
Officials from the Zimbabwe Seed Trade Association yesterday made a
presentation to Parliament on the situation.
The Zimbabwe Farmers Union, the Indigenous Commercial Farmers Union and the
Commercial Farmers Union put their total requirement of maize seed at nearly
ZFU director Mr Silvester Tsikisai said his organisation’s members required
at least 50 000t of maize seed.
ICFU and CFU put their requirement at 30 000t and 10 000t respectively.
However, Seed Co group managing director Mr Brien de Woronin said they were
expecting to start selling seed by early next month. "We do not have much to
sell at the moment," he said. "We still have to agree on prices with the
authorities, but we expect the seed to start coming in at least by early
Under normal circumstances, seed would have been readily available in the
outlets at this time of the year.
Lands, Agricultural and Rural Resettlement Minister Cde Joseph Made told
Parliament yesterday that the Government was working flat-out to ensure that
agricultural inputs are available to the farmers before the onset of the
"As of the situation regarding maize seed farmers who breed the seed are in
the process of harvesting it and very soon it would be delivered for
preparation," he said.
Cde Made was responding to a question by Dzivaresekwa MP Mr Edwin Mushoriwa
(MDC) who had asked what the Government was doing to ensure that inputs were
available to farmers.
The Government, he said, had in place a five-year programme aimed at
assisting new and communal farmers with inputs.
"Tomorrow (today) a supplementary budget will be presented and we hope that
we will get the necessary support that will enable us to assist the farmers
with inputs," Cde Made said.
However, he said the Government alone could not satisfy the needs of the
farmers and urged the private sector to complement its efforts.
Last year, the seed industry produced about 47 000 tonnes of maize seed of
which 30 000t were bought by farmers who planted 1,2 million ha.
The remaining 17 000t were bought by some farmers in preparation for this
The Department of Meteorological Services has predicted a good rain season
but there are now fears that the rains could go to waste, if the Government
and the corporate world do not move fast to make inputs readily available.
A survey by the Herald yesterday revealed there was hardly any maize seed in
There were also likely to be tillage problems this year.
The director general of the District Development Fund Mr James Jonga said
his organisation had not increased its fleet of tractors, but would employ
more artisans to repair broken down tractors ahead of the farming season.
"The tractor fleet stands as of last year," he said. "However, we have set
up a special team of artisans, which is going around the country
rehabilitating old broken down tractors.
"We hope by the beginning of the rain season, an additional plus or minus 50
tractors would have been repaired so as to beef up our operational tractors
to around 400, depending on the availability of fuel.''
A research recently carried out by the Zimbabwe Seed Trade Association
revealed the land reform programme increased demand for hybrid seed by more
than 60 percent.
He said the land reform programme had increased demand for inputs.
Farmers countrywide were worried by the shortage of seed and fertiliser on
the market as this could derail their preparations.
The Malaysian deal will supply the country with 50 000 two wheel drive
tractors, 2 000 four wheel drive tractors, 100 bulldozers, 300 combine
harvesters, 1 000 planters, 10 000 boom sprayers, water pumps, centre
pivots, electricity generators, trucks, livestock vaccines, chemicals and
150 million litres of fuel for the coming agricultural season.
The Malaysians are also in the process of finalising the establishment of a
noodle factory in Marondera.
The support was discussed during a meeting between President Mugabe and a
group of Malaysian investors and businessmen led by Mr Tiong King Sing, who
is also the country's Member of Parliament for Saarawak State.
Mr Sing said they would be working with the Jewel Bank in the implementation
of the projects.
"We have been discussing with the President ways in which to give support to
the agricultural sector in Zimbabwe. Malaysian investors are coming in with
machinery and irrigation equipment," he said.
Jewel Bank chief executive Dr Gideon Gono who also attended the meeting,
said the Malaysians were very keen to support Zimbabwe’s agrarian reforms.
Dr Gono said behind the scenes talks had been going on for the past few days
between Zimbabwean and Malaysian businessmen.
Malaysia’s Minister of Finance Mr Jarjis Jamsludin called for closer
economic cooperation between the two countries.
Speaking after a separate meeting with President Mugabe, Mr Jamaludin
described the President as a freedom fighter who is held in high esteem by
Malaysians from all walks of life because he championed the cause of his
people. Zimbabwe and Malaysia enjoy good economic and political relations
and businessmen from the two countries have exchanged business and
Last year, Metropolitan Bank established an expo centre in Kuala Lumpur as
well as in Singapore and Thailand to showcase Zimbabwean products to
investors in Southeast Asia.
This is part of a deliberate policy by the Government to open new markets
from Zimbabwean goods in this region.
Reserve Bank Reports Marked Increase in Use of Cheques
August 20, 2003
Posted to the web August 20, 2003
THE Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe has reported a marked increase in the use of
cheques for transaction purposes in the past two months.
The increase in the use of cheques is attributable to the hard biting cash
According to a central bank's latest report, volumes of cheques cleared and
settled in the low value category have increased by over 10 percent on a
month-on-month basis from June to July while in high value category volumes
increased by over 35 percent.
Classified as low value are transactions involving amounts less than $250
000 while high value are those, which involve amounts equal to or larger
than $250 000.
As of the week ending June 12, 2003, the cumulative total of value of cheque
supported transactions amounted to $14 227,3 billion and as at July 17, the
figure was at $19 808,4 billion representing a 39,4 percent increase.
Most banks have reduced the clearing period for the instruments to a maximum
of six working days.
For the week ending July 12, 2003 cheque transactions amounted to a total of
During the week ending July 17, 2003, cheque transactions amounted to
$1182,9 billion and of this 88,4 percent constituted high values items and
the remainder is low value.
The cumulative figures are as from January 2003.
By volume, low value transactions accounted for 81,4 percent while 18,6
related to high value.
The percentage increase from June to July on the value of the cheques was at
38,5 percent showing a marked increase in the use of cheques for
transactions purposes by the public.
However, building societies still take as long as 21 working days to clear
cheques and this further worsens the plight of desperate cash seekers.
Bank officials said there has been an increase in the number of people
opening current accounts, which have an advantage that a client can use
cheques as a substitute for cash.
The use of electronic fund transfer systems such as the point of sale
machines at the major retail outlets has also greatly reduced the need for
people to go and queue at the banks for cash.
The Government has put in place other measures to alleviate the cash crisis
with the introduction of the travellers' cheques which are just as good as
However, some retailers have refused to accept travellers' cheques as legal
tender largely because of what analysts attributed to lack of awareness
campaign by the central bank.
The other measure put in place by the Government is the phasing out of
existing $500 notes to replace them with new ones as well as the
introduction of a new $1000 note.
Zambia seeks endangered black rhinos from Zim
August 20 2003 at 03:24PM
Lusaka - Zambia, where 12 000 black
rhinos once roamed free, hopes to import
10 of the animals from Zimbabwe to help re-introduce the endangered
creatures to its parks, Zambia's wildlife chief said on Wednesday.
Zambia Wildlife Authority director general Hapenga Kabeta wants to bring the
new arrivals in by next year to add to five South African rhinos that
arrived in May, and to lift the population to 20 within three years.
He said he hoped a population of 15 would encourage other rhino-inhabited
countries to help Zambia obtain the remaining five needed to meet that
Demand for rhino horn in the 1970s created a poachers' killing ground,
wiping out Zambia's black rhinos along with thousands of elephants and other
Black rhinos weigh up to 1 350kg, about half the size of white rhinos. Both
animals are in fact grey in colour.
There are approximately 3 100 surviving black rhinos, according to the
International Rhino foundation conservation group. The animal has been
listed on the CITES-I internationally agreed list of most-endangered
creatures since 1977.