|The ZIMBABWE Situation||Our
thoughts and prayers are with Zimbabwe |
- may peace, truth and justice prevail.
economy, where most people work, has been hit hard by
the deepening shortage of bank notes.
Outside a Harare supermarket Friday, vegetable sellers said their turnover
has slumped by 80 percent since the cash crisis began two months ago. One of
the traders said he has been selling vegetables outside the suburban
supermarket for 12 years, and that he traded in cash.
He said he was saved from starvation by the supermarket, which has long
tolerated competition from street traders because the store is keeping him
afloat by cashing checks written by his customers.
But the lucky beneficiaries of a benevolent supermarket are few, and most
struggle to survive.
The latest figures show more than 70 percent of Zimbabweans are unemployed,
and the number of those losing jobs is rising as more and more businesses
close their doors. Over 400 large factories closed in a year, and the number
of failures of smaller businesses is not even recorded.
The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and the Ministry of Finance said this week
people should use credit cards or check books. But informal traders - those
who don't appear in government records - say they cannot afford to buy check
books or even pay bank charges.
On Friday, a week after traditional payday, there were still long lines
outside every savings bank and building society, which serves those in
formal employment. Most say they managed to withdraw some cash, but even
they are dreading the day there will be no income coming in.
MDC seeks overturn of ZANU PF victory
ELEVEN members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change
(MDC) party have petitioned the High Court to order Registrar General
Tobaiwa Mudede to consider their nominations to contest council elections in
Chegutu at the end of this month.
The opposition members were last month prevented
nomination papers to the nomination court by suspected ruling ZANU PF party
youth militias, who attacked and chased them away from the Chegutu Town
House where nomination was held.
Seven of the
aspiring MDC candidates and six party activists sustained
various injuries when they were attacked with stones and sticks by the
suspected ruling party activists.
They were treated at a private clinic in the town.
All the MDC candidates were disqualified from contesting
because they had not submitted their papers while ZANU PF candidates were
declared winners because no contestants were registered against them.
Chegutu mayor Francis Dhlakama, who was elected
on an MDC ticket, said
in an affidavit to court that
Mudede and the police had failed to ensure that the nomination process
was conducted in a free and fair manner.
He said despite his persistent appeals
to the police to provide
adequate security and the police’s own pledges to maintain order at the
nomination court, rowdy youths invaded an open space surrounding Town House.
“I was personally confronted by one
youth who had formerly supported
the MDC but is now a known ZANU PF supporter, who demanded from me a folder
that I was carrying into my office,” the mayor wrote in his affidavit.
He added: “The general
atmosphere was tense and threatening and the
Town Clerk and I phoned the officer-in-charge at Chegutu Central (police
station) and asked him to clear the Town House and its environs as
previously arranged. The police then deployed 10 officers to monitor the sit
shortly after that, I found that again the venue for the
(nomination) court and the premises of the Town House were full of people
who were in a large crowd and challenging anybody carrying papers,” Dhlakama
One candidate, Shepherd Jack, said he tried
unsuccessfully to slip
into the nomination court with his papers tucked under his jacket.
Revai Mahano, an aspiring contestant for Ward One,
said he sustained
injuries on his face and back when a group of men raided his home and took
away his national identity card and other documents.
ZANU PF and Mudede have not yet filed papers opposing the MDC
Mwonzora has case
MASVINGO – Magistrate Godfrey Macheyo yesterday ordered that
National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) official Douglas Mwonzora be put on
his defence on a corruption charge.
Mwonzora, who is a lawyer in the city, is facing a
in which he is alleged to have offered a $3 000 bribe to a police officer
who was investigating one of his clients.
the NCA spokesman’s lawyers had applied for the charge to be
dropped arguing that an audio tape recording of the alleged crime which was
done by the police was inaudible and could not be relied upon as the basis
of the state’s case.
Defence lawyers led by Advocate Deepak Metha had also
said that the
tape could have been tampered with.
ruled: “I am satisfied that the tape was audible and original.
Therefore, it should be produced in court as part of evidence. It,
therefore, means that the accused person has a case to answer.”
made an application to engage an independent audio
recording specialist which was granted.
The independent audio recording specialist is
expected to give
evidence next week.
The state alleges that
sometime in April 2001, Mwonzora was
representing a client who was facing charges of theft of a motor vehicle.
A trap was later set by
the police and a conversation between the
investigating officer and Mwonzora was recorded on an audio tape.
A government recording
supervisor Constantine Masango on Wednesday
told the court that there were
possibilities that the audio tape might have been tampered with since
he was not there when the recording was done.
He said some parts of the audio tape were deleted or inaudible.
Mwonzora was remanded out of custody to next Wednesday.
Fuel shortages hit food aid distribution
BULAWAYO – The World Food Programme (WFP) this week said fuel
shortages affecting Zimbabwe were hampering distribution of food aid to
hundreds of thousands of hungry people across the country.
The United Nations food relief agency said it had at times been forced
to suspend distribution of food to the needy because there was no fuel to
transport the food.
WFP official Robinah Mulenga on Thursday told
shortage of fuel has had negative implications on the transportation of
relief food to distribution points, especially in the Matabeleland province.
“As a result, the food is sometimes
distributed late to the people and
we feel that is an inconvenience to the starving masses who are grappling
with widespread food shortages.”
Mulenga, who was speaking during a tour of Tsholotsho, a district in
southern Zimbabwe and among areas worst hit by hunger, said much more work
needed to be done to cushion villagers from starvation.
Zimbabwe, grappling with its worst economic crisis
in 23 years, is in
the throes of severe food shortages blamed on poor rains and on
controversial and chaotic government land reforms which disrupted
The food crisis has been exacerbated
by an acute foreign currency
shortage that has left the government unable to import food to supplement
aid brought in by international donors.
Donor groups say delays by Harare to appeal for 700 000
tonnes of the
staple maize grain needed to feed Zimbabweans for the 2003 to 2004 period
will further delay the delivery of food aid to the country.
The WFP, which has led food relief operations in
Zimbabwe, had scaled
down food distribution in Matabeleland North province, where Tsholotsho
lies, after indications that there had been significant harvests in the
WFP spokesman Luis Clemens said the
food agency was now intensifying
relief operations in the area after realising that thousands of people
Clemens said: “The down-scaling process started after this year’s
harvest when we got a report that there were people who had had significant
harvests from their fields.
“We have, however, started scaling up operations in
most districts as
we realise people have finished what they had harvested.”
The WFP official added that his organisation was
working on mobilising
more food aid from donors to forestall an “evidently catastrophic situation”
But Clemens and Mulenga said they
had not yet received reports of
The WFP was distributing food to about 157 000 people in Tsholotsho
alone before the figure had been scaled down to about 71 000 following
reports that more food had been harvested in the area.
Meanwhile hundreds of villagers
who gathered at Tsholotsho business
centre to meet Clemens and Mulenga accused the government of abandoning
responsibility to feed starving Zimbabweans to donors.
Thubelihle Mpala, a widow who said she was looking after four orphans,
called on the government to provide maize through its Grain Marketing Board
which people with cash could buy.
She said: “It is unacceptable for the government to watch at a
distance thousands of its people starving and doing nothing at all about it.
“Most people are dying of HIV/AIDS-related illnesses that
by the shortage of drugs in our clinics and an unbalanced diet.
“What we are, therefore, requesting from our government
is that they
complement efforts by WFP to secure food in our area as deaths are bound to
occur if adequate supplies are not delivered.”
One of Mpala’s two daughters died of HIV/AIDS, she said.
Mulenga concurred with most villagers that the government should do
more to complement efforts by international donors to feed hungry
War vets back church dialogue initiatives
THE pro-ruling ZANU PF party veterans of Zimbabwe’s 1970s war of
independence yesterday said they backed an initiative by local church
leaders to broker talks between the ruling party and the opposition Movement
for Democratic Change (MDC) to end Zimbabwe’s political crisis.
Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans’ Association
(ZNLWVA) also accused some unnamed ZANU PF politicians of wanting to derail
proposed talks between Zimbabwe’s biggest political parties because they
were benefiting from the current economic crisis.
ZNLWVA secretary-general Endy Mhlanga
told the Daily News: “The
position of the war veterans is that the church leaders must be allowed to
do their work in a professional and non-partisan manner.
“We believe that it is now time for patriotic Zimbabweans to come
together irrespective of their political affiliations to iron out their
Mhlanga, whose ZNLWVA has together with
ZANU PF youth militias become
the mainstay of President Robert Mugabe and his government’s political
survival strategy, added: “There are people in ZANU PF who do not want
things to be corrected because they are benefiting from the crisis.
“These are some of the people who are causing the cash
they continue to disturb the talks for no apparent reasons, we will expose
them to the public.
“We do not want such a
spirit of destabilisation. People are not happy
with these shortages.”
Mhlanga, whose ZNLWVA has in the past been accused of unleashing
violence against MDC supporters, spoke amid reports of divisions within ZANU
PF over proposed talks with the MDC, with hawks in the ruling party said to
be bitterly opposed to resumption of dialogue, which broke down last year.
Talks between the two political parties collapsed
last August after
ZANU PF pulled out of negotiations after MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai
petitioned the country’s High Court to nullify Mugabe’s re-election last
The court has set the hearing of the election petition for 3 November.
Both Mugabe, Tsvangirai and
their senior officials, in separate
meetings held in the last two weeks, told the leaders of the Zimbabwe
Council of Churches, Evangelical Fellowship of Zimbabwe and the Zimbabwe
Catholic Bishops Conference that they were willing to resume dialogue
between their parties to find a solution to the country’s problems.
The two parties were yesterday expected to confirm in
commitment to resume dialogue.
But there have been rumblings of disapproval of the church initiative
from some sections of ZANU PF, who have questioned the sincerity of
Sebastian Bakare, Trevor Manhanga and Patrick Mutume – the three clergymen
spearheading efforts by the church to restart dialogue in Zimbabwe.
Justice Minister and ZANU PF’s
legal secretary Patrick Chinamasa this
week blasted the church leaders labelling them “MDC activists wearing
Mhlanga accused people opposing attempts by the church to help
dialogue of being ignorant of the role the church had played in the past in
encouraging reconciliation in the country.
He said: “The suffering we are enduring needs committed Zimbabweans to
stop it. The stance taken by the churches is commendable and should be
supported. Father Mukonori did it during our land occupations and those who
oppose the talks are ignorant of the role of churches.”
Corruption, crime rise
HARARE – For years Zimbabwe used to brush off questions of
corruption, crime and greed as malicious.
But the country’s deepening economic crisis has left many Zimbabweans
eking out a living on the edge of the law, and a brave minority prospering
by “running around and stitching things together”.
The phrase covers everything from hard work to pick-pocketing and
money-laundering to queuing for days for scarce commodities.
Criminal activity and corruption arising from
economic hardship is
dignified by the euphemism “survival vices”.
President Robert Mugabe’s embattled government has
the Southern African state has been hit by the scourge common to many
countries on the world’s poorest continent.
Mugabe told parliament last month that his government would soon
introduce a tougher anti-corruption law and legislation to fight
Some of Zimbabwe’s “survival vices”
have emerged as comic or tragic,
others have earned grudging admiration for creativity.
Beggars and the jobless have turned commodity
shortages into an
industry by charging desperate consumers to stand for them in endless
queues; some prostitutes offer their services to motorists spending the
night in their cars as they wait for fuel at petrol stations.
Last month, two mortuary workers were arrested and
accused of renting
corpses to motorists to enable them to take advantage of special fuel
preferences given to hearses.
Zimbabweans have responded to a severe cash shortage
by hoarding money and selling it for a fee.
Zimbabwe’s banks have literally run of
cash and some have been forced
to call in riot police to control angry crowds.
The government has no foreign exchange to import the special paper
required to print money.
The government says
some people are hoarding money for use on the
black market and that cash supply has not matched inflation, now at a record
365 percent – one of the highest rates in the world.
The Zimbabwe chapter of the
corruption watchdog Transparency
International says the country is now classified as one of the most corrupt
in the world, ranked 45 this year from 71 in 2000 in a “corruption
survey shows that over 80 percent of Zimbabweans believe
corruption is rising as a result of the economic crisis, and that because of
shortages even those who want to stay on the right side of the law are
breaking some laws as a matter of survival,” said an official with
Transparency International Zimbabwe.
“There is a culture of survival vices taking root
because the formal
market is slowly breaking and giving way to the black market,” he said.
Cement, sugar, paraffin, fuel, foreign
currency and the staple
maize-meal – which are in short supply – are all found on the black market,
in most cases at five times the official price.
Those who sell these goods deny they are charging
arguing the rates reflect a market where they are forced to fork out a
premium in bribes to suppliers and producers.
Police raid the black market every now and then. But while they have
noted a big rise in crime – from house breaking to bank fraud – they have no
In addition to corruption and crime, Zimbabwe political
the country has been hit by another scourge – greed.
“This country is falling on account of greed,” said
co-ordinator of the rights campaign group Crisis Zimbabwe.
Mugabe, 79, denies mismanaging the economy, and says
it has been
sabotaged by local and foreign critics in retaliation for his controversial
programme to seize white-owned farms for distribution to landless blacks. –
JUSTICE Minister Patrick Chinamasa this week had
unpleasant words to say about Zimbabwe’s church leaders who are racing
against time to try to hammer out a negotiated solution to the country’s
rapid descent into Somalia-style anarchy.
He branded Anglican Church Bishop Sebastian Bakare and Evangelical
Fellowship head Reverend Trevor Manhanga as opposition “Movement for
Democratic Change (MDC) activists wearing religious collars” who were also
ostensibly working on behalf of foreign interests.
In the same statement, timed to dampen optimism on the outcome of the
clerics’ mediation and to also signal the negotiating stance of the ruling
ZANU PF party, Chinamasa said the MDC should withdraw its court challenge to
Mugabe’s disputed re-election last year.
We find it most unfortunate, to put it mildly, that Chinamasa should
publicly attack well-meaning mediators, whose only
concern is to see an end to the long-running suffering of
Zimbabweans caused by none other than Chinamasa’s party.
Chinamasa’s unease over the mediation role of the churchmen apparently
stems from the fact that they have spoken out in the past against the rape,
torture and murder of many Zimbabweans by elements linked to ZANU PF and the
government, an undisputed fact.
The minister seems to be
suggesting that Zimbabweans must just forget
their recent bloodied past in order to move forward, hardly the formula for
any successful national healing process.
The church leaders have rightly criticised the
criminal human rights
abuses being perpetrated on innocent Zimbabweans by ZANU PF’s political
thugs – as should all right-thinking people – which makes them even more
qualified to take the “peace” process forward because they know first-hand
the devastating effects of the current madness on the nation.
The stance of the minister, himself reportedly involved
talks with the MDC, will not help efforts by Zimbabweans who want to see
genuine reconciliation between the two opposing political parties for the
sake of the country’s future.
If anything, Chinamasa’s
comments are likely to harden many within and
outside Zimbabwe who believe that ZANU PF can never be trusted to negotiate
in good faith and that the latest talks, just like previous ones, are only
aimed at buying time for the beleaguered regime.
Chinamasa and all others within ZANU PF who
think like him need to
know that these talks perhaps give the ruling party its very last chance to
negotiate a peaceful exit from power because the party has not only
miserably failed its own members but the larger population of Zimbabwe.
ZANU PF stands to gain more than the MDC or anyone
else from these
negotiations, which offer the governing party an opportunity to depart from
the political high ground with some semblance of dignity or the party faces
the people’s wrath.
If there are any ZANU PF
members who still believe that they can hold
back the winds of democratic change for much longer, they are clearly
Mbeki’s selective diplomacy
In by gone years, the United States pursued what was called
“constructive engagement” in it’s dealings with the apartheid regime of
South Africa’s neighbours rejected this, calling it “destructive
engagement”, and chose to support guerrillas fighting the regime.
We all know what the end result was. Thabo Mbeki’s so called “quiet”
diplomacy in his handling of the Zimbabwean crisis is just another version
of the ineffective US policy of “constructive engagement”.
Mbeki himself does not believe in his own policy, as recent
developments have shown. Mbeki applies his policy only in his dealings with
ZANU PF. When it comes to the MDC, he switches over, with vigour, to
At one point, Mbeki was heard urging the world to leave Zimbabweans
alone to solve their own problems! Motsuai “Terror” Lekota lashed out at
Tsvangirai and the MDC for their week-long stayaway. Montlane attacked
Tsvangirai for telling the world that George W Bush had been misinformed by
Mbeki when the latter said he had been told ZANU PF and MDC were
(constructively) engaged in talks.
ZANU PF, too, made the same remark that Mbeki was wrong to say there
were talks going on. Montlane, however, singled out the MDC for a
tongue-lashing. A neutral arbiter indeed!
Zimbabweans can read through Mbeki’s pretences. Montlane went on to
utter statements aimed at dividing the MDC.
He said the ANC would rather deal with Welshman Ncube than Tsvangirai.
Clearly, he is playing tribal politics, and the sooner the MDC realises this
tactic the better.
Surely, this is leaving Zimbabweans alone to solve their own problems!
The ANC is shamelessly anti-MDC and in favour of a “renewed” ZANU PF, and is
doing whatever it can to thwart the MDC’s relentless march to power.
I dreamt seeing the ANC’s invisible hand in attempts to frustrate the
final push. In
matters of intelligence, the ANC could be spying on the MDC on behalf
of ZANU PF. Quiet diplomacy indeed! Mark my words. The US sidelined Arafat
in favour of his prime minister. Mbeki is
following in this track by attempting to sideline Tsvangirai in favour
of his secretary general, Ncube. The MDC should resist all such moves. The
MDC is too patriotic for tribalism to succeed.
What a waste of resources
So the government is going to throw away many thousands, if not
millions, of $500 notes, which must have cost many millions as well to
Why? Just to print more of the same, also at a great
expense both in terms of the actual printing cost and in forex to buy
the paper. Surely this must be the most wasteful way to achieve whatever
If they merely printed the blue notes (surely a bad colour as we are
blue enough as it is) and the $1 000 notes, there would be no need to hoard
the old red $500 notes and they would come into circulation anyhow.
Res Ipsa Loquitur
JUSTICE FOR AGRICULTURE TRAINING COMMUNIQUE - August 1, 2003
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: Marine Skippers Licences
Attention all offshore boat owners.
The South African and Mozambican authorities are becoming more diligent in
checking marine skipper licenses. Operating at sea in S.A. without a
license will mean a R10 000.00 fine or 6 months in jail or both.
Prospective skippers need to complete a theory course and pass the 3 - 4
hour exam. Then the practical comprises of at least 12 surf launches and 25
hours at sea.
There are two ways of passing the practical.
1. Go down to a bar overlooking the sea, look at the wave patterns and then
skipper through the lull periods.
2. Do a comprehensive and intense 4-day course with Marine Skippers Academy
at Sodwana Bay.
Although the costs for Zimbabweans may seem high, what value do you put on
your families lives and your boat and equipment? You may fool the
authorities but you won't fool the sea.
I've been there, done it and got the T ' shirt...... IT'S WORTH IT!
Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on the theory and practical.